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bosom-she was so patient, so hopeful, so beautiful with truth and love, that he could scarcely resist the impulse to fold her to his heart-false as he deemed her to be. As it was, he suppressed the true instinct-obeyed the false suspicion, and, turning again sharply upon her, demanded to know, once for all, to what this new piece of hypocrisy tended.

66

I mean this, Major Clifton—that as our estrangement must needs be transient, do not, under its influence, let us do, or omit to do, anything that may hereafter affect unhappily our social relations with others.

""

66

As how, Mrs. Clifton ?"

"Thus.

It

The county families have all called upon us. is high time that we return their visits, if we mean to keep up the connexion."

"Oh! ay! Excellently well thought of, Maria Theresa!" he sneered.

With a passing look of distress, she said, "I only fear that our pleasant intercourse with the neighbours may not be so easily resumed, if they have reason to suppose that we treat them with indifference and neglect.'

""

"Admirably calculated, madam! A contingency has presented itself to your diplomatic wisdom that never would have occurred to my simpler mind. So, you wish to confirm your position, and extend your connexion here in the county! Well the aristocrats of R- have certainly taken you up with a zeal and determination that is surprising; but when they have once made up their haughty minds to patronise a new-comer, it is wonderful to what length they will go. But you may thank your own fine diplomatic talents for that!"

"Diplomatic talents! What diplomatic talents? So many people have thrust that questionable greatness upon me that it mortifies me. No I know the only value and currency I have among the county people is the value you have given me the stamps of your name and rank; and I—I do not wish to disparage it. I wish to appear worthy of it— that is all."

66 And you really believe what you say?”

Truly, I do."

Again she looked so lovely, in her truth and humility, that he was almost tempted to relent; and again the impulse only made him more unjust.

66

"In a word, madam, what do you wish me to do? for I begin to weary of this discussion. Nor is it well to subject myself to the influence of your fascinations; for I candidly admit to you that I am sensible of them, as others have been.'

23

"I only wished to propose to you to take a day, and drive round the neighbourhood with me, to return the calls that have been made upon us.

29

"Very well, madam. I am at your commands whenever you please to call upon me for that service. When do you propose to go?"

"At your earliest convenience." "Will to-morrow do?"

"If you please."

66

To-morrow, then, let it be. And now, Mrs. Clifton, have you any further commands for me?"

"Thank you-no," she answered very sadly, and turned to leave the room-hesitated, came back, and, resting her hand upon the study-table for support, because she was trembling, said, "Forgive me--and let me speak to you one more word, will you?"

"What is it ?"

"It is so sorrowful to be misunderstood. Please do not mistake me in this matter. For myself, I do not care to follow up my acquaintance with these county people. I have lived all my life without extensive social intercourse. I have lived all my life in strict domestic retirement. I am so used to it that it is natural and agreeable to me. Indeed, I prefer it; but

""

"Well ?"

She was suddenly silent. She wished to say, "But with you it is otherwise. Living in the county, you need, or will hereafter need, an extensive neighbourhood connexion; and, for your sake, I would not alienate these people by neglect." But she could not say it. Her old shyness, and a delicate fear of seeming to wish to place him under an obligation, kept her mute.

66

'Well, Mrs. Clifton? If such seclusion is so agreeable to you, why do you wish to change it ?"

"I owe the ladies some acknowledgment of their civility to us."

66 Have

you anything farther to say to me?"

"No," said Catherine; and, with an involuntary gesture of pain and distress, she turned and left the room, with all her generous thoughts unspoken. When the door had closed behind her, Archer Clifton started up, struck his clenched hands to his forehead, and, pacing up and down the floor, distractedly exclaimed, "I love her! I love her! It's no use, I do love her! Every day more deeply and desperately I love her! In her presence, all her unworthiness is forgotten or disbelieved! Yes! yes! her deep hypocrisy, her black ingratitude, my mother's wrongs-all, all are lost to memory! Just now I could have snatched her to my bosom and wept over her falsehood, rather than have cast her from me. Yes, more! I could have implored her forgiveness for ever believing in that guilt which is but too well proved! I love her! She is the pulse of my heart! the soul of my life! She embodies all the meaning of existence to me! Heart and brain-yes!-body, soul, and spirit starve, perish for a full reconciliation and a perfect union with her! She is lovely, she is beautiful to me! She always was! Yet, oh-apple of Sodom that she is! shall I take such falsehood and corruption to my heart? I must leave the house-must leave the neighbourhood; for here I wilt and wither! And she! how can she bear it? for I think, with all her falseness, she loves me very much. How can she bear life so ? How can she rise each morning and go through all the occupations of the day so regularly, quietly, cheerfully, day after day?-omitting no duty, domestic or social, small or great, from the stitching my ripped gloves to the keeping up of the county connexion, in sooth! While I, I daily wither in this moral mildew-idle, despairing, forgetting all my obligations-forgetting that my country needs my arm! This cannot last! This must not be! I must get away from here. I must raise a volunteer company, and offer myself to the Government, and in the tumult of the campaign find forgetfulness or a grave!"

