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seemed while passing, with this Mr. Oh, David, impossible! How can Carew.
you say so? Good-bye to you,' qnite abruptly; • You left me at eleven; it is now 'my cousin will be waiting for me. near three. Where is your damask I beg your pardon for keeping you
rose, child? so long from your fishing.'
* It fell in the water, cousin. * And I am not to see you any Wasn't I right about the flies? The more ?'
green-drakes and stone-flies now, You said that you should only and the little black gnat when the stop another day or two.'
days get hotter?' I have altered my mind. Am I * He-he's going to stay here, not to see you any more? You then ?' never walk abroad these summer 'A few days more, I think, David, evenings through the woods ?'
looking straight into his face. You 'I walk upon the moors some- are surely not angered by my speaktimes,' she answered, demurely. ing a while with this young man?
• The moors. That is an awfully I should have done the same if you wide latitude.
had been there." • The moors round our house at No, not angered,' said poor Conntisbury. They are very wild David, gently. "I am never angered and still. We like them better
with you, my dear.' than the valleys after the dew has He stopped suddenly, and gathered fallen, David and I.'
& wild rose from a briar-bush that . Perhaps your cousin would have
grow beside their path. Will you no welcome for me there ?'
wear this, Esther, instead of the ono · David has a welcome for all
you have lost? strangers who come to Countisbury, * Mr. Carow has it, cousin; it is and Joan and I would be glad to not really lost.' show you our garden,' she added, And mine is not wanted to resimply. You will have no dif- place it. You are true to your new ficulty in finding our house—it's
faith already, child! the only one for miles, among the David Engleheart threw the flower moors. Good-bye.'
in the water and watched it for a She let him keep her hand in his minute or two before it floated away a moment, and then left him.
and was lost in the vortex of the stream. Gone--gone
for ever,' he David was waiting patiently for said then, and as he spoke, he looked Esther just above the falls among very white and odd about the lips. the rocks; he had been waiting • Little one, let us go home. The there and watching her and Carew sun is sinking fast.' for more than an hour. " You have met with your new acquaintance then, Esther? I would not disturb
CHAPTER VIII. you.' P.Oh, David, how I wish you had
ESTHER'S KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD. come up! He really is a very quiet, Miss Joan showed no displeasure agreeable person, and so fond of whatever on hearing of Esther's fishing! I am sure you would renewal of acquaintance with Mr. have liked him.'
Oliver Carew; indeed, she rather • Do you think so, child ?'
constituted herself the young man's 'I met him, and he said he had upholder or champion against poor had no sport, and asked me as to David, upon their return home. what flies you used, and I just 'It was surely very natural he looked at his and told him which you should speak again after travelling found were best-the green-drake for two hours in Esther's company and stone-fly, you know,
and- only the evening before. Would * You must have exhausted the you have the girl never speak to subject thoroughly, Esther. You any one but dull old owls like you bave been gone near upon four and me, cousin David? You look hours.'
as gloomy as though she had comyapour-like
mitted some dreadful offence in but solid, hard labour of alternate chattering for an hour to this young pumping, carrying, and saturating man. Pray, were you and I never the strawberries and herself. Then, young ourselves, cousin? At all when old Mrs. Engleheart had to be of which amiable little concessions read to, and Joan had left her alone to human frailty, Esther, in silence, in the garden, she stole away to her greatly wondered.
favourite seat beneath the thornDavid, with the new lights he tree on the terrace-walk which possessed as to Joan's intentions on poor David had now vacated—the himself, read, or thought he read, only point in the garden that comthe motives of her leniency pretty manded a distant view of Lynmouth, clearly. The disposal of Esther by and of the sea. Deep down through marriage would be another bar re- a vista of green valleys curled up moved between Miss Engleheart and the blue smoke from the little town; himself. What a horrible aggrava- the Channel rose beyond it calm and tion of his jealous pangs, of the violet-coloured like the cloudless anguish of his dying passion was in sky; over the far horizon the mounthe thought! All that evening he tains of the Welsh coast shone, paced up and down the terrace- delicate-hued and walk, a book in his hand-of the through the dim, aërial orange of contents of which his eyes read the dying twilight. A strange thrill nover a word; while Miss Joan pur- of happiness stirred in Esther's heart. sued her accustomed sunset avoca- Was her life to be warm and roselit tions in the garden, with great like that sea? her future golden cheerfulness and alacrity, and like those distant hills? Was she, Esther's low laugh and happy indeed, to live for ever in this girlish voice mocked him, ever and old silent life of Countisbury-oranon, with their ring of perfect con- - ? Whatever the alternative tentment-their utter unconscious- was that suggested itself it engaged ness of his miserable state.
her thoughts steadily for at least an *Do leave off reading, David- hour, and at the end of that time what can old Ben Jonson say worth she was still so occupied with her knowing about on such a delicious own day-dreams as to start quite night as this? Come and look at guiltily when Joan Engleheart's these roses we have budded, David. voice again broke in upon her mediThey have all struck but one.' tations.
