posure without any thought of politeness. Frederick came in looking (as he was) something of an invalid still. He was pale; he had that look of convalescence we have already referred to on his interesting countenance. He came forward, holding out both his hands to the girl, who stood devouring him with her eyes, which for once were fully opened. She could not say anything; she could scarcely breathe. Many speculations had crossed her mind as to the kind of messenger who might arrive. This young man, looking not unlike one of the heroes of her dreams, pale, melancholy, yet smiling, holding out his hands to her, made such a sudden lodgment in the girl's in"I do not know what you mean," said experienced heart as I can neither define Innocent, looking at her with mingled nor account for. The chances are that wonder and resentment. She pushed his mother, who was much kinder than away her little tray from her, and in sheer Frederick, would have made no impresbewilderment took up the scaldino, put- sion at all upon Innocent. She looked ting it in her lap, and holding her hands at him with her eyes all aglow and shinover it. This was another thing upon ing, with a sudden glad contraction and which the doctor's wife, as she herself then expansion of her heart. She put avowed, could not look with any toleration. down the scaldino, and went a step forShe made a little gesture of distress, as ward. "You are my little cousin," said if she would have put it away. Frederick, in a voice which the natural impulse of kindness and the pleasant sense of beneficence made melodious. He looked at her with no criticism in his eyes, rather with admiration and pleas

"Oh, for heaven's sake, my dear, don't let me see you with that odious thing on your knee An English girl keeps her hands warm with doing something or other. You will find nothing of that sorture. The girl paused all aglow, on tipin England. There your time will be all toe, her sudden impulse betraying itself filled up in a rational way. There is al- in every line of her slim figure. Then ways something going on, and you will she obeyed that impulse, poor, forlorn find no time to nurse your hands in your child. She threw herself forward, took lap. Of course, there is a great deal that the outstretched hands, and bent down will be very novel. Put down that scal- and kissed them in her pretty Italian way. dino, dear. I can't bear to see you with "Yes, I am Innocent," she said; "oh, it. It is such an odd thing for an Eng- take me away! take me away! lish girl to do."


"Am I an English girl?" said Innocent, dreamily. She did not respond to what was said to her. "She never gives you a reasonable answer," Mrs. Drain- THIS little scene was odd and someham said afterwards, with an impatience what embarrassing to a young Englishfor which it was not difficult to account. man utterly unaccustomed to have his It was just then that the tinkling bell hand kissed; but I think it highly probat the door pealed, and Niccolo after able that Frederick would have felt much some parley admitted a stranger. Nic-less objection to it had it not been for the colo recognized the name at once, though presence of that Gorgon of British prono English visitor could have recognized priety, which kept staring at him with an it had he heard it from Niccolo's lips. expression of shocked and suspicious "Signor Estvode," he said, looking in watchfulness from the other side of the at the door, and pausing, with the true stove. He laughed with the embarrassinstinct of an Italian servant, to watch ment common to his nation under the cirthe effect of the announcement. Inno- cumstances. There is nothing so awkcent started to her feet, in her haste drop- ward, so unhappy, and unready, as an ping instinctively from her shoulders her Englishman who is called upon to show old velvet mantle, and Mrs. Drainham any natural feeling of the softer kind besat and stared with genuine British com-fore strangers. Why we all, and we aione,


be made of it, cast them down again with a slight shrug of her shoulders, and made no reply. Why should I take the trouble to talk?" she seemed to say, which was not very civil to Mrs. Drainham, nor encouraging to that lady's benevolence, it must be allowed.

"You never thought of that view of the matter?" said the persevering woman. "But you ought to think of it. Few people, unless they are very rich, are disposed to take all the responsibility of a girl like you. They might help you, and be kind to you; but they would most likely think it was right and best that you should contribute at least to your own support."


should feel that we are ridiculous when | Paris hotel, which was the first one that our hearts are touched, I cannot tell; but came to his hand. He knew it by a crease so it is. Frederick Eastwood was affected in the corner, and pushed it back again by the eager passion of his welcome; but with a little shudder which he could not with Mrs. Drainham's eyes upon him, he account for: for indeed the Batty episode could do nothing but laugh. The primi- had faded into unimportance already. tive-minded girl, who was not aware of The card, however, was given and acceptthis tacit necessity, shrunk back into her-ed with a gracious smile and bow. That self when, as she thought, he laughed at celestial address, the "Junior Minerva her. But the spectator felt that it was the impressed Mrs. Drainham, as it had imright thing to do, and her disapproval pressed Frederick's less desirable acsoftened. She indicated a chair to the quaintance. A little conversation of the new comer with a little wave of her hand. most amicable character ensued, winding Dear child," she said in a caressing up by an invitation to dinner for that tone, “you must moderate your feelings. evening. We all understand you; we all excuse you; but these are not English ways. Sit down a little, while I talk to you and to this gentlemen. Mr. Eastwood, I think? so far as one can understand an Italian's version of the name we were expecting to hear ·


"And you will come too, my dear," said the doctor's wife; "though it is a thing you could not do in ordinary circumstances. Nobody could reflect upon you for departing from the usual rules in your position. I will ask no one to meet you. Mr. Eastwood will bring you to us at seven o'clock."


