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at least I heard her. I don't think that girl could even whisper quietly."

“But there must be some mistake. Fordham comes in quite early, and

very often he doesn't go out at all in the evening.” “He goes out later,” said Judith.

Indeed, no. I could time all his movements. His room is next mine, and the wall is not so thick as I could wish. He snores sometimes.”

“ But,” she persisted, looking scared and white-yet what was Fordham to her f—“ But I have heard him over and over again, Mr. Thorne, I can't be mistaken."

Percival was disconcerted, too. He looked at the carpet, at his slippered feet, at anything but her face. “ You have heard some one, I suppose; I don't know who comes in late. Not poor old Fordham." He heard Emma on the stairs, and hurried to meet her. Coming back, with his boots in his hand, he found Judith standing exactly as he had left her.

" I'm sure I beg Mr. Fordham's pardon,” she said with a smile. “One does make curious mistakes, certainly. That nice-looking old man!" And nodding farewell to young Thorne, she went away.

He did not see her again for two days, though he watched anxiously for her. Bertie came in and out, and was much as usual. On the third evening, as Percival was going upstairs, she called after him, " Mr. Thorne.”

He turned eagerly.
“You lent Bertie some money a day or two since ?"

Something in her voice or her look made Percival sure that Lisle had borrowed and spent it without her knowledge, and that it was a trouble to her. After all, what did it matter? He would sell his watch, and pay Mrs. Bryant. He could not deny Bertie's debt, since she had found it out, but he could make light of it.

So he nodded. Yes, by the way, I believe I did. He hadn't his purse or something." This in a tone of airy indifference.

“ Tell me how much it was, please, and I'll pay it back.” Then he saw that her purse was open in her hand.

“Oh, it doesn't matter,” he said; “ don't pay me off in such a quick, business-like way, Miss Lisle. I'm not the milkman, nor yet the washing. Bertie will settle with me one of these days."

“ Please tell me, Mr. Thorne. I mean to pay it. I must.”

Well, I'll ask him about it then.” You know," with a look of reproach and pleading.

Percival could not deceive her, she looked so sorrowfully resolute. He met the glance of her grey eyes.

“Two pounds,” he said, and was certain that she was relieved at the answer.

“ Bertie wasn't sure it wasn't two pounds ten."



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On my honour, no. He asked me for a couple of sovereigns, and I took it literally."

“If you say so, I am sure. I didn't doubt you. I only told you that you might understand why I asked.” She put the money, a sovereign and two halves, into his unwilling hand. Then he understood her relief, for looking down into the little sealskin purse, he saw that there was no more gold in it. The last ten shillings must have been counted out in silver, and he was not quite sure it would not have ended in a threepenny piece, and some halfpence.

"Now I am going to ask a favour,” she said. “Don't lend Bertie any more, please. He has been used to spend just what he liked, and he doesn't think, poor boy. And it is only wasted. Don't let him have any more." “But, Miss Lisle,” said Percival, "if your brother asks me,


you mean that I am to say 'No'?”

“Please_if you would. He mustn't be extravagant, we can't afford it. He can't pay you back, and if I lost any of my work—Mrs. Barton's lessons, for instance-I couldn't either.”

You work to pay me !” exclaimed Percival aghast ; "I won't hear of such a thing. Miss Lisle, you mustn't! It's between Bertie and myself, and I shouldn't be ruined if he didn't pay me till his ship comes home one of these days. Take it back, please, and he and I will

arrange it.”

She shook her head. “No! my brother's debts are mine."

“Ah !" said Percival, with a swift, eloquent glance.“ Then let me be your creditor a little longer; I hardly know what it feels like, yet."

“Since when has your ship come home, Mr. Thorne, that you can afford to be so generous ?”

The blood mounted to his forehead at her question, but he answered quickly :

“My ship has not come home. Perhaps if it had I should not dare to ask you to let me help you. I feel as if our poverty made us all nearer together."

“ It is not every one who would say so in your place,” Judith replied. “I am your debtor, for those words. But we Lisles have wronged you too much already; you shouldn't try to make the load heavier.”

“Wronged me?" he faltered.

“Did you think I did not know? My father had your money and ruined you, deny it if you can! I suspected it, and lately I have been sure. Oh, if Bertie and I could pay you back ! But meanwhile he shall not borrow froin you, and waste your earnings on his silly whims. If

you lend him any more you may try to hide it from me, but I shall find it out, and I will pay it, every farthing. I will find some way, if I have to sit up every night for a week, and work my fingers to the bone!"


“ God forbid !” said Percival. “He shall have no more from

But be generous, and promise me, that if you should want help, such as my poverty can give, you will forget old times, and come to me."

“No, I won't promise that. I will remember them, and come!" She caught his hand, pressed it one moment in her own, flung it from her, and escaped.

“ Judith !” he called after her, but she was gone.

Percival went into his own room. The money had come just in time, for his landlady's weekly account was lying on the table. He looked at the three coins with lingering tenderness, and, after a moment's hesitation, he took one of them, and vowed that he would never part with it. Yet, in the midst of his ardent resolution, he smiled rather bitterly to think that it was not the sovereign, but one of the halves, he meant to keep for ever. Poverty had taught him many lessons, and among them, how to combine economy and sentiment. “ If she had given me the ten shillings' worth of silver, I suppose I should have saved the threepenny bit !” he said to himself, as he locked his little remembrance in his desk.

A couple of days later, as he was walking home with Bertie, they passed three or four men who were sauntering idly along; and Thorne felt sure that his companion received, and returned, a silent glance of recognition. He glanced over his shoulder at them, and disliked their look exceedingly.

“Do you know who those fellows were we passed just now?” he said.

Bertie looked back. “ One is the brother of a man in our choir."

