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the food so gently, and would wag his tail, just like a dog that lives nowadays. Ah, Argus was a happy dog!
“ Bat trouble comes sometimes to dogs as well as to men.
“His master had to go away from Ithaca, his pleasant home. For all the kings of Greece went together to fight against a great city called Troy, and Ulysses had to go too; and he went with many men and twelve ships. And Argus followed his master down to the shore, and would have followed him into the ship, but his master could not take him and forbade. So Argus did as he was told, and stayed behind; and he stood upon a rock as still as a dog cut out in stone, and watched Ulysses in the ship, and the ship going further and further, out and out, upon the sea. And when at last he could see his master no more, he lifted up his head and wailed with a long and piteous howl; and then he crept back to the palace and laid himself upon the floor beneath the seat where his master was ased to sit, with his head thrown back on the corner of the many-coloured rug which covered it. And day after day, week after week, month after month, Argas waited and watched and listened for his master to come home again, but he did not come; and months grew into years, and
went on, and on, and on, and yet he did not come! For the Grecians fought for ten long years against the city of Troy before they could sabdae it. And when they had taken it, and burned its palaces with fire, and Ulysses had set forth on his return, he was shipwrecked over and over, and taken captive once and again, and met with dangers and troubles more than I can tell. And thus he was kept for ten years more from his own dear home.
“And so it was that while he waited for his master Argus grew old. He could no more parsue the wild beasts in the forests, nor chase the goats upon the crags ; nor could he swim out in the blue waters, and shake himself dry upon a rock! And his beautiful coat grew ragged and matted, for no one tended him; and he was not allowed to come into the palace, but was driven oat, and lay in the straw and the dirt of the stables ; and he was scantily fed, and bad nothing to comfort him but the sunshine. And so he grew older and older, and was neglected and forgotten more and more. Now at last, after twenty years of absence, Ulysses came back to Ithaca. But he came back alone. All his twelve ships were gone, and his companions were all gone too; for some had been slain in battle, and some lost in his long wanderings, and many drowned in the cruel sea. And he would not come to his home like a king, for he wanted not to be known, that he might better see how things had gone on while he had been so long away, and whether his queen, Penelope, loved him still, and longed for his return. So he came, not in a purple cloak fastened
with a golden clasp, as he went away, bat dressed in mean raiment, like a beggar, and with him was a swineherd, and he leaned on a staff, as if he were a weak old man.
“Now, as he travelled onward thus disguised towards his lofty palace, Argus lay amid the stable dirt, weak and weary in the sanshine. As they approached, he dimly knew two men were coming on, but he did not care who they were—until suddenly he lifted his head, and snuffed and pricked up his ears, and strained his dim eyes, and looked and trembled. And, as Ulysses came more near, he knew it was his master, and his eyes glistened and his ears went down, and his tail wagged, and he tried to rise, but he could not; his heart had been breaking all these years with grief, and this joy broke it quite, and, with one sob of happiness, his head went gently down, and the dog Argus was dead !”
“Oh, poor dog Argus,” said Lettie, the tears coming to her eyes. “I a am so sorry
And did any one else know the king ? " “No; none beside ! Not one among his people, nor his servants, nor his son, nor his own wife, Penelope. It needed a dog's sight to discern the king in the beggar. Men are very, very blind,” Irene went on, rather to herself than to Lettie; her father and the world's unawaredness of his genius ever near her thoughts —“kings come to them, and they never know it. But now, dear, run away,” she said, glancing at the clock, and pleased to see that the hoar and a half were over; “I am going to read.”
“Perhaps I may tell Minnie the story and perhaps not," said Lettie, doubtfully; "it might make her cry.”
“Whatever nonsense are you talking ? ” asked Mrs. Rivers that afternoon, for Lettie had ventured on the repetition.
“I was only telling my doll a story Irene told me this morning ahout a dog that lived on a beautiful island called -I forget its name."
“Did Miss Laureston' mention the latitude and longitude ? ' asked Hilda.
“No. But I can tell the name of the city he went to fight against-Troy! I don't mean Argas, but his master.”
"Oh, yes. The celebrated Siege of Troy. Troy taken B.C. 1184. Did she give you that date?”
“No, I don't think she did," Lettie admitted reluctantly.
“Miss Laureston," said Hilda, addressing Irene, who just tben came into the room, “unless you are competent to give accurate information, I think it would be better to avoid conversing with my sister on such topics at all.
“ A little learning is a dangerous thing.
Drink deep, or taste not of the Pierian spring." A sarcastic reply rose to Irene's lips, but she checked herself
and kept silence, and fortunately the look of scorn, which she did slot repress, was annoticed, Mrs. Rivers' eyes being turned admiringly on her daughter, and Hilda's attention again fixed upon the six sheets of note paper lying on her desk, upon which were written her latest essay for the Ladies' Society-subject, "Science, Literature, and Art."
Thus Irene's visit passed on-each day bringing a mixture of pleasure and vexation. Sometimes she wished it were over and she was returning to school; then again she felt sorry that the weeks would so soon slip away.
