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CHAPTER V.

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is maintained there is some hope of the

From Temple Bar. peace being kept. Great Britain under

AUNT ANNE. the Union can intervene as a permanent arbitrator between the warring elements. Withdraw that arbitration, and help to WALTER was going to India for the hold down one of the combatants while the winter. It had all been arranged while other tyrannizes over him, and the peace Aunt Anne sat out on the balcony with of Ireland is gone.

Mr. Wimple. Mr. Fisher had explained People sometimes wonder how it is that to Florence that the paper wanted a new the north should at present be so devoted correspondent for a time, and that it would to the Union. The Ulster men, as Mr. be an excellent thing for Walter to get the Gladstone is fond of lamenting, opposed change and movement of the new life. the Union in 1799; why do they prize it He was to go out by P. and O., making a so greatly now?' In this loyalty of Ulster short stay at Gibraltar, for press purposes, to the Union is to be found the strongest as well as one at Malta. He had looked hope for Ireland. It is often asked, what anxiously enough at his wife when they has the Union done for Ireland ? The an- were alone again that evening; but she swer is, that it has converted the most had put out her two haods as if in condiscontented and rebellious province in gratulation. Ireland into the most prosperous and con- “I am very glad,” was all she said, “it tented. And be it noted this success has will do you good and make you strong." not been won by making a pet of Ulster or “ To live for you and the chicks, my by maintaining a Protestant ascendancy. sweet." All the Imperial legislation for Ireland And so they arranged the getting ready ; since the Union has been directed not in for he was to start by the very next boat, favor of, but against, the selfish and purely and that sailed in ten days' time. Protestant interests of Ulster. Ulster If your mother had been in England has had nothing but bare justice since the you might have gone with me as far as Union, while public works and well-paid Gib.," Walter remarked.

“I suppose offices, legal and administrative, have been you would be afraid to leave the servants showered on the south. Ulster has gone in charge ?" her way without State help or favoritism. “I should like to go," she answered, as Belfast has grown, like an American city, she poured out the coffee – it was breakby the pure energy of its inhabitants, just fast time -" but I couldn't leave the chil. as Cork has dwindled by the lethargy of dren.” hers. But when the Union has done so By Jove,” Walter exclaimed, not heed. much for Ulster in some ninety-two years, ing her answer, "there's Aunt Anne in a what may we not hope another century hansom! I say, Floggie dear, let me eswill accomplish in the south ? Already cape. What on earth does she mean by the violence of Irish faction and rebellion coming at this hour of the morning? Say has abated, and if the Union is only let I'm not down yet, and shall be at least alone the whole of Ireland may ultimately three hours before I am; but keep the become reconciled to the English connec- breakfast hot somehow." tion. What, then, the English elector has “ Couldn't you see her?” to remember in deciding how he will vote “ No, no, she would want to weep over at the next election is the fact that the me if she heard that I was going, and I whole question pivots on Ulster. Home know I should laugh. Manage to get rid Rule is intended to pacify Ireland, but it of her soon.” And he flew up-stairs as cannot pacify Ireland because of Ulster. the street door was opened. If any proof of that is needed, look at the • My dear Florence,” Mrs. Baines said, fact that the most religious, the most seri- as she walked in with a long footstep and ous-minded, the most earnest, and the a truly tragic air, "let me put my arms least political people in the north are round you, my poor darling." quietly deciding that they will take the " Why, Aunt Anne, what is the mat. awful responsibility of resisting the law ter?” Florence asked cheerfully, and with -a responsibility which may cost them considerable astonishment. their lives and their worldly goods, and “ You are very brave, my love," the old may give over their homes to anarchy lady said, scanning her niece's face, “but and destruction. That is a fact upon I know all; an hour ago I had a letter which the electors of England and Scot. telling me of Walter's departure. My land must think long and think wisely. dear, it will break your heart."

St. Loe STRACHEY. "But why?"

