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of their nests, fascinated by the glittering of
Mrs. Sparsit's eyes in the gloom, as she stopped
and listened.

Low voices close at hand. His voice, and
hers. The appointment was a device to keep
the brother away! There they were yonder,
by the felled tree.

Bending low among the dewy grass, Mrs.
Sparsit advanced closer to them. She drew
herself up, and stood behind a tree, like
Robinson Crusoe in his ambuscade against the
savages; so near to them that at a spring,
and that no great one, she could have
touched them both. He was there secretly,
and had not shown himself at the house.
He had come on horseback, and must have
passed through the neighbouring fields; for
his horse was tied to the meadow side of the
fence, within a few paces.

"My dearest love," said he, "what could I
do? Knowing you were alone, was it
possible that I could stay away?"

"You may hang your head, to make yourself
the more attractive; / don't know what
they see in you when you hold it up," thought
Mrs. Sparsit;" but you little think, my
dearest love, whose eyes are on you!"

That she hung her head, was certain. She
urged him to go away, she commanded him
to go away; but she neither turned her face
to him, nor raised it. Yet it was remarkable
that she sat as still, as ever the amiable woman
in ambuscade had seen her sit, at any period
in her life. Her hands rested in one another,
like the hands of a statue; and even her
manner of speaking was not hurried.

"My dear child," said Harthouse; Mrs.
Sparsit saw with delight that his arm
embraced her; "will you not bear with my
society for a little while?"

"Not here."

"Where, Louisa?"

"Not here."

"But we have so little time to make so much
of, and I have come so far, and am altogether
so devoted, and distracted. There never was
a slave at once so devoted and ill-used by
his mistress. To look for your sunny welcome
that has warmed me into life, and to be
received in your frozen manner, is heart-

"Am I to say again, that I must be left to
myself here?"

"But we must meet, my dear Louisa. Where
shall we meet?"

They both started. The listener started
guiltily, too; for she thought there was another
listener among the trees. It was only rain,
beginning to fall fast, in heavy drops.

"Shall I ride up to the house a few minutes
hence, innocently supposing that its master
is at-home and will be charmed to receive


"Your cruel commands are implicitly to be
obeyed; though I am the most unfortunate
fellow in the world, I believe, to have been
insensible to all other women, and to have
fallen prostrate at last under the foot of the
most beautiful, and the most engaging, and the
most imperious. My dearest Louisa, I cannot
go myself, or let you go, in this hard abuse
of your power."

Mrs. Sparsit saw him detain her with his
encircling arm, and heard him then and there,
within her (Mrs. Sparsit's) greedy hearing,
tell her how he loved her, and how she was
the stake for which he ardently desired to
play away all that he had in life. The objects
he had lately pursued, turned worthless beside
her; such success as was almost in his grasp,
he flung away from him like the dirt it was,
compared with her. Its pursuit, nevertheless,
if it kept him near her, or its renunciation
if it took him from her, or flight if she
shared it, or secresy if she commanded it, or
any fate, or every fate, all was alike to him, so
that she was true to him,—the man who had
seen how cast away she was, whom she had
inspired at their first meeting with an admiration
and interest of which he had thought
himself incapable, whom she had received into
her confidence, who was devoted to her and
adored her. All this, and more, in his hurry,
and in hers, in the whirl of her own gratified
malice, in the dread of being discovered, in the
rapidly increasing noise of heavy rain among
the leaves, and a thunder-storm rolling up
Mrs. Sparsit received into her mind; set off with
such an unavoidable halo of confusion and
indistinctness, that when at length he climbed
the fence and led his horse away, she was not
sure where they were to meet, or when, except
that they had said it was to be that night.

But one of them yet remained in the darkness
before her; and while she tracked that
one, she must be right. "Oh, my dearest
love," thought Mrs. Sparsit, "you little think
how well attended you are."

Mrs. Sparsit saw her out of the wood, and
saw her enter the house. What to do next?
It rained now, in a sheet of water. Mrs.
Sparsit's white stockings were of many
colors, green predominating; prickly things
were in her shoes; caterpillars slung
themselves, in hammocks of their own making,
from various parts of her dress; rills ran
from her bonnet, and her Roman nose. In
such condition Mrs. Sparsit stood hidden in
the density of the shrubbery, considering
what next?

Lo, Louisa coming out of the house!
Hastily cloaked and muffled, and stealing
away. She elopes! She falls from the
lowermost stair, and is swallowed up in the gulf!

Indifferent to the rain, and moving with a
quick determined step, she struck into a side-
path parallel with the ride. Mrs. Sparsit
followed in the shadow of the trees, at but a
short distance; for, it was not easy to keep a
figure in view going quickly through the
umbrageous darkness.

When she stopped to close the side-gate
without noise, Mrs. Sparsit stopped. When

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