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stood by the fire, a grave face was looking There was very little said during the into it, its light flashed upon a noble brow, hour or more that Millie and Erle Lyneand stern, set mouth.

ward sat together. He had never talked Millie uttered a name with such a sweet to her much, and she-her little heart accent of simple glad surprise, that its was too full ! owner was quickly at her side. He not At last Millie said: “That man is gone only took her hands, both of them, but he now, and I must go to my sister." drew her into his arms saying :

Millie said, “My sister," with a strange “You are mine, sweet Millie, is it not pride in the words. She could only say

them speaking of one person in the wide She answered only, “Yes.”

world." She felt sure that the lawyer was “And you love me—very much ?” he gone,

for she heard the bustle of departcontinued.

ure, some time since, and wondered unVaguely thinking that he, perhaps, easily why Hildred did not come in. But should first say that to her, Millie remain- when she rose, Mr. Lyneward drew her ed silent.

back. He did not choose to spare her yet; “ Millie! my Millie !” he went on, in a there would be plenty of time for sisters tone she could not resist. “You must and explanations to-morrow, he said. not be proud and cold with me.

I love

Neither of them had heard the door you because you are gentle, meek, in- softly opened a little while before ; nor finitely sweet. I want your love to seen a tall figure stand at it a moment, a soothe me, to give me rest. I have had bewildered face grow conscious of misery. much pain and trouble, Millie.”

Neither could be conscious of the agony. Her little fingers tightened their grasp of a passionate heart, that believed itself of the great hand that held both hers. breaking. That might have been answer enough Hildred had come to the door; and, surely; but he was not satisfied, for he seeing no bright light stream from under: added:

neath it, had opened it very gently, ex“So, Millie, you must say: 'I do love pecting to find Millie asleep. What had you very much, dear Erle."

she seen so horrible in that room ? A low tremulous voice repeated

The gloomy afternoon had wildened “I do! indeed, I do! I love you very into a weird, wet night; a few moments much, dear Erle !"

before, she had been hospitably sorry to “That is right, sweet Millie. Now, allow Mr. Blankardt to go out into it, how are you? Have you been grieving well-defended as he was; now she rushed much, my child ? Have you been alone out with uncovered head, up the steep all these long days since I left you ?" And garden, up on to the bleak, bare top of he looked down fondly upon her. the hill. It was blackly dark. The dark

“No! My sister came! O Mr. Lyne- ness seemed to touch her on all sides, to ward, I love her dearly !” Millie began. press round her, to crush against her

Silly child! I am not Mr. Lyneward strained eyeballs, to madden her. She for you any more, and I do not care to shrieked-no one could hear-and she hear how much you love any body but shrieked out that Erle Lyneward was a me."

traitor. She had almost cursed Millie's “And don't you love any body but me?" innocent, sweet face. Millie asked, lifting up her head, fixing her She had thrown herself on the ground.

wise, innocent” eyes on his. But he did After lying there half-stupefied awhile, she not answer, only kissed her eyes gravely, rose; the proud, strong heart called up all saying softly:

its strength. She even smiled to herself, “ How pretty you are, Millie, my Mil- saying that she could bear it-ay, and lie !" then he drew her down to him more a thousand times. again, and-sighed.

There was one bitter consolation : her After a little he asked Millie why she pride was wounded in nowise. She was wept, for he felt warm tears drop down not deserted; this man had never known upon his hand, and when she breathed that she loved him. She had treated him out that it was because she was so happy, like a dog when he dared to speak to her his strong arm wrapped her round closer of love, as she did all who so spoke in that yet, and he said reverently: “God keep past that seemed many a life-time ago; peration by its early enlightenment of the from her ? Hildred was conscious of power world's hollowness. She had spurned all of power over Erle Lyneward such as men. He, like the rest, she thought then no one else had ever possessed. What wooed the heiress, Hildred Vynern; not should she do ?-how shield Millie ? She the woman, who had a heart richer than had judged her sister's character well much fine gold.

for her wild heart had been driven to des

you so !"

enough to feel sure that if ever the love It was long months since he had written that had been between Hildred and Erle her that letter—his indignantly passionate Lyneward came to her knowledge, sheappeal—the last, as he told her, he would child as she was-was capable of resoluteever make. It had never been answered. ly sacrificing herself to make two she Who was guilty then? No trust had loved beyond all the world happy. Millie been betrayed, if she had placed none. must discover nothing. There was safety Ay! but those happy weeks she had for Millie, as well as consolation for Hil. spent with Millie! What had she not dred, in the one thing; Erle Lyneward learned to believe? What hopes had she did not suspect that proud Hildred cherished ? What wild way her love had | Vynern had ever loved him. This knowmade!

