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!'.v Kit ward J. Goodman, Author of 'Too Curious.'


Sitting in solitude in his batchclov rooms, where ho had no, often brooded bitterly over the hardship <,f his lot, Mark Elliot, in a more cheerful ( rame 0 f mind, reflected long and carefully on Helen's pinna. Yes, ho thought, they seemed practical enough, and if all turned out as well as she expected aud as he hoped, happiness was for him and for ha - at last within sight and roach. As regards Mr Ciaykc matters looked promising. He had met that gentleman occasionally at Eden Villa, and was on the whole not unfavorably impressed by him. He had been a little prejudiced against him by the fact that he was a particular friend of 41 that sc nindrel Wynd," and, as he remarked to Helou, " You know what a man is by hi 3 associates." When, however, he had observed the great deference aud admiration which Mr Crayke displayed towards " that miserably doggrel-writcr," Matthew Musgravc, Dr Elliot came to the conclusion that perhaps he was only a very simple-minded person, who could bo easily taken in, and was probably deceived by Abel Wynd'o craftily plausible manner. " I think, Heleu," said Mark, "that that man Crayke is not altogether sane. There is a look about his eyes which I seem to recogniw. I have seen something like it in a lunatic asylum." "Keally, Mark!" exclaimed Helen. *' You quite alurm me." "Not that he is at all dangerous," continued the doctor. " I dare say he is harmless enough. Yet—l don't know exactly what it \% but there is something queer and uncanny about him." " Oh ?'' said Helen, " I think he ia only a .little eccentric." " Perhaps so," replied Dr Elliot. And now Mr Crayko had thought proper to take up his rcsideaco with the Musyraves, and pay well for the privilege. " Another instance of his eccentricity, I suppose," thought the doctor. " Well, if old Mus- 1 gravb'j maunderinga don't drive him out 'jf liis wits soon, his brain must bs stronger than I take it to be." However, sano or not, Mr Crayke had become a lodger and boarder at Ede,Q Villa, and had rendered himself a substantial source of profit to tho family. T'a a t \y ag so far good. Whether he would p ro vc able or willing to help Mr Musgra ,- e $„ p av f or his dearly-purchased whist'^ a remained to be seen. Still, all thinf 4 considered, Dr Elliot could not but ad- rt {fc that there was hope iu Mr Oliver Cra yfc e> Next, as regards Fleming. That was a more quostiou. She knew nothing at B ), ou t hj s engagement to Helen. would she say, what would she do.. M ,^ ea Bne cam c to know of it ? Would she Vunply resigu herself to the & nd concea i f ro m Heleu her own u "f°. rtr .Aftte attachment? or would there be 11 disclosure on her part, resulting in } lf *«icn's withdrawal from her service? If 'iihe former, all might bo well; if the latter, then there went one of the main buttresses of Heleu'.s castle in the air. He had hones, yet grave doubts, in this respect. He'was pleaded to sec the growing intimacy between Helen and the fair widow, .and their ever-increasing friendship tended •atrtjtm'y in the direction of his own wishes ■ aud plans. He had not had the moral ■ jourage, he frankly admitted te himself, to speak out more plainly to Mrs Fleming than he had done already, touching the state of hia affections. He had beon interrupted hi Jiis explanation on that day when Mrs Fleming asked him why he did not marry, ■ and he had since shrunk from the task of following it up by a more distinct avowal. Besides, had he not left it to Helen to ■explain the state of affairs; and was it not htbt, ho repeated again and again, that it 3hould come out in that way ? He could he brave enough, if circumstances had called upon him to display his valor. He was the sort of man who could go about his work among tho wounded on a field of battle under heavy tire, without thought of danger to himself; but he was not brave enough to tell a woman who he knew loved him that ho loved someone else, But did Mrs Fleming love him?_ Wasit not only a passing fancy, an impulsive flame fanned by his constant attendance upon her, only a few degrees, perhaps, more warm than the feeling which, he confessed with shame, the sight of that beautiful woman had somewhat excited ior the moment in his own breast? He hoped it was nothing more. He had again ceased to visit her after she had recovered from the shock of her conflict with her daughter about that French novel. Her general health had improved, and she had eeeined to take his second departure with resignation. Perhaps her passion had cooled down by this timo, aud would, sooner or later, expire altogether. Anyhow, he devoutly hoped that it might be so •for her sake, for Helen's sake, and for his .own He resolved to sound Helen on the subject when next they should meet, and he did so. " Well," he asked her, " how go matters •at Mayfair?" " Oh, excellently,"she replied. " Things •could not be better. Una is making great progress, not only in her studies, but as regards her conduct, and I really think I shall render her quite a- blessing to her mother in time." " And Mrs Fleming, how is she?" inquired Mark. " Very well on the whole, A little low aud depressed at times; but a cup of tea and a chat soon seems to revive her spirits, and we often enjoy both of those luxuries together." " Ibesn't want a doctor, eh ?" "She does not ask for one, and is not likely to send for you just now, if that is what you mean." " I am very glad to hear it." "Are you—really ?'' " Yes, really ? why do you ask ?" " I don't know. I thought perhaps that you might mis a the pleasure of the charming widow's society sometimes."

