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on great emotional strain had overtaken what was going on. There had not been her; and everything she did, she did me time to put away the case; Robin had chanically,
left it with . In the house, coming out from the din-1.6" I am afraid you thought re rather ing-room, she met the butler.
harsh this afternoon,” he began; and to “Mr. Blunt's ordered his dinner in his afford her time to further recover, he own room, ma'am,” said the man, with a went back and drew the bolt of the door perfect knowledge of the family fracas. before taking a chair near her. “ I have "I don't know if Mr. Christopher's in or come to ask
your pardon." not; I saw bim in the garden, but that Robin strove to speak, but words would was some time ago."
not come. Robin continued on her way up-stairs "It is very terrible," continued Chris. to her own room. She did not possess topher, “having to speak so at all to much that of a right she could lay claim one's father; and to say the things I to; but there were a few relics,'trifles, had to say before you would be too humilsouvenirs of her father, which, if she could iating - too bitter. Happily, Robin, ex. not carry away, she must destroy. An perience has not taught you to feel for old case in which, at the time of his me there.” death, letters were put to be read here. “Oh! but yes,” she murmured, his after. Robin had never found heart to voice making her look at his face, drawn, look at it since, but now necessity obliged pinched with traces of suffering the her, and at haphazard she took out one of sight of which stabbed her. If a contest the letters and opened it. It was from with his father so told upon Christopher, her mother, written, before her marriage, how would be live through what he would to her father. She kissed it reverently, have now to endure ? put it down, and drew out another. This “ I often think of your father,” he contime about herself. The mother away, tinued, sighing, “and how you must com. wrote telling the father into what a sweet pare the two. What a light heart he had ! companion their child – their little Robin What a gay spirit!” the tears welled
- had grown. And then, in all the full up into Robin's eyes. “I am glad I knew ness of maternal love, and with prophetic bim - glad I was able to be of some litcertainty that her end was drawing near, tle service to him — that he took a liking she entrusted the child to the father's to me - trusted me — trusted me with care, trying to foreshadow the woman she you, Robin, his great treasure !”. would have her grown up into. A sudden He was looking at her now sadly sol. gust of tears streamed from Robin's eyes. emnly. Underneath, in her father's writing, was “We used to have many talks together, written, “ Her last letter, to be kept for he and I. He told me how sorely the Robin to read when she is a woman; pre- thought had pressed on him of having to fixed was the date, just after the death, in leave you so young, surrounded by so the very midst of his great sorrow. Robin much temptation. The world looked very turned it over, examining it carefully different to him then; things he had Had it ever been read or looked at since? scoffed at, made light of before, he lisshe wondered; and her thoughts went ened to then with pleasure; he would say, back to the stricken husband laying it. Tell it to Robin — talk to her about aside for his child, and then at a leap she that.'' saw the child grown up — herself. She - “ About what?” said Robin huskily. Robin – was the little Robin spoken of in " About our life here - how we have that letter. Involuntarily her head bowed to struggle make a constant warfare ; down until her cheek lay pressed against if we would be united again hereafter – the faded, faintly scented paper, the con. and we hope to be, don't we? — with those tact with which seemed to bring a sense we love — your father, mother, and her of soothing to her.
sister, whose dear name you bear. Long, Taking no count of time, Robin did long before I ever saw you, I used to join not know how long she had remained in her prayer that God would bless and resting, when a tapping at the door watch over little Robin Veriker." roused her.
The tears rained down from Robin's “Yes,” she said; "who is it?" and eyes; but Christopher, usually so ready while speaking she had gone to the glass to offer comfort, paid no heed to her. to mend the disarray of her dress and get Suddenly his attention seemed attracted her hair back into order. " Come in ! to the letter-case.
It was Christopher; a glance told him " Have you been looking over that?"
he asked. " What do you mean to do " That is the bell,” said Christopher, with the letters – leave them in it, or burn rising. them?"
What! could he find heart to go down Robin, guilty as she felt, dared not look to dinner? up to see if Christopher spoke with mean- Robin shook her head. ing. How should he though? it was not “ No," she said; “I could not eat any. possible — the question must be put by thing if I went.” mere accident only.
Without a remonstrance, he turned to “I have not decided yet,” she said. “I go-to go! He - Christopher — wont have only read two or three of them." to beg and implore, was leaving her with.
