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The Danvers Jewels, and Sir Charles Danvers
by Mary Cholmondeley
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And so the hours passed.

At last, all in a moment, the struggle ceased. The dying man vainly tried to raise himself to meet what was coming, and Charles put his strong arm round him and held him up. He knew that consciousness sometimes returns at the moment of death.

"Raymond," he whispered, earnestly. "Raymond."

A tremor passed over the face. The lips moved. The homeless, lingering soul came back, and looked for the last time fixedly and searchingly at him out of the dying eyes, and then—seeing no help for it—went hurriedly on its way, leaving the lips parted to speak, leaving the deserted eyes vacant and terrible, until after a time Charles closed them.

He had gone without speaking. Whatever he had wished to say would remain unsaid forever. Charles laid him down, and stood a long time looking at the set face. The likeness to Raymond seemed to be fading away under the touch of the Mighty Hand, but the look of Ruth, the better look, remained.

At last he turned away and went out, stopping to wake the old nurse, heavily asleep in the passage. His horse was brought round for him from somewhere, and he mounted and rode away. He had no idea how long he had been there. It must have been many hours, but he had quite lost sight of time. It was still dark, but the morning could not be far off. He rode mechanically, his horse, which knew the road, taking him at its own pace. The night was cold, but he did not feel it. All power of feeling anything seemed gone from him. The last two days and nights of suspense and high-strung emotion seemed to have left him incapable of any further sensation at present beyond that of an intense fatigue.

He rode slowly, and put up his horse with careful absence of mind. The eastern horizon was already growing pale and distinct as he found his way in-doors through the drawing-room window, the shutter of which had been left unhinged for him by Ralph, according to custom when either of them was out late. He went noiselessly up to his room, and sat down. After a time he started to find himself still sitting there; but he remained without stirring, too tired to move, his elbows on the table, his chin in his hands. He felt he could not sleep if he were to drag himself into bed. He might just as well stay where he was.

And as he sat watching the dawn his mind began to stir, to shake off its lethargy and stupor, to struggle into keener and keener consciousness.

There are times, often accompanying great physical prostration, when a veil seems to be lifted from our mental vision. As in the Mediterranean one may glance down suddenly on a calm day, and see in the blue depths with a strange surprise the sea-weed and the rocks and the fretted sands below, so also in rare hours we see the hidden depths of the soul, over which we have floated in heedless unconsciousness so long, and catch a glimpse of the hills and the valleys of those untravelled regions.

Charles sat very still with his chin in his hands. His mind did not work. It looked right down to the heart of things.

There is, perhaps, no time when mental vision is so clear, when the mind is so sane, as when death has come very near to us. There is a light which he brings with him, which he holds before the eyes of the dying, the stern light, seldom seen, of reality, before which self-deception and meanness, and that which maketh a lie, cower in their native deformity and slip away.

And death sheds at times a strange gleam from that same light upon the souls of those who stand within his shadow, and watch his kingdom coming. In an awful transfiguration all things stand for what they are. Evil is seen to be evil, and good to be good. Right and wrong sunder more far apart, and we cannot mistake them as we do at other times. The debatable land stretching between them—that favorite resort of undecided natures—disappears for a season, and offers no longer its false refuge. The mind is taken away from all artificial supports, and the knowledge comes home to the soul afresh, with strong conviction that "truth is our only armor in all passages of life," as with awed hearts we see it is the only armor in the hour of death, the only shield that we may bear away with us into the unknown country.

Charles shuddered involuntarily. His decision of the afternoon to keep secret what Raymond had told him was gradually but surely assuming a different aspect. What was it, after all, but a suppression of truth—a kind of lie? What was it but doing evil that good might come?

It was no use harping on the old string of consequences. He saw that he had resolved to commit a deliberate sin, to be false to that great principle of life—right for the sake of right, truth for the love of truth—by which of late he had been trying to live. So far it had not been difficult, for his nature was not one to do things by halves, but now—

Old voices out of the past, which he had thought long dead, rose out of forgotten graves to urge him on. What was he that he should stick at such a trifle? Why should a man with his past begin to split hairs?

And conscience said nothing, only pointed, only showed, with a clearness that allowed of no mistake, that he had come to a place where two roads met.

Charles's heart suffered then "the nature of an insurrection." The old lawless powers that had once held sway, and had been forced back into servitude under the new rule of the last few years of responsibility and honor, broke loose, and spread like wildfire throughout the kingdom of his heart.

The struggle deepened to a battle fierce and furious. His soul was rent with a frenzy of tumult, of victory and defeat ever changing sides, ever returning to the attack.

Can a kingdom divided against itself stand?

He sat motionless, gazing with absent eyes in front of him.

And across the shock of battle, and above the turmoil of conflicting passions, Ruth's voice came to him. He saw the pale spiritual face, the deep eyes so full of love and anguish, and yet so steadfast with a great resolve. He heard again her last words, "I cannot do what is wrong, even for you."

He stretched out his hands suddenly.

"You would not, Ruth," he said, half aloud; "you would not. Neither will I do what I know to be wrong for you, so help me God! not even for you."

The dawn was breaking, was breaking clear and cold, and infinitely far away; was coming up through unfathomable depths and distances, through gleaming caverns and fastnesses of light, like a new revelation fresh from God. But Charles did not see it, for his head was down on the table, and he was crying like a child.



CHAPTER XXIX.

Dare was down early the following morning, much too early for the convenience of the house-maids, who were dusting the drawing-room when he appeared there. He was usually as late as any of the young and gilded unemployed who feel it incumbent on themselves to show by these public demonstrations their superiority to the rules and fixed hours of the working and thinking world, with whom, however, their fear of being identified is a groundless apprehension. But to-day Dare experienced a mournful satisfaction in being down so early. He felt the underlying pathos of such a marked departure from his usual habits. It was obvious that nothing but deep affliction or cub-hunting could have been the cause, and the cub-hunting was over. The inference was not one that could be missed by the meanest capacity.

He took up the newspaper with a sigh, and settled himself in front of the blazing fire, which was still young and leaping, with the enthusiasm of dry sticks not quite gone out of it.

Charles heard Dare go down just as he finished dressing, for he too was early that morning. There was more than half an hour before breakfast-time. He considered a moment, and then went down-stairs. Some resolutions once made cannot be carried out too quickly.

As he passed through the hall he looked out. The mist of the night before had sought out every twig and leaflet, and had silvered it to meet the sun. The rime on the grass looked cool and tempting. Charles's head ached, and he went out for a moment and stood in the crisp still air. The rooks were cawing high up. The face of the earth had not altered during the night. It shimmered and was glad, and smiled at his grave, care-worn face.

"Hallo!" called a voice; and Ralph's head, with his hair sticking straight out on every side, was thrust out of a window. "I say, Charles, early bird you are!"

"Yes," said Charles, looking up and leisurely going in-doors again; "you are the first worm I have seen."

He found Dare, as he expected, in the drawing-room, and proceeded at once to the business he had in hand.

"I am glad you are down early," he said. "You are the very man I want."

"Ah!" replied Dare, shaking his head, "when the heart is troubled there is no sleep, none. All the clocks are heard."

"Possibly. I should not wonder if you heard another in the course of half an hour, which will mean breakfast. In the mean time——"

"I want no breakfast. A sole cup of——"

"In the mean time," continued Charles, "I have some news for you." And, disregarding another interruption, he related as shortly as he could the story of Stephens's recognition of him in the door-way, and the subsequent revelations in the prison concerning Dare's marriage.

"Where is this man, this Stephens?" said Dare, jumping up. "I will go to him. I will hear from his own mouth. Where is he?"

"I don't know," replied Charles, curtly. "It is a matter of opinion. He is dead!"

Dare looked bewildered, and then sank back with a gasp of disappointment into his chair.