" Perhaps 1 do." "I shouldn't wonder. I dare say you have often said all sorts of pretty things to Mrs Fleming in those cosy tele-u-litcs you used to have with her." "Nover!" exclaimed Mark with unnecessary earnestness, " Did she tell you

so ? "Oh dear no ! But she always seems to speak of you very kindly, quite tenderly, in fact." " ludeod !'' Dr Elliot felt slightly alarmed, but a <dauco at Helen's candid, smiling face, showed him that sho had nothing serious iu her mind, " I am sure," she went on, " that Mrs Fleming likes you very much. She seems to have a great opinion of your skill as a doctor, and not a little personal admiration for you, though I am afraid I am only making you vain by telling you so." " What does she say ?" "Ah, there you aro asking too much. You can't expect me to repeat our confidential conversations." . Mark felt reassured. It was plain that Mrs Fleming could, so far at least, have given Helen no indication of any strong feeling on her part with regard to him. " I suppose," ho said, "she does not yet know that you and I are engaged ? "I believe not," Helen replied. Sho has never hinted to me that she is aware of it, aud of course 1 have said nothing about it."

"Why 'of course'?" i ■,. •„ " Well, it is no business of hers, and it is nut for mo to tell her. It would look hko boasting on my part. 1 could not well say, ' What do you think, Mrs Fleming? lam actually engaged to be married to the great Dr Elliot-fancy that!'" " But you might put it in a less ostentatiou3 way." . . , " Why shonld I ? It will bo time enough to talk about it when we are sure of our --round. I hope for the beat, dear, as you know ; but' there is many a slip, and in any case I would like to be a little moro in timate with Mrs Fleming, more like a real friend—though we are good friends already —before talking with her on so delicate a question. I could not stop short at telling her we are engaged. If I »y tot I. mnrt say mow—much Mrs Fleming*

