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No one would have believed them to be
sistersyet sisters they were: loving each
other with more passion than calm affection;
for they had passed no great part of their
lives together. They were at their window,
watching the fiery glow of the sunset, burning
itself upon the golden limes and copper-coloured
beeches on the other side of the road,
and struggling through the blackness of a great
yew overshadowing one half their garden.

Hildred, the elder, stood erect; the rich
light falling full upon her broad brow and
dark eyes. Those eyes did not flinch or seek
to veil themselves from the radiance; rather,
they seemed to dilate, as if endeavouring to
receive all the glory. Against Hildred, a
slighter figure leant; a fair head lay upon
her shoulder, somewhat hidden by the black
tresses that, though looped up behind, fell
loosely and low down upon each side of a
stately throat. It was some time since either
had spoken, when Hildred said:

"So you think he loves you, Millie?"

A smile that had had a dash of disdain in
it, grew wholly tender as she glanced down
upon the delicate face, and saw how the
drooping eyelids drooped yet more, and
the faint colour flushed rosier as she spoke.
She threw herself into a great chair that
stood near. Millie slipped down, on to a
cushion at her feet, having given no answer.
Hildred repeated her question, passing her
hand caressingly over the beautifully-shaped
oval head resting against her, as she did so.
No word yet; but, bending forward, she
caught the last flicker of a smile dying
from off the rosy mouth, and took that for a
sufficient reply.

"Ah, child!" she said, "no need for
further answer. God bless you!" Then
she added, "I am very glad!" Millie's soft
little hand stole up into Hildred's. She did
not cry out, though her sister's fervent clasp
pained her.

"I should not have liked to speak of this
yet," the elder went on, glancing at the
mourning they both wore; " but it is needful
I should know. I have to plan for the
future. We stand alone nowyou have only
me to take care of you at present."

"But Hildred," Millie said, "we need not
do anything different, need we? We may
live together now? You will stay with me
always, won't you?"

"That is impossible, Millie," was said very

"Why impossible?" Millie asked, earnestly.
"Indeed, I can't do without you."

"You soon will learn to do without me,
child. Never fear! I shall not leave you till
there is a dearer some one else to care for you.
You are one of those who ought always to
have strong arms round you, Millie."

"But why leave me? You say you love
me very much. If you think I could be
happy knowing you left alone, it is not kind
of you to judge me so. You ought not to be
proud to me, Hildred, although I am rich!"

"Bravely said, Millie mine; but listen.
You think this pretty place yoursleft you
by your uncle—"

"Our uncle. You are my sister, and must
share his gift. IfifI should ever go to
live anywhere else, it might be all yours, if
you won't come with me."

"I say your uncle, Millie. He did not
hold me as his niece; he had heard how
like I am to my father!"

"If he had only known you, sister, he
would have loved you in spite—"

"Would I be loved in spite of what I
glory in?" Hildred said, vehemently. "No,
child. We must not stop to quarrel, for I
have something to tell you: — Millie, you are
not rich. You know uncle died suddenly;
he was always irresolute, procrastinating,
weaka good man, though, for loving you
so well as he did. He had made no will
when he died, and an heir-at-law has turned

Millie raised her head, and looked up at
Hildred inquiringly. Hildred went on:
"I should have enjoyed the excitement of
disputing his claim; but it would be of no
use. I should not like to be beaten; so you
must give up to him quietly."

"Then the dear old place is not mine? I
can not give it you?" Millie said, in pained

"I should not, could not have taken it, dear
one. I must and will be independent, No,
child, nothingat least, almost nothingis
yours. You are mine, and I am glad—"