Charles, whose temper was singularly irritable this morning, repeated with suppressed annoyance the greater part of what he had just said, and proved to Dare that the fact that Stephens was dead would in no way prevent the illegality of his marriage being proved.

When Dare had grasped the full significance of that fact he was quite overcome.

"Am I, then," he gasped—"is it true?—am I free—to marry?"

"Quite free."

Dare burst into tears, and, partially veiling with one hand the manly emotion that had overtaken him, he extended the other to Charles, who did not know what to do with it when he had got it, and dropped it as soon as he could. But Dare, like many people whose feelings are all on the surface, and who are rather proud of displaying them, was slow to notice what was passing in the minds of others.

He sprang to his feet, and began to pace rapidly up and down.

"I will go after breakfast—at once—immediately after breakfast, to Slumberleigh Rectory."

"I suppose, in that case, Miss Deyncourt is the person whose name you would not mention the other day?"

"She is," said Dare. "You are right. It is she. We are betrothed. I will fly to her after breakfast."

"You know your own affairs best," said Charles, whose temper had not been improved by the free display of Dare's finer feelings; "but I am not sure you would not do well to fly to Vandon first. It is best to be off with the old love, I believe, before you are on with the new."

"She must at once go away from Vandon," said Dare, stopping short. "She is a scandal, the—the old one. But how to make her go away?"

It was in vain for Charles to repeat that Dare must turn her out. Dare had premonitory feelings that he was quite unequal to the task.

"I may tell her to go," he said, raising his eyebrows. "I may be firm as the rock, but I know her well; she is more obstinate than me. She will not go."

"She must," said Charles, with anger. "Her presence compromises Miss Deyncourt. Can't you see that?"

Dare raised his eyebrows. A light seemed to break in on him.

"Any fool can see that," said Charles, losing his temper.

Dare saw a great deal—many things besides that. He saw that if a friend, a trusted friend, were to manage her dismissal, it would be more easy for that friend than for one whose feelings at the moment might carry him away. In short, Charles was the friend who was evidently pointed out by Providence for that mission.

Charles considered a moment. He began to see that it would not be done without further delays and scandal unless he did it.

"She must and shall go at once, even if I have to do it," he said at last, looking at Dare with unconcealed contempt. "It is not my affair, but I will go, and you will be so good as to put off the flying over to Slumberleigh till I come back. I shall not return until she has left the house." And Charles marched out of the room, too indignant to trust himself a moment longer with the profusely grateful Dare.

"That man must go to-day," said Evelyn, after breakfast, to her husband, in the presence of Lady Mary and Charles. "While he was ill I overlooked his being in the house; but I will not suffer him to remain now he is well."

"You remove him from all chance of improvement," said Charles, "if you take him away from Aunt Mary, who can snatch brands from the burning, as we all know; but I am going over to Vandon this morning, and if you wish it I will ask him if he would like me to order his dog-cart to come for him. I don't suppose he is very happy here, without so much as a tooth-brush that he can call his own."

"You are going to Vandon?" asked both ladies in one voice.

"Yes. I am going on purpose to dislodge an impostor who has arrived there, who is actually believed by some people (who are not such exemplary Christians as ourselves, and ready to suppose the worst) to be his wife."

Lady Mary and Evelyn looked at each other in consternation, and Charles went off to see how Othello was after his night's work, and to order the dog-cart, Ralph calling after him, in perfect good-humor, that "a fellow's brother got more out of a fellow's horses than a fellow did himself."

Dare waylaid Charles on his return from the stables, and linked his arm in his. He felt the most enthusiastic admiration for the tall reserved Englishman who had done him such signal service. He longed for an opportunity of showing his gratitude to him. It was perhaps just as well that he was not aware how very differently Charles regarded himself.

"You are just going?" Dare asked.

"In five minutes."

Charles let his arm hang straight down, but Dare kept it.

"Tell me, my friend, one thing." Dare had evidently been turning over something in his mind. "This poor unfortunate, this Stephens, why did he not tell you all this the first time you went to see him in the afternoon?"

"He did."

"What?" said Dare, looking hard at him. "He did, and you only tell me this morning! You let me go all through the night first. Why was this?"

Charles did not answer.

"I ask one thing more," continued Dare. "Did you divine two nights ago, from what I said in a moment of confidence, that Miss Deyncourt was the—the—"

"Of course I did," said Charles, sharply. "You made it sufficiently obvious."

"Ah!" said Dare. "Ah!" and he shut his eyes and nodded his head several times.

"Anything more you would like to know?" asked Charles, inattentive and impatient, mainly occupied in trying to hide the nameless exasperation which invariably seized him when he looked at Dare, and to stifle the contemptuous voice which always whispered as he did so, "And you have given up Ruth to him—to him!"

"No, no, no!" said Dare, shaking his head gently, and regarding him the while with infinite interest through his half-closed eyelids.

The dog-cart was coming round, and Charles hastily turned from him, and, getting in, drove quickly away. Whatever Dare said or did seemed to set his teeth on edge, and he lashed up the horse till he was out of sight of the house.

Dare, with arms picturesquely folded, stood looking after him with mixed feelings of emotion and admiration.

"One sees it well," he said to himself. "One sees now the reason of many things. He kept silent at first, but he was too good, too noble. In the night he considered; in the morning he told all. I wondered that he went to Vandon; but he did it not for me. It was for her sake."

Dare's feelings were touched to the quick.

How beautiful! how pathetic was this denouement! His former admiration for Charles was increased a thousand-fold. He also loved! Ah! (Dare felt he was becoming agitated.) How sublime, how touching was his self-sacrifice in the cause of honor! He had been gradually working himself up to the highest pitch of pleasurable excitement and emotion; and now, seeing Ralph the prosaic approaching, he fled precipitately into the house, caught up his hat and stick, hardly glancing at himself in the hall-glass, and, entirely forgetting his promise to Charles to remain at Atherstone till the latter returned from Vandon, followed the impulse of the moment, and struck across the fields in the direction of Slumberleigh.

Charles, meanwhile, drove on to Vandon. The stable clock, still partially paralyzed from long disuse, was laboriously striking eleven as he drew up before the door. His resounding peal at the bell startled the household, and put the servants into a flutter of anxious expectation, while the sound made some one else, breakfasting late in the dining-room, pause with her cup midway to her lips and listen.

"There is a train which leaves Slumberleigh station for London a little after twelve, is not there?" asked Charles, with great distinctness, of the butler as he entered the hall. He had observed as he came in that the dining-room door was ajar.

"There is, Sir Charles. Twelve fifteen," replied the man, who recognized him instantly, for everybody knew Charles.

"I am here as Mr. Dare's friend, at his wish. Tell Mr. Dare's coachman to bring round his dog-cart to the door in good time to catch that train. Will it take luggage?"

"Yes, Sir Charles," with respectful alacrity.

"Good! And when the dog-cart appears you will see that the boxes are brought down belonging to the person who is staying here, who will leave by that train."

"Yes, Sir Charles."

"If the policeman from Slumberleigh should arrive while I am here, ask him to wait."

"I will, Sir Charles."

"I don't suppose," thought Charles, "he will arrive, as I have not sent for him; but, as the dining-room door happens to be ajar, it is just as well to add a few artistic touches."

"Is this person in the drawing-room?" he continued aloud.

The man replied that she was in the dining-room, and Charles walked in unannounced, and closed the door behind him.

He had at times, when any action of importance was on hand, a certain cool decision of manner that seemed absolutely to ignore the possibility of opposition, which formed a curious contrast with his usual careless demeanor.

"Good-morning," he said, advancing to the fire. "I have no doubt that my appearance at this early hour cannot be a surprise to you. You have, of course, anticipated some visit of this kind for the last few days. Pray finish your coffee. I am Sir Charles Danvers. I need hardly add that I am justice of the peace in this county, and that I am here officially on behalf of my friend, Mr. Dare."

