|Newspaper Title||Euroa Advertiser (Vic. : 1884 - 1920)|
NO !" CHA1aEa I. 'And do you sit on high three-legged stools 'with Sour feet on the mantelptece!' see asked, -lookiuc at him with. deepest intereat. She was sitting in a comfortable chair on the oeck of the American man'ot.war. It was one of those cl'airs which make an awkwara woman look doucly awkward, but only throw into more exquiCite lines every beauty of a grace ful Oue. 'he afternoon eun, too, whichwan pouring down, in a blaze ot almost inutolrable neat o, .he harbour, was here softened by an awning, which only allowed the tenderest of warm lights to fall on her tace and smiling e)ee. She looked so intensely bewitching under Abthese circumstances of becoming chair and eauonrd sunshine, that. the young American lesutunaut lorgot to answer, and only gazed as nor as he set balanced it. anything bhat a eec..re position,'on a rickety chair. ' Aud drnnk cocatails aun things?' she went on again . ' Toe. Captain won't let us--it on three l'g4ed stools, I mean. There are one or two ki.koung about. He doesn't object ao much to in. cocktails,' with an odd note in his voice which she did not notice. ' What a shame ! Why won't he let you have them ?' 'T[hey're awfully comfortable. But the Captain doesn't think it looks well-discipline and all that, yen know. I esy ! . There's the museic Give me this dance, .Mise Keith! He bent eagerly forward, so eagerly that he los. thie very precarnous balace -be bad, and in: his effort, to recover imese t, came with'.acrash to the aeck, sprawling:at her leer. .-. .. - -: ,, ' What-did you do: that fore?" she asked gravely, as be sprang .up wito the agility or a sailor, t from among the ruins of the * I don't know; I am sure,' he answered, perlectly indifferent to the lodicroun igure he iad cut, and coolly gathering up the rem nants of the chair, which he carried to the stde of the ehip and dropped overDoard. ' 1 only know,' he said, coming back to her, ' that when 1 was there I wanted to etas there.' He laughed a genuine, pleassant laugh; hut hie es)e were full of the most unrietakeable admiration as he looked down at her.. He had only met her two.hours before; but bhose two hours had done marvels in changing the enour.of Mr. Maynard Eneoll's hitherto love-indifferent life. With ner woman's eree eshe read the look. She made a slighc, im patient gesture: but the next second she was emiling up at him again. " Y,,u would soon tire of being at a weanr,' feet. .I can just fancy you longing fr a citar, andt a good run to ease your cramped limbs.' I guess you don't know Bat I don't want metaphors. I want a dance.' ' Im not going to dance any more. I threw my programme overboard.' All tne couples who had bee', sitting and etraving about near them were flocking back to the dacing.. She had refused them so persistenTy afl the afternoon that none of the men. came near her asam. It was such a decided case for the young American lienten ant-she havine only oaaiced with him-that they, after' the fashion of the generality of meen, not wishing to poach in another's wagers, left him at last in undisturbed poe session For a moment or two there was silence between them. He eat looking at her quite oblivious of the fact, in the intensity oft his interest, that it was not polite to stare at a lady. She lnanidly fanning herself, gazing in a dreamy, far-off way across the beautiful harbour, which has something so foreign in its picturesque builditgs .and red-roofed houses. Great men-ot-war; white pained troopehips, with tiny cockleshells of boats and noisy. black, smoking steam launches nshing in and out in bewildering andi dangerous confusion ; - covered the hoc, sparkling waters. The hoarse cries, of boatmen and sailors were softened into harmony in the sunny, drowsy expanse of air and sea. There was no breeze, either from the land or from the sea, whose nreastroseand felt beyond the harbour hbr as gently as that of some sleeping child's. TeOe heat had been quite a fruitful ropi ot conversation that afternoon to dancers who had a difficulty on the subject of ideas, and to partners personally totally indifferent to earn other. Yet suddenly she shivered-with a violent, uncontrollable shudder, as if with cold-and her face grew pinched and blue. What is the matter!' he asked in quick alarm. 'I don't know.' She turned to him again, smiling, but her lips were stiff, and only forced, into that smile. ' I am cold, I thinkr.' 