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                   IN FIVE BOOKS.

                    BOOK I.

IT was not until Mr. Levincourt had
been seated for some time in the railway
carriage, that he remembered that he was
ignorant of Lady Tallis's address. Young
Lockwood had said that she was in London,
but where the vicar knew not.

"Maud!" said he, suddenly, "how are
we to find your aunt?"

Maud was leaning her weary head
against the cushions, and her eyes were
closed. She had not been sleeping,
however, for she immediately opened her eyes,
and repeated the vicar's words,

"How are we to find my aunt?"

"Yes, how? In the whirl, and confusion,
and misery of this dreadful departure
it never occurred to me that I do not know
Lady Tallis's address! Her last letter was
dated from the country."

"Mr.—- Mrs. Lockwood knows where
Aunt Hilda is," answered Maud, after a
moment's reflection.

"Yes, yes, yes," said the vicar, with
peevish irritability, "Mrs. Lockwood
knows! But where can these people be
found? Merciful Heavens, it is enough to
madden one! It is all confusion and
hopeless misery!"

"Dear Uncle Charles, in this I think I
can help you. I remember the Lockwoods'
address. They live in a street called
Gower-street. Do you know it?"

"Gower-street? Are you sure? How
do you know?"

"Mr. Lockwood mentioned that his
mother had a house there. Her husband
bequeathed it to her, and she lives there."

"Well, I suppose we must drive there
the first thing. I know of no other way."

After that the vicar closed his eyes also.
But for a long time his brain was
tormented by whirling thoughts. Occasionally
a gleam of something like hope darted
into his mind. Might it not be possible
that all would yet go well with Veronica?
Some fathers would have deemed that by
no possibility could it be altogether well
with her. It could not be well to be the
wife of a man who had induced her to leave
her home clandestinely, to deceive and
inflict torturing anxiety on her father; a
man who had, at the least, caused a
temporary slur to be cast on her reputation,
and who had risked tarnishing her good
name for ever. But in his present wretchedness
it seemed to the vicar that to know
Veronica Sir John Gale's wife, would in
itself be happiness and peace of mind.
And it must be remembered that Charles
Levincourt was at heart a worldly man;
that the somewhat lax tone of morals and
want of high principle which he had
observed in Sir John Gale's conversation
would by no means have induced him to
refuse the baronet his daughter's hand,
had he asked for it openly. But he was
keenly alive to the disgrace of his daughter's
elopement; and not the least sharp
pang he felt was caused by the reflection
that Veronica had thoroughly deceived

At length he fell into an uneasy sleep,
through which he was dimly conscious of
mental pain, and of a dread of waking.
From this slumber he was aroused by
Maud's hand on his shoulder and Maud's
voice in his ear, faltering out that she
believed they must have reached London.