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“ My love, it will."

would be useful to him. These are glyceOh, no,” Florence said, “ I am not so rine lozenges, Florence ; they are excellent foolish. Life is full of ordinary events for the throat. The sea mist or the desert that bring out very keen feelings ; I have sand is sure to affect it." been thinking that lately; but one must “ Thank you, it was very kind of you; learn to take them calmly.'

you are much too generous — you make “You do not know what you will suffer us quite uneasy.” Florence was miserable when he is gone."

at the two evils suggested. “ No, Aunt Aone, I shall miss him, of “My love, if I had thousands a year course; but I shall hope that he is enjoy- you should have them,” Aunt Anne aning himself."

swered, and, intent on her present-making, "My dear Florence, I expected to find she went on," and here is a little case of you broken-hearted."

scissors, they are of different sizes. I “ That would be cruel to him. I am know how much gentlemen Aunt glad he is going, it will do him good, and Anne always said gentlemen, never really I have not had time to think of “men,” as do the women of to-day – myself yet, I have been so busy."

“ like to find a pair suited to their require. Mrs. Baines considered for a moment. ments at the moment; I thought that they

“ That is the reason, I knew there was might be useful to him on the voyage. an explanation somewhere,” she said, in She gave a sigh of relief as though prean earnest, emotional tone. “I knew how senting her gifts had removed a load from unselfish you were from the first moment her mind." I suppose Walter is not I saw you, Florence. It is like you, my down yet, my love? darling, not to think of yourself. Try not “He is up-stairs,” Florence said, a little to do so, for you will feel your loneliness guiltily, “I am afraid he will not be down bitterly enough when he is gone." just yet."

“But don't tell me so," Florence said, Aunt Anne gave a reflective wink, as half crying, half laughing. “How did you though she perfectly understood the rea. know about it, Aunt Anne ?”

son of Walter's non-appearance ; but if “ Mr. Wimple told me.”

she did she had far too much tact to be“ Mr. Wimple -- have you seen him tray it. then ?”

"If it be your wish, my dear, I will “ My love, he is one of the most culti. forego the pleasure of saying a last goodvated men I ever met ; we have many bye to him." tastes and sympathies in common. Не “Well, dear Aunt Aone, when he does wrote to ask me to meet him by the Al. come down he will have a great deal to bert Memorial."

do," Florence answered still more guiltily, “ To meet him!” Florence exclaimed. for she could not help feeling that Aunt

“ Yes," answered the old lady solemnly. Anne saw through the ruse. “He agrees with me that never was “My love, I quite understand,” Mrs. there in any age or country a more beau. Baines said solemnly," and he will know tiful work than the Albert Memorial. that it was from no lack of affection that We arranged to meet and examine it to. I did not wait to see him." gether; he wrote to me just now and “Poor Aunt Anne,” Florence thought mentioned that Walter was going to In- when she had gone, " she would wring a dia ; 1 telegraphed to Mr. Wimple in- tragedy from every daily trial if she were stantly that I could see no one else to-day, encouraged. “Oh, you wicked coward,” for I knew that you would welcome my she said to Walter, "to run away like loving sympathy. I came to offer it to that ! ” you, Florence."

She said the last words " Yes, my darling; but I am starved, in a disappointed and injured voice. and really, you know, Floggie, confound

“ It was very kind of you, Aunt Anne; Aunt Anne!” but indeed I have only had time to be “Oh, but she is very kind !” Florence glad that he would get a rest and pleasant said, as she displayed the presents. change of work.”

“How did Mr. Wimple happen to know “I must see him before he goes; I may that you were going to India ?" she never do so again,” Mrs. Baines said, after asked. a pause.

I met him yesterday at the office. He “Oh yes, you will, dear.”

went to see Fisher; it was arranged that “ I have brought him two little tokens he should the other night." that I thought of him as I hastened to you " It is very extraordinary his striking up after hearing the news. I thought they a friendship with Aunt Anne.”

