changes and chances of her life into the years gone by.

What a beautiful woman she was !

A sort of Cleopatra, only with a good face, tall and graceful in a lithe, pantherish way, with a head so beautifully set on that it gave her an unconscious queenliness and dignity. Her hair was dark and curly, with gleams of copper in it; and her eyes - above all, her eyes were indescribable! They were hazel, I believe (she used to call them green), and her soul dwelt within their depths. They always looked to me like two mirrors of truth and sympathy, for they laughed when others laughed; but in repose they had a mournfulness that won the interest of all who studied them, and made the world marvel what her past had been that it should have stamped such pathos on her face.

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I knew that past, for I had known her all her life. When she was born, her father asked me to stand her sponsor. He was the best friend I ever had; so, notwithstanding my antipathy_to_ very young babies, I consented. Dolores: that was the name by which they christened her, though I should have preferred the homely M. or N.; for it vexed me when I heard that they had decided on such a doleful, almost ominous name.

My faint suggestion that it should be altered into something happier was, however, promptly overruled by her mother

a lady of iron will, before whom all bowed in holy awe, and often, very genuine aversion. She was a Spaniard by birth, and very beautiful too, though with a cruel light in her eye, and a set "you shall" expression, which I did not trust, about her mouth.

She had bent her mind on marrying Lord Rockland from the day on which she first met him, and through her "you shallness" had obtained her object.

He was the best and kindest man that ever lived, and blind to the schemes and artfulness of designing woman-for, like most noble natures, he never doubted that others could be less generous than himself. Won by the spell of her beauty, he offered her his hand and heart, and (what was much more dear to her) his title thereby converting Juanita Guadalmina into Countess of Rockland. They had been married nearly five years when Dolores made her appearance in the world. Needless to say, from the first her ladyship had unalterably determined that it should be a boy.

Of course, when she had a baby, it should be a son and heir. That was what she wished, and that was what she intended to have.

So when the news was finally broken to her that the arrival was a girl, her heart turned to stone, and in her disappointment and bitterness she felt that she never could forgive the child.

She was hard to her from the first, and jealous of her later on; for Dolores was the apple of her father's eye, and he gloried in his beautiful child.

As for me, her godfather, my infatuation for her was almost ridiculous, though I had humbly to take my place as a bad fourth in the list of her affections. She used to solemnly assert there were only "four fings" in the world she loved her daddy, her bull-dog, her hunting, and "Nunky," (I was "Nunky," though what connection that title had with my relationship as her godfather I never could discover). It always sounded to me like a judicious cross between uncle and donkey; but poor little Doll was so hurt when I suggested this solution, that I was fain to confess my suspicions to be base and unfounded.

Her father had always been my best and dearest friend. We had known each other since boyhood; messed together at Eton, though he was in the Eight while I was only stroke in the "Britannia," and had always been the best of pals. And afterwards, when he joined the 9th Lancers, I managed to scramble in after him, and we always had a good time when we were together. He drove the coach and I blew the horn. Some years later, at his father's death, he left the regiment - feeling it his duty to go and live at his own place and take an interest in his tenantry.

Not long afterwards I sent in my papers too, and took up house with my sister in Warwickshire, where I still used to meet dear old Rock constantly at the covertside; for he had come down to us as M.F.H. Being the finest horseman and keenest sportsman in Great Britain, he had soon wearied of his old grey home on the rocks in the North, and pined for a pack of hounds and a hunting county. Fortunately the master in my county had just resigned; so with joy I wrote, begging Rock to accept the mastership offered to him by the unanimous vote of every member of the Hunt.

