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When the weather grew colder, Peter's interviews with his beloved were necessarily shorter and rarer. As she steadily refused to meet him after dusk, they had perforce to snatch a few moments at odd times, whenever he could escape from the keeper's company, the trysts becoming ever more irregular as the season advanced. Often, as she stood by his side with the penetrating autumn blast circling round her, while the withered leaves fell in showers to join their sodden comrades of last year which lay dark beneath her feet, often-very oftendid Nathalie reproach Peter for the cruelty which thus exposed her to so much discomfort.

"If you really loved me you would not wish me to suffer," she said to him


And then, Peter, with a sinking heart, promised to be unselfish; and for three whole days his heart went starving for want of her presence.

When next she vouchsafed to meet him he greeted her joyfully.

"I have found a shelter for you," he cried. "A deserted hut-a shooting hut among the firs at the end of the north plantation. Nobody else goes there, and I have made it quite snug for you. Come, let me take you there!"

She acquiesced, shivering; and Peter's face fell as he noted how unwillingly she turned in the direction indicated. But then, how pinched and pale she was! Nurtured as she had been in warm lands, the keen, raw air of the English autumn robbed her no doubt of spirit and elasticity. She was

right; it was barbarous of him to force her to wander in the damp woods when she might at least find comfort by the hearth. Yet how could he ever hope for a favorable answer to that momentous question which was to decide his fate, if they had no opportunities of meeting? And perhaps, after all, when she saw the hutBut when Nathalie glanced round it, it was with an expression of disdain, not to say disgust. Peter had, indeed, swept out the place, and had lit a fire of sticks and fir-cones on the blackened hearthstone; but this well-meant attention had not been happy in its results, for puffs of acrid smoke issued forth every now and then from the mouldering chimney, almost suffocating them.

He had further improvised a bench, which tilted up at every incautious movement. Nathalie laughed sardonically after this had happened once or twice.

"You call this snug!" she exclaimed. "You must have strange ideas of comfort. I wonder," she continued, after a pause, "if you ever do marry, what sort of home you will provide for your future wife?"

Peter began to stammer some inarticulate reply, his heart in his eyes, his hands trembling as he stretched them towards her. If she were his wife, he essayed to say, he would ransack the world for her pleasure.

"Don't let your imagination fly away with you," resumed she drily. "It is not a question of what you would do, but what you could do, You have only your own exertions to depend on-is it not so? And good will does not count for much. What sort of home would yours be? A cottage in the country

with four rooms, and a pig-sty at the back, or else lodgings in a town-furnished lodgings, with somebody else's grease spots on the carpet, and somebody else's scratches in the wall-paper." "Nevertheless, if you loved mebegan Peter.

He broke off, not trusting himself to speak further. His young face was set in harsh, stern lines. Yet it was at such moments as these, if he but knew it, that he came nearest to touching Nathalie's heart.

"I am trying to love you!" she exclaimed, softening. "Should I be here, if I was not? I want to love you," she added with real earnestness.

And then Peter banished resentment, and worshipped as usual with all his soul.

As her birthday drew near, both grew more restless. Nathalie seemed pensive, even sad; she frequently talked of former days, but in a veiled way that awakened curiosity and left him mystified.

Once she said: "I almost wish I had not promised to give you your answer on my birthday; I hate my birthdaynow, though I used to love it. I was so much spoilt-it was a regular feast for me. I used to have so many presents, and flowers! Such flowers! When I woke in the morning I found great bunches of them waiting for me. well!"

She sighed.


"Are you so fond of the good things of life?" inquired he, a little roughly.

"I am fond of good things," she replied imperturbably; "and of other things, too, that are perhaps not good. But this birthday-what will it bring me? Middle age-at twenty-six one is no longer in one's first youth-and gray skies and cold winds, and a cross, frowning lover. If you could see yourself now, and what a fierce face you make! Bah! I wonder I do not send you away once and for ever!"

"But you will not send me away, Nathalie?" he pleaded, all gentleness again, all palpitating hope.

Then Nathalie, with a little laugh, promised she would wait a little.

