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to Greta's petition, "If I can get away if I can be spared from home."


"Spared from home! oh ay, can be spared, Miss Greta, weel spared. She is aye so busy and taken up with thae bairns that a little pleasure will just do her a great deal of good."

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"Pleasure!" said Joyce, echoing the word. "I will come if the lady wants me; but there is a good deal to do things to prepare. And then-and thenShe paused with a conscious effort, making the most of her hindrances, "I am expecting a friend to-night.' "A friend that will be Andrew Halliday," said the old woman, again interposing anxiously; "you can see him ony day of the week; he's no that far away nor sweared to come. Where are your manners, Joyce? to keep Miss Greta standing, and hum and ha, as if ye werena aye ready to do what will pleasure the lady-aye ready, night or day."

"If Joyce is tired, Mrs Matheson," said Greta, "I will not have her troubled. But are you really so tired, Joyce? We cannot do anything without you. And it was all my idea, for there is no party or anything: but I thought it would please-all of them. Only I could do nothing without you."

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vaguely. And then she asked,

"Will the old Colonel-the old gentleman-will he be there?"

"Oh, did you take a fancy to him, Joyce? So have I. Yes, he will be there they will all be there. We are to have it in the great drawing-room-and leave to rummage in all the presses in the red room, you know, where the old Lady's dresses are kept, and to take what we like."

"That would be fine," said Joyce, "if it was for last century; but if Queen Margaret is what you are wanting, that's far, far back, and the old Lady's dresses will do little good. There will be nothing half so old as Queen Margaret


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Oh," cried Greta, her countenance falling, "I never thought of that."

Joyce hesitated a moment, and the light returned to her eyes. “I will go up with you to the house now, if granny can spare me, and I will speak to Merritt, and we will think, she and I; and when you come out from your dinner we will have settled something. Oh, never fear but we will find something. It is just what I like," said Joyce, restored to full energy

"to make out what's impossible. That's real pleasure!" she cried with sparkling eyes.

"Did ever ony mortal see the like," said Janet to herself as she stood at the door watching the two girls go down the village street.

What's impossible! that's just what she likes, that wonderful bairn. And if onybody was to ask which was the leddy, it's our Joyce and not Miss Greta that ilka ane would say. But, eh me! though I am so fain to get her a bit pleasure, what's to come o' a' that, if she is just to settle doon and marry Andrew Halliday? That's what is impossible, and nae pleasure in it so far as I can see!"


WALKING across the country one breezy November day, I was attracted by the sight of a gipsy tent, pitched on a piece of waste common, some hundred yards off my path. This was motive enough for me to change my direction, and approach the little settlement; for these wandering caravans have always had a peculiar fascination for me, and I rarely pass them by without closer investigation.

This particular establishment was of the very poorest and most abject description. One miserable tent, riddled with holes, and patched with many-coloured rags, was propped up against a neighbouring bank. half-starved donkey, laden with some ragged blankets, was standing immovable alongside, and in the foreground a smoking camp-fire, over which was slung a battered kettle. There was very little fire, and a great deal of smoke, which at first obscured the view, and prevented me from understanding why it was that the gipsies, usually so quick to mark a stranger, gazed at me with indifference-not a hand was stretched forth to beg, nor a voice raised in supplication. The men were standing about in listless attitudes, and the women crouched round the fire were swaying their bodies to and fro, as though in pain. On other occasions, whenever I had attempted to approach a gipsy settlement, I had been wellnigh besieged by the noisy importunities of the people, and had found considerable difficulty in extricating myself from

their grasp.

Soon, however, the shining point of a bayonet, which I descried through the curling smoke, gave me the clue to this abnormal be

haviour; and approaching nearer, I saw the figures of three Hungarian gendarmes dodging about between the ragged tent and the skeleton donkey.

They were searching the camp, as they presently informed me, for a stolen purse; this was marketday, and a Saxon peasant had had his pocket picked. Some of the gipsies had been seen in town that morning, so of course they must be guilty-and the speaker, with an oath, stuck his bayonet into the depths of the little tent, bringing out a motley assortment of dirty rags to light, which he proceeded to turn over with scrutinising investigation.