The little woman, who had risen, and had then sat down again at his entrance, eyed him steadily. There was a look in her dark bead-like eyes which showed Charles why Dare had been unable to face her. The look, determined, cunning, watchful, put him on his guard, and his manner became a shade more unconcerned.

"Any friend of my husband's is welcome," she said.

"There is no question for the moment about your husband, though no doubt a subject of peculiar interest to yourself. I was speaking of Mr. Dare."

She rose to her feet, as if unable to sit while he was standing.

"Mr. Dare is my husband," she said, with a little gesture of defiance, tapping sharply on the table with a teaspoon she held in her hand.

Charles smiled blandly, and looked out of the window.

"There is evidently some misapprehension on that point," he observed, "which I am here to remove. Mr. Dare is at present unmarried."

"I am his wife," reiterated the woman, her color rising under her rouge. "I am, and I won't go. He dared not come himself, a poor coward that he is, to turn his wife out-of-doors. He sent you; but it's no manner of use, so you may as well know it first as last. I tell you nothing shall induce me to stir from this house, from my home, and you needn't think you can come it over me with fine talk. I don't care a red cent what you say. I'll have my rights."

"I am here," said Charles, "to see that you get them, Mrs.—Carroll."

There was a pause. He did not look at her. He was occupied in taking a white thread off his coat.

"Carroll's dead," she said, sharply.

"He is. And your regret at his loss was no doubt deepened by the unhappy circumstances in which it took place. He died in jail."

"Well, and if he did—"

"Died," continued Charles, suddenly fixing his keen glance upon her, "nearly a year after your so-called marriage with Mr. Dare."

"It's a lie," she said, faintly; but she had turned very white.

"No, I think not. My information is on reliable authority. A slight exertion of memory on your part will no doubt recall the date of your bereavement."

"You can't prove it."

"Excuse me. You have yourself kindly furnished us with a copy of the marriage register, with the date attached, without which I must own we might have been momentarily at a loss. I need now only apply for a copy of the register of the decease of Jasper Carroll, who, as you do not deny, died under personal restraint in jail; in Baton Rouge Jail in Louisiana, I have no doubt you intended to add."

She glared at him in silence.

"Some dates acquire a peculiar interest when compared," continued Charles, "but I will not detain you any longer with business details of this kind, as I have no doubt that you will wish to superintend your packing."

"I won't go."

"On the contrary, you will leave this house in half an hour. The dog-cart is ordered to take you to the station."

"What if I refuse to go?"

"Extreme measures are always to be regretted, especially with a lady," said Charles. "Nothing, in short, would be more repugnant to me; but I fear, as a magistrate, it would be my duty to—" And he shrugged his shoulders, wondering what on earth could be done for the moment if she persisted. "But," he continued, "motives of self-interest suggest the advisability of withdrawing, even if I were not here to enforce it. When I take into consideration the trouble and expense you have incurred in coming here, and the subsequent disappointment of the affections, a widow's affections, I feel justified in offering, though without my friend's permission, to pay your journey back to America, an offer which any further unpleasantness or delay would of course oblige me to retract."

She hesitated, and he saw his advantage and kept it.

"You have not much time to lose," he said, laying his watch on the table, "unless you would prefer the house-keeper to do your packing for you. No? I agree with you. On a sea voyage especially, one likes to know where one's things are. If I give you a check for your return journey, I shall, of course, expect you to sign a paper to the effect that you have no claim on Mr. Dare, that you never were his legal wife, and that you will not trouble him in future. You would like a few moments for reflection? Good! I will write out the form while you consider, as there is no time to be lost."

He looked about for writing materials, and, finding only an ancient inkstand and pen, took a note from his pocket-book and tore a blank half-sheet off it. His quiet deliberate movements awed her as he intended they should. She glanced first at him writing, then at the gold watch on the table between them, the hours of which were marked on the half-hunting face by alternate diamonds and rubies, each stone being the memorial of a past success in shooting-matches. The watch impressed her; to her practised eye it meant a very large sum of money, and she knew the power of money; but the cool, unconcerned manner of this tall, keen-eyed Englishman impressed her still more. As she looked at him he ceased writing, got out a check, and began to fill it in.

"What Christian name?" he asked, suddenly.

"Ellen," she replied, taken aback.

"Payable to order or bearer?"

"Bearer," she said, confused by the way he took her decision for granted.

"Now," he said, authoritatively, "sign your name there;" and he pushed the form he had drawn up towards her. "I am sorry I cannot offer you a better pen."

She took the pen mechanically and signed her name—Ellen Carroll. Charles's light eyes gave a flash as she did it.

"Manner is everything," he said to himself. "I believe the mention of that imaginary policeman may have helped, but a little stage effect did the business."

"Thank you," he said, taking the paper, and, after glancing at the signature, putting it in his pocket-book. "Allow me to give you this"—handing her the check. "And now I will ring for the house-keeper, for you will barely have time to make the arrangements for your journey. I can allow you only twenty minutes." He rang the bell as he spoke.

She started up as if unaware how far she had yielded. A rush of angry color flooded her face.

"I won't have that impertinent woman touching my things."

"That is as you like," said Charles, shrugging his shoulders; "but she will be in the room when you pack. It is my wish that she should be present." Then turning to the butler, who had already answered the bell, "Desire the house-keeper to go to Mrs. Carroll's rooms at once, and to give Mrs. Carroll any help she may require."

Mrs. Carroll looked from the butler to Charles with baffled hatred in her eyes. But she knew the game was lost, and she walked out of the room and up-stairs without another word, but with a bitter consciousness in her heart that she had not played her cards well, that, though her downfall was unavoidable, she might have stood out for better terms for her departure. She hated Dare, as she threw her clothes together into her trunks, and she hated Mrs. Smith, who watched her do so with folded hands and with a lofty smile; but most of all she hated Charles, whose voice came up to the open window as he talked to Dare's coachman, already at the door, about splints and sore backs.

Charles felt a momentary pity for the little woman when she came down at last with compressed lips, casting lightning glances at the grinning servants in the background, whom she had bullied and hectored over in the manner of people unaccustomed to servants, and who were rejoicing in the ignominy of her downfall.

Her boxes were put in—not carefully.

Charles came forward and lifted his cap, but she would not look at him. Grasping a little hand-bag convulsively, she went down the steps, and got up, unassisted, into the dog-cart.

"You have left nothing behind, I hope?" said Charles, civilly, for the sake of saying something.

"She have left nothing," said Mrs. Smith, swimming forward with dignity, "and she have also took nothing. I have seen to that, Sir Charles."

"Good-bye, then," said Charles. "Right, coachman."

Mrs. Carroll's eyes had been wandering upward to the old house rising above her with its sunny windows and its pointed gables. Perhaps, after all the sordid shifts and schemes of her previous existence, she had imagined she might lead an easier and a more respectable life within those walls. Then she looked towards the long green terraces, the valley, and the forest beyond. Her lip trembled, and turning suddenly, she fixed her eyes with burning hatred on the man who had ousted her from this pleasant place.

Then the coachman whipped up his horse, the dog-cart spun over the smooth gravel between the lines of stiff, clipped yews, and she was gone.



CHAPTER XXX.

Mr. Alwynn had returned from his eventful morning call at Vandon very grave and silent. He shook his head when Ruth came to him in the study to ask what the result had been, and said Dare would tell her himself on his return from London, whither he had gone on business.

Ruth went back to the drawing-room. She had not strength or energy to try to escape from Mrs. Alwynn. Indeed it was a relief not to be alone with her own thoughts, and to allow her exhausted mind to be towed along by Mrs. Alwynn's, the bent of whose mind resembled one of those mechanical toy animals which, when wound up, will run very fast in any direction, but if adroitly turned, will hurry equally fast the opposite way. Ruth turned the toy at intervals, and the morning was dragged through, Mrs. Alwynn in the course of it exploring every realm—known to her—of human thought, now dipping into the future, and speculating on spring fashions, now commenting on the present, now dwelling fondly on the past, the gayly dressed, officer-adorned past of her youth.