“ And the reading has upset you? I out a word ! thought it would, when I laid them aside Robin sat aghast. Did he not care? for you. Do you remember that day? Was he not well? In the evening we started for Spezzia. “Christopher,” she said, as he was go. When, I wonder, shall we ever see Spez-ing out at the door, “ you will come up zia again, and the little garden - for it again?" was a garden, full of gay blossoms, was "If you wish it; yes, certainly I will.” it not, when we left him there, lying side And without turning round, he went by side with your mother?”
down, to go through the poor pretence of Unseen by Robin, Christopher had that mockery of dinner, sat out and par. passed his hand over his brow; the effort taken of for fear of remarks being made he was making was almost too much for of what the servants might say; for him.
how was it possible that he could feel “Do you ever wonder, Robin, whether certain that Robin might not have been it is possible that those taken from us are watched ? — prying eyes might have permitted to look down on us below? It dogged her steps with observation. is a fancy which has a great hold on me. The thought gave him strength to asI should like to think your father and our sume more than his usual air of uncon. other dear ones could see us sometimes cern. He spoke of some matters going here together — you and me.”
on in the village to the servant waiting; Robin could no longer keep down the asked questions and made remarks on the sobs which mastered her con ol; the weather; and every now and again his hand of an unseen influence seemed laid eyes fell on the vacant chair, and it was upon her. Wholly occupied with herself, filled by her once wont to bear him con. and what she was about to do, it did not stant company. They were back in Venoccur to her to ask why Christopher spoke ice eating that first dinner, during which to her thus. She only knew that each his heart had, unbidden, strayed from word he said awoke an echo in her breast him made captive by that grace of - each stuck a separate thorn into her girlish gaiety. There was a dinner at heart.
Florence, he remembered ; and A dozen times bis name, “ Christo- brought about by a chapter of accidents pher," had risen to her lips; but, courage at Sestri Levente, every disaster of which failing, before she had found voice to she had turned into fun and laughter. give it sound, she had snatched it back Oh, how cruel at times is memory! again. She wanted to tell him that she Christopher's heart sickened while recall. meant to go away - that she must leave ing that happy past. Unconsciously he him – could not stay with him any more pushed back his chair, and then recol
that she was going with Jack — that lection seizing him, he stretched himself she ought not to have married him, be back as if only cramped by the way he cause, though she did not know it, Jack was sitting. had loved her all the time - and, though “There's somebody outside waiting to she bad not said so, she had always loved speak to you, sir,” said the servant. “ I him too. Confessions easy to make, until asked for bis message, but he says he was she tried to shape them into words; and told to see you.” Christopher, sitting there silent, rapt in Christopher was in the hall in a mothought, had never before seemed so diffi- ment. A man standing there advanced, cult to approach by her.
holding in his hand a letter. The wall of separation which had “ Beg pardon, sir,” he said, “but I was sprung up between them during the past ordered not to give this to anybody but months was suddenly visible to Robin's you; and will you be so good as to send eyes, and on the threshold of the con- a line in return, to say it reached you Sessional she stood afraid to enter in. safe ?"
Christopher took the letter, and went his knowledge should be conveyed, Chrisinto the morning-room; his hands were topher put it safely into his pocket, and trembling, so that he could hardly break after a while directed his steps back to the seal, At one glance his eyes drank the house, and then to Robin's room. in the contents, and then his strength “What a long time you have been seemed to give way; his knees knocked gone, Christopher! I thought you did together, so that he had to sit down and not mean to come back again.” make an effort to recover breath. Could Robin spoke in that tone of halfit be true? He read the words over querulous reproach never adopted by again,
those we are indifferent to. " As soon
“Is it late?” he said, looking at the as I know that this has reached you, I shall leave for Monkswell
, would like some tea, wouldn't you?”
clock. “The days are so long now. You so as to catch the midnight up-train. Get
No, not now.” the enclosed safely delivered. I have said nothing about having seen you.”
While he had been absent, Robin had
been striving to gather up her courage; Over and over he went through that but the waiting had strained her bighlyletter, as if to try and fix it in his mind; strung nerves and filled her with an irriand then hastily rising, be wrote back, - tability she was hardly mistress of. I thank you for what you have done.
With an air of weariness Christopher Your secret is safe in my keeping.'
took possession of an easy-chair, leaned
back in it, and closed his eyes. How thin “ Take that!” he said to the man; and his face had gone - how drawn - how ill he walked with him out of the house, and he looked ! watched him through the plantation; and “ You don't seem well, Christopher : then he stood undecided what he should are you feeling ill ? ” do next. The good tidings that had just What a poisoner of content is sus. reached him ought to lift half the load of picion! It was because she was going to care from his breast, instead of which a leave him, believed that she was going fresh smart was added to it.
away, that she assumed this anxious tone The enclosure Jack had sent was a let- of inquiry. ter to be given to Robin. Looking at it, “I have not felt very well for some Christopher wondered, how was it word. time,” he answered coldly. ed? had he dealt gently, tenderly with What should she do? Robin felt a her ?
prey to despair. Oh for a kind word, a “ Poor child! poor child !” he mur. look to encourage her! Then she could mured. Already the flood of pity had set tell him that she had set herself to say; in – for great love is very strong in com. as it was, it seemed impossible. passion.
