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beauty, nor his frankness, nor his natural enemy all the time, and then sunny smile.
Indeed, he was not, shelter yourself behind your grandfather, strictly speaking, a handsome man at I call that very unfair,” said Captain all; he was almost too slight, and there Cleasby. was no glow of health or ardour or “It does not make any difference to impulse in his face. But yet there was me,” said Christina ; “I told you it an attraction about him ; if there was didn't matter to me.” not beauty, there was grace, and a look “Only that you will not come to my of distinction which harmonized with house," said Captain Cleasby; and just his manner, the manner of a man who
then they passed from the heath and has seen the world and can afford to be
came out upon the road, back into indifferent to it. And all this again was everyday life, as it were, with a carter very new to Christina.
guiding his team of horses past the • You will come and see my sister, I White House, and the woman of the hope,” he was saying. “She sees no lodge standing at the Park gates, and one now, but she will be glad to see you Mr. Warde coming towards them with if you will come some day. She should a book under his arm. come to you, only you know there are Christina felt with a sudden reobjections :" and he remembered his vulsion of feeling that the eyes of the own reception, and smiled at the recol-. world were upon her; and that, for lection ; for, to be sure, that moment, so perhaps the first time in her life, she full of painful embarrassment to Mr. was doing something which she would North and of interest to Christina, was rather not have known, about which nothing to him but a trifling incident, people might talk, while Mr. Warde and not even a very amusing one. would, she knew, be surprised to meet
"Some day, perhaps," said Christina : her with Captain Cleasby. and she hesitated, remembering her He, for his part, was quite indifmother's fears and her grandfather's ferent to Christina's world, so far as he injunctions.
himself was concerned; but he was con“ That means you will not come; siderate for her, and would not allow but why not ?" said Captain Cleasby. her to be blamed or wondered at upon afraid of us?
his account. afraid of ?”
“Then good night,” he said : and he “I am not afraid of anything ; I am turned into his own gates, merely not afraid at all,” said Christina : and taking off his hat before Mr. Warde then she paused a moment before she came up with them. gave her reasons. “Grandpapa might not like it, and it is different now; we have not changed, but things have changed, and you are not like us. I
CHAPTER V. don't see myself that it makes any difference, but grandpapa thinks it does, Mr. Warde met Christina with an outand he does not like it."
stretched hand and his usual cordial “ Does not like what ?”
friendly greeting, and never gave a “ He does not like our having any- thought to her late companion ; inthing to do with you,” said Christina, deed, he was pre-occupied, and thinkdistinctly; but she could not helping of something quite different; and laughing a little as she said it, and her though his expression was as straightspeech had not a very deterrent effect forward and candid as ever, there was a upon Captain Cleasby, who was not shadow of perplexity in it which was angry, or hurt, or surprised, but simply not customary with him. a little amused.
“I have been with your grandfather,". “Now I call that very unfair. I see he said ; " he seems very much out of how it is ; you do look upon me as a spirits. If you can spare me a few
What are you
minutes, I should like to have a little “It is very kind of you, Mr. Warde," talk with you."
she said. “Of course it would be a great They were still some way from the help to us, and a very great advantage. house, and he turned and began to pace If it were me, I should accept and be back slowly by her side. It was such thankful ; but grandpapa is different. a sudden awakening, so rapid and com He cannot bear to take favours; I supplete a transition from coloured clouds pose he never was accustomed to it. I to common grey sky, that Christina felt sometimes think he would rather starve her heart sink, and had no thought or than ask anyone for a penny.
I think curiosity about what he might be going it would be much better to take as to say. Only it would be pleasant to be freely as one would give ; but then, you free to think, and not attend to any see, it does not concern me, and grandone's conversation.
papa is so very different from me,” "Your grandfather is very low,” said said Christina, with a sort of regretful Mr. Warde again; “I cannot help wonder. thinking that he has something upon his “Why are you all to suffer because mind, and it has occurred to me that it Mr. North is prejudiced? But I think may possibly be something connected you make a mistake,” said the clergywith his money matters.”
“I cannot quite fancy myself “Very likely,” said Christina, de- begging of anyone, but this is such a spondingly; "we are always in diffi rational thing. I don't want the rent, culties.” It was not a complaint, but a and Mr. North wants the money. I simple statement of a fact which she offer it gladly. Why should he not did not at that moment care to take the accept ?” trouble to conceal.
