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THE warm sunlight of July shining softly
through a green blind; an open window with
fresh flowers set on the sill; a strange bed, in a
strange room; a giant figure of the female sex
(like a dream of Mrs. Wragge) towering aloft on
one side of the bed, and trying to clap its hands;
another woman, a stranger, stopping the hands
before they could make any noise; a mild
expostulating voice (like a dream of Mrs. Wragge
again) breaking the silence in these words,
"She knows me, ma'am, she knows me; if I
mustn't be happy, it will be the death of me!"
such were the first sights, such were the first
sounds, to which, after six weeks of oblivion,
Magdalen suddenly and strangely awoke.

After a little, the sights grew dim again, and
the sounds sank into silence. Sleep, the
merciful, took her once more, and hushed her back
to repose.

Another dayand the sights were clearer, the
sounds were louder. Anotherand she heard a
man's voice, through the door, asking for news
from the sick-room. The voice was strange to her;
it was always cautiously lowered to the same
quiet tone. It inquired after her, in the morning,
when she wokeat noon, when she took her
refreshmentin the evening, before she dropped
to sleep again. "Who is so anxious about me?"
That was the first thought her mind was strong
enough to form:—" Who is so anxious about

More daysand she could speak to the nurse
at her bedside; she could answer the questions
of an elderly man, who knew far more about
her than she knew about herself, and who told
her he was Mr. Merrick, the doctor; she could
sit up in bed, supported by pillows, wondering
what had happened to her, and where she was;
she could feel a growing curiosity about that
quiet voice, which still asked after her, morning,
noon, and night, on the other side of the door.

Another day's delayand Mr. Merrick asked
her if she was strong enough to see an old
friend. A meek voice, behind him, articulating
high in the air, said, "It's only me." The
voice was followed by the prodigious bodily
apparition of Mrs. Wragge, with her cap all awry,
and one of her shoes in the next room. "Oh,
look at her! look at her!" cried Mrs. Wragge,
in an ecstasy, dropping on her knees at Magdalen's
bedside, with a thump that shook the house.
"Bless her heart, she's well enough to laugh
at me already. "Cheer, boys, cheer—!"
I beg your pardon, doctor, my conduct isn't
ladylike, I know. It's my head, sir; it isn't me.
I must get vent somehowor my head will
burst!". No coherent sentence, in answer to
any sort of question put to her, could be
extracted that morning from Mrs. Wragge. She
rose from one climax of verbal confusion to
anotherand finished her visit, under the bed,
groping inscrutably for the second shoe.

The morrow cameand Mr. Merrick
promised that she should see another old friend on
the next day. In the evening, when the
inquiring voice asked after her, as usual, and
when the door was opened a few inches to give
the reply, she answered faintly for herself:—"I
am better, thank you." There was a moment of
silenceand then, just as the door was shut
again, the voice sank to a whisper, and said
fervently, "Thank God!" Who was he? She
had asked them all, and no one would tell her.
Who was he?

The next day came; and she heard her door
opened softly. Brisk footsteps tripped into the
room; a lithe little figure advanced to the
bedside. Was it a dream again? No! There he
was in his own evergreen reality, with the
copious flow of language pouring smoothly from
his lips; with the lambent dash of humour
twinkling in his parti-coloured eyesthere he
was, more audacious, more persuasive, more
respectable than ever, in a suit of glossy black,
with a speckless white cravat, and a rampant
shirt-frillthe unblushing, the invincible, the
unchangeable Wragge!

"Not a word, my dear girl!" said the
captain, seating himself comfortably at the
bedside, in his old confidential way. "I am to do all
the talking; and I think you will own that a more
competent man for the purpose could not
possibly have been found. I am really delighted
honestly delighted, if I may use such an
apparently inappropriate wordto see you again, and
to see you getting well. I have often thought
of you; I have often missed you; I have often
said to myselfnever mind what! Clear
the stage, and drop the curtain on the past. Dum
vivimus, vivamus! Pardon the pedantry of a
Latin quotation, my dear, and tell me how I