governess is hardly yet in a position to indulge in such confidence with her." There was much reason iu what Heleu said. Still, it was very provoking. He hoped, he believed, that the widow's fervor had abated ; but he would like to know for certain, and be put out of suspense. Yet what could he do ? If Helen would not take the hints ha had thrown out to hor—hiut3, the motive of which she could not possibly understand-he could not press her more urgently to make the revolution he to much desired. If he did she would ask him why he was so anxious about it, And what could he say then ? So he allowed the subject to drop for the present, and only hoped that tho fact of tho engage;)!•.■.■■t would somehow come out in conversiti.n between Helen and the widow. When it did, be sure he would hear of it. If that which Mark Elliot wished to bring about depended on the growth of the intimacy between his love aud his late patient, matters certainly were progressing very favorably iu Hiat direction. Almost every day Helen seemed to become recognised by Mrs Fleming and her daughter less as a governess and more as a friend. Those occasional interviews with the mother, purely for the discussion of nutters relating to the pupil, were followed before long by pleasant personal chats, in which Una and her lessons and behaviour either formed only a detail, or were not mentioned at all. Sometimes Helen stayed to lunch with Mrs Fleming aud Una, and one day the widow invited her to accompany her and hor daughter in the evening to a theatre, where she had taken a private box. She went with them, and had what was for her a rare treat, not the least enjoyable part of which was to bee the intense interest and delight that the performance—it was that of a romantic drama—excited in Una. " 1 don't think I ought to take Una so much to the theatre, Mis 3 Musgrave," said the widow afterwards. "It makes hor too fond of the stage." "Oh !" replied Helen. " There is no harm in that." "But," pleaded Mrs Fleming, "she is always talking about how she would like to be, an actress, and I should not like that at ull." "Ah !" said Helen, "that is only a child's fancy, just as boys want to bo clowns and acrobats. It wears off as they grow older. There is very little chance, I should think, of Una being tempted to go on the stage." "I hope not, I am sure," sighed the mother. Helen herself knew that her pupil had a strong desire to exhibit her undoubted talent some day behind the footlights ; but with her accustomed tact she made no attempt to oppose it; she only laughed at it, and did what she could by drawing upon her memory of what she had heard and read to deprive tho notion of a theatrical career of its false romance and glitter. " How I should like to play Juliet and Pauline and Lydia Languish, Miss Musgravc !" Una would exclaim with enthusiasm, "and hear the applause and receive those beautiful bouquets, and all that! Wouldn't it be delightful ?" " All, my dear," her governed would answer, " that is all very well. But if you went on the stage, you would probably have to play the parts of servant girls and female peasants' with now aud then a chance of distinguishing yourself as a young lady who has to Bay a dozen words at an evening party, and sit with her hands in her lap while the others talk. That, 1 believe, is what actresses have to do for years and years before they are allowed to play Pauline and Ju'iet." "1 should not like that at all,'' said UIH. " No more should I," replied Helen. All which conversation Una repeated to her mamma, who was very glad to hear it, and thanked Helen warmly for the dexterous way in which she had contrived to " duillusiomy/i" the stage-struck girl. " It is so much better than my way, Miss Musgrave," she said. " When Una talks to me about on tho stage, I tell her it would break my heart if she did. And she Eays she i 3 sure it wouldn't if she were to bo successful and famous; and, of course, what can I say to that ?" In this and many an other way Helen litt!« by little gained the confidence of the widow; but she gained in time another sort of confidence of a more personal character. From chatting about indifferent matters, Mrs Fleming passed to the detaih of her own unhappy married life, and told Helen many a heartrending story of her sufferings in the past, when her dissolute husband was alive, and cruelly ill-treated and neglected her. She spol e of him sadly rather than bitterly; but said that she had never known what happiness was after the first few months of her existence as a wife, aud yet it was happiness that she had dreamed of and longed for with all the ardour of her nature. From the past she came to the present, not all at once, but on different occasions, as the friendship between herself and Helen increased, and she began to speak of her lonely life, her few acquaintances, and her desire for a companion to comfort her and love her. " Well, my dear Mrs Fleming," said Helen, " I am sure you need not despair of obtaining such an advantage, if it be one. I should think you ought to have plenty of admirers, for reasons which it would not be good taste to mention." "Ah, my dear," sighed the widow, "plenty is not one. One would do very well for me." "Lstus hope you will find one then," said Helen, " and that he will be better, very much better, than the first." No more was said on this delicate subject just then, but it was more than once reverted to on subsequent occasions. Somehow it never seemed to occur to Mrs Fleming to ask Helen whether she had any admirer. Perhaps, thought Helen, she considered it not becoming to put such a question to her governess ; but recollecting Mark's words, she would not have been sorry if the widow had put it. However, she did not. But she talked about Dr Elliot, and more and more frequently and more warmly as time went on, and Helen was pleased to hear her lover's praises sounded 30 eloquently Mrs Fleming said not one word that savored of anything more than friendship, admiration, aud gratitudo with regard to the doctor, and Helen's jealousy, as we know, was not easily aroused—in fact, there was no jealousy in her to awaken. She was a very peculiar girl—one in ten thousand, perhaps, in this respect. There are such people in the world, but they are very rare. To hear tho praises of those she loved afforded her an exquisite delight, just as her greatest pleasure was to please others; and she fancied, if she gave the matter a thought, that it would not displease her even to hear that the man she loved had inspired other women with a little—just a little—affection. What her feeling would he if she found that affection at all reciprocated on his part was another question ; but that was a state of things which in Mark's case Bhe could not believe possible. Indeed, she thought very little about such matters at all. She had too much else on her mind to trouble herself with jealous fancies. One day Mrs Fleming and Helen were chatting as usual in the pretty drawing room. Una was not present, being engaged downstairs amusing herself with a novel —not a French one this time. The two ladies were taking a cup of tea, and Helen was dressed for her walk to the house where she had to give her next lesson, but had still a good hour to spare in Mrs Fleming's society. They had talked about various matters, some trifling, some of more importance, and among thq latter was that subject of the widow's lonely condition to which she had so often referred. Later, but with no reference to the last topic, tho conversation drifted to tho subject of Dr Elliot, about whom Mrs Fleming was eloquent, as usual, " I think he has such a noble character, the widow remarked. "There is something so honest, so manly, so brave about him. Yet he can be as gentle and tender as any womam, and I am sure he must be of a very affectionate disposition." Helen would have liked to reply "So he ia," but this would be coming too near delicate ground. Mrs Fleming had an idea that Helen only knew him as a visitor to her father's house in bis medical capacity. She had never deceived her on this point, and had never undeceived her. Mrs Fleming had only asked her how she first came to know Dr Elliot, and una bad replied that it WW when ho attended he* brotbera aud