“I don't know, I am sure,” said “ “Very well,” said Mr. Warde, cheer- Christina ; " but I do not believe that fully; "I thought it might possibly be he will. People are different, you
It does not matter when know." people are young, unless they have “What I want you to do is to make others dependent on them,” said the the proposition,” said the Rector ; "put Rector, who was as far from pitying it to him as I have put it to you, and Christina as she was from making any
then let me know the result. Don't complaint. “But when a man comes to hurry him: his first impulse will be your grandfather's time of life, it is a to refuse, which is the reason that I different thing; and what I wanted to do not go straight to him. Good say to you was this.
I have no one night, Christina,” said Mr. Warde, who dependent upon me, except my parish- considered himself privileged by his age ioners, who get a great deal more than and long acquaintance to address her by is good for them, as a rule ; and as long her Christian name ; and then he shook as I am as I am now, I should like your
hands and turned away as they reached grandfather to look upon the White the White House, making his way back House as his. If I married, it would at his energetic rapid pace to his little be another thing."
lodgings over the baker's at Overton. He made his proposal in a perfectly
Christina walked slowly up the garunconcerned matter-of-fact tone; and, to den, with a curious sense of incongruity. say the truth, Christina, who was not It was not that she was surprised at sensitive, but almost as simple and Mr. Warde's proposal, or that she was in straightforward as Mr. Warde himself, any way embarrassed byit; it was simply was neither overwhelmed with surprise that all those every day affairs had lost nor gratitude, but looked on the offer as their importance in her eyes for the a natural one enough, which, had it rested time, and she seemed all at once to be with her, she would not have hesitated living two lives ; and though the one to accept. But it rested with her grand was pressed upon her from without, father, and not with her; and she said so. the other, which her imagination
created, seemed much the more real of might have been different; then she the two. She went up to her own
would have been forced to take it more room, and stood for a long time at her gravely, to face the question, and would window, watching the light dying out consequently have been troubled and in the west, as gradually the level rays vexed; but he was so boyish, so happy which lay across the heath faded, and and lighthearted, so unsuspicious and the evening mists rose up from the confident, that she ceased to ask herself valley. But yet she was not consciously upon what his contidence was founded. thinking of it, nor of anything; only She was not so very sorry now that he she smiled to herself as she looked, and was going away ; but yet they had been forgot that it was past her grandfather's happy, and she would please him by dinner-hour, and that he was impatient being down to see him off. So she of being kept waiting. She was not re thought that evening; and when she called to the present by the bell, nor by came down in the freshness and beauty the clock striking in the hall, and it of the early summer morning, her was not until she heard Bernard's voice thoughts were the same, only now the at her door that she turned, suddenly other and alien impressions of the day awakened from her dreams.
before were less strong than they had “ Make haste, Christina,” he was say been, and she was more drawn towards ing; "they are waiting; are you not her cousin when she began to realize coming?"
how much she should lose by his “Yes, yes,” said Christina impa- departure. All the cares had been 1 tiently : and she did make haste, but yet lightened by his presence, she could she was late, and her mother sighed, and hardly tell why or how. He was not her grandfather maintained a displeased full of advice, or resources, or expesilence, and she would not apologize or dients; he was not even very clever, or feel sorry, but took her work in the talkative, or agreeable ; but Christina evening, and would not lift her eyes could give free vent to her moods before from it even to speak to Bernard, who him, and he never jarred upon her, sat at his drawing, wondering at the but gave her all the mirth and gladness change.
which she ever knew-a gladness which, “ Have you given orders about break like that of childhood, was spontaneous fast, Christina ?” said Mrs. North, as and even unreasonable, but which had she wished her good night; "he must no pain or excitement intermingled be off by five o'clock, or half-past at the with it. latest, he says.”
