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Joyce's model. Inside, wrapped holding it in her hand, and gave carefully in paper, were the two Janet a look. No words passed silent witnesses the records of between them, but for the moment the tragedy, the evidence which their hearts were one. would be conclusive.
Mrs Hayward opened the folded ward's hands trembled too as she paper, then gave a low cry, and came to this decisive point—they looked at Janet once more—and dropped out of her fingers into her to both the women there was lap. Her heart gave a leap of re- moment during which the solid lief when her eye fell on the hand- earth, and this little prosaic spot writing of the uppermost, which on it, seemed to go round and was unknown to her. The other round. was folded, nothing showing but “ It will be what you was lookthe paper, yellow and worn at the ing for?” said Janet at last. She edges with much perusal. In spite had been full of lamentation and of herself, she took this up with a resistance before. She felt nothfeeling of repugnance and dread- ing now except the hand of fate. afraid of it, afraid to touch it, The other shook her head. afraid to see -what instinct told “Yes,” she replied, and said no her must be there. She paused, more.
In the meantime Colonel Hay- pression of coolness in the midst ward was walking up and down of great warmth which is so strikthe village street, waiting for his ing. He cast an anxious look of wife. He passed and repassed the suspense over his shoulder towards door two or three times. He was the house where his wife was ; very nervous, hanging about, not but as he did not see her, nor any knowing what to make of himself. sign of her coming, he turned The church stood at the end of down the path to meet Joyce. It the street, and a path led down was rather by way of diverting his by the side of the churchyard, own anxiety than from any eagerin the direction of Bellendean. ness to address her. He seemed As he came to the end of this, to want somebody to whom he he stopped in the abstraction of could talk to relieve his own mind; his mind to look down the line of for up to this moment, except shade which a high hedgerow oppo- curiosity and anxiety in respect to site to the low mossy wall of the the past, and a certain admiration churchyard threw half-way across of herself and her demeanour, the path.
Some one was coming Joyce, upon her own account, had along in this clear and soft shadow, not called forth any overwhelming which was so grateful in the midst interest in his mind. He had not of the sunshine. It startled him to had leisure as yet to get so far as see it was Joyce, in her dark dress, her—for herself. He went on to her face relieved against the broad talk to her because she was in it, brim of an untrimmed straw hat, concerned like himself, though she which added in its tone of creamy might not be aware of the fact, in white additional force to the very the matter which his wife at presdelicate tints of her face, so clear ent was engaged in clearing up. It in the shadowy air, with that im- was as if the scene then going on
at the cottage was a consultation the wayfarer came suddenly out of doctors upon the life or death upon the Firth, the enclosed circle of a beloved patient. Those who of low hills which
protects the waiting breathless for the narrower sea at the Queen's Ferry opinion, which is at the same and the sheltered basin of Queen time a sentence, are glad to get Margaret's Hope. The sight of together to ask each other what this wonderful combination of sea they think,—at least, to stand to- and sky and solid soil, the soft hills gether and wait, feeling the sup- rising round, the mass of grey port of company. This was Col- stones on the water's edge, which onel Hayward's feeling. He went marks a ruined castle, the island towards the girl with a sense thạt in the midst, the widening out of she had more to do with it than sea and sky beyond into the inany one else—but not with any finite, into the wider Firth and the perception of its immense import- stormy waters of the northern sea, ance to her.
affording an ever-open door for Joyce had gone out in the free- the fancy,—were delightful to this dom which comes to all the mem- imaginative girl. She had taken bers of the scholastic profession, her book, but she did not open it small and great, with the first —for which she upbraided herself, morning of the holidays. To have confessing in the secret depths of no lessons to give, no claim of one her soul that Andrew would not kind or another, nothing but their have done so,—that he would have own occupations, whatever these read and expounded and discussed may be, gives to these happy peo- and found a new beauty in every ple a sense of legitimate repose. line, where she, so much his intelFor one thing, the members of al- lectual inferior, did nothing. She most every other profession have did not even think — if further to go away to secure this much- avowal must be made, she did not desired leisure, but to the teacher even see the lovely landscape for the it comes, without any effort, by sake of which she had come here. It appointment of nature so to speak, entered into her, reflecting itself in by a beneficent arrangement which her dreamy eyes, and printing ittakes all selfishness out of the en- self in her mind; but she did not joyment, since it has been invent- look as Andrew would have done, ed, not for the good prrimarily of finding out beautiful “lights," and himself, but of the flock who are commanding all the details of the so happily got rid of, to their own scene. Joyce was a little shortperfect satisfaction. The sweet sighted, and did not see all the consciousness that the happiness details. It was to her a large and freedom of so many sufferers blurred celestial world of beauty has been consulted before one's and colour, and abundant deown, gives sweetness and grace to licious air and sunshine. Her it. Joyce had risen this morning thoughts went from her, where she with that exquisite sense of free- sat in the heart of the morning, dom, and she had gone out with looking over the Firth, with all a book as soon as the household its breadth of melting light and work she never neglected was over, reflection, to those low hills of the to read and muse on a favourite further shore. spot, a point in the park at Bellen- It had been thus that she had dean out of reach of the house, entered upon her holidays in the where behind a great screen of trees other days when life had no cares.
