Chapter 914458

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Chapter NumberXI
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article914458
Full Date1881-05-25
Page Number6
Corrections0
Word Count5658
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933)
Trove TitleConstance Duchesne: Is Life Worth the Living?
article text

Constance ïrucïiesnc : Is life

Worth the Living ?

Bî " Onyx."

Jons Poynton did uofc disguise from himself tint ho loved Constance Duchcano lrom the memorable day in which ho had caught her in his arms to sue her from falling till this night when ho watched hei giaceful figure ns she threaded her wiy abut the eiowded Pui'ian boulovaid, eho lad seueely over boen absent from bra thoughts Vt hrot it was a kind of unwilling faacuiiliou he disliked the cold proud liauteui of her mini.er The «ay in which she h id triji 11 lum ou the two 01 three occasions when it hut been neces«aiy for them to uiect in order to f icihtate tho cairjuig out of hei fathers wishes with regard to the Beikahire Cctates had anuojCil bim cjetiemely It was more than pude-it was supeicthous nrrogauce, 1 e thought assumed because she did not cou aider him hei equal bo thoio ghly disguste t i fs he after tho tecjud interview that he went to Mr Vi Lute and told Jim that he had changed his tmnd and that he would not proceed with the negoti itions

Mr White íegnided him keenly Ho had noticed tho uuu icily haughty niauner with which Const ince hid ltfused somo slight civility fiom linn, and without a'Lirjg questions he diuueil tho reaaou that was actuating Mr Poynton Ho pondered a little before replying

I should be vciy sorry if anything occurred to breas, oil this aiiaugeuiont, he said bIowIj

M\ client and friend was so infatuated in his denre to re posse« lutnael£ of the old estates or rathei that they should return to the family, ' Le said, correcting hmiaell-' that out of regard foi htm I will do ni} utmost to dissuade yon from your intended course Mr Duchesne sacri

ficed ior this ckcii'hed object all that was dearest to bim on earth I cannot excuse him for what he did-I reprobated his conduct then as I do now-but knoring him as I did I should not feel as if I had done my duty to my old friend if I did uot tell you everything connected with the in. ur which might incline you to fulfil

his wishes

Mr Poynton sat down again on the chair from whieh he had risen, ana looked in surprise

at the lawyer

Emotion is not what men of the law are estravagaut in, but the old lawyer was visibly moved now He thought he held Constances deottny in his haud , tor he had observed Mr Poynton a m inner when in her presence, and had concluded that there would be no obstacle on his side o ein j ing out Mr Duchesne s project of marriage between the two For her sake he meant to put this man in full posse sion of all the facts connected with that unhappy Will, barring, of courae, that part which con cerned Cyul Montgomery

Is ever bad Mr M hite a more attentive li tener than he found m John Poynton that dar Hu scheme succeeded beyond bia hope» He cou'a =*e by the workings 01 the mouth und=r tne b_hv beard how intensely hi hearc- «vcipathi -it wi Ja Constance In »pite ot th» tatema pb waiih Constance Ducheane po_*e»aed for ern se nad been asooeiated m the onlv hal ur>arra=.-)c feelings of dugu,t wi h vh h Le hw --ce=.r-d Mr Duchesne a too p-~- og »dvanc« a.~*-m= accession to fhe proper r-and a'l th" ? t> es» had been fignhng aea n t it'-fishtmg j hat she fell a victm to her bonea pride. He, ludgmg by his own feeling» of delicacy, could comprehend htr outraged delicacy So that was the secret of her îepellent manner-the manner that he had interpreted to mean her own cuperiont, I He brea bed a =igh of relief as he li« ened In his keen regret at having so mis- judged her he rushed to the opposite extreme he gave rein to the a I miration which had pos f"sed him on the firat day of their meeting, and all that she did, and all that she refrained from doing, was now ali! e admirable in his eyes

Mr 'White had shown great diplomacy in his t'c itincnt of hw new client The way ras all clear before John Poynton now JNo matter whether Con«tauc" ppurned b13 most common place civilities, he could toigivo htr and for her fake, if for no otk r 1 elson, her fathers life long