What a grand chap he was! Six feet two; spare and wiry, with a heart of gold, and a laugh that did one good, and made one laugh one's self out of sheer sympathy,

even when one had not heard the joke that provoked it.

lass when she feathered up that dry ditch by the roadside. It had been a desperately bad scerting day, and, as ill luck would have it, there was a huge crowd, as usual on a Wednesday in that countyso-called sportsmen, all eager to spoil their own sport, cramming on the top of hounds in a way truly maddening to the

He worshipped his "Dolly," as he lovingly called Dolores. "See that brat ride," he would say, with a look of pride lighting up his kind blue eyes; "there is not a man in England can see the way she goes when hounds run." And it was true enough, for Dolly was the best horse-huntsman. If only old Jock Rock had woman I ever saw - ever since the days of her babyhood, when she used to fly about the old park at Hazlehurst on one of her wild little shelties, followed by an uproarious pack of foxhound puppies, which had been given to her to "walk," and chaperoned by a solemn old bull-dog with blear eyes and a broad, sweet smile that went straight to the heart.

Besides holding the proud position of her godfather, I was Dolly's slave, abject and submissive, bullied into obedience of the most slavish description by this little brown baby, who flashed her big eyes and ordered me to go and put the puppies "over to her." It was all very well for her to shout forth her orders in imperious baby-talk; but strive as I would to do her behests, I soon lived to learn that foxhound puppies are imbued with ideas of their own, and soar far above such trifles as coming when they are called, or doing anything to order, unless it falls in with their own tactics of rolling each other over and over, and flying wildly off at a tangent with ears laid back and tail tucked in, for fear the opponent should use it as a handle wherewith to capsize them.

Rock's greatest joy was to be with his child in all her wild escapades, and to teach her to ride and talk "hound language," and even to blow a horn and crack a whip (which is a thing very few women ever achieve). But Dolly did everything by nature; and I remember, when she whipped in to her father, hearing her growl out, "Gar away byke t'im. War' yer doin'? War' are," in a way that made my hair stand on end, and should have grated away every atom of voice she had ever possessed, if all had their rights.

Ah me! those were happy days. But the old order changes, and the blow fell which sent all the dancing sunshine out of Dolly's hazel eyes; for "there came the mist and the weeping rain," and her "life was never the same again."

One night I was sitting in my own den smoking my beloved and almost blackened pipe, thinking over the hunt we had had that day, and drawing my own conclusions as to where the fox had really gone, and why Will had been sent to stop old Gay

been out, things would have been different; but unfortunately he had been away all the week up in the North with Dolly; and though Pine, the kennel huntsman, was very anxious to show sport, he had neither the science nor the quickness of his master; but then no one knew the run of a fox as Rock did, and no one ever got their hounds away quicker on the top of him. What a treat it was to hear him cheer them in that ringing, musical voice! and his halloo always sent cold shivers down my back, and made me thrill from top to toe.

But I am overrunning the line, and must return to my story.

While thus dreaming o'er "the happy day that's done," I heard a violent ring at the door bell, and shorty after a telegram was brought me (I thought it was from old Tom Hawker, offering to come and bring his horses over night for the meet on Friday), and could hardly believe my eyes when I tore it open and read the words, which seemed to dance and jiggle before me, till I felt my brain reel and my heart stand still, for the words I read were these:

"Come at once; father dying.


THERE was no time to lose, and I well remember what a race we had to catch the night express, and the misery of that journey, speeding northwards in answer to Dolly's summons. I could not rest, but kept thinking, thinking, how would it be with her when her father was gone? All her life had been so wrapped up in his ; and I was not happy about her future, which must needs be spent in the companionship of her mother, Lady Rockland, who was more unsympathetic to her than any other living creature. She craved for sympathy so, and had always been used to find it in the golden store of her father's loving heart. Poor wheen, poor wheen! I grieved for her that night.

When I arrived at last at Rockcraigsthe Scotch ancestral home of the Rocklands- I knew at once that I had come too late. Eagerly I scanned the windows,

and saw with sorrow the blinds drawn down. The eyes were shut of that old grey castle on the sea, with its crest of quaint pepper-pots and turrets, and its setting of fir-trees, over which the jackdaws whirled in circles, cawing weirdly in the grey mystery of the winter morning.

