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THREE letters from abroad had come to
the vicarage. Mr. Levincourt burnt them
all, and said no word of them to any one.

One evening, when Mr. Plew returned
from a round of professional visits, his
mother put into his hand a large letter
covered with foreign postmarks.

"Of course, Nathaniel," said the poor
old woman, tremblingly watching his face,
"I guess who it's from. But you would
have nothing to say to her now, my deary,
would you?"

"Mother!" gasped the little surgeon,
clutching at the letter.

"There, there, Nathaniel, don't be angry
with me, love. I have never said a wry
word about the girl at home nor abroad;
nor I don't want to. Butof course I
know you are a grown man" (Mr. Plew
was three-and-forty) "and can act for
yourself; but you know, Nathaniel, love,
I'm the mother that bore you, and in some
ways you'll always be a child to meaye,
if you were a hundred! And it goes to
my heart to see you badly treated by them
that ain't worthy to——There, my deary,
I've done."

Mr. Plew shut himself up in his little
bed-room, and opened his letter.

His face, eager, anxious, all aglow with
excitement, fell, and the light faded out
of it. The bulky packet contained a sealed
letter addressed to "Miss Maud Desmond."
Within the outer envelope were written
these words:

"I rely on you to convey the enclosed
into Maud's hands. I think you will not
fail me. V."

Mr. Plew opened his shabby little writing-
desk, took out a sheet of paper, wrapped
the letter in it, sealed it, and directed it to
Miss Desmond, No. 367, Gower-street,

Then he pressed the outer envelope to
his lips, flushing a hot, painful crimson as
he did so, and, finally, he sat down beside
the bed, hid his face on the pillow, and

The next day Maud received her letter.
It ran as follows:

"I will begin with a warning. I warn
you not to waste compassion and wailings
and lamentations upon me. I desire, and
need, no pity. I have chosen my fate, and
the day may come, will come, when you
will all acknowledge that I have chosen
wisely. I have written to you once before,
and twice to papa. Having received no
answer, the idea occurred to me that papa
had suppressed mine to you. I know the
kind of twaddlecontamination, evil
communicationsmust hold no parley withI
will not write the trash. It cannot apply
to me. Believe that.

"It may be, on the other hand, that you
have received my letter, and have chosen to
make no sign. If it be so, so be it. But I
give you this chance, by directing the
present letter to the care of Mr. Plew. I
believe him to be a faithful creature, and I
hope that Sir John and myself may one day
have it in our power to show him that we
think so."

The words "Sir John and myself" made
Maud recoil, when she read them, as though
she had received a physical blow. The
letter proceeded:

"You will, of course, be taught to think
all evil of me. I know the paltry, envious