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hotel-keeper, attempting to assume Percy ordered another bottle of the calmness of contempt ; "it champagne. doesn't matter to me, sir ; gentle- She rose and went to the winmen come and gentlemen go-it dow. She could not say how faint doesn't matter to me, sir. But I she felt. can't allow gambling ; clear up the The courtyard was very pretty. cards, sir, this is not a private Full of flowers, and shrubs, and
little lamps, it seemed the very “Show us a private room, then, place for a
And the you old fool,” cried the Spaniard; wild, wicked Spanish song, which “ show us a room, and send some came in fits and starts from that brandy and sodas there. Come, window near, suited
the scene mon cher, we'll have out our game, wonderfully well. and make a devil of a row upstairs Laura never forgot the look of to pay out this old fellow. I that courtyard, or the scent from wonder if I could get a banjo ; I'd the flowers ; for she endured terror set open the door and sing some and amazement as she gazed on nice songs for the ladies.”
them. The sound of that voice The gentleman with the languid curdled her blood. English voice was going up the “Has he a wraith- -a double,” hotel stairs with his wife while this she said to herself. “Can there be went on. They paused a moment two José Yriartes ?” to listen to the loud dispute, which The voice ceased : but the sound penetrated the whole house. The of it haunted her. She rose in buxom landlady stopped too, and the morning pale and still under lifted her hands and eyes to heaven, the influence of an uneasy feeling and crossed herself.
she could not account for. The English lady trembled as “We will go for a drive,” said the voices came up to them
Sir Percy over his breakfast. trembled, and quickly put her hand
“ There's not much to be seen, it's on her husband's arm for support. true; but you want some fresh air “ What's the matter, little before we go on.
You look like a woman ?” he asked, as he felt her ghost, Laura. The sea was too trembling hand.
much for you.” “I don't know-I am frightened She laughed, and with some -those men frighten me.”
pretty speech soon pacified him. “Why, Laura,” laughed her He rose from the table, and, husband, "I thought you were the taking a cigar, prepared to go out. pluckiest little woman out ! Come “ Don't be an hour, Laura,” he on up stairs : you are tired, that is said. “I shall have a carriage what it is."
ready directly. You'll find me on They went on, by which they one of the lounges in the courtavoided the sight of the noisy yard. It's too much trouble to gentlemen, who were just emerg- come up stairs again.” ing from the coffee-room. And So saying, he sauntered away. Lady Flaxen, with a heart sick And Laura, putting on her hat with terror, went to her room. with its long, cream - coloured
Later on, when the wild air of a feathers, and drawing her silk Spanish drinking song was heard mantle around her, before the from the open window of a room mirror, allowed to herself that her which looked on the pretty lamp-lit husband was right-she did look courtyard, she started and trem- like a ghost. Fortunately the bled again so violently that Sir remedy for excessive pallor is easy.
As she opened the door she leer and a smile of consummate heard voices ; stepping out she assurance, advanced a step towards saw two men ascending the stairs. Laura.
There was the burly landlord, “ Mees Laura,” he said, enand beside him a man with an in- gagingly, "I am most unhappy. describable air of slovenliness
see me without any about him. His clothes were good money.
The rascal Frenchman enough, but they did not look as that I played cards with last night, if they had been made for him. he cheated me, he won from me They hung loosely upon his thin every sou! Is it not unhappy for figure. His face wore a rough, poor José ? And the man is gone, unshaven look, caused principally there is no one to lend to me. My by a growth of short harsh black friends they will soon send money; hair on his lip and chin. There but this great hotel man, he will was a something about him which not believe, and he refuses me the can only be described by a slang brandy and soda for which I am word—à seediness, which made very dry. Mees Laura, you will Laura shrink a little to let him help your poor José ?" pass. She never liked men who He put his hands appealingly lacked the appearance of pros- together, and smiled. Afterwards, perity; and as she stood there, in when it was over, Laura wondered her rich dress, with diamonds to herself whether bears grin when sparkling at her neck, she seemed they are hugging a victim. to belong to another world from But now she stood shivering, that of this dark ill-dressed man. dumb. Was it for this that she He saw her
and before she had had gone through all the strain of time to step back, looked her in the past months ?
Was the man the face with his bold eyes.
unconquerable, that he should knew him then. It
escape from prison to torment her Yriarte.
