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in for the repose of darkness, it was the very
busiest time of a London afternoon in
November when they arrived there. It was
long since Mrs. Hale had been in London;
and she roused up, almost like a child, to look
about her at the different streets, and to gaze
after and exclaim at the simps and carriages.
"Oh, there's Harrison's, where I bought
so many of my wedding-things. Dear! how
altered! They've got immense plate-glass
windows, larger than Crawford's in Southampton.
Oh, and there, I declareno, it is
notyes, it isMargaret, we have just
passed Mr. Henry Lennox. Where can he
be going, among all these shops?"

Margaret started forwards, and as quickly
fell back, halt-smiling at herself for the
sudden motion. They were a hundred yards
away by this time; but he seemed like a relic
of Helstonehe was associated with a bright
morning, an eventful day, and she should
have liked to have seen him, without his seeing
her, without the chance of their speaking.

The evening, without employment, passed
in a room high up in an hotel, was long and
heavy. Mr. Hale went out to his bookseller's,
and to call on a friend or two. Every
one they saw, either in the house or out in
the streets, appeared hurrying to some appointment,
expected by, or expecting, somebody.
They alone seemed strange, and friendless,
and desolate. Yet within a mile Margaret
knew of house after house, where she for
own sake, and her mother for her aunt
Shaw's, would be welcomed if they came in
gladness, or even in peace of mind. If they
came sorrowing, and wanting sympathy in a
complicated trouble like the present, then
they would be felt as a shadow in all these
houses of intimate acquaintances, not friends.
London life is too whirling and full to admit
of even an hour of that deep silence of feeling
which the friends of Job showed, when "they
sat with him on the ground seven days and
seven nights, and none spake a word unto
him; for they saw that his grief was very


THE next afternoon, about twenty miles
from Milton-Northern, they entered on the
little branch railway that led to Heston.
Heston itself was one long straggling street,
running parallel to the seashore. It had a
character of its own, as different from the little
bathing-places in the south of England as they
again from those of the continent. To use a
Scotch word, everything looked more ''purpose-
like." The country carts had more iron, and
rood and leather about the horse-gear;
the people in the streets, although on pleasure
bent, had yet a busy mind. The colours
looked grayer more enduring, not so gay and
pretty. There were no smock-frocks, even
among the country folk; they retarded
motion, and were apt to catch on machinery,
and so the habit of wearing them had died
out. In such towns in the south of England,
Margaret had seen the shopmen, when not
employed in their business, lounging a little
at their doors, enjoying the fresh air, and the
look up and down the street. Here, if they
had any leisure from customers, they made
themselves business in the shopeven,
Margaret fancied, to the unnecessary unrolling
and re-rolling of ribbons. All these differences
struck upon her mind, as she and her mother
went out next morning to look for lodgings.

Their two nights at hotels had cost
more than Mr. Hale had anticipated,
and they were glad to take the first clean,
cheerful rooms they met with that were at
liberty to receive them. There, for the first
time for many days, did Margaret feel at
rest. There was a dreaminess in the rest,
too, which made it still more perfect and
luxurious to repose in. The distant sea,
lapping the sandy shore with measured
sound; the nearer cries of the donkey-boys;
the unusual scenes moving before her like
pictures, which she cared not in her laziness
to have fully explained before they passed
away; the stroll down to the beach to
breathe the sea-air, soft and warm on
that sandy shore even to the end of
November; the great long misty sea-line
touching the tender-coloured sky; the white
sail of a distant boat turning silver in some
pale sunbeam: it seemed as if she could
dream her life away in such luxury of
pensiveness in which she made her present all in
all, from not daring to think of the past, or
wishing to contemplate the future.

But the future must be met, however stern
and iron it be. One evening it was arranged
that Margaret and her father should go the
next day to Milton-Northern, and look out
for a house. Mr. Hale had received several
letters from Mr. Bell, and one or two from
Mr. Thornton, and he was anxious to ascertain
at once a good many particulars respecting
his position and chances of success there,
which he could only do by an interview with
the latter gentleman. Margaret knew that
they ought to be removing; but she had a
repugnance to the idea of a manufacturing
town, and believed that her mother was
receiving benefit from Heston air, so she
would willingly have deferred the expedition
to Milton.

For many miles before they reached
Milton, they saw a deep lead-coloured cloud
hanging over the horizon in the direction in.
which it lay. It was all the darker from
contrast with the pale gray-blue of the
wintry sky; for in Heston there had been
the earliest signs of frost. Nearer to the
town the air had a faint taste and smell of
smoke; perhaps, after all, more a loss of the
fragrance of grass and herbage than any
positive taste or smell. Quick they were
whirled over long, straight, hopeless streets
of regularly-built houses, all small and of
brick. Here and there a great oblong

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