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enable us to furnish- our bungalow in fine style.” “Our!” Norah said, en parenthèse. “ Doesn't that sound nice ?”.
Susy lay with a happy smile over her pale face. “Go on, dear,” she said, almost gaily. “Oh, I must make haste and get well.” Norah went on rapidly.
“I will telegraph as soon as I know officially, and you will prepare to come out in January; won't you? I wish you'd persuade one of your sisters to come with you,—you won't like travelling with strangers. Try and bring Margaret : tell her she'd make no end of a sensation here, and she's not too proud to let me have the pleasure of paying her passage; for it will be the greatest comfort to me to know you have her with you, and the greatest delight to me to show her off in India. And I have saved such heaps of money that it will be a charity to help me to spend it,-so that altogether she will do me an immense favour by · coming out.”
Norah did not try to comment; she knew how unlikely it was that Susy's bright hopes would be accomplished; but Susy herself, interrupted here :
“Isn't he good and generous ?” she said, softly. “I dare say he has been denying himself everything.”
“You will come out at the best time of year,”. Norah continued, “and be quite acclimatized before the heat sets in. Don't bring a lot of expensive clothes; you can get anything from Calcutta, and you only want a few visiting things here. All the ladies wear white, thin things—net or muslin, or whatever you call it. We are in the midst of the beastly rains—nothing thrives but mould. I am going out to dinner to-night, and expect to be drowned going; for there's a nullah to cross, which sometimes fills with a rush; but our ‘paternal Government thinks it cheaper to lose a few human lives than to spend rupees over a bridge. I shall leave early, so as to finish
this in time for the dâk early to-morrow morning, and to tell you how I got on. I accept all nice invitations so as to have some friends for you; and the people to whom I am going now are very nice,—they own the one spinster of the station. I am told she has an offer of marriage every day, but is holding out for a commissioner. You see we manage to do a little gossip out here ! Good-bye, for the present, my Susy,—my wife so soon to be. I shall write officially to your father next mail.”
Here Norah stopped. “There is no more,” she said ; “I suppose he hasn't had time to finish, only this inclosure.”
“Well, dear," Susy exclaimed, “that's from him too; it must be—no one else would write to me. Read it, dear."
“Well; it isn't like his writing !" Norah said, as she opened the inclosure; and then there was silence.
Susy, looking at her sister, saw every atom
of colour die out of her face; and then an intense fear possessed her.
“What is it?" she cried. “Tell me quickly! Is he dead ?”
And Norah, impelled by the agony in Susy's voice to answer truly, said only,
“ Yes; he is dead."
CHAPTER IX. THE GILDED CAGE. To be only seventeen, very pretty, very healthy; to be rich, to have a fine house, fine carriages and horses, obedient servants, many acquaintances; to have known no sorrow, to have no bitter memories, all this surely constitutes the sum total of earthly happiness: and all this was possessed by Mrs. Polkely Seton. Nevertheless, Mrs. Polkely Seton was not so happy as a school-girl: for the latter revels in her two half-holidays a week, while the former had never a holiday at all. But she was not unhappy: she did not even think her position unnatural ; she was a good little girl, trying her utmost to be thankful for the splendour she owned, and only sometimes wondering, and then very vaguely, why she was not quite satisfied. She had been transplanted into another