There was a meal, and after that it was the afternoon. Ruth supposed that some time there would be another meal, and then it would be evening, but it was no good thinking of what was so far away. She brought her mind back to the present. Mrs. Alwynn had just finished a detailed account of a difference of opinion between herself and the curate's wife on the previous day.

"And she had not a word to say, my dear, not a word—quite hors de combat—so I let the matter drop. And you remember that beautiful pig we killed last week? You should have gone to look at it hanging up, Ruth, rolling in fat, it was. Well, it is better to give than to receive, so I shall send her one of the pork-pies. And if you will get me one of those round baskets which I took the dolls down to the school-feast in—they are in the lowest shelf of the oak chest in the hall—I'll send it down to her at once."

Ruth fetched the basket and put it down by her aunt. Reminiscences of the school-feast still remained in it, in the shape of ends of ribbon and lace, and Mrs. Alwynn began to empty them out, talking all the time, when she suddenly stopped short, with an exclamation of surprise.

"Goodness! Well, now! I'm sure! Ruth!"

"What is it, Aunt Fanny?"

"Why, my dear, if there isn't a letter for you under the odds and ends," holding it up and gazing resentfully at it; "and now I remember, a letter came for you on the morning of the school-feast, and I said to John, 'I sha'n't forward it, because I shall see Ruth this afternoon,' and, dear me! I just popped it into the basket, for I thought you would like to have it, and you know how busy I was, Ruth, that day, first one thing and then another, so much to think of—and—there it is."

"I dare say it is of no importance," said Ruth, taking it from her, while Mrs. Alwynn, repeatedly wondering how such a thing could have happened to a person so careful as herself, went off with her basket to the cook.

When she returned in a few minutes she found Ruth standing by the window, the letter open in her hand, her face without a vestige of color.

"Why, Ruth," she said, actually noticing the alteration in her appearance, "is your head bad again?"

Ruth started violently.

"Yes—no. I mean—I think I will go out. The fresh air—"

She could not finish the sentence.

"And that tiresome letter—did it want an answer?"

"None," said Ruth, crushing it up unconsciously.

"Well, now," said Mrs. Alwynn, "that's a good thing, for I'm sure I shall never forget the way your uncle was in once, when I put a letter of his in my pocket to give him (it was a plum-colored silk, Ruth, done with gold beads in front), and then I went into mourning for my poor dear Uncle James—such an out-of-the-common person he was, Ruth, and such a beautiful talker—and it was not till six months later—niece's mourning, you know—that I had the dress on again—and a business I had to meet it, for all my gowns seem to shrink when they are put by—and I put my hand in the pocket, and—"

But Ruth had disappeared.

Mrs. Alwynn was perfectly certain at last that something must be wrong with her niece. Earlier in the day she had had a headache. Reasoning by analogy, she decided that Ruth must have eaten something at Mrs. Thursby's dinner-party which had disagreed with her. If any one was ill, she always attributed it to indigestion. If Mr. Alwynn coughed, or if she read in the papers that royalty had been unavoidably prevented attending some function at which its presence had been expected, she instantly put down both mishaps to the same cause; and when Mrs. Alwynn had come to a conclusion it was not her habit to keep it to herself.

She told Lady Mary the exact state in which, reasoning always by analogy, she knew Ruth's health must be, when that lady drove over that afternoon in the hope of seeing Ruth, partly from curiosity, or, rather, a Christian anxiety respecting the welfare of others, and partly, too, from a real feeling of affection for Ruth herself. Mrs. Alwynn bored her intensely; but she sat on and on in the hope of Ruth's return, who had gone out, Mrs. Alwynn agreeing with every remark she made, and treating her with that pleased deference of manner which some middle-class people, not otherwise vulgar, invariably drop into in the presence of rank; a Scylla which is only one degree better than the Charybdis of would-be ease of manner into which others fall. If ever the enormous advantages of noble birth and ancient family, with all their attendant heirlooms and hereditary instincts of refinement, chivalrous feeling, and honor, become in future years a mark for scorn (as already they are a mark for the envy that calls itself scorn), it will be partly the fault of the vulgar adoration of the middle classes. Mrs. Alwynn being, as may possibly have already transpired in the course of this narrative, a middle-class woman herself, stuck to the hereditary instincts of her class with a vengeance, and when Ruth at last came in Lady Mary was thankful.

Her cold, pale eyes lighted up a little as she greeted Ruth, and looked searchingly at her. She saw by the colorless lips and nervous contraction of the forehead, and by the bright, restless fever of the eyes that had formerly been so calm and clear, that something was amiss—terribly amiss.

"I've been telling Lady Mary how poorly you've been, Ruth, ever since Mrs. Thursby's dinner-party," said Mrs. Alwynn, by way of opening the conversation.

But in spite of so auspicious a beginning the conversation flagged. Lady Mary made a few conventional remarks to Ruth, which she answered, and Mrs. Alwynn also; but there was a constraint which every moment threatened a silence. Lady Mary proceeded to comment on the poaching affray of the previous night, and the arrest of a man who had been seriously injured; but at her mention of the subject Ruth became so silent, and Mrs. Alwynn so voluble, that she felt it was useless to stay any longer, and had to take her leave without a word with Ruth.

"Something is wrong with that girl," she said to herself, as she drove back to Atherstone. "I know what it is. Charles has been behaving in his usual manner, and as there is no one else to point out to him how infamous such conduct is, I shall have to do it myself. Shameful! That charming, interesting girl! And yet, and yet, there was a look in her face more like some great anxiety than disappointment. If she had had a disappointment, I do not think she would have let any one see it. Those Deyncourts are all too proud to show their feelings, though they have got them, too, somewhere. Perhaps, on the whole, considering how excessively disagreeable and scriptural Charles can be, and what unexpected turns he can give to things, I had better say nothing to him at present."

The moment Lady Mary had left the house, Ruth hurried to her uncle's study. He was not there. He had not yet come in. She gave a gesture of despair, and flung herself down in the old leather chair opposite to his own, on which many a one had sat who had come to him for help or consolation. All the buttons had been gradually worn off that chair by restless or heavy visitors. Some had been lost, but others—the greater part, I am glad to say—Mr. Alwynn had found and had deposited in a Sevres cup on the mantle-piece, till the wet afternoon should come when he and his long packing-needle should restore them to their home.

The room was very quiet. On the mantle-piece the little conscientious silver clock ticked, orderly, gently (till Ruth could hardly bear the sound), then hesitated, and struck a soft, low tone. She started to her feet, and paced up and down, up and down. Would he never come in? She dared not go out to look for him for fear of missing him. Why did not he come back when she wanted him so terribly? She sat down again. She tried to be patient. It was no good. Would he never come?

She heard a sound, rushed out to meet him in the passage, and pulled him into the study.

"Uncle John," she gasped, holding out a letter in her shaking hand. "That man who was taken up last night was—Raymond. He is in prison. He is ill. Let us go to him," and she explained as best she could that a letter had only just been found written to her by Raymond in July, warning her he was in the neighborhood of Arleigh, near the old nurse's cottage, and that she might see him at any moment, and must have money in readiness. The instant she had read the letter she rushed up to Arleigh, to see her old nurse, and met her coming down, in great agitation, to tell her that Raymond, whom she had shielded once before under promise of secrecy, had been arrested the night before.

