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was to lay herself open to unheard-of dangers. tions into the tranquil spring twilight, very She put out her trembling hand to ring the glad of the charmed quiet, and happy somebell, thinking her perils over - for of course how to find themselves alone together. That Frank would walk home with her — when had happened but seldom of late ; and a certhe door suddenly opened, and a terrible ap- tain expectation of something that might parition, quite unconscious of anybody stand- happen hovered over the heads of Lucy ing there, marched straight out upon Miss and the curate. It did not matter that he Dora, who gave a little scream, and staggered dared not say to her what was in his heart. backwards, thinking the worst horrors she Mr. Wentworth was only a young man after had dreamed of were about to be realized. all, and the thrill of a possible revelation They were so close together that the terrified was upon him in that half-hour upon which lady took in every detail of his appearance. he was entering with a profound a sense of She saw the patched boots and that shabby happiness. And then it was an accidental coat which Sarah the housemaid felt that she meeting, and if anything did happen, they rather demeaned herself by brushing. It could not blame themselves as if they had looked too small for him, as coats will do sought this opportunity of being together. when they get shabby ; and, to complete the The circumstances were such that they might alarming appearance of the man, he had no call it providential, if anything. came of it. hat, but only a little travelling-cap surmount- But just as the two had made their first step ing the redundancy of hair, mustache, and out of the church, where the organ was still beard, which were enough of themselves to murmuring low in the darkness, and where strike any nervous woman with terror. “Oh, the music of the last amen, in which he had I beg your pardon,” cried poor Miss Dora, recognized Lucy's voice, had not quite died hysterically; “I wanted to see Mr. Went- from the curate's ears, to meet Miss Dora, worth ; " and she stood, trembling and pant- pale and fluttered, full of news and distress, ing for breath, holding by the wall, not quite with no other thought in her mind but to sure that this apparition could be appeased appropriate her dear Frank, and take his arm by any amount of apologies. It was a great and gain his ear! It was very hard upon comfort to her when the monster took off its the Perpetual Curate. As for Lucy, she, of cap, and when she perceived, by the undula- course, did not say anything, but merely artions of the beard, something like a smile ranged her veil and greeted Miss Wentworth upon its hidden lips. " I believe Mr. Went- sweetly. Lucy walked on the other side of worth is at church,” said the new lodger: the curate, saying little as Miss Dora's eager " may I have the pleasure of seeing you safely shower of questions and remarks ran on. across to St. Roque’s ?” At which speech Perhaps she had a little insight into Mr. Miss Dora trembled more and more, and said Wentworth's feelings, and no doubt it was faintly, ". No thank you
- for who could rather tantalizing. When they came to Mrs. tell what the man's intentions might be? Hadwin's door, the young Anglican made a The result was, however, that he only took spasmodic effort, which in his heart he felt off his cap again, and went off like any other to be unprincipled, and which, had it been human creature in the other direction, and successful, would have totally taken away that slowly.
With tremulous steps Miss the accidental and unpremeditated character Dora pursued her way to her nephew's pretty of this walk with Lucy, which he could not church. She could not have described, as find it in his heart to relinquish. He proshe herself said, what a relief it was to her, posed that his aunt should go in and rest after all this, to take Frank's arm, as she while he saw Miss Wodehouse safely home met him at the door of St. Roque's. He was - he was sure she was tired, he said eagerly. coming out, and the young lady with the gray No, my dear, not at all,” said Miss Dora ; cloak had been one of the congregation ; and, " It is such a pleasant evening, and I know to tell the truth, Miss Dora was an unwelcome Miss Wodehouse's is not very far off. I addition just then to the party. Lucy's com- should like the walk, and, besides, it is too ing had been accidental, and it was very sweet late, you know, to see Mrs. Hadwin, and I to Mr. Wentworth to be able to conclude that should not like to go in without calling on he was obliged to walk home with her. They her; and besides were both coming out from their evening devo Mr. Wentworth in his aggravation gave å
momentary sudden glanco at Lucy when she | er's hands at the moment, almost without had no expectation of it. That glance of dis- being aware that it was any personal feeling appointment-of disgust-of love and long- which made their agreement of sentiment so ing, was no more intentional than their meet- sweet. As for Miss Dora, she went on leaning; could he help it, if it revealed that ing on her nephew's arm, totally unconscious heart which was in such a state of commotion of the suppressed rapture and elevation in and impatience? Anyhow, the look gave which the two were moving at the other side. Luey sufficient occupation to keep her very ". That is very true. I am sure your Aunt quiet on the other side while Miss Dora Leonora would approve of that, dear,” said maundered on.
