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of Jane Grey, of Mary Stuart, of Marie Antoinette, Charlotte Corday, and other fated women, that in the gayest hours of their youth they bore upon some feature, or in some expression, the shadow of the End; an impalpable, indescribable presage of an awful future, vaguely felt by those who looked upon them.

Is it thus with Mary Marchmont? Has the solemn hand of Destiny set that shadowy brand upon the face of this child, that even in her prosperity, as in her adversity, she should be so utterly different from all other children? Is she already marked out for some womanly martyrdom; already set apart for more than common suffering ?

She sits alone this afternoon, for her father is busy with his agent. Wealth does not mean immunity from all care and trouble; and Mr. Marchmont has plenty of work to get through, in conjunction with his land-steward, a hard-headed Yorkshireman, who lives at Kemberling, and insists on doing his duty with pertinacious honesty.

The large brown eyes looked wistfully out at the dismal waste and the falling rain. There was a wretched equestrian making his way along the carriage-drive.

“Who can come to see us on such a day?" Mary thought. “It must be Mr. Gormby, I suppose;"—the agent's name was Gormby;—“Mr. Gormby never cares about the wet; but then I thought he was with papa. Oh, I hope it isn't any body coming to call."

But Mary forgot all about the struggling equestrian the next moment. She had some morsel of fancy-work upon her lap, and picked it up and went on with it, setting slow stitches, and letting her thoughts wander far away from Marchmont Towers. To India, I am afraid ; or to that imaginary India which she had created for herself out of such images as were to be picked up in the Arabian Nights. She was roused suddenly by the opening of a door at the farther end of the room, and by the voice of a servant, who mumbled a name which sounded something like Mr. Armenger.

She rose, blushing a little, to do honour to one of her father's county acquaintance, as she thought; when a fair-haired gentleman dashed in, very much excited and very wet, and made his way towards her.

“I would come, Miss Marchmont,” he said, “I would come, though the day was so wet; every body vowed I was mad to think of it, and it was as much as my poor brute of a horse could do to get over the ten miles of swamp between this and my uncle's house; but I would come. Where's John? I want to see John. Didn't I always tell him he'd come into the Lincolnshire property? Didn't I always say so, now? You should have seen Martin Mostyn's face-he's got a capital berth in the War Office, and he's such a snob!—when I told him the news ! It was as long as my arm. But I must see John, dear old fellow; I long to congratulate him.”

Mary stood with her hands clasped, and her breath coming quickly. The blush had quite faded out, and left her unusually pale. But Edward

with us.

Arundel did not see this. Young gentlemen of four-and-twenty are not very attentive to every change of expression in little girls of thirteen.

“Oh, is it you, Mr. Arundel? Is it really you?”

She spoke in a low voice, and it was almost difficult to keep the rushing tears back while she did so. She had pictured him so often in peril, in famine, in sickness, in death, that to see him here, well, happy, lighthearted, cordial, bandsome, and brave, as she had seen him four and a half years before in the two-pair back in Oakley Street, was almost too much for her to bear without the relief of tears. But she controlled her emotion as bravely as if she had been a woman of twenty.

“I am so glad to see you,” she said quietly; "and papa will be so glad too. It is the only thing we want, now we are rich, to have you

We have talked of you so often; and I-we–have been so unhappy sometimes, thinking that—"

“That I should be killed, I suppose ?"

“Yes; or wounded very, very badly. The battles in India have been dreadful, have they not ?"

Mr. Arundel smiled at her earnestness.

“They have not been exactly child's play,” he said, shaking back his auburn hair and smoothing his thick moustache.

He was a man now, and a very bandsome one; something of that type which is known in this year of grace as “swell;" but brave and chivalrous withal, and not afflicted with any impediment in his speech. “The men who talk of the Affghans as a chicken-hearted set of fellows are rather out of their reckoning. The Indians can fight, Miss Mary, and fight like the devil; but we can lick 'em.”

He walked over to the fireplace, where there was a fire burning upon this chilly wet day; and began to shake himself dry. Mary, following him with her eyes, wondered if there was such another soldier in all her Majesty's dominions, and how soon he would be made General-in-chief of the Army of the Indus.

