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taking the future quite easily, not thinking what it was to brivg forth; but now I see that one ought to select one's path, to settle, to take up the more serious part of life. All this I have learned since I have known you ; since I have loved you,' he added, very low, looking earnestly in her face.

She took the confession quite calmly; not a tinge of additional colour, not the slightest shyness or confusion appeared in her. She kept her quiet, sweet, ease of manner undisturbed. And what was Edmund to say more? He felt somehow baffled, helpless, before this in vulnerable calm.

• Won't you say anything to me?' he cried ; “I don't know who you are, or where you are living, but I love you, Maud. Do not be angry.

Oh, no! Not angry,' she said, in her soft voice ; only you cannot understand. I am not here to make friends, though I have always wished that someone might see me and speak. And before you spoke I had noticed you; I thought to myself, This one surely—this one surely! There was something about you ; but there had been so many, so many before,' she said, with an innocent, wistful look, like the unconscious protest against neglect, yet acquiescence of a child.

• But you will give me an answer, Maud ? I love you, sweet. I do not know,' said Edmund, with passion, 'what has happened to you ; what it is that makes you wander like this; but I will not mind, whatever it is. I will take care of you ; I will watch over you ; it will make no difference to me. Do you not understand me, dear ? ' He put out his hand to take hers, to secure her attention, to show her how serious he was. And then Edmund felt as if the whole misty heaven and earth were going round about him. He could not find the hand he sought. It was as if some spell prevented him from touching her. He felt again more baffled, more confounded, and hopelessly kept back, than words could say.

'You must not ask me questions,' she made answer, softly, after a pause. It is not permitted to answer questions. I am here—for a time. I have been here no one could tell how long. We do not count as you do. If I told you more than this you would not understand.'

* I will understand if it is about you. But, Maud, Maud, answer me first. Give me your hand. Won't you give me your hand ?'

A look of trouble came into her face; yet so soft, so shadowy, that it did not seem pain. The smile did not go out of her eyes.

She shook her head gently, standing so near him, her hands crossed, clasping each other. He had only to put out his arms and take her into them, but he could not. She was close, close to him, and yetwhat was it that stood between? N the mild refusal with which she shook her head; something that chilled his blood in its ardour, and made his heart contract with awe. He put out his hands beseeching, but seemed to come no nearer; and yet she did not

6

himself to know what he was saying, what was happening, and yet he heard and meant every word that rushed to his lips. Sweet! I will understand anything; I know there must be something strange. Whatever it is I accept it, I accept it! Say you will love me, Maud! Say you will—marry me!'

What happened? One of the Beresford boys, as Edmund dimly perceived, had been approaching, rushing along towards the door; but somehow the intruder had made no difference to him, and had not stopped him in his impassioned suit. At this moment, however, the boy rushed headlong past, dashing against her, touching Edmund's coat as he plunged along. The lovely, gentle figure was straight in his way. Edmund caught him by the throat with a fury beyond words.

The lady!' he stammered out; 'you brute, do you not see the lady?' and flung him wildly to a distance upon the wet ground.

Fred Beresford was altogether taken by surprise. He was not a boy of a patient temper, and he was in a hurry; but the wildness of the other bewildered him. He picked himself up, and came forward wondering, to where Edmund stood, pale as death, and gazing wildly about him. Fred's wrath was entirely quailed at this sight. • What is it?' he asked, quite timidly and softly laying his hand on Edmund's arm.

The young man was trembling in every limb; he did not seem able to move. His eyes were staring wildly here and there. There was no softening dusk as yet to conceal anything; all was white daylight, cold and pale and clear. When he felt Fred's touch he turned upon him for one second, furious, violently thrusting him away. • You have killed her!' he said; and then clutching the boy again, - Where is she? where is she? where is she?' Edmund cried. Fred felt the whole trembling weight of his companion upon him. His boyish strength swayed under the burden.

