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      I reckon I spoiled his aim, she said, lightly. But none of those Dogs Ear men can shoot worth speaking of; he mightnt have hit you, after all.

      "No, except to pass through, whenwhen I had escaped from him, and was on my way home."The shock hastened her father's death. In one week she was both a deserted bride and an orphan; freewith almost unlimited wealth at commandto grieve or search, as she chose,to avenge, if she could. She threw herself into the work of investigation: the police were marvellously ready to assist her, they took her money, and followed out her suggestions; by-and-by, she was amazed to find that her own house and movements enjoyed no inconsiderable share of their attention. It looked as if they suspected that her husband would return to her, and meant to be on the spot! The thought shook her with a sudden terror. It was possible that he had fledbeing warned in time to fly, but not to explainfrom some secret danger, some dark political vengeance, and that she was only helping to hunt him down!

      Well, Ralda! he said in his slow, low-pitched voice. No need to ask how you arethough, by the way, he added, as the flush which his advent had caused left her cheek, youre looking a little off color!

      A slight flush showed on Mrs. Bergan's cheek; nevertheless, she met her husband's eyes frankly. "I acknowledge that those things had their effect in making me ashamed of myself," she answered. "But, all the time, I have had an uneasy feeling that we were not doing our duty by your sister's son. Surely, we ought to have been the very last persons to have listened to, and acted upon, a rumor unfavorable to him; or, if it were certain that he had made a false step, we should have been ready with our influence and countenance, to help him to retrieve himself."Her tone was so authoritative that the milliner complied, reluctantly, and murmuring persuasive little speeches while she assisted Madame to dress. All that she had brought was of the most newexpressly arrived from Paris, from one of the most distinguished establishments in the Rue de la Paix. Fashions change so quicklyand the present fashions were so enchanting, so original. She must be pardoned if she suggested that nothing in Madame's wardrobe could be so new or so elegant as these latest triumphs of an artistic faiseur. Madame took no heed of her eloquence, but hurried through the simple toilet, insisted upon all the finery being replaced in the two baskets, and then went upon deck with the milliner.

      Two hours later the garden gate gave a little click, and Captain Hulbert walked in. Allegra heard the click of the latch as she sat in the verandah, and ran out to meet him. She had been watching and expectant all the time, though she had held her peace about the vision of white sails, lest she should be suspected of hoping for her lover's coming, and, above all, lest she should be compassionated with later in the day, if the ship were not the Vendetta.

      But though the questions were numerous and graphic, the tones in which they were uttered were subdued and hushed; for a child of tender years was a novelty at Three Star Camp, and produced a curious effect upon the rough men. Some of them had not seen a child for years; some of them had left[8] just such a baby in England; some of them had stood beside a grave about the size of this bundle. Their faces softened and grew serious as they looked down at it.Chapter 3 BUILDING ANEW.


      Bergan had striven conscientiously to destroy his love for Carice, as a thing which, however innocent in its birth, had grown to be a sin. And he had measurably succeeded. His worst heartache was over. Life had ceased to look unattractive; if it did not promise happiness, it offered plenty of work, and a sober well-being. He was beginning to feel the beneficent operation of the law of change, to find that sorrow was not meant to be the life-tenant of any human heart. If he had met Carice under other circumstances, less calculated to throw him off his guard, he would doubtless have approved himself master of the situation; meeting her with calm cousinly courtesy and kindness, and stifling only a momentary pang in his deep heart. But seeing her thus,pale, motionless, unconscious,dying, perhaps, if not already dead,flung back at his feet, for sympathy and succor, by some mysterious turn of the same tide of circumstance which had borne her away,a lost jewel, restored after many days,it is scarcely to be wondered at that, for one moment, as he knelt by the inanimate form, he forgot all the sorrowful past in the anxiety of the present, and touched the mute lips with the warm kiss of a love which, though long repressed and slumbering, seemed now to have neither wasted nor died.


      But what was the meaning of it all? Reared in faithlessness, she had been led to faith. Proud, she had been humbled. Wedded to Edmund Roath, she had been made to follow in his track, and undo, in some degree, his wicked work. So much was plain, even now; the rest would be read, in time. But oh! the mystery, the wonder, of that overruling Providence, who caught up man's wilful designs, ere they were out of his hands, and turned them to His own vast purposes!What makes you think that? she said.


      "You should have seen him knocking those fellows around, like so many ninepins!" he exclaimed, exultingly, to Rue. "I couldn't have done it more neatly myself, in my best days. I tell you, he is a true Bergan at bottom, if he has got a few crinks and cranks at top. What a pity he could not make up his mind to stay quietly on the old place, where he belongs; and which he might have done what he pleased with, if he had only taken me on the right tack! But he'll come backhe'll come back! Estates like Bergan Hall don't grow on every bush. It won't take him long to find out that he can't raise one from the law. And then, he'll be glad to come back to me; and I'll receive him as the father did the prodigal son!""I'm rather sorry we accepted the Glenaveril invitation," he said to Isola. "The man is such an unmitigated cad."