In a quarter of an hour Mr. Alwynn and Ruth were driving swiftly through the dusk, in a close carriage, in the direction of D——. On their way they met a dog-cart driving as quickly in the opposite direction which grazed their wheel as it passed; and Ruth, looking out, caught a glimpse, by the flash of their lamps, of Charles's face, with a look upon it so fierce and haggard that she shivered in nameless foreboding of evil, wondering what could have happened to make him look like that.



CHAPTER XXXI.

It was still early on the following morning that Dare, forgetting, as we have seen, his promise to Charles, arrived at Slumberleigh Rectory—so early that Mrs. Alwynn was still ordering dinner, or, in other words, was dashing from larder to scullery, from kitchen to dairy, with her usual energy. He was shown into the empty drawing-room, where, after pacing up and down, he was reduced to the society of a photograph album, which, in his present excited condition, could do little to soothe the tumult of his mind. Not that any discredit should be thrown on Mrs. Alwynn's album, a gorgeous concern with a golden "Fanny" embossed on it, which afforded her infinite satisfaction, inside which her friends' portraits appeared to the greatest advantage, surrounded by birds and nests and blossoms of the most vivid and life-like coloring. Mr. Alwynn was encompassed on every side by kingfishers and elaborate bone nests, while Ruth's clear-cut face looked out from among long-tailed tomtits, arranged one on each side of a nest crowded with eggs, on which a strong light had been thrown.

Dare was still looking at Ruth's photograph, when Mr. Alwynn came in.

"Do you wish to speak to Ruth?" he asked, gravely.

"Now, at once." Dare was surprised that Mr. Alwynn, with whom he had been so open, should be so cold and unsympathetic in manner. The alteration and alienation of friends is certainly one of the saddest and most inexplicable experiences of this vale of tears.

"You will find her in the study," continued Mr. Alwynn. "She is expecting you. I have told her nothing, according to your wish. I hope you will explain everything to her in full, that you will keep nothing back."

"I will explain," said Dare; and he went, trembling with excitement, into the study. Fired by Charles's example, he had made a sublime resolve as he skimmed across the fields, made it in a hurry, in a moment of ecstasy, as all his resolutions were made. He felt he had never acted such a noble part before. He only feared the agitation of the moment might prevent him doing himself justice.

Ruth rose as he came in, but did not speak. A swift spasm passed over her face, leaving it very stern, very fixed, as he had never seen it, as he had never thought of seeing it. An overwhelming suspense burned in the dark, lustreless eyes which met his own. He felt awed.

"Well?" she said, pressing her hands together, and speaking in a low voice.

"Ruth," said Dare, solemnly, laying his outspread hand upon his breast and then extending it in the air, "I am free."

Ruth's eyes watched him like one in torture.

"How?" she said, speaking with difficulty. "You said you were free before."

"Ah!" replied Dare, raising his forefinger, "I said so, but it was an error. I go to Vandon, and she will not go away. I go to London to my lawyer, and he says she is my wife."

"You told me she was not."

"It was an error," repeated Dare. "I had formerly been a husband to her, but we had been divorced; it was finished, wound up, and I thought she was no more my wife. There is in the English law something extraordinary which I do not comprehend, which makes an American divorce to remain a marriage in England."

"Go on," said Ruth, shading her eyes with her hand.

"I come back to Vandon," continued Dare, in a suppressed voice, "I come back overwhelmed, broken down, crushed under feet; and then,"—he was becoming dramatic, he felt the fire kindling—"I meet a friend, a noble heart, I confide in him. I tell all to Sir Charles Danvers,"—Ruth's hand was trembling—"and last night he finds out by a chance that she was not a true widow when I marry her, that her first husband was yet alive, that I am free. This morning he tells me all, and I am here."

Ruth pressed her hands before her face, and fairly burst into tears.

He looked at her in astonishment. He was surprised that she had any feelings. Never having shown them to the public in general, like himself, he had supposed she was entirely devoid of them. She now appeared quite emue. She was sobbing passionately. Tears came into his own eyes as he watched her, and then a light dawned upon him for the second time that day. Those tears were not for him. He folded his arms and waited. How suggestive in itself is a noble attitude!

After a few minutes Ruth overcame her tears with a great effort, and, raising her head, looked at him, as if she expected him to speak. The suspense was gone out of her dimmed eyes, the tension of her face was relaxed.

"I am free," repeated Dare, "and I have your promise that if I am free you will still marry me."

Ruth looked up with a pained but resolute expression, and she would have spoken if he had not stopped her by a gesture.

"I have your promise," he repeated. "I tell my friend, Sir Charles Danvers, I have it. He also loves. He does not tell me so; he is not open with me, as I with him, but I see his heart. And yet—figure to yourself—he has but to keep silence, and I must go away, I must give up all. I am still married—Ou!—while he—But he is noble, he is sublime. He sacrifices love on the altar of honor, of truth. He tells all to me, his rival. He shows me I am free. He thinks I do not know his heart. But it is not only he who can be noble." (Dare smote himself upon the breast.) "I also can lay my heart upon the altar. Ruth,"—with great solemnity—"do you love him even as he loves you?"

There was a moment's pause.

"I do," she said, firmly, "with my whole heart."

"I knew it. I divined it. I sacrifice myself. I give you back your promise. I say farewell, and voyage in the distance. I return no more to Vandon. There is no longer a home for me in England. I leave only behind with you the poor heart you have possessed so long!"

Dare was so much affected by the beauty of this last sentence that he could say no more, but even at that moment, as he glanced at Ruth to see what effect his eloquence had upon her, she looked so pallid and thin (her beauty was so entirely eclipsed) that the sacrifice did not seem quite so overwhelming, after all.

She struggled to speak, but words failed her.

He took her hands and kissed them, pressed them to his heart (it was a pity there was no one there to see), endeavored to say something more, and then rushed out of the room.

She stood like one stunned after he had left her. She saw him a moment later cross the garden, and flee away across the fields. She knew she had seen that gray figure and jaunty gray hat for the last time; but she hardly thought of him. She felt she might be sorry for him presently, but not now.

The suspense was over. The sense of relief was too overwhelming to admit of any other feeling at first. She dropped on her knees beside the writing-table, and locked her hands together.

"He told," she whispered to herself. "Thank God! Thank God!"

Two happy tears dropped onto Mr. Alwynn's old leather blotting-book, that worn cradle of many sermons.

Was this the same world? Was this the same sun which was shining in upon her? What new songs were the birds practising outside? A strange wonderful joy seemed to pervade the very air she breathed, to flood her inmost soul. She had faced her troubles fairly well, but at this new great happiness she did not dare to look; and with a sudden involuntary gesture she hid her face in her hands.

It would be rash to speculate too deeply on the nature of Dare's reflections as he hurried back to Atherstone; but perhaps, under the very real pang of parting with Ruth, he was sustained by a sense of the magnanimity of what, had he put it into words, he would have called his attitude, and possibly also by a lurking conviction, which had assisted his determination to resign her that life at Vandon, after the episode of the American wife's arrival, would be a social impossibility, especially to one anxious and suited to shine in society. Be that how it may, whatever had happened to influence him most of the chance emotion of the moment, it would be tolerably certain that in a few hours he would be sorry for what he had done. He was still, however, in a state of mental exaltation when he reached Atherstone, and began fumbling nervously with the garden-gate. Charles, who had been stalking up and down the bowling-green, went slowly towards him.

"What on earth do you mean by going off in that way?" he asked, coldly.

"Ah!" said Dare, perceiving him, "and she—the—is she gone?"

"Yes, half an hour ago. Your dog-cart has come back from taking her to the station, and is here now."

Dare nodded his head several times, and stood looking at him.

"I have been to Slumberleigh," he said.

"Yes, contrary to agreement."

"My friend," Dare said, seizing the friend's limp, unresponsive hand and pressing it, "I know now why you keep silence last night. I reason with myself. I see you love her. Do not turn away. I have seen her. I have given her back her promise. I give her up to you whom she loves; and now—I go away, not to return."