• David, listen to the bees among * You are out in the damp then, the sycamores.'
still? David said you had gone • David, how long the cuckoo back to the house.' sings this year.'
"I have been here ever since you You had better leave David to went in with Aunt Engleheart, Joan, his book,' cried Miss Joan, as all I think David is in a dream to-day.' these little kindly attempts of • David is thinking of nothing but Esther's successively fell to the his books, as usual,' said Joan, ground; 'leave David alone, and tartly.
'People of our age don't come and help me water the straw- dream, except when they are in berries. Patty with her great hoofs their beds and asleep. Pray what trampled down half my plants last have you been thinking about all year, and David waters his own legs this time, Esther? It is something more than he does the ground when new for you to keep quiet
so long' he takes a can in his hand, so this I am rather tired, Joan.
We summer I mean to do it all myself— had such a long walk to - day, unless you like to help.'
andThis was quite a gracious invita- • You are not in the least tired, tion for Miss Engleheart to give, Esther,' interrupted Miss Engleand with all a child's zest for work, heart, with emphasis; "and I am Esther went in vigorously for water- sorry that you think it necessary to ing. No pretty playing at water- prevaricate. ing, as practised by young ladies Joan!' in the gardens of suburban villas, • You have learnt it and I have
no doubt many other virtues-at on me. I possessed common sense school. From the time you were and endured. I knew more confour years old you never told me an tentment was to be got from work untruth before: don't begin now. than from idleness, so I worked ; I should find you out in one half and by this time my life, such as minute ; and besides,' Joan added, it is, has become habitual to me not unkindly, 'deceit is unnecessary and not distasteful. What I was for you, Esther. You are strong- going to say is, that at eighteen, I strong in body, brave in spirit: dis- should no more have believed I simulation is for the weak, and, for should ever grow into what I am anything I know to the contrary, than you, with your good looks and may be their best resource. Who- recollection of Mr. Carew's fair words, ever is strong enough to tell the could imagine yourself Joan Engletruth will invariably find it to his heart now.' own interest to do so.'
"Oh, Joan !' • Well, then, I am not tired,' said * Esther, all these dreams are Esther. Walking to the Waters- natural. I remember mine, and meet has made me no more tired to- there was no harm in them. I day than it ever did before, but I don't believe there is any harm in thought I would like to be alone a yours. David was wrong in looking little, and to think. That is the so glum and disconcerted about truth, Joan.'
your talking to the young man-of No very startling confession, course, poor fellow, he knows notruly, but as the girl made it her thing of these things, how should hands turned nervously cold; and, he?' Esther thought of David's coninstinctively, she moved her face fidences of the morning. He looks away, even in that dim light, from
upon you as a child, and would do the searching scrutiny of her com- so twenty years hence, if you lived panion's eyes.
in tho same house with him still.' • To think!' echoed Joan: 'to 'Twenty years!' repeated the dream, to build castles among the girl. "We shall be all old, old clouds at sunset. I know, Esther, people long before that time.' with her hard laugh. 'I was once • You will be thirty-eight, Esther. eighteen, like you.
Not a bad sort of age for a woman Yes, Joan.'
with her own home, and with her Not as young in heart as you children growing up about her; but are, for I was plain, even then, and a hard time of life for a single a plain woman is never exactly woman struggling young at any age—but still eigh- strangers--a governess with a brain teen. I dreamed, I hoped; ugly just warping after twenty years of though I was, I knew I could be work, a companion just ebbing out happy if anybody had loved me.' of the ghastly, professional cheerfulJoan brought out these words with ness she has earned her bread with an irascible, resolute kind of gulp. till now. Yes; middle age has few “And no one did love me: and we charms for such as they.' fell upon poverty, and dark days, God keep me from being either and by the time I was twenty I a governess or a companion ! cried had given up sunset dreaming, and out Esther. 'I have my own two I knew what life mine was to hands, and
the knowledge you be.'
have given me, Joan. I will work * And have followed it nobly, cheerfully if there is meed, but I will Joan!' cried Esther, hugely touched be independent. I will never work by anything like confidence from to suit the caprice of others.' Joan's granite lips. You have "“I will—I will." That is how all been a faithful daughter, and a young people talk: they will do good manager of your mother's what they think best, and then, straitened means.'