The dreamings about Lady Joyce, Colonel looked very anxious too; and all the speculations as to her his face was agitated, and paler future, had come in other scenes, than usual. When he came up to where there was a want of bright- her, he stopped. “I don't think," ness and of a stronghold of her he said, “that we were ever introown to retire into. Here she had duced to each other; but stillnot needed that fanciful world of You have been taking a walk this her own. But to-day Joyce was dif- fine morning ?" ferent. After a while she began to “. The holidays have just begun, become insensible altogether to the sir," said Joyce, respectfully. “ This scene, and resumed more personal is the first day, and though I am musings instead. “Young lady, very fond of my work, freedom is where did you get your name?” sweet at first.”' It was not the first time she had “Only at first ?” been so questioned. Half the “ It is always sweet,” she said, people she met asked her the same: with a smile; “but never so delibut not as Colonel Hayward did. cious as the first day.” "I knew some one once"-what Their hearts were not in this did he mean? why did he not come light talk, and here it came to an back and tell her? These thoughts end. He had turned with her, and became urgent after a while, so they were walking along side by that she could not sit and dream, side. Great anxiety-tremulous as was her wont in her favourite and breathless suspense—were in spot. She got up with a little im- the minds of both on the same subpatience and vexation and disap- ject and yet in aspects so differpointment, and came home. But ent. The soft transparent shadow in the lane which led up to the of the hedge kept them from all village street, in the clear shadow the flicker of light and movement of the tall hawthorn hedge, behold outside, giving a sort of recueillesome one advancing to meet her, ment, a calm of gravity and stillat sight.of whom her heart began ness to the two figures. Had they to beat—more loudly than it had been in picture, there could have ever beaten at the sight of Andrew been no better title for it than Halliday; it sprang up thumping “ The Telling of the Secret.” But and resounding: “He knows who yet there was no secret told. He I am,” she said to herself. “Per- was thinking of nothing less than haps he will tell me; perhaps he of that which occupied her mind, is looking for me to tell me. Per- and was unconscious of the wistful haps he is something to me.” Her looks which she gave him timidly veins seemed suddenly to fill with from time to time. At last he a rushing quick-flowing stream. turned upon her, and asked the
Colonel Hayward took off his strangest question, with a tremor hat as he came up. This was to and quiver in all his big frame. him an everyday action, but to her “Do you remember
mother?" an unusual grace, a homage which he said. only lately had ever been given to My mother!” The sudden her, and which she esteemed dis- shock brought a wave of colour proportionately as a sign of special over her. “Oh, sir,” said Joyce, chivalry. It brought the colour " how could I remember her? for to her cheeks, which ebbed again she died when I was born." the moment after in the Auctua- " True, true—I had forgotten tions of her anxiety. The old that,” he said, with an air of con
fusion. Then added—“You must “ It would do no good either," forgive
My mind was he said : then turned round to her, full
and took her hand between his Of what was his mind full ? He two large brown hands, which were fell silent after this, and for some trembling. "You are very like time no more was said. But it her,” he said, -- "so like her that I gradually came to be impossible to am forced to believe. She looked Joyce to keep silence. She turned just as you are doing when I saw to him, scarcely seeing him in the her last. Some relationship there rush of blood that went to her must be there must be !” Here head.
he dropped her hand again, as if “Did you know my mother?” he had not known that he held it. she said. “Oh, sir, will you tell “ There was wrong done to herme?
