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forget that you had a mother as well quently led away to bed by Martha, as a father-a mother whose fortune who was summoned, and who slapped your father squandered! Your father her on the back and applied restoratives was a selfish spendthrift.
without apparent success. ashamed of his wife's relations, and of It was an unfortunate episode, and his own relations, while he lived; but it had the effect of putting Chris in the he was not ashamed to leave you as a wrong. Still she could not find it in burden upon them when he died. I her heart to punish Peter, who was shall not ask your permission to give much elated, and who, for fully ten my opinion about such a man as that minutes afterwards, sat nodding bis when I choose to give it.”
head and giving little grunts, evidently By this time Miss Ramsden was very saying to himself: "That's the sort angry; and so was Chris, who twice of dog I am !” attempted to speak, and then, breaking It was not without some reluctance down suddenly, burst into tears. that Chris left this faithful partizan
This was just what her aunt desired. of hers in Martha's care on the follow. There are people-women, for the most ing day. “I do believe,” she said, part—who love bullying, yet are not “that Aunt Rebecca is capable of intentionally cruel, and will show keeping him all day without food." plenty of amiability towards those To which Martha replied, “ That she whom their bullying has vanquished. is, miss, and no wonder. But he shall Such people, if held down by a strong 'ave his dinner; though I do think you hand, pass through lifedecently enough, ought to ’ave give him a whipping. and, by reason of their moral cowar You naughty little creatur' you! How dice, seldom commit any great sins; but could you beyave so !" if circumstances render them indepen But Peter, who liked Martha, knowdent, they are apt to become a curse ing her to be a person of sterling to humanity. Miss Ramsden, having qualities, rubbed himself against her gained her victory, would not now and showed no signs of penitence; and have been unwilling to sign a treaty so Chris departed, feeling that he was of peace; but, unluckily at that mo in safe hands. ment a fresh combatant threw himself She spent a long and tedious day into the fray.
at the Wimbledon villa which Mr. Peter, as has been already said, was Compton had hired for the summer not upon good terms with the mistress months. That hard-worked gentleman of the house. He had thought badly did not himself appear, bis avocations of her from the first, and now he saw compelling him to leave for London his worst suspicions confirmed. For early in the morning and remain there some minutes past he had been listen until late at night. His wife was a ing with cocked ears to her screeching, faded, rather peevish sort of person, scolding voice : he had understood very and his numerous daughters were well that his mistress was being as colourless both in a physical and in a sailed, and when he saw Chris sink metaphorical sense. In the course of back in her chair and cover her face the afternoon Mrs. Compton said with her hands, he judged that the tesitatingly : “James told me to ask moment had come for him to intervene. you whether you were comfortable with Accordingly he went straight for old Miss Ramsden?" and seemed relieved Miss Ramsden's legs, whereupon a when Chris replied: "Oh, yes, thank very pretty hubbub ensued. Peter was you; tolerably comfortable." It was dragged off, and there was really no evident that she had only invited her damage done, except to a very ancient young kinswoman to pass a few hours black alpaca gown; but Aunt Rebecca with her because she had been ordered had a fit of hysterics, and was subse to do so, and that she found the hours
as long as her guest did. Chris was she had encountered Peter and had glad to get away from them, and re struck at him with her stick, wheregistered an inward vow that she upon he had, as she declared, flown at would not again trespass upon their her and bitten her foot. Martha could hospitality.
not say whether this was or was not It was growing dark when she a true account of an incident which reached Balaclava Terrace once more,
she had not witnessed, but at any and whistled twice after the peculiar rate Miss Ramsden had no wound to fashion which Peter knew. But Peter show. “ And, my dear, I knew no did not come charging out of the house more than the babe unborn what she with a volley of short, joyous barks, was thinking of when she told me to as he was wont to do on those rare get her dressed, because she was going occasions when he had been deserted out to the chemist's to buy some medifor a time by his mistress. Only and when I see her come back, Martha stood in the doorway with an and the young man from the chemist's odd, scared look upon her face, and with her, I supposed 'twas no more caught Chris by the arm, whispering, than some dispute about the bill, like “Hush, miss ! don't whistle for him : what she's always 'avin' with them, he can't 'ear
you. The poor little and that she'd brought him 'ere to dog” She stopped short and show him her receipt. I was cookin' gave a kind of gasp, which ended the dinner at the time, and I let almost like a sob.
Peter out o' my sight, which I never “What have you done with him ?” ought to ’ave done it, and the same asked Chris, turning pale.
“ Where I confess and repent of. Well, ten is he?"
minutes arter that she rang for me “Oh, miss--oh, my dear, he's dead ! and I went up to the droring-roomIt was none of my doing. The Lord
and 'twas all over. • The pore dog He knows I'd give the 'arf of what was mad,' says she, “and he 'ad to be I've saved in all these years to give put out o' the way. And you'd best him back to you as you give him to remove the body,' says she. Well, I me! but there! what's the good of spoke to Miss Rebecca as I never talking? You won't forgive me, I thought I could have spoke to her; know, nor yet I can't forgive myself. but I was that angry the words come Come into the kitching, and I'll tell out o' theirselves, and I believe I went you all about it.”
so fur as to give her warning, though Martha had perhaps anticipated an I ain't goin' to desert her, whatever outburst of reproaches; if so, she had she done. And if 'tis any comfort to misjudged the probable effect of her you to know that she's lyin' down in
Chris followed her into the her bed at this moment, shakin' all kitchen, and sat down upon one of over with frightthe wooden chairs without uttering a Where is he?" interrupted Chris single word ; and so she had to tell quietly. her tale unaided by any of those inter
Martha led the way into the scullery, rogations and interpolations which are where
poor Peter lay, stiff and stark, dear to women.
his joys and sorrows ended for ever, Told in that way, it was the tale of and those soft, loving eyes of his, in a foul murder, and the case for the which his mistress had so often read murderess was scarcely arguable. Miss as much as any human tongue can Ramsden, it appeared, had got up in speak, dull and glazed. Chris bent å very bad temper,
and with the over him and kissed his curly head. memory of her wrongs of the previous Then, “Martha," said she, “ have you night strong upon her. Coming down a spade? I want to bury him, and stairs somewhat earlier than usual, there is no time to be lost."
Martha had no spade, but she had sobbed Martha, casting orthodoxy to a shovel and a pick which she used for the winds. “And oh, if you could breaking coal; and with those im forgive the pore old missus ! I believe plements a grave was soon dug in the she was frightened of the dog, and I back-garden in which Peter's body was do believe she's sorry now-yes, that I laid. When the work, which had do!” been accomplished in silence, was com “ It makes no difference," answered pleted, Chris knelt down and kissed Chris coldly, "whether she is sorry or her dead friend once more.
not. I will never forgive her, and I Good-bye, dear, dear Peter !" she will never, if I can help it, see her or whispered. “You were always good speak to her again." and true; and I believe we shall meet The girl's face was so pale and stern again, in spite of what people say. If that Martha could only weep feebly there is a heaven for Aunt Rebecca, and murmur:“Oh dear, oh dear! what there must be a heaven for dogs.” ever shall we do!"
Indeed, I think so too, my dear,"
(To be continued.)
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