• Are you ill, old fellow ?' he said, alarmed. “What is the matter? I thought you were saying poetry. I don't know what you mean about a lady

· You have killed her," he said, wildly clutching the boy's throat; then, all in a moment, he softened, and burst into a transport of cries. • Where is she? where is she? Maud ! Maud ! come back to me, cried the young man, with a voice of despair. There was nothing to be seen, Fred swore afterwards, nothing, except the big stone pedestal with the urn upon it, and behind, the mossy old wall.

' I say—you are ill, said the boy. "Come in, that's the best thing to do; come in to mother. Maud's there with her, if it's Maud you want. Edmund, come along.'

Edmund broke from him, pushing him away. He went all round the pedestal, wandering about it, feeling it with his hands. Then he held out those hands piteously, appealing, into the empty air. Maud ! Maud !' he cried. “Don't laugh at me ; don't play with me,' as if he were talking to somebody, the astonished boy described. Fred at

wish you'd come out, father, into the Lime-tree Walk to Edmund-he's gone mad,' the boy cried.

When Sir Robert went out, Edmund was standing leaning against one of the lime trees, gazing at the green space which contained the pedestal and the urn. When he was entreated to come in, he answered quite gently, that if he only waited patiently she would be sure to come back. This is where she always comes. She is fond of this place,' he said. “There are things I don't understand about her, but she will come. I am sure she will come if you will only let me wait.' - Tell me, my good fellow, all about it,'Sir Robert said. He was a kind man wben his attention was fully roused, and now he remembered that his wife had told him something of a strange lady whom Edmund had seen in the park. Edmund told him the whole story, standing there with his back against the tree. He asked Sir Robert first to stand close to him, almost behind him, that nothing might interfere with his clear vision round. And then he told him all. She always tricks me,' he said, with an attempt at a laugh.

with an attempt at a laugh. She is so innocen - like a child. How she got away this time I cannot tell. There seems nothing to hide behind here. But she always does it. I confess, sir,' he added, with great candour and gravity, there are many things about her I do not understand; but whatever they are, I am ready to accept them all.'

· Have you ever seen her more than once in the same day?' asked Sir Robert. "No?' “Then come with me, Edmund, it is of no use waiting. I think I can tell you something about her. Sir Robert put his arm into that of the young man. He scarcely knew himself what he meant ; but it was clear that something must be done. And Edmund yielded to the mingled reason and temptation. No, he had never seen her twice the same day; and to know about her, was not that what he wanted most in the world ? He suffered himself, after one long glance around, to be led

away. 1

Sir Robert took him upstairs to an old gallery which he remembered very well as a child, which had been given up to the children's romps on wet days, a place full of pictures, the accumulations of an old house

-all kinds of grim portraits of early Beresfords. There were some good pictures among them, he had always remembered to have heard said, and so long as Edmund could recollect there had been an intention expressed of disinterring these treasures. “I don't know where it is exactly ; I don't know if it is still here. It was by a pupil of Sir Joshua's, and with something of his feeling. I have always intended to bring it downstairs, Sir Robert said, rummaging as he spoke among old dusty canvasses. Edmund stood by listless, in the lull of reaction after his great excitement. It was not here, he thought, that anything would be told him about her. He did not understand what his companion meant. He was only waiting, feeling hazily that he had some further trial of patience to go through, not very anxious now for anything but the end of the day, and that another might dawn, on

himself to know what he was saying, what was happening, and yet he heard and meant every word that rushed to his lips. “Sweet ! I will understand anything; I know there must be something strange. Whatever it is I accept it, I accept it! Say you will love me, Maud! Say you will—marry me!'

What happened? One of the Beresford boys, as Edmund dimly perceived, had been approaching, rushing along towards the door; but somehow the intruder had made no difference to him, and had not stopped him in his impassioned suit. At this moment, however, the boy rushed headlong past, dashing against her, touching Edmund's coat as he plunged along. The lovely, gentle figure was straight in his way. Edmund caught him by the throat with a fury beyond words.

* The lady!' he stammered out; ' you brute, do you not see the lady?' and flung him wildly to a distance upon the wet ground.