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“Yes, very extraordinary," he laughed, I told it was she who had paid the scanty

Y and then the old lady was forgotten. fare. As they stood together, they looked

poor and common and singularly unpreThe days flew by and the last one came. possessing; it was impossible to help To-morrow (Thursday) Walter was to feeling that they were nearly connected. start by an early train for Southampton. They looked like husband and wife, and All his arrangements were complete, and of an indefinite and insignificant class. on that last day he had virtually nothing to Suddenly Alfred Wimple caught Walter's do, " therefore, Floggie dear," he pleaded, eye; he nodded gravely without the least " let us have a spree.”

confusion, but he evidently said some“Yes,” she answered, willingly enough, thing quickly and in a low tone to his though her heart was heavier than his companion, for they hurried away through “ How shall we manage it?”

one of the station doors. “Let us stroll about all day or go to “ That horrid Mr. Wimple seems to Richmond, and come back and have a possess us lately,” Florence thought. cosy little dinner somewhere.”

As they went from the ticket office, she “Here," she pleaded, “let us dine here, saw Mr. Wimple and his friend hurrying in our own home on this last evening; along the platform. A minute later they we'll have a very nice dinner.”

had entered a Portsmouth train which was “Very nice indeed ? "

on the point of starting. “Very nice indeed, you greedy thing." “ If that's his Liphook friend, I don't

" All right, darling, suppose you go and think much of the looks of her. Alfred order it. Then get ready and let's start always picked up with odd people,” Walas soon as possible ; we'll amuse ourselves ter thought; but he kept those reflections well, and forget that we have not a month to himself; all he said aloud was, “ I say, to do it in. Live and be happy in the Floggie dear, if Wimple turns up while present day, dear Floggie,” he went on in I'm away, don't be uncivil to him, and a mock serious tone, " for there is always give him food if you can manage it. a chance that tomorrow will not declare Somehow he always looks half starved, itself."

poor beggar! Fisher is going to give him So they went off, like the boy he was in some reviewing to do, perhaps that will spite of his more than thirty years, and help him a bit.' the girl that she sometimes felt herself to There was a train going to Windsor in be in spite of the two children aod the ten minutes; so they went by it, and eight years of matrimony. They walked strolled down by the river, and looked at a little way. Theo Walter had a brilliant the boats, and went joto the town and idea.

looked at the shops, and the outside of "Let's get into a hansom," he said, the castle. Then they lunched at the “ drive to Waterloo and take the first train confectioner's, an extravagant lunch which that is going in any pleasant direction; I Walter ordered, and afterwards, while they think Waterloo is the best place for that were still drowsy and happy, they hired sort of speculation. This beggar's horse an open fly and drove to Virginia Water. looks pretty good, jump in."

They hurried back to Windsor in time to As they drove up to the station, a four- catch the 6 P.M. train for town, by balf wheel cab moved away, the cabman grum. a minute, and congratulated themselves bling at the sum that had been given him upon finding an empty carriage. by two people, a man and a woman, who “I shall always remember this dear still stood on the station steps looking day,” Florence said, as they sat over their after him.

last little dinner at home. " Why, there's Wimple !" Walter ex- " That's a good thing,” Walter said, claimed; “and who's that with him, I “and so will I, dear wife. When I come wonder?”

back we'll have another like it in memory Florence looked up quickly. Mr. Wim of this one's success.” Then he rememple wore a shabby grey coat, and round bered Alfred Wimple : “I should like to his neck and over his mouth there was a know who that girl was,” he thought; grey comforter, for the October morning “wonder if she's the daughter of another was slightly chilly. In his hand he carried tailor he doesn't want to pay, and if I met a worn brown portmanteau. Beside him him to-morrow I wonder what lie he would stood a tall, good-looking young woman of tell me about her --- he always lied, poor five-and-twenty, commonly, almost vul- beggar !” And this shows that Walter's garly dressed. She looked after the de- thoughts were sometimes not as charitable parting cab with a scowl on her face that as his words.

room.