4 'Cold! I wish I were. You mast be ill to be cold. Come downstairs and have some tea.' She.rose, and they made their way to the companion, down which he- carefully helpedr her. The refreshments, set out in lavish profusion, were being served on the lower deck Miss Keith only took a few sips of the tea and then, at his suggestion, they strolled over towards the mess-room, where it was dusky and deserted. She esat down on a chair hebrought her. Are all your officers here 'she asked. 'No.' regretfully. 'One First lieutenant is abset-Granti-George W. Grant. We call him our " Beauty." He and I areold chums. I'll show you his photo, if you like. But of course you wouldn't like,' a faint flush of shame at his eagernees dyeing hes face. But he and George W. 'Grant had been friends ,ince their schooldays. He was not a bit heandome him-elf, though pleasant looking, with his strong well built frame, and his uniform showed him off to advantage; but he had never felt a pang of jealousy as yet against his friend, who had on more than one occasion 'cut him out.' 'It wouldn't matter to you if he had "carrots" and three noses.' 'It would make his photograph a most interesting study any way. Please show it to me.' ia cabin was close by, and. as eager to amass her as to show off his friend, he moved away to fetch the photograph. She sat waiting for him. There was something mntionlese, rather than reposeful, in the languor of her position, and her face took the same pinched blue look of mortal cold it had worn on the upper deck. 'Here it is, Miss Keith.' Sne took the leather-framed portrait with languid, fashionable indifference, and looked ' He's a splendid looking chap, isn't he?' he asked with proud affection. 'It's a very fine frame,' she said. IT' broke into his frank, pleasant laugh., "I say, Miss Keith, that is crushing. Why, be's oer show man-we're not a particularly rood looking set; in fact,.I heard one girl at Plymoruthcall us Charon's crew. Her friend -an awfally pretty little girl--eugeesteod Grant was Orpheus heino rowed across the river Stox in that ugly old gentleman's ferry boat , Not bad, was it?' • 'I thought Charon rowed about all by him gslf,' said Miss Keith, with thoeghtful-sldw-. s ?a-, still loukiug at the portraitin her hands. 'Did he hsve a crew?' ' Oh I I'm sure I don'tknowr. Inever was up in the classecs. Any way that old Charon was enough by himself. Besides, Grant is mot in search of his wife,' with an amused· Sone in his laugh which had something si-g sificant in it Perhaps she noticed it, for she looked up at hima, with that a'ow. languid glalce, which Ume call the pink of affectation, and others the moset bewirching grace in the world. He was one of the latter. 'AhI well,' hesaid, answering it because bhe could help him.elf. ' it ist'tsaything very mnuch, onlry-our OCptain has a lovely little eilece about sixteen. All our men are riad abonut her-but we are all poor--and-well, you see, Grant is so good-looking that the asptan thinks he is just as well on this side of the Atlantic-' 'I don't like your Captain,' shabe said. The young man did not answer: or, rather the answer he made, apparently a quite irrelteant one, was eloquent: 'Have another cup of tea, or a cocktail She laughed, and gave him back the photo' Staph. When he returned from placing it in his cabin, he found her talking to her thaperone. They were going; he accom panied them on to the upper deck. A'l the tueste were thronging towards the gangway, The American officers stood among them helping them down into the pinrnaces that were to take them ashore, or back to other thires. 'I am so sorry youe are going l' exclaimed the Lientenaun, abruptly. 'Are youn!' She leaked up at him with a look that startled him. It was so searching, so appealioe, so pitiful, so hopeless. Bit abe tnrned away ewiftly to hurry after Mrs. Maynard, leavintg bhim bewildered. SCaptain Stock caught sight of him, 'and told him he misht go with the pinnace. He :: liked the younag man as well as he could like anyone under his command. He, like the - teet, had been amused at his devotion that afternoon to the pretty Miss Keith. He ad.
,,,trct Uer hnmselt, auun I 'ce'asittun UCUD as russe wuld be sympathetic as well as hospitabhle. Mr. Maynara Ensoll leaped down on to the pinnace, not needing another command. Frum where he stood be could see her apparently chattering and laughing as gaily as the rest of the crowd. 