Do you know who she was ?" the Joyce I mean. She was made "I can't tell-I can't tell,” he very unhappy; but no wrong was said, shaking his head. “ It may meant on-on my-on-on his be all a mistake. We must not part. Would you really like to make too sure.”
hear the story? But it may turn think- -” she cried, out to be nothing—to have nothing and stopped, and looked at him, to do with you. searching his face for his meaning “Oh, tell me; it will fill up the
-the anxious open face which was time; it will ease the suspense." held before her like a book-though 6. That is what I feel,” he said ; he did not look at her in return."and you will keep the secret—that She put her hand, with a light is, there is no secret; it is only momentary touch, on his arm. what happened to what hap“Perhaps you don't know," she pened long, long ago-to-to one of said hurriedly, "that I have things my friends: you understand," he of hers — things she left — that said tremulously, but with an effort would settle it—that would show to be very firm, looking at her, “to you—'
—one of my friends. He made a little gesture of as- Joyce made a sign of asserit, too sent, waving his hand. “My wife much absorbed in what she was is there: that is what keeps me in about to hear to think what this this suspense."
warmth of asseveration meant. It “ Where? Where ?"
was a relief to him to speak. It He pointed vaguely in the direc- was like going over all the changes tion of Joyce's house. “She has of the illness when a beloved sufgone-to see everything !” he said. ferer lies between life and death.
For the moment a flash of sudden “ They met," he said, “abroad, anger came to the eyes of Joyce. at a foreign station. She was very “They are all mine!” she cried. young. She was with people that “It was to me she ought to have were not kind to her. They marcome. I am the one chiefly con- ried in a great hurry, without proper cerned !" Then the sudden fash precautions, without thinking that quenched itself, and her look grew anything could be wrong. They soft and wistful once more. “Oh, came home soon after for her health, sir," she said, “if it was the Joyce and I–I had to-I—I don't quite you thought-if it was her you remember- ” his voice seemed to supposed —who was she. To tell die away in his throat; then with me that, even if it should turn out another effort he recovered it and all different, would do no harm." went on—“Her husband had to
leave her and go back-to his duty: effect upon Colonel Hayward. He and then she heard from some turned round upon her, steadying wicked person-oh, some wicked himself, looking her in the face, person !_God forgive her, for I with momentary wonder and somecant'-that it
not true thing like indignation; then the marriage. It was, it was ! I pro- energy died out of him all at once, test to you no thought of harm- and he nodded his head again. good Lord ! nothing but love, “My father! then I have a honest love—and it was all right, father,” said Joyce, with a voice as all right, as it turned out.”
soft and tender as a dove's. She “But she thought—she had been was not now paying any attention deceived !” Joyce listened with to him or his looks, but was enher head drooping, keeping down tirely absorbed in this new wonderthe climbing sorrow in her throat, ful discovery of her own. hardly able to find her voice.
But he started with a sudden “She was always hasty,” he
- Good God !” as if somesaid. “I am not the one to blame thing new-something too astoundher-oh no, no-it was not won- ing to understand — had flashed derful, perhaps, that she should be- upon him. Her father! why, so lieve. And letters to India were it was! - SO he- He had not then as now—they took so long thought of no subject but this a time; and something happened to for days, and yet this point of delay the answer. It was what you view had not opened upon him. call nobody's fault-only an acci- They had reached the head of the dent-an accident that cost
lane, and were now in the village “You are very, very kind-oh, street, turned towards the cottage you are kind; you speak as if you in which Joyce had lived all her had felt for her with all your heart life, and near enough to see the -as if she had been your own.” light little figure of Mrs Hayward
He gave her a startled look, and standing at the door. This caught made a momentary pause : then he his attention, but not hers. For proceeded, “That's all,-all that Joyce had plunged suddenly with anybody has known. She disap- a new impulse back into the enpeared. His letter came back to chanted country of her dreams. him. He could not get home to A father—and one who had done search for her. It had to be trusted
no wrong—who was not to blame to others. After years, when I -a father living! It was only came back, I-I— but nothing when she turned to Colonel Haycould ever be found.”
ward, after the first bound of exhil"Sir,” said Joyce, gasping a little aration and breathless pleasure, to to keep down her sobs, “I think ask him, clasping her hands unthat must have been my mother. consciously, “Who is my father?” I_think it must be. She begins that she saw the extraordinary in her letter to tell him-she calls commotion in his face.
He was him Harry_was that his name?" looking at her, and yet his eyes
The old Colonel made a noise in made quick voyages to and from his throat which sounded like a his wife. The lines of his face sob too: he nodded his head in had all melted into what Joyce assent, as if he could not speak. felt to be the “ kindest” look she
“She begins to tell him—is he had ever met. And yet there living still?"
was alarm and boundless anxiety This question had the strangest in it. He looked as if he did not