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Mary would have taken all the trouble of entertaining. She is a capital hostess, to do her justice. Mrs. Lester would only have had to appear in the rooms while the guests were assembling, and walk through once or twice."

“I thought it very inconsiderate of Mary, myself,” said Julia, “and I told her so, and she did not half like it. She said it was all very well for me, whose mother was never sick, but that I would not like to be prevented from doing as other people did, or called mean for making mother's illness an excuse for giving no parties. But I did not think any one could expect it of her.”

“Well,” said Matilda, “it is all over now. They have just lost everything. But I am so vexed -because

“Marion,” said Julia, suddenly, “ the Baron is in New York again. He called here last night. But although I questioned him about his travels, he was very incommunicative.” “He was very polite, in spite of your

rudeness,” said Matilda, pettishly.

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“And,” continued Julia, “he regretted the very few parties this winter, as he will not be able to meet cette charmante Mlle Mathilde.' So I suppose we shall have him here twice as often."

“Julia, how can you be so silly !" But Matilda evidently liked to be considered the object of the Baron's attentions. called away at this moment to receive some visitors, and as she left the room, Julia threw down her work, and drew her chair to Marion's side.

“Oh, Marion, I am so troubled. There is something wrong in the house, some misfortune hanging over us, and we have no home, nothing to fall back on for comfort, if sorrow comes. Father looks worn, and mother fretted, and I dare not ask what is the matter. If I speak to Matilda, she says it is only my fancy. She has no head just now for anything but dress and company, or heart, either, I believe.” And the complaint ended in a passion of tears.

Marion held her until she grew quieter, whispering soothing words from time to time, till at last Julia looked up and said,

6 Now I am better ; tell me what I can do."

“Not much dear, at present, except to prepare yourself bravely for the future, whatever

may betide."

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“But now, I think, we are getting into difficulties, and Matilda is extravagant, and does not seem to care."

“Try to persuade her, and do your best, above all, to make home happy and comfortable.”

“There is one thing that worries me most of all—this M. de Brie. I am sure from what we heard at Rockaway, and before we went there, during last winter, that he is a gambler and an adventurer, and I cannot get mother or sister to listen to me. Matilda will encourage him, and what can she hope from such a marriage ? She

says I am jealous, but indeed, Marion, it is not so. I would not care if he were only respectable, and that I cannot consider him, although he is so well received in society. I

thought his reluctance to tell where he had been travelling this summer, confirmed Mr. Smith's story."

“In this, Julia, dear, I do not see that you can do anything except to use all the influence you can on Matilda, and tell her and your mother all that you hear respecting his character.”

“I have,” sighed Julia; “but then he's a Baron !”

CHAPTER VII.

DEEP WATERS.

“ Unfathomable seal whose waves are years ;

Ocean of time, whose waters of deep woo
Are brackish with the salt of human tears!

Thou shoreless flood, which in thy ebb and flow

Claspest the limits of mortality !"-SHELLEY. The winter passed heavily. The great fire seemed to have involved all classes in its sweeping destruction, and those who were exempt from personal loss were more or less connected, by ties of family or friendship, with the sufferers. The insurance companies could not meet their liabilities; and as the spring advanced, the increasing embarrassments of the commercial world, gradually drew into the vortex of ruin, those whom the fire had spared. Some yielded at once; others struggled frantically against their fate, only to sink in more hopeless despair

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