Yes," said Frederick, “I should have arrived a week ago, but for - indisposition. I am glad to find my cousin in such good hands."

Here they paused, and looked at each other, with sentiments which were not unfriendly, but a certain English community of feeling that made them sensible of the necessity of some sort of preliminary antagonism before the one agreed to accept the other as the person he claimed to be. Mrs. Drainham was a pretty woman, though it was appointed to her at this moment to act the Gorgon's part. And Frederick, with his peaked beard and melancholy eyes, was a handsome young man. The tone of the British matron perceptibly softened, as she took in at a glance the various evidences before her that the new comer was "a gentleman"-all-expressive and all-embracing phrase. She even laughed a little in her turn, and coloured very becomingly as she executed the sterner part of her duty.

"I am afraid you will think me impertinent," she said; "and I feel ridiculous; but as my husband and I have taken a great interest in Miss Vane, would you pardon me for asking if you have any credentials -or authority? I am sure I beg your pardon. You will understand what I mean

Then they both laughed together which advanced matters still farther.

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"I have a letter from my mother to my cousin," he said. "I might have got a certificate of identity, had I thought she was so well guarded. And here is my card," he added, taking it out smilingly. It was the card Batty had found in the

Innocent had listened to this conversation vaguely, in a kind of stupor, feeling as if they spoke a language of which she had never before heard a word. Greek would have been as intelligible to her. It even hurt her vaguely that they seemed to understand each other in the language which she could not understand. She had been thrust back upon herself, which is always painful-thrust back after, as she thought, a gleam of new life and a new world, into the old dreary world, much drearier than ever by the contrast though it was but momentary. The visionary intensity of a mind living in its own sensations almost annihilates space and time; and though it was but half an hour since Frederick Eastwood came upon the scene at all, there was room enough in that half hour to make the girl feel the force of two revolutions - the one from her dreary solitude into a new sphere of brightness, tenderness, companionship which was as a revelation of Heaven to her; and the other, a dreary circle back again, out of the light, out of the society, out of the strange delightful newness which seemed to have changed her being all in a moment. The one was a sudden sun-rising, the other an equally sudden eclipse. She had been raised up to heaven and then suddenly tossed down again. The amount of emotion involved was quite excessive and extravagant, out of all keeping with the momentary character of the incidents; but Innocent was not aware of this, nor could have believed how utterly unimportant to the others was the half-hour which sub'jected her to such vicissitudes of feeling

as she had never before felt in her life. | wrong.


She threw out her arms and She made no reply to Mrs. Drainham's clung to him, in a simple effort of nature invitation, which, indeed, she scarcely to grasp at something; and fell into such comprehended. She did not understand a passion of sobs and cries on his bosom the civilities with which her two compan- as frightened him. But yet what was ions parted, Frederick accompanying Mrs. more natural? She had just lost her faDrainham to the door. What she im- ther; she had no one in the world to turn agined was that he had thus gone away to, except this new relation who bewithout taking any further notice of her, longed to her. She had been undergoing and that all was over, and the new hope an unnatural repression, concealing her to which she seemed to have a right, feelings in that stupor which grief so often taken from her. She sat in a stupor brings. Frederick thought he understood watching them go away, fingering the it all, and it affected him, though he was folds of the old velvet cloak, which she glad there was no one else in the room. had picked up mechanically from the He put his arm round her, and even floor, and feeling a mingled chill of her kissed the cheek which was partially visishoulders from the want of her mantle, ble, and said all the kind things he could and of her heart from this strange deser- think of. It lasted so long that, not betion — which made her shiver all over, ing very strong himself, he began to totand gave her that nervous and passionate ter a little under the unexpected burden, impulse to cry, which children and wo- and would gladly have freed himself and men are so seldom able to resist, but sat down by her. But Innocent had been which poor Innocent had been victorious carried away by the tide, and could not over often, tears being among the things stop herself. This was the beginning of which her father turned into highest ridi- their acquaintance. There were no precule. She had ceased almost to be able liminaries. She had never "given way to weep-forgotten the way; the natural in her life before, except on the occasion emotions had been frozen in their foun- we have already referred to- and heaven tains. But the thrill of new existence of knows what a strange processes were gowhich she had been conscious had broken ing on in the girl's half-developed, muchthose frozen chains, and she began to suppressed nature, as for the first time struggle with a hysterical passion which she gave her tears and emotion way. roused all her pride and all her spirit to conquer it. No doubt, she thought, this new cousin, like her father, would despise the weakness which women in dulged in. Innocent despised herself for being a woman, and she would have died sooner than yield to what she supposed to be a purely feminine impulse. She was struggling thus with herself, fighting the hardest battle she had fought since the time when goaded by his ridicule she had rushed upon her father like a little tiger, beating him with her baby fist, choking with suppressed passion, when the door opened again, and Frederick came in once more. She gazed at him with her breast heaving, and her eyes dilated in the fierceness of her struggle to keep off the tears. And if he had laughed, or treated her emotion lightly, Innocent would have conquered. But Frederick's heart was really touched. He felt benevolent, paternal, full of patronage and kindness. He went up to her, and laid his hand caressingly on her head.