'What comld it mean!' be asked himself, in utter perplexits. ' One would think I could help her in some way.' He tried to catch her eye again, but she never once looked in the directsou where best?od. The inestant the pinnace reached the landing-place he hurried ttor,art to help the ladies off. It came to her turn. For a moment her hand lay in his. She looked up at him, thanking him again with a bright smile for the 'lovely afternoon they had all given them.' Anid yet he would have sworn that behind the smile lurked the-dark shadow he had seen in her eyes a few moments before. Under some sudden impulse he .answered the shadow, not the smile. ' It ever I can do anything for you, ask me!' he whispered, hurriedly, his strong, steady hand clasping closely round hers. Then she paused on the stream of pretty girls and smiling women, all making flatter ing little speeches to him as he assisted them on shore. He answered withousreallyknow ing what he was saying. Was she offended at his audacity? His speech now seemed a piece of such unwar rantable impertiuence. But as the pinnace steamed off again, she steppeo oat from among the little group of people standing on the shore, and looked after the retrenatg launch-at him I With a quick seaping of his pulses, he raised his cap, iving it a little triumphal wave of salute high orver his head. CHurTxl II, It's a darned shame I' 'The speaker, George W. Grant, First Lieutenant on board the Plymouth, looked as if he meant it. Mr. Maynard Ensell, sitting on the mess table, his nands thrust deep in his pockets, his legs daugling impatiently to and fro, looked as if he quite agreed.. 'Stock is an infernal-' ' ouehtn't to have spoken,' interrupted Ensoll, rather wearily, but roused to a sense at isctipline by the wrathful, fiery eyes of his friend, 'only--' 'You c?uldn't help it-- should think not I It makes a man sick to see his bullying. He's a druanken- ' 'Shut p t' Grant's reckless, fiery spirit made 1Ensoll more careful for his friend than he was for himself. Grant paced restlessly up the room and hock igain. If he could, at that moment, have taken his Captain by the throat and shaken the breath half out of him, he would have been grateful. Only, unfortunately, the plan' was not feasible, and he had enough control over himself as yet to understand the good sante of his friend's advice. 'Well, old boy, I must be off,' he said, as he reached. -Esoll again. ' Can I give any messages? I hear you've been running it hard,' with an amused laugh. Ensoll- winced. It was a fortnight since their own dance, and he had certainly been Srunning it hard.' He raised his eyes, which were dismally contemplating his feet stretched out now on to the back of the seat before him, and looked at his friend instead. Grant was splendidly handsome, with that generous brightness of anger still lingering in his eyes, its flush on his face. Ensoll remembered suddenly how long she had looked at his portrait that day; how in terested she had since been in everything concerning him that he-Ensoll-had told her. And with a curinous sensation, curious because he had never felt it before, beremem tered, too, how much he had told her. But toe senearion paused as quickly as it came, almost before be had time to be troabled by it. It passed in a sudden anxiety for the man who had excited it. SWhat are you going to do this after. neon ?' ' don't know. Perhaps I'll look in at the Princess's dance. Stock was slanging me this morning because I haven't been seen in decent company yet, "' with a grim laugh. 'And then Gardiner has asked me to dine with him to-night. I shall take my things ashore and dress there.' . SI wish you'd cut Gardiner.' said'Ensoll, impatiently, but with an anxious look in his eyes. ' I believe, he's a regular card. sharper.' The other flushed half-angrily, half-shame facedly. ' You mind your own business,' he said. grufliy, and yet not, unkindly. ' Do you chink:.me,a fool.? . IEgave you my word I wouldn't play high ; that ought to be enough for you.' Ensoll tumbled cff his uncomfortable perch without another word. Grant was a born gambler at heartc This evil propensity was one of the causes given by Captain Stock for his anger against him when he, a poor Lieutenant, had had the presumption to-fall in love with his lovely little niece, Mirabella Stock. He was an inveterate foe to gambling himself, and opposed it with all his might among his:men and officers. Ensoll bad dons his best to keep his friend out of the pale of his displeasure. He had even lately persuaded- him to give him his word not to play high. As he could not have broken his own, he was satisfied with his frienli's now. His own woes soon made him forget even his anxiety for Grant's hot temper and the well-known hate existing between him and his Caitain. Fora whole fortnight not to have a chance of seeing Miss Keith ! He had incurred, the day before, the wrath of Captain Stock, and in consequence had to suffer for it by having his leave stopped for a whole fort night. It did not make the sentence anyt lighter to know that the punishment, from a disciplinary point of view, was perfectly just, and that, if it had been