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wonder who they are! Do you know the name,

"No," said Mr. Kirke, with a shade of
disappointment on his dark, weatherbeaten face; "I
never heard the name before."

After replying in those words, he rose to take
his leave. The landlord vainly invited him to
drink a parting glass; the landlady vainly
pressed him to stay another ten minutes, and
try a cup of tea. He only replied that his sister
expected him, and that he must return to the
parsonage immediately.

On leaving the hotel, Mr. Kirke set his face
westward, and walked inland along the high
road, as fast as the darkness would let him.

"Bygrave?" he thought to himself. "Now I
know her name, how much am I the wiser for it!
If it had been Vanstone, my father's son might
have had a chance of making acquaintance with
her." He stopped, and looked back in the direction
of Aldborough. "What a fool l am!" he
burst out suddenly, striking his stick on the
ground. "I was forty last birthday." He turned,
and went on again faster than everhis head
down; his resolute black eyes searching the darkness
on the land as they had searched it many
a time on the sea, from the deck of his ship.

After more than an hour's walking, he reached
a village, with a primitive little church and
parsonage nestled together in a hollow. He entered
the house by the back way, and found his sister,
the clergyman's wife, sitting alone over her work
in the parlour.

"Where is your husband, Lizzie?" he asked,
taking a chair in a corner.

"William has gone out to see a sick person.
He had just time enough, before he went," she
added, with a smile, "to tell me about the young
lady; and he declares he will never trust himself
at Aldborough with you again, until you are a
steady married man." She stopped; and looked
at her brother more attentively than she had
looked at him yet. "Robert!" she said, laying
aside her work, and suddenly crossing the room
to him. "You look anxious, you look distressed.
William only laughed about your meeting with
the young lady. Is it serious? Tell me, what
is she like?"

He turned his head away at the question.

She took a stool at his feet, and persisted in
looking up at him. "Is it serious, Robert?" she
repeated, softly.

Kirke's weatherbeaten face was accustomed to
no concealmentsit answered for him before he
spoke a word. "Don't tell your husband till I
am gone," he said, with a roughness quite new
in his sister's experience of him. "I know I
only deserve to be laughed atbut it hurts me,
for all that."

"Hurts you?" she repeated, in astonishment.

"You can't think me half such a fool, Lizzie,
as I think myself," pursued Kirke, bitterly.
"A man at my age ought to know better. I
didn't set eyes on her for as much as a minute
altogether; and there I have been, hanging
about the place till after nightfall, on the chance
of seeing her againskulking, I should have
called it, if I had found one of my men doing
what I have been doing myself. I believe I'm
bewitched. She's a mere girl, Lizzie,—I doubt
if she's out of her teensI'm old enough to
be her father. It's all one: she stops in my
mind in spite of me. I've had her face looking
at me, through the pitch darkness, every step of
the way to this house; and it's looking at me
nowas plain as I see yours, and plainer."

He rose impatiently, and began to walk backwards
and forwards in the room. His sister
looked after him with surprise, as well as
sympathy, expressed in her face. From his boyhood
upwards, she had always been accustomed to see
him master of himself. Years since, in the failing
fortunes of the family, he had been their
example and their support. She had heard of
him, in the desperate emergencies of a life at
sea, when hundreds of his fellow-creatures had
looked to his steady self-possession for rescue
from close-threatening deathand had not looked
in vain. Never, in all her life before, had his
sister seen the balance of that calm and equal
mind lost, as she saw it lost now.

"How can you talk so unreasonably about
your age and yourself?" she said. "There is
not a woman alive, Robert, who is good enough
for you. What is her name?"

"Bygrave. Do you know it?"

"No. But I might soon make acquaintance
with her. If we only had a little time before us;
if I could only get to Aldborough and see her
but you are going away to-morrow; your ship
sails at the end of the week."

"Thank God for that!" said Kirke, fervently.

"Are you glad to be going away?" she asked,
more and more amazed at him.

"Right glad, Lizzie, for my own sake. If I
ever get to my senses again, I shall find my
way back to them on the deck of my ship. This
girl has got between me and my thoughts
already: she shan't go a step further, and get
between me and my duty. I'm determined on
that. Fool as I am, I have sense enough left
not to trust myself within easy hail of Aldborough
to-morrow morning. I'm good for another
twenty miles of walkingand I'll begin my
journey back to-night."

His sister started up, and caught him fast by
the arm. "Robert!" she exclaimed; "you're
not serious? You don't mean to leave us on foot,
alone in the dark?"

"It's only saying good-by, my dear, the last
thing at night, instead of the first thing in the
morning," he answered, with a smile. "Try
and make allowances for me, Lizzie. My life
has been passed at sea; and I'm not used to
having my mind upset in this way. Men ashore
are used to it; men ashore can take it easy. I
can't. If I stopped here, I shouldn't rest. If I
waited till to-morrow, I should only be going
back to have another look at her. I don't want
to feel more ashamed of myself than I do already.