I cannot dwell upon that time I always think that the loss of one we love is a thing too sacred to be spoken of; but I remained there with Dolly, and tried my best to help her, and to be of what small comfort I could. She, poor child, was crushed to the earth. She bore her sorrow dumbly, and therefore suffered all the


Later, when the will was read, and things began to take shape and settle themselves again, it was found that poor old Jock had left all he could leave to his wife. She had taken good care that this should be so; for before Dolores was born, Lady Rockland had persuaded him to make his will, and to leave all his personality to her, "for fear you should go out hunting with those dreadful dogs of yours, dear, and never come back," as she playfully said. Poor old Jock! He did as she wished; and, as with many a strong, healthy-minded man, the idea of dying and leaving all he loved behind never really seemed to enter his head.

The properties being entailed, passed to a younger brother.

The predominant idea in Lady Rockland's mind now was to go back to Spain, her native land, and travel for a while. Thither, of course, Dolores must accompany her, though sorely against the grain; so after making over to my care her faithful friend, Ben the bull-dog, a descendant of the ancient smiling hideosity of her babyhood-off they went, attended by maids and footmen, boxes and rugs, and all the paraphernalia incidental to widowed countess travelling abroad.


After they had started, I returned home to Warwickshire, and recommenced the old routine of hunting five days a week, though with a heavy heart; for times had changed, and hunting with Pine was a very different game from hunting with Rock; but till the end of the season we had just to wear on and try to make the best of it. I often used to hear from Dolores, and this evening I have been look ing up some of her old letters to refresh my memory with her own words. She did not enjoy that part of her life, poor child, judging from those letters, now yellow and faded as I take them out of my despatch-box and read what she wrote to me VOL. LXXVII. 3986


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in the years gone by letters free and straight from the heart. She used to confide all her troubles to me. God knows, I would have given all I possessed to bring back the roses to her cheeks, and the joyous light to her big eyes; but all had gone, and sorrow and trials seemed to follow her footsteps. Here we begin, then, from Seville

"On Monday we left Madrid. I did not care for it, though it was picturesque, with its white awnings drawn across the narrow streets from one housetop to the other, and the great plants of lovely carnations hanging down from the windowsills below in gorgeous showers of red and yellow blossoms. It is pretty seeing the Spanish peasants and hearing them sing their quaint and rather unsatisfactory songs (they always seem to end by coming down on to the wrong note, or at all events, not on to the right one), and playing guitars, mandolins, and clacking on their castanets. I was disappointed with the Spanish women, for I had always believed and expected them all to be beautiful, with olive skins and Spanish eyes;' instead of which they are round little puddings, with voices which would put a peacock to shame. The men are better looking; I like their smart little Eton jackets and pigtails. We did not stay long in Madrid, though quite long enough for me. Mother was wild to get to her beloved Seville; so off we went on the 22nd to Cordova, which is really lovely, and gave me an impression of abroadness, with its funny streets, so narrow that the houses almost touched each other, and cut up into the most impossible corners and alleys; so pretty, with courtyards full of the loveliest flowers and fountains, guarded by gates of beautiful and delicate ironwork.

"I never shall forget the hot breath of air, heavy with the scent of orange-blossom, when I opened the little narrow wooden door in the big wall and stepped through into the orange grove, in the middle of which stands the mosque of the ancient Moors, like a lovely dream, surrounded with orange-trees covered with fruit and flowers, starlike among the dark, shining leaves. The little green lizards run up and down the stems. At the stone fountain, in the centre of the grove, there stood a group of picturesque brown women filling their graceful earthenware waterpots, while they laughed and chattered to the boys and men, who seem to spend their lives basking in the sun and smoking cigarettes."