passed on any other man, it would have been harder. This suspension of all intercourse between himself and Miss Keith was intolerable. Since that first afternoon they had met nearly every day. Though never once again had he caught a glimpse of that strange look, yet, in some subtle way, it seemed to have become the foundation of afriendship, which, outwardly only an amusing flirtation was something very much more real. He had no doubt about his own feelings on the sub ject, and there was some kindness and tenderness underlying her bright society manner, which he felt without being able to analyse, and which filled him with the most glorious delight of hope. No ! she could not be playing with him. They called her a desperate flirt-a dan gerous, heartless coquette-it had even been at first hinted once or twice in his heating, that she was fast, ' bad form,' in her reckless indifference to appearances. But he found her all that was good, and womanly, and sweet? How he wished now he had sent her a message by Grant! What foolish, fa'se reticence it bad been, which kept him back from even mentioning her name to his old friend. "He wondered, as the long, hot hours of the afternoon wore on, what Grant would think of her. They would he sure to meet at the" Princess's that afternoon' Grant had only returned from leave three days before; he had been staying in town with Gardiner, who had chambers in London. Though Grant had been ashore, he had spent most of hie time with Gardiner, who had come down to Southesa with him. SNeither of the two had appeared, at any of the social entertainmears going on in the piace, Grant, who had once been the most pleasure-loving young fellow in the world, reemed, siice his last love.affair, to have taken a diagnust to society. It was late that night when Grant returned. The two men did not have any opportuaity of speaking to each other till the next morn. tog. The first glance ast Grant told Eusoll that something was wrong. His thoughts immnediately flew to Gardiner. SHow did you like the "hop "!?' he saked, as he leant over the bulwarks looking down at the water, which reflected the dazzling blue of the morning sky. He did not see, therefore, the aint start his friend gave. nor how thea pale, tired face flashed. 'Oh I the I:opI' after a second's panue, rousing himself apparently from some other train of thought It was welleneugh. Heops of pretty little girls. Very hot and crowded, though.' 'What did you think of Miss Keith? plunging bodly to the point, seeing no other way of turnling the conversation to her. ' She's goodlooking,' with a languid slow. ness, which sounded utter indifference. SGood.looking !' indignantly, standing upight. ' She's out and nut the lovelleet g:rl here I' A tarrange, startled, and yet curnsously understanding look came into Grant's ej.e as no looked into his friend'e esaer lace. ' SI say, Enosoll, they told me. you know-' he broke off abruptly, and turned away. 'fShe's the girl )ou've been going in for, isn' she Ensoll's face fluashed hotly, and then his I lips seemed to pale a little, for themre was something sbehind his friend's speech. What were you going to y.?' be asked,' 'Ohl I don't know ; onlyI think it e
rather a mistake,' Utranu said, In a curtuue, I composed way. ' They all say so.' Gorantl' Ensoll laid his hard on his I shoulder, compelling him to torn, so that he should see his face. He spoke quite quietly, I but is was not natural. 'Why is it a muI. take?' ' Ob !-well, she is a desperate flirt, and and-I heard-' * You don't know what you are saying. If you are going to repeat any of that miser anle slander to me, you'd better clear out. It's all the basest jealousy. She's the sweetest, truest, purest girl I have ever met. and I'd lay down my life to prove her faith I' His voice, which had gradually risen into indigiant reproach, ended in a niote of the moeet perfect, triumphant confidence and gladnes. ' lit urned on-his heel and walked across the deck, hardly conscious yet ot how much "hie words add manner'betrayed. Grantetood looking after him quite stupidly. Ensoll had oen0 perfectly riant when he has told him that he did not know what he was saying. He had said something. But what it was be cound not tell now. Only it muss have been something, in answer to that proud, eager look on his friend's face. He had heard yesterday all about the desperate flirtation between Ensoll and Miss Keith. Yet he had forgotten is till this moment. He had gone through such a furnace of mental anguish, such a storm of remorse, and helpless rage, and desperate fear, that all else had been scorched up in their fires. But it all came back to him now. CHAPTa III. The loeg, weary fortniaht had come to its end." Eieall, restlessly pacing the deck the lees arternoon of his detention, looked curiously different to the laughing eyed young man who had danced there with such happy carelessness a month ago. But it was not the love-thirst of his heart which had brounht those set lines to his month and quenched the old brightness of his eyes. SIt's a shame, the way Grant is cutting Ensoll out,' sail one middy to another as they looked at him. They were both in a had temper, having to stay on board that lovely afternoon, and, teing devoted as:mirers of Enroll, they were inclined to be abusive of his friend and Captain alike. 