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Dick went very gently up to Minory with the string in his hand, which, as he had explained, was tied round a shilling to steady it, and placed this in her left hand, with explicit instructions she was not to open it, or the whole charm would be lost. No one in the room had seen the sort of thing before, so Dick was allowed his own way, and Minory promised implicit obedience. Woolcombe was then led about, and Dick, pretending to let him guide himself, after several feints in various corners, at last brought his victim up to Miss Raymond. The excitement now became great, and Dick, to control his emotions, was obliged at this juncture to force his handkerchief into his mouth. By judiciously moving Jack about, he made him at last actually touch Minory's left hand, and at once declaring he had succeeded in his search, took the bandage from his eyes, and told him to remove what he had found. Captain Woolcombe gravely, before the eyes of the multitude, unravelled the string, and lo and behold, instead of a shilling there was a wedding-ring!

The risible faculties of the audience could not be restrained, but Miss Raymond coloured perceptibly, and Jack bit his moustache, looking round with indignation after Dick, who had, however, swiftly taken himself off.

"That wretch Dick! It's my wedding-ring, of course," said Mrs Beaufort. "It really is too bad."

But the absurdity of the position presently occurred just as it did to the others, and they heartily joined in the laugh.

"I'll trounce Master Dick when I catch him again," said Jack, sotto voce, and with some graveness, to Minory.

"Please no," she pleaded. "He is a mere boy. Take no notice." Then turning to Mrs Beaufort"Well, dear, you have your ring?"

"Yes," responded Mrs Beaufort, firmly holding it on its proper place with the fingers of the other hand, and regarding her newly found treasure with high regard.

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"I thought I saw Dick fumbling about on the carpet," remarked Trevor Woolcombe, "when were looking for the ring. Of course he secreted it then. I must say it is to his credit to have gone through the performance so admirably.”

"Yes; and fancy his taking us all in with his thought-reading, laughed old Lady Gore.

"Well," said Tom Beaufort, "if my wife only learns now the folly of playing with her rings, there'll have been something gained. But I think it's time for us all to be off, and there's the dressing-bell !"'

As Jack, lingering behind the others, leant, considering, against the old mantel shelf, his brother Trevor came up to to him, and, caressingly placing his hand on his shoulder, softly repeated the old rhyme

"P'll tell you a story

Of Jack and Minory, And now my story's begun." Then Jack, promptly catching him by the waist, laughed, and continued the ballad—

"I'll tell you another

Of Jack and his brother, And now my story's done." "I think, dear, boy, you have arranged your little affair?"

"Yes, old man; you and I are in the same boat. Wish me joy. Enid has consented to be mine." "All luck to you, my dearest fellow. May similar good fortune be in store for me!"

"Of course it is."

"I wish I could be certain of can settle it one way or the other, that," returned the eider brother, I hardly know what I am about. somewhat, wistfully. "Until I But come; we must go and dress.

CHAPTER VII.

That evening Cicely brought up the repentant Dick to Jack, and under her powerful protection his pardon was of course assured. At first, however, Woolcombe did not feel much inclined to be lenient.

"You see, Cicely, it's not me who has to be considered-it is Miss Raymond," he added, stiffly.

"She has, I assure you, quite forgiven him," replied his sister, eagerly."Now do be good-natured. Dick did a silly thing, but'-in a lower tone-"he is only a boy, Jack, and you must make

excuses.

"All right," said Jack, all his bad humour vanishing, and goodtemperedly giving Dick a slight shake, with his hands on the lad's shoulder; "we'll say no more about it. But you will allow me to remark that such very personal jokes are not always pleasant to the victims."

"Yes, it was wrong," allowed Dick, somewhat abashed. "I didn't stop to think, but really I meant no harm."

"Of course you didn't. And of course, if Miss Raymond has forgiven you, I'm helpless."

66

And

Of course," replied Dick, with a gleam of fun in his eye. he made himself scarce, glad to get so well out of the difficulty.

"He is incorrigible," said Jack, laughing in spite of himself.

"It's very nice of you to be so good-natured, Jack. I hope he has done no mischief. She is such a dear, sweet girl," she added, gently.

"It's just possible he may have

done a very great deal," was her brother's moody reply.

"I really do not think so. I should say to the contrary."

"Well, you ought to know best I trust you are right," he doubtfully put in.

“The rest remains with you.”
"What rest?" he asked.

"Until you ask her whether she cares for you, she can't very well decide one way or the other."

"It's easy-well, I don't know about that"

"What is easy ?"

"I was going to say, to offer. Man proposes, and the lady sometimes objects."

"I think you need not be cast down. She is a most sweet darling; and, I believe," with a bright smile and a nod to him, 66 you are not absolutely indifferent to her." "If I could only be sure of that. Would she were mine!" To this his sister made reply

"He either fears his fate too much,
Or his desert is small,
Who fails to put it to the touch,
And win or lose it all."

"Ah, Cicely! that's just it. Suppose it was to lose it all!"

"See!" said his sister, quickly; She "now's your opportunity. has gone into the library for a book. Go and plead with her now. I'll take care no one comes in."

"What a dear girl you are! It's a chance I may not have again.” "Come!" drawing him to her. "All good fortune attend you." Brother walked across the room; and Cicand sister leisurely ely turned at the library, which led out of the drawing room, and

closed the door.

