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bility about her upon yourself. I ask only Lois and the ladies. Then she flung on her that I may share it, if a Pany need arises."
bonnet and mantle with hasty recklessness “I beg your pardon,” Lois answered very and went out into the street. She turned in humbly; " I did not mean to be fierce. But the opposite direction from Mrs. Moffat's I was frightened. I know how people feel house. She was not going home, though about other people. She is good now, "Mrs. Moffat might wonder what had become Miss Pendlebury. And oh, she is punished of her. enough ; let us do what we can."
“Let her wonder," said Lydia to herself; Aunt Barbara and Kate made a longer“ it does not matter to her; I am only her visit than they had intended, and Kate en- lodger." joyed a sense of adventure in returning She did not care what she did or where through the dark Perford streets to the she went, only she felt she could not sit still House by the Works.
in a little room. The whole world did not “How I liked the dear old mother owning seem large enough for her. The cold autumn that she had been a little narrow in her wind seemed to smother her. On she went Quaker youth,” she said. “The daughter through the Perford streets, at a pace which is like an ancient goddess in her strength would have attracted attention anywhere and simplicity. As long as any good work else, but which nobody noticed here. Even of hand or head is wanted in the world, she the steepness of the Culstead road did not will find something to do! I wonder if it is check her speed, though it made her heart not better to be provided for so, than to have thump heavily and sent the burning blood a fortune? That shop would make a picture. to her wan cheeks. And I'm sure our drawing-rooms would not, “ And this is how I am to go on for years except for an upholsterer's catalogue." and years !” she said aloud, for now there
When the two ladies went in-doors to wait was nothing to hear her but the half-leafless while the carriage was prepared to take Kate trees and the scanty hedgerow, though every to Culstead, they found a note on the hall now and then her swift feet sent the dead table. It was marked "immediate,” and the leaves whirring behind her, and startled her parlour-maid said it had been brought by with the fancy that somebody was stealthily the stable-boy from Wood Lodge, and that following. “ Years and years, and I suphe had inquired if Miss Pendlebury was posé, as nobody wants me, I shall live till I within, as, if so, he was bidden to await an am ninety. Nobody does want me—nobody answer. Yet it did not seem to require one, can want me. Of course I know Lois Enticfor it was in Mrs. Pendlebury's back-twisted, knapp has been good to me, I don't deny it, fretful handwriting, hysterically under-scored, and I know I've often made her miserable and it only said this :
enough-I don't deny that. Sometimes I doubt
if she will be as ready to begin doing good , you to discharge your sewing-girl instantly. again ; and if she isn't, I suppose I shall be
I I I have been, most providentially, informed, on the very best authority, that she is a know Lois has been kind,” she reiterated, as
always in the wrong about everything. I thoroughly bad character. If you boldly tax if something accused her of forgetting it; her with this, she will not dare to deny kind like we are to a starved kitten that it. Darling Barbara, you have such an unsuspecting heart, it is well you have some able to live, and then put down to take its
we go on petting till we are quite sure it is warier heads to protect you from imposturę own chance again. She does not count me I shall anxiously await news of your rid
as a friend. When she has to choose bedance of this dangerous creature.--Your devotedly, “ LAVINIA PENDLEBURY."
tween me and other people, I am the one
to be left. Of course it's quite right; it's Without a word Aunt Barbara handed the only what I should expect; it would not be note to her companion.
so unbearable if it was not for that. She has “Confound ! " cried Kate. "No, it's not her mother and all her household to worship swearing ; it's a quotation from the National her, and Miss Pendlebury to praise her, and Anthein,
that man in Germany to love her. She has Confound their knavish tricks.'»
never spoken to me about him. Oh no; it
would pollute his name to mention it to me. CHAPTER XIII.- .-ON CULSTEAD COMMON.
