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letter-writing. However, he will be here soon,
to answer for himself."

"Will he? Do you know, my uncle is very

She interrupted him with a laugh and a
slight gesture of her hand, in which the woman
watching her discerned an insolent meaning,
then said, as she passed on:

"He knows where to find me, if he wants to
know what I can tell him. Good evening, Mr.

"Did you hear that, Harriet?" said George,
in an agitated voice, after he had watched the
brilliant figure as it mingled with the crowd in
the long saloon.

"I did," said Harriet. " And though I don't
understand her meaning, I think there is
something wrong and cruel in it. That is a bold,
bad woman, George," she went on, speaking
earnestly; "and though I am not exactly the
person entitled to warn you against dangerous

"Yes, yes, you are," interrupted George,
eagerly, as he drew her hand again under his
arm, and they moved on; " indeed you are.
You are the best of friends to me. When I
think of all the past, I hardly know how to
thank you enough. All that happened before I
went to Antwerp, and the way you helped me
out of my scrapes, and all that happened since;
the good advice you gave me! Only think what
would have happened to me if I had not acted
upon it."

He was going on eagerly, when she stopped
him by the iron pressure of her fingers upon
his arm.

"Pray don't," she said. " I am not strong
now. I can't talk of theseof anything that
agitates me."

"I beg your pardon," said George,
soothingly. " I ought to have remembered. And,
also, Mrs. Routh, I know you never like to be
thanked. What were you going to say when I
thoughtlessly interrupted you?"

"I was going to say," she replied, in quite
her customary tone, " that I don't think this
American lady would be a very safe friend, and
that I don't think she feels kindly towards
your uncle. There was something malicious in
her tone. Is your uncle uneasy about his

The question put George into a difficulty,
and Harriet, with unfailing tact, perceived in a
moment that it had done so. " I remember,"
she said, " the tone in which Mr. Felton wrote
of his son, in his first letter, was not favourable
to him; but this is a family matter,
George, and you are quite right not to tell me
about it."

"Thank you, Mrs. Routh," said George.
"You are always right, and always kind. I
must tell my uncle what has passed this evening.
Thus much I may say to you. He has
had no news of his son lately, and will be very
glad to receive any."

"I don't think he will be glad to receive
news of his son through her" said Harriet.

All the time this conversation lasted, she
had been scanning the crowd through which
they were moving, and noting every fresh

"Shall we go into the gardens? the lights
look pretty," she continued.

George acquiesced, and they passed through
the wide doors and down the broad steps into
the gay scene over which the tranquil starlit
sky spread a canopy of deep cloudless
blue; the blue of tempered steel; the dark
blue of the night, which is so solemnly

"Are you always so successful?" a voice,
pitched to a low and expressive key, said to a
lady, who sat, an hour later that night, with a
heap of gold and silver beside her, under the
brilliant light which streamed down over the
gaming-tables and their occupants, but lighted
up no such dauntless, bright, conquering beauty
as hers. The man who had spoken stood behind
her; his hand rested on the back of her chair,
and was hidden in the folds of the laced drapery
which fell over her dress. She gave him an
upward, backward flash of her black eyes, and

"Always, and in everything. I invariably
play to win. But sometimes I care little for
the game, and tire of it in the winning. Now,
for instance, I am tired of this."

"Will you leave it, then?"

"Of course," and she rose as she spoke, took
up her money, dropped it with a laugh into a
silver-net bag, a revival of the old gypsin, which
hung at her waist, and, drawing her lace drapery
round her, moved away. The man who had
spoken followed her closely and silently. She
passed into one of the saloons, and out into a
long balcony, on which a row of windows
opened, and which overlooked the gardens
filled with groups of people.

A band was stationed in one of the rooms
which opened upon the terrace, and the music
sounded pleasantly in the still air.

"And so you are always successful!" said
the man who had spoken before to the lady,
who leaned upon the balcony, with the light
from within just tingeing the satin of her dress,
and the faint light of the moon and stars lending
her grace and beauty a softened radiance
which well became them, though somewhat
foreign to them. " I believe that firmly. Indeed,
how could you fail? I cannot fancy you
associated with defeat. I cannot fancy anything
but triumph for such a Venus Victrix as you

"You say very pretty things," was the
slightly contemptuous answer, "and you say
them very well. But I think I am a little tired
of them, among other things. You see, I have
heard so many of them, ever since I can
remember. In fact, I have eaten
bonbons of every kind, of all the colours, as
they say in Paris, and they pall upon my taste

"You are not easily understood," said her