ledge must be kept from him for ever. Some one must be deeply guilty, or What a weary, dreary, heart-sickening whence this racking misery? Then she future! thought of the false old woman who had Hildred retraced her way with difficulty; kept that letter back from her so long— gained her own room, and locked her sent it at last in mockery, to show that door, in safety. She had but just escaped she no longer cared if niece Hildred meeting Mr. Lyneward. She shrunk hanged herself, or married a Lyneward back, shrouded in darkness, had almost one of a race she hated. As Hildred felt him touch her, as he went away down thought, she put up her two strong hands, the garden. Millie now would come and with them clasped her brow tightly seeking for her ? What must she do? as if she felt that, indeed, the horrible She had torn off her wet dress, hidden pain there might split it. She sat a long it, wrapped her dressing-gown round her, time in that posture, the winds raving and shaken some of the cold rain from her round her, driving the rain against her in hair, when Millie knocked at the door. sheets.

Hildred opened it, but turned quickly Upon the stormy troubled sea of her from her sister's gaze. thoughts Millie's face soon shown down, “How pale you are, Hildred !” the girl surrounded by a halo; no sin, no sorrow, exclaimed. must tarnish the effulgence of that encir- “ And cold and tired. I've been at cling radiance.

work, you know. I'm going to bed now. For awhile this was the one distinct It is late, isn't it?" Hildred said hurrithought-all else was surging pain and edly. scorn-scorn, infinite scorn, of a man who “Not much past nine, and tea is waitcould love here and love there (if indeed, ing for you; and, o Hildred! I have he had ever loved her)—for whom one so much to talk to you about,” Millie ex. love, even if unreturned, could not suffice claimed. for a life-time-who, disappointed in his “Have some mercy, child ! I am utterly first few feeble attempts to win a response weary. Erle Lyneward has been here. to his passion, turned to love elsewhere, You see I know already." instead of either putting love out of his “Hildred, how did you learn his name? life, or consecrating and concentrating all I never mentioned it, because power he had to the gaining of what he “Because it is an enemy's name.” had first wanted. One

of these two things “You are not angry, dear Hildred" Hildred felt she would have done had she “No, no. Tell me all to-morrow. Put been such a man as she was woman. out your light. My head is bad, and it

After all, was it possible that Erle hurts me.” Lyneward should love Millie Grey ? Millie “O dear Hildred, forgiveme! How selwas fair, sweet, and good; but could a fish I am! You have been tiring yourself man whose heart and mind had so vast an for me. Lie down quickly, dear, and I emptiness to be filled, rest satisfied with will bring you up some tea. It will do shrining there the little child Millie? No! your head good,” Millie pleaded tearIf not, what danger was there for Millie fully.

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wish it, you

“I will lie down (that I might never “Millie, your lover is coming-I want wake! was in her heart), but no tea; I to speak to him alone. Go into the study can not be troubled. Don't think me un- for a little; there is a fire there. You kind, or angry; but you had better let me are not afraid,” she added, seeing that sleep alone to-night."

Millie lingered, “not afraid that I shall If you shall.”

steal him from you, are you?“I do wish it. Good night. I shall It did not occur to Millie to wonder lock my door, and then throw myself, how it was that Hildred knew him. straight, upon my bed.”

“Not afraid of that !” Millie said; and Millie went away, feeling as if she had she came to Hildred's side, knelt beside acted very selfishly; and as if Hildred her, twining her arms round her waist, and were only too good not to scold her. Hil- looking up beseechingly into her sister's dred did throw herself upon her bed;

but dark eyes: but Hildred knew that Mr. she did not sleep the night through. How Lyneward was almost at the house-door. could she?

She felt desperate; rose, and half-led,

half-carried Millie from the room. When CHAPTER III.

she had her safe in the study, she kissed SOME thing had come between them her—not tenderly, but fiercely—and went both when they met next morning. Hil away, leaving Millie full of tearful wonder. dred was calm and kind, but cold, Millie She got back into the drawing-room thought. Indeed, Hildred did not dare to before Mr. Lyneward had entered the be tender-she could not afford it; she house. She stood waiting him, her face needed all her strength only to keep firm, turned from the light. She heard him resolute. He face looked like sculptured stride across the hall. He had opened marble in its fixedness; but her eyes the door, was in the room; he stood gleamed strangely. Millie's face changed still. His face grew bewildered and every moment, as she told Hildred all deeply troubled, as he looked at her. She that had passed between herself and Mr. spoke first. Coldly greeting him, she Lyneward the night before,

pointed to the chair he was to take, oppoIt still blew and rained.