And then, in the full view of the Atherstone windows, of the butler, and of the dog-cart at the front door, Dare embraced him, kissing the blushing and disconcerted Charles on both cheeks. Then, in a moment, before the latter had recovered his self-possession, Dare had darted to the dog-cart, and was driving away.

Charles looked after him in mixed annoyance and astonishment, until he noticed the butler's eye upon him, when he hastily retreated, with a heightened complexion, to the shrubberies.



CONCLUSION.

It was the last day of October, about a week after a certain very quiet little funeral had taken place in the D—— Cemetery. The death of Raymond Deyncourt had appeared in the papers a day or two afterwards, without mention of date or place, and it was generally supposed that it had taken place some considerable time previously, without the knowledge of his friends.

Charles had been sitting for a long time with Mr. Alwynn, and after he left the rectory he took the path over the fields in the direction of the Slumberleigh woods.

The low sun was shining redly through a golden haze, was sending long burning shafts across the glade where Charles was pacing. He sat down at last upon a fallen tree to wait for one who should presently come by that way.

It was a still, clear afternoon, with a solemn stillness that speaks of coming change. Winter was at hand, and the woods were transfigured with a passing glory, like the faces of those who depart in peace when death draws nigh.

Far and wide in the forest the bracken was all aflame—aflame beneath the glowing trees. The great beeches had turned to bronze and ruddy gold, and had strewed the path with carpets glorious and rare, which the first wind would sweep away. Upon the limes the amber leaves still hung, faint yet loath to go, but the horse-chestnut had already dropped its garment of green and yellow at its feet.

A young robin was singing at intervals in the silence, telling how the secrets of the nests had been laid bare, singing a requiem on the dying leaves and the widowed branches, a song new to him, but with the old plaintive rapture in it that his fathers had been taught before him since the world began.

* * * * *

She came towards him down the yellow glade through the sunshine and the shadow, with a spray of briony in her hand. Neither spoke. She put her hands into the hands that were held out for them, and their eyes met, grave and steadfast, with the light in them of an unalterable love. So long they had looked at each other across a gulf. So long they had stood apart. And now, at last—at last—they were together. He drew her close and closer yet. They had no words. There was no need of words. And in the silence of the hushed woods, and in the silence of a joy too deep for speech, the robin's song came sweet and sad.

"Charles!"

"Ruth!"

"I should like to tell you something."

"And I should like to hear it."

"I know what Raymond told you to conceal. I went to him just after you did. We passed you coming back. He did not know me at first. He thought I was you, and he kept repeating that you must keep your own counsel, and that, unless you showed Mr. Dare's marriage was illegal, he would never find it out. At last, when he suddenly recognized me, he seemed horror-struck, and the doctor came in and sent me away."

Charles knew now why Raymond had sent for him the second time.

There was a long pause.

"Ruth, did you think I should tell?"

"I hoped and prayed you would, but I knew it would be hard, because I do believe you actually thought at the time I should still consider it my duty to marry Mr. Dare. I never should have done such a thing after what had happened. I was just going to tell him so when he began to give me up, and it evidently gave him so much pleasure to renounce me nobly in your favor that I let him have it his own way, as the result was the same. My great dread, until he came, was that you had not spoken. I had been expecting him all the previous evening. Oh, Charles, Charles! I waited and watched for his coming as I had never done before. Your silence was the only thing I feared, because it was the only thing that could have come between us."

"God forgive me! I meant at first to say nothing."

"Only at first," said Ruth, gently; and they walked on in silence.

The sun had set. A slender moon had climbed unnoticed into the southern sky amid the shafts of paling fire which stretched out across the whole heaven from the burning fiery furnace in the west. Across the gray dim fields voices were calling the cattle home.

Charles spoke again at last in his usual tone.

"You quite understand, Ruth, though I have not mentioned it so far, that you are engaged to marry me?"

"I do. I will make a note of it if you wish."

"It is unnecessary. I shall be happy, when I am at leisure to remind you myself. Indeed, I may say I shall make a point of doing so. There does not happen to be any one else whom you feel it would be your duty to marry?"

"I can't think of any one at the moment. Charles, you never could have believed I would marry him, after all?"

"Indeed, I did believe it. Don't I know the stubbornness of your heart? You see, you are but young, and I make excuses for you; but, after you have been the object of my special and judicious training for a few years, I quite hope your judgment may improve considerably."

"I trust it will, as I see from your remarks—it will certainly be all we shall have to guide us both."

* * * * *

POSTSCRIPT.—Lady Mary would not allow even Providence any of the credit of Charles's engagement; she claimed the whole herself. She called Evelyn to witness that from the first it had been her work entirely. She only allowed Charles himself a very secondary part in the great event, to which she was apt to point in later years as the crowning work of a life devoted—under Church direction—to the temporal and spiritual welfare of her fellow-creatures; and Charles avers that a mention of it in the long list of her virtues will some day adorn the tombstone which she has long since ordered to be in readiness.

Molly was disconsolate for many days, but work, that panacea of grief, came to the rescue, and it was not long before she was secretly and busily engaged on a large kettle-holder, with kettle and motto entwined, for Charles's exclusive use, without which she had been led to understand his establishment would be incomplete. When this work of art was finished her feelings had become so far modified towards Ruth that she consented to begin another very small and inferior one—merely a kettle on a red ground—for that interloper, but whether it was ever presented is not on record.

* * * * *

Vandon is to let. The grass has grown up again through the niches of the stone steps. The place looks wild and deserted. Mr. Alwynn comes sometimes, and looks up at its shuttered windows and trailing, neglected ivy, but not often, for it gives him a strange pang at the heart. And as he goes home the people come out of the dilapidated cottages, and ask wistfully when the new squire is coming back.

But Mr. Alwynn does not know.

THE END.

* * * * *

TYPOGRAPHICAL ERRORS CORRECTED

The following typographical errors in the text were corrected as detailed here.

In the text: " ... Mrs. Alwynn had the delight of taking her completely ..." the word "competely" was corrected to "completely."

In the text: "You evidently imagine that I have gone in for the fashionable creed of the young man" the word "fashionble" was corrected to "fashionable."

In the text: "Molly, tired of her castles, suggested that she might sit on his knee," the word "hnee" was corrected to "knee."

In the text: " ... Molly has formed a habit of expressing herself with unnecessary freedom." the word "Mary" was changed to "Molly."

In the text: " ... as it reached the steps a shrill voice suddenly called" the word "suddedly" was corrected to "suddenly."

In the text: "I considered her to be a pink-and-white nonentity... " the word "nonenity" was corrected to "nonentity."

In the text: " ... pressing invitation to to come down... " the word "to" is repeated and one instance was removed.

Misspelt proper names were also corrected: "Thurshy" was corrected to "Thursby," "Alywnn" was corrected to "Alwynn," and "Eveyln" was corrected to "Evelyn."

Some punctuation was also regularized.

* * * * *



BY LAFCADIO HEARN.

TWO YEARS IN THE FRENCH WEST INDIES. By LAFCADIO HEARN. pp. 517. Copiously Illustrated. Post 8vo, Cloth. $2 00.

THE CRIME OF SYLVESTRE BONNARD. By ANATOLE FRANCE. The Translation and Introduction by LAFCADIO HEARN. 8vo, Paper, 50 cents.

CHITA: A Memory of Last Island. By LAFCADIO HEARN. pp. vi., 204. Post 8vo, Cloth, Ornamental, $1 00.

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A powerful story, rich in descriptive passages.... The tale is a tragic one, but it shows remarkable imaginative force, and is one that will not soon be forgotten by the reader.—Saturday Evening Gazette, Boston.

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THE ODD NUMBER.

Thirteen Tales by GUY DE MAUPASSANT. The Translation by JONATHAN STURGES. An Introduction by HENRY JAMES. pp. xviii., 226. 16mo, Cloth, Ornamental, $1 00.