sister in an attack of scarlatina, and she had asked no more. Helen, as we have said, did not say with rcferenco to Mrs Fleming's last remark about the doctor, " So he is," but observed more cautiously, " I am sure he is," " Oh ! Miss Musgravc," the widow continued, "you can have no idea what Dt Elliot has 'been to me. How I used to lie here when I was ill and suffering—for I really did suffer sometimes—waiting for him, and counting the hours till he came. And his very presence seemed to act upon me as no tonic or stimulant could do. He was always so bright and cheerful aud encouraging. He inspired mo with such confidence that it was a pleasure even to be scolded by him, and to bo ordered to do, or not to do, this or that." Helen liked this. It was a tribute to her lover's character as a doctor which was very gratifying. What a good thing it would be, she thought, if Mrs Fleming would talk in tiiis way to other people who wanted a medical man ! " Then," the widow went on, "how kind and considerate he always was! He seemed to understand me almost instinctively, and adapted his conversation to my every mood. If I was low-spirited, he laughed away my depression ; if I had a nervous headache, he would talk little, and only in a low, soft voice; if I seemed better than usual, and in good spirits, his company was simply delightful." This was not news to Helen. She had heard all about it before from Mark, who had frequently described to her how he had endeavored to amuse his fanciful patient, but she found it interesting to hear an account of these scenes from another point of view. " Yes," she said ; " I suppose Dr Elliot must have been a great comfort to you." " He was, indeed," replied Mrs Fleming; and then sho sighed, and repeated the words, "he was, indeed." She paused for a few moments, as though reflecting; then, looking up, and with burning blushes in her face, she exclaimed : " Oh, Miss Musgravo ! that is the sort of man I would like as a companion-as a husband. ' Helen, a little disconcerted by the warmth of the fair widow's words and manner, said mentally, " I daro say he is," and thought it was a pity, for Mrs Fleming's sake, that there was not another like him, just then available at least. She spoke no word in reply ; in fact, she did not know very well what to say, but awaited Mrs Fleming's next remark with some anxiety.

" With such a man," the widow went or, in a strain of ever-increasing enthusiasm, "1 could be happy more than happy. I should be devoted to him, adore himj hurr »r his every whim, study his every wish and fancy. He could not but love me for the love I would give him, for my whole being would be absorbed in his—l should be not his wife, but hia very slave." As she spoke, Mrs Fleming rose from her recumbent position, and facing Helen, took both her hands in hers. Helen, on her part, now in a state of alarmed surprise, tried to speak, but the excited widow interrupted htc. " Oh, Miss Musgravc !" she cried, "'you, too, have been a good friend to me, a good, dear friend. You have done for my darling child what no other teacher could do ; you have done for her what you can never be rewarded for in money ; but only by Buch gratitude as I feel in my heart. Dear friend dear sister—for I cannot help calling you so—assist me, advise with me what I shall do, for I love " " Mrs Fleming," exclaimed Helen, breaking away from her, "you must not Bpeak to'me in this way—you must not " "I must, 1 ' Mrs Fleming answered; "I must tell you all-I passion itely love that man !"

And the beautiful won in stood there before the girl who loved the man the loved, hor eyes sparkling, her cheeks glowing, her whole frame trembling with the agitation of the passion she had avowed. It was a fearful position for Helen. This sudden revelation astonished and shocked her. She could not speak, her heart stood etill, her face turned pale. Yet never for an instant did she lose her presence of mind, never by a glance or a gesture did she iudicate the feeling of horrified surprise which this painful confession had excited in her heart. She would have remained as calm aud selfpossessed, outwardly at least, if the earth had ofened at her feet or if the dwelling in which she stood had become suddenly enveloped in flames. She needed but a very few moments for reflection, and then at o»ce made up her mind as to the course she should take.

" Pray calm yourself, my dear Mrs Fleming," she said, in her gentlest and most soothing tone. " Sit down, and let us talk this matter over. What you have told me, of course, takes me completely by surprise, and I hardly know what to say to_ you. I cannot answer, I cannot advise with you, in such a matter, until I have had a little time to think." Aud as she spoke, she induced the excited woman to resume her seat on tho sofa, and there Mrs Fleming sat, exhausted by her passionate outburst, and, fortunately for Helen, burying her face in her handkerchief, and giving way to hysterical soba and tears. What could she think ? What waß she to say ? She felt herself placed in a terrible dilemma. Mrs Fleming had avowed her love for Mark Elliot; and she had spoken of his kindncßß, hia tenderness shown towards her during long months of constant and assiduous attendance. Had Mark given that poor woman any encouragement—even the faintest—to foster this fond fancy ? In a moment there flashed through her brainall that he had Eaid of warning to her against the risk to which she was exposing him by delaying their marriage, all thoso hints which he had thrown out to her that he might possibly admire some other woman, all those suggestive questions which she had put so lightly aside, becauso she said she could not be jealous, because she trusted him. Was it possible that there was any deeper meaning in his words ? Was it possible that he had felt some affection for this beautiful, loving woman, and had shown it or expressed it? could not ba. But ould she, dared she, take that for granted, when there before her sat the woman who could tell her the truth in a moment ?