Miss Dora, with a little answering pressure “I met the strangest man coming out when on her nephew's arm- but still I have a I was going to ring your bell. You will feeling that a clergyman should always take think it very foolish, Frank, but he fright- care to be respectable. Not that he should ened me," she said. " A man with a terri- neglect the wicked,” continued the poor ble beard, and ama shabby man, my dear. aunt, apologetically, “ for a poor sinner turnWho could it be? Not a person to be seen ing from the evil of his ways is the—the most coming out of a house where a clergyman interesting-sight in the world, even to the lives. He could not be any friend of yours?" angels, you know; but to live with them in
“ The other lodger, I suppose,” said the the same house, my dear-I am sure it is curate, briefly. “When are you going what I never could advise, nor Leonora
either; and Mrs. Hadwin ought to know "O my dear boy, we are not going away; better, and have him away. Don't you know I came to tell you. But, Frank, you don't who he is, Frank? I could not be content mean to say that such a man as that lodges without finding out, if it was me.” in Mrs. Hadwin's house? I don't think it “I have nothing to do with him," said is safe for you, I don't think it is respecta- the curate, hurriedly; “it is a subject I don't ble. People might think he was a friend of want to discuss. Never mind him. What yours. I wonder if Miss Wodehouse has do you mean by saying you are not going ever seen him-a great man with a beard ? away?” To be sure, a man might have a beard and My dear, Leonora has been thinking it yet be respectable ; but I am sure, if Miss all over,” said Miss Dora, “and we are so Wodehouse saw him, she would agree with anxious about you. Leonora is very fond of me in thinking Frank, my dear boy, you, though she does not show it; and you what is the matter ? Have I said anything know the Meritons have just come home from wrong?”
India, and have not a house to go to. So you Nothing that I know of,” said the cu- see we thought, as you are not quite so comrate, who had given her hand a little angry fortable as we could wish to see you, Frank pressure to stop the stream of utterance
--and perhaps we might be of some use—and « only that I am not interested in the other Mr. Shirley is better again, and no immediate lodger. Tell me about your going away.” settlement has to be made about Skelmers
56 But I must appeal to Miss Wodehouse : dale ;-and on the whole, if Leonora and you it is for your own sake, my dear Frank,” were to see more of each other, my dear said Aunt Dora—" a clergyman should be so boy, don't be so hasty ; it was all her own careful. I don't know what your Aunt Leo- doing—it was not my
fault.'s nora would say. Don't you think to see a “ Fault! I am sorry to be the occasion of man like that coming out of Mr. Wentworth's so many arrangements,” said Mr. Wenthouse is not as it should be? I assure you worth, with his stiff manner; “ but, of course, he frightened me.”