'Grant knew Enesoll was gone on her. I call it caddish. now that Eneosoll is out of the running. Grant and she are always together.' The other fully concurred. Ensoll had gathered from various things let slip in con versation what was taking place on shore. Grant himself had never. alluded to Miss Keith. and Ensoll was too proud to ask. But the fierce pain at his heart would fill him at moments with rage against Grant for trying to step between himself and Miss Keith. Only for a momentary, careless amusement. For what else could it be? Grant had not forgotten Mirabella Stock. Even he, Ensoll, sceptic as he had been on thh snoject of his friend's powers of devotion, really believed at last in his love and fidelity where Mirabella was con cerned. He knew how his unfortunate passion had changed his whole life. The Grant of to-day was no more like the Grant of a year before than a happy, care less 'choolboy is like the man whocomes out hardened, reckless, bitter, from life's great battle. Yet here he was, idly flirting with Phoebe Keith-when he knew that her love was the life's happiness of his friend. For Ensoll was certain that Grant knew that he loved her. As he thought it over to-day, he felt he could keep silence no longer; he woulo speak to Grant that night, when he returned to the ship from the Admiral's ball, where probably he would have danced all night with Phcrbe ! In the pale light of the early summer dawn Eneoll found his opportunity. I want to speak to you,' he said curtly. 'All right, old boy,' answered Grant care lessly, but he leant back heavi'y against the side of the ship, gazing acroes the silent harbour, with its gleaming lights and dark ships which looked like ghostly shadows in the morning twilight, and it seemed as if he did it to avoid meeing his friend's eeas. Is it all up with you and Mirabella Stock? Grant's strong frame quivered from head to foot, as if the pitiless, curt question had stabbed him through. • Then he answered slowly : It was all up long ago.' ' Do you mean, then, to marry Miss Keith ? Marry her !' he broke into a harsh, 'dia cordant laugh. 'Not muoh chance of my doing that !' mThen will you-in Heaven's name, tell mew' But a sudden, swift change leapt into Grant's eyes. His whole face was convulsed with fury. Willyou tell me by what unwarrantable impertinence you question my affairs? Let me pass, and be hanged to you !' Ensoll, throaust aside, stood quite still. Something semned suddenly to have snapped within him-something that set his -hole life jarring and clashing out of tune. It made him quite dizzy, as if the discord were physical. Trust, faith, tender affection, re4 specs, -ere being crushed, maimed, slain, amid the mad. wild confusion of those other raring feelings. The friendsbip which had begun so long ago, which had lasted so faithfully, which had been the controlling power, keeping in besutiful harmony so many opposing feel.' ings, purposes, aims, tastes, was dead. CItPIER IV. Mrs. Durrant was gtving ans' at home' the next day. Her rooms were alreadycrowded when the Americans managed to wedge their way into them. Ensoll gave an eager glance about him, and then his heart seemed to stop beating, and he knew no more till he foonJ. himself standing a little apart, with Phonbe Keith. SYou have been behaving very badly to us I' she said, laughing off the dumb, pitiful appeal of his great love looking at her from his eyes. But she had paled too. He tried to return a smiling reply, but the smile died abruptly on his lips, as, recovering his senses alittle, he was shocked at the change in her. 'How awfully ill you look 1' 'Don't stare at me like that,' she exclaimed pettishly; ' and for roodness sake don't tell me I am not looking well. I know that it is always only a polite way of telling a girl that she is growing ugly. Now I must go and look after the people. Shall I introduce you to an' one? But I suppose you know plenty of girls. Come and take me to get some tea nresently.' ihe turned arway ; there were some fresh asrivals. Mrs. •Durrant was- just greeting them, near thedoorway. There was a small. empty Epace between them and Miss Keith and Ensoll. -As Mless Keith turned from him, towards the door, Mre. Durrant caught sight of her. 