The tales included in "The Odd Number" are little masterpieces, and done into very clear, sweet, simple English.—WILLIAM DEAN HOWELLS.

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Masterpieces.... Nothing can exceed the masculine firmness, the quiet force, of his own style, in which every phrase is a close sequence, every epithet a paying piece, and the ground is completely cleared of the vague, the ready-made, and the second-best. Less than any one to-day does he beat the air, more than any one does he hit out from the shoulder.... He came into the literary world, as he has himself related, under the protection of the great Flaubert. This was but a dozen years ago—for Guy de Maupassant belongs, among the distinguished Frenchmen of his period, to the new generation.—HENRY JAMES.

As a rule I do not take kindly to translations. They are apt to resemble the originals as canned or dried fruits resemble fresh. But Mr. Sturges has preserved flavor and juices in this collection. Each story is a delight. Some are piquant, some pathetic—all are fascinating.—MARION HARLAND.

What pure and powerful outlines, what lightness of stroke, and what precision; what relentless truth, and yet what charm! "The Beggar," "La Mere Sauvage," "The Wolf," grim as if they had dropped out of the mediaeval mind; "The Necklace," with its applied pessimism; the tremendous fire and strength of "A Coward"; the miracle of splendor in "Moonlight"; the absolute perfection of a short story in "Happiness"—how various the view, how daring the touch! What freshness, what invention, and what wit! They are beautiful and heart-breaking little masterpieces, and "The Odd Number" makes one feel that Guy de Maupassant lays his hand upon the sceptre which only Daudet holds.—HARRIET PRESCOTT SPOFFORD.

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MARIA:

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The great forests of cotton-wood, palms, and other tropical plants, the almost impassable rivers, the rich flowers which seem to spread their fragrance over every page, make a fascinating background to a story of tender sentiment.—Boston Journal.

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Distinguished by a freshness and simplicity which recall some of the French sentimental novelists of the eighteenth century, and especially Bernardin St. Pierre.—N.Y. Tribune.

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Maria: Novela Americana is one of the most charming stories I have ever read, and worthy the leading author of any country.—W.H. BISHOP, in Scribner's Magazine.

Aside altogether from the broad glimpses it gives of a life whereof we Northern Americans know absolutely nothing, it is a beautiful story, sad in its ending, but free from any tinge of coarseness or sensationalism, pure, sweet, warm with human love and tenderness.—Chicago Times.

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BY CHARLES DUDLEY WARNER.

A LITTLE JOURNEY IN THE WORLD. A Novel. pp. iv., 396. Post 8vo, Half Leather, $1 50.

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Perhaps the most accurate and graphic account of these portions of the country that has appeared, taken all in all.... It is a book most charming—a book that no American can fail to enjoy, appreciate, and highly prize.—Boston Traveller.

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Mr. Reinhart's spirited and realistic illustrations are very attractive, and contribute to make an unusually handsome book. We have already commented upon the earlier chapters of the text; and the happy blending of travel and fiction which we looked forward to with confidence did, in fact, distinguish this story among the serials of the year.—N.Y. Evening Post.

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Any of the above works sent by mail, postage prepaid, to any part of the United States, Canada, or Mexico, on receipt of the price.

* * * * *



BY W.D. HOWELLS.

A HAZARD OF NEW FORTUNES. Illustrated. 8vo, Paper, 75 cents; 12mo, Cloth, 2 vols., $2 00.

MODERN ITALIAN POETS. Essays and Versions. With Portraits. 12mo, Half Cloth, $2 00.

A portfolio of delightsome studies among the Italian poets; musings in a golden granary full to the brim with good things.... We venture to say that no acute and penetrating critic surpasses Mr. Howells in true insight, in polished irony, in effective and yet graceful treatment of his theme, in that light and indescribable touch that lifts you over a whole sea of froth and foam, and fixes your eye, not on the froth and foam, but on the solid objects, the true heart and soul of the theme.—Critic, N.Y.

ANNIE KILBURN. 12mo, Cloth, $1 50.

Mr. Howells has certainly never given us in one novel so many portraits of intrinsic interest. Annie Kilburn herself is a masterpiece of quietly veracious art—the art which depends for its effect on unswerving fidelity to the truth of Nature.... It certainly seems to us the very best book that Mr. Howells has written.—Spectator, London.

APRIL HOPES. 12mo, Cloth, $1 50.

Mr. Howells never wrote a more bewitching book. It is useless to deny the rarity and worth of the skill that can report so perfectly and with such exquisite humor all the fugacious and manifold emotions of the modern maiden and her lover.—Philadelphia Press.

THE MOUSE-TRAP, and Other Farces. Post 8vo, Cloth, $1 00.

Mr. Howells's gift of lively appreciation of the humors that lie on the surface of conduct and conversation, and his skill in reproducing them in literary form, make him peculiarly successful in his attempts at graceful, delicately humorous dialogue.... He can make his characters talk delightful badinage, or he can make them talk so characteristically as to fill the reader with silent laughter over their complete unconsciousness of their own absurdity.—Boston Advertiser.

PUBLISHED BY HARPER & BROTHERS, NEW YORK.

Any of the above works sent by mail, postage prepaid, to any part of the United States, Canada, or Mexico, on receipt of the price.

* * * * *

STEPNIAK'S WORKS.

THE CAREER OF A NIHILIST. A Novel. 16mo, Cloth, 75 cents.

THE RUSSIAN PEASANTRY: Their Agrarian Condition, Social Life, and Religion. 16mo, Cloth, $1 25.

All thinking and disinterested people for whom Russia has an interest should read this volume not only for Russia's sake, but for our own.—N.Y. Times.

An absorbingly interesting volume.... Stepniak deserves the gratitude of his country and all mankind for painting Russian life as it is, and pointing out a practicable solution of its worst distresses.—Literary World, Boston.

Altogether Stepniak's best book.—St. James's Gazette, London.

A deeply interesting study of a subject full of strange new elements.—N.Y. Tribune.

For the student of Russia the book is invaluable. It contains more information, and gives us a better insight into the economic and domestic conditions of life among the peasants, and in Russia generally, than in any other book we know.—The Academy, London.

RUSSIA UNDER THE TZARS. Illustrated. 4to, Paper, 20 cents.

The book is very bold and very brilliant; it rests very largely on the author's personal experience, and no student of Russia should leave it unread or unnoticed.—Boston Beacon.

A graphic and startling picture of the despotism that rules the Muscovite nation, drawn by the pen of one of the ablest and most pronounced Nihilists of the day.—Chicago Journal.

THE RUSSIAN STORM-CLOUD; or, Russia in Her Relation to Neighboring Countries. 4to, Paper, 20 cts.

The author writes with a calmness and precision not generally associated with the class of revolutionists to which he belongs.—N.Y. Sun.

Stepniak gives a comprehensive view of the matter which he discusses, and his work is valuable as furnishing "the true inwardness" of affairs in the empire of the Tzar.—Christian Advocate, Cincinnati.

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* * * * *



SEBASTOPOL.

By Count LEO TOLSTOI. Translated by F.D. MILLET from the French (Scenes du Siege de Sebastopol). With Introduction by W.D. HOWELLS. With Portrait. 16mo, Cloth, 75 cents.

In his Sebastopol sketches Tolstoi is at his best, and perhaps no more striking example of his manner and form can be found.—N.Y. Tribune.

There is much strong writing in the book; indeed, it is strength itself, and there is much tenderness as well.—Boston Traveller.

Its workmanship is superb, and morally its influence should be immense.—Boston Herald.

It carries us from the shams of society to the realities of war, and sets before us with a graphic power and minuteness the inner life of that great struggle in which Count Tolstoi took part.... A thrilling tale of besieged Sebastopol. All is intensely real, intensely life-like, and doubly striking from its very simplicity. We have before our eyes war as it really is.—N.Y. Times.

