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been bad, and things had gone wrong; She thrust a letter into my hand, and, and then something with a sort of laugh going away with a rapid step to the win. that he had got other thoughts in his dow, stood there with her back to me, mind at last, as she knew all along he looking out. I saw her standing against would, and that she was glad. What the light, playing restlessly with the tassel could she mean?I did not know what of the blind. In her desire to seem comshe could mean, but I resolved to go and posed, or else in the mere excitement see Ellen to ascertain what the change which boiled in her veins, she began to

It is easier, however, to say than to hum a tune. I don't think she knew herdo when one is full of one's own affairs, self what it was. and so it happened that for a full week, The letter which she professed to have though intending to go every day, I never taken so easily was worn with much readdid so.

It was partly my fault. Theing, and it had been carried about, folded family affairs were many, and the family and refolded a hundred times. There interests engrossing. It was not that I was no sign of indifference in all that cared for Ellen less, but my own claimed and this is what it said : me on every hand. When one afternoon, “I got your last letter, dear Ellen, on about a fortnight after, I was told that Tuesday. I think you must have written Miss Harwood was in the drawing-room in low spirits. Perhaps you had a feeland wished to speak to me, my heart up- ing, such as we used to talk about, of braided me with my neglect. I hurried what was happening here.

As for me, to her and led her away from that public nobody could be in lower spirits than place where everybody came and went, to this leaves me. I have lost heart altomy own little sitting-room, where we might gether. Everything has gone

wrong; the be alone. Ellen was very pale ; her eyes business is at an end: I shut up the office looked very dry and bright, not dewy and to-day. If it is in any way my fault, God soft as they used to be. There was a forgive me! But the conflict in my heart feverish look of unrest and excitement has been so great that I sometimes fear about her. “ There is something wrong,” it must be my fault. I had been low I cried. “What is it? Chatty told me enough before, thinking and thinking how - something about John."

the end was to come between you and “I don't know that it is anything wrong," me. Everything has gone wrong inside she said. The smile that had frightened and out. i had such confidence, and now Chatty came over her face — a smile that it is all going. What I had most faith in made one unhappy, the lip drawn tightly has deceived me. I thought I never was over the teeth in the most ghastly mock the man to change or to fail, and that I ery of amusement. “No; I don't know could have trusted myself in any circumthat it is anything wrong. You know I stances; but it does not seem so. And always expected always, from the mo- why should I keep you hanging on when

ment he went away - that between him all's wrong with me? I always thought I and me things would soon be at an end. could redeem it; but it hasn't proved so. Oh, yes, I expected it, and I did not wish You must just give me up, Ellen, as a it otherwise; for what good is it to me bad job. Sometimes I have thought you that a man should be engaged to me, and wished it. Where I am to drist to, I can't waste his life for me, when I never could tell; but there's no prospect of drifting do anything for him ?”

back, or, what I hoped for, sailing back in Here she made a little breathless pause, prosperity to you. You have seen it comand laughed. “Oh, don't, Ellen, don't!”ing, I can see by your letters, and I think, I cried. I could not bear the laugh; the perhaps, though it seems strange to say smile was bad enough.

so, that you won't mind. I shall not stay “Why not?” she said, with a little here; but I have not made up my mind defiance; "would you have me cry? I where to go. Forget a poor fellow that expected it long ago. The wonder is that was never worthy to be yours. — JOHN it should have been so long of coming. RIDGWAY.” That is,” she cried suddenly after a pause, My hands dropped with the letter in " that is if this is ally what it means. I them. The rustle it made was the onl took it for granted at first; but I cannot sign she could have had that I had read be certain. I cannot be certain! Read it, or else instinct or inward vision. That it, you who know him, and tell me, tell instant she turned upon me from the me! Oh, I can bear it quite well. I window with a cry of wild suspense: should be rather glad if this is what it “ Well?” means."

“I am confounded. I don't know what


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to think. Ellen, it looks more like guilt This was more than Ellen could bear. to the office than falsehood to you.” She made one effort to rise to her feet, to

“ Guilt-- to the office !Her face regain her composure; but the music was blazed up at once in scorching color. She too much. At that moment I myself felt looked at me in fierce resentment and it too much. She fell down at my feet in excitement, stamping her foot. “Guilt a passion of sobs and tears.