'Oh ! there is one of my young friends,' she ea;d to the lady who with her two daughters hedjiut entered., Phoebe, dear come here, and: I wi introdiuce yon tbLady Marsland. I want ynoato look after her daughters.' Mils Kei~h advancing, suddenly stopped., Laddy Mareland was stariiig at her with such slot k of petrified amazement, horror, disgust that everybody near turned to look at her 'Thank- you, Mrs. Durrant !' Lady liars. lend found her voice at last. It was clear in its u,,utterable indignation, and reached balf through the crowded rooms.. I . would rathber my daughters were not introduced to that yomug person. '-Why, my dear.' dropping her voice and flashing faintly at the scene she had been involuntagily been betrared into making. ' do you know that she was living-why ! there is the man ! One or two sitting and standing near, caught distinctly the lowered accents. Am nug them En.oll, who, at Lady Marsland's first words, with one swift.atride had stepped to PI aebe's aide. He, with all the otkers,looked towards the doorway. Grant had not come with his brother offiers. He stood there now, having just arrived. iHe had apparently heard everything, for his face was white to the lips, and there was a curious,. dazed leek in his eyes. Phobe Keith. as she caught eight of him made one step forward, looking up at him with sorely the most pitiful, auguished appeal that ever looked out from a woman'. eyes. He met it with that same dazed unre sponsive gaze and then, in a kind of stumbling, aakward way, made a half turn as if to go away. A violent shudder shook Phoebe from head to foot, and then, with a sndden Iuphlting of her head, a straightening into I splendid, queenly dignity of her shrieking figare,sheturned, and walking swiftly through alotber door, vanishabed from among the gazin;,g, wondering, horrified crowdoffiashion able pressure.seekers. Ensoll glanced at the othir door; Grant had fled too. There was a breathlees, silent panse, preg. nant with unspoken questions and anmwers, tben everybody bgan talking all at once; some to space the feelings of their un
iturlouae tuet.el to her .swkw'ro situaton ; Li mome to express their certainty test they n knew something like this would turn up with regard to Miss Keith'; others to deny t the poalbilityjof there being anything true to it. a In a few minutes everybody in the room had some version of the scene, Lady Mars. t land, vexed; at her position, and yet feeling I that she had done quite right in exposing the girl, told what she knew to Mrs. Durrant, i who was divided between horror, doubt, rears, and anger. Two years ago, Lady Marsimn I had been staying in America at an hotelI where these two were also parting up. They gave themselves out as man and wife. But various things mace the other people esus pici. us, and their suspicions were one day confirmed when the young person who now called herself Miss Keith, gave out distrinctly to an old gentleman who happened to turn up there one day, and who, it uoverred, was a relation of the gentleman with her,=that she was not his wife. Lady Marsland had seen or heard nothing of her since, till today. How was it nast Mrs. Ditrrant had made the acquaintance of such a person ? Mrs. Durrant only knew her as the com panion and adopted daughter of a friend of hers living at the north of Ireland. This lady was very fond of her, and had madeher take her own name. Miss Keith, or whatever her name was, had lived with her for two years, anrd she believed tnis lady knew he before that. But Enroll had waited for no explanations. He had rushed from the house like a man driven by a legion of devls. With burning eyes and parched ihps, he walked blinaly on, his heart a very hell of consuming fire, fed by the ever-growing flamesof bate, fury, andlust of revenge. His brain was too confused to form any plan of vengeance, The desire of it only burned there at his heart. The anguish of it was horrible. It must find voice and fulfilment soon, or be felt it would kill him. But as yet he could not think it out clearly. Physically and mentally he was prostrated, and hie helplessness added to the torment. Not to be anle to carry out vengeance before all those other men came back to the ship that afternoon with their talk, their-it cut like a scourge on quivering, bare flesh-their scoffs, their jests upon her ! But when his brother officers did return, they said not, a word. Perhaps his face silenced them; perhaps they felt all the