Bernard was not even sad, still less "Ke! who ?” said Christina, for she desponding, on this morning of his had quite forgotten that it was Bernard's departure ; on the contrary, he was last evening; but Bernard had not full of hope, enterprise, and a happy heard the question.
confidence in Christina which could “What are you thinking about? I not be disturbed. He knew well wish you would attend when I speak,” enough that he must wait, but for said her mother; “I am telling you him the waiting had nothing that that Bernard must start at five o'clock threatened the failure of realization; to-morrow.”
and they were both young; and though “Oh yes,” said Christina, and, in his mother might not approve now, spite of her ill-humour and pre-occupa
would be different when he was older tion, a reproachful pang shot through and prospering in his profession ;
and her; "yes, of course I will tell Janet, for the present he had no fears, and but I shall be down myself.”
was hungry, and quite able to attend to “Yes, do, Christina," said Bernard, his breakfast. catching her words; and Christina could
was dispersing the mist not help nodding her assent gaily. If which had hung over the heath, and he had been sentimental or exacting, it was shining upon the old silver coffee
pot and china cups; and the breeze, smiled as she looked at him. He was full of the freshness and fragrance pale now, and his mouth was set, and of the dawning day, was blowing in at his eyes full of a fierce longing, but he the window, and they were as carelessly was still a boy, and beautiful in his happy as when they had made feasts as youth and innocence. little boy and girl under the Park trees, “It is only that it is so far off,” said with acorns for cups and saucers, and a Christina ; “I remember, of course, and dock-leaf for a table-cloth.
it is the same as it was then; I have "When we are married,”—said Ber- not forgotten-I shall not forget you." nard. He had been talking of his plans “That is a promise, and I shall not and hopes and projects, and came back forget," he said ; and he got up rather as was natural to the one idea in which unsteadily from his chair, and laughed they centred.
in his agitation and relief. Christina started, and put down her Then Janet came in, and the dogeup hastily, and pushed her chair back cart was at the door, and his portmanfrom the table.
teau was being carried out. Christina “Yes, when ;—but that is a long way came and stood in the doorway, shading off, Bernard. Why should we think her eyes with her hand from the flood about it now? Perhaps it may never of sunshine, and Bernard had rushed be. We cannot marry upon nothing at upstairs to wish his grandfather goodall, you know, and how could grand- bye; she could hear him calling to him papa give me anything; how could I in the passage above, and then he came ask it? Perhaps it would be better if down the stairs, and she held out both we did not think about it.”
her hands to him. "Not think about it !” said Bernard. “Good-bye, Bernard,” she said, smilA sudden flush as of anger or pain came ing. over bis face, and he put his arms upon “Good-bye,” he said, and kissed her, the table and leant over and stared at though Janet was standing close by ; her. “I have thought about it ever but then his going away was a great since I can remember,” he said, very event, and three months was a long slowly, with none of his usual ardour or time, and they were cousins. impetuosity.
The next minute he had slammed the “Yes, I know,” said Christina; and gate behind him, and was driving fast she could not tell why, but sudden tears across the heath. Christina watched rose in her eyes. And then there was him until he was out of sight, and then a silence, and in spirit they both went went back into the house. It seemed back to days of summer and winter to her now that she must be true to and early spring, and then to that day him, that there was no way of escape when she first knew that he had thought even if she had wished it, and she was about it, when he had asked and she not sure that she did wish it. She had not denied him, and now he must would be at peace, and at rest, and free ask another question, and would not from all cares; they might be happy shrink from it.
even now. She had met Captain " Christina,” he said, “you remember, Cleasby, she had walked and talked of course you remember your promise ; with him, but what did it amount to? but if you wish it, I give it you back They were no longer complete strangers, again. It is better to say it now, if it is but that was all. She had met him to be. If you have changed, say so, and frankly and simply, and had not asked be free if you like.”
herself why those two meetings stood “I have not changed,” said Christina; out distinct and full of light against the " there is no change that I know of, dark background of her life : but in only one learns to think that what is that casual meeting with Mr. Warde, in distant must be doubtful :" and though that sudden revulsion of feeling which the tears were still in her eyes, she she had had as she left the moor and
entered upon the public road; even in Captain Cleasby's manner, carelessly courteous as it was, when he turned into his own gates, a sort of revelation had been made to her. She would no longer do anything which all the world might not know. Her grandfather might be prejudiced, and bitter, and unjust; but if he did not choose to see this man-if others knew, as they no doubt did know, that Captain Cleasby was not welcome at the White House, then it was not for her to keep up any intercourse with him; and then, besides, she began to have a vague feeling of
danger, of something which might cause a conflict in her spirit and a discord in her life, if she continued to turn her eyes towards the Park.
She might be wilful and rebellious and reckless at times, but a better spirit had come to her now. Bernard was so happy and confident, and she was touched, and would be true to her words. So she thought as she sat over her work that day, and missed his resounding step along the passage, and his boyish merriment, and his winning smile.
To be continued.