Fred Beresford was altogether taken by surprise. He was not a boy of a patient temper, and he was in a hurry; but the wildness of the other bewildered him. He picked himself up, and came forward wondering, to where Edmund stood, pale as death, and gazing wildly about him. Fred's wrath was entirely quailed at this sight. • What is it?' he asked, quite timidly and softly laying his hand on Edmund's arm.

The young man was trembling in every limb; he did not seem able to move.

His eyes were staring wildly here and there. There was no softening dusk as yet to conceal anything; all was white daylight, cold and pale and clear. When he felt Fred's touch he turned upon him for one second, furious, violently thrusting him away. - You have killed her!' he said; and then clutching the boy again, 6 Where is she? where is she? where is she?' Edmund cried. Fred felt the whole trembling weight of his companion upon him. His boyish strength swayed under the burden.

• Are you ill, old fellow ? ' he said, alarmed. What is the matter? I thought you were saying poetry. I don't know what you mean about a lady.'

* You have killed her,' he said, wildly clutching the boy's throat; then, all in a moment, he softened, and burst into a transport of cries. - Where is she? where is she? Maud ! Maud ! come back to me, cried the young man, with a voice of despair. There was nothing to be seen, Fred swore afterwards, nothing, except the big stone pedestal with the urn upon it, and behind, the mossy old wall.

I say—you are ill,' said the boy. Come in, that's the best thing to do; come in to mother. Maud's there with her, if it's Maud you want. Edmund, come along.'

Edmund broke from him, pushing him away. He went all round the pedestal, wandering about it, feeling it with his hands. Then he held out those hands piteously, appealing, into the empty air. Maud ! Maud ! ' he cried. Don't laugh at me; don't play with me,' as if he were talking to somebody, the astonished boy described. Fred at

wish you'd come out, father, into the Lime-tree Walk to Edmund-he's gone mad,' the boy cried.

When Sir Robert went out, Edmund was standing leaning against one of the lime trees, gazing at the green space which contained the pedestal and the urn. When he was entreated to come in, he answered quite gently, that if he only waited patiently she would be sure to come back. “This is where she always comes. She is fond of this place,' he said. “There are things I don't understand about her, but she will come. I am sure she will come if you will only let me wait.' • Tell me, my good fellow, all about it,'Sir Robert said. He was a kind man when his attention was fully roused, and now he remembered that his wife had told him something of a strange lady whom Edmund had seen in the park. Edmund told him the whole story, standing there with his back against the tree. He asked Sir Robert first to stand close to him, almost behind him, that nothing might interfere with his clear vision round. And then he told him all. “She always tricks me,' he said, with an attempt at a laugh. She is so innocent -like a child. How she got away this time I cannot tell. There seeins nothing to hide behind here. But she always does it. I confess, sir,' he added, with great candour and gravity, 'there are many things about her I do not understand; but whatever they are, I am ready to accept them all.'

Have you ever seen her more than once in the same day?' asked Sir Robert. "No?' "Then come with me, Edmund, it is of no use waiting. I think I can tell you something about her.' Sir Robert put his arm into that of the young man. He scarcely knew himself what he meant; but it was clear that something must be done. And Edmund yielded to the mingled reason and temptation. No, he had never seen her twice the same day; and to know about her, was not that what he wanted most in the world ? He suffered himself, after one long glance around, to be led away.

Sir Robert took him upstairs to an old gallery which he remembered very well as a child, which had been given up to the children's romps on wet days, a place full of pictures, the accumulations of an old house -all kinds of grim portraits of early Beresfords. There were some good pictures among them, he had always remembered to have heard said, and so long as Edmund could recollect there had been an intention expressed of disinterring these treasures. I don't know where it is exactly; I don't know if it is still here. It was by a pupil of Sir Joshua's, and with something of his feeling. I have always intended to bring it downstairs, Sir Robert said, rummaging as he spoke among old dusty canvasses. Edmund stood by listless, in the lull of reaction after his great excitement. It was not here, he thought, that anything would be told him about her. He did not understand what his companion meant. He was only waiting, feeling hazily that he had some further trial of patience to go through, not very anxious now for anything but the end of the day, and that

another might dawn, on

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