And Christmas-day came and passed, and although its coming had been rather dreaded than desired, and though sad thoughts could not be wholly absent, still its hours sped far from an happily. For in the night she was awakened by the waits singing beneath the windows, and in the stillness and the darkness the clear voices sounded so solemn and so sweet that she thought of the Angelic Host, who on that first Christmas night sang abovo the slopes of Bethlehem. In the morning there came a letter and a little gift from both Mrs. Weatherill and Miss Ellen Seymour; and John went with her to the Cathedral service, afterwards they lingered awhile in the neighbourhood of the Cathedral, and when they had mounted Sammer-street they called for Lettie, and walked through streets of well-built residences, and past rows of pretty villas, which crowned the heights of Queensdown, on into Greyland fields, and down and ap the long, anbroken avenue of elms, which led to the gates of Greyland House; then back again to dinner.
And the table was spread abundantly with Christmas dainties, and then came the dessert, and at tea the party was augmented by the arrival of two young ladies, cousins of the family; and, ander the influence of Christmas, Hilda laid aside somewhat of her learned saperiority, and Mr. Rivers somewhat of his reserve and business engrossment, and there were games and much talking, and Irene and Lettie were allowed to stay up to sapper, and after supper there was music and singing. And, as a crowning pleasure, throughout the afternoon and evening John had seemed, in yet greater degree than usual, watchfully considerate of her comfort and her wishes.
For that morning there had been renewed promises between them of ever-continuing friendship.
“ Jobn," Irene had said, after they had passed out from the cathedral, “ we are very near; I think I ought on Christmas-day to visit my mother's grave.”
So they went up the steps into St. Austen's graveyard, any stood together for some minutes in silence beside the newly-raised mound, for there was no stone. Suddenly she looked ap, sad yet tearless, “John,” she said, “I was not so kind to my mother as I ought to have been.”
“Nay, dear," he replied, “that is largely imagination. It is so natural, when we can no more do anything for those we love, to feel as if we had never done all that we onght.”
“No, that is not it,” said Irene, steadily; "it is not imagination, but truth! I do not mean I was a wickedly, disobedient, crael child; I should not like you to think that of me, for it was not so. But I loved my father a great deal better, and I'm afraid she saw it, and was troubled about it; and then, when she was ill, she wished me to go out a good deal, for fear I should get ill too ; but I liked to be away, and she saw I liked it, and I stayed away longer than I ought, and she must have been lonely, and wanted me sometimes. And I was thoughtless in what I said, and selfish, and now I can't do anything for her, not even put a stone on her grave, because I have no money."
John did not again try to combat this self-accusation; but he passed his arm lightly round her in silent expression of sympathy. Presently she put up her hand and clasped his, as it lay upon her shoulder. “It is such a comfort to have you to talk to; you are not always finding fault with what I say, and misunderstanding me like other people, and you never laugh at me. But, John, you are not one bit like a boy, you are like a good and thoughtfal
“No, I suppose I am not much of a boy, no ! You see, I was very delicate as a child. I went to my cousin's school, and never played much with boys; and then, when I was twelve, I had a very long illness, and was confined to the sofa for months. After that I grew stronger, and the last two or three years I have beer as well as most people ; but I am the older in my ways for it all, I dare say. A more boyish boyhood would have been better for me."
“No, you are nicest just as you are. I do so wish you were really my brother."
“I wish we were brother and sister; bat it's no use wishing. And, you know, we can always be friends !"
“No,” said Irene, “it is not at all likely. I was very fond of Pietro and of little Rosetta, bat I don't know anything about them now, nor they about me. I love Miss Ellen Seymour dearly, but she is leaving next half, and then I shall never see her any more ; and dear Mrs. Weatherill, she seems almost like a mother in some things, but I don't know when I am likely to see her. And in ten days I shall be going back to school, and then we shall not see much of each other; and, by-and-by, you will, perhaps, be leaving
Westhaven, or I may go away,- I think I shall, -and then we shall hear nothing of one another any more.
It is sad to be an orphan.”
“Irene," John said, earnestly, “I will try that this shall not be so; I will endeavour to keep sight of you, however widely we may be parted; and any service in my power shall be rendered as gladly to you as to one of my own sisters. If I know myself I shall always care for your friendship. Do you think you will always care for mine ? " “Oh! yes;
I am sare of that, quite sure. So we shall be dear friends, always, so long as we both shall live," Irene said, quite anconscious of quotation.
A flush, a startled look passed over the face of her companion, for whom the words had an association they had not for her, and he looked at her a little anxiously, bat no slightest shade of consciousness rested on her countenance.
"How glad my mother would have been, could she have known that I should find so kind a brother," Irene said, as they turned away, and descended the churchyard steps.
Thus it was that through the festivities of the day she felt a happy sense of being watched over by a brotherly kindness which was to last. And when the last day of the year came, and its latest hoors were nearing their close, Irene would not sleep, but lay awake watching for its passing; and as she watched she thought, not withont thankfulness, of the friends who had been given to her in her orphanhood. When the hour of twelve struck, and a few moments after the bells of the city churches rang out a welcome to the new-born year, she sat up and listened; then, when they ceased, she lay down and slept, to awake in the morning to meet again the New-Year with all a child's bright hopefulness.
CHAPTER XV.-A YEAR AND Eight Months LATER, AND HOW IT
HAD FARED WITH CLARISSA. The year upon which Irene entered in Summer Street had pursued its course and passed away, and of the year succeeding the spring was over, and the height of the summer, too; for the days were shortening, and an autumnal tint was just showing itself upon the foliage. And during these passing seasons how had it fared with Irone, and how with Mrs. Weatherill in her home at Kingsport?
Into that pleasant house near the summit of Snow Hill a deep grief had entered; for one of those who had dwelt there was not,
Edward Weatherill still went and came, rapid and decisive in