Any person with a well-balanced mind would, I suppose, have rejoiced at the improving spectacle of stern justice punishing degraded vice. I must, however, confess my sympathies on this occasion to have been all the wrong way, and I could not refrain from wishing that these poor hunted mortals might elude their punishment, whether deserved or not.

Justice, as represented by these well-fed stolid gendarmes, who were turning over the contents of the little camp so ruthlessly, holding up each sorry rag to light with such pitiless scorn, stripping the clothes from the half-naked backs of the gipsies, with such needless brutality, appeared in the light of churlish and unnecessary persecution; while vice so wretched and piteous-looking could surely inspire no harsher feeling than compas


Of the females, the most noticeable was a young woman of about twenty-five, with splendid eyes, skin of a mahogany brown, and

Greta was one of the eager band who came forward to meet the lady of the house. She was a slim girl of nineteen, with silky brown hair and grey eyes-the slightest willowy figure, the most deprecating expression,—a fragile creature, who begged pardon for everything -though in looks, not in words and yielded at a touch to the bolder spirits about. It was perhaps for this cause that Greta was always made the spokeswoman when anything was wanted in her family and connections; no one had the heart to refuse the pleading of her eyes.

"Aunt Margaret, they want so much to have tableaux to-night, after dinner, before the gentlemen come in, just for ourselves."

"Oh, I don't see that," said a voice out of the group behind her. "We may as well have an audience."

"And we want them to help. We must have an Edgar Atheling, and a Malcolm Canmore, and all the Court gentlemen."

"Oh no; dresses for the gentlemen are impossible," said another, more peremptory. "We can manage for ourselves, but how could we get things for them? Oh no, no!"

Greta stood looking round upon her somewhat rebellious following. "I wish," she said, with a slight vexation in her tone, "you would make up your mind what you do want, before you send me to ask. Aunt Margaret, may we get them up? and will you be Queen Margaret, as you were to-day? And will you let us ask Joyce?"

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"My dear girls, you don't think. How do you suppose she can like it, to come and take her part with you, and be complimented by everybody, and then to go away to Peter Matheson's cottage and boil the potatoes for supper? Besides there are other circumstances—

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"What other circumstances? Oh tell us! Oh, I hope she is going to break it off with that Mr Halliday. He is not half good enough for her. But why should that keep her from helping us?"

"Don't ask me fifty questions all in a moment. Hush don't say anything. Perhaps she may be going to find out about her mother."

This was very indiscreet of Mrs Bellendean: but she was so full of her new information that she could not restrain herself. And then there arose from all those soft throats a unanimous "Oh !" which ran like a little breeze about the house, and disturbed the flowers in the big baskets. "Who is she? Is she a lady? I am sure she is a lady!" the girls cried.

"I can't tell you any more. And you must none of you say a word, for she knows nothing; neither do I. I only know that I "Oh, we must have Joyce!" think-some one knows about her, cried the chorus. "Joyce is in--some one who is here." dispensable. None of us know much about Queen Margaret. Please let us have Joyce."

Who could it be? the girls consulted each other with their eyes, and immediately ran over every name of all the dwellers in the "I house and all the guests, excepting

"The tableaux as much as you like," said Mrs Bellendean.

only the old Colonel, of whom no- said; "but one can't always be body thought. prudent, and none of you will say a word."

"If there is to be the least hint given, or so much as a look, or anything to awaken her attention —remember, in that case, she must not come. She must not come : I cannot have her excited and disturbed."

There was a universal cry of indignant protestation. Tell her! oh no! No one would do such a thing. What did Mrs Bellendean think of them? Were they such silly things, with so little feeling as that? Oh no, no! On the other hand, to be taken out of herself, to be made to forget it, would be such a good thing for Joyce. And how exciting and delightful for everybody! To think she might be a duke's daughter perhaps, or a foreign princess, or, in any case, something altogether out of the common way!

"Well, if it must be so," said Mrs Bellendean. "Greta, I think I can trust you to take care of her. Not a word; not a hint. For after all, it is the very vaguest possibility, and it may come to nothing at all."

"In that case, don't you think it was a pity to say anything about. it?" said the matter-of-fact, common-sense voice of Mr Bellendean.