His ready wit showed him the She was indignant as well as situation at once. His friends had frightened. She was enraged that told him of her wedding; looking her revenge should be thus baffled. in her face he saw it turn pale She framed her lips to say “No” with fear.
in answer to his appeal, when up “ Dios !” thought he to himself, the stairs came a lazy voice, raised “ the chicken is on her wedding just a little, Laura,
are you trip!”
ready?” See,” he said to the landlord Yriarte grinned from ear to ear, instantly, “it is unnecessary now and, leaning towards her, “Your to seize upon my luggage. Here José,” he said, in a low tone. is a lady who knows me very
Laura pulled off her glove in well.”
nervous haste, and, drawing from The burly landlord turned, and her finger a diamond ring, handed bowed low to the English lady it to him. She turned her eyes whose husband drank so much away, for she knew exactly how he champagne overnight and began would smile and bow, and try to the morning with Bordeaux. He kiss her hand. felt a great respect for her, and Without word or look she began waited with interest to see the to descend the stairs, fearing each result of this unexpected turn instand to meet her husband, drawwhich affairs had taken.
ing her glove on hastily to cover Yriarte with his most exquisite the absence of the ring. She
shivered again as she moved, but in eloquence; "and there is no this time not with fear, but rage. good in returning to that hotel with Last night the man's voice had those noisy men in it; and you affected her much as though she know you thought the wine very had seen a ghost. But now, with bad. Let us have some lunch at a the reality in all its inimitable im- café here; it will be such fun.” pudence standing before her, her Sir Percy, considerably to his blood began to boil instead of curd. own surprise, was persuaded into ling.
sending a package containing If she had been in England, she money to Laura's maid to pay the would have told Sir Percy some hotel bill; and, in fact, into doing tale to hoodwink him, and would what Laura pleased. But the have sent a policeman up the hotel truth was, that he was still capable stairs to take her old lover back to of being reduced to a sort of prison. But here she was helpless. gelatinous state by the fire of that There was nothing to be done but
wilful lady's eyes. to control herself as well as she So she got her way in this little could, enter the carriage and drive affair, by using her native gifts away by the side of her husband, for intrigue and persuasion. They who, looking at her as he lit another went in search of lunch, and cigar (having finished one while Laura set herself to amuse her awaiting her in the courtyard), re- lord, and seemed to enjoy herself marked that she looked much immensely. Yet all the while she better ; she was not half so pale. saw, not his face before her eyes,
“I don't like this place," she but that grinning face which had answered restlessly; “I always confronted her on the hotel stairs. hated Boulogne, it is so abominably Her heart turned sick when she vulgar.”
thought that chance might bring Well, we'll leave it this after- him to that very train, and accident noon,” answered Sir Percy, with his might lead him to the very carriage usual amiability.
she travelled in. And she had a · Why not sooner ? Let us go new sensation with regard to him, to the station and find out about which made her very uncomfortthe trains.”
able. His appearance in freedom “ You are an impatient little
was so unexpected and unaccountwoman,” remarked Sir Percy; but, able that she began to think he as he had no will of his own in the really must be much cleverer than matter, he had the horses turned herself: she was crushed by the towards the station. They found a entire futility of her own effort to train which departed at a sufficiently crush him. What if he should early hour to please Laura; and amuse himself-perhaps attempt then she suggested that the car- to maintain himself-by tormenting riage should go back for the lug- her? gage and her maid.
Laura, looking at her husband a capricious little
across the café table, wondered monkey,” said Sir Percy, whose whether she had better throw hereasy-going disposition was
self on her old lover's mercy, and, what startled by these freaks of as hating him seemed useless, fancy; "you wanted to go for a pretend to love him again : should drive when we came out."
she make him aid her in any future “Yes, but there isn't time, intrigues, and help her to make a dear,” said Laura, looking up at fool of her amiable husband ? Or him with those eyes so well trained would it be wiser to make a con
fidante of the latter gentleman Ernestine, you used not to be so instead ?
nervous.” She had her money
and “No,” said Ernestine, and I now that was made safe, she began ought not to be now. But my to set a high value on her social views of life—my comprehension position and her reputation. of how things should be—have all
And thus on the first day of her been so upset, so altered, that I don't honeymoon Laura found herself think I have got over it quite; in a full ocean of doubt and fear, and really it is startling to meet a with a path before her in which person in the street whom I should she felt as if rocks stood up out of as little have expected to meet as the deep sea.
person just dead - it
“Oh!” said Dorothy, with a
world of meaning. She then went A DRAWING-ROOM CHAPTER.
across the room, and, opening a “Dear Miss Armine, how glad I door, said, “ Coventry, Yriarte has am that your picture is getting on got out. Didn't I tell you so ?” so fast. It is really a great suc- Coventry a moment after came cess; but don't work too much into the room. He came and sat yet, or the Doldy Doctors will look down by Ernestine, as he always grave.”
did when she was present. “I have got good luck with it, “How do you know he is out ?” Mrs. Silburn !-it has found a pur- he asked Dorothy. chaser already."