When the hysterical sobbing came to an end, Innocent lifted her head from his breast and looked at him, still holding him by the arms. She looked up suddenly, half beseeching him not to despise her, half daring him to do so; but there was no scorn in Frederick's eyes. He was very sorry for her.



My little cousin, we must make friends now that woman is gone," he said, smiling upon her.

Poor child, she knew nothing of selfcontrol, scarcely anything of right and

My poor child!" he said, smoothing the ruffled hair upon her forehead.

Then a sudden flush came to her face, and light to her eyes. She released him as suddenly as she had clutched him. She sank back gently into her chair with a shy deprecating smile.

"I could not help it," she said, putting out her hand. She wanted to retain some hold of him, to be sure that he would not melt quite away like one of the dreams.

As for Frederick, though his first feeling, I confess, was great thankfulness at being permitted to sit down, he had no objection to have his hand held by those soft, long fingers, or to bear the eager look of eyes which shone upon him with a kind of worship. He told her how he had been coming to her for a long time, but had been detained-how he had come to take her home- - how they must start next day if possible, and travel as




quickly as possible; and how his mother my mother
and sister were awaiting her anxiously, nor
hoping to make her happy, and to com-
fort her in her trouble. Innocent leant
back in her chair, and smiled and lis-
tened. She made no reply. It did not
seem necessary to make any reply. She
held his hand fast and let him talk to her,
not caring much what he said. I don't
know if her intelligence was much de-
veloped at this period of her life. She
understood what he was saying, but it
was as a song to her, or a story that he
was telling. She did not mind how long
she listened, but it required no personal
took no personal hold of her.
The picture he made of The Elms, and
his mother and sister, produced no sort
of effect upon her mind. She was satis-
fied. Everything was unreal and vague
except the one tangible fact, that he was
sitting beside her, and that she was hold-
ing his hand. It was not love at first
sight. The child did not know, and nev-arm.
er inquired what it was. She had got
some one-some one belonging to her
like other people, some one who did not
sneer or ridicule, but smiled at her: who
called her name softly: who found no
fault. She was altogether transported by
this wonderful sensation. She wanted
no more; no mothers nor sisters, no
change, no conditions such as make life
possible. She knew nothing about all
that. Her understanding had nothing to
do with the question. It was barely de-
veloped, not equal to any strain; and in
this matter it seemed quite possible to do
without it; whether she understood or
not did not matter. She was happy; she |
wanted nothing more.

"Must you go away?" she cried with a start, holding his hand closer, as he moved.

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Will you leave me when we get there?" the girl asked eagerly, still holding him. Yes, it was flattering; but possibly it might become a bore.

"No, no," he said, "I live there too. I am not going to leave you. But my mother will be the chief person then-my mother and Nelly, not me. They will be your chief friends and companions


"I would rather have you; I know you; and I don't like women," said the girl. "Listen! Could not we live somewhere without letting them know? I can cook some dishes-very good maccaroni; and I can cook birds. I could do what you wanted, and make your spese. This would be far better than going to live with your mother. I do not like women.'

She warmed as she spoke, turning to face him, with her hand still clasping his


"You must not say such things," he said.

"Why? This is the first time you have said 'you must not.' My father says women are all bad—not some here and there like men. I am one, but I cannot help it. I always try to be different. I would not do the things they dolook like them if I could help it. Are you rich?"


"No," said Frederick, becoming bewildered. He had risen up, but she detained him with her two hands holding his arm.

