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in his best clothes, and had also got rid of an article on East London Life at a considerably higher price than he had dared himself set on it, spending two shillings once more on his own pleasure. He too was going round criticising, marking, examining, drawing little sketches of bis especial favourites, both to explain them better hereafter to his wife, and with the floating idea, as he had now in almost every field of observation, of turning such jottings to some future monetary account. But as his eyes suddenly caught sight of his father, he drew back and sat down quietly to see which of his sisters was with him, which of the comparatively little known younger five this was.

He had seen none of them for a year, and at first was not quite sure, but Freda's crisp tones, dainty movements, trim dress were soon recognised. “If it had only been Dulcie," he thought, “or Amy, or even Kathleen,” but Friedeswide was no favourite with her brothers; there was no temptation now to try to catch her eye and gain a few minutes' forbidden intercourse ; and he was glad, for it had been forbidden, and he shouldn't have liked one of the girls to forget this. So that was his father! “ a fine old man, a thorough gentleman,” the son thought proudly, “ but he looks older. There's a white look about his lips ; that silly girl is tiring him with all her chatter, shall I take her off his hands and go the round with her ? pooh, nonsense. Why he'd see me hanged first. Well, I'm glad to have seen him again all the same, but won't waste more of my own precious time on them,” and he turned back into the room (which they had quitted,) and resumed his observations, but with the constant hindering thought, “I should have liked just to have shaken hands with the old man once more," till he suddenly remembered not only the mutual wrath in which they had last parted, but the now undoubted developement if of undeveloped measles in little Gwendoline, and thenceforward dismissed the vain desire with the slightly contemptuous feeling that Freda had always been afraid of infection, and thus in no case could he really have come near them, although “I am in my Sunday best, and couldn't afford to let the children come near that, poor brats !”

It was a long but pleasant journey home in the cool of that beautiful June evening; if the May beauty of the cider hedgerows had gone, sweet scents of new cut hay floating in full many a time as they neared their little wayside station. There was Isabel waiting for them; and in another half hour good “Diamond” had brought them safely home. Isabel Aung the reins to old Andrew, and then hurried after Freda to the large low nursery over the old schoolroom, where the three younger girls' three little beds stood as of old,—for so they had chosen it should be,—if with plenty of space around each for the gratification of her special tastes and wishes.

Dulcibella had never quite liked this plan ; the quiet of her own room had always been so precious to herself; but it had rather pleased her father that the girls had returned from their three years of London education still clinging thus together, and to their old Brayscombe habits, if in weightier matters he himself, at times, found them irrevocably altered. Three of their aunts had shared that very room till between thirty and forty, instead of seventeen and twenty, so Dulcie was perhaps hypercritical in her dislike to opportunities of endless nightly gossip.

Had any visitors, Isa ?” asked Freda, tossing off her hat, and plunging her pretty face fearlessly into the basin of cold water Isabel had poured out ready for her.

Heaps,-him amongst them! he did look black to find you gone; but I think I did very well instead.”

“No one with him?"

Yes, Julius Denny, and one of the Lisle girls, so we had some tennis, Dulcibella sitting under the oak tree at work and chaperoning us most properly. She never will understand modern ways ! Then Mr. Macdonald came, and Amy had to chaperone her. Then a whole party from Hereford of Canons and Canonesses, --some of them would have liked to join in, but we didn't ask them.”

Well, I should, I like playing with men better than boys." “Do you call Frank Wollaston a boy ? he's two and twenty! is that why you went away? I heard him tell you he was coming down to-day."

“I never care to make myself cheap to any one, least of all to any people from the Great House; and I've had a very happy day with father,-after all he's worth all the other men I know, young or old, put together.”

Then the supper-bell rang, and they ran down together. “Amy was asking if we didn't meet any old friends at the Royal Academy," said Mr. Erle, as they entered the dining-room; one used to do so in abundance; but whether these new rooms are more spacious, or one's old friends have ceased to go to the Royal Academy, I can't say, but I saw no one except the Dormers in the last room, and

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we scarcely spoke even to them. Perhaps your young eyes were sharper.”

“I think we were too busy looking at the pictures to have time to look about us,” said Freda, we knew our time was so short,” and she took her place.

No one ever named Arthur before their father; the younger girls scarcely among themselves; he had never been the hero to them which he had been to his parents and three eldest sisters during his promising boyhood and youth; had rather taken upon himself the last three or four years to act a senior's part by Friedeswide and Isabel; told the one not to be fast," if for no better reason than that “men hated fast women ;” and Isa that “what little good looks she had were nothing to be proud of, and that Dulcie would be still a beautiful woman,—for all true beauty lay in expression, -when she was already nothing but an insignificant faded little flirt.” Arthur, at any rate, much preferred those of his sisters who had held by “Brayscombe traditions."

The talk turned off to the Academy pictures ; then Freda was for going at once to bed, but her father said gently, “Not every night, Freda,-play must not always supersede Prayer-"

“I don't call Family Prayers' Prayer,” she answered wearily with a yawn, “only a form."

