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"It is too hot for tennis," Mrs. Chiches- "Dick is not the least lazy," here Miss ter averred. "Do let me beg of you to Fane calmly said, looking up from a letter. wait till after tea, it will then be far pleas-"You seem to forget that he is eight years anter." older than you, Jeff."
"I dare say, but do not let us look so far forward," commented Mr. Miles. "It takes the interest out of the day if we are to spend it in supporting life until after tea. Now, now is the great thing; what shall we do now?"
"It is a mere mouthful, I dare say, Edith, but still it is worth something,' interposed Dick, "and I also should be grateful for a cool suggestion."
"And we are not great souls, but little ones," went on Jeff; "and I vote that we all propose something and take the votes. I propose a picnic."
"The very thing, Jeff. I stand astonished at your promptitude; we all give in, don't we?" looking round. "It saves us even the trouble of thought."
"Agreed, Jeff," began Edith, "only let me beg of you not to let it be far off. On a day like this it would be cruel to expect us to carry provisions to any distance, if we are to enjoy them afterwards."
"We will not, Edith; we will put them into the boat and go a little bit down the stream, and eat them wherever time and opportunity occur. Dear Mrs. Chichester, have you a pie, a chicken something that your hungry family may take away with them? Remember, it is buying peace for the whole day."
"I will see what can be done, though I am sure you would all be far cooler at home. A picnic on a hot day is a miserable affair."
"The only possible consolation is, that it would be more miserable on a cold one."
"Don't argue, Jeff," Dick here interposed; "it makes me more aware of the heat."
"I will not. I will be most agreeable. I will do everything that every one asks me all day; I will even row both ways, though that is partly because I know that if I did not we should end by eating our picnic in the garden."
"You have a wonderful grasp of mind," assented Dick, "and I should not wonder if you were right. Women are so lazy!" "And some men. Yet," with an inquiring air, "it is a new falling off, you used to be more active. Ah, the laziness seems to have been acquired since the engage
"I am corrected, Edith. I was alluding to pre-historic times. Modern history is apt to be duller than ancient, we all know, probably it is because there is less possibility of invention. My dear Dick, I retire and leave you the victor. I shall never again argue with a man who has a woman to answer for him; and, above all, with a man who allows a woman to answer for him."
"Jeff coming out as a satirist!" But without heeding Dick's interruption,
"It is a state of affairs," he continued, and this time he addressed his light words across the table to Miss St. Croix, "that may be taken as an encouragement, or a warning."
But, having so spoken, he colored a little, and looked away with some slight consciousness, a remembrance of Mr. Chichester's words of the evening before recurring to his mind. Most of those present saw, and rightly interpreted, his momentary confusion. No official announcement of the marriage had yet reached them, and the girl herself having made no allusion to it, the subject was one it would be as well to avoid.
Every one seemed to rouse him or herself to say something which should tend to cover Jeff's maladroit speech, and to prevent Delphine imagining anything esIpecial had been meant by it.
Delphine herself alone continued perfectly unmoved, quite unaware of what was passing. The light conversation, so new to her, had amused her. Not bril. liant or witty in any way, but illumining with the soft, harmless shining of summer lightning. And that one swift flash had played about herself she did not even know. Her own engagement was such an unreality to her, so different from that of this couple, who were reading their glad future in each other's eyes, that it would never have struck her that any one could have drawn a comparison between them. But the thread of talk was broken after that, and, every one began, more or less idly, to prepare for the day's pleasuring.
Only Jeff Miles's spirits seemed unimpaired by the heat; he alone seemed to have the zeal necessary to carry the whole party through what was expected of them. Under his directions the baskets were packed, and under his supervision the lit tle party was finally got together, and
started - more or less unwillingly-towards their destination. Only in one glad young girl's heart was there not the slightest mixture of feelings. No faintest thought that this brilliant summer day might be more comfortably and pleasurably spent; that there were drawbacks to be found abroad in the hottest hours of the day, which need not be at home. But then the others would have had compensations, under those circumstances, which this girl would not have found. And this they recognized, and were unselfish and resigned themselves.
And if a certain amount of resignation was necessary, it was, after all, to a not altogether untoward fate. Blue sky seen through the shade of thick branching trees, and reflected in a narrow, forgetme-not-margined river; two people whose happy love-story could be read by any careless observer; and a young man and a maid, prepared to enjoy all that the day held in store, were not unimportant factors in a day's happiness.
