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"What new

HAT next?" think I, hurrying off, as bidden. freak? Well, if I had been born with a silver spoon in my mouth I would not have spent my life in bewailing and lamenting that it was not a pewter one." In the conservatory no Lenore! Only two time-worn flirts of either sex, shooting their blunt little old arrows at each other's tough hearts, under a red camellia. I do not know why I do it, but I pass along, through the flowers, to a door at the other end that gives upon the outer air, and opening it, look forth. It is snowing rather fast; great, shapeless flakes floating down with disorderly slowness; but it is not very dark. My knowledge of my sister has not been at fault, for, through the snow, I see her, at a little distance from me, walking quickly up and down a terrace walk, with her head bent and her hands clasped before her. "How good for a person with a weak chest!" I cry indignantly, skipping gingerly out on the toes of my white satin boots, and flinging the tail of my gown adroitly over my head. Anyone more unfit for death or more resolute to die than you, I have seldom had the pleasure of meeting."

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I put my arm within hers and drag her along, back into the lighted warmth of the conservatory. A great tier of orange trees and chrysanthemums hides us from the veteran lovers. I look at her: the snow-flakes rest thickly on her hair, on her flimsy dress; run in melted drops off her chilled white shoulders.

"It does not wet one much," she says, with a rather deprecating


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smile. "See, one can blow them away. How white they are! They will make the snowdrops that the school-children are to strew before me to-morrow look quite dirty, will not they ?"

"Lunatic!" cry I, highly exasperated, shaking her; "fool! If I may be permitted to ask, what is the reason of this?"

"I was hot," she says, a little wildly, "stifled! Those flowers stifle me. Odious jonquils! Did ever any flowers smell so heavily? They are like the ones in that dreadful bouquet Charlie brought me for the ball."

I am shaking and flicking, with my best lace pocket-handkerchief, the snow from off her dress, so make no answer.

"You know, from a child, I was fond of running out, bare-headed, into a shower; I liked to feel the great cool drops patter patter on my hair. I wish to God I could feel them now. Put your hand on my head" (lifting my cold, red hand, and placing it on the top of her own sleek head).

"My good child," say I, startled, "you are in a fever!"

"Jemima," she says, taking down my hand again, and holding it hard pressed between her two hot white ones, while her glittering eyes burn on my face, "I am quite happy, as you know, perfectly. No one has more cause to be so. I am quite young; I am better looking than most people; to-morrow I shall be rich, very rich; which, after all, includes all the others; but, do you know, sometimes, within the last few days, I have thought-it is a ridiculous idea, of course, but sometimes I have thought I was going mad! How do people begin to go mad? Tell me."

Her voice has sunk to an awed whisper. "Fiddlestick!” cry I contemptuously; "do not be alarmed, only clever people go mad; no fear for you.'

"If any one comes suddenly into a room, if any one bangs a door, or speaks in a key at all louder than usual, I feel as if I must shriek out loud. I told you so the other day, if you remember, talking of the children; sometimes I am afraid of lifting my eyes to your or anyone else's face, for fear you should think they looked mad."

"Nonsense," interrupt I again, now thoroughly angry; "it is all nerves! Nerves are troublesome things if you are not moderately careful of them, and you never give yours a chance; you never sit still, you never rest, and it is my belief that you never sleep."

"Not if I can help it," she says, feverishly; "not if I can help it. Sometimes, when I feel myself falling asleep, I get out of bed, and walk about in the cold to wake myself thoroughly. I hate, sleep; it is my enemy! As sure as ever I fall asleep I am back in Brittany with him; we are as-as we used to be."

"If I were you," say I, with that sober eye to the main chance with which one regards life after five-and-twenty, "I should be glad

to wake from such a dream to find how much more prosperous the reality is."

"So I am, so I am!" she answers hastily, contradicting herself. "Of course! it is prosperous, is it not? Everybody says so; you— you are not joking, are you, Jemima, when you say I am so prosperous ?" (her eyes resting distrustfully on my face.) "I am really, am I not? But sometimes I think, when I look at you, that you are pitying me. Heaven knows why! for nobody needs it less; if you are, do not—that is all! I hate being pitied; pity yourself instead." "Dreams or no dreams," say I, trying to lead her from a theme which is making her painfully excited, "you must sleep to-night, if we give you laudanum enough to make seven new sleepers. If you do not, mark my words, to-morrow you will look as yellow as the little orange in your wreath.". No answer, only a vacant plucking at her dress. "Dead-white in the morning," say I, with a judicious adhesion to the subject of millinery, "is almost always fatally trying to the best complexions, particularly when in juxtaposition with snow." No answer. "Only this morning you told me that you were determined to look your very handsomest."

"So I am," she says, rousing herself, and speaking with quick interest; "so I am! You say right-I must look my best-I shall; one always does when one wishes; my veil will be down, too-they will not see me very clearly, you know; but, however I look, you must be sure to have it put in the papers that I looked beautiful and—and—radiantly happy. They say those sort of things now and then, do not they?"

"As to the being happy-never that I saw," reply I, snappishly. "A bride's happiness is taken for granted."

