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grounds, and moved off clumsily by twos and
threes, with the dim sense that the sight of his
pleasant face would never comfort them again.
The dullest head among them knew, that night,
that the hard ways of poverty would be all the
harder to walk on now he was gone.

A little later, news was brought to the bed-
chamber door that old Mr. Clare had come alone
to the house, and was waiting in the hall below,
to hear what the physician said. Miss Garth
was not able to go down to him herself: she sent
a message. He said to the servant, "I'll come,
and ask again, in two hours' time"—and went
out slowly. Unlike other men in all things else
the sudden death of his old friend had produced
no discernible change in him. The feeling
implied in the errand of inquiry that had brought
him to the house, was the one betrayal of human
sympathy which escaped the rugged,
impenetrable old man.

He came again, when the two hours had
expired; and this time Miss Garth saw him.

They shook hands in silence. She waited;
she nerved herself to hear him speak of his lost
friend. No: he never mentioned the dreadful
accident, he never alluded to the dreadful death.
He said these words, "Is she better, or worse?"
and said no more. Was the tribute of his grief
for the husband, sternly suppressed under the
expression of his anxiety for the wife? The
nature of the man, unpliably antagonistic to the
world and the world's customs, might justify
some such interpretation of his conduct as this.
He repeated his question, "Is she better, or

Miss Garth answered him,

"No better; if there is any change, it is a
change for the worse."

They spoke those words at the window of the
morning-room which opened to the garden. Mr.
Clare paused, after hearing the reply to his
inquiry, stepped out on to the walk, then turned
on a sudden, and spoke again:

"Has the doctor given her up?" he asked.

"He has not concealed from us that she is in
danger. We can only pray for her."

The old man laid his hand on Miss Garth's
arm as she answered him, and looked her
attentively in the face.

"You believe in prayer?" he said.

Miss Garth drew sorrowfully back from him.

"You might have spared me that question, sir,
at such a time as this."

He took no notice of her answer; his eyes
were still fastened on her face.

"Pray," he said, "as you never prayed before,
for the preservation of Mrs. Vanstone's life."

He left her. His voice and manner implied
some unutterable dread of the future, which
his words had not confessed. Miss Garth
followed him into the garden, and called to him.
He heard her, but he never turned back; he
quickened his pace, as if he desired to avoid her.
She watched him across the lawn in the warm
summer moonlight. She saw his white withered
hands, saw them suddenly against the black
background of the shrubbery, raised and wrung
above his head. They droppedthe trees shrouded
him in darknesshe was gone.

Miss Garth went back to the suffering woman,
with the burden on her mind of one anxiety more.

It was then past eleven o'clock. Some little
time had elapsed since she had seen the sisters,
and spoken to them. The inquiries she addressed
to one of the female servants, only elicited the
information that they were both in their rooms.
She delayed her return to the mother's bedside
to say her parting words of comfort to the
daughters, before she left them for the night.
Norah's room was the nearest. She softly
opened the door and looked in. The kneeling
figure by the bedside, told her that God's help
had found the fatherless daughter in her affliction.
Grateful tears gathered in her eyes as she
looked: she softly closed the door, and went on
to Magdalen's room. There, doubt stayed her
feet at the threshold; and she waited for a
moment before going in.

A sound in the room caught her earthe
monotonous rustling of a woman's dress, now
distant, now near; passing without cessation from
end to end over the floora sound which told
her that Magdalen was pacing to and fro in the
secrecy of her own chamber. Miss Garth knocked.
The rustling ceased; the door was opened, and
the sad young face confronted her, locked in its
cold despair; the large light eyes looked
mechanically into hers, as vacant and as tearless as

That look wrung the heart of the faithful
woman, who had trained her and loved her from
a child. She took Magdalen tenderly in her arms.

"Oh, my love," she said, "no tears yet! Oh,
if I could see you as I have seen Norah! Speak
to me, Magdalentry if you can speak to me."

She tried, and spoke:

"Norah," she said, "feels no remorse. He
was not serving Norah's interests when he went
to his death: he was serving mine."

With that terrible answer, she put her cold
lips to Miss Garth's cheek.

"Let me bear it by myself," she said, and gently
closed the door.

Again Miss Garth waited at the threshold, and
again the sound of the rustling dress passed to
and fronow far, now nearto and fro with a
cruel, mechanical regularity, that chilled the
warmest sympathy, and daunted the boldest

The night passed. It had been agreed, if no
change for the better showed itself by the morning,
that the London physician whom Mrs.
Vanstone had consulted some months since, should be
summoned to the house on the next day. No
change for the better appeared; and the physician
was sent for.

As the morning advanced, Frank came to make
inquiries, from the cottage. Had Mr. Clare
entrusted to his son the duty which he had
personally performed on the previous day, through