if you like to stay in Carlingford I shall be " I don't think I have seen him," said very happy—though there is not much preachLucy. 66 But shouldn't a clergyman's house ing here that will suit my Aunt Leonora : as be like the church, open to good and bad ?- for Mr. Shirley, I hope he'll live forever. I for it is to the wicked and the miserable you was at No. 10 to-day,” continued the curate, are sent,” said the Sister of Mercy, lowering turning his head to the other side, and changher voice and glancing up at the Perpetual ing his tone in a manner marvellous to Miss Curate. They could have clasped each oth- Dora. " I don't think she can live much
longer. You have done a great deal to smooth cried poor Miss Dora, whose opinions were her way in this last stage. Poor soul! she not quite in accordance with her feelings. thinks she has been a great sinner,''said the Mr. Wentworth did not say anything to young man, with a kind of wondering pity. soothe her, but with his unoccupied hand he He had a great deal to vex him in his own made an involuntary movement towards Luperson, and he knew of some skeletons very cy's cloak, and plucked at it to bring her near at hand, but somehow at that moment nearer, as the bearded stranger loomed dimly it was hard to think of the extremities of past, looking at the group. Lucy felt the mortal trouble, of death and anguish—those touch, and wondered and looked up at him dark deeps of life by which Lucy and he some in the darkness. She could not comprehend times stood together in their youth and hap- the curate's face. piness. A marvelling remorseful pity came
afraid of him ?” she said, with to his heart. He could not believe in mis- a slight smile ; “ if it is only his beard I am ery, with Lucy walking softly in the spring not alarmed ; and here is papa coming to twilight by his side.
I thought you would have come But, Frank, you are not taking any no- for me sooner, papa. Has anything haptice of what I say,” said Miss Dora, with pened ?” said Lucy taking Mr. Wodehouse's something like a suppressed sob. “I don't arm, who had suddenly appeared from underdoubt
your sick people are very important, neath the lamp, still unlighted, at Dr. Marbut I thought you would take some interest. joribanks's door. She clung to her father I came down to tell you, all the way by my- with unusual eagerness, willing enough to self."
escape from the darkness and the curate's “ My sister would like to call on you, side, and all the tremulous sensations of the Miss Wentworth,” said Lucy, interposing hour. - Gentlemen never understand what one says. " What could happen?" said Mr. WodePerhaps we could be of some use to you if house, who still looked “limp” from his reyou are going to settle in Carlingford. I cent illness, though I hear there's doubtful think she has been a great deal better since people about; so they tell me—but you she confessed,” continued the charitable sis- ought to know best, Wentworth. Who is ter, looking up to the curate, and like him, that fellow in the beard that went by on the dropping her voice. 6. The absolution was other side ? Not little Lake the drawingsuch a comfort. Now she seems to feel as if master. Fancied I had seen the build of the she could die. And she has so little to live man before-eh?—a stranger? Well it's a for !” said Lucy, with a sigh of sympathetic mistake, perhaps. Can't be sure of anything feeling, remorseful too. Somehow it seemed now-a-days; memory failing.. Well that's cruel to feel so young, so hopeful, so capable what the doctor says. Come in and rest and of happiness, with such desolation close at see Molly: as for me I'm not good for much, hand.
but you won't get better company than the “ Not even duty,” said the curate ; " and girls, or else that's what folks tell me. Who to think that the Church should hesitate to did you say that fellow was ? said the churchremove the last barriers out of the way! I warden, leaning across his daughter to see would not be a priest if I were debarred from Mr. Wentworth’s face. the power of delivering such a poor soul.” " I don't know anything about him,"
“O Frank,” said Miss Dora, with a long said the Curate of St. Roque’s. hreath of fright and horror, " what are you And curiously enough silence fell upon
the saying? O my dear, don't say it over again, little party, nobody could tell how ;--for two I don't want to hear it! I hope when we are minutes, which looked like twenty, no one dying we shallall feel what great great sinners spoke. Then Lucy roused berself apparently we are,” said the poor lady, who, between with a little effort. 66 We seem to talk of vexation and mortification, was ready to cry, nothing but the man with the beard to-night," 6 and not think that one is better than she said. “ Mary knows everything that another. O my dear, there is that man goes on in Carlingford—she will tell us about again! Do you think it is safe to meet him him; and if Miss Wentworth thinks it too in such a lonely road? If he comes across late to come in, we will say good-night," she and speaks to me any more I shall faint,” continued, with a little decision of tone,