pity and shame of it, for they all knew the great friendshep that had been between the two men, and how we-1 Enu-oil had learned tolove her. Popular as Grant had been, there was one universal word of dieguesat the cowardice he had betrayed that afternoon, for the pitenous appeal in thegirl'seyes had been seen or many. Coptain Stock was up in town. Tney wondered what he would say when he returned on the morrow. Even Mirabella, who was known to have cared for the bhand. some Lieutenant, and braved her uncle's wrath for his sake, would turn in horror from hint now. Grant did not return to the ship that night. His, absence without leave was freely commented upon, out of eosoll'e hearing. This would be the last stroke, as far as Stock was concerned. 'And then he's been fooling around with that fellow Gardiner. too, just lately. Play ing recklessly this last fortnight, he's lost a pile ,raid one, so wind up the many things that had at last placed Grant into the hands of his enemy. For they all knew that Stock wonuld prove an implacable judge, and that, .to bring about the rain of Grant, had long been the earnest desire of his vindictive heart, Next morning Eneoll went ashore. He found Grant at the hotel which he frequented. Enroll bad hardly expected to find him there. He only went Ito get information. Eneoll entered his room witbout knocking. Heshut the door after him, turning the key in the lock. Grant, who was sitting smoking near the open window, had started to his feet. Neither spoke for a moment. Then Eosoll, advancing into the room, said in a slow, hoarse voice : I want an explanation of yesterday.' Grant's face grew paler. ' SShe is my wife,' he said. * Your wife !' Eneoll recoiled. . The room seemed to reel round him. ' Your wife ? Why then-' ' I married her about two years ago. Do you remember that time I went to Cincin nati ? I met her there and fell in love with her, and married her. In twomonths I had tired of her. I found out that I had never loved her. It was her beauty, I suppose.' lie spoke in a strange, monotonous tone, as 'if repeating something learned by heart. ' I kept the marriage secret. You know that old uncle of mine? I was afraid of him. I had been playing high, and wanted his money. But I did not love her,' he went onil again, ' though she did for me what costs a woman more than we can measure. To save me, she pretended that she was not my wife. She loved me well enough for that, and yet I-. There have been times during the last year when Ihave almost hated her i' ' You despicable coward ! And yesterday, when she appealed to you to eave her-you were silent-you-' Ensoll !' He put out his hands as if to ward off Enoll.' who had stepped forward. "If. you struck me-I could not ex plain-and-I swear to you that for a mo. ment yesterday I was half aazed. I thouoht of nothing I could only see Mira. belle. As that woman spoke the whole sense of my loss fell upon me. I could realise nothing else. I did not even see -my wife. When I recovered, she had gone. But, Ensoll, 'I swear to you I have made it all right this morning. I have written to Mrs. Durrant-' 'You have not seen-your wife-yet!' 'No, Ensoll. I am not quite so lost as you think. I can't face her yet. That other will come between- 'And yet you could let that other learn to love you while- Grant's lips twitched with a sudden spasm of remorse and pain. 'I did try at first to keep away from her; but I went msd at last; and it was only one week in which I gave way, one short week, and now--' Ensoll turned from him in unutterable anger and loathing. He reemed so base, this man he had once loved so well. 'What are you going to do!' 'I don't know. If Phmohe will let me, I will try and redeem the past.' Bit there was no life in the words or tone. The7 were inexpressibly dreary and hopeless; he was still thinking most of that other girl. A, knock at the door broke the strained silence between them. Grant went over and opened it, taking a note from the waiter who had brought it. He read it, then crushed it in his hand, a sharp exclamation breaking from him. "What is it?'