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In Five Books.



BY this time Mrs. Sheardown had
enveloped herself and Bobby in waterproof
wrappings. Maud Desmond was waiting,
warmly protected by a thick shawl, at the
vicar's elbow. Herbert Snowe shut and
locked the harmonium. Every one was
preparing to depart.

"Veronica!" called the vicar.

Miss Levincourt was still conversing
with Mr. Plew.

"Veronica!" repeated her father,
impatiently, " are you not coming?"

She turned round at the summons, giving
her hand in a farewell grasp to the doctor
as she did so.

She was very handsome.

The first thing that struck you on looking
at her face, was its vivid colouring.
Her skin was of a clear, pale, brown tint;
and on each smooth cheek there glowed a
rich blush like the heart of a June rose.
She had large, dark eyes, fringed round
with thick lashes, and surmounted by semi-
circular eyebrows, black as ebony. Her
hair was also black, shining, and very
abundant. It was disposed in elaborate
coils and plaits, which displayed its luxuriance
to the full, and was brought down low
on the forehead in crisp waves. Her lips
were very red, and her teeth very white.
There were defects in the form of her face.
But the brilliant eyes, glancing under their
arched brows, so attracted attention to
themselves, that few observers were
dispassionately critical enough to observe that
the lower part of the face overbalanced the
upper; that the nose was insignificant;
the mouth so full as to be almost coarse;
and the cheeks and chin so rounded as to
threaten to lose all comeliness of outline,
and to become heavy in middle life. Now,
however, at nineteen years of age, Veronica
Levincourt was a very beautiful creature.
But there was something in her face which
was not so easily analysed by a casual
observer as the form and colour of it. There
was a dissonance in it somewhere. Most
women perceived this. Many men did so
also. But they perceived it as a person
with a good ear, but ignorant of harmony,
perceives a false note in a chord.
Something jars: what, he knows not. The
skilled musician comes and puts his finger
on the dissonant note.

When Veronica laughed, her whole
countenance grew harmonious at once.
And herein lay the key to the puzzle.

The habitual expression of her face in
repose seemed to contradict the brilliant
glow of youth and health which made her
so strikingly beautiful. The rich gipsy
colour, the ripe red lips, the sparkling eyes,
the gleaming teeth, seemed made to tell
of light-hearted, abounding, girlish
happiness. But the expression of Veronica's
face when she let it fall into its habitual
lines, was wistful, sad, sometimes almost

For the rest, her figure was slight and
straight, and she carried herself with an
erect and yet easy grace.

"Coming, papa," said she, carelessly.
And then she gathered about her shoulders
a scarlet eloak with a hood to it.

"You should have had your shepherd's
plaid, Veronica," said her father. "That
red thing is not nearly warm enough for
such an evening as this."

"O, it is so becoming to Miss Levincourt,"