It certainly proved rather a warm expedition, partly owing to the blazing sun overhead, which even the thick summer leafage could not altogether hide, and partly owing to the inefficiency of the steerer. The duty devolved, the greater part of the time, on Miss Fane. Mr. Chichester certainly held an oar, though he did not seem to make much use of it, judging from Jeff's remarks. But at any rate holding an oar prevented him from steering, though not from talking to Edith. He was most good-natured; whenever the inefficiency of the steerer was more remarkable than usual, and they found themselves closer to the bank than was quite pleasant, then he was always ready to get out and help Mr. Miles to right matters, but the result was a slow, and a very warm journey.
At last he jumped up so suddenly that Edith in her agitation steered them straight into a tall group of rushes, and declared they had come quite far enough, and that he for one was now going to get out. "It will be far cooler under the trees," he added.
"It will certainly be so for me," Jeff assented. "You seem to have grown heavier, Dick, since we started."
"Hear him," ejaculated Mr. Chichester. "One would think he was rowing us all by himself. Now I appeal to you, ladies, what have I in my hand?"
"An oar," retorted Edith quickly.
"But an oar held like an umbrella is not much help to the other rower."
She jumped ashore as she spoke, and Dick with one stride was over the boat's side and after her. Delphine, who had risen, held out her hands - as the small boat rocked to and fro — in a vain attempt to steady herself, and would have fallen had it not been for Jeff's outstretched hand.
"Do be careful," he called out, as angrily as he could say anything; but Dick had turned back penitently before he had time to say more, full of apologies for his heedlessness. He took Delphine's small hand in his and helped her to land, and then stood still, until Edith reappeared to inquire the cause of his delay.
"I hurried on," she exclaimed, standing above them fair and blue-eyed, “to avoid having to help Jeff to carry up the luncheon. I wonder you did not think of the same thing."
"I did, Edith," he made answer, "but my conscience has come to the rescue, so I am waiting to assist."
"No, you need not." Jeff had quite recovered his usual sweet temper. "Find the best place, and I will carry up the hamper."
Delphine, who was gathering a bunch of the forget-me-nots that grew by the water's edge, looked up and smiled as she saw Dick take a step away, though, after all, it was only a step, for, having taken it, he flung himself down on the grass, and, "No," he cried, "honesty is occasionally the best policy, as he said who had occasionally tried the other way. Some evil might come of it. Dig out the provisions, and I'll carry up my share.”
"Yes, otherwise your salad might disagree with you."
"Is there salad? My toil now becomes a pleasure! I'll wait. Don't hurry."
He remained lazily still, whilst Edith sat on the bank beside him, and Jeff took the things out of the boat. As he did so, he talked with Delphine, who stood beside him, occasionally assisting a little, but more often smiling softly at his light jests and words.
"There, that is all," at length he said. "I will carry up this shawl for you to sit on."
"But it is scarcely necessary, it is so very warm."
"It is safer," he answered, "and besides that, you might spoil your pretty dress."
She shook her head lightly, but held out her hand for the shawl.
"No, I will carry it. Your hands are full," pointing to her forget-me-nots.
"It is a shame to have picked them," | mentary disturbing thought; for as the she said, "they will die so soon in the hot afternoon wore on a little breeze sprang sunshine; I think I will put them back up, and with the increased coolness suffiinto the stream. They will scarcely un-cient energy returned to Dick Chichester derstand what has happened for a little to suggest a stroll, and under the overwhile, and then they will die and for-arching trees, their feet on softest moss, get."
"No," he said, "if they are going to die, they may as well die in my coat as in the river," holding out his hand. "They are too pretty to throw away."
She divided the bunch without speaking, and he put his into his buttonhole, and, later on, he noticed that hers were in the belt at her waist.
"Dick," said Edith presently, as they wended their way onwards to where the big trees offered more shade, "Jeff must not be allowed to flirt with that dear little girl."
"No," replied Dick, "decidedly not. I have already spoken to him. He must not begin that kind of thing."
"And did he promise he would not begin?"
"Yes," assented Dick lazily. "All the same, Dick dear, it looks very much, just now, as you began."
"Perhaps, my dear child; but the difference lies in the fact that I was a marriageable man."
The difference to the man, perhaps, but you know it may be just the same for the girl."
