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looked surprised and bored by the interruption.

Not a shade, not a change, in the countenances
of that unsuspecting breakfast-party,
but had been marked by Gregory. He
thought he detected a look of intelligence
between Norah and Edmund. He was
mistaken, as the jealous always are. Norah
could not have established a good intelligence
with any man. But for a moment this
suspicion made him waver. Should he go and
leave her to the designing people about her?
Was he not mad and suicidal to think of such
a thing? Then, again, if Colonel Lyndon
heard a breath of his difficulty, adieu to
Norah for ever, unless he could overcome it.
Perhaps, already he had received intimation
of the matter from that miserable cousin of
his, whose life would not be worth much if
ever he fell within the grasp of those hands.
No! Gregory crushed back his transient
hope and set himself to his task. To say
the least of it, a difficult and a painful one to
any man.

The Colonelwhen he and Gregory were
closeted in his studytook the news

"Of course," he said, "unless you can
perfectly substantiate your claim and clear your
position, you need not expect to——"

Gregory anticipated the end of the
unfinished sentence.

"But lovelove——" he urged passionately.

"Bah! Acres, not love, my dear boy, when
you talk to a father!" said the Colonel. "Do
you think it possible for me to give my child
to a penniless——? Well! we will not
discuss the question. Now, silence! not
another word!" For Gregory was raging about
the room on the point of committing some
excess. "Leave us, now," he continued, in
that cold, haughty, iron-bound way of his,
which always stilled the poor passionate
savage like a spell. "Go to London, investigate
this matter; go to Egypt, if need be,—
probe the affair to the end, and substantiate
your claim to the estates, or leave this country
for ever. I will take care that Norah
remains free and unsought till your return
but, on that return, unless indeed you are
wise enough never to come back if unsuccessful
however, as I was saying, on that return,
your good or ill-fortune will determine your
relations with her. Go. Lose no time. The
longer you delay here the longer you delay
your possible marriage." And the Colonel
waved him from the room.

Gregory went to find Norah. She and
Lucy were in the drawing-room, sitting in
the bay window working; Norah in a low
prie-dieu cunningly isolated, Lucy on the
ottoman, with plenty of space on the cushions
beside her. He clanked into the room with
even more than his usual indifference to
forms, looking dark and agitated, not quite
unlike the popular notions of demon lovers,
when those gentlemen first threw off their
fascinations and plunged into revelation.

"I must speak with you, Norah," he said,
abruptly, sitting down by Lucy.

"And I am de trop?" said Lucy in her
sweetest voice, bending forward, and letting
her hand rest lightly on his.

Gregory turned and looked into her face,
and their eyes met. When she withdrew
hers, Lucy felt that she had told too much.
Single-hearted and absorbed as Gregory was,
that look disturbed him, and for a moment
he could not speak.

"Do you wish to say anything to me?"
then asked Norah, submissively.

"Yes, Norah, yes!" he answered
hurriedly; "I must speak with you."

"Shall I go, then?" said Lucy, with the
same smile and the same caressing accent.

Norah looked at her imploringly.

"My cousin has no secrets from you," she
said, in her timid voice, asking her to remain.
But she went out of the room.

When the door was closed, Gregory
exclaimed: "Swear that you will be faithful,
whatever may happen!"

"I do, cousin," said Norah. She might as
well have said, I am cold, or I am hot,
for any emphasis or soul that lay on her

"More ferventlymore passionately!"
cried Gregory.

"I am not fervent, or passionate, cousin,"
said Norah, quietly, "were I to pretend to
be so, I should be untrue."

"Say it to me again, thenlet me hear
those blessed sounds once more! You vow
on your eternal salvation that nothing shall
tempt you from methat no one shall steal
you away."

"No one, cousin. I love no one else."

"But me?"

"Cousin, I am bound to love you."

"And if you were not bound?—if you
were free? Would you love me then,

"Yes," she gasped, faintly.

"O! I can go now!" cried Gregory. "I
will go while that word still vibrates on my
ear! No colder sound shall disturb the
echo of that word," and he rushed through
the rooms, and departed without any leave-taking

Norah clasped her hands together. "Is it
true! can it be truehas he really gone!"
she exclaimed. Then hiding her face she too
burst into tears. Were they tears of grief,
or joy?

She waited until she had quite recovered
herself, and until the last echo of the horse's
hoofs had died away in the distance, before
she sought Lucy. Finding her, she kissed
her and clung to her, like a happy child, and
though they both were silent, Lucy had
scarcely seen her smile since she came to
the Hall.

"What is to be done?" said Lucy to her-