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and a kinsman, you may.  If you cannot
promise to do that, you must go away at once."

"You are hard with me, Veronica."

"It is most ungrateful to say so. Tell
methat English officer you spoke with,
did he saydid he speakdo you think
he will talk to every comer as he did to
you?" asked Veronica, flushing hotly as
she brought out the question.

Barletti reassured her. The officer had
spoken, merely because Barletti had
mentioned Sir John as his friend. Of course
a ceremony performed in that way, on board
a ship of war, could not be supposed to be
in any sense a secret. But the squadron
was to depart immediately. There would
be no opportunity for the thing to spread
among the people who knew her here.
Barletti, as he said this, did not believe it.
But he saw that she greatly dreaded the
secret getting abroad: and he thought only
of soothing her anxiety. He tried then, to
induce her to tell him about her home and
her family, and how it had come to pass that
she had left England with Sir John Gale.
But on this subject she was not willing to
speak quite unprepared.

"You told me to talk to you as a friend
and a kinsman, Veronica," said he. "A
kinsman surely has some right to your

"Some day, Cesare," she answered,
"you shall know the story of my life. The
life has not been long, but the story cannot
be told quickly. I cannot bring myself to
make the effort now. You must have
patience, and some day I will not refuse
what you ask me. There is my hand on it.
It is a promise."

Her tone, and look, and gesture conveyed
more than the mere words. He was about
to speak, but she lightly laid the fingers
of her left hand (he held her right hand in
his) on his lips.

"Not a word more," she said. "Go
now. You will come this evening; and
above all do not allow Sir John to guess
that you saw him this morning! Farewell!"

"Veronica, one word! It is a question
I have wanted to ask you; do you know
an Englishman named Frost?"

"Frost?  No."

"He knows you, and spoke of you. Or
it may benow I think of itthat he only
knows you by report. I forget his exact

"Knows me! What did he say?"

"He said that Gale treated you very ill."

"He said that? Tell me exactly, word
for word, what he said!"

"Well, I think," replied Barletti, pondering,
"that his words were, ' Sir John Gale
uses that poor wife of his very ill.'"

"Wife! Ah!" exclaimed Veronica, drawing
a long breath." He spoke of me as
Lady Gale?"

"Yes, yes: I am sure of that. But
where can he have known anything about

"It matters very little. In Florence
perhaps. You have told me enough to
show what a hot-bed of gossip there is
there. Quiet as we were, we did not escape
the tongues of those creatures who lounge
at the club-door I dare say."

Barletti felt a little uncomfortable twinge
of conscience as he remembered that he
himself had made one in a discussion
respecting her, at the very spot she mentioned.
And her flashing eye and disdainful attitude
recalled to him, moreover, Sir John's warning
not to tell "miladi" that her name had
been spoken at the club.

"Farewell until this evening, Veronica,
mia adorata!"

"Good-bye, Cousin Cesare."

When he was gone, she sat down opposite
to a large mirror. "Princess!" she said
softly to herself. "Principessa de' Barletti!"
Veronica understood, although Cesare did
not, what the worth of such a title would be
in England. Then she stretched herself on
a sofa and rested her head on soft cushions.
She was really weary in mind and body, and
presently fell off into a sleep.

Towards the end of her sleep, she began
to dream. She dreamed that she was going
to be married to Mr. Plew, and that she
was reluctantly walking by his side through
St. Gildas's grave-yard, towards the church.
And, as they came near to an ancient
upright stone she well remembered, Sir John
Gale, white and ghastly in his grave-clothes,
darted out from behind it, and with
a yell of hoarse laughter, bade them stop.


WHEN the beautiful Empress of the
French, as one of the notabilities assembled
in Egypt to take part in the Suez Canal
ceremonials, was lately astonishing the
Arabs and Fellahs of Cairo with her joyous
runs through the bazaars and streets of that
citysometimes sitting beside the Khedive
in an open carriage, sometimes careering
along on donkey-back, but in either case
exciting the astonishment of the Mussulmans
and the envy of the ladies of the