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If Judith had been in Bellevue Street, when he came back, she might have noticed that the little bouquet was gone. Had it dropped out by accident? Or had Bertie merely defended his violets for fun, and thrown them away as soon as her back was turned? Or what had happened to them? There was no one to inquire.
Young Lisle strolled into Percival's room, and found him just come in, and waiting for his dinner. “I'm going to practise at St. Sylvester's this afternoon," said the young fellow.
“ What do you say to a walk, as soon as you get away ? ."
Percival assented, and began to move some of the books and papers
“ I can't think how you can endure that blue thing, and those awful
He could not explain to Lisle
“What am I to do?” he said. “I believe they think it very beautiful, and I fancy the flowers are home-made. People have different ideas of art, but shall I therefore wound Miss Bryant's
" Heaven forbid !” said Bertie. “Did Lydia Bryant make those flowers?
How interesting!” He pulled the vase towards him for a closer inspection. There was a crash, and light-blue fragments strewed the floor. Percival, piling his books on the side table, looked round with an exclamation.
" Hullo!” said Lisle, “ I've done it! Here's a pretty piece of work! And you so fond of it, too!” He was picking up the flowers as he spoke. “Here, Emma," as the girl opened the door, “I've upset Mr. Thorne's flower-vase. Tell Miss Bryant it was my doing, and I'm afraid it won't mend. Better take up the pieces carefully though, on the chance." This was thoughtful of Bertie, as the bits were remarkably « And here are the flowers-all right, I think.
Have you got everything?” He held the door open while she went out with her load, and then he came back, rubbing his hands. “Well, are you grateful? You'll never see that again.”
Percival surveyed him with a grave smile. “I'm grateful,” he said. But I'd rather you didn't treat all the things which offend my eye, in the same way.”
Bertie glanced round at the furniture, cheap, mean, and shabby. - You think I should have too much smashing to do ?”
“ I fear it might end in my sitting cross-legged on the floor,” said Thorne. “And my successor might cavil at Mrs. Bryant's idea of
"Well, I know I've done you a good turn to-day,” Bertie rejoined. “My conscience approves of my conduct.” And he went off, whistling.
Percival, on his way out, met Lydia on the landing. “Miss I have you a moment to spare?” he said, as she went rustling past.
She stopped, ungraciously.
The flower-vase on my table is broken. If you can tell me w cost, I will pay for it.”
“Mr. Lisle broke it, didn't he? Emma said
“No matter," said Thorne. “It was done in my room. I concern of Mr. Lisle's. Can
tell me?" Lydia hesitated. Should she let him pay for it? Some faint of refinement told her that she should not take money, for what sl meant as a love-gift. She looked up, and met the utter indifferen his eyes, as he stood, purse in hand, before her. She was ashamed remembrance that she had tried to attract his attention, and buri deny it.
"Well, then, it was three-and-six," she said. Percival put the money in her hand. She eyed it discontented “ That's right, isn't it?” he asked, in some surprise.
The touch of the coins recalled to her the pleasure with whic had spent her own three-and-sixpence, to brighten his room, an half repented. “Oh, it's right enough," she said. “But I don't
pay for it. Things will get knocked over“I beg your pardon-of course I ought to pay for it,” he re drawing himself up. He spoke the more decidedly that he knew b was broken.
· But, Miss Bryant, it will not be necessary to repla I don't think anything of the kind would be very safe in the mid my table.” And with a bow he went on his way.
Lydia stood where he had left her, fingering his half-crown shilling, with an uneasy sense that there was something very mean the transaction. Now that she had taken his money she dislike much more, but, as she had taken it, she went away, and bought h a pair of grass-green gloves. From that time forward she always o declared that she despised Mr. Thorne.
That evening, when they came back from their walk, Lisle ask companion to lend him a couple of sovereigns. “You shall have back to-morrow," he said, airily. Percival assented, as a mati course. He hardly thought about it at all, and, if he had, he would supposed that there was something to be paid in Miss Lisle's ab He had still something left of the small fortune with which h started. It was very little, but he could manage Bertie's two sove with that, and the money he had laid aside for Mrs. Bryant's v
Percival Thorne, always exact in his accounts, supposed that was fixed for the repayment of the loan. He did not understan his debtor was one of those people, who, when they say “I will pa to-morrow," merely mean “I will not pay you to-day."
PERCIVAL had announced the fact of the Lisles' presence in Bellevue Street to Sissy, in a carefully careless sentence. Sissy read it, and shivered sadly. Then she answered in a peculiarly bright and cheerful letter. “I'm not fit for him," she thought, as she wrote it. “I don't understand him, and I'm always afraid. Even when he loved me best, I felt as if he loved some dream girl, and took me for her in his dream, and would be angry with me when he woke. Miss Lisle would not be afraid. It is the least I can do for Percival, not to stand in the way of his happiness—the least I can do—and oh, how much the hardest !” So she gave Thorne to understand that she was getting on remarkably well.