"That, my dear, I am inclined to disbelieve. Now don't contradict, it is too hot to argue. At least, wait until I have found an abiding-place for the salad I am carrying."
But once or twice, as the afternoon wore away, the thought once more flashed across Edith's mind that this was very like the way Dick had begun. "Of course," she soliloquized, "he went on, whereas Jeff means to stop; but hope he will know the exactly right moment at which to stop, so as not to give that sweet child a moment's anxiety."
"With such a prospect, Dick," addressing herself to her companion.
What prospect? Whose prospect? Dear Edith, don't force me to think. Are you alluding to the view, because I know there is not one, so there is no use in my opening my eyes."
Delphine's prospect of marrying Monsieur d'Esterre, she should be spared all worry and anxiety beforehand."
"And are you considering Jeff," opening his eyes for a moment, "in the light of a 'worry and anxiety beforehand'?"
Edith laughed, and then forgot her mo
the jesting tones absent from his voice, and a tender softness in his eyes, there was no possibility for thought of anything but the happy present, the happier future, that was drawing nearer day by day.
On the other couple, therefore, devolved the duty of repacking the little boat; but the work was not unwelcome, and when it was completed they seated themselves in it, to await the return of their companions.
"If we go to look for them we shall only miss them," Jeff averred. "We will wait here."
"We could not wait in a better place." With her chin resting in her slender hand, Delphine sat watching the slowpassing waters. The steady, ceaseless flow fascinated her, and she forgot after a time how long she had been silent.
"Would it not be strange," she said at length, breaking the silence with a sudden sentence, which might have been a question, but yet was scarcely more than a chance train of thought, "if one were suddenly to come across a piece of a bygone time in the middle of one's after life, when one had forgotten all about it? I was thinking," in quick explanation, "just then "-taking a piece of the faded forget-me-not out of her belt, and dropping it into the water "supposing that byand-by, weeks hence, when this day is quite one of long ago, I were to see this come floating past me at Vérizay, would it not be curious?" She was following the flower's course with her eyes as she spoke. So far it was making its way safely down the centre of the stream.
"Yes," replied Jeff thoughtfully, "such things do happen.'
The calm, quiet summer evening had touched him also with a certain shadow of sentiment.
see; the kindness I have received - all of you have been so good to me. And to-day, this lovely, perfect day. I never imagined how beautiful the world was, how happy and free from care people could be, until I came here."
"Ah, but mademoiselle," he spoke quickly and then paused, as if choosing his words before he continued, "you must not think the life of any one is without care. We all have our share. Only it is different - a different trouble to each one. This is a holiday," he went on, "so we must all enjoy it. I do. When it is over, I go back to England to my regiment, and in three months I shall be in India, and perhaps it will be years and years before I come back."
Ah, that is sad," she said.
My trouble, you see, is want of money. But there are a few holidays in all our lives, and it is no use not enjoying them, because after they are over we have to set to work again."
His blue eyes had grown serious as he spoke; there was a faint shade of something resembling pity in his heart, for this little more than child, whose holiday also was nearly over, and who had not years in India lying on the other side of it, but a future that seemed to him far more hopeless and barren. A loveless mariage de convenance at eighteen to him it seemed life could offer no drearier prospect. The work and activity of his own immediate future were as nothing in comparison.
But the days were past when any rescue was possible. Knights are too much Occupied nowadays in earning their own living to attend to the woes of persecuted damsels. The damsels must find their own way out of their difficulties and a wealthy marriage is as good a way as any. Only for the moment, to this special knight, the way seemed hard and undesirable, in face of the sweet wistful grey eyes and soft brown hair.
However, it was not debatable ground. There was no question of what might or might not be the future was decided for both of them - only — if it had not been! Hallo, are you waiting for us?" Dick's voice, loud and clear, reached them. Edith's fair face, a little flushed, was looking down smilingly upon them.
Delphine sighed, a soft, airy little sigh, and sat more upright. Jeff stood up in the boat, and answered with a word of welcome.
Then a very few minutes later they were all floating safely homewards through the still evening.
There was not much conversation, a few desultory words, that was all. But that was not surprising, it was still very warm, and talking was a superfluous exertion.
"It is over," Delphine said, as she and Jeff went slowly up through the shady paths that led from the wood to the house. "I am very sorry to think it, but it is something to have two such days to look back upon."