site to her. He obeyed her stately ges

, Did Millie expect Mr. Lyneward that ture, and she condescended to explain : morning? Hildred asked, When Millie “Í am Millie's sister, Mr. Lyneward. answered, perhaps he would not come, as You are surprised to see me here?” scornfully; thinking how much better she said perplexedly. knew him, and that the wild weather was “I have cast off that name—my aunt one sure inducement to bring him out. She made me adopt it. I have left her. I followed up her question by asking Millie am Hildred Grey. I hear,” she went on where he lived, about what time he gen- steadily, “ that you are my sister's accepterally came, and whether walking or rid- ed lover. I am her elder sister and selfing? Then she took up her station at constituted guardian.” the window which overlooked the road, “Hildred Vynern, Millie's sister ?” and sat there.

“ Even so. What do you find so strange Millie was unhappy. She was sure Hil- in that ?” Hildred asked. dred was ill; thought she was angry, or “Much,” Mr. Lyneward replied proudsorry, too. All sorts of miseries entered ly. “Is it not strange that my Millie into the little head bent down assiduously sweet, loving, Millie Grey-should have over some work.

so ungentle and haughty a woman for Hildred (who never shammed except sister ?” to gain some great end) made no pretense “Yes, that is strange,” Hildred said, of reading, or working, but sat idle ; lean-smiling scornfully: "Yet not stranger ing back in the great chair Millie had than-but I will not detain you. I meremade her take, her cold hands lying list- ly wished to see you alone that you might lessly on her lap, her eyes glittering, and be prepared—that, before Millie, you intent in watching. At last she saw Erle might not show surprise at seeing me. Lyneward coming; he was a long way off, She does not know that we have ever met but she knew him.

before." She turned her rigid face round to Mil- “ You are kind, Miss Vynern-considlie, and said :

erate. But I think you have taken an un

!” he

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necessary precaution. I have a great deal | longing of her heart was to throw herself of self-command,” Mr Lyneward said. at his feet, say once that she loved him,

Hildred bit her lip, and an angry flush and—die. But Millie? She kept firm. crossed her face; but she said coldly: “I His next words sounded almost like a acted only for Millie's sake. I have no curse. more to say.”

“ Hildred, as you are a woman, one day She rose, and so did Mr. Lyneward; you will love, and then you will suffer but, instead of letting her go as she had | Heaven! how fiercely! Only one right intended, he stopped her, laid his hand worthy love comes to the life-portion of upon her arm, and cast a haggard look any man or woman. You have rejected into her face. She noticed, then, how that. When you suffer, remember me !" many of the lines about that face had He moved towards the door. Posdeepened since she had last seen him. sessed by a vague idea that they could Feeling as if her heart would break, she not part thus even for Millie's sakeshook off his hand-indeed, she could not Hildred said : bear it there; it seemed to burn her to “Mr. Lyneward, you speak harshlythe bone-and proudly returned his gaze. only for Millie's sake”– he started at the

He resented her haughty gesture, and tenderness with which those haughty lips spoke with a voice thick with passion : uttered those three words—" for Millie's

“I owe it to myself to say that I will sake, we must try to be friends. You not be scorned by any man or woman

have made me respect you.

Some day, you, least of all. Hildred Vynern, your perhaps, you may respect me.” pride bas blinded you; you have dashed She offered him her hand, but he would back the love of the only man who ever not take it. did, or will, love you worthily. You

“ And Millie ?” she said, as he was godared confound me with the rest, dared ing. Had he forgotten Millie? He stopto believe I paid my homage to your ex- ped, and then said hastily: pected fortune. Had you not been utter- “I can not see her now. Tell her-any ly blind, you might have seen that could thing you please. I am not fit for her innot be. Would Mrs. Vynern have given nocent eyes to look upon. There is someyou one penny if you had married mema thing black, fierce, and wild in my heart, Lyneward? Did she not hate me? Didn't hate, perhaps.” I know she hated me? I condescended He was gone. She turned to the winto entreat, to explain, to offer you my dow and watched him, sure that he would love a second time, because I thought not look round: he did not. What should your heart a rich, great treasure. I was she do? wrong. It is dross; it is eaten up with She walked to a mirror, and looked into pride. You left unanswered that last let it. The shining of such lustrous eyes in ter I wrote you—ridiculed me and it.” that white face looked unearthly, and

“That is slander. I only”—she stop-startled even herself. But she admired ped, remembering that must not be said and commended her own behavior, mut

-“ I received it only two days ago," she tering that she had acted well; had begun had been about to say.

her farce or tragedy, whichever it was, He did not heed, but went on: “And bravely; bade herself take courage, and you think me light and fickle, and smile be assured that she would be a grand actcontemptuously at my former protesta-ress in time. tions to yourself. I will keep my Millie's Just then Millie came in, full of wonder name holy-will not speak of her now, and fear. She had seen Mr. Lyneward go save to say, that only when she was alone, away, and dreaded that he and her sister friendless, poor, and when I had learnt how had quarrelled. “Was any thing wrong ?” incapable you were of truly loving, did I she asked, tremblingly. first think of making her my wife.”