– to the office ! . How dare you? How Afterwards I knew the meaning, of dare you?” she cried like a fury. She Ellen's passionate determination to admit clenched her hands at me, and looked as meaning but one to the letter. She if she could have torn me in pieces. had taken bim at his word. In her cer“Whatever he has done,” she cried," he tainty that this was to happen, she had has done nothing he had not a right to seen no other interpretation to it, until it do. Do you know who you are speaking was too late. She had never sent any of? John! You might as well tell me I reply; and he had not written again. It had broken into your house at night and was now a month since the letter had robbed

you. He have anything to blame been received, and this sudden breaking himself for with the office ? - never! nor off of the correspondence had been so far with any one. What he has done is what final on both sides. To satisfy myself, I he had a right to do- I am the first to sent to inquire at the office, and found

He has been wearied out. You that no blame was attached to John; but said it once yourself, long, long before that he had been much depressed, unduly my eyes were opened; and at last he has depressed, by his failure to remedy the done it — and he had a good right!” faults of his predecessor, and had left as She stood for one moment before me in soon as his accounts were forwarded and the fervor of this fiery address; then, all the business details carefully wound suddenly, she sank and dropped on her up, and had not been heard of more. I knees by my side. “You think it means compelled, I may say, Ellen to write, now that? You see it? — don't you see it? that it was too late ; but her letter was He has grown weary, as was so natural. returned to her some time after. He had He thought he could trust himself; but it left the place, and nothing of him was proved different; and then he thought he known. could redeem it. What can that mean but one thing? — he has got some one else to care for him. There is nothing This little tragedy, as it appeared to wrong in that. It is not I that will ever me, made a great impression on my mind. blame him. The only thing was that a It did not make me ill; that would have horrible doubt came over me this morning been absurd. But still it helped, I sup- if it should not mean what I thought it pose, to depress me generally and endid! That is folly, I know; but you, who hance the effect of the cold that had hung know him, put away all that nonsense about me so long, and for which the elder about wrong to the office, which is out of ones, taking counsel together, decided the question, and you will see it cannot that the desire of the younger ones should be anything but one thing."

be gratified, and I should be made to go " It is not that," I said.

to Italy for the spring. The girls were She clasped her hands, kneeling by my wild to go, and my long.continuea, lingerside. “You always took his part," shé ing cold was such a good excuse. For said in a low voice. "You will not see my own part, I was quite unwilling; but it.” Wliy did she tremble so? Did she what can one woman, especially when she want to believe it, or not to believe it? I is their mother, do against so many ? I could not understand Ellen. Just then, had to give in and go. I went to see from the rooin below, there came a voice Ellen before we started, and it was a very singing. It was Chatty's voice, the child painful visit. She was still keeping up whom she had taught, who had been the with a certain defiance of everybody. witness of their wooing. She knew noth- But in the last two months she had ing about all this; she did not even know changed wonderfully. For one thing, she that Ellen was in the house. What so had shrunk into half her size.

She was natural as that she should sing the song never anything but a little woman; but her mistress had taught her? It was that now she seemed to me no bigger than a which Ellen herself had been humming child. And those cheerful, happy brown as she stood at the window.

eyes, which had so triumphed over and “ Listen!” I said. “You are answered smiled at all the privations of life, looked in his own words — I will come again.' out from two hollow caverns, twice as


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large as they had ever been before, and ways. Oh! if one could only tell what is with a woful look that broke one's heart. going to happen. She might have had a It was not always that they had this wo nice family by this time, and the eldest ful look. When she was conscious of little girl big enough to run in and play at inspection she played them about with an his feet and amuse her grandpa. He artificial activity as if they had been lan always was fond of children. But we'll terns, forcing a smile into them which never see Ellen's children now !” cried sometimes looked almost like a sneer; the poor woman. And you think it is my but when she forgot that any one was fault!” looking at her, then both smile and light I could not reproach her; her black cap went out, and there was in them a woful with the flowers, her little woollen shawl doubt and question which nothing could about her shoulders, grew tragic as she solve. Had she been wrong? Had she poured forth her trouble. It was not so misjudged him whom her heart could not dignified as the poet's picture, but yet, forget or relinquish? Was it likely that like him, she she could give him up lightly even had he

Saw the unborn faces shine been proved unworthy? And, oh Heaven!

Beside the never-lighted fire; was he proved unworthy, or had she done him wrong? This was what Ellen was and with a groan of misery felt herself the asking herself, without intermission, for- slayer of those innocents

at had never ever and ever; and her mother, on her been. The tragic and the comic mingled side, watched Ellen piteously with much in the vision of that “ eldest little girl,” the same question in her eyes. Had she, the child who would have amused her too, made a mistake? Was it possible grandpa had she been permitted to come that she had exacted a sacrifice which into being; but it was all tragic to poor she had no right to exact, and in mere Mrs. Harwood. She saw no laugh, no cowardice, and fear of loneliness, and de- smile, in the situation anywhere. sire for love and succor on her own part, We went to Mentone, and stayed there spoiled two lives? This question, which till the bitterness of the winter was over, was almost identical in both, made the then moved along that delightful coast, mother and daughter singularly like each and were in Genoa in April. To speak of other; except that Ellen kept asking her that stately city as a commercial town question of the air, which is so full of seems insulting nowadays - and yet so it human sighs, and the sky, whither so is. I recognized at once the type I had many ungranted wishes go up, and the known in other days when I sat at the darkness, in which is no reply — and the window of the hotel and watched the peomother asked hers of Ellen, interrogating ple coming and going. It reminded me her mutely all day long, and of every of my window in the Road, where, looking friend of 'Ellen's who could throw any out, I saw the respectable City people light upon the question. She stole into clerks like John Ridgway, and merchants the room when Ellen left me for a mo- of the same cut though of more substantial ment, and whispered, coming close to me, comfort - wending their way to their busilest the very walls should hear,