"I do not know whether I ever mentioned it to you before," she says, with a hesitating strained smile, "but I should like the announcement put into a good many papers besides the Times-the Morning Post-Standard; but it must be in the Times, too, of course. People always read the births, deaths, and marriages in the Times, don't they?"

She asks this last question with a keen anxiety that would have puzzled any looker-on to account for.

"Women do," reply I brusquely. "I do not think that men ever look at them."

"What nonsense you talk!" she cries rudely. "Of course they do. They always glance over them, at the least, to see whether there is any name they know. I have seen them, a hundred times. I have seen Charlie--"

"What about Charlie ?" cries the young man, appearing round the screen of flowers simultaneously with his name; "he has not done anything fresh, has he?" (trying to laugh, but yet speaking with a

most anxious smile). "Jemima, how is she?-how are you now, my darling?" taking her in his arms with as little heed to my presence as if I also were a prim dumb camellia.


"How am I?" retorts she, pushing him away with a gesture of distaste, and then, as if bethinking herself, accepting his embrace. Why, how should I be? Much as I have been any time these nineteen years, with the exception of the solitary week when I had the croup. Reassure yourself-I have not the croup now, and I never have any other diseases."

He looks at her silently, with a pale passionate wistfulness.

"You mean to be kind," she says, in a constrained voice, with a sort of remorse, "and you really are a very good fellow. I do think so always, though I show it rather oddly now and then perhaps; but you must know that I have an inveterate aversion to being asked how I am. It is not confined to me. Many people have the same feeling. I really" (with a forced smile) “must draw up a list of prohibitions for you. You must not do this,' and ' You must not do that,' before we set off on our travels, or we shall inevitably come to blows before a week is over."

"Do!" cries the young man eagerly, as one catching at a straw. "I do seem to be always blundering, don't I? and saying the wrong thing? One would think I did it on purpose; but, as I live, I do not. I shall get better, however," he continues, hastily, as if afraid of her taking advantage of his confession; "every day I shall get better. Being with you always, I shall grow to understand your character better. Dense as I am, I cannot help doing that, can I, Jemima ?"

"I really do not know," reply I, turning away with a dry smile; "there are some very sharp corners and unexpected turns in it, I can assure you."

"Jemima is right," says Lenore, gravely, gently unwinding his arms from about her. "You have got a very indifferent bargain, pleased as you are with it. To let you into a secret, you have overreached yourself. You will get a bad character of me from all the people I have spent my life with; I have the distinction of having everybody's ill word."

"I dare say" (defiantly, while his eyes recklessly, boundlessly fond, grow to her calm, chill face).

"It is not too late yet," she says, in a low voice that has yet nothing of the whisper in it; "it is one o'clock; I hear it striking. You have yet ten hours' grace."

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"Ten hours!" cries the young fellow, wildly, throwing his arms again about her, and straining her, whether she will or no, to his riotous heart. Lenore! Lenore! the nearer the time grows the farther you seem to get away from me. Are you going to slip away from me altogether at the last moment, as you did out of my arms just now?

But no!-why do I put such ideas into your head? It is too late. You could not throw me over now, if you wished. Reckless as you are of all conventionality, even you dare not do that."

"What are you talking about?" she asks, petulantly, with a nervous laugh. "Why should I wish to throw you over? If I did, what could I do with all my fine clothes, and my otter-skin jacket? Do you think I could have strength of mind to send the Websters' teapot travelling back a second time?"

He continues looking at her, and holding her, but says nothing.

"I like you," she says, looking round at me with a sort of nervous defiance. "I do not care who says I do not. I am proud of you—I -I-I love you. Do not I, Jemima? Have not I often told you that I do ?'

"You have told me a great many things in your time," I say, oracularly, "some that were true and some that were not. I will tell you one thing in return, and that is, that if you do not go to bed now, this minute, to-morrow you will be yellower than any orange."



Ir is a circumstance never to be enough deplored by the female world that marriages and drawing-rooms are broad daylight ceremonies. Mature necks and faces, that the great bold sun makes look as yellow as old law deeds or as the love letters of twenty years ago, would gleam creamily, waxily white, if illumined only by benevolent candles, that seem to see and make seen only beauties and slur over defects. Even the lilies and roses of youth-unlike the smooth perfection of their garden types-are conscious of little pits and specks and flaws when day holds his great searching lamp right into their faces. Day repudiates tulle and tarletane; they are none of his; and as he cannot rid himself of them he retaliates by behaving as glaringly and unhandsomely as he can to them. Nature is holding a wedding outside too, apparently; at least, it is all white, white! Heaven has sent down a storm of diamonds in the night, as a marriage present to Lenore; wherever you look there is the glitter of myriad brilliants. Last night, at each iron gate, there was a high wide arch of evergreens, but during the dark hours the fairies carried the dingy things away, and replaced them by others of glistening white jewels. They are so bright, so bright, one cannot look at them; one turns away with winking eyes. I fancy that with some such lustre shine the archways through which the Faithful People go and come in the deathless white City of God.

There is a nuptial stir and bustle in the house; everybody but

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