“Not much,” Hildred answered. “We “When I found she loved me,” he have been angry. But never mind, love, might have said.

we shall be good enough friends in time. Hildred did not speak. She stood op- My future brother-in-law is a proud man. posite to him, erect; her marble-white Have a care how you anger him, Millie. hands drooped among the folds of her But I forgot,” she added, smiling, “ you black dress; her dark eyes dilated; he never anger any one, do you ?” thought with pride and anger. The wild Hildred stayed a little to talk to her

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sister, particularly impressing upon her Millie home, he said, to make his desolate that the marriage must be soon. house cheery. With all his tenderness,

“Is that Mr. Lyneward's wish ?” Millie he seemed so strangely sad, that pure, unasked.

selfish Millie, though reluctant to assume Hildred laughed, and answered that of so suddenly this great responsibility, course it was.

could not find in heart to say, No. So it Millie began to feel reässured, and to was a settled thing that early in the ensuthink that, after all, she had been foolishly ing January, Millie was to be made a fearful—that all would be well; that wife. though Hildred at first felt grieved and vexed that she must call a Lyneward brother, she would soon relent.

MILLIE was not at ease in the time that Then Hildred said she should go out. intervened; simple, sweet Millie was Millie tried to dissuade her, saying it was troubled and perplexed. In the world, she dreadful weather, raining and blowing and loved only two persons entirely, and she very cold ; but Hildred answered, that it could not make them love one another. was just the weather for her, in her pre- Hildred acted well, too, all that torture sent mood. After sitting down a mo- time, daring to leave nothing to the imment, and dashing off a business-letter-pulse of a moment. Each morning she so she called it—in less time than Millie planned what her conduct through all the would have taken to write the three first probable events of the day should be. words, Hildred set off to the post, nodding Mr. Lyneward was too proud to act, gayly to Millie as she went down the gar- too bitter against her to try to seem den. This letter contained her final com- brotherly; and loving and unconscious mand to Mr. Blankardt to have her own Millie often made him wince by expresslittle property settled on Millie. After ing her regret that he would not be kind posting her letter, and being clear of the to her sister. Hildred was cold, even in village, she went on at a wild rate. Fight- her manner to Millie herself, and uncering her way against the howling wind, tain in her temper. She dared not be splashing on through the mud and marsh, affectionate; if the spring of passionate she made a circuit of some eight or ten tenderness in her heart once thawed, she miles home, crossing the bleakest country feared it might over leap all restraints. in all the neighborhood. It was dark She saw that Millie was uneasy—as unwhen she returned. Millie had been get- happy as it was possible for a young girl ting anxious, and came running into the who loves and is loved to be; but she hall to meet and question her. But Hild- stood proud and secure in the great sacri. red parried her questions, and seemed in fice she was conscious of making. She such high spirits, that her gentle sister could not stoop to care about the lesser only wondered, and was content. daily and hourly sacrifices. She said to

Hildred chose to spend that evening herself, that all would be well soon for alone ; finding one excuse or another, or them; they would be married, and she

; proudly withholding any. She generally would go away and be forgotten. did so for that time. Erle Lyneward was

At first Erle Lyneward always stopped there to entertain Millie. Hildred had Millie when she began to talk of Hildred; seen him as she stood inside the house- but that was not easy to do; and, after a door shaking the rain from her cloak- while, he rather liked to listen. In time had seen him standing looking moodily he came to have some glimmering suspi. into the fire, instead of meeting her as her cion of the truth. future brother might have done. Mr. Hildred was to pass through the fiery Lyneward, weary from the emotion and trial of another temptation before the conpassion of the morning, turned to Millie summation of the sacrifices. for rest; he felt her gentle ways infinitely Only the day before Christmas Day, soothing. He was more tender and de- Hildred sat alone and idle, musing by the voted that evening than she had ever drawing-room fire. Millie was gone out known him. He too told her that their to distribute some Christmas charities to marriage must be soon-very soon. poor people to whom she had been a conChristmas was not far off, and, early in stant friend. the next year, before the snow-drops were Hildred had many associations of pain out in his old gardens, he must have his and pleasure with that day-some two or

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