which was not incomprehensible to the Per-i “ Well, by Mr. Wodehouse," said the cupetual Curate. Perhaps she was a little pro- rate. may as well tell you ; if you mean voked and troubled in her own person. To to keep up this concealment you must take say so much in looks and so little in words, care." was a mode of procedure which puzzled Lucy. “ By Jove!” said the stranger, and then It frétted her, because it looked unworthy of he whistled a few bars of the air which her hero. She withdrew within the green Mr. Wentworth's arrival had interrupted. door, holding her father's arm fast, and talk-" What is a fellow to do?” he said after that ing to him, while Mr. Wentworth strained interjection. “I sometimes think I had bethis ears after the voice, which he thought ter risk it all—eh! don't you think so? I he could have singled out from a thousand can't shut myself up forever here." voices. Perhaps Lucy talked to drown her “ That must be as you think best,” said the thoughts ; and the curate went away dumb Perpetual Curate, in whom there appeared and abstracted, with his aunt leaning on his no movement of sympathy; and he said no arm on the other side of the wall. He could more, though the doubtful individual by his not be interested, as Miss Dora expected him side lifted an undecided look to his face, and to be, in the Miss Wentworths' plans. He once more murmured in perplexed tones a conducted her to the Blue Boar languidly, troubled exclamation : 66 A man must have with an evident indifference to the fact that a little amusement somehow,” the stranger his Aunt Leonora was about to become a per- said, with an aggrieved voice; and then manent resident in Carlingford He said abruptly left his unsociable companion, and "good-night” kindly to little Rosa Elsworthy, went off to his room, where he summoned looking out with bright eyes into the darkness Sarah to bring lights, and tried to talk to her at the door of her uncle's shop; but he said a little in utter dearth of society. Mr. Wentlittle to Miss Dora, who could not tell what worth stayed behind, pacing up and down to make of him, and swallowed her tears as the darkening walk. The curate's thoughts quietly as possible under her veil. When he were far from satisfactory. There was not had deposited his aunt safely at the inn, the much comfort anywhere, let him look where Perpetual Curate hastened down Grange Lane he pleased. When a man has no spot in all at a great pace. The first sound he heard his horizon on which his eye can rest with on entering Mrs. Hadwin's garden was the comfort, there is something more discouraging clear notes of the stranger's whistle among in the prospect than a positive calamity. He the trees; and with an impatient exclamation could not take refuge even in the imagination Mr. Wentworth sought his fellow-lodger, who of his love, for it was clear enough that already was smoking as usual, pacing up and down a a sentiment of surprise had risen in Lucy's shaded walk, where, even in daylight, he was mind, and her tranquillity was shaken. And pretty well concealed from observation. The perhaps he had done rashly to plunge into other curate looked as if he had a little discontent people's troubles—he upon whom a curious and repugnance to get over before he could committee of aunts were now to sit en permaaddress the anonymous individual who whis-nence. He went in to write his sermon far tled so cheerily under the trees. When he from being so assured of things in general as. did speak it was an embarrassed and not very that discourse was when it was written, intelligible call.
though it was a little relief to his mind to fall " I say-are you there? I want to speak to back upon an authority somewhere, and to reyou,” said Mr. Wentworth.
fer, in terms which were perhaps too absolute “ Yes," said the stranger, turning sharply to be altogether free of doubt, to the Church, round. • I am here, a dog without a name. which had arranged everything for her chilWhat have you got to say ?”
dren in one department of their concerns at 6. Only that you must be more careful,” | least. If it were only as easy to know what said Mr. Wentworth again with a little stiff- ought to be done in one's personal affairs as
“ You will be recognized if you don't to decide what was the due state of mind exmind. I have just been asked who you were pected by the Church on the second Sunby_somebody who thought he had seen you day after Easter! But being under that before?”
guidance, at least he could not go wrong in By whom?"
his sermon, which was one point of ease amid.
the many tribulations of the Curate of St. Miss Wodehouse was fain to draw her shawl Roque's.
close round her, and complain again of the cold.