I heard from her again a little later on; | come out all right in time, and that Dolly a letter full of animosity against a certain and her boy "would live happily ever Sir Amos Acre, whom they had met, and after." But I must look out her happy to whom Lady Rockland had taken a fancy pour passer le temps. Dolores apparently did not share her mother's sentiments towards this gentleman, for she writes:

"He is pompous and fat- -an Indian something who got himself knighted. He is always following in our wake, making himself agreeable and useful to mother, who allows him to fetch and carry for her. He is very anxious to be charming to me; but I cannot endure him and his horrid prawn's eyes. Mother is going this after noon to call on some Scotch people who live outside the town. I feel too done up with the heat to go with her; so I suppose Sir Amos will take my place in the victoria, and I shall be too thankful to go and rest." And again she remains my "loving Dolly."

That letter opened my eyes still further as to what she was undergoing. I had heard before of the said Sir Amos Acre, and knew full well what a snob he was. Years since, when I was in India, I remember hearing of him as a thrifty merchant at Bunkerputti. He was a very common mister in those days, but had managed to climb up the social ladder by dint of some civility he showed to the rajah of Dallygepore, when that worthy made his appearance in London three or four years ago. He had been an assiduous tuft-hunter ever since; and I could quite sympathize with the child's dislike and aversion to his attentions.

It was about this time that I gave up my hunting-box in Warwickshire; for the county was too full of old associations, and I could not bear to go back and see them draw all the old coverts and woods, in which I had heard Jock's cheery voice only a few short months ago. Somehow it all seemed to grow more and more distinct-conspicuous by absence, I suppose -and I felt I never could enjoy a hunt in that county again; so I decided to strike my tent and emigrate into Rutland, and try what a new county and a fresh start would do. One of my chief objects in this was a hope of some day getting Dolly to come and stay with me, and trying to chase some" of her care away hunting the fox;" but in the mean while, I had to content myself with her letters, which now seemed to be written in a happier strain. She had met "a boy," who appeared to interest her more than most of her com panions; and I really hoped things might


letter, to see how she described this boy of hers Ronald St. Clair by name. It appears he was the son of the people on whom Lady Rockland went to call outside Seville; and shortly after that he had met and made great friends with Dolly. ing "great friends" meant falling hopelessly in love I knew that well enough; but it seemed to me that dear Doll, too, was feeling something rather deeper than mere friendship for this Scotch fellow, and I looked forward with deep interest to her next letters.

Here they are, poor little things. People used to tell me I ought "never to keep "old letters; that they should always be burnt at once, for "fear anything happened to me and others should read them." I am glad that I had the strength of mind not to listen to their words of wisdom now, and am thankful to have this pathetic little heap in my Dolly's dear scrawly hand, as one by one I take them out again and read them. In this one she says:

"How I wish you knew Ronald! you would like him he is such a man. He is not good-looking, but he's got such a kind, honest face, which reminded me so of Ben's, that I took a fancy to him on the spot. He comes almost every day for me, and we go out riding together; and next week we are meditating a trip down to Gib., to have a day with the Calpe hounds before they stop, for he is quite as keen about the hunt as you and I." It will be fun hearing the cry again. You don't know how I pine for it; and Ronald quite sympathizes with me. I have not liked anybody so much as Ronald for a long time. [That meant ever, I knew.] We seemed to have known each other always; and he is so strong and restful-in fact, he is a little tiny bit like Daddy, and that is enough for me. And I think he likes me rather, too. Oh, there he is just riding up to the door on his nice grey polo-pony, which he brought up from Gib. and I christened for him. ('Joan 'we called her, because she was 'old and grey,' and he said she was fast enough to win the Derby!! She is not really old, but it did all right for the name.) I must fly down now, but will write again soon."