ness in the morning, and to their subur“How do you think she is looking ? ban homes in the evening. I do not know She will not say a word to me about him that I love the commercial world; but I

not a word. Don't you think she has like to see that natural order of life, the been too hasty? Oh! I would give every- man "going out to his work and labor till thing I have if she would only go with you the evening.” The fashion of it is differand look for Jolin, and make it up with ent in a foreign town, but still the life is bim again.".

the same. We changed our quarters, 'I thought you could not spare her,”. 1 however, after we had been for some time said, with perhaps some cruelty in my in in that city, so-called of palaces, and were tention. She wrung her hands, and lodged in a suite of rooms very hard to looked piteously in my face.

get up to (though the staircase was mar“ You think it is all my fault! I never ble), but very delightful when one was thought it would come to this; I never there; rooms which overlooked the high thought he would go away: Oh, if I had terrace which runs round a portion of the only let them marry at first! I often bay between the inns and the quays. I think if she had been happy in her own forget what it is called. It is a beautiful house, coming to see her father every day, promenade, commanding the loveliest it would bave been more of a change for view of that most beautiful bay and all him, more company than having her al-Ithat is going on in it. At night, with all



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its twinkling semicircle of lights, it was a And he puzzled as much as he interested continual enchantment to me; but this or me. Whom was he like? I never even any of my private admirations are not asked myself, Who was he? He was nomuch to the purpose of my story. Sitting body I had any way of knowing. Some at the window, always my favorite post, I poor employé in a Genoa office; how became acquainted with various individ- should I know him ? I could not feel at ual figures among those who haunted this all sure, when I was cross-examined on terrace, Old gentlemen going out to sun the subject, whether I really remembered themselves in the morning before the heat any one whom he was like; but yet he was too great; children and nursemaids, had startled me more than I can say. Genoese women with their pretty veils, Genoa, where we had friends and faminvalids who had got up the stairs, I can. ily reasons for staying, became very hot not tell how, and sat panting on the as the spring advanced into early summer, benches, enjoying the sea air and the sun- and we removed to one of the lovely little shine. There was one, however, among towns on the coast at a little distance, this panorama of passing figures, which Santa Margherita. When we had been gave me a startled sense of familiarity. settled there for a few days Chatty came It was too far off to see the man's face. in to me one evening with a pale face. He was not an invalid; but he was bent, “ I have just seen your old gentleman,” either with past sickness or with present she said. " I think he must live out care, and walked with a drooping head liere;” but I saw by the expression of and a languid step. After watching him her eyes that there was more to say. for a time, I concluded (having always a She added after a moment, “And I know great weakness for making out other whom he is like.” people's lives, how they flow) that he had " Ah! you have seen his face,” I said ; some occupation in the town from which and then, before she had spoken, it sudhe escaped, whenever he had leisure, to denly flashed on myself in a moment. rest a little and refresh bimself upon the “ John Ridgway!" I cried. terrace. He came very regularly, just at Mother," said Chatty, quite pale, "I the time when Italian shops and offices think it is his ghost.” have a way of shutting up, in the middle I went out with her instantly to where of the day, very regularly, always, or she had seen him, and we made some almost always, at the same hour. He inquiries, but with no success. When I came up the steps slowly and languidly, began to think it over, he was not like stopped a little to take breath, and then John Ridgway. He was bent and stoopwalked half-way round the terrace to a ing, whereas John was erect; his head certain bench upon which he always drooped, whereas how well I recollected seated himself. Sometimes he brought poor Jolin's head thrown back a little, his his luncheon with him and ate it there. hat upon the back of it, his visionary outAt other times, having once gained that look rather to the skies than to the place, he sat quite still in a corner of it, ground. No, no, not like him a bit; but not reading, nor taking any notice of the yet it might be his ghost, as Chatty said. other passers-by. No one was with him, We made a great many inquiries, but for

