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into the front room, when, at the door of the
back drawing-room, a servant came in with a
card on a salver. She met him so suddenly,
that, with an instinct, she took it from him.

Grainger alone saw the look of doubt and
abject agony that came into her face, and saw,
too, the way she crushed the card up in her hand
saw, too, the hesitating way she stopped,
turned back, and went on again, as if she knew
not what to do. In a moment he was at her side,
with a smile on his face, as if he was still speaking
of the piano. In another moment Mr. Tillotson,
turning restlessly, observed him take the
card from her hand, then whisper something,
and, with a nod of intelligence, leave the room.

Down-stairs, Mr. Bowler, not yet retired, said
to his colleagues that it wasout of all
ressinto havefellerslike that coming
atunregularhoursa feller that was there
twice afore that day to his knowledge. A
feller, too, if he had any acquaintance with
ladies and gents at the ManshunUs or
elsewhere, was no more of a gennelman than that
ere boot-jack. What was he in the front parlour
now for, with the other gent, along othe
coats andats a hinterfering? There, the
ladies and gents are a coming down.” They
were indeedandthe gentand Grainger
came out in good time, according to Mr.
Bowler’s view. So there really was no
hinterferingwith the coats and hats.

They were all descending, Mrs. Bunnett’s
dress rustling and crackling, like ships under
heavy sail. The Bunnettscarriage was waiting,
about which Mr. Nelgrove, pleasantly facetious
to the end, would have his jest. “You’ve seen,
I suppose,” he said to Mr. Tilney, “our friend’s
tumble-down old Brougham which he bought
second-hand? It’s coming up now. And the
horse, which he got cheap out of a cab. O yes.”
But this was not so successful, for the night was
dark, and the scene confused and unsuited to
irony, and this second-hand view of things came
naturally enough to Mr. Tilney, and did not seem
so far-fetched an idea. At last they were all gone.

Now as the last carriage drove off, and Mr.
Tillotson and Mrs. Tillotson are standing alone
in the drawing-room, he began at once,
excitedly: “I cannot endure this any longer.
It is too muchfar too much. I have been
as enduring as self-respect will allow; but there
is a point beyond which we are not to go.
But, at any rate, I can’t do it. I can do no
more. I have suffered enough.”

With her eyes raised from the ground, and in
which there was the old irresistible devotional
expression, she said: “It is quite true, indeed.
Yes; such restraint is too noble.”

Yes,” he said, bitterly, “too soft and foolish.
It was a wonderful spectacle. You would not
match it; but I am sick of it. I am not called
on to make these sacrifices. What is that man
to me, with the mysteries of those with him?

They may have their reasons, but I have not,
and have no connexion with them. I am not
to be pointed atdisgracedas a weak, foolish
creature, that any one can laugh at, for him and
his friends. I have seen enough of this wretched
life to-night to sicken me. But I think it high
time to begin and look to myself now, in the
true selfish and proud way, after looking to
every one else all my life.”

Now that he at last looked at her, she stood
before him like a sweet penitent, utterly
overwhelmed and miserable. The old St. Alans light
seemed of a sudden to rise about, the old St.
Alans music to fill the air.

O,” he said, suddenly, “forgive me! I know
not what I am talking about. I am a wretched,
miserable man, that deserves all, all. O, if you
knew what I have suffered to-night in a hundred
ways, you would be indulgent and pity me. But
because my heart has been wrung I must vent it
all on your soul. What do you think of me?”
The light of joy that came back into her face
reassured him. “I talk folly and wickedness
when I talk of suffering. I am only too happy
more than I deserve. And while it lasts, while
you remain to me, I should be indeed content.
But mind,” he said, and the old doubt came back
into his face, “if once that be taken from me, if
they succeed in weakening the only link that
brings me to the joys of life, I am lost indeed.
You will not let them. It is folly, but I cannot
help it.”

Now came in Mr. Bowler to look after the
lights. The impression in his mind was that the
host and hostess were talking with delight on
the successful way in which everything had
gone off,” and were overpowered with satisfaction
at the glimpse they had had ofManshun
Usfestivities. A good deal of the success,
he thought, might be set down to his exertions;
and he thought it rather ill bred that no
acknowledgmentoften made affably at theManshun
Usby the Lord Mayor himselfhad been
tendered on this occasion. But host and hostess
were so selfishly absorbed in discussing the
feast for their own glorification, that they took no
notice of Mr. Bowler, which, as that gentleman
said the following evening at a real City dinner,
was only the way of the world.”

Thus closed a day which was the beginning of
the working out of a strange change in that house.

THE FIFTEENTH VOLUME
will be published on Monday the 16th, price 5s. 6d., bound
in cloth.
*?* The back numbers of All the Year Round, in single
copies, monthly parts, and half-yearly volumes, can
always be had of every bookseller, and at every
bookstall.

Shortly will be published, in Three Volumes,
THE SECOND MRS. TILLOTSON.
BY THE AUTHOR OF "NEVER FORGOTTEN."
Tinsley Brothers, 18, Catherine-street, London.

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