I was growing quite fond of her friend Ronald by this time, and managed to learn something about him. The eldest son of an old Scotch family, with a place in Inverness-shire, and a hunting-box in England age twenty-nine, very popular —

been at Eton, had lots of pals, and lots of money. I thought he sounded rather a promising sort of "boy" for my precious godchild. But the next scrawl dashed all my fond hopes to the ground, for poor Doll was once more down in the depths. Her mother was behaving oddly, and had suddenly taken it into her head to make a dead set at Ronald herself-continually thrusting the odious Sir Amos into Dolly's society, and adroitly carrying off Ronald as her own special property. And so the hunt at Gib. never came off after all, because her ladyship had inwardly decided that it should not be so. She had set her

mind on going to a bull-fight that very day; and of course she could not go alone; equally of course she could not think of dragging poor, dear Dolores to it, as it had

graphy of my Dolly's mother. I was somewhat surprised that she should have honored me with a letter, and proceeded to seek the explanation inside. It was full of all she had been doing in Seville, and platitudes concerning the weather. It was only towards the end of the letter that I arrived at the point at all. Ah! here it is:

well your godchild is looking. She is "You will be glad to hear how very much taken up with a Sir Amos Acre whom we met on our arrival here in Sep


A man of great ability and and in every way a most desirable partner charm. He is very rich and cultivated, for Dolores. I am doing my best to help her in every way, and as they appear to be devotedly attached to each other, I have every reason to hope that I may soon write to you again announcing their entain Hay, very truly yours, gagement. Believe me to be, dear Cap


'JUANITA ROCKLAND." Mercy on us! this was a startler! And was Dolly's letter, then, to tell me the same thing? I tore it open frantically, and therein found the other side of the story.


'Darling Nunky," it began, "I am so miserable; everything seems upside down, and all I want is to get away right away from everything, for I cannot bear to stay here any longer. Mother keeps on foisting that horrible Sir Amos on me, and he is becoming unbearably attentive, which makes me hate him more than ever. We are always sent on together when we go for our rides, while mother stays behind, or goes off by some by-path, always keeping Ronald by her side. He never comes near me now, and we seem to have had a quarrel without ever having had one. Somehow I can't make up my mind to ask him what it is, for I think it is his busi

such an effect upon her the last time; but would dear Mr. St. Clair take her under his wing? It would be enchanting going with him, etc.; and so Ronald was dragged off, leaving Dolly with a very lonely feeling and a very heavy heart, to get through the rest of the day as best she could. It was not only the rest of that day she had to get through, but it resolved into the rest of the stay in Seville; for from that day forward Lady Rockland never allowed Ronald to be alone with Dolly, under any pretext, though she very often took him out herself in the summer evenings, wandering among the gardens, and laying herself out to charm the boy with her beautiful face and flattering tongue (men are such fools! I was going to say especially boys; but, on second thoughts the folly of allowing ourselves to be fooled by a flattering woman is not confined to boys alone). Dolly was as straightforward and honest as the day, and consequently no match for a jealous, artful woman like her mother. People used to call her a "clever" woman. It was a cleverness which I never could ad-ness to speak first; and after all, if he mire, for it appears to me that any one can be "clever "in that way, provided they are sufficiently unscrupulous. I was furious, I must say; for I felt that Dolores had loved this man more than she cared to own, and I was wild that he should be weak enough to allow himself to be beguiled away from her by that woman, who did not even shrink from breaking the heart of her own and only child.


A FEW days later I received among my usual morning budget two letters from Sevilleone in the well-beloved scrawly hand, and the other in the ladylike cali

prefers mother's company to mine, he can go with her. I don't care, - nobody cares; 'nothing's new, and nothing's true, and it doesn't matter.' Only I do long to get away! I cannot bear this dreadful snob any longer. Mother seems to encourage him to be always in our pockets, and it is getting on my nerves.

"If only you would come here to carry me off and give me a hunt in England again, I should get all right, I believe; but I suppose it is hopeless and selfish of me to want you to leave your hunting and come all this way for my sake."

"Hopeless!" It should not be hope. less if I could help it. As to the "selfish.

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