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      "Let him but look far enough," rejoined Miss Thane, "and he can behold a sadder phase,the statue broken and defaced, the temple overthrown and prostrate; once more a rough block of marble, and shapeless heaps of stone."

      Much moved, Bergan put his arm round the slender, tremulous form. At first, it was only the blind, manly instinct of help and support that prompted him; but with the act there came a swift revelation, a great rush of tenderness, that almost took his breath away. Though he had never suspected it till now, he knew, in an instant, beyond the possibility of a doubt, not only that he loved Carice, but that he had loved her long.

      As for being called by harsh names, he was too much a man of the world to attach any importance to an angry husband's abuse. It made him not a sixpence the poorer; and as there had been no witness to the interview it scarcely diminished his dignity. The thing rested between him and his enemy.

      "What a strange circumstance!" said Bergan, deeply interested. "Has the place ever been used except as a storeroom for valuables?"Why do you say poor old Trafford? she asked.

      "You might have all come to tea on Thursday, if you had been good-natured," she said. "Mr. Colfox read us a poem by Swinburne, out of one of the new magazinesthere are so many nowadays that I never remember which is which. Belinda was delighted with itbut Alicia and I can't rise to her height. Mr. Colfox reads poetry beautifully. You can't judge of his powers by only hearing him read the lessons," added Mrs. Crowther, as if the English Bible were a poor thing.

      Doctor Remy seemed to take pity on her perplexity. "Listen, dear," said he, "and you will soon understand. Your mother consulted me professionally, a fortnight since."


      Bergan recollected the old slave, and doubted nothing of her fidelity. But, in the woful event that he foresaw, Astra would need other help, other sympathy, he thought.


      "Did you engage yourself to him?" asked Mr. Bergan, almost sternly, when her brief tale was told.


      And solet us not presume to doubt itHe did, and, moreover, answered. But the ways of Providence are utterly inscrutable; and the answer came in no shape that would have been likely to present itself to her mind, had she been capable of definite thought. She rose from her knees but little comforted.