She paused a moment at the entrance of the honeysuckle arch, and marvelled to think it was only yesterday that she had stood there, feeling so shy and timid in the presence of this blond young man, whose presence had now grown So
There are such moments in life, when one we have scarcely known - the friend of a few hours seems to be nearer than those we have known for years; but as often as not, the moment passes, and afterwards, looking back, we wonder what it was that brought us so close together. Meeting again, we cannot afresh attain the point of union the supreme moment is past- and the steps that led up to it being lost, we cannot hope to retrace them.
"Yes, it is over," Jeff repeated. "Tomorrow you go home and the day after, I return to England. Mademoiselle," he hesitated a second, and reddened a little, "may I tell you that I have been told about your future, and that I hope, with all my heart, that it will be a very happy one?"
She colored also, though very slightly, as she turned her clear grey eyes up to his.
"Thank you," she said softly. And an instant later, "And you also, I may wish you a happy future?"
"In India?" But he did not smile. "Yes, and after that, when you come home a general, and very rich."
"That is something to live for," and he was smiling again, "but I fear it is a long way off. I think your good fortune will come first."
Perhaps yours will be better worth having, when it comes."
He had very nearly said, "I hope so," but fortunately remembered in time, and did not.
It was nearly seven o'clock, and the shadows were lying thick and dark in the long, untidy avenue, when Delphine St. Croix arrived home next day. There was no shadow on her heart at the prospect
before her. It had been a holiday, a de- | using them for the foundation of a syslightful, bright, happy holiday, but it was tematic essay. The present article conover, and now on the other side of it lay the real world, where she had to play her part; a world in which there was so much hard work that there was little time to think of holidays. But she was refreshed nevertheless, and it was pleasant to look back upon.
All the long drive had been beguiled with memories of yesterday. Only three days since she drove down here, and now it was over.
tains a small selection from my store, and may be of interest to all who value accuracy and clearness. It is only necessary to say that the examples are not fabricated all are taken from writers of good repute, and notes of the original places have been preserved, though it has not been thought necessary to encumber these pages with references. The italics have been supplied in those cases where they are used.
Coming round a certain corner, under One of the most obvious peculiarities the splendid summer foliage of a shelter- at present to be noticed is the use of the ing elm, two figures attracted her atten- word if when there is nothing really contion. She half turned her head, wonder-ditional in the sentence. Thus we read: ing who they might be, and then an instant" If the Prussian plan of operations was later recognizing them, looked away, and almost immediately a sharp turn in the road, that led up to the Château Vérizay, had hidden them from sight.
faulty the movements of the crown prince's army were in a high degree excellent." The writer does not really mean what his words seem to imply, that the excellence It was only Jeanne, her own young was contingent on the fault: he simply maid, and André, the village carpenter. means to make two independent stateShe knew they were going to be married ments. As another example we have: very soon, she had known it a long time, "Yet he never founded a family; if his though the fact had not come home to her two daughters carried his name and blood before. But something in the attitude of into the families of the Herreras and the the two, as they stood under the shelter. Zuñigos, his two sons died before him." ing elm boughs she, with her dark eyes Here again the two events which are conraised to those looking into hers -renected by the conditional if are really called to Delphine those other lovers from whom she had so lately parted.
"But as for you, you have agreed to forego your heritage."
Back to her remembrance, with the thought, came Jeff Miles's words; words which had only vaguely troubled her at the time of hearing them, but which now seemed full of meaning.
For all of a sudden, driving on slowly through the calm summer evening, it seemed to her that she understood what it was she had missed- understood what it was that had been taken away from her, or that she herself had given up.
THE AUTHOR OF MISS MOLLY."
From Macmillan's Magazine.
BY THE LATE ISAAC TODHUNTER.
I HAVE from time to time recorded such examples of language as struck me for inaccuracy or any other peculiarity; but lately the pressure of other engagements has prevented me from continuing my collection, and has compelled me to renounce the design once entertained of
quite independent. Other examples fol-
Other examples, differing in some respects from those already given, concur in exhibiting a strange use of the word if Thus we read: "If the late rumors of dissension in the Cabinet had been well founded, the retirement of half his colleagues would not have weakened Mr. Gladstone's hold on the House of Commons." The conditional proposition intended is probably this: if half his col leagues were to retire, Mr. Gladstone's hold on the House of Commons would not be weakened. If a big book is a big