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seeing our friends Pottor and Fyfe, and
hearing the best news from head-quarters."
"That is merely an excuse," said Mr.
Benthall; "I am sure you are undertaking
this journey, solely with the view of serving
these young ladies and me."

"And myself, my good friend," replied
Joyce; "and myself, I assure you."

Lady Caroline Mansergh had a very
charming little house in Chesterfield street,
Mayfair, thoroughly homely and remarkably
comfortable. Since she had been left
a widow she had frequently passed the
winter, as well as the season, in London,
and her residence was accordingly arranged
with a due regard to the miseries of our
delightful climate. Her ladyship was in
town, Joyce was glad to find, and after he
had sent up his name, he was shown into
a very cosy drawing-room, with a large
fire blazing on the hearth, and all the
draughts carefully excluded by means of
portieres and thick hanging curtains. He
had merely time to notice that the room
was eminently one to be lived in, and not
kept merely for show, one that was lived
in, moreover, as the sign of a woman's
hand, everywhere recognisable, in the
management of the flowers and the books,
in the work-basket and the feminine writing
arrangements, so different, somehow, from a
man's desk and its appurtenances, plainly
showed, when the door opened, and Lady
Caroline entered the room.

She was looking splendidly handsome.
In all the work and worry of his recent
life, Joyce had lost all except a kind of
general remembrance of her face and figure,
and he was almost betrayed into an
exclamation of astonishment as he saw her
advancing towards him. There must have
been something of this feeling in the
expression of his face, for Lady Caroline's
cheeks blushed for an instant, and the voice
in which she bade him welcome, and
expressed her pleasure of seeing him, was
rather unsteady in its tone.

"I imagined you were at Brocksopp,"
she said, after a minute; " indeed I have
some idea that quite recently I saw a report
in the paper of some speech of yours, as
having been delivered there."

"Perfectly correct: I only came up last

"And how goes the great cause? No,
seriously, how are you progressing; what
are the chances of success? You know
how interested I am about it!"

"We are progressing admirably, and if
we can only hold out as we are doing,
there is very little doubt of our triumph!"

"And you will enter upon the career
which I suggested to you, Mr. Joyce, and
you will work in it as you have worked in
everything else which you have undertaken,
with zeal, energy, and success!" said Lady
Caroline, with flashing eyes. "But what
has brought you to, London at this
particular time?"

"You, Lady Caroline!"

"I?" and the flush again overspread
her face.

"You! I wanted your advice and

"Ah! I recollect you said just now, ' if
we could only hold out as we are doing.'
How foolish of me not at once toMr.
Joyce, youyou want money to pursue
this election, and you have shown your
friendship for me by—"

"No, indeed, Lady Caroline, though
there is no one in the world to whom I
would so gladly be under an obligation.
No! this is a matter of a very different
kind!" and he briefly explained to her the
state of affairs at Woolgreaves, and the
position of Maud and Gertrude Creswell.
After he had concluded there was a
momentary pause, and then Lady Caroline
said, "And you do not know either of
these young ladies, Mr. Joyce?"

"I do not! I have scarcely seen them
since they were children."

"And it is for the sake of revenge on
her that he is taking all this trouble!"
thought Lady Caroline to herself; "that
woman threw away a priceless treasure;
the man who can hate like this must have
a great capacity for loving." Then she
said aloud, "I am very glad you came to
me, Mr. Joyce, as this is plainly a case
where prompt action is needed. When do
you return to Brocksopp?"


"Will you be the bearer of a note from
me to Miss Creswell? I shall be delighted
to have her and her sister here, in this
house, as my guests, as long as it may suit
them to remain!"

"Lady Caroline! how can I thank you!"

"By asking me to do some service for
you yourself, Mr. Joyce! This is merely
general philanthropy!"

Marian Creswell was in great exultation,
for several reasons. Mr. Joyce had hurried
suddenly to London, and a report had been
started that he was about to abandon the
contest. That was one cause for her