Oddly enough, for the time all thought Towards Jack, Christopher felt all the of Jack seemed driven from her mind, rising of bitterness; it was the old story swallowed up in the more immediate of the one ewe lamb desired by him who necessity of speaking to Christopher, had all the world to choose from. Up to Why did she wish to tell him? She could the present point his thoughts had been not say. she did not know. All that she centred on how best he should act so as was aware of was an infinite pressure to guard Robin against herself, and take laid on her - a feeling which impelled her out of her tempter's power. This her to say something by way of repara. necessity no longer existed. Jack gone tion. How much, how little — all that away, so far Robin was safe. The sigh was left; only he must not entirely misof discontent told the sting of bitterness. judge her. Influenced still by the glamor Safe, because her husband, instead of a cast over her by Jack, she could not en. companion, would be henceforth turned dure to stab to death the love of Chrisinto a spy, a gaoler.
topher. If she would but trust bim - tell him And so she moved about the room, all! The thought of Robin believing changing her seat, lingering, hovering herself deserted, cast down with shame, about him, he all the while perfectly humiliated, was only in its measure less aware of her near presence, although painful to Christopher than seeing her seemingly paying no attention to it. stand disgraced before the world. is because of her going away,” he kept
O pity! generous dole of tender love! repeating ; "she wants to feel she has
Unable to decide how best to have the bidden me good-bye.” Goaded by the letter delivered so that no suspicion of thought, which more and more pained
him, he suddenly got up, feeling he could gone? Had they gone together? Quesendure it no longer.
tions which everybody asked, and nobody Christopher, don't go — you mustn't. could answer. 1- have something to tell you.”
Old Blunt said his son was a fool. Mrs.
Temple did not believe another woman A great writer has said that we should living had such a daughter. Speculation not lift the veil from the sanctuary of was rife - opinions varied. And then, married life. With sobs, tears, and reit. the excitement over, the disturbance be. erations such as no pen could give force gan to settle down; and very soon, except to Robin told her tale, and, led on by to the few concerned, the whole matter Christopher, she laid her early love bare became stagnant. before him, hiding, nothing, excusing “Here we are as we were,” said Georgy nothing. And the daylight faded away, Temple to Mr. Cameron. and dusk became darkness, obscuring all She had been spending the morning at around; still on the ground, at her hus- the schoolhouse, and was walking home band's feet, Robin sat. It was she who by a strangely circuitous route with the was silent now, he who talked, who curate; in order, so they said, to fully pleaded, entreated, urged, until the dew discuss an impending treat got up for the of his speech moistened all that was good children between them. in the girl's heart, and rising up she “And I, for one, am not sorry,” said said,
Mr. Cameron, with that gratulatory hug “I will write a letter to Jack and give of himself together; -“somehow, Georgy, it to you to send to him; and you must I never felt altogether secure while that take me away so that I never - never cousin Jack of yours was hanging about see him again.”
you forever.” Oh, blessed tears ! let them flow, Rob- “ Didn't you ?” she said, with a little in. And Christopher, fold her in your indulgent laugh at him. "Oh, you need arms, strain her to your heart; for the not have had any fear there were two battle is yours, the victory is won ! insuperable obstacles in the way; but if
That night Christopher locked up the there had not been, I don't know that Jack two letters - the one from Robin, the and I would ever have given a thought to other from Jack — together, unopened. one another.” Not a word had he said, not a hint had “Two obstacles — insuperable! What be given of the knowledge be was in pos- were they? session of.
“ Well, on the one part — my part, you Believing that Jack would remain at know — there was – you." Wadpole, Robin had made Christopher "Oh !” promise to take her away by an early train “Ah it is Oh!' and it was · Oh!' on the following morning; and he, desirous Jack's part, too; for his obstacle was that there should be no meeting with his Mrs. Christopher Blunt.” father - from whom, according to his “Hush, Georgy! don't speak of it in promise to Jack, he intended at once sep- that way. I don't like to hear you.” arating her — assented readily. Further But the mischief's over now, dear arrangements could be made hereafter, boy. I was very angry with Jack for a but in the same house they must no time; however, it's come all right. At longer live together.
heart, he's a thoroughly good fellow - oh, As the key turned in the desk, a sigh you'll see it when you've got over being escaped from Christopher; he leaned his jealous of him - and in the end he lis. head on his hands and stayed standing tened to what I had to say, and made a there. Did a vision foreshadow a time to clean cut and run of it altogether.”
perhaps near, perhaps far away "It was strange his going, and then when those letters should be given their going the next day.' each to its right owner ?
