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" I'm afraid we shall lose her, doctor," he said to little Dr. Bell, following him down stairs after his second visit that day.

"I, sir, I am thankful you see the possibility,—we won't yet say likelihood, -without my having to awaken your eyes to it, but she's young, and whilst there's life there's hope.”

"Not in such an infernal den, for a sick child, as that is.” Dr. Bell was a little startled ; who and what this Arthur Erle was, he bad often of late stopped his usual round of lower middle-class, ordinary medical-practitioner thoughts, to try to imagine. In the first place, of course, his name was not Erle, or he would never have played Signor Ravucci's flute accompaniment as “ Mr. Arthur Desmond Erle" at the Beaumont Institution last week. Perhaps some nobleman who had quarrelled with the world and his too-sweetly seasoned daily bread and butter-well, in that case he'd soon begin to find this "genuine Dosset” (Dr. Bell had lately been seeing “Our Boys') still less delicious ; or the spendthrift heir to some large estate, some idle, goodfor-nothing, or impracticable fellow,” had been his first thought when called in some months ago to see Mrs. Erle, and Arthur had been the bewitched and over-anxious bridegroom of his dainty, delicate bride. But of late he had changed his mind, remembering how a certain well-born bishop's “eccentric" son had once lived on some philanthropic principle close to the London Hospital,—(" but he soon got tired of it, and no wonder," thought Dr. Bell with a sigh, wishing he also could thus easily desert the east end for the west,)—imagined that here was some poor religious fanatic, fired with the like futile philanthropic desire, —"whilst all your English working man now wishes for is to be left alone, alone to his dirt and his drink, if dirt and drink be his principal tastes, as it is with too many of them.”

"It is hot, but thousands of children pull through all around you against far worse odds,” was what Dr. Bell said aloud after a few moments'

pause," and that roof might be whitewashed.” “Ay, thanks many, so it might. Or could the child be brought down here without harm ?” and Arthur led the way into his little study, a sight which bewildered Dr. Bell's conception of his antecedents still further.

This was not the slipper and pipe-strewn den of some mere ordinary musician, nor the room of a bookworm, nor even of a professed philanthropist. Dr. Bell had a love of fine art himself, though he had never had means or time to gratify it, but the engraving—a beau

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tiful proof copy-of Hunt's “Light of the world," caught and kept his eye some moments; this, a birthday gift five years back from Dulcibella, -representing the careful savings of a twelvemonth, and Aunt Elizabeth's blue vases, were the principal wrecks which Arthur had saved from his former daily surroundings.

“Move her here !” repeated Dr. Bell, “no, I would not move the poor child. In fact, sir, now that we are alone and safe out of the poor mother's hearing, I will candidly say I do not think her sufferings will be prolonged another four and twenty hours."

“Good God! do children die off like that now-a-days? We all buffeted through measles twenty times between us; and my wife—'

“Poor soul! But you see the extreme youth of the patient, and the failure of all our attempts to bring out the rash, adds so much to our difficulty."

“Never was such a sweet, obedient little creature," and a mist swept across the


eyes. Well, “the sooner it's over the sooner to sleep.'

“Not two years old, and in these rapid acute attacks”—but he saw his host was not heeding him; he was in fact, going back instead, over all the pains and discomforts so patiently endured in this little lifetime of four and twenty months.

Something in his face and expression made Dr. Bell put a question not unusual with him at the children's sick beds of that neighbourhood,

“She is christened, I presume ? because if not, there are really not many

“Do you take us for heathens ?” asked Arthur Erle fiercely; " did you ever see a more angelic Christian than that poor mother ?”

“I was thinking you would not like her laid in the unconsecrated side,” and then Ludovic knocked and entered, and said mamma wanted them both upstairs at once; and lo! already the change had come, the pure white soul flown back to its Giver, escaped from all woe and tears

for ever.

And Freda and Isa were playing at lawn-tennis with Frank Wollaston and Julius Denny, flying to and fro like two butterflies on whom never could the shadow of pain or sorrow come; and Dulcibella and Amy sitting peacefully under the Great House cedar; and Kathleen and her father surveying with cheerful interest the old haunts of Nicholas Burridge.


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And from their lawn-tennis, the younger sisters began to stroll about the shrubberies and old yew walks, Freda with some difficulty keeping up her seemingly idle talk, her companion with some dificulty making suitably idle answers : he was rallying her on her morning lessons, she maintaining that any girl working for a Girton Scholarship must “grind hard,” as he himself would call it, and not only so, but regularly,—when suddenly she found the hand in which she was lightly holding the straggling spray of dog-rose she had been meaning to set to work to draw as a design for a banner-screen for the Savilles' new home, seized, kept, and Francis, her old playfellow, saying in very thorough earnest, “ But

you will never really go to Girton ?” “Why not?” she interrupted, fearlessly. “I know I labour under

· some early educational disadvantages, but, thank God, like that idiot Earlswood subscribing family we were laughing at the other day, I have 'a sound mind in a sound body.'

· But a Girton girl is a detestable thing; and, oh, Freda ! you have known all these years, I am sure you have, that I was only waiting till I had the means, and a settled profession, to ask you to be my wife.”