I have only heard of him by chance. And LYDIA CALDERWOOD did not fold up her I am to sit under the banquet of life and work until she heard the door close behind pick up the crumbs! I should like to see
how her angelhood would gather itself and I might as well leave off trying to be together if it had once got down where good and try to enjoy myself. No; I don't I have -- Lydia Calderwood, you are a mean that. If the only way I could keep demon !"
from evil was to shut myself up in a prison, The passion was past. The frenzy of I hope I'd do it, and lock the door inside despair which might rend her best friend, and slip the key under the door to prevent only because it must rend something, me from being able to change my mind. dropped down in her heart and was drowned But oh! the dreariness !" in a burst of tears. There was no longer a And just as her tears burst forth again, frantic woman rushing along the road-only she heard a groan which even to her una poor lost child standing in the dark, strung nerves was certainly neither her own crying for home. She was nearly in Cul- nor the creation of her fancy; yet the place stead by this time. Soft lamps burning in seemed utterly lonely. She was far enough pleasant chambers glared upon her, fixed from the high road for its lamps to be quite and lurid, through the heavy October mist. invisible in the thickening fog. Straight And there was no place for her, and she was before her were some low scraggy trees scarcely twenty years old, and it might go which she knew overhung a little hollow, on for such a long time! She felt as if she which was seldom quite dry, and which, was outside herself—was some strange, im- after such rain as had fallen lately, held propalpable, pitiful being weeping over the poor bably a pool. If that bitter groan came from little tired creature whose story she knew living creature, it must be crouching upon too well. She stretched her cold hand out the sand under the heathery lip of the into the darkness, as if she thought some- chasm. With the tears left on her cheek body might clasp it. “O God !" she cried, for the wind to dry, Lydia Calderwood stole “Lois's God! I don't believe you are far off
, forward. if I could only find you."
Was it a gorse-bush she could discern, or At that moment a heavy footstep on the was it a woman? She must creep down to gravel roused her, and she started aside from it if she would make sure. It lay quite still. the roadway and struck across the common, One moment she fancied she could see a slipping and stumbling in the darkness and bough, and that it was only a bush; the next damp. Walking there was nearly as hard as moment the bough assumed the semblance on a shingly shore; and she remembered of an arm flung upon the ground, with fingers when she had so walked, and how that same clutching the dust. night the streets of Perford had sent terror Lydia stepped carefully over the edge, and dismay into her heart—those familiar which crumbled and slipped beneath her homely streets, which now she had almost cautious steps. Still she could not be quite learned to love! Do many terrors vanish sure ; she reached forth her hand and she so? Would the years, whose long lonesome touched a gown—a satin gown, though that vista chilled her now, reveal resting-corners she did not notice at that moment. and fresh fountains as she walked bravely The heap stirred a little, and a voice came down them?
from it. “Let me alone,” it moaned. “If “But while you are yourself, Lydia Calder- I ain't a credit to you, you would not have wood, you will be always miserable,” that got anybody better to do what I did !" voice whispered which scarcely seemed her “ You must not lie here,” said Lydia. own, and yet seemed to rise from the deepest “ You will catch your death of cold and wet. depth of her being. “You have got all you You will slip into the water.” prayed for when you came to Perford-a “I mean to lay down in it. A very little secure dwelling, work, and kind friends—yet water's enough. I've heard of a woman that you are almost as ready to curse God and was found drownded in a tub. Her husband die as you were on that morning when you had been knocking her about and drove her stood by the sea.”
to it. Ah ! there's a many sorts of blows. Lydia's tears came slower and more softly. I wonder if he was her husband." “I don't think I should dream of killing The forlorn creature had turned a little myself now," she reflected. “I wonder if and raised her face as she spoke ; and there that shows that I've grown a little better. came such an odour of spirituous drink that That is what frightens me. I believe I am Lydia, faint and excited, nearly sickened. exactly the same as ever, only that I am out She turned away in disgust; then she of the way of temptation ; and if that's the stopped. case my repentance is not worth anything, “Is this the way I feel towards any sin
but my own ?” she said to herself. “And sure ; he will see to that. They'll call it down by the sea I was beginning to long nervousness and temporary insanity. They always for my wine, and to take a little always do, when it is a person who is well between meals. God help us all !” And off.” she went back to the woman.