Unable to compose himself again that morning, he rang the bell, ordered his horse, seized his hat, went out, mounted, and rode away.

The next morning Catherine arose early, and among her orders for the day directed that the carriage should be at the door by ten o'clock. At the appointed hour she attired her

self with care and taste, and went down into the front hall, where she found Major Clifton in readiness to attend her. They entered the carriage and set out, and, in the course of a drive of five or six hours' duration, made the circuit of the neighbourhood, calling upon several families; and everywhere Catherine was received with distinguished respect. They reached home again about the middle of the afternoon.

The next few days passed on in the usual dreary routineexcept that Catherine knew Major Clifton was out riding every day and all day, and that he was in his study writing half the night. She did not know what this portended until one morning he said to her," Mrs. Clifton, you will oblige me by having my wardrobe prepared and packed at your earliest convenience. I have orders to join the regiment,

within a week,"

Catherine turned very pale and reeled as if she would have fallen, but grasped the chair and steadied herself, till strength returned.

"All shall be ready for you," she replied,

And he, with a cold bow of acknowledgment, went his way.

CHAPTER XXXIII.

66 THE MEEKNESS OF LOVE."

CATHERINE remained seated in the chair into which she had sunk, with her face buried in her open palms. Her favourite maid Henny, from the Hardbargain farmhouse, was in attendance. Henny had cleared away the breakfast-service, with the exception of the silver plate, which was collected upon a salver and she stood by her mistress's chair, waiting in respectful sympathy. At last she said, "Miss Kate, honey, if you lend me the keys o' the plate-closet, I can put away the things safe, without your troublin' o' yourself."

Catherine lifted her head languidly, and, pushing away her drooping hair, exclaimed quite unconsciously, and as if the words burst of themselves from her overburdened bosom, "O Henny! if you knew how little heart I have to do anything !"

"I does know it, missis, deary; but you mus' jes take a 'flection on to it, honey, an' 'sider how it ain't on'y marster, but mos' in general all the gemmun in the neighbourhood as is gwine for the wars."

Regretting that she had permitted a complaint to escape her lips, yet satisfied that her servant did not understand or suspect the true cause of her sorrow, Catherine arose, and said, "Take up the salver and follow me, Henny. Idle grief is very fruitless. If we cannot keep our friends with us, it is better to prepare for their comfortable living while absent than to sit down in useless sorrow."

"An' that's the Lord's trufe, Miss Kate," said Henny, lifting the laden salver on her head, and settling it steadily; "that's Marster's blessed trufe! 'Sides which, I has a heap to do myself, to get brother Jack's duds ready, to go long o' Marse Archy."

"Is your brother going with Major Clifton, Henny ?"

""Deed he is, honey-gwine to ride body-servant long o' marster, to wait on him in camp; likewise in field o' battle, to hold his t'other horse, in case his whichest one should be shot unnerneaf of him. O Lord Marster Jesus! what a thing that is to think of! Likewise in soldier's newniform, on the bay horse Billy; which brother Jack would sell his mortal soul any time for the sake o' dressing fine, an' ridin' a horseback-cussed, infunnelly fool! I axes your pardon, Miss Kate; don't look so 'noyed, honey; I won't use bad words again-'deed, 'fore my blessed, Hebbenly Marster, won't I, honey; but it is so aggravoking, when I comes to think o' what a slave I've made o' myself to brother Jack, ever since mother died, and the 'turn he makes me for it, wantin' to go gallivauntin' off to the wars in soldier's clothes an' a long tailed horse! Here has I been 'jecting some o' the most illegible coloured men in the neighbourhood, an' bein' of an old maid, sake o' takin' care o' him, 'cause he's delicy in his health, an' he to be wantin' to go leave me! An' he, with a 'sumption in his breas', to want to go; 'sposing of hisself gettin' his feet wet sogerin'! An' he 'blige to wear a tar plaster on his ches', to be campin' out an' layin' on the naked yeth! An' knows he can't congest nothin' but rabbits an' partridges, an' wants to go where he'll have to live offen roas' tators, like Gin'al Marion an' his men, in the Resolutionary War! It mos'-mos'-mos' breaks my heart!"

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