“ Yes; I've never made that out never quite fathomed it. I should like
to feel certain why Mrs. Christopher went Ayong a small community trilling away.” events make a great stir. The sudden “Christopher told me and I feel sure departure of the squire, followed by the he would not tell me an untruth — that be unexpected exodus of Christopher and had had a great fall-out with his father." Robin, furnished Wadpole with a nine “ Well, then, I wish they had done their days' wonder.
falling out the day before; then Jack need Why had they gone? Where had they not have gone, you know.”
“No?” Mr. Cameron still spoke half. Mr. Cameron turned a little more heartedly... " I wonder if he knows where round, and looked at her. they are ?"
“Oh, yes, I know," she said, singing “ I don't think so,” said Georgy; “I“When will that be? say the bells of don't see how he should. You had not Stepney." heard from Christopher when I answered “Why, my dear girl, a great deal sooner Jack's letter; and, by the way, it would than you think. I'm the most lucky fel. be as well to caution you against telling in the world — ah, you may laughi, me anything you fancy they would not | Georgy, but I am. Well, now, only see ! like him to know, because I gave him my When I was ordained first, I thought I solemn word to tell him every scrap I was certain to go to Kensington; it heard about them – good, bad, or indif- seemed settled there was nothing else for ferent.”
it, when all at once — nobody could tell “ So I told Christopher.”
how — the appointment came for me to “ Told Christopher! what for? go to Wapping! That's only one in
“Because I didn't want him to say any- stance; but I could give you a dozen thing to me that I might not say to you. more. When the fever was raging at It might have slipped out unawares,” he Homerton, I didn't see a chance of go. added in explanation, “when we were ing there; I wanted above all things talking; because I just let my tongue run to be sent to that hospital — but how? when I am with you. That's the beauty Suddenly dear old Nicholls falls sick; of it; you can't do that, can you, with any there's a vacancy, and into it they pop me. other person?”
And then, above all else, there's you, Georgy smiled approvingly.
Georgy. Who, in the name of fate, “ Now about our engagement,” began would ever have supposed I should Mr. Cameron; "you know it's high time have a chance with you? - and yet you we made that known, because I've spoken accept me! Oh, talk of luck, I should to your father already."
think I was lucky, rather! "I know you have; but what about word, if anything, I'm almost afraid to mother — have you said anything to her wish for things — they're so certain to yet?” and she showed two rows of little come to me.” pearly teeth mockingly.
“ Then, if you don't begin, from this Mrs. Temple's acts of aggression to. very instant, to wish as hard and fast as wards Mr. Cameron were known to every: ever you can for a living to be given you, body. From the first day of his arrival don't expect anything from me. she had commenced hostilities with him “ And so I will;" and he joined Georgy
hostilities which he had suffered and in laughing heartily. " What shall it be? borne so meekly, that she was encouraged Where shall we say? I'll tell you to step over the threshold of her own do- Bethnal Green, eh? or better still, there's main, and enter into the region of his du- a little iron church in a street close by ties. But at the first onset the curate New Square, in the Minories. I've often met her. Thus far and no farther was had my eye on that: and it mightn't be so written on his face; and somehow Mrs. difficult to get, either.” Temple found herself not only repulsed Georgy shook with laughter. but very much worsted in the encoun- Upon my word,” she said, “that's ter. Similar attacks met with similar de pretty well: a choice between blind beg. feats.
gars' daughters, and old clothes-selling “ Mother finds that Tommy Puss has Jews.” claws,” said Georgy, who hadn't fallen in “Well, wouldn't you like it?” love then; and honoring the courage of “No, most certainly I shouldn't. I the hitherto shy, quiet new-comer, she had thought you meant some place that was combined with her father to protect him; — well, at least respectable.” and the cudgels taken up in his defence Respectable ! - he gave a shrug of did not improve Mr. Cameron's position horror. "Oh no, Georgy, don't let us go with her mother.
in for that. I've had as much as I can “Well, no," he said, rubbing his chin, stand of respectability here. The other " I haven't; but I mean to, though. I is so much nicer - - so much pleasanter: was wondering when would be the best life is a different thing there;” and in his time to speak.”
enthusiasm he seemed to sniff its air afar. “If you ask me, the time I should“ You have work to do from morning till choose would be whenever we saw some night, and something fresh always turning prospect of getting married.”