The next day very early Walter de- she took it from her pocket, and nearly parted for Southampton; Florence went cried again - and then having entered, to see him safely on board.

she stood still and wondered. There in “ We shall have the good little journey the ball were two square boxes - boxes together," he said dismally, for he was of the sort that were used before overland loth enough to leave his wife now that the trunks came into fashion, and when Amer. parting time had come.

ican arks were unknown. They were cov. But it seemed as if the train flew along ered with brown holland, bordered with the rails in its hurry to get near the sea, faded red braid and corded with thick and the journey was over directly. There brown cord. Stitched on to each cover was all the bustle of getting on board ; and was a small white card, on each of which almost before she knew it, Florence was was written in the hand Florence knew so on her way back to London alone. As if well, Mrs. Baines, care of Mrs. Walter in a dream she walked home from the Hibbert. While she was still contemplat. station, thinking of her husband watching ing the address, a servant, who had heard the sea as it widened between him and her enter, came up. England. She was glad she had seen the “ Mrs. Baines has been here since ship, she could imagine him seated at the eleven o'clock, ma'am,” she said, “she's long table in the saloon, with the puokahs in the drawing-room, and has had nothing - useless enough at present - waving to eat all day except a cup of tea and a overhead, or in his cabin, looking out little toast that ourse made her have at through the porthole at the white crests to four o'clock. She's been waiting to see the waves.

Yes. She could see all his you." surroundings plainly. She gave a long It was evident that there had been some sigh. She was a brave little woman, and catastrophe. The next moment Florence had tried so hard not to break down before had run up-stairs and entered the drawingWalter, though in the last moment on board, when she had felt as if her heart " Aunt Anne !” she exclaimed, “what would break, she had not been able alto- has happened?” gether to help it. But now, as she walked The old lady had been standing by the home in the dusk without him, she felt as fireplace. Her thin white hands were if she could not live through the long bare, but she still wore her cloak and black, months of separation.

close-fitting bonnet, though she had thrown “ But I will, I will,” she said to herself aside the crape veil. Her face looked while the tears trickled down her face. worn and anxious, but a look of indigna“Only it is hard, for there is no one in the tion came to her eyes as Florence entered, world like bim, no one - no one; and we a last little flash of remembered insult; have never been parted before."

then she advanced with outstretched Every moment too, she remembered, hands. took him farther and farther away. She “ Florence," she said, “ I have come to told herself again and again how much you for advice and shelter, I have been in. good the journey would do him, how glad sulted -- and humiliated" a quaver came she was that he would get the change; but into her voice, she could not go on till human nature is human nature still, and indignation returned to give her strength. will not be controlled by argument. So “ Florence,” she began again, “ I have she quickened her pace, resolving not to come to you. I-1give way till she was safe in the darkness “Aunt Anne, dear Aunt Anne !” Florof her own room, hidden from the eyes of ence said, aching with fatigue, and feeling the servants, and then she would let her ruefully that her longing for rest and quiet misery have its fling.

was not likely to be satisfied, yet thinking, She looked up at the house with a sigh. oddly enough too, even while she spoke, It would be so still without Walter. There of Walter going on farther and farther was a flickering light in the drawing-room. away across the darkening sea, "what is Probably the servants bad put a lamp the matter? tell me, dear." There was a there, for the days were growing short, it throbbing pain in her head. It was like was nearly dark already. The children the thud-thud of the screw on board Wal. would be in bed, but they were certain not ter's ship. to be asleep, and she thought of the little Aunt Anne raised her head and spoke shout of welcome they would give when firmly: they heard her footstep on the stair as she " My love, I have been insulted.” went up to kiss them. She let herself in • Insulted, Aunt Anne, but how?" with Walter's latchkey — she kissed it as i “Yes, my love, insulted. I frequently