“Ernestine has just seen him," They were talking in Mrs. Sil- she answered. burn's drawing-room. It was one
Ernestine looked from one to of her afternoons when her intimate the other. “Tell me," she said, friends gathered, when the writing
“ what makes you
take it so tables were pushed aside, and quietly? How is it possible?” Coventry, Mrs. Silburn, and the “All things are possible," said kittens were all supposed to have Dorothy oracularly,“where Governnothing to do but to be at the ment officials are concerned. I disposal of their visitors.
know a little of the efforts that “I was very much annoyed at have been made for him, and a losing my model before I had journalist gets to know something finished,” went on Miss Armine; of the wheels within wheels." “it was very difficult to complete “It is a strong case,"
said it. And it really is a pity that Coventry ; “when bribery for small such a perfect model should be a and influence for large people can convict.'
be backed by such an argument as “Poor Anton,” said Dorothy, that the matter had been manirising as she spoke, for Ernestine pulated in court, and that the was shown in just at that moment. vagabond had been sentenced more
“Are you speaking of Anton P" severely than he deserved, I don't she exclaimed. “Do you know know what officials are to do but anything about him? Whom do take the shortest way and save all you think I met yesterday in the the public fuss and worry which street ?"
otherwise might ensue.
And then “ Who !-how can I tell ?” said there is the consideration of Dorothy. “But I should like to
If we find that there is know what can have made you so a prisoner in our prisons unjustly excited. Come, sit down. Why, condemned, from that point of view
we may well be excused for giving "Why,' exclaimed of his It appears
absurd at friends, 'You are blind. Look at once that we should burden our- your hair.' And then he rememselves with his maintenance when bered that for a little while it had his own Government is willing and been allowed to grow.” anxious to take him off our hands. « Oh dear," said Ernestine, We have enough tax
“how strangely things are done in national purse to support our own
this world! wouldn't it be much ignorant criminals behind whom simpler and much less trouble if those iron prison gates close so people just did their duty." inexorably. When the condem- Coventry shook his head. nation of a foreigner appears “I am really very doubtful unjust, Government will surely find whether it ”
would," he said, some way of saving his porridge." “unless we could all be brought
Ernestine looked in bewilder- to do it at once. By the way, ment from one to another.
Minerva Medica, you must read “You don't mean to say,” she Matthew Arnold's poems; you exclaimed, “ that he has been continually remind me of him in knowingly let out ?"
the way in which
refer to this Dorothy shrugged her shoulders. world as a thing outside of your“You are so straightforward still,” self, a troublesome thing which you she said. “We will make cannot understand. I hail you as statements about Yriarte; but one of us poets; I never heard a there was a story known to a few thoroughly practical man say, in of us a while ago about a man of this world, for he could not stand equally influential connections who sufficiently outside of the world to had been sentenced for life. He use the words with any meaning." was a man much of Yriarte's sort, “Now you are laughing at me,' quite able to make himself com- said Ernestine, blushing, as she fortable under adverse circum- often did, under Coventry's penestances. They gave
him oakum to trating eye; “don't be hard on pick and told him to do a little me; I am not a poet, but only a when he liked. He passed the poor practical soul myself.” days reading novels. It is said “There you remind me of Matthat he read all Dumas' and all thew Arnold again ; he is always Scott's. When he got very bored posing as the practical man, inwith reading, he picked a little spector of schools, making reports oakum for a change and to restore on education in foreign countries, his circulation. One day he was and so on; but he is only practical fetched out of his cell and taken by effort. You will soon see in his into the governor's room. The poems how he speaks of this world governor sent away the gaolers as a prisoner might of his cell. who had brought him, and locked And it is just the same with you. the door on them. He then whis- You are perplexed and baffled by pered a word to our friend, and forms of life with which you have opening a small door pushed him no sympathy; and yet you want to through it and shut it behind him. work and take your place and live The man found himself in a court your life in the midst of them, and opening upon the street, where two so you call yourself practical.” of the aforesaid influential connec- “She is practical,” said Dr. tions awaited him. When they Doldy, who had just come in, and told him he was free, he was angry, quietly approached them. « I and said, “Nonsense, it is a trick.' should like you to see her shaking