Yet could she, dared she, ask the question ? How, if she were to do so, could she, having elicited from that poor lady the last shred of her heart's Bccret, then turn upon her and say : " This man whom yon love, who has tempted you to love him, is my own affmanced lover V But could she forbear to ask that question, could she repress the eager, burning impulso to ask whether her Mark, her lovor, had encouraged this fond woman to love him ? She hud not been a woman if she had resisted such a temptation. Helen was unselfish indeed, but she would have been a very miracle of unselfishness had she put aside all thought of her own interests in Buch a crisis. So she asked the question. Still speaking in a soft and gentle tone, she said : " Has Dr Elliot given you any reason to think that he—that he shares your feelings V" Th question aroused the widow, and looking Helen in the face, she earnestly exclaimed : "He has. He loves me. I am sure he loves me," " Has he told you so ?'' asked Helen. " Not in plain words," replied Mrs Fleming. "But do you not know, dear Miss Musgrave, that there are looks and hints, a thousand little delicate signs which tell & woman that she is loved ? A man often is more shy in such matters than any girl, and will even try to conceal his passion, careful lest a single word Bhould betray it. He says nothing, and yet you know he loves you. You know it by a certain light in his eyes, a tenderness in his tone, a strange embarrassment that he cannot repress. You feel that he is longing, burning to tell you all that is in his heart, and yet he does not dare to speak." " But," said Helen, "has Dr Elliot said nothing, or done nothing else, to express these feelings ?" "I_l —can hardly say," ropUed the willow, casting her eyes to the ground. " One day, indeed, he gave me a hint, when we happened to be talking about marriage, that he wished for a wife, but that there wbs an obstacle in the way, and—and he 1 spoko of money. Oh ! I knew what he i meant. He ia so proud, so honorable. He ia poor and struggling, and I am rich, and be f&rtf WW »' tfovutt be tWugnt

that he was seeking me for my wealth. Cannot you understand the scruples of such a man ? Those scruples keep ub apirt, yet they bring us nearer together, for I love him all the more because of them." " Besides this hint, Mrs Fleming," asked Helen, " has I)r Elliot given you any other token of his—his affection ':''

" Yes," she replied, blushing more deeply than ever. "At another time I was ill and thought 1 was fainting. Ho had told me he must cease to visit me, He said it was btcauso I had no further need of his services ; but I knew what was the real reason. Then, in agony at the thought of losing him, my brain grew dizzy, and I fell into his arms, and he bent over mo _ with such a look of tenderness and sorrow in his eyes, that I believed in a moment he would tell mo the secret of his heart, Yet he did not. Wo were interrupted, and then he suppressed his feelings and talked of other matters. .So he left me without a word. Then when I sent for him again, his manner was kind, but oh, so cold ! Once more ho was nothing but my doctor, my friend; there was not a touch even of the old tenderness of tone. Yet I know, I feel, he loves me. Oh, dear, dear Miss Musgravc, tell mo wfcat I ehou'd do to win him back to me."

What could Helen say ? She bad allowed this torrent of passionate confession to go on unchecked ; and she felt that she had done wrong in allowing it. Yet she must know all, and here were actual facts of which her lover had never said one word. All this story of that fainting scene was new to her. Mark Elliot had concealed it, while professing to tell her of all that had passed between his patient and himself. " I hardly know what to say, Mrs (<leming," she replied, after a piuse. "I am sorry you have told me all this, and I fear I can be of no use to you in such a matter." " But you know Dr Elliot," pleaded tho widow ; " and you have so much skill and tact. Ifyousee him, could you not give him some delicate hint that I would like to make him happy? I cin say nothing, of course; will you not speak to him for me?''

"Yes," said Helen in a hard, dry tone; "I will speak to him." "Thank you! bless yon!" cried Mrs Fleming, opening her arms as though about to embrace her friend. But Helen retreated a step, and merely shook hands with her employer. The noxt moment she had left the room.

(To be continued.)

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PAID IN HIS OWN COIN., Issue 7940, 22 June 1889, Supplement

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PAID IN HIS OWN COIN. Issue 7940, 22 June 1889, Supplement

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