.nbition should b leaked With these new íee'iu¿s the transaction of the bu in»ss waa creatly 1 Do.plifi,ad The pureba c 01 the property r-s cojce.tcmi.ted, and then Mr Poynton with drew himself completely fiom the little patt) at the Mi o- House Constance had foimally thanked him at their Ust meumg when Mr White informed her that her ia her a great dee re was effected ai d tia» the Berkshire estate j wero added t j the rest of the Duche=ue po ne» iona , but obx h->d not invited him to cell

ügain, or m any wiy expressed her desire of I continuing the acquaintance I

Mr Poynton thu lght he could understand the re son for that If he- pride had taken alarm at he-ng thruffc upon whea sha 1 13 an heness, she would certainly give him no e\cu3o *o think for n instant that he would be welcome now sho WTs com arjtivcly speaking poor He wisely decided that the beat thiiiL, to do was to keep ai ay till tho sorojeas of the Viound was healed He had only knoiiu her suriouuded by trouble ¡nd dcolatiot,, peihrp» u the rene val of their acquaintance he might bo moio fortunato

John Poynton wvs gií. au 1 Jnrt} years of p(.c-inu^ii too old tj become veiy lovesick Le neve- forgot Cot-atance toi a moment, but he could hie his hpo ii'ependen1-of her presence A great part of Lit, life hal been passed m poverty, stnggliug to maintain his mother at.d mi invalid sister Deitu had rel»asod li m from thece burdeni (rnieh in truth had been no bul dens to hijij ai.d, iu a lay little while rfter, the death of young Grenfell put him iu 1 os->eS5iou of immense wealth It seemed hard that it should come when tluro wai no one to n a^e it with Lim o- to sympithire m bia t,ood fortune-a tithe of the mono} then would have re'eased him from many au ansious hour Mr Poynton was a barrister by profession but biiefn were few and fur bct-veeu »ml be had to tru=t to his pen to piocuro enough to livo upon The i-truggle had been very seveio, but it was not without itb lew rd, from nu irdeiit ímpetuou» hot blooded j mth, John Poynton had become 1 quiet but intensely resoluto md detertmued man His keen intellect had been embed and compellel to cjnoeiitrate lUelf To the dilettante, amimug half jcuhuous life which had such chai ms for Cyril 13 nt0omci} Jo n Poynton was utterly indiffèrent, v> hatever he did must have a definite object

He had mot Cojst^nco Duche uo again after the lapse of nearly thr^e years qnfe by chance, at tho house of a mutual friend iu Loudon 1 his had happened only b\x months before Cyril found them all together in Parin Mr Pc yu ton had mr de very good use of bin time He hrd not forced his attention on Constance, but he had made her see by every duheato attention that it was in his powci to show, that he udently desired hei friendship Constance had not responded varmly <it first- he old prejudice was strong up n her, bjt John Poynton bided Li» time Lieh oocj ion on whieh Constance saw htm she w a forced to acknowledge that ho vv<es a mau who unpioved upon acquaintance Some of tho oldcirencr-s that bad bceu associated vitb hi» name wau patting awav sho could see him entei the ro m without thinking of her father a last da} p an 1 hy decree«, she learned to look forwaul to his vi its and to defer iny small matter till he should pronounce an opinion on it In face «he learned to feel, as most of the eligible j oung h dies of that »ca^on who had beon ad raitted to his acquaint mea had felt lou¿ i0o that Johu Piyuton was a mau ot rl«cO ¿flection