“Then you've not been wounded at all, Mr. Arundel ?" she said, after a pause.

“Oh, yes, I've been wounded ; and I got a bullet in my shoulder from an Affghan musket, and I'm home on sick-leave."

This time he saw the expression of her face, and interpreted her look of alarm.

“But I'm not ill, you know, Miss Marchmont,” he said, laughing. “Our fellows are very glad of a wound when they feel home-sick. The 8th come home before long, all of 'em; and I've a twelvemonth's leave of absence; and we're pretty sure to be ordered out again by the end of that time, as I don't believe there's much chance of quiet over there."

“You will go out again !—”
Edward Arundel smiled at her mournful tone.

To be sure, Miss Mary; I have my captaincy to win, you know. I'm only a lieutenant as yet.”

“It was only a twelvemonth's reprieve, after all, then,” Mary thought. He would go again to suffer, and to be wounded, and to die, perhaps. But then, on the other hand, there was a twelvemonth's respite, and her father might in that time prevail upon the young soldier to stay at Marchmont Towers. It was such inexpressible happiness to see him once more, to know that he was safe and well, that she could scarcely do otherwise than see all things in a sunny light just now.

She ran to John Marchmont's study, to tell him of the coming of this welcome visitor ; but she wept upon her father's shoulder before she could explain who it was whose coming had made her so glad. Very few friendships had broken the monotony of her solitary existence; and Edward Arundel was the only chivalrous image she had ever known out of her books.

John Marchmont was scarcely less pleased than his child to see the man who had befriended him in his poverty. Never has more heartfelt welcome been given than that which greeted Edward Arundel at Marchmont Towers.

“ You will stay with us, of course, my dear Arundel,” John said; you will stop for September and the shooting. You know you promised you'd make this your shooting-box; and we'll build the tennis

Heaven knows, there's room enough for it in the great quadrangle, and there's a billiard-room over this, though I'm afraid the table is out of order. But we can soon set that right, can't we, Polly ?”

“Yes, yes, papa ; out of my pocket-money, if you like.”

Mary Marchmont said this in all good faith. It was sometimes difficult for her to remember that her father was really rich, and had no need of help out of her pocket-money. The slender savings in the little purse had often given him some luxury that he would not otherwise have had, in the time gone by.

You got my letter, then ?" John said ; "the letter in which I told you—"

“ That Marchmont Towers was yours. Yes, my dear old boy. That letter was amongst a packet my agent brought me half an hour before I left Calcutta. God bless you, dear old fellow; how glad I was to hear of it! I've only been in England a fortnigbt. I went straight from Southampton to Dangerfield to see my father and mother, stayed there little over ten days, and then offended them all by running away. I reached Swampington yesterday, slept at my uncle Hubert's, paid my respects to my cousin Olivia, who is,—well, I've told you what she is,and rode over here this morning, much to the annoyance of the inhabitants of the Rectory. So, you see, I've been doing nothing but offending people for your sake, John; and for yours, Miss Mary. By the by, I've


, brought you such a doll!"

A doll! Mary's pale face flushed a faint crimson. Did he think her such a child, then, this soldier ; did he think her only a silly child, with no thought above a doll, when she would have gone out to India, and


braved every peril of that cruel country, to be his nurse and comfort in fever and sickness, like the brave Sisters of Mercy she had read of in some of her novels ?

Edward Arundel saw that faint crimson glow lighting up in her face.

“I beg your pardon, Miss Marchmont,” he said. “I was only joking; of course you are a young lady now, almost grown up, you know. Can you play chess ?"

"No, Mr. Arundel.”

“I am sorry for that; for I bave brought you a set of chessmen that once belonged to Dost Mahommed Khan. But I'll teach you the game, if you like?" “Oh, yes, Mr. Arundel ; I should like it very, very much.”