when real life comes upon them, 'I possess common sense, Esther; they find that they must do what don't talk about nobleness and such lies to their hand, not what they fiddlesticks. All heroics are wasted themselves had chosen. I like
your resolute spirit, Esther — the speaks to me for an hour, I hope, more because both your parents Joan?' were poor, weak, shilly-shally crea- 'I think you possess decent comtures, who died because they mon sense, Esther,' answered Joan, wouldn't live and do their duty, who, while she wished to arouse in and therefore it has come to you Esther's mind a certain train of from training, not inheritance: but ideas, was far too keenly awake to I would have you, even now, look overstep her own mark by a single your coming life straight in the hair's breadth. ‘From your descripface, and not merely talk of your tion, the young man appears to be readiness to work. My mother be- just a careless, conceited fool, secklieves that Aunt Tudor will leave ing his own amusement, and not in her money to you. I do not.' the least likely to fall in love with Nor do I cried Esther. She
you or me, or anyone else bat himhas given me a great deal of money self.' already, thirty pounds a year since Oh, Joan! he is not in the least I was a little child, and now this conceited.' last fifty pounds to send me to 'All men are conceited, Esther, school. I have no right to look for and most men are heartless, and any more from her, and I shall not
many men are fools; but I have no want it. · When I am old enough I fear whatever of your peace of mind: will work. The word has quite a if I had, I should forbid you to speak zest for me, Joan.'
to Mr. Carew any more.
Dan Vel. And what will you work at ?' licot is much more likely to come
Oh-well, whatever I find I am as a suitor to Countisbury than fittest for,' said Esther, cheerily. any handsome young gentleman who I am not going to be depressed by
a sword in her Majesty's anything to-night, Joan. I feel that service, and travels down here to merely to live, merely to suffer even, while away his leave of absence in will be enjoyment. The world is so fly-fishing: wide, and there are such an im- And Miss Joan having finished mense number of years to go these exhilarating remarks, rose, through before I shall be old.' looked about her, sniffed vehe
• What is this Mr. Carew like, mently, gave a single low meaning child ?'
whistle, and then skirted away swift • Mr. Carew is-is tall, and not and noiseless as fate towards the ill-looking, cousin. What could orchard-hedge. Even while she make you think of him ?'
spoke, her eye had been intently 'A farmer's son, I think I heard fixed upon certain outlines not you tell David.'
unlike those of Patty Simmons's 'Yes; but you would never think mother, with a basket on her arm, so from his face or speech, and then hovering stealthily about the gardenhe is in the army, himself. How wicket, and instinct (true as that of clear the beacon shows to-night, an Indian trail-hunter) told her at Joan! I don't think I ever saw it once the point from whose ambush so bright before.'
she might best detect and pounce * Esther, you would be happier upon whatever fresh deed of darkmarried to a farmer's son than work- ness her unhappy handmaid's deing for your own bread. There is praved natural affections had been no lonely working woman on this leading her to commit. earth who does not daily and hourly • Was all that good advice meant weary over her own life. I speak merely to show me what kind of from knowledge, and I am not much life lies before me, or to warn me given to sentimental weaknesses, as against the danger of liking Mr. you know.'
Oliver Carew ? Esther wondered, * And what has Mr. Carew got to as later in the evening she walked do with that remark, or with my slowly along the path towards the future life?' said Esther, quickly. house. Poor Joan! she need not • You don't think my peace of mind be afraid. I am not likely to forget is endangered by every stranger who that mine will be a life of work and
hardship, and as to this stranger- like, before I die, to see some of I had nearly forgotten him until those foreign places Mr. Carew Joan mentioned his name.'
talks so well about. I wonder How white and near the stars whether anyone will look,' Miss Fleming further solilo enough for me to take me to them. quized ; 'that is a sign of fine I wonder whether Mr. Carew really weather to-morrow. I shall go out likes me, or only pretends he does. upon the moors towards sunset, and It was very pleasant to talk to him wear my new lilac frock, and a whito as we sat together on the rock. I rose in my waist - belt - no, that felt as I never feel when David would look as if I wanted to be asked holds my hand at that moment for it again. My lilac frock, and when he said good-bye. I should straw bonnet, and my muslin scarf like all my life to be as it was this will look best. Joan will say I have morning, only with a new muslin been dressing myself out, but I don't dress, and a new hat and gloves to mind that-I ought to dress more put on every day, and with Mr. ncatly now I am grown up; and if Carew, or- or somebody else—to I go out by the orchard-gate none of meet me whenever I walked. It them will notice me . ... Oliver will be very dull indeed when Mr. Carew-it is not an ugly name. I
Carew is gone.
I wonder I never shall never write about him to Milly knew before how dull it is to walk and Jane. I couldn't bear to read about the woods with only David to such nonsense as they would be sure talk to. to write, and besides, in a few more And oh, reader! (of the severer days he will be gone, and there will and more_uncompromising sex), be an end of it all How nice remember Esther Fleming's agethe old house looks, lying there only just eighteen! Remember sho white and silent in the moonlight:I had never enjoyed the privileges of wouldn't like to leave it, and yet I a ball-room; had never been to an don't think I should like to live at archery-meeting or a pic-nic; had Countisbury for ever, and grow to never read any French romance, be like Joan and David. I should except • Telemachus,' in her life.