“Hm! I wouldn't have one of them for my brother at any price," said Percival. The matter dropped, but he could not forget it. He fancied that there was a slight change in Bertie himself, that the boy's face was keener and haggard, and that there was an anxious expression in his eyes.

But he owned frankly that he was not at all sure that he should have noticed anything if his suspicions had not been previously aroused.

“Come in this evening,” said Bertie, when they went upstairs. He leant against the door of Percival's room, and as his friend hesitated he called to his sister: “Here, Judith ! tell Thorne to come and have some tea with us; they've let his fire out, and his room is as warm and cheerful as a sepulchre."

“Do you think I order other people about as I do you?" she replied. “Will you come, Mr. Thorne? I can at any rate promise you a fire and a welcome.”

When she met him she was quite calm, tranquil, and clear-eyed. Do the ripples of the summer sea recall that distant line, the supreme effort of wind and tide some stormy night? Percival would have thought that it had been all a dream, but for the little coin which that wave had flung

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at his feet for a remembrance. And he had called after her “ Judith !” The tide had ebbed, and he did not even think of her as other than Miss Lisle, Had she heard him that evening? He would almost have hoped not, but that twilight moment seemed so far away that it must be absurd to link it with his everyday life.

Apparently she and Bertie were on their usual footing. Did the young fellow know of that absurd mistake about old Fordham? Did Percival really detect a shade of dim apprehension on Judith Lisle's face, as if she hid an unspoken fear? As Bertie leant forward, and the lamplight shone on his clearly-cut features, Percival was more than ever certain of the change in him. Could his sister fail to see it?

“Bertie,” she said, when they had finished their tea, and were standing round the fire; " Bertie, I'm afraid you have lost one of your pupils.”

He had his elbow on the chimney-piece, his hand hung loosely open, and his eyes were fixed upon the leaping flames. When Judith spoke he looked up inquiringly.

“Miss Nash-Emmeline Nash,” said Judith.

Percival happened to be looking at the fire, too, and he suddenly saw Bertie's fingers drawn quickly up. But the young master spoke very composedly indeed: “Emmeline Nash—why? Has anything happened?"

“No! only Mr. Nash has given in at last, and says she may go home at Easter for good. She is older than any of the other pupils, Mr. Thorne ; in fact, she is not treated as a pupil. But her father is

“ An old fossil !” said Bertie.

“Well-interested in fossils, and that sort of thing, and a widower ; so there has not been much of a home for her, and he always fancied she was better at school. But school can't last for ever

Happiest time of one's life !” Bertie ejaculated.
“Oh! do you think so ?" said Judith, doubtfully.
“Not at all! But I believe it is the right thing to say.”

“Stupid boy! And as she will very soon be twenty, I really think she ought not to be kept there any longer."

“Of course Miss Nash is delighted,” said Percival.

“Yes, but hardly as much so as I expected. One's castles in the air don't look quite the same when one is close to them. I am afraid her home life won't be very bright."

“Perhaps she will make it brighter," said Thorne. “ What is she like? Is she pretty ? ”

“Yes," said Bertie.

Judith smiled. “One has to qualify all one's adjectives for her. She is nice-ish, pretty-ish; I doubt if she is as much as clever-ish.”

No need for her to be any more," Bertie remarked. “ Didn't Miss Crawford say she would come in for a lot of money, some of her mother's, when she was one-and-twenty?”

“ Yes-five or six hundred a year.”

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“ That's why he has kept her at school, I suppose. Afraid she should take up with a curate, very likely."

“ Mr. Nash is very rich too, and she is an only child,” said Judith, ignoring Bertie's remark. “ But I think it has been hard on Emme. line."

“ Well, I'm sorry she is going," said Lisle, "very sorry."
“ Is she such a promising pupil ?” Thorne inquired.

“She's a nice girl," said Bertie, “but a promising pupil-0 Lord!" He flew to the piano, played an air in a singularly wooden manner, and then dragged it languidly, yet laboriously, up and down the keys.

Variations, you perceive.” After a little more of this treatment, the unfortunate melody grew very lame indeed, and finally died of exhaustion.

“ That's Miss Emmeline Nash !” said Bertie, spinning round on the music-stool, and confronting Percival.

“It is very like Emmeline's style of playing," Judith owned.

“Of course it is. Let's have something else for a change." And turning back to the piano he began to sing. Then he called Judith to come and take her turn.

She sang well, and Percival, by the fireside, noted the young fellow's evident pride in her performance, and admired the pair. (Anyone else might have admired the three, for Thorne's grave, foreign-looking face was just the fitting contrast to the Lisles' fair, clear features. The morbid depression of a couple of months earlier had passed, and left him far more like the Percival of Brackenhill. Poverty surrounded the friends and dulled their lives, but as yet it was only a burden, not a blight.)

“You sing," said Bertie, looking back. “I remember you were great at some of those old songs. I'll play for you—what shall it be ?"

“I'm sure I hardly know," said Percival, coming forward.

“ Let's have “Shall I, wasting in despair ?'” Lisle suggested. " It has been going in my head all this morning." He played a few notes.

“No, no !” the other exclaimed hurriedly. “Not that.” Too well he remembered the tender devotion of more than a year before :

If she love me, this believe,
I will die ere she shall grieve.

Sissy and Brackenhill rose before him—the melancholy orchard walk

, the little hands which lay in his on that November day. He felt a dull pain, yet what could he do, what could he have done? There was a terrible mistake somewhere, but he could not say where. If he had married Sissy, would it not have been there? He woke up suddenly young

Lisle was speaking, and Judith was saying, “ Let Mr. Thorne choose."

“Oh, I don't mind,” said Percival. “Sball it be Drink to me only with thine eyes ?'”

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