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still a reproachful tone: “why can't my niece have a visitor, and the visitor have a box sent her without you calling a grand jury to sit upon it, eh?”

As Mr Carmichael handed Mr Transom the long pipe with which he was wont to eke out his second glass, he took the opportunity to whisper, with his hand at the side of his mouth

“The truth is, sir, all aint quite the thing just now over yonder at Mrs Vandereck's, sir.” “Eh, what?

The young woman, sir, the visitor.” · Well, what of her ?

“Well, sir, they dew say she aint no better than she should be.” “ Did

you ever know a young woman that was? I never did. Is your daughter better than she should be ?

Oh, sir, Jemima has been well brought

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And a good girl she is, too; but not a jot


better than she should be, I'll swear. Come, what's the matter with poor 'Lizbeth, now?"

As it was a chilly September morning, the two gentlemen took their seats on either side the freshly-lighted wood-fire, kindled in honour of Mr Transom's visit.

At first they were as wide apart as the size of the fireplace would permit, and Mr Transom's upturned nose expressed supreme contempt for the gossip which he was condescending to listen to ; but the charm of a bit of scandal in a quiet outof-the-way village is great, and it was not longindeed the hands of the eight-day clock had travelled but two minutes into the new hour it was beginning-ere knees, pipes, and noses were very nearly touching before the brightening fire.

By the time the worthy landlord of the “ Transom Arms” had done with him, Elizabeth Vandereck's guardian was well primed for his duty.

As sure as my name's Giles Transom, the baggage packs from this parish before she's an


hour older," said he, as he put on his hat and gave the crown a slap. “And Mr Flip,” he added to the beadle, who was in the inner parlour having a brown-paper plaster applied to the temple injured by Molly's broom, “you will have the goodness to come with me and wait outside my niece's door, that you may be ready to convoy this hussy safe beyond the second milestone.”




MARGARET sat in Elizabeth Vandereck's trim little kitchen, her father's letter in her hand, her limbs too weak and trembling to rise, her ears straining in spite of her to catch every word spoken on the other side of the thin partition.

Mr Transom had been with his niece for the last half hour, while the beadle walked up and down outside.

The first words Margaret heard were Elizabeth's.

“That is what I gathered, uncle,” said she, “ from the poor soul's ravings before she told me her story.”

And you believed that story, 'Lizbeth, until you heard mine ?" inquired Mr Transom.

“I did.”

Poor 'Lizbeth! She must be even blacker than she's painted to try to impose on such as


“ Poor soul !" said Elizabeth. “To hear her cry out, ‘Before God, I am as good as you l'one could have sworn she told the truth. Ah laws ! this world !"

“ The lying jade!”

“And yet they say when one raves like that, half mad, one's real nature comes out in spite of one,” observed Elizabeth.

“Oh! but the cunning hussy put all that on to come over you,” asserted Mr Transom, contemptuously.

“That might have been, 'tis true," the widow said ; "and yet her face looked so piteous, so true : who could doubt her ?

“My poor ’Lizbeth, this world is full of falsehood.” "I agree with

you there, uncle.”

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