The young ladies redoubled their protestations, and hurried away to make up to Joyce before she reached the village with her charge. As for Mrs Bellendean, to avoid further criticism, she turned quickly round upon Norman, who had said nothing, but whose eyes had followed the girls with pleased observation. It was natural, for they were a pretty group.

"Are you very well acquainted with Colonel Hayward?" she asked. "Acquainted? with old Hayward? Oh yes, I think so," he said, with a little surprise.

"Then who is Elizabeth ?"

The young man had been looking at her with a little curiosity. His face suddenly changed now from grave to gay. His eyes lighted up with humour. "Elizabeth!" he said, with a laugh," have you found her out? She is Mrs Hayward, I know; but I have never seen her. She is his other self-no, that's not the right way of putting it. She is himself and he is the other. Oh, everybody knows about Elizabeth."

"She is coming here to-morrow," said Mrs Bellendean.

"Coming here! none of us have ever seen her," he replied. "She was always at the hills, or home for her health, or something; though some people said she kept close in the bungalow like a native lady, and never would show

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"Good heavens ! she is not a native, Norman, I hope? Don't say that, please.'

He was a man said to be full of common-sense. His wife considered him a wet blanket, always putting out her fires, and quenching all enthusiasm. He had a horrible way of being right which was doubly exasperating. And she had of course regretted that premature hint of hers the moment she had made it. When she turned round and found out that she had taken her husband and his son unwittingly into her confidence, she felt, to use her own words, "as if she could have cried." "Perhaps it was a pity," she wishing for her.

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One of your usual hasty proceedings, my dear; but it would be some fun to have a Begum in the house."

"I don't think it is likely; but I don't know. He was always We made rather

"I like it very

much. Women would be a great deal happier if their husbands would always treat them so."

a joke of it, I fear. I have heard dean, with a sigh.
him, when he was giving his
orders and he is a very smart
soldier, dear old fellow though
perhaps you think him a- . I
have heard him say between his
teeth, If Elizabeth
were but
here,' when most men were only
too thankful their wives were out
of the way.'

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"What! take them out to face the enemy?" her husband said. But he knew very well what she meant; and though he was a very well-bred man, and showed no sign of it, he resented both her lit

"I like that," said Mrs Bellen- tle speech and her smaller sigh.


It was not very far from the terrace at Bellendean to Peter Matheson's cottage in the village, which was a cottage with a but and a ben-that is, an out and an in.

Two rooms down-stairs, into one of which the door opened, and two others above. There was no thing in front but the village street, from which you could tap at the window of the kitchen in which the family lived; but behind there was a little garden, with some large lilac and rose bushes, and an ashtree with a small plot of grass round its patriarchal feet. Joyce had come back tired from the dusty walk with the children just as her granny, as she called the old woman who had been her guardian all her life, had taken off the large Paisley shawl and the close black satin bonnet, which were her state costume out of doors. Mrs Matheson -called Janet in the village, a freedom which Joyce resented-had folded up carefully her "grand shawl" and laid her bonnet upon it, to be put away presently, and had seated herself in the high-backed wooden chair to rest. The kettle was beginning to boil on a fire kept as low as possible in compliment to the hot July day, Though she had shared in the refreshment under the tent, Janet was not contented to accept that in place of

the much-prized cordial of her own brewing. "Na, na; what ye get out o' an urn may be gran' drinking," she said, "but it's never like my tea." She was waiting till the kettle should boil to "mask the tea," which even Joyce did not do altogether to her liking. When the door opened and the girl came in, Janet was sitting, musing as she waited, near the fire, according to cottage custom. She was old, and it was not too warm for her, and she was tired and enjoying what it requires the long habit of toil to enjoy thoroughly, the entire quiescence of physical rest. To sit there, doing nothing, was sweet at her age. In former times she could remember being impatient for the boiling of the kettle. In these days she would have whipped up her bonnet and shawl and ran up-stairs with them, thinking it an idle thing to leave them there even for a moment: and she would have set out the cups while she waited. But now she was not impatient: there was no hurry, and rest was sweet. She looked up when her child came in-who was her child certainly, though not her daughter -with a pride and admiration of her looks, and her dress, and everything about her, that never failed. Joyce wore a dark dress, which she had made herself, after the model

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