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came and went suddenly, and showed a little
nervous contraction on one side of her mouth,
never visible there before. She was perfectly
patient with Mrs. Wragge; she treated the
captain with a courtesy and consideration
entirely new in his experience of herbut she was
interested in nothing. The curious little shops
in the back streets; the high impending sea; the
old town-hall on the beach; the pilots, the
fishermen, the passing shipsshe noticed all
these objects as indifferently as if Aldborough
had been familiar to her from her infancy. Even
when the captain drew up at the garden-gate of
North Shingles, and introduced her
triumphantly to the new house, she hardly looked at it.
The first question she asked related, not to her
own residence, but to Noel Vanstone's.

"How near to us does he live?" she inquired,
with the only betrayal of emotion which had
escaped her yet.

Captain Wragge answered by pointing to the
fifth villa from North Shingles, on the Slaughden
side of Aldborough. Magdalen suddenly drew
back from the garden-gate as he indicated the
situation, and walked away by herself to obtain
a nearer view of the house.

Captain Wragge looked after her, and shook
his head discontentedly. "The devil take that
gentleman in the background," he thought.
"She has not got over the loss of him yet."

"May I speak now?" inquired a meek voice
behind him, articulating respectfully ten inches
above the top of his straw hat.

The captain turned round, and confronted his
wife. The more than ordinary bewilderment
visible in her face, at once suggested to him that
Magdalen had failed to carry out the directions
in his letter; and that Mrs. Wragge had arrived
at Aldborough, without being properly aware of
the total transformation to be accomplished in
her identity and her name. The necessity of
setting this doubt at rest was too serious to be
trifled with; and Captain Wragge instituted the
necessary inquiries without a moment's delay.

"Stand straight, and listen to me," he began.
"I have a question to ask you. Do you know
whose Skin you are in at this moment? Do you
know that you are dead and buried in London;
and that you have risen like a phœnix from the
ashes of Mrs. Wragge? No! you evidently don't
know it. This is perfectly disgraceful. What
is your name?"

"Matilda," answered Mrs. Wragge, in a state
of the densest bewilderment.

"Nothing of the sort!" cried the captain,
fiercely. "How dare you tell me your name's
Matilda? Your name is Julia. Who am I?
Hold that basket of sandwiches straight, or I'll
pitch it into the sea! Who am I?"

"I don't know," said Mrs. Wragge, meekly
taking refuge in the negative side of the
question, this time.

"Sit down!" said her husband, pointing to
the low garden-wall of North Shingles Villa.
"More to the right! More still! That will do.
You don't know?" repeated the captain, sternly
confronting his wife, as soon as he had contrived,
by seating her, to place her face on a level with
his own. "Don't let me hear you say that a
second time. Don't let me have a woman who
doesn't know who I am, to operate on my beard
to-morrow morning. Look at me! More to the
leftmore stillthat will do. Who am I? I'm
Mr. BygraveChristian name, Thomas. Who
are you? You're Mrs. BygraveChristian name,
Julia. Who is that young lady who travelled
with you from London? That young lady is
Miss BygraveChristian name, Susan. I'm her
clever uncle To; and you're her addle-headed
aunt Julia. Say it all over to me instantly, like
the Catechism! What is your name?"

"Spare my poor head!" pleaded Mrs. Wragge.
"Oh, please spare my poor head till I've got the
stage-coach out of it!"

"Don't distress her," said Magdalen, joining
them at that moment. "She will learn it in
time. Come into the house."

Captain Wragge shook his wary head once
more. "We are beginning badly," he said, with
less politeness than usual. "My wife's stupidity
stands in our way already."

They went into the house. Magdalen was
perfectly satisfied with all the captain's
arrangements; she accepted the room which he had set
apart for her; approved of the woman-servant
whom he had engaged; presented herself at tea-
time the moment she was summonedbut still
showed no interest whatever in the new scene
around her. Soon after the table was cleared,
although the daylight had not yet faded out, Mrs.
Wragge's customary drowsiness after fatigue of
any kind, overcame her; and she received her
husband's orders to leave the room (taking care
that she left it "up at heel"), and to betake
herself (strictly in the character of Mrs. Bygrave)
to bed. As soon as they were left alone, the
captain looked hard at Magdalen, and waited to
be spoken to. She said nothing. He ventured
next on opening the conversation by a polite
inquiry after the state of her health. "You look
fatigued," he remarked, in his most insinuating
manner. "I am afraid the journey has been too
much for you."

"No," she replied, looking out listlessly
through the window; "I am not more tired than
usual. I am always weary nowweary at going
to bed; weary at getting up. If you would like
to hear what I have to say to you, to-nightI
am willing and ready to say it. Can't we go
out? It is very hot here; and the droning of
those men's voices is beyond all endurance." She
pointed through the window to a group of
boatmen, idling, as only nautical men can idle, against
the garden-wall. " Is there no quiet walk in this
wretched place?" she asked, impatiently. "Can't
we breathe a little fresh air, and escape being
annoyed by strangers?"

"There is perfect solitude within half an hour's
walk of the house," replied the ready captain.

"Very well. Come out, then."