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MARGARET AND ELIZABETH.

CHAPTER I.

A BURIAL ON THE SANDS.

THREE or four miles along the coast to the left of Wrexham barbour is the little fishing village of Eastweir.

There are nets on the chimneys of the houses, and nets on the doors and windows ; there are nets on the little arbours in the wild, sandy little gardens ; there are nets over the sandy cabbages, and nets on the walls ;—not a single yard of fence is there in Eastweir uncovered by this sign of its trade. Approaching it from inland, it looks at a little distance as if it were enveloped in one

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huge net in which the whole village, just as it is, had been caught and hauled in one fine morning; and indeed the inhabitants, on first catching sight of a stranger, have very much the air of fish out of water.

The weir from which it derives its name is some little distance farther along the coast; and between it and the sea lies only a strip of grey shingle, and at low tide the most beautiful stretch of fair sand that the English coast can show.

On that morning the earliest riser in the village chanced to be a fair-haired and ruddy young woman, named Elizabeth Vandereck.

Her rest had been disturbed by two little cherubs, as fair-haired and ruddy as herself, and exactly like each other, playing at “ bopeep" with her blue patched counterpane.

For some moments she lay still, watching them with half-closed eyes and repressed smile, waiting her opportunity to spring up and startle them, which she presently did ; and the little ones were

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