Minory had not heard Jack

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call you! You see, I recollect, sir, what you told me," laughing gaily. But you are my Jack now.' "Yours for ever. And yet I feared to speak to you."

"Would you not like to put it off for a week or two?" she demanded, with much gravity, half drawing herself from him, and looking mischievously at him as

"You are come to help me to her two hands rested on his findshoulders.

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"No. I came to ask you to help me;" and he hesitated.

"Command me, Sir Knight; what can I do?" she said, with a poor attempt at unconcern.

"I

"Darling, I cannot keep it to myself." He was now standing close to her, eagerly taking her two hands in his, where they remained trembling in his firm grasp. love you, sweet Minory, with all my heart. It went out to you from the first moment I saw you." "Really and truly?" shyly looking at him.

Most really and most truly. Oh, sweet heart, say you will be my wife!" bending down as he pleaded towards her, as if to give emphasis to his entreaty. She did not answer in words; but the soft and happy glance from her true and tender eyes assured him the victory was won; and he held his prize in his arms.

"Now, my own love, I shall repair Master Dick's mischief. One ring I took from you to-night: but soon another shall find its way to this dear finger."

"So you like the name of Minory now, Captain Woolcombe ?" she asked, with an enchanting shyness, and in no way attempting to free herself from her lover's embrace.

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I'll tell you a story

Of Jack and Minory,
And now my story's begun.

And now our story has begun. I know I shall always bless the winter snow, for that brought me, my own love, to know you.'

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"Dear Jack- "she hesitated. "Yes, you must call me by my name. Tell me in words that you care for me."

"What are words?" she gravely replied. "But if you wish, I will. I love you," she simply said, holding up her mouth to be kissed. "Will that content you?"

What need to record any answer?

And here we may bid adieu to the two who have vowed to be all in all to each other along life's dusty pilgrimage, which indeed were but a sorrowful passage were it not lighted up by the faith of man and the love of woman.

66 LEAD, KINDLY LIGHT,' LATINE REDDITUM.

"Tu nocte vel atrå

Lumen, et in solis Tu mihi turba locis."

-ALBII TIBULLI, Eleg. IV. xiii, 11, 12.

ALMA Luce semper duce,

Adsis comes, fautor, Deus!

Nox rigrescit; via crescit;

Adsis tamen, fautor meus.

Pro amore Tuo rege pedes meas, Tuâ lege:
Haud excelsior adspiro: solum ducem Tu requiro.

Sicut olim esse nolim,

Cum nec amor eras meus:

Nunc casurus, sum dicturis,—

Adsis semper, fautor, deus!"

Tunc amabam mundi lumen, male timens Tuum Numen:
Tu ne memor sis ætatis actæ :-solvar a peccatis !

Semper Cruce viæ duce,

Sis per dura fautor, Deus!

Donec, duce Tecum, luce

Plenâ surgat dies meus,

Qualis præbeat redemptas formas Morte jam peremptas,-
Cœlitum subrisu gratas,―olim, heu ! desideratas.

J. M. P.

IN THE HEART OF AFGHANISTAN.

Government of India has always, to avoid complications and responsibility, done its best to discourage Englishmen from seeking to penetrate beyond the frontier, even when it has not explicitly forbidden them to intrude on the Ameer's territory.

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AMONG those countries that have been most niggard in exposing themselves to foreign observation, Afghanistan has always held a first place. Not less exclusive than the Tibetans, and as suspicious of the intrusion of foreigners as the Chinese, the Afghans have succeeded in closing their frontiers These are the reasons that have against the ordinary traveller, and hitherto prevented us from havin frustrating attempts to obtain ing good and thorough descriptions a closer intimacy with themselves of the interior of the Afghan terand their country. It is only when ritory. When he looks over the some international difficulty arises, information available about the resulting in an embassy, a boun- country that has been gathered at dary commission or a campaign, first hand, the reader will not take that Afghanistan and the Afghans long to exhaust it. Elphinstone's are brought under the eye of the Cabul,' though written sixty years stranger. It may seem strange that, ago, is still a valuable though considering the intercourse which limited record. Vigne gave both the Government of India has car- a graphic and accurate description ried on with the rulers of Cabul of the districts through which he since the days of Zemaun Shah, and travelled, but his stops were conthe embassies and commissions fined to the Kandahar country, and which have been sent across the the valleys lying by the Ghuzni north-west frontier, not to speak road to Cabul. Ferrier traversed of the four campaigns we have a considerable portion of Western carried on inside the country, we Afghanistan and of the regions should still know so little about which the operations of the Bounthe greater part of the Afghan dary Commission have recently territory. This defect, however, made us familiar with, and his is easily explained. The Afghans book is still of some political and have always taken good care that geographical value. Coming nearer neither our envoys nor our boun- our own time, Bellew and Golddary commissioners should be al- smid have both contributed inlowed to spy out the nakedness of teresting though partial details the land any further than was to the sum of our information; necessary for the accomplishment of the task which they had in hand; and soldiers on the march, in bivouac or in the field, have something more important to think of than of taking topographical and ethnological notes. Moreover, the

but the circumstances under which both of these officers visited the country were unfavourable to the acquisition of general information. Among the crowd of books which the late Afghan campaigns called forth, few served other purpose

England and Russia Face to Face in Asia. dary Commission. By Lieutenant A. C. Yates, Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh and London: 1887.

Travels with the Afghan Boun-
Bombay Staff Corps. William

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