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“My darling!' said Irene, as she mours of her unfortunate story took the child upon her lap, 'you reached their ears, how they wouldn't like to go away from would turn up their virginal noses your mamma-would you ?' at her and at poor little Tommy,
"No! You must come, too.' and declare they had suspected it
'I can't go, Tommy. I am from the very first. So she kept to never going back to the Court herself in those miserable little again, and my little boy must try lodgings, and made them all the to be happy here.'
duller and less pleasant for the * Don't cry, mamma! I will be fact. She was devoted to the happy. I will get the little broom child--to his baby lessons and and sweep up all the crumbs. I baby pleasures, and waited on like doing that much better than him like a faithful nurse from the donkey. And I will get your morning until night. She knew boots, and put them inside the that it could not be long now fender, and then they will be warm before Lord Muiraven returned to when you go out walking. And I England; and then, if she kept to -I-,' continued the child, look her resolution, she must inform ing all round the room to see him of his son's existence: but what he could do, and I will do she still cherished the hope that lots of things, mamma, if you he would not deprive her of him. won't cry.' And then he would She felt so desperate in her lonebring his mite of a pocket-hand- liness, that she meant to throw kerchief, and scrub her eyes until herself on his compassion, and enhe had made her laugh in spite of treat him not to take the boy herself, and think while this affec away, but let her bring him up, tion was spared to her she could as she had designed to do, and never be entirely unhappy. But a feel that she had something left hundred pounds a year is very,
still to render the future not all very little on which to keep two dark to her. And so she has been people--it is hardly enough to living for nearly four months feed them. With clothing they when Muiraven lands at the 'Coach were, of course, amply stocked; and Horses,' and despatches his but Irene (who was anything but messenger with the intelligence ignorant of the value of money) that is to shatter all her hopes. It found it hard enough to provide is a cold day in January: the air herself and the child with the is keen and frosty, and the ponds common necessaries of life, even in about Cocklebury are frozen over. such an out-of-the-way place as Irene has just come in from a long Cocklebury.
walk with her little man, who is It was a wonderful little village, very anxious—like all high-spidedicated, apparently, to the nur rited children—to be allowed to ture of old maids—who, one and go on the ice and slide; and she all, called upon Mrs. Mordaunt has been at some pains to explain and offered their assistance to her; to him how dangerous sliding is, but, though she was not ungra and how some little boys tumble cious, she declined all advances. down and break their noses, and She was not going to have it others tumble in and are drowned. said afterwards by these virtuous But her dreadful stories do not maidens that she came amongst appear to have much effect on them upon false pretences; and if Tommy. they had but known, etc., etc. 'I wouldn't be drowned!' he
She could imagine, if any ru says confidently. 'I would get
out of the hole again and run and estates-her child, which under back as quick as · I could to my these circumstances she can never mamma.'
hope to be allowed to keep. Her . And your mamma would give child, who for the last two years you a good whipping for being she has brought up and nourished such a naughty boy,' returns as her own, and grown to love as Irene, laughing, as she divests she believes that she could never him of his comforter and warm love another, to be taken awaycoat. ' No, Tommy, darling, I've to be reared, educated, and sent got something much nicer for you forth into the world without her than sliding on the ice. Guess having the right to offer even an what it is!'
opinion on the subject ! She reads 'A pudding !' says Tommy. through the letter twice, and then 'Yes! a pudding for dinner-& she gets up, and walking blindly nice little round pudding stuck full into the adjoining room, throws of plums, all for yourself. Make herself upon the bed in a parhaste and brush your hair and oxysm of despair. come and eat it.'
Oh, it is too hard ! it is too bitThe child has already forgotten terly, cruelly hard that this too the luxuries of Fen Court, and is should come upon her! that, turn as eager and excited over the pud- where she will God will not leave one ding stuck full of plums' as loophole by which she can escape though pudding had never been from utter desolation! She is an everyday occurrence. And yet weary of it all—this continued Irene had to think twice before struggle with misfortune - this she ordered it for him.
fighting against Fate, which only It is two o'clock, their dinner results in bruises and heart sickhour, and when the meat is re ness. She throws up the gamemoved, she sits by the fire and she will strive no more--she will watches the young rosy-cheeked never attempt to build up another rebel gormandizing his pudding, affection for herself. Let him and feels quite happy and content take his child and rear it as he to do so. She has so identified will—the farther away, the better, herself of late with this child-s0 for she will never trust herself to accommodated her conversation see him or to think of him again. and ideas to his, and schooled He was hers, and he is Muiraven's. herself to believe that there exists His father must accept the entire no one else in the world for her responsibility of him henceforth, but him, that she is beginning to for she cannot halve nor share feel lonely when he is out of her him-she must have him altosight. So she sits by, smiling gether, or not at all! whilst he eats and talks to her, *Mamma-mamma! may I have when Muiraven's letter is put into the rest of the pudding ? The her hand. The recognition of the piping voice is close by her side, writing makes her tremble; but and the little hand is pulling sturwhen she has opened and read it, dily at her petticoats. the news which it conveys makes She raises herself languidly and her tremble still more.
looks at him at the dark blue She cannot believe it-Muir eyes, the waving hair, the tout aven close at hand, ready to ensemble so like the man whose come at once and claim his love has spoilt her life. But this child-his child, born in lawful is no longer the little outcast-the wedlock, and heir to his titles poor, nameless, base-born child,