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Hardie blurted out naturally enough: "But
where's Alfred?"

"I don't know, dear," said Julia innocently.
"Are not he and Edward in another part of the
church? I thought we were waiting till twelve
o'clock, perhaps. Mamma dear, you know
everything; I suppose this is all right?"

Then, looking round at her friends' faces,
she saw in a moment that it was all wrong.
Sampson's, in particular, was burning with
manly indignation, and even her mother's
discomposed, and trying to smile.

When the innocent saw this, she suspected
her beloved was treating her cavalierly, and her
poor little mouth began to work, and she had
much ado not to whimper.

Mrs. Dodd, to encourage her, told her not
to be put out: it had been arranged all along
that Edward should go for him: "Unfortunately
we had an impression it was the other
way: but now Edward is gone to his lodgings."

"No, mamma," said Julia; "Alfred was to
call for Edward; because our house was on the

"Are you sure, my child?" asked Mrs. Dodd,
very gravely.

"Oh yes, mamma," said Julia, beginning to
tremble: " at a quarter before eleven: I heard
them settle it."

The matter was terribly serious now; indeed
it began to look hopeless. Weather
overclouded; rain-drops falling; and hard upon
twelve o'clock.

They all looked at one another in despair.

Suddenly there was a loud, long, buzzing
heard outside, and the house of God turned into
a gossiping fair. "Talk of money changers,"
said Satan that day, "give me the exchangers
of small talk."

"Thank Heaven they are come," said Mrs.
Dodd. But, having thus relieved her mind, she
drew herself up and prepared a freezing reception
for the defaulter.

A whisper reached their excited ears: "It is
young Mr. Dodd!" and next moment Edward
came into the vestryalone: the sight of him
was enough; his brow wet with perspiration,
his face black and white with bitter wrath.

"Come home, my people," he said, sternly:
"there will be no wedding here to-day."

The bridesmaids cackled questions at him;
he turned his back on them.

Mrs. Dodd knew her son's face too well to
waste inquiries. "Give me my child!" she
cried, in such a burst of mother's anguish long
restrained, that even the insult to the bride was
forgotten for one moment, till she was seen
tottering into her mother's arms and cringing
and trying to hide bodily in her: "Oh, throw
a shawl over me," she moaned: " hide all

Well, they all did what they could; Jane
hung round her neck and sobbed, and said,
"I've a sister now, and no brother." The
bridesmaids cried. The young curate ran and
got the fly to the vestry-door: " Get into it,"
he said, " and you will at least escape the
curious crowd."

"God bless you, Mr. Hurd," said Edward,
half choked. He hurried the insulted bride and
her mother in; Julia huddled and shrank into a
corner under Mrs. Dodd's shawl; Mrs. Dodd
had all the blinds down in a moment; and they
went home as from a funeral.

Ay, and a funeral it was; for the sweetest
girl in England buried her hopes, her laugh,
her May of youth, in that church that day.

When she got to Albion Villa, she cast a wild
look all around for fear she should be seen in
her wedding clothes; and darted moaning into
the house.

Sarah met her in the hall, smirking; and
saying, "Wish you j——"

The poor bride screamed fearfully at the mocking words,
and cut the conventional phrase
in two as with a razor; then fled to her own
room, and tore off her wreath, her veil, her
pearls, and had already strewed the room, when
Mrs. Dodd, with a foot quickened by affection,
burst in and caught her half fainting, and laid
her weary as old age, and cold as a stone, upon
her mother's bosom, and rocked her as in the
days of happy childhood never to return, and
bedewed the pale face with her own tears.

Sampson took the bridesmaids each to her
residence, on purpose to leave Edward free.
He came home, washed his face, and, sick at
heart, but more master of himself, knocked
timidly at Julia's door.

"Come in, my son," said a broken voice.

He crept in; and saw a sorry sight. The
travelling dress and bonnet were waiting still
on the bed; the bridal wreath and veil lay on
the floor; and so did half the necklace, and the
rest of the pearls all about the floor; and Julia,
with all her hair loose and hanging below her
waist, lay faintly quivering in her mother's

Edward stood and looked, and groaned.

Mrs. Dodd whispered to him over Julia:
"Not a tear! not a tear!"

"Dead, or false?" moaned the girl: " dead,
or false? oh, that I could believe he was false:
no, no, he is dead: dead."

Mrs. Dodd whispered again over her girl.

"Tell her something: oh, give me tears for
herthe world for one tear!"

"What shall I say?" gasped Edward.

"Tell her the truth, and trust to God, whose
child she is."

Edward knelt on the floor and took her hand:

"My poor little Ju," he said, in a voice
broken with pity and emotion, " would you
rather have him dead, or false to you?"

"Why false, a thousand times. It's Edward.
Bless your sweet face my own, own brother;
tell me he is false, and not come to deadly

"You shall judge for yourself," he groaned;
"I went to his lodgings. He had left the town.
The woman told me a letter came for him last
night. A letter ina female hand. The
scoundrel came in from us; got this letter;