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had occasion to reprove the servants for ready for amusement. I cannot believe their conduct, for the want of respect they that she loves her husband, or she would showed me. The cook was abominable, show more regret at his absence. I have and a reprimand had no effect upon her. known what a happy marriage is, Florence, To-day her impertinence was past endur- and you know what it is too, my love. ance, I told Mrs. North so, and that she You can therefore upderstand that I must be dismissed. Mrs. North refused thought her conduct reprehensible.” - refused, though her servant had forgot- “ Yes,” Florence said wearily, “ I know, ten what was due to me, and this morn. I know." ing I can't repeat her words."

Then she rang the bell and ordered tea “Well,” said Florence, “but surely you to be made ready in the dining-room, a did not let a servant drive

substantial tea of the sort that women love "No, dear Florence, it was not the cook and men abhor. who drove me out, I should not allow a “Now rest and forget all the worries,” subordinate to interfere with my life; it she said gently. “You are tired and exwas Mrs. North. She has behaved cruelly cited, try to forget everything till you to me. She listened to her servants in have had some tea and are rested. The preference to me. I told her that they spare room is quite ready, and you shall showed me no respect, that they entirely go to bed early, as I will, for it has been a forgot what was due to me, and unless she long day." made an example, and dismissed one of "I know what you must have gone them, it would be impossible for me to through," and Mrs. Baines shook her head stay in her house, that -- that, I can't re- sadly, "and that you want to be alone to peat it all, Florence; and, my love, there think of your dear Walter. But I will were other reasons — that are impossible only intrude on you for one night, to-morto repeat; but I am here I am here, row I will find an apartment." homeless and miserable, and insulted. I “You must not talk like that, for you flew to you, I knew you would be indig. are very welcome, Aunt Anne,” Florence daot, that your dear heart would feel for said gently, though she could not help

inwardly chafing at the intrusion, and long" But you were so happy there." ing to be alone. “ Yes, my love, I was.

“Tell me, love, did Walter go off com“And Mrs. North was so kind to you," fortably?” Mrs. Baines asked, speaking Florence went on regretfully ; " could you with the air people sometimes speak of not have managed

those who have died rather to the satis“No, my love, I must remember what is faction of their relations. due to myself.”

“Yes, he sailed a few hours ago. I Oh, but, dear Aunt Anne, don't you have just come back from Southampthink it would have been better to have ton." put up

" I know it," Aunt Anne answered, her " Florence, if you cannot sympathize voice full of untold feeling ; "did he take with me I must ask you not to discuss the my simple gifts with him, dear? " matter," the old lady answered, raising her Yes, he took them,” Florence anhead and speaking in a tone of surprise ; swered gratefully;"but come down-stairs, " there is no trouble you could have come Aunt Anne, you must be worn out." to me with that I should not have felt Then in a moment Aunt Anne recovabout as you did.”

ered her old manner, the manner that had Aunt Anne had a remarkable gift for some indefinable charm in it, and looked fighting her own battles, Florence thought. at Florence. “But don't you see, Aunt Anne, that “ Yes, my love,” she said, “I am very

"I would prefer not to discuss the mat. much fatigued and thankful indeed to enter, my love," the old lady said loftily: joy your hospitality again. Before I retire " You are so young and inexperienced to rest I must write some letters, if you that perhaps you cannot enter into my will permit your servant to post them.” feelings. Either the cook or I had to Florence had to write one or two letters leave the house. There were other rea- also. She gave three to the little house. sons too, I repeat, why I deemed it un-i maid to post; as she did so, one of Aunt advisable to remain. Mrs. North has Anne's caught her eye. It was addressed lately shown a levity of manner that I to Alfred Wimple. " Perhaps she wanted could not countenance; her sister is no to tell him something about the Albert longer with her, and her husband is thou. Memorial," she thought wearily, and dissands of miles away; yet she is always missed the matter from her mind.

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