, The young soldier could not help being amused by the little girl's earnestness. She was about the same age as his sister Letitia ; but, oh, how widely different to that bouncing and rather wayward young lady, who tore the pillow-lace upon her muslin frocks, rumpled her long ringlets, rasped the skin off the sharp points of her elbows by repeated falls upon the gravel-paths at Dangerfield, and tormented a long-suffering Swiss attendant, half-lady’s-maid, half-governess, from morning till night. No fold was awry in Mary Marchmont's simple black-silk frock; no plait disarranged in the neat cambric tucker that encircled the slender white throat. Intellect here reigned supreme. Instead of the animal spirits of a thoughtless child, there was a woman's loving carefulness for others, a woman's unselfishness and devotion.

Edward Arundel did not understand all this, but perhaps the greater part of it.

"She is a dear little thing," he thought, as he watched her clinging to her father's arm; and then he ran off about Marchmont Towers, and insisted upon being shown over the house; and, perhaps for the first time since the young heir had shot himself to death upon a bright September morning in a stubble-field within earshot of the park, the sound of merry laughter echoed through the long corridors, and resounded in the unoccupied rooms.

Edward Arundel was in raptures with every thing. There never was such a dear old place, he said. Gloomy," "dreary,” “draughty," pshaw! Cut a few logs out of that wood at the back there, pile 'em up in the wide chimneys, and set a light to 'em, and Marchmont Towers would be like a baronial mansion at Christmas-time. He declared that every dingy portrait he looked at was a Rubens or a Velasquez or a Vandyke, a Holbein or a Lely.

“ Look at that fur border to the old woman's black-velvet gown, John; look at the colouring of the hands! Do you think any body but Peter Paul could have painted that? Do you see that girl with the blue-satin stomacher and the flaxen ringlets ?-one of your ancestresses, Miss Mary, and very like you. If that isn't in Sir Peter Lely's best

style,—his earlier style, you know, before he was spoiled by royal patronage, and got lazy,—I know nothing of painting." The

young soldier ran on in this manner, as he hurried his host from room to room; now throwing open windows to look out at the wet prospect; now rapping against the wainscoat to find secret hiding-places behind sliding panels; now stamping on the oak-flooring in the hope of discovering a trap-door. He pointed out at least ten eligible sites for the building of the tennis-court; he suggested more alterations and improvements than a builder could have completed in a lifetime. The place brightened under the influence of his presence, as a landscape lights up under a burst of sudden sunshine breaking through a dull gray sky.

Mary Marchmont did not wait for the removal of the table-cloth that evening, but dined with her father and his friend in a snug oak-panelled chamber, half-breakfast-room, half-library, which opened out of the western drawing-room. How different Edward Arundel was to all the rest of the world, Miss Marchmont thought; how gay, how bright, how genial, how happy! The county families, mustered in their fullest force, couldn't make such mirth amongst them as this young soldier in his single person.

The evening was an evening in fairy-land. Life was sometimes like the last scene in a pantomime, after all, with rose-coloured cloud and golden sunlight.

One of the Marchmont servants went over to Swampington early the next day to fetch Mr. Arundel's portmanteaus from the Rectory; and after dinner upon that second evening, Mary Marchmont took her seat opposite Edward, and listened reverently while he explained to her the moves upon the chessboard.

“ So you don't know my cousin Olivia ?” the young soldier said by and by. “That's odd! I should have thought she would have called upon you long before this."

Mary Marchmont shook her head.

"No," she said; “Miss Arundel has never been to see us; and I should so like to have seen her, because she would have told me about you. Mr. Arundel has called once or twice upon papa ; but I have never seen him. He is not our clergyman, you know; Marchmont Towers belongs to Kemberling parish.”

“To be sure; and Swampington is ten miles off. But, for all that, I should have thought Olivia would have called upon you. I'll drive you over to-morrow, if John thinks me whip enough to trust you with me, and you shall see Livy. The Rectory's such a queer old place!"

Perhaps Mr. Marchmont was rather doubtful as to the propriety of committing his little girl to Edward Arundel's charioteership for a ten-mile drive

upon a wretched road. Be it as it might, a lumbering barouche, with a pair of over-fed horses, was ordered next morning, instead of the high, old-fashioned gig which the soldier had proposed driving; and the safety of the two young people was confided to a sober old coachman,


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