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LONDON: PRINTED BY SPOTTISWOODE AND CO., NEW-STREET SQUARE

AND PARLIAMENT STREET

(All rights reserwed.)

PERPLEXITY.

CHAPTER I.

THROUGHOUT the days that followed I had little time for thought. It was when the night came, when I had sought the silence of my room, the repose of my bed, that my impish nursling, Conscience, whom I had so carefully barred and bolted in my heart during the day, crept forth, squatted at my ear, and commenced its importunate articulations. Yet it did but worry me; it did not cause me to regret the step I had taken ; it could not blunt my keen sense of joy at being loved ; it could not dislodge the tinted vision of my future which, pillar-like, moved over me to guide my resolutions. If Conscience was

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garrulous at one ear, Love was eloquent at the other.

As a good deal of shopping lay before me, I had taken Mrs. Shaw into my confidence. I well remember the circumstance of my confession : it followed the departure of Dr. Monck. On her entering the room, I said to her :

• Mrs. Shaw, you have always been a kind friend of mine. I should like to tell you something that has happened.

But it is a great secret, mind; can I trust you with it?'

Her curiosity was on tiptoe at once; but that she might not be balked, she pretended to take little interest.

· Don't tell me, miss, if you have the least doubts o' me. I think I knows my place too well to be peepin' and pryin' into other folks'

At the same time, when I do hear a secret there ain't a quieter soul on airth than me. If I was asked not to speak, I'd be mangled afore a word could be got from me.'

• What ideas,' I asked, “have Dr. Monck's visits to me suggested to you?'

concerns.

· Nothin' but which is proper an'lawful,' said she, straightening herself and clasping her hands. · He's a friend o’ yours, and bein' a generous-hearted gen’man, is willin' to help as far as he can.'

• That is true : but not to keep you in suspense, I am going to be married to Dr. Monck.'

She eyed me steadfastly, then dropped her eyes, mused, and at last ejaculated, “Well for sure!' And that was all she said.

That her ingenious mind might invest the privacy of our marriage with no greater mystery than there was occasion for, I made her acquainted with all that it was needful to explain. She thoroughly comprehended the position of affairs, and having promised to be secret, volunteered to help me in my shopping. She had long resided at Huddleston, and therefore knew the best shops to direct me to. She also knew of a very good needlewoman, whose services she would engage at once.

I was glad that she proved so phlegmatic and practical. In return for my avowal, I had

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