my woman migue be juatly proud j

The nieetuiL, at Paris na« not entirely so ' accidental as Constance imagined Mr Poynton 1 ad got wind ( f the intention of Mrs 1 oi.ton ajd Constauco to spend a month in Tins with some relation of the former, aud coull not resist the terni tallon to vint the fcay capital at the name time feeling certain that the various plea°un j"sandcxcurEions whick were sure to be p rt of the month s programme would give him the opp rtumtj of cec jg C^nsl mee in a moro familiar and less rtpt au ed unauner than he could do at thames Dittou or m london Ho had marked Constances Instit Huah when 'ho greeted Cyril v\ th some bitterness o£ 1 pint He looked with adm ration-in which Fomo envy mingled- t the e'egmt Jnd handsome mau who Miuntered with such pup»rb imhuercnee bejido Ins cousin, permitting her to tuko the burdo 1 of the convocation, u d only responding b} a careless and mdufeient asseut and he felt very much inclined to m iko his adieux and leave company in whtcli he was evidently ile t>op / better feeling prsv ailed, howov er Lhe Ladies I ad left their party to toko a sttoll under his r cert, and it bfhoved bim to pee thom bafol} 1 vk fcj their hotel It *vas 'ather a leltef to all

parties when Mrs. Eoston declared that she could 1 walk no more, and they turned their footsteps | to that refuge of their compatriots in Paris, the Rue do la Paix. There the quartette separated, not one of them (except placid old Mrs. Foxton, who was long past the time of being pleased or vexed by amatory influences) quite so happy as wheu they met, and each one doomed to turu and twist and tumble in their several beds before it should be time to got up and face the new day whose dawn was just then breaking.

CnArrr.it SIL

TlUT day happened to bo Sunday-and ,a very important Sunday in the French almanac ; not by reason of the potenco of the saint whoso special day it wns, or because of any momorabio event which had happened on that day in ages past and gone, when the Fiench were a placid ppople, obeying their sovereigns and permitting their history to be a bare record of the triumphs and defeats of their niouarchs-very unlike the habits they have made for themselves iu this present century-but because thi3 Sunday wub the day of the Grand Prix-the race par cxcdlcnce copied from, aud as Frenchmen fondly believe excelliug, tho Derby of their neighbours. Con- stance had struggled hard against the impro- priety (to cull it by no stronger name) of goiug to races on Sunday, but the friends of Mrs. Foxton, who weio greatly " accliuiatiaed," laughed nt her scruples and would on no nccouut pei mit her to lose the chance of seeing such a splendid sight. lu vain Constance looked for support from Mrs. Foxton. That good lady said, as usual, " Just whatever you like, my dear." Then she had naked for Mr, Poyuton's aid, hut he only laughed. He knew too much of tho world to draw a very marked Hue of differ- ence between the heinousuess of takiug up a good hook on Sunday afternoon and goiug sound asleep during the perusal thereof, as they do iu England, or pulling down the blinds and getting finely drunk behind them, aa they do in Scot- land, and going foran outing as they do in Franco.

" If racing is wrong on Sunday it is wrong on any day," he aaid wheu Constance pressed him very haid ; ." once acknowledge that racing ia to bo permitted, and it may as well bo on the firat day of the week as any other."

"But Sunday ia not for amusement-it is given for a tar higher purpose,'/ urged Constance.'

" We cannot pray all day long," said the im- pregnable John.

So as all her world waa against her, and Con- stance was not very atralght-luced in her religious views, to the races they decided to go,

Cyril had been told of the arrangement the preceding evening, and in a tacit manner, without exactly being bidden or invited, it .was settled that he should accompany them. So about noon, when Paris had washed and dressed itself and had been to the barber's, and also to masa, and when every man, woman, and child was wending his or her way to the course ; when every fiacre w3; hired and every railway-carriage thronged ; when monsieur and madame, and that one inevi- table lit tie boy who is the sole representativo of the quiverful in all well-regulated bourgeois families,

