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ABOUT the middle of June, Mr. Frost
departed for Italy. He was only to be away
a fortnight at first. He would then return
to London: and if all went well, would
go back to Naples in the autumn.

He had been to Gower-street several
times before leaving England. He had
spoken to Hugh about his prospects, and
had said that if matters succeeded with
the company who were employing him,
he should be able to offer Hugh a splendid
chance of distinguishing himself.

"But," said Hugh, "this great company
will have a great architect of their own.
There will be subordinates, of course, to
do the drudgery, and the big man will get
the credit: I do not say that that is unfair.
Big men have to earn their bigness
mostlyand I am the last fellow in the
world to grudge them what they've earned.
Besides, I do not want to be wandering
about the Continent. I have served my
apprenticeship, and learnt my trade, and
now I want to try to make a home for
myself, and a place in the world. I am
not ambitious——"

"A man ought to be ambitious," said
Mr. Frost.

"There might be a good deal to be said
on that subject. But at all events, a man
ought not to say he is ambitious, if he

His mother and Mr. Frost succeeded,
however, in persuading Hugh to remain
some months longer in his present position.
He was engaged by Digby and West at a
weekly salary, and no permanent arrangement
had yet been come to. He would let
things go on as they were for a while.

Zillah had gained a reprieve, but her
anxieties remained active. At the best, she
had trouble before her. If all went well,
and her moneyHugh's moneywere
restored by the end of the year, it would still
devolve on her to give her son some
explanation as to this accession of fortune.

Her son's love and respect were very
precious to her: even as her husband's had
been. She knew that Hugh inherited his
father's stern hatred of deception. What
would he say when he knew that his mother
had concealed so important a matterand
one which he surely had a right to be made
acquainted with all these years? And if
he asked her, "Mother, why have you done
this?" how should she answer him?

She was a woman of acute and observant
intelligence in most cases. In all that
concerned her only son, she was, of course,
peculiarly quick to see and to understand.
She knew that Hugh had fallen in love,
and that his love was not the light, boyish,
fancy that Mr. Frost had tried to persuade
her it would prove to be. Hugh had said
no word to her on the subject, but there
needed no word to convince her that she
was right. And she liked Maud. She did
not love her. She was not clingingly
affectionate by nature, and all the love in
her heart was absorbed by her son. But
she had a kindly regard for the girl. She
admired and approved her. She was not
grudging or unjust because this stranger
with the deep blue eyes and golden hair
had become paramount in Hugh's thoughts.
She knew him to be steadfast and true:
and she was well assured that neither lover
nor wife would push herself from her due
place in her son's love and respect. But as