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friendship which once subsisted between us may be renewed? You could not love me as a husband; but you once offered me a sister's affection;" he hesitated, and looked at her inquiringly.

Alice was silent.

"May we not meet again in future as friends," he urged," on the old terms, and in the old manner, and may I sometimes visit this happy home?"

"Yes," replied Alice.

Just at this moment Tom was seen coming down the road. Jumping up from her seat, with childlike delight and forgetful of all decorum, Alice exclaimed:

"Oh, there's Tom, I must go and meet him, you know; I always do;" and without another word she tripped out of the house; her bonnet hanging down her back, and her rich, glossy hair dancing in the breeze.

Left to himself, Mansfield flung aside the mask. "This happy home, this happy home!" he said bitterly, repeating his own words. "The devil provide for its happiness in future. See how she loves that fellow! Curse him. But it won't last, it won't last. Violent passions are the soonest spent ; and then my turn will come. The little witch, she deserves to be well punished for loving him; but I

mustn't torment her much, because it might spoil her beauty."

"Tom," said Alice, as the two came arm in arm homewards, "who do you think I've got there?"

"I'm sure I don't know," said he.

"Yes, but who do you think? Now guess." "Where there are so many people to choose from, it would be difficult to find the right person in an hour," replied he.

"Well, it's my old suitor, Mr.- I mean, Lord Esdale," said Alice.

"Lord Esdale!" repeated Tom, amazed.

eyes.

"Yes! Now don't be jealous, dear Tom," and she looked half lovingly, half teasingly, into his "He is a very honourable man, and if you knew the good motive which brought him, you would, I'm sure, respect him. I'll tell you all by and by."

On Tom's entrance, Mansfield received him with much frankness, and, shaking him warmly by the hand, expressed much pleasure at seeing him.

His

Mansfield's easy manners, handsome person, and agreeable conversation, soon won on Tom. heart warmed towards the young nobleman; and later in the evening, all three strolled through the fields together, chatting and laughing with the freedom and confidence of brothers and sister.

"It really is lovely here," said Mansfield, stop

ping to look about him. “Who's your landlord?"

"His name is Arthur," said Tom," and he lives somewhere in Hyde Park; I think he's a baronet, but I'm not sure.”

"Oh, indeed!" answered Mansfield, carelessly, as if Tom's communication had no particular interest for him.

Shortly afterwards Esdale took his departure, leaving Tom and Alice both pleased with their guest, and both confident in his honour and integrity.

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CHAPTER XV.

|T the farthest extremity of one of London's narrowest courts stands an old and grimy house. A time-worn stone

tablet, fastened between the second

story windows, tells, in quaint characters, half effaced by age, that its erection dates three hundred years ago. The court is long and winding, and terminates in a little ill-paved square. The air, dense with the impurities of the metropolis, hangs heavy and stagnant between the tall, lowering houses, and, like the ill-paid, hard-worked labourers for other's profit, who toil God's beautiful hours away in this great congregation of self-worshippers, it seldom mingles with its happier kindred, under the pure blue heaven of the country. At odd times, it is true, the chimney pots and upper stories bask in hazy sunshine; but never, since those old houses rose from their foundations, has a single ray been known to visit the ground floors.

The tortuous carriage-way along the court will

barely admit one vehicle at a time, so that, whenever two determined drivers meet in it from opposite directions, the thrust and counterthrust which ensue help to relieve the tediousness of the hour.

Here and there a patriarchal residence has been removed and replaced by a youthful structure with substantial, regular brickwork and modernized window-frames, whilst its venerable brethren, whose doorways and casements are distorted or shrunken with age, seem to be making mouths at the new comer, as though jealous of its intrusion among their ancient community. But president of the body, by right of age and position, stands the old house I have mentioned at the outset. It closes in the end of the court, and frowns gloomily on novelty. Glorying in its time-darkened front, it lifts its head, and seems to say :-"So far mayst thou come, oh fickle spirit of change! but no farther; I am the boundary-line of thy inroads-I am the rock on which thou mayst rush in vain." There is an air of faded grandeur about the house, which shows that it was, in former days, the dwelling of some moneyed citizen, when city-men were contented with city-homes. It overtops the houses on either side by many feet, and is surmounted by a high, slanting roof of red tiles, terminating at each end in a sharp gable. A massive stack of chimnies

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