It was not altogether false. She had fallen from a dizzy height, but she had found something of rest and security in the valley below. And as prisoners, cut off from all the larger interests of their lives, pet the plants and creatures which chance to lighten their captivity, so did Sissy begin to take pleasure in little gaieties, for wbich she had not cared in old days. She could sleep now at night without apprehension, and she woke refreshed. There was a great blank in her existence, where the thunderbolt fell, but the cloud, which hung so blackly overhead, was gone. The lonely life was sad, but it held nothing quite so dreadful as the fear that a day might come when Percival and his wife would know that they stood on different levels, that she could not see with his eyes, nor understand his thoughts, when he would look at her with sorrowful patience, and she would die slowly of his terrible kindness. The lonely life was sad, but, after all, Sissy Langton would not be twenty-one till April.
Percival read her letter, and asked Godfrey Hammond how she really was. “ Tell me the truth,” he said; “you know all is over be tween us. She writes cheerfully. Is she better than she was last year?”
Hammond replied that Sissy was certainly better. “She has begun to go out again, and Fordborough gossip says that there is something between her and young Hardwicke. He is a good fellow, and I fancy the old man will leave him very well off. But she might do better, and there are two people, at any rate, who do not think anything will come of it-myself, and young Hardwicke."
Percival hoped not indeed.
A month later Hammond wrote that there was no need for Percival to excité himself about Henry Hardwicke. Mrs. Falconer had taken Sissy and Laura to a dance at Latimer's Court, and Sissy's conguests were innumerable. Young Walter Latimer and a Captain Fothergill were the most conspicuous victims. “I believe Latimer rides into Fordborough every day, and the Captain, being stationed there, is on the
spot. Our St. Cecilia looks more charming than ever, but wha thinks of all this, no one knows. Of course Latimer would be the } match, as far as money goes; he is decidedly better looking, a should
say, better tempered; but Fothergill has an air about him v makes his rival look countrified, so I suppose they are tolerably Neither is overweighted with brains. What do you think? Y Garnett cannot say a civil word to either of them, and wants to Sissy a dog. He is not heart-whole either, I take it.”
Hammond was trying to probe his correspondent's heart. He tered himself that he should learn something from Percival, let answer how he would. But Percival did not answer at all. The was, he did not know what to say. It seemed to him that he would anything to hear that Sissy was happy, and yet, Nor did Sissy understand herself very
grace attracted Latimer and Fothergill, and a certain gentle indiffe piqued them.
She was not sad, lest sadness should be a reproa, Percival. In truth she hardly knew what she wished. One day came into the room, and overheard the fag-end of a conversation bet Mrs. Middleton and a maiden aunt of Godfrey Hammond's, who come to spend the day. “You know,” said the visitor, “ I never like Mr. Percival Thorne as much as
Sissy paused on the threshold, and Miss Hammond stopped s The colour mounted to her wintry cheek, and she contrived to fin opportunity to apologise, a little later. “I beg your pardon, my for my thoughtless remark just as you came in. I know so little my opinion was worthless. I really beg your pardon."
“ What for?” said Sissy. “ For what you said about Per Thorne? My dear Miss Hammond, people can't be expected t member that. Why, we agreed that it should be all over, and done at least a hundred years ago !” She spoke with hurried bravery.
The old lady looked at her, and held out her hands. “My der the time always so long since you parted ? ?”
Sissy put the proffered hands airily aside, and scoffed at the They had a crowd of callers that afternoon, but the girl lingered than once by Miss Hammond's side, and paid her delicate little a tions. This perplexed young Garnett very much, when he had a tained, from one of the company, that the old woman had nothing an annuity of three hundred a year. He hoped that Sissy Lar wasn't a little queer, but, upon his word, it looked like it.
Men have frequently imagined themselves wrecked on a desert island,
new series as well as the first one. I could dispense with the Poésies Complètes, though, were the great critic still alive, I would not say so for worlds, for fear of touching the one sore place in his existence that never healed. He shared the first infirmity of noble minds. He began life by wanting to be a poet. But it is easier for the most ill-navigated bark to enter Corinth, thar for the best directed talents to secure an original place in the Hall of the Muses, unless they be to the manner born. Sainte-Beuve, Frederick the Great, Richelieu, Earl Russell, Lord Beaconsfield, Bulwer Lytton-the list might be almost indefinitely lengthened-suffered from the same unsatisfied craving.
It is a touching circumstance. To be rejected in love is esteemed a hard fate; but to be unhappy in one's first, which is said to be likewise one's last love, is inexpressibly pathetic. The great Lessing, who was also deeply infected with this generous passion, had the manliness to avow that he had been an unsuccessful suitor. “I am not a poet,” he bravely said, “ though I wish I were. My thoughts are canalised; they do not come bubbling from a native source, and gurgling where they will.” The moral elevation of that modest confession would alone entitle Lessing to the loftiest of pedestals, and the homage of man. kind. Sainte-Beuve frequently alludes, but with hesitation and almost in a coquettish tone, to his efforts in verse. He must have known, fine critic that he was, that he had many gifts, but not the mens divinior ; but he nowhere deliberately surrenders the bays. “I have made my collection of poems,” he says, in noticing M. Crépet's chefs-d'quvre of French poetry ; " and you see I have returned to what was long while my love. For all