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"Of course."

Freeing himself from his skates, the two were soon skimming over the level surface; and laughing and talking, they were oblivious of everything beside them. It so happened, however, that Major Clayton and Mrs Evesham were similarly occupied, and were equally lost to a sense of their surroundings, and the rival pairs meeting at an angle, the result can be imagined. Major Clayton, who was steering the widow, caused the chair she was sitting on to collide with Minory's foot, sending her with tremendous force on the ice -Jack's chair from the impetus, being upset, he, Claytor., and Mrs Evesham all rolling together in a confused heap. They got up none the worse of the encounter; but this was not poor Miss Raymond's case, for though she sat up, she did not attempt to rise. Woolcombe ran to her aid: "Let me help you."

"I fear," she said piteously, with a brave effort keeping down her tears, "I cannot rise.'

"Good heavens!" in alarm, "you are not hurt?"

"I have twisted my foot, I think. Please take off my skates."

He soon, and yet with great gentleness, removed them.

"Are you easier now?" he asked, in anxiety.

"I fear I cannot walk," she said, in a low voice, with the tears in her eyes. Others now came round her, but Woolcombe was not going to give up his post of vantage, and

held her securely as he lifted her carefully from the ice.

"Rest entirely on me," he murmured; and then added aloud, "Bring that chair, Clayton, will you, like a good fellow! We must put Miss Raymond on it, and take her quietly to the shore. But no, that won't do, for her foot will be on the ground. I will carry her. May I?" he asked, leaning over the now nearly fainting girl.

"Whatever is best," she assented.

Woolcombe needed no more. "She can't go on the chair. She's as light as a feather. I'll carry her."

"My dear fellow," said Sir Piers, "you can't possibly carry her all the way to the house." "Can't I? I think you will find I can. Now," as he skilfully lifted her, "just steady me as we go over the ice. Not too fast, please, or I shall be stumbling."

Minory closed her eyes, and bore up as well as she could; and not a sound escaped her, though it was easy to see, by the tightening of her mouth every now and then, that she was suffering a good deal of torture.

When the doctor came he gave, on the whole, a favourable report. It was a mere strain, that with care would be quite well in a few days. For that night his patient had better keep quiet in her room; but if she was fit for it, she could come down on the morrow and venture on a sofa.

CHAPTER VI.

The next evening Minory felt so very much better that she pleaded with Mrs Beaufort to let her appear after dinner; and

when the men returned from the dining-room they found Miss Raymond the centre of a bright circle, reposing, as old Sir Piers gallantly

remarked,

like a
like a queen-regnant ly asked, looking at him for a
66 are you grateful to

with her ladies-in-waiting in close
attendance.

"Minory, you ought to be the Sleeping Princess, said little Maud Beaufort.

"I'd rather be the Waking Princess, dear, and be able to run about like you."

"No," returned the child, "that would not do. You know the Sleeping Princess lay just as you are, and then the Prince comes in and wakes her with a kiss."

"It's a pity we have not a Prince handy for you, dear," laughed Mrs Beaufort.

"Miss Raymond has only to choose," suggested Sir Piers. "Any of us here would gladly take the part of the Prince."

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second,
her?"

"For drawing off the crowd," he promptly returned.

"But, indeed, they are all very kind."

"Including that old mummy,
Gore," this sarcastically. "But
who could be anything but kind to
you? What I meant was
and he stopped.

"Well, what was it?"
"It was

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well-that-that now,

I had you to myself."

"You must surely have had too much of that at the Heronry."

"I wish we were there again, all alone."

"It was very nice then," wistfully, and quite ignoring the dreadful impropriety of her stay there with a solitary bachelor.

"Wasn't it! And here, you see, there are such lots of people, I never get you alone. Do you know, I've been thinking over your name, Miss Raymond. It is a very pretty one.'

"Suitable," she said, saucily, "for a plain girl."

"I don't know about that, he hotly rejoined. "I know it's very suitable for you."

Half rising on her elbow, and fixing on him a piercing glance, under which he quailed-"Captain Woolcombe, did you not say it would set off a plain girl?"

"So I did," beginning to get a little uncomfortable, "and I say it again; and, par consequence, how much more it must set off a lovely girl!

66

Why, you distinctly said you couldn't imagine-yes, those were your very words -a pretty girl going about with such a name." "She "No; did I really?" showing signs of complete defeat. never could have said that."

"I am sure I am much obliged to my sister," said Jack. and you are great friends, I hope." "The greatest. I love her exceedingly. But why," she demure

"Yes, you did, though."

"I

"Well, it shows," he stammered in confusion, "how little I knew about it."

"Why, what more do you know about it now, sir ?"

"I know you-and-and"Hush! you are going to pay me compliments."

"Never! I was going to tell you the real honest truth. But let me know how you came by your name."

"Did you ever hear of a place called Minori?"

"No."

"Well, there is such a village, and it so happens I was born there. It is quite close to Amalfi."

"I'll look it out in the map." "I doubt if you will find it, as it hardly ranks as a town. However, there I was born, and I took my name from the place." "How very interesting! it's my luck over again. Dick!"

But
Here's

"Yes, here's Dick," said that young scapegrace, sauntering up, not in the least aware how little he was wanted. "I'm come to relieve guard. Kate wants to see you at least she did ten minutes ago about to-morrow."

heavy rain, and, to the delight of the men, there was, with the break up of the frost, every prospect of a good time for hunting. But the day itself was hopeless: the state of the roads, to say nothing of the continued showers, kept all but the most enterprising indoors; and as the dull, dark, and cheerless evening fell, the party found themselves assembled in the drawingroom over afternoon tea, with the gloom only broken by the bright flickering of the fire, which leapt and sparkled on the hearth.

