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not consider others. It is that which sometimes has made me afraid, that we believed ourselves above the law. And now that we have—begun so well, don't spoil it Hugh! Give them time, let them see by our works that we are in earnest, that we intend to live useful lives. I don't mean to beg them," she cried, at sight of his eyes. “Oh, I don't mean that. I don't mean to entreat them, or even to communicate with them. But they are your flesh and bloodyou must remember that. Let us prove that we are—not like the others,” she said, lifting her head, “and then it cannot matter to us what any one thinks. We shall have justified our act to ourselves."

But he was striding up and down the room again. It was as she feared—her plea had fallen on unheeding ears. A sudden convulsive leaping of the inner fires sent him to his desk, and he seized some note-paper from the rack. Honora rose to her feet, and took a step towards him.

“Hugh—what are you going to do?”

‘Do!” he cried, swinging in his chair and facing her, “I'm going to do what any man with an ounce of selfrespect would do under the circumstances. I'm going to do what I was a fool not to have done three months ago —what I should have done if it hadn't been for you. If in their contemptible, pharisaical notions of morality they choose to forget what my mother and father were to them, they cease to exist for me. If it's the last act of my life I'm going to tell them so."

She stood gazing at him, but she was as one of whom he took no account. He turned to the desk and began to write with a deliberation all the more terrible to her be. cause of the white anger he felt. And still she stood. He pressed the button on his desk, and Starling responded.

“I want a man from the stable to be ready to take some letters to town in half an hour," he said.

It was not until then that she turned and slowly left the room. A mortal sickness seemed to invade her vitals, and she went to her own chamber and flung herself, face downward, on the lace covering of the bed: and the sobs

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that shook her were the totterings of the foundations of her universe. For a while, in the intensity of her anguish, all thought was excluded. Presently, however, when the body was spent, the mind began to practise its subtle and intolerable torture, and she was invaded by a sense of loneliness colder than the space between the worlds. Where was she to go, whither flee, now that his wrath was turned against her? On the strength of his love alone she had pinned her faith, discarded and scorned all other help. And at the first contact with that greater power which he had taught her so confidently to despise, that strength had broken!

Slowly, she gazed back over the path she had trod, where roses once had held up smiling heads. It was choked now by brambles that scratched her nakedness at every step. Ah, how easily she had been persuaded to enter it! "We have the right to happiness," he had said, and she had looked into his eyes and believed him. What was this strange, elusive happiness, that she had so pantingly pursued and never overtaken? that essence pure and unalloyed with baser things? Ecstasy, perhaps, she had found—or was it delirium? Fear was the boon companion of these; or better, the pestilence that stalked behind them, ever ready to strike.

Then, as though some one had turned on a light—a sickening, yet penetrating blue light-she looked at Hugh Chiltern. She did not wish to look, but that which had turned on the light and bade her was stronger than she. She beheld, as it were, the elements of his being, the very sources of the ceaseless, restless energy that was driving him on. And scan as she would, no traces of the vaunted illimitable power that is called love could she discern. Love he possessed; that she had not doubted, and did not doubt, even now. But it had been given her to see that these springs had existed before love had come, and would flow, perchance, after it had departed. Now she understood his anger; it was like the anger of a fiercely rushing river striving to break a dam and invade the lands below with devastating floods. All these months the waters had been mounting. .

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Turning at length from the consideration of this figure, she asked herself whether, if with her present knowledge she had her choice to make over again, she would have chosen differently. The answer was a startling negative. She loved him. Incomprehensible, unreasonable, and unreasoning senti. ment! That she had received a wound, she knew; whether it were mortal, or whether it would heal and leave a scar, she could not say. One salient, awful fact she began gradually to realize, that if she sank back upon the pillows she was lost. Little it would profit her to save her body. She had no choice between her present precarious foothold and the abyss, and wounded as she was she would have to fight. There was no retreat.

She sat up, and presently got to her feet and went to the window and stared through the panes until she distinguished the blue whiteness of the fallen snow on her little balcony. The night, despite the clouds, had a certain luminous quality. Then she drew the curtains, searched for the switch, and flooded the room with a soft glow—that beautiful room in which he had so proudly installed her four months before. She smoothed the bed, and walking to the mirror gazed intently at her face, and then she bathed it. Afterwards she opened her window again, admitting a flurry of snow, and stood for some minutes breathing in the sharp air.

Three quarters of an hour later she was dressed and descending the stairs, and as she entered the library dinner was announced. Let us spare Honora the account of that repast, -or rather a recital of the conversation that accompanied it. What she found to say under the eyes

of the servants is of little value, although the fact itself deserves to be commended as a high accomplishment; and while she talked, she studied the brooding mystery that he presented, and could make nothing of it

. His mood was new. It was not sullenness, nor repressed rage; and his answers were brief, but he was not taciturn. It struck her that in spite of a concentration such as she had never in her life bestowed on any other subject, her knowledge of him or the Chiltern she had married was still wofully incomplete, and that in proportion to the lack of perfection of that knowledge her danger was great. Perhaps the Chiltern she had married was as yet in a formative state. Be this as it may, what she saw depicted on his face to-night corresponded to no former experience.

They went back to the library. Coffee was brought and carried off, and Honora was standing before the fire. Suddenly he rose from his chair, crossed the room, and before she could draw away seized and crushed her in his arms without a word. She lay there, inert, bewildered as in the grip of an unknown force, until presently she was aware of the beating of his heart, and a glimmering of what he felt came to her. Nor was it an understandable thing, except to the woman who loved him. And yet-and yet she feared it even in that instant of glory. When at last she dared to look

up, he kissed

away

the tears from her cheeks. "I love you,” he said. “You must never doubt it—do you understand?"

“Yes, Hugh.'
"You must never doubt it,” he repeated roughly.

His contrition was a strange thing—if it were contrition. And love woman's love is sometimes the counsellor of wisdom. Her sole reproach was to return his kiss.

Presently she chose a book, and he read to her.

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CHAPTER XV

The Pillars of Society One morning, as he gathered up his mail, Chiltern left lying on the breakfast table a printed circular, an appeal from the trustees of the Grenoble Hospital. As Honora read it she remembered that this institution had been the favourite charity of his mother; and that Mrs. Chiltern, at her death, had bequeathed an endowment which at the time had been ample. But Grenoble having grown since then, the deficit for this year was something under two thousand dollars, and in a lower corner was a request that contributions be sent to Mrs. Israel Simpson.

With the circular in her hand, Honora went thoughtfully up the stairs to her sitting-room. The month was February, the day overcast and muggy, and she stood for a while apparently watching the holes

made in the snow by the steady drip from the cap of the garden wall. What she really saw was the face of Mrs. Israel Simpson, a face that had haunted her these many months. For Mrs. Simpson had gradually grown, in Honora's mind, to typify the hardness of heart of Grenoble. With Grenoble obdurate, what would become of the larger ambitions of Hugh Chiltern?

Mrs. Simpson was indeed a redoubtable lady, whose virtue shone with a particular high brightness on the Sabbath. Her lamp was brimming with oil against the judgment day, and she was as one divinely appointed to be the chastener of the unrighteous. So, at least, Honora beheld her. Her attire was rich but not gaudy, and had the air of proclaiming the prosperity of Israel Simpson alone as its unimpeachable source: her nose was long, her lip slightly marked by a masculine and masterful emblem, and her eyes protruded in such a manner as to give the impression of watchfulness on all sides.

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