"That is a pity. We were never rich. If you had been rich we might have taken Niccolo, who could have done everything

he is so clever. We might have stayed here. Stop!" she said, suddenly, "there is a little cloud coming up over your face. Do not let it. Smile. You smiled when you came in first, and I knew that it was you, and was so happy."

"My poor child! Why were you hap


"Because I knew it was you," she said, vehemently. "And now you talk of your mother. I do not want to go to your mother. Let me stay with you."

"Listen, Innocent," he said, with a shade of impatience stealing over him. "There is no possibility of questioning where you are to go. You must go to my mother. I live there, too. I cannot af ford to have a house for myself. You must learn to be fond of my mother, and do whatever she wishes. Now let me go, please. I am going out to see the place.

If we leave to-morrow, I may not have another opportunity. Come, come, you must let me go."

She was looking up into his face, studying it intently, as if it were a book, a close, penetrating gaze, before which his eyes somewhat wavered, hesitating to meet hers. An idea that she would find him out if she gazed thus into the depths of his soul, crossed his mind, and made him half angry, half afraid. Perhaps she divined this feeling; for she let his arm go, slowly, sliding her hands away from it, with a half caressing, half apologetic motion. She smiled as she thus released him, but said nothing. There was something pretty in the act by which she set him free-a mingling of resignation and for a long time quite still, ponderentreaty that at once amused and touched ing over the morning with a strange him. Go, if you will it seemed to say happiness, and a still stranger poignant -but yet stay with me! It was hard to pain in her agitated breast. Then she resist the moral restraint after the phys- rose, and putting her cloak round her ical was withdrawn. But Frederick re- the poor cloak which she was afraid he flected that to spend this, his only day in had despised—she went down the long a strange new place in Italy-shut up stairs and across the road to the tiny littête-à-tête with a girl who was a stranger tle church upon the edge of the Árno. to him, though she was his cousin, would Nobody who has been in Pisa will forget be extremely ridiculous. Yet he could Santa Maria della Spina. I do not know not leave her abruptly. He stroked her whether its tiny size took the girl's fancy, soft hair once more paternally as he stood or if the richness of the elaborate archiby her. tecture pleased her, for she had no such clearly developed ideas about art as her relations in England gave her credit for. Perhaps after all it was but a child's fancy for the dim, decorated religious place, which, notwithstanding its mystery and silence, and the awe which hung about it, was not so big as the great bare salone in which she sat at home. She went in, crossing herself according to the custom which she had seen all her life, mechanically, without any thought of the meaning of that sign, and held out her hand to give the holy water to a peasant woman who entered along with her, mechanically too, as she might have offered any habitual courtesy. This poor girl had scarcely been taught anything, except what her eyes taught her. She went in, according to her custom, and knelt for a minute on a chair, and then, turning it round, sat down with her face to the altar. I think what she said under her breath was simply the Lord's Prayer, nothing more. It was very brief and mechanical too, and when she sat down I cannot pretend that her thoughts were of a religious kind. They were possessed by the occurrences of the morning. Her heart was in a tumult, rising and falling like the waves of the sea. The dead stillness with which the day before she had sat in the same

"I will come back in time to take you out to this lady's to dinner," he said. "I suppose they have been kind to you? And in the meantime you must see after your packing. I have no doubt you will find a great many things to do. I am sorry you have not a maid to help you. Have you wraps for the journey? You will want something warm."

She took up her old velvet mantle with a startled look, and turned it round in her hands, looking at it. It was a garment to delight the very soul of a painter; but, alas! it was not such a garment as Frederick Eastwood, who was not a painter, could walk about by the side of, or travel with.

"Is that all you have?" he asked, with a little dismay.

"I have a shawl,” said Innocent, looking at him with astonished eyes.

Ah! I must speak to Mrs. Drainham about it," he said, with some impatience. "Good-bye for the moment. Will you dress, and be quite ready when I come back? and then we can have a talk about our start to-morrow, and all our arrangements. I am sure if you are to be ready

in time there is not a moment to lose."

was gone. Ready for what? For going out with him in the evening to the house of the lady who found fault with her; who had come to her and talked so much, that the girl neither tried nor wished to understand. Ready! She sat and tried to think what it meant. She had but the black frock she wore - no other with its little black frill of crape about her neck; no edge of white, such as people wear in England. She could smooth her hair, and put on a locket, or her mother's brooch; but that was all she could do. The packing she never thought of. Niccolo had been nurse and valet combined. He had always arranged everything, and told her what to do. She sat

Ready in time! The words seemed to echo about poor Innocent's ears when he

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