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            IN FIVE BOOKS.

                   BOOK I.


Sir John Gale, after his first appearance
in the vicar's parlour, came daily to sit

His afternoon visit became an established
custom, and, after the second time, it seemed
as though he had been familiar there for

He grew stronger very quickly. It was
not long before he began to speak of
departing. There seemed, indeed, to be no
valid reason why he should linger at the
vicarage. And yet he stayed on.

"I shall go abroad as soon as we have
some assurance of milder weather," he said
to Mr. Levincourt. "Spring is delicious
in Italy. I shall wait, however, until I
hear that the Alps are not too impassable;
for, of all things, I detest a sea voyage, and
the two hours in the Channel are always
worse to me than a week's land travelling.

"Meanwhile, why not remain here?"
said the vicar. "There is no need for you
to make a move until you set off for the

To this, Sir John Gale replied that his
intrusion at Shipley vicarage had already
been long enough; that he should never
forget his host's kindness, but it behoved
him not to trespass on it too far; that,
although he certainly had no ties of friendship
or relationship which specially claimed
his presence just then, in any other part of
England, he must nevertheless make up his
mind to say farewell to Shipley as soon as
the doctor's permission to travel could be

All this, and more to the same purpose,
said Sir John Gale. And yet he lingered

The spring set in early, after a severe
winter. By the beginning of April, there
came soft, bright days, with a southerly
breeze which tempted the inmates of the
vicarage forth from the house.

Some such days immediately followed
the dinner-party at Mrs. Sheardown's.

One afternoon, Sir John, beholding from
his chamber window, Miss Levincourt strolling
in the garden, presently ventured
forth to join her.

"May I walk here, Miss Levincourt?"
he asked, pausing at the threshold of the
glass door that led into the garden.

"O, by all means. But is it sunny
enough here? The evergreens give a very
damp shade. If you are not afraid to
venture further, you would have more warmth
and a southern aspect, there, beyond the

So Veronica and her father's guest
wandered slowly on and on, looking out
over the common dappled with cloud
shadows, gazing at the far, hazy horizon,
pausing now and again for a moment, but
still proceeding in their course until they
reached the churchyard of St. Gildas.

Sir John declared that the balmy air
was a cordial that did him more good than
any medicines. Still, warm as it was
for the season, he dared not sit in the churchyard
to rest, and, as he turned to go back,
he was evidently tired.

A frown darkened his face. "I ought
not to have come so far without Paul," he
said. "I am still so devso unaccountably

"It is my fault," exclaimed Veronica.