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desire of meeting some old acquaintance
on the road should chance to be fulfilled.
The vicar was busy with his own private
thoughts and speculations. The road was
quite deserted until they neared the village
of Shipley. Then the noise of the passing
carriage attracted one or two faces to the
cottage windows, and a dog or two barked
violently at the heels of the horses. Such
of the denizens of Shipley as saw Prince
Barletti's equipage stared at it until it
was out of sight. It was all so bright and
showy, and brand new. Very different
from the solid, well-preserved vehicles in
which most of the neighbouring gentry
were seen to drive about the country.
There was a great blazon of arms on the
shining panels. The coachman's livery
was of outlandish gorgeousness, and the
harness glittered with silver. A vivid
recollection darted into Veronica's mind as
the carriage dashed through the village
street, of that moonlit night when the
jingling old fly from the Crown Inn, which
she and her father occupied, had drawn
aside to let Dr. Begbie's carriage pass, as
they drove home from the dinner party at
Lowater House.

"Who is that respectable signora?"
asked Cesare of his wife, at the same time
raising his hat and executing a bow with
much suavity.

"Eh? Where? What respectable
signora?"

"Therethat rotund, blooming English
matron. What a freshness on her cheeks!"

It was Mrs. Meggitt to whom Barletti
alluded. The worthy woman's cheeks were
indeed all a-glow with excitement. She
stood by the wayside, nodding and smiling
to the vicar, who slightlyone might
almost say furtivelyreturned her salute.
From behind the ample shelter of Mrs.
Meggitt's shoulder appeared the pale,
pinched countenance of Miss Turtle. Her
eyes saw nothing but Veronica. Their
wide, steady stare took in every detail of
the beauty's rich garments: the delicate,
costly little bonnet sitting so lightly on a
complicated mass of jetty coils and plaits;
the gleam of a chain around her neck; the
perfection of her grey gloves; the low,
elaborate waves of hair on her forehead;
and be sure that Miss Turtle did not
fail to observe that the princess was
painted!

"Cesare! Per carita! What are you
doing? Pray, be quiet!" exclaimed
Veronica, quickly, as she saw her lord
about to pull off his hat once more.

"Ma come? Cosa c'รจ? Why may I
not bow to the respectable matron?"

"Nonsense; be quiet! She is a farmer's
wife. And I must say, I never saw a more
presumptuous manner of saluting her
clergyman. What has come to the woman,
papa? She is nodding and grinning like
a ridiculous old china image!"

"She did not nod and grin at you,
Veronica," returned the vicar, with
unexpected heat, and in a flurried, quick way.
"I have a great liking andandrespect
a great respectfor Mrs. Meggitt. I
have received kindness and comfort from
her and hers when I was deserted and
alone. Yes, quite lonely and miserable.
And let me tell you, that it would have
done you no harm to return her salute. If
you expect Shipley people to ko-too to you,
you are mistaken. Your husband, who
was to the manner born, understands how
to play prince a great deal better than you
have yet learned to act princess!"

Veronica was too genuinely surprised to
utter a word. But silence was in keeping
with the tone of disdainful nonchalance she
had lately chosen to assume, and eked out
by a slight raising of the brows, and a still
slighter shrug of the shoulders, it was
sufficiently expressive.

Cesare did not understand all that had
passed between the father and daughter,
and indeed had paid but slight attention to
it, being occupied with gazing after Mrs.
Meggitt. He was delighted with the good
lady's appearance as approaching more
nearly than anything he had yet seen, to
his ideal of the colour, form, and size of a
thorough-bred, average English-woman.

He had not got over his fit of admiration
when the carriage arrived at the corner of
Bassett's-lane, which, as the reader knows,
was skirted on one side by the wall of the
vicarage garden. The coachman pulled up
his horses, and Dickinson, hat in hand,
looked down into the carriage for orders.

"Which way is he to take, your
'Ighness?" demanded Dickinson.

Suddenly it rushed upon Veronica that
she could not bear to be driven up
Bassett's-lane to the back door of the garden. She
had felt no emotion, or scarcely any, so
far, on revisiting her old home. But the
events of a certain February gloaming
were so indissolubly associated in her
memory with that one special spot that she
shuddered to approach it. The whole
scene was instantly present to her mind
the chill murky sky, the heap of flint
stones, the carter holding the trembling