The several inmates of the Manor House had grouped themselves around Mrs. Beaufort, and the cravings for refreshment having subsided, the question arose as to what was now to be done.

"Well, for one thing," cried out Dick, "we ought all to be here." "So we are, are we not?" asked Mrs Beaufort.

"Not a bit of it," responded Dick, who was reposing on the easiest chair in the room, with his arms behind his head.

"You disgracefully lazy boy, sit up and tell us who the defaulters are," commanded Cicely.

"I don't see Trevor and Enid." "You rude boy! what right She'll tell have you to call Miss Masham Enid?" asked Mrs Beaufort.

"What about to-morrow?" “Oh, I don't know. you."

There was no help for it, and Woolcombe had to retreat, to his disgust-finding out, after all, that Dick had mistaken his message, and that Mrs Beaufort had referred to some one else. That night Woolcombe only caught a hurried word or two with Miss Raymond before she was carried away, but the bright smile she gave him, and the cordial clasp of her little hand, sent him into the smoking-room in a delightful frame of mind, with all the pleasures of anticipation as to what the coming hours might bring forth. The next day broke with

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remarked, like a queen-regnant ly asked, looking at him for a with her ladies-in-waiting in close attendance.

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"But, as you see, Sir Piers, returned Minory, colouring, "I am not a Princess, and I am not asleep, and so the Prince here would be out of place."

Here she caught Jack's eye, he all the time having said nothing, and apparently not much relishing this sort of badinage.

"Are you wise to venture down?" he whispered, as he leant over to pick up her handkerchief.

"Yes, really, I am very much better,' ," she said, in the same tone, thanking him with a grateful glance.

"Well, we must not mob you in this fashion," put in Cicely, always thoughtful for others. "Maudie, dear, come and show me the pictures you had for me." This created a diversion, and the rest of the company kindly took the hint and dispersed, leaving Woolcombe and Miss Raymond alone.

"I am sure I am much obliged to my sister," said Jack. "She and you are great friends, I hope."

"The greatest. I love her exceedingly. But why," she demure

second, her ? "

"are

you grateful to

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I had you to myself.”

"You must surely have had too much of that at the Heronry."

"I wish we were there again, all alone."

"It was very nice then," wistfully, and quite ignoring the dreadful impropriety of her stay there with a solitary bachelor.

"Wasn't it! And here, you see, there are such lots of people, I never get you alone. Do you know, I've been thinking over your name, Miss Raymond. It is a very pretty one."

"Suitable," she said, saucily, "for a plain girl."

"I don't know about that, he hotly rejoined. "I know it's very suitable for you."

Half rising on her elbow, and fixing on him a piercing glance, under which he quailed-"Captain Woolcombe, did you not say it would set off a plain girl?"

"So I did," beginning to get a little uncomfortable, “and I say it again; and, par consequence, how much more it must set off a lovely girl!"

"Why, you distinctly said you couldn't imagine-yes, those were your very words. a pretty girl going about with such a name.

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"Well, it shows," he stammered in confusion, "how little I knew about it."

66

Why, what more do you know about it now, sir?"

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"I know you-and-and "Hush! you are going to pay me compliments."

"Never! I was going to tell you the real honest truth. But let me know how you came by your name."

"Did you ever hear of a place called Minori ?"

"No."

"Well, there is such a village, and it so happens I was born there. It is quite close to Amalfi."

"I'll look it out in the map." "I doubt if you will find it, as it hardly ranks as a town. How ever, there I was born, and I took my name from the place."

But

"How very interesting! it's my luck over again. Here's Dick!"

"Yes, here's Dick," said that young scapegrace, sauntering up, not in the least aware how little he was wanted. "I'm come to relieve guard. Kate wants to see you at least she did ten minutes ago about to-morrow."

heavy rain, and, to the delight of the men, there was, with the break up of the frost, every prospect of a good time for hunting. But the day itself was hopeless: the state of the roads, to say nothing of the continued showers, kept all but the most enterprising indoors; and as the dull, dark, and cheerless evening fell, the party found themselves assembled in the drawingroom over afternoon tea, with the gloom only broken by the bright flickering of the fire, which leapt and sparkled on the hearth.

The several inmates of the Manor House had grouped themselves around Mrs. Beaufort, and the cravings for refreshment having subsided, the question arose as to what was now to be done.

"Well, for one thing," cried out Dick, "we ought all to be here." "So we are, are we not?" asked Mrs Beaufort.

"Not a bit of it," responded Dick, who was reposing on the easiest chair in the room, with his arms behind his head.

"You disgracefully lazy boy, sit up and tell us who the defaulters are," commanded Cicely.

"I don't see Trevor and Enid." "You rude boy! what right She'll tell have you to call Miss Masham Enid?" asked Mrs Beaufort.

"What about to-morrow?" 'Oh, I don't know.

66

you."

There was no help for it, and Woolcombe had to retreat, to his disgust-finding out, after all, that Dick had mistaken his message, and that Mrs Beaufort had referred to some one else. That night Woolcombe only caught a hurried word or two with Miss Raymond before she was carried away, but the bright smile she gave him, and the cordial clasp of her little hand, sent him into the smoking-room in a delightful frame of mind, with all the pleasures of anticipation as to what the coming hours might bring forth. The next day broke with

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