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"Which you always declare you despise,
and which you know I detest."

"Quite true; think it unspoken and
absolve me."

"I do; but if we are to have what you
used to call a 'business talk,' we must
have it at once. In half an hour Lord and
Lady Hetherington and the luncheon will
arrive simultaneously, and our chance is at
an end. And you did not come from London,
I suppose, to discuss tenant right, or
to listen to Lady Hetherington's diatribes
against servants?"

"No, indeed; with all deference to them,
I came to see you, and you alone, to ask
your advice, and to take it, which is quite
a different thing, as I have done before in
momentous periods of my life."

"And this is a momentous period?"

"Undoubtedly, as much, if not more so,
than any."

Had she any notion of what was coming?
Her pale face grew paler; she pushed back
her chesnut hair, and her large eyes were
fixed on him in grave attention.

"You alone of any one in the world,
man or woman, know the exact story of
my first love. You knew my confidence
and trust, you knew how they were abused.
You saw how I suffered at the time, and
you cannot be ignorant of what is absolute
fact; that to your advice and encouragement
I owe not merely recovery from that
wretched state, but the position to which I
have since attained!"


"That first love fell dead; you know
when! Ambition, the passion that supplied
its place, was sufficient for a time to absorb
all my thoughts, hopes, and energies. But,
to a certain extent it has been gratified,
and it suffices me no longer. My heart
wants some one to love, and turns to one
to whom it owes gratitude, but whom it
would sooner meet with a warmer feeling,
Are you not well, Lady Caroline?"

"Quite well, thanks, andand interested.
Pray go on!"

"To go on is difficult. It is so horrible
in a man to have to say that he sees he has
awakened interest in a woman, that she
shows all unknowingly to herself, but still
sufficiently palpable, that he is the one
person in the world to her, that she
rejoices in his presence, and grieves at his
absence; worst of all that all this is pointed
out to him by other people——"

Lady Caroline's cheeks flushed as she
echoed the words, "Pointed out to him by
other people!"

"Exactly. That's the worst of it. However,
all this being so, and my feelings such
as I have described, I presume I shouldn't
be repeating my former error, inviting a
repetition of my previous fate, in asking
her to be my wife?"

"II should think not." The flush
still in her cheeks. "Do I know the

"Do you know her? No one knows
her so well! Ah, Lady Caroline, kindest
and dearest of friends, why should I keep
you longer in suspense? It is Maud

Her face blanched in an instant. Her
grasp tightened rigidly over the arm of the
chair on which it lay, but she gave no
other sign of emotion. Even her voice,
though hollow and metallic, never shook
as she repeated the name, "Maud

"Yes. Maud Creswell! You are
surprised, I see, but I don't think you will
blame me for my choice! She is eminently
ladylike, and clever, and nice, and ——"

"I don't think you could possibly ——
what is it, Thomas?"

"Luncheon, my lady."

"Very well. I must get you to go in to
luncheon without me, Mr. Joyce; you will
find Lord and Lady Hetherington in the
dining-room, and I will come down directly.
We will resume our talk afterwards."

And she left the room, and walked
swiftly and not too steadily up the hall
towards the staircase.


A new religion has within the last few years
been founded in Persia, which seems destined
to exercise a powerful antagonism to
Mohammedanism. Amongst the doctrines of the
Bâbys, as these new sectaries are called, none
are more likely to attract attention than those
which are intended to effect a radical change in
the condition of women in the East. Bâbysm
was founded in 1843 at Shiraz by Mirza-Ali-
Mohammed, a young man of nineteen years of
age, who gave out that he was the genuine
successor of Ali, the true prophet of Iran. He
was endowed with singular beauty of form and
features; with an eloquence which seemed
inspired; and with great earnestness of purpose.
The example of Mohammed induced him to
prepare himself for his mission by an assiduous
study of the ancient systems of religion, and
he listened also to the teachings of Protestant
missionaries, of orthodox Jews, and of followers
of the Kabbala. He made the pilgrimage to
Mecca, and visited the tomb of the prophet;
yet in the very midst of the holy city his faith.

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