“A form then at which for the future I wish you to assist,” replied Mr. Erle, taking up his "Times” quietly.

Friedes wide raised her eyebrows, but flung herself on the windowseat, and began playing with the cat.

"It only wants ten minutes to ten,” said Isa, consolingly," and they don't take ten minutes.”

Freda could not resist a little gentle laugh. Isabel always thought she so fully understood her, and, in some ways, they were the pair of sisters out the trio,- but in reality she did so very little. Dear shallow little thing !” was always Freda's mental comment on any of her especial speeches.

The rest in the dewy twilight sweet with early roses and late hawthorn, was after all so pleasant at that open window, that Freda was sorry when ten struck, the window was shut, and the bell rung; she sat and knelt very quietly; she had been taught self-control both of body and mind in some ways from her many masters, and would not fail of outward respect to her father in any matter which he really had at heart. She said good night to him prettily and as if nothing

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had happened as soon as the servants were gone ; thanked him for her happy day, and then went away.

But in five minutes she was back, and uttered an exclamation of impatience at seeing Dulcibella sitting quietly at work in the light of her father's lamp; they looked so happy, so quiet, so peaceful,—and she, her poor little heart was in a tumult; she had thought perhaps she would ask advice,-but with Dulcie there!

Dulcie however rose and said, “Come in, Freda, I am quite ready to go to bed, and you

"Oh, don't go! I haven't come to make any confession,—you know young people now-a-days never say they're sorry—they only forgive their elders their errors of judgment, which is much pleasanter at any rate. Still I think I will say one thing—I saw one old friend in the Royal Academy to-day, papa, but I wouldn't say so before the girls. I know you don't like us even to náme him, but I think I will tell you, I suppose”

"What do you mean, Freda ?” and Mr. Erle laid down his paper, and took off his spectacles.

“I saw Arthur,- I suppose he still is a friend and a brother ?” " Arthur !" repeated Dulcibella faintly.

“Yes, why not? he was looking well and happy, if you wish to know, and was well dressed. He seemed quite hard at work, making notes, I fancy, for some newspaper art criticism.”

“Why did you not tell me, Freda ?” asked the old man, putting his arm round her gently.

“I thought we were never to name him, even to think of him,—and really we younger ones never do,” answered Friedeswide with truthful simplicity.

“He looked well—and happy ?” said Dulcie.

“Yes,-oh, you see it isn't only daughters who are undutiful nowa-days-he ought to have been dwining' (old Eng. dwindling) to a shadow, but he wasn't; perhaps a little slighter, but to my mind he looked more alive, and less self-engrossed and conceited than last year;" Dulcie longed to box her ears! “ only one other thing struck me—for I see you do both wish to know all I know"

· Well ?” asked her father. "That bis dress looked a little old-fashioned; at least, you know, I always have noticed and remembered stupid little things to cumber my brains with as well as great--and I am sure this best suit was exactly

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that he wore the last Sunday he was here thirteen months ago, and you know in his Oxford days he never would have kept one suit decent six.

There was a few minutes' silence.

“ Thank you for coming back to tell me, my little girl,” said Mr. Erle then, releasing her, “I should have been glad if you had told me at the time,- but you could not know-"

“No; I thought you weren't on speaking terms, and that it would be so awkward,-and so it would if he wouldn't have spoken to us. And it's always the one that's done the wrong that can't forgive, isn't it?”

“What wrong has Arthur ever done you ?” asked Dulcibella, trying, not quite successfully, to keep her voice and manner calm.

Heaps ! I never did like him. Good night.” “ How strange!” murmured Mr. Erle as she disappeared; “and I should have been truly glad to see him once more, even had we not spoken one word.”

Then he took up his paper and read on; and Dulcibella could finish her dainty pinafore for a little unknown Indian god-daughter, fold it up, and quietly await with idle hands her father's leisure for her own coming confession, with a wonderfully lightened heart.

When eleven came, and he rose, she rose also, and said, coming up to him with something of an old childish nestling habit long disused, Father, I have a confession to make, if Freda had not.”

dear." I suppose

Mr. Macdonald could not wait; it was a pity; but he came over this afternoon, and, though Amy was very good and joined me directly under the oak tree, and then the Grants and Lucases came over from Hereford, and I took a long walk with Canon Grant all about the gardens and shrubberies, and thought he must be gone back to his duties before Isa called us to our very late afternoon tea, he was not,—he waited,—and oh I cannot tell how it was, after all he found me alone, and made me hear him. Oh-oh! why was I born only to give others pain !" and she laid her head against his breast. “I tried not to hear him, not to let it come

“But after all, Miss Dulcie, the man is head of the woman, and can compel the most headstrong of them all to make her hear him if he chooses."

• Yes,” and Dulcie sighed wearily; "and he was so good, so kind" “Well, I hope you did not dismiss him too severely."


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