with their baskets and their umbrellas aud their hippy eager brown ? faces, were already far on thair road to the Bois de Boulogne, Cyril drove np in the elegantly-appointed equipage which be ¿ways kept in Paris,- Mr. Poynton was there btfore him, in a hired conveyance with a pair of gray horses, which looked very shabby by the side of Cyril's thoroughbreds. Mrs. Foxtou'a friends had also their own carriage, so that there waa a little cavalcade when they at last sot off. Some of the ladies were not quite ready, of course, and Cyril, who waa by no means in his usual good temper, fidgeted and grumbled. Mr. Poynton took the delay philosophically ; ho was not in a more happy state of mind than Cyril, bat he concealed his feelings better. Several young men belonging to the party loitered with them in the coultyard, all in a fever to bo off. At last the ladies appeared, and there was a little confusion as to who should go with whom. Poynton had, up to the evening before, confi- dently couuted on haviug Constauco as his companion-in fact ho ha'd hunted and toiled hard to secure the shabby grays expressly for that purpose-for Constance liad been late in deciding whether she would go or not. Now when sho appeared he advanced a little, but Cyril was too'quick for him.

" You muat-let me drive you, Constance ; you will enjoy a drive behiud those ponies, I know," he said, claiming herin his old unceremonious way.

Constance half glauced at Mr. Poyntou. Ho was looking steadily, almost eagerly, at her,

But Cyril touched her arm. "Jump up, Constance," ho hnid. And Constance yielded. She hated herseif for her weakness, and yet she could not help it. No matter how irritable, how neglectful, Cyril was, no one hud the power over her he possessed,

"I bad half promised Mr. Poynton to drivo with him," she Baie!, hanging back from his impatient aim.

" Pshaw I whatnouEeuae ; why you must have changed greatly, Constance, if you could drivo such a wretched pair ot screws aa that."

"I have chauged," thought Constance to herself, " and so hnva you ;" but aloud she enid nothing-only alkvf»d Cyril to help her up.|

lu a few minute« the whole party wero dis- posed of and were dashing along in good style up the thronged vista of the Champs Elyfoes.

That day was a memorable one to several of the party. Constance forgot all about tho stings of conscience that she expected to feel while speuding Sunday afternoon in such a repre hensible manner, aud her cheek flushed and her eyes brightened as Cyril, throwing off by degrees his auxietiea and ill humour, chatted and laughed aud joked like tho Cyril she had known of old the old old Cyril, auch as he had never been since bia engagement to Alice Vincr, aud less still Biuce that unhappy will of her father's had raided a barrier between theoi. True, the barrior had been of his making-not of hera. She had felt no anger, no bitterness ; never for a moment had she blamed him for the wrong which had been gain to him and losa to her ; but he bud felt that he deserved her anger and contempt, and so* had kept away. To-day hu seemed to have struck a new key. He was gay and bright und happy, and, as Constance felt instinctively, a warmer feeling mingled willi tho gaiety. Was lie still engaged to Alice ? she wondered. She had never beard from Alice, and Cyiil bad always maiutaiued such a reserve upon tho subject since that one letter he wrote her annouueing the rupture of their engagement that Constance did not like to ask him,

Cyril on the other hand waa communing with himself. He thought he loved Constance-nay, he waa almoat suro of it-and, though he waa uot a coxcomb ia spite of his many temptations, ho had como to fancy that Constance had a slight regard for him. She had changed-sho

was different to bim now to what she had been at Thames Ditton. Her face told its own tale when she first saw him the night before. And suppoie it waa so-atipposo Constance did love him-if thoy married, her wealth would be hie. Or, even why should it be hera at all-why need the secret deed be kuown ? Its object would be carried out by other and happier means, Yes, it must be kept a secret if he wi.3 ever to wed Constance ; for to be her suitor as a beggar-a claimant for a sharo in the spoil which he had so long enjoyed-no, that could never be.

Tho indignity and horror at the thought made him give his horsea a Bbarp lash, and tho highly bred animals, resonting the impertiuence, kicked and plunged in a manner that threatened to give a disagreeable ending to the day's pleasure. Constance sat immovable-without a word or a sound-but she waa pnle to the very lips.

" I am bo sorry, Constance," said Cyril peni- tently, when he had quieted thom again ; " I would not havo startled you like that for all the

world."

"I am all right now," said Couatance faintly, and she tried to bear out hor words, but her lip quivered, and, whether it waa from the emotion of the day or the fright alone, in spite of all her efforts the teaiB gathered in her eyes.