The various incidents of the siege which he selects in order to present it in its different aspects form a graphic whole which can never be forgotten by any one who has once read it, and it must be read to be appreciated.—Nation, N.Y.

The descriptions, it is needless to say, are masterly. No novelist has ever before succeeded in thus depicting the emotions and utterances of the soldier in battle.—Boston Beacon.

A powerful appeal against warfare, written in that wonderful style which lends life and character to the most trivial incidents he describes. It is a fascinating book, and one of its chief merits is the introspective art and analytical power which every page reveals.... This is the most nervous and dramatic production of Tolstoi that has been rendered into English.—N.Y. Sun.

It is, undoubtedly, the most graphic and powerful of Tolstoi's works that has been given to the American reading public.... It should be read and pondered by Christians, philanthropists, statesmen—by every one who can think.—Chicago Interior.

The profound realism of the book, its native, organic strength, will make it one of the great books of the day. Certainly the underlying, the ever-present horrors of war have seldom been so strikingly set forth.—St. Louis Republican.

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The above work sent by mail, postage prepaid, to any part of the United States, Canada, or Mexico, on receipt of the price.

* * * * *

By CAPT. CHARLES KING.

A WAR-TIME WOOING. Illustrated by R.F. ZOGBAUM. pp. iv., 196. Post 8vo, Cloth, $1 00.

BETWEEN THE LINES. A Story of the War. Illustrated by GILBERT GAUL. pp. iv., 312. Post 8vo, Cloth, $1 25.

In all of Captain King's stories the author holds to lofty ideals of manhood and womanhood, and inculcates the lessons of honor, generosity, courage, and self-control.—Literary World, Boston.

The vivacity and charm which signally distinguish Captain King's pen.... He occupies a position in American literature entirely his own.... His is the literature of honest sentiment, pure and tender.... His heroes and his charming heroines are the product of the army, and it is pleasant to meet, even in this intangible way, women who can break their hearts and men who would die rather than sacrifice their honor.—N.Y. Press.

A romance by Captain King is always a pleasure, because he has so complete a mastery of the subjects with which he deals.... Captain King has few rivals in his domain.... The general tone of Captain King's stories is highly commendable. The heroes are simple, frank, and soldierly; the heroines are dignified and maidenly in the most unconventional situations.—Epoch, N.Y.

All Captain King's stories are full of spirit and with the true ring about them.—Philadelphia Item.

Captain King's stories of army life are so brilliant and intense, they have such a ring of true experience, and his characters are so life-like and vivid that the announcement of a new one is always received with pleasure.—New Haven Palladium.

Captain King is a delightful story-teller.—Washington Post.

In the delineation of war scenes Captain King's style is crisp and vigorous, inspiring in the breast of the reader a thrill of genuine patriotic fervor.—Boston Commonwealth.

Captain King is almost without a rival in the field he has chosen.... His style is at once vigorous and sentimental in the best sense of that word, so that his novels are pleasing to young men as well as young women.—Pittsburgh Bulletin.

It is good to think that there is at least one man who believes that all the spirit of romance and chivalry has not yet died out of the world, and that there are as brave and honest hearts to-day as there were in the days of knights and paladins.—Philadelphia Record.

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Either of the above works sent by mail, postage prepaid, to any part of the United States, Canada, or Mexico, on receipt of the price.

* * * * *



BY THEODORE CHILD.

DELICATE FEASTING. Post 8vo, Cloth, Ornamental, $1 25.

Will be found invaluable in many a household where the mistress (or the master himself) takes an interest in preparing the supplies that come to the table.—N.Y. Journal of Commerce.

Recognizing the fact that the wise man does not live to eat, but rather eats to live, the author furnishes such rules as will enable cooks to make what is eaten palatable and healthful. People that give dinners will here find much assistance.—Troy Press.

The most hard-headed cook will acknowledge the pith, pointedness, and lucidity of Mr. Child's chapters on the chemistry of cookery, on the methods of preparing meats or vegetables, on acetaria, soups, and sauces; while the closing chapters on dining tables, dining-room decoration, table service, art in eating and on being invited to dine, have, to all who would further the amenities of civilization, a value that needs no comment.—Brooklyn Times.

A more sensible and delightful book of its kind would be difficult to name.... We cannot open this entertaining volume at any page without finding matter to instruct, or at least to invite reflection. The aphorisms on the gastronomic art, original or gathered from the highest authorities on the subject, are thoroughly sound.—N.Y. Sun.



SUMMER HOLIDAYS. Travelling Notes in Europe. Post 8vo, Cloth, Ornamental, $1 25.

A delightful book of notes of European travel.... Mr. Child is an art critic, and takes us into the picture-galleries, but we never get any large and painful doses of art information from this skilful and discriminating guide. There is not a page of his book that approaches to dull reading.—N.Y. Sun.

Mr. Child is a shrewd observer and writer of an engaging style. He interests the reader with abundant information, and pleases him by his lively manner in communicating it.—Hartford Courant.

Mr. Child is a very agreeable travelling companion, and his choice of places for a summer ramble is excellent.... The French chapters—on Limoges, Reims, Aix-les-Bains, and especially the voyage on French rivers—are abundant in novelty and odd bits of interest, as well as in beauty of scene and sympathy.—Nation, N.Y.

A very pleasant volume of sketches by an accomplished traveller, who knows how to see and how to describe, and who can give real information without wearisome detail.—Providence Journal.

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The above works will be sent by mail, postage prepaid, to any part of the United States, Canada, or Mexico, on receipt of the price.

* * * * *

BEN-HUR: A TALE OF THE CHRIST.

By LEW WALLACE. New Edition, pp. 552. 16mo, Cloth, $1 50.

Anything so startling, new, and distinctive as the leading feature of this romance does not often appear in works of fiction.... Some of Mr. Wallace's writing is remarkable for its pathetic eloquence. The scenes described in the New Testament are rewritten with the power and skill of an accomplished master of style.—N.Y. Times.

Its real basis is a description of the life of the Jews and Romans at the beginning of the Christian era, and this is both forcible and brilliant.... We are carried through a surprising variety of scenes; we witness a sea-fight, a chariot-race, the internal economy of a Roman galley, domestic interiors at Antioch, at Jerusalem, and among the tribes of the desert; palaces, prisons, the haunts of dissipated Roman youth, the houses of pious families of Israel. There is plenty of exciting incident; everything is animated, vivid, and glowing.—N.Y. Tribune.

From the opening of the volume to the very close the reader's interest will be kept at the highest pitch, and the novel will be pronounced by all one of the greatest novels of the day.—Boston Post.

It is full of poetic beauty, as though born of an Eastern sage, and there is sufficient of Oriental customs, geography, nomenclature, etc., to greatly strengthen the semblance.—Boston Commonwealth.

"Ben-Hur" is interesting, and its characterization is fine and strong. Meanwhile it evinces careful study of the period in which the scene is laid, and will help those who read it with reasonable attention to realize the nature and conditions of Hebrew life in Jerusalem and Roman life at Antioch at the time of our Saviour's advent.—Examiner, N.Y.

It is really Scripture history of Christ's time clothed gracefully and delicately in the flowing and loose drapery of modern fiction.... Few late works of fiction excel it in genuine ability and interest.—N.Y. Graphic.

One of the most remarkable and delightful books. It is as real and warm as life itself, and as attractive as the grandest and most heroic chapters of history.—Indianapolis Journal.

The book is one of unquestionable power, and will be read with unwonted interest by many readers who are weary of the conventional novel and romance.—Boston Journal.

PUBLISHED BY HARPER & BROTHERS, NEW YORK.

The above work sent by mail, postage prepaid, to any part of the United States or Canada, on receipt of the price.

THE END

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