6. I told you I did not know," she said, " If they are going to stay in Carlingford, with a complaining tone in her voice. " It perhaps we could be of use to them? Yes, is strange you should think I knew; it looks Lucy, and I am sure anything we could do as if you thought me a gossip, Lucy. I wonfor Mr. Wentworth said Miss Wode- der who these people can be coming out of the house. “I wonder what house they will get. carriage? My dear," said the elder sister, I am going to Elsworthy's about some paper, bethinking herself that an attack upon the and we can ask him if he knows where they enemy's country was the best means of meetare going. That poor little Rosa should have ing any sally—“I don't think you
go some one to take care of her. I often wonder down to Prickett's Lane just now.
I saw whether it would be kind to speak to Mrs. Mr. Wentworth pass a little while ago, and Elsworthy about it, Lucy; she is a sensible people might say you went to meet each
The little thing stands at the door other. I can't keep people from talking, in the evening, and talks to people who are Lucy, and you are both so young, and you passing, and I am afraid there are some peo- know I spoke to you before about your meetple who are unprincipled, and tell her she is ing so often. It will be a great deal better pretty, and say things to her,” said Miss for you to come with me to call on his aunts." Wodehouse, shaking her head ; " it is a great Only that my poor patient wants me,” pity. Even Mr. Wentworth is a great deal said Lucy. 56 Must I not do my duty to a more civil to that little thing than he would poor woman who is dying, because Mr. Wentbe if she had not such a pretty face.” worth is in Pricketts's Lane? There is no
" I said you knew everything that went on reason why I should be afraid of meeting Mr. in Carlingford,” said Lucy, as they went out. Wentworth,” said the young district-visitor, together from the green door, not in their severely; and the elder sister saw that Lucy gray cloaks this time; “but I forgot to ask spoke in a different tone from that in which you about one thing that puzzled us last she had answered her before. She did not night — who is the man in the beard who extinguish Miss Wodehouse by a reference to lives at Mrs. Hadwin's ? Mr. Wentworth the great work. She treated the matter more will not tell anybody about him, and I think as a personal one to-day; and a shadowhe knows."
very ghost of irritation--was in Lucy's voice. “Who is the man in the beard?” said The two crossed the street silently after that Miss Wodehouse, with a gasp. She grew to Elsworthy's, where a group of ladies were very pale, and turned away her head and visible, who had come out of the strange carshivered visibly. “ How very cold it is!” riage. One of thein was seated in a chair by she said, with her teeth chattering ; “ did the counter, another was reading a list which you know it was so cold? I–I don't know Mr. Elsworthy had just presented to her, and any men with beards; and it is so strange of the third, who was not so tall as her sister,
say I know everything that goes on in was pressing up to it on tiptoe, trying to Carlingford. Don't stop to speak to the lit- read it too. That is Miss Dora Wentworth,”? tle girl just now. Did you say she came from said Lucy," and the other, I suppose, is Miss Prickett's Lane? No. 10? It is very right Leonora, who is so very Low-Church. I to go to see the sick, but, indeed, I don't think I can see the Miss Hemmings coming approve
that poor down George Street. If I were to go in I woman, Lucy. When I was a girl I dared should be in a dreadful minority ; but you not have gone away by myself as you do, and are Low-Church in your heart, too." she might not be a proper person. There is “No, dear; only reasonable,” said Miss a carriage that I don't know standing before Wodehouse, apolegetically. “I don't Elsworthy's shop."
far as you and Mr. Wentworth do, but I like “ But you have not told me yet about the the service to be nicely done, and the—the man with the beard,” said Lucy, whose curi- authority of the Church respected too. As osity was excited. She looked at her sister I have never met Miss Wentworth, you had keenly with an investigating look, and poor better come in and introduce me. There is