ever spoke to him. When I the moment with no success, and you noticed him first he startled me. Whom may suppose that I watched the passerswas he like? His bent figure, his languid by from my window with more devotion step, was like no one I could think of; than ever. One evening in the sudden but yet, I said to myself, he is like some-nightfall of the Italian skies, when darkbody. I established a little friendship ness comes all at once, I was seated in with him, though it was a friendship with my usual place, scarcely seeing, however, out any return; for though I could see the moving figures outside, though all the him he could not see me, nor could I dis- population of the place seemed to be out, tinguish his face; and we never saw him sitting round the doors, and strolling leianywhere else, neither at church, nor in surely along enjoying the heavenly cool. the streets, not even on the festas when ness and the breeze from the sea. At the everybody was about ; but always just further end of the room Chatty was at the there on that one spot. I looked for him piano, playing to me softly in the dark as as regularly as the day came. My she knows. I like to be played to, and now mother's old gentleman,” Chatty called and then striking into some old song

such him Everybody is old who is not young as I love. She was sure to arrive sooner to these children; but though he was not or later at that one with which we now had young he did not seem to me to be old. I so many associations; but I was not think



ing of that, nor for the moment of Ellen reluctance to come in with me, to talk as or ber faithful (as I was sure he was still) of old. He told me he had a situation in lover at all. A woman with so many chil. an office in Genoa, and that his health dren has always plenty to think of. My was bad. After that fiasco in the Lemind was busy with my own affairs. The vant, I had not much heart for anything; windows were open, and the babble of 1 took the first thing that was offered, the voices outside high-pitched, re- he said, with his old vague smile; “for sounding Italian voices, not like the mur- a man must live — till he dies.”

66 There mur of English came in to us as the must be no question of dying — at your music floated out. All at once, I suddenly age,” I cried. This time his smile almost woke up from my thinking and my family came the length of a momentary laugh. concerns. In the dusk one figure de- He shook his head, but he did not contached itself from among the others with tinue the subject. He was very silent a start and came forward slowly with bent for some time after. Indeed, he said head and languid step. Had he never nothing, except in reply to my questions, heard that song since he heard Ellen break till Chatty left the room, and we were off, choked with tears unshed, and a de-alone. Then all at once, in the middle spair which had never been revealed ? He of something I was saying — “Is she came quite close under the window where married again?” he said. I could see him no longer. I could not “ Married — again !”. see him at all; it was too dark. I divined “It is a foolish question. She was not him. Who could it be but he ? Not like married to me; but it felt much the same; John Ridgway, and yet John; his ghost, we had been as one for so long. There as Chatty had said.

must have been some — strong induceI did not stop to think what I was to ment to make her cast me off so at the do, but rose up in the dark room where end.” the child was singing, only a voice, her- This he said in a musing tone, as if self invisible in the gloom. I don't know the fact were so certain, and had been whether Chatty saw me go; but, if so, turned over in his mind so often that all she was inspired unawares by the occa. excitement was gone from it. But after sion, and went on with her song. I ran it was said, a gleam of anxiety came into down-stairs and went out softly to the his half-veiled eyes. He raised his heavy, open door of the inn, where there were tired eyelids and looked at me. Though other people standing about. Then I saw he seemed to know all about it, and to be him quite plainly by the light from a lower resigned to it when he began to speak, window. His head was slightly raised yet it seemed to flash across him, before towards the place from which the song he ended, that there was an uncertainty came. He was very pale in that pale, an answer to come from me which doubtful light, worn and old and sad; but would settle it, after all. Then he leaned as he looked up a strange illumination was forward a little, in this sudden sense of on his face.

His hand beat the air softly, suspense, and put his hand to his ear as keeping time. As she came to the refrain if he had been deaf, and said “What?” his lips began to move as if he were in an altered tone. repeating after his old habit those words, “There is some terrible mistake,” I “ will come again.”. Then a sudden said. “I have felt there was a mistake cloud of pain seemed to come over his all along. She has lost her hold on life face - he shook his head faintly, then altogether because she believes you to be bowed it upon his breast.

changed." In a moment I had him by the arm. "Changed!” His voice was quite * John," I said, in my excitement; “John sharp and keen, and had lost its languid Ridgway! we have found you.” For the tone. "In what way — in what way? moment, I believe, he thought it was how could I be changed?" Ellen who had touched him; his white “In the only way that could matter face seemed to leap into light; then paled between her and you. She thought, beagain. He took off bis bat with his old fore you left the Levant, that you had got formal, somewhat shy, politeness —"Ito care for some one else — that you had thought it must be you, madame,” he said. ceased to care for her. Your letter," I He said "madame" instead of the old said, “

' your letter!”

- half frightened English ma'am, which he had always used by the way in which he rose, and his

this little concession to the changed threatening, angry aspect — " would bear scene was all the difference. He made that interpretation." no mystery about himself, and showed no “My letter !” He stood before me for


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