“ But you are going home," persisted you come here ?" she said. “ This is not a Lydia. “ I will take you home; and I want fit place for you, whoever you are."
you to make haste, for I am growing very " I've come to be out of the way," the cold.” She felt that all appeal to higher woman answered. “I do nothing to please. impulses would be lost just now, and that If
you knew what it was to be afraid to eat her surest ally would be the stirring of some your food or to walk across a room, you'd of the physical instincts. know your life was a misery to you. I'd “ It is cold," said the other in a connever have had aught to do with a'fine fidential tone, " and, poor thing! you have gentleman,” she added, raising her voice to not much of a jacket. I don't notice it so a husky shriek.
“I'd have known he was much. Feel this shawl; isn't it a soft, warm tempting me to hell. But mine was one not beauty ?". Lydia mechanically obeyed. She so much above my own sort, and had got would do any little thing which might intaken in first himself; and he ain't any crease her influence over the degraded waif, genteeler than I am, if he could only see and it was then she noticed that the shaw} himself.” She went on, with a coarse maud- was a Chuddah, the dress of satin, and that lin laugh. “I know my girl knows he ain't, the pushed-about bent bonnet was adorned though she's a good girl and holds her with a long purple plume. This woman had tongue. But she's fond of me. She'd leave the home, the ties, the pleasant luxuries any of her fine lady governesses to come to which Lydia had longed for, and yet here her own mother—that she would, any day she was, with her life and her reputation at of the year. And she might have married Lydia's mercy. And Lydia thought, with a a lord, and why not? The lord's father's womanly yearning, what must it be to be wife had been an opera-dancer, and had a this woman's children-her grown children daughter who was an impudent hussy that apparently-who must realise all the horror took after her, and was insulting to me once, of it, and who yet might love her, even as though she made out afterwards it was a she loved the stained memory of her own mistake. And I only say 'Yes' and 'No' poor father! when I want to be genteel. And I ain't “But you will let me take you home now. bad-looking when my clothes suit me, and I am so chilly." Lydia persisted as if she they are always of the best.”
felt there was something kindly about the It was horrible to hear the vulgar common- miserable woman which would vaguely yield place talk mocking the tragedy of the situa- to the voice of appeal on another's behalf. tion and the hour.
“Which way shall we go ?” “Where is your daughter ?” Lydia asked, She supported her as she staggered to her anxious to keep the unhappy woman's be- feet. She would have been a tall, comely muddled thought upon some softening topic. matron could she have stood firmly upright.
“She's gone out, and word has come that “Ah! I knew I'd be hindered somehow," she won't be home till late this evening. I she muttered. “I might have saved myself suppose it is late now ?” she added inter-all this trouble. I never can put things rogatively, and then went on. “It was all through. You are a stranger here, surely," right when she went out this afternoon, or she added, with a tremulous scoff in her she wouldn't have gone-she wouldn't. voice,“ or you'd know the big house with the Often has she stayed at home, quite sud- shining red pillars and the gilt points to the denly, even after she'd put on her beautiful palings.” dresses, if she's fancied things were going Oh, I know the way to that,” said Lydia. wrong."
She had noticed the gilded palings, dull and “What will she do when she returns home coppery in the fog, only that very evening, to-night and finds you not there ?" pleaded having come along a side of the common Lydia.
where Lois had never brought her. “It “Ah! it'll come hard at first," answered won't take us many minutes to reach that." the other, beginning to shed maudlin tears. But the journey was not so speedy as it “But it will be over for good and all, and might have been under other circumstances. then it will come easier. It will be covered the woman stumbled and slipped over the up as respectably as can be, you may be uneven ground, and it took all Lydia's small