Cyril was very serious now. Ho had never before Been Constance cry. Constance was furious with herBelf. Not for anything would she have Cyril aeo her weakness. But he did Bee it, rind it had n greater sharo than anything elae in that day's work.

As ho watched her bia heart beat tumultu ously. Long ago if bIio would have let him tee a aigu of yielding ho would have been at her feet. But she waa always strong and cold and pioud and self-contained ; ho scarcely believed those great eyes wero capable of tears ; and Cyril, who loved emotion and agitation, aud the thousand and ono moo 'h that so many women show, theugbt Constanco wanted tenderness of heart.

In spite of the fright with tbo horse?, and the enormity of attending races on Sunday, Con- stance always looked back to that day as the

liappioat of her life. Cyril made no professions, but when his oyes met hers, aa they did only too frequently, they told their own tala without need of words. Conatauco thought she know that Cyril loved her, and Cyril told himself that ho loved Conatauco and always had done, and that it was only her own colduess that bad pro vouted him from recognising lils feelings for her long bofore. Both of them forgot all about poor Alice, and Sir. Poynton shared no better. Con- stance forgot even to wait and say good-bye to him when they got home. He waa slower in getting hack with the shabby grays than Cyril bad been with his spirited thoroughbreds. She went iuto the house and to her own room, ond sat down nbaontly without ever thinking of him, and Mr. Poynton looked roivud the courtyard with a disappointed air, and compressed his thin lips yat more cloaely.

" You look quite tired," said good-natured

Mis. Foxton.

" No, no, not a bit," he answered ; " we have had a capital day." Then ho went off to bia hotel, and decided that he would wait yot another day in Pari3, and then, if things wero goiug to happen na he behoved they were, ho would go away and never seo Constance Du- chesne again. '

And meanwhile Constnuco was thinking of Cyril, aud Cyril was thinking of Mr.'Whito and his well-known reticence, and wondering, won- dering whether

And Alico Yiner waa sitting in her small room at home and thiuking about Cyril-wondering whether ho would ever como back to her again. He had not answered her letter, and the suspenso waa wealing.

And so all these four were at cross purposes, and each was drifting on, unknowing and heed- less, to play his or hor part in thia curious niuddlo called the world, whore all are_s_triving

and none are satisfied.

Chapter XIII.

A whole week pasaed after tho day of the Grand Prix, and still Mr. Poynton remained in Paris. It was very unlike his usual resoluto decision ; he was surprised at it himself, and yet he could not go .away. It wns scarcely possible for Constance to be unconscious of the chain that bound him to her sido, Though he was unde- monstrative in the extreme, and guarded to his utmost against showing his feelings, a thousand triflea light as air told Constance it was the old old story. She knew it, aud bemoaned it heartily. She took heraelf to taak for having permitted the intimacy to grow between them. She knew right well that if Cyril bad not appeared upon the scene with his altered demeanour and seductive ways the relations between Mr. Poynton and heraelf might have been different. Sho reapocted him beyond any man ahe knew, not excepting i Cyril, and ahe knew instinctively the deop devo-

tion he cherished for her.

Meanwhile, if neither Constance nor Mr. Poyn- ton was at ease, Cyril was far less so. After the day that they had all gone to the racea together he had relapsed into the moody fit in which he had

been when Conatauco firat met him.

Alice's note still remained unanswered, and on the Wednesday another letter carne, written in tho very depths of despair. A suitor for her hand had appeared, and her mother was using her utmost influence to persuade her to accept him, and to throw off Cyril who had treated her so ill. Alice was staunch, but sho untreated Cyril to write her auch a letter as she could ahow her mother. "In spite of all that you havo made me suffer, you know well enough that I can never love any one but you. Dn be merciful to mo, Cyril !" and so the letter ended.

