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"Time is where you are to sleep. Put yourself
tidy; and then come down again to my room.
The admiral has returned, and you will have to
begin by waiting on him at dinner to-day."

With those words, Mrs. Drake the housekeeper
closed the door; and the new parlourmaid
was left alone in her bed-chamber at St.

That day was the eventful twenty-fifth of
February. In barely four months from the time
when Mrs. Lecount had placed her master's
private Instructions in his Executor's hands, the
one combination of circumstances against which
it had been her first and foremost object to
provide, was exactly the combination which had
now taken place. Mr. Noel Vanstone's widow,
and Admiral Bartram's Secret Trust, were
together in the same house.

Thus far, events had declared themselves,
without an exception, in Magdalen's favour.
Thus far, the path which had led her to St. Crux,
had been a path without an obstacle. Louisa
whose name she had now takenhad sailed three
days since for Australia with her husband and
her child: she was the only living creature whom
Magdalen had trusted with her secret, and she
was by this time out of sight of the English
land. The girl had been careful, reliable, and
faithfully devoted to her mistress's interests to
the last. She had passed the ordeal of her
interview with the housekeeper, and had forgotten
none of the instructions by which she had been
prepared to meet it. She had herself proposed
to turn the six weeks' delay, caused by the death
in the admiral's family, to good account, by
continuing the all-important practice of those
domestic lessons, on the perfect acquirement of
which her mistress's daring stratagem depended
for its success. Thanks to the time thus gained,
when Louisa's marriage was over and the day
of parting had come, Magdalen had learnt and
mastered, in the nicest detail, everything that
her former servant could teach her. On the day
when she passed the doors of St. Crux, she
entered on her desperate venture, strong in the
ready presence of mind under emergencies
which her later life had taught herstronger still, in
the trained capacity that she possessed for the
assumption of a character not her ownstrongest
of all, in her two months' daily familiarity with
the practical duties of the position which she
had undertaken to fill.

As soon as Mrs. Drake's departure had left
her alone, she unpacked her box, and dressed
herself for the evening.

She put on a lavender-coloured stuff gownhalf
mourning for Mrs. Girdlestone; ordered for all
the servants, under the admiral's instructions
a white muslin apron, and a neat white cap and
collar, with ribbons to match the gown. In this
servant's costume in the plain gown fastening
high round her neck, in the neat little white cap
at the back of her head in this simple dress, to
the eyes of all men, not linendrapers, at once
the most modest and the most alluring that a
woman can wear, the sad changes which mental
suffering had wrought in her beauty almost
disappeared from view. In the evening costume of
a lady; with her bosom uncovered, with her
figure armed, rather than dressed, in unpliable
silkthe admiral might have passed her by
without notice in his own drawing-room. In the
evening costume of a servant, no admirer of
beauty could have looked at her once, and not
have turned again to look at her for the second

Descending the stairs, on her way to the
housekeeper's room, she passed by the entrances to
two long stone corridors, with rows of doors
opening on them; one corridor situated on the
second, and one on the first floor of the house.
"Many rooms!" she thought, as she looked at
the doors. " Weary work, searching here for
what I have come to find!"

On reaching the ground floor, she was met by a
weather-beaten old man who, stopped and stared
at her with an appearance of great interest. He
was the same old man whom Captain Wragge had
seen, in the back-yard at St. Crux, at work on the
model of a ship. All round the neighbourhood,
he was known far and wide as "the admiral's
coxswain." His name was Mazey. Sixty years had
written their story of hard work at sea and hard
drinking on shore, on the veteran's grim and
wrinkled face. Sixty years had proved his