“And you could never marry a Girton girl ?” asked Freda, exactly mimicking his tone of disgust and horror.

No, never.”

Then that quite settles it, for a Girton girl' I mean to be, and so finish

my education and take a proper degree before I think of anything else," and she shook her pretty little head wickedly.

“ Your father will never allow it?"

“Oh yes he will, by the time the decision must be made. He says 'no' now, but I go on working just the same, and he knows it ; doesn't burn my books and set me to spinning all day long, as I suppose his grandfather would have treated such a rebellious daughter."

You will be wiser when the time for decision really comes."

“ Not if I've meanwhile engaged myself to be married, Francis, whether to you or any one else. I didn't mean to be personal.”

dismiss me, and thus ?” asked the young man, deeply mortified.

“I cannot help it, Frank; I am sorry," and she stretched out her hand to him with real feeling.

"Not sorry for me apparently, or you would not needlessly inflict such bitter pain and—”

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Then you

Oh, but Francie, dear, you will get over it, and I really do think that if I had yielded to my first momentary weakness and promised to be your wife, I should as a wife have inflicted far worse pain on you than this."

“ Your first thought then- ?” he asked, eagerly.

“Was, 'how nice you were, and how fond I was of you !' and that perhaps I might fail in obtaining this scholarship, and then I should feel a fool, and a foolish fool indeed. If I go up for that scholarship and don't


1-” You will marry me!” said Francis, conclusively, as if failure were then a consummation avowedly to be wished for, ending her sentence for her.

“No, I should go in for medicine. I have often wished to be a doctor-perhaps a surgeon."

Mr. Wollaston shrank a little away from her.

“Yes,” she went on, unmoved by his action, but having noted it, and with some relief, “I always did well in chemistry and physiology from the first, and I passed first class out of those ambulance classes, and my powers of manipulation have always amazed the doctors. Sometimes—sometimes I think," the young girl slightly lowered her voice, and her companion listened with keen interest, for he felt that now the true Friedeswide Erle was, at last, speaking to him, " that these long fingers, this strong wrist, my 'iron nerves,' as Dr. Plumptre called them, because I did not faint or flinch when he set my broken arm three years ago—but oh! it was a crunch and jar,—cannot have been given me for nothing, I don't think I have a heart, except for father and Brayscombe, but I have a head and hands, and if God ever sees fit to give me a little more—”

What? The young man could not imagine, looking at his old pretty playmate, with this new, strange, sweet self-distrust about her.

“A little more true womanliness! a little more of the humility and consideration for others, of true genius. But I am only, at present, a hateful, arrant, little flirt !" she cried, interrupting herself and trying to smile again, or I should have found some means of preventing your ever having spoken those words. I have tried to avoid them all the week, haven't I? But this afternoon I felt, when you told us you were staying on till Tuesday, it was a hopeless attempt after all, and the sooner it was over the better."

“ The better for whom ?” he asked bitterly.

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“For us both ; it has been spoiling all our pleasant old brother and sisterly friendship the last six months, hasn't it? Now, we can be just the same as we were before Easter,-I am afraid I was to blame then—a little led you on-but this Whitsuntide—'

“ You haven't led me on, -no indeed, -but perhaps it was too late, in honour, to begin to draw back—"

“Good gracious, Francesco mio, don't contract your brows and flash your dark eyes at me in that way!” cried Freda, laughing, but a little nervously,

we are not in a play, nor even in a book! I am very fond of you, you dear good old fellow,- I don't want to quarrel with you, and I can't see why I need. Dulcie—whom no one can call a flirtmanages much better with her lovers, though such a dear innocent inexperienced old soul in many ways. I know a man who did what is man's duty' to his lady love,


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• Worshipped the shadow of her shoe-tye,'

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all ;

and hasn't ceased to do so just because she won't marry

him." “Not that she prefers a Girton scholarship to him," sneered Francis Wollaston.

“No, Dulcie isn't quite up to the present education mark. No,she only prefers her dead lion to a living dog, and so should I in her place. No, Francie, don't try to interrupt me, I am not going to let you name the subject again. But I do want to keep good friends with

you and—now come and help me put by the lawn-tennis things, it is Saturday evening, father doesn't like seeing them about on Sundays, or even last thing on Saturday,—he'll be back directly," and she escaped from him and flew off into the open.

But Frank Wollaston stuck his hands in his pockets, marched off into the kitchen-garden, where Isa and Julius Denny were pelting one another with the faded cabbage-roses of which they had been clearing the trees, and left Freda to complete her task, if it pleased her, without his help. It did please her both to begin and to continue it, even she was conscious of at least a physical heart that could flutter, and, she feared, render her voice unsteady, unless she carried off this weakness of bodily organisation by some gentle continuous muscular action.

It is very foolish—but it is my first offer,” she said mentally, trying to excuse herself to herself, “I had no idea it could upset one so ! poor Francis ! and I dare say if I had never gone to Aunt Winstanley's, but been educated here under the blissful mediocrity of Dulcie's

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