Cyril did not go near Conatauco that day. Ho shut himself up in his room. His miserable vacillation had brought him trouble indeed. How ho repented that ho had ever renewed the engagement with Alico I One thing he waa re- solved upon, and that was that before post time that night his answer to Alice should bo writtou, He began his task, but he tore up sheet aftor 3heet ol paper-so impossiblowas it for him to put in worda that should not sound too harsh what ho waa determined to say. Ho felt it was a mean and a cowardly thing to treat Alico as he waB doing. But the golden prize that went with Constance turned the scale. Ho peiauadcd himself at tho moment that though bia honour was to Alice his love waa to Conatauco. lie tried not to think of tho reason that waa iuflueneing him. He strove hard to make himself believe that it waa only hia wavering affection. He giieved for the pam that he was bound to indict, "but it ia

better that the chango should como now than ( afterwards," he muttered to hiinself. Ominous worda, though in a very different aenso to what Cyril meant when ho uttorcd them. At last ho finished his letter-he did not dare to read it over, but placed it iu tho envelope while tho ink was still wet. About throe mouths afterwards ho saw the nolico of her marriagoin the paper to a Mr. Bernard. "Sho haB not been long for getting me," he thought to himself ; " perhaps it is as well ;" aud ho gave a long nigh which it was well for his prospects with Constanco that

she did not hear, ne took care that she should seo the paper which contained the notice of Alice's marriage. She saw it, but mudo no remark about it ; neither did he.

All this timo ho had made no definite progress in his courtship. "Wheu the month's visit to Paria came to au end he followed hia cousin to England, and resumed the uki habit of dropping in at tho Mauor Houso at auy hour of the day. Constance was glad that they should bo on the old footing once tuoie, but Bhe felt keenly that the resumption of old habits is not sufficient to bring back the old gladneas. Cyril's manner puzzled her ; sometimes ho hung over her with a devotion that it was impossible to misunder. stand, at others he was cold and distant. Yet, with it all, he was almost a daily visitor, and, half to her amusement, Conatauco found that she could not do anythiug to annoy him so much us to allude to John Poynton.

Mr. Poynton had left Paria a weok bofore they did. Constance was glad whou he went. Though he said nothing, hia presence felt Uko a reproach.

" If I can ever be of servico to you you must let me know," he said as he relinquished her hand at parting. Constance ansvveicd lightly, and turned away to say Boinethiug to Cyril, who stood beside her. She could never waut another friend while 3he bad Cyril she thought.

Lovo is truly very selfish. She might have given her undivided attention to Johu Poynton for those last two minutes ; but she scarcely seemed to heed hia departure, so absoibed was Bhe in Cyril. Mr. Poynton felt her indifference keenly. It waa not pique that made him feel that sho bad chosen the least worthy of her wooers. In spite of his handsome exterior and pleasant ways John Poynton bad weighed Cyiil with an eye to which love lent sharpnesB, and had found him wanting. "She may want a friend yet," he Baid to hiniBelf aa ho went hia way. A lonely way, as it seemed it waa John Poynton'a fate always to travel. To some mon lovo ia given on all sides, to others it is the vvill-of-the-wiap, that, dovoutly wishod for and deserved, always eludes their grasp ; and so it waa with John Poynton.

Summer carno round again-the fourth Bum- mer bíuco Mr, Duchesne's decease. On the evening before tho anniversary of her father's death Constance stood alone upon the terrace. She felt weary and dejected, tired almost of her life. This season waa always especially painful" to hor, hut thia year it seomed more d stressing than it had ever dono before. Cyril had been with her the greater part of the day, but iuBtead of cheering her his intenso depression had added to her own. It was a relief when he went away, and she was left /ree to go her own way and think her own thoughts unrestrained by any prosence save that of good stupid Mrs. Foxton.

She could not account for Cyril's cxtromo gloom, and it troubled hor. On thia particular day it had been worso than over, and she was puzzled to divine the reason. It could not be anything connected with her father's death-ho had no reasons for Bolf-reproach as she had, for he had been kind and attentive to him to the very last. It could not bo on tho scoro of monoy, for, with all his lavish expenditure, she know ho kept well within bia iucomo. Neverthelesa that he waa profoundly troubled wa» evident, and her anxiety for him mingled with thu wcariuosa that

Bho felt on her own account.