. Ensoll. moved by the eashen pallor of Grant's face, asked hastily, sick with fear that something worse had benallen PI'cbe. The only answer Grant gave, was ototos him the letter asross the table. It was from Gardiner. . . " * Dxan Gsa?sT-, ' I am leavig for India to-morrow, as rouknow lbahall be glad if you would kindly square up torday. I am sorry I cannot wait, hobut I really musat have thie cash. Yours. S B•, I.gRBERTO GADINE'. A civil'nore'in a way; but thoseb who knew the man felt the merciless grip of the iron hand which had penned the words. Enaoll uderatood all in a moment. He had heard of the hish play that had been going on. Grant, growing reckless, had broken his word. ... Indeedl, the miserr of his position, the cntempt of his own cowardice, had driven him into the arms of his old vice. Last night, after-that'meeting with the wife he had so injured, half mad as he felt, he had plunged more recklessly than ever into the cxcitement of play..In the light of the summer dawn, he had risen from the gaming table' with nothing between him and disgrace. Gardiner had told him that he should have timetopay hisdebts of honour. This letter proved what his mercy was worth. The letter fluttered from Enusoll's hand on to the table. The gestore was significant. Grant felt it to the quick of his souL 'Ensoll!' he exclaimed hoareely, 'I am sunk toolow foryou ever to take notice of meagain-and yet I must sink still lower I I have done you a great wrong-all aunwittingly. Heaven knows. When the men chaffed yon about her, I never suspected that Miss Keith was-my wife! She had changed her name, ron know. When I found itout, I thought it was about the last stroke a man could bear. I hadn't the courage to speak. But now,. for the sake of the old friendship, for her sake. if you will, for my disgrace will bhe here, help me now. I swear that you shall not regret it. I will repay every cent. I will strive as man never strove before to become an honest man Give me this one etep up, lest 1 go down body and soueal into infamy.' Ensoll had walked over to the window. He asood looking out across the cbnmon, over which hung a wavering mist of beat The Marine Artillery were maurbching past in the distance: the mnsicof their bhand reached him. He recalledtheday whenit hadplayed at their own dance-the first day he and she had met. - - - Grant's voice, o cldos tohim, seemed only
Like oume fa-oll sound. It was the dislanc music that was wrapping him in. setting all his pulses quivering, kindling into fire the blood in his veins. Yet be heard something of what Grant was saying, for he was th ing vaguely all the time his pulses were beating out the time of that music, of the larme sum of money be had lying in a London bank. Of course Grant's talk of repayina it was all nonsense. H,'w could he? -A yar aso-no, a month ago--Entoll would have sinned the cheque, knowing that its repayment was an inpo.ibhle as that toe stones on the shore should become gold. But easuch a lift would have been hut a trifle to save his friend's honour. Wouldnot he have laid down his life for it? Afterwards, he supposed he must have thought all theeethings, for they came back to him with a strange and dreadlal familiarity. Bmt at this moment he was only really conscious'of the music and the picture it conjured up. The girl leaning fbrward in her low-chair on the deck,: smiling up into his eyes. Hes saw every graceful line of the lovely figure; every turn of the dainty head: every smile, now tender, now disdainful, of the lips.. ' Maynard, for the sakeof thepast--' Ensoll turned round. 'No!' he said. Then he passed him, and went out of his presence for always. When the news was hrought to him a little later, his brother officers were startled, almost shocked athis demeanour. When thee received the messase that Grant was dead-shot by his own hand-about half an-hour afterEnsoll had left him, they felt that they could fling no mere stones of reproach, contempt, or anger at him. What ever his sins, they had met with a reckoning which made men afraid toutter their earthly judgments. A cloud of gloom rested upon all the ship ; Grant had been very popular. Even if he had not been, such an end. coming to one who had dwelt in their midst, would have cohered them, and there was everything in this to darken and sadden the case. But Captain Stock, furious at the disgrace of the whole affair-of the gambling, the secret marriage, the insult done his niece raged and stormed until they all could scarcely bear it. There was something horribleand ghastly in the volley of oaths and abushese flung over the dead, senseless body of their late comrade. It was then that they wondered still more how Eseoll could stand by and listen-cold, impassive, silent. But into his saul had gone the ron of that 'No ' Never to leave him free again from its wound. It was to chasten every joy, deepen every pain of his after life. It was to be the shadow cast by earthly love; to be the weari ness of fulfilled ambitions; the fear of his strong manhood; the remorse of his old t age. - . - " A ' No to live on til tihe Day of Judgment, when he and that friend-whose murderer he counted himself-should meet and touch each other's hands agsin, forgiving .and tforgiven 1-' All the Year Round.',