She was only four-and-tweuty, and yet she I leaned her bond against the btone pillar of the portico and thought to herself that lifo waa not worth the liviug. What was tho object of it all ? What win the good of it ! Sha had no pressing trouble, only tlio negation of all pleasure, aud the old wearing stings of ccuiscicr.co for her conduct i to her father. Her resentment »gainât him had

almost died out. " I wonder if it will bo always

| like thia ?" abo thought to herself, aa she gazed

into the great daik expanse before her, spangled

and glittering with myriad stara. No answor came, only faithful Bruco put hia cold nose into her hand. He know by instinct when his mis- tress waa unhappy, and if he could not comfort he sympathised. In after years Constance often thought of that ovoniug.

Cyril thought of it too, for it was tho acme of his BtiBpenso and fear. What would the next day briug forth ? What should be hia own con- duct ?-for even up to this supremo moment Cyril was undecided. Fate rnuat decide for him ;

he could take no rcaoluto action-only wait und

seo.

He did wait. A week paa3ed-a mouth. All this time ho had gone to Thames Ditton very seldom ; he could not meet Constance's question- ing eye and anxious fuco. Surely if Mr. White bud mado Rogers his confidaut some steps for the prosecution of the trust would have been takon bofore this !

Another month passed away, and still no Bign. Cyril began to breathe more freely. Ho felt convinced that no one living but himaelf knew of that extraordinary will of Mr. Duchesne, or of the restitution that he had vowed to make. And now that so long a time had passed since the date when he should have made over to Con Btanco the property that was justly hers, ho had put it out of his power to do so, or he per- suaded hiuiBolf that he had. It waa impossible

now that he should tell Constance of her father's

last desire. What reason could he give her for the delay ? There remained only ono course open-to him now-to marry Constance, and thua restore to her her inheritance without declaring his own villany. When at length he had come to this-decision ho brightened up. The courao

that he deluded himself with thinking was tho , only one open to him was pleasant enough. Ho took his uncle's will from his desk and waa on .?tbe.point of striking a match to Bet light to it when ho heaitated ; "Not till our wedding day," he thought to himaelf. " Then wheu tho resti- tution ia really made, though in a different f aahion to what Was intended, I will destroy it. It would not be safo to keop it after," he reflected with a smile, " for wives havo an odd way, they say, of ferreting out a man's aecretB, and Con- stance muat never know." The bare posaibility was terrible, and again ho took up the match ; but the firat resolution prevailed, and the will went into hia desk again. Ho tried to imagine what would be the result if by any miabap it should come to Constance's knowledge. Would hor pride revolt at his deceit ! or would her love for him prevail over her anger? He was not

?ure.

After this day a change came over Cyril. He believed that all fear of exposure bad passed away, and with his facile temperament he gave himself up entiroly to the pleasure of the course he had marked out for himself. He really loved Constance, and he persuaded himaelf that ho loved her more than ho really did. The thought of his porfidy to Alice ho studiously baniahed. She was married, and if not happily, ns he had some reason to suspect, she had only heraelf to blame for it, or her mother. As for that excuse of poverty, it waa abaurd ; Bhe could have gono out as a governess, aa other girls did.

Ho began his wooing iu good earnest, and the black cloud passed away from Constance. She ceasod to ask herself what was the use of her

life. She forgot tho dreary timo after her^ father's death, Everything waa bright and beautiful, and the world-her world-waa bathed in golden sunshine.

The wooing waa not a very long ono. There was no reason to delay their rñnrriuge, and while the yellow fogs of November wero hanging thickly over Loudon, and invading even the seclusion of Thames Ditton, Cyril and Conatauco wero wandering together amidat the wondrous ruina of old Rome-forgetful of the past and heedless of the future-absorbed in their present happi-

ness.

[TO be co NTIS'UI d J