Peter acted on the hint she had unintentionally given him, and wrote to London for a box of flowers which cost him his week's wages. Very early on the morning of the great day he despatched Prue to the big house with instructions to obtain access to the younger Miss Manvers by some means or other, and lay his gift before her.

He waited eagerly for her return, and sa w with joy that she came back empty-handed.

"Well," he cried as she drew near, "she took my flowers?"

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Yes, she took them," answered the girl, who looked disturbed, and by no means elated.

"Go on-what did she say?"

"She was in bed," returned Prue, still without enthusiasm; "but she sat up in a minute when I came in, and she cried out with joy when she opened the box.” "Well?" he queried impatiently, as she paused.

"She turned over the flowers, and smelt them, and kissed them; her cheeks were quite red, and she clapped her hands, and she kept calling out in some queer foreigner's talk."

"But didn't you tell her they came from me?" interrupted Peter.

"She looked up at me all at once," narrated Prue, "quite surprised, I think, to find me standing there, and she asked me who I was, and I said I was 'Keeper Meadway's maid,' and then she looked back at me sharp: 'Where did these flowers come from?' she asked. So then I told her what you did bid me to say, Mr. Hounsell, 'From one who loves you." And she looked at me still with her eyes shining, and her lips parted as if she wanted me to say something more, so I said: 'Can't you guess, miss?' So then she said:

'But how do you come to bring them?' So I thought maybe she was vexed at my knowing anything about it, and I said: 'He lodges in our house, you know, miss.' And then she dropped back on her pillows and looked at me a long time, silent-like, and then she sighed. 'Poor fellow!" she said, 'he is very faithful. It was a kind thought.' And she took a ribbon from the table near her and gave it to me, and I came away."

"That's all right," cried Peter joyously. "You are a splendid little messenger-you remember every word. What was it she said, Prue. Tell me again?"


"He is very faithful! "' repeated Prue, in a monotonous voice. "'It was a kind thought.' Yes, and she said she thanked you from her heart."

"Did she?" cried the lad, his face irradiated.

"I think mother wants me now," said Prue, turning towards the house.

She walked very sedately till she reached the kitchen, and then, finding herself alone, gave vent to her feelings. She stamped her small foot and shook her fist; and drawing from her pocket a length of delicate blue ribbon she threw it into the fire, poking it down viciously amid the coals. After this outburst she became pensive, and stood for a moment or two looking sorrowfully down at the hearth; presently she shook her head with a deep sigh.

"It's too bad," said Prue, "it really is too bad."

The fifteenth of November fell that year on a Saturday, at which Peter rejoiced, for he found himself free in the afternoon.

He waited long, however, at the entrance to the hut before Nathalie made her appearance; and when, at last, he saw her coming, he did not dare to go and meet her.

Without greeting him, she at once entered the hut, walking gingerly on


the uneven floor. The fire brightly that day, emitting a pleasant resinous odor; and she drew near to it, stretching out her hands, and shivering as if cold.

Peter came up to her, fixing her with his eager gaze; but she did not glance at him.

"It is to be 'No' I suppose?" he exclaimed at length, jerking out the words in a choked voice.

Then Nathalie straightened herself and looked at him.

"On the contrary," she said, with a faint smile, "it is to be 'Yes.'"

He could hardly believe his ears; the revulsion of feeling was so great that he positively reeled, and leaned for a moment against the wall to steady himself.

"You really mean it?" he cried at last. "You are not playing with me? You will let me let me hope?" She nodded.

"Then there is nothing I cannot do!" he cried exultingly. "You will seeyou will see! I'll work, I'll slave! You shall have a home that you need not disdain, my queen! Do not be afraid, I am strong-I have all the strength of the world, I believe-here and here!"

He touched first his head and then his breast with a quavering laugh. He was beside himself-drunk with joy.

"Oh," he cried, "that you should stoop to me! You-you!"

He fell on his knees beside her, pouring out incoherent words. She stepped back, shuddering, and then Peter leaped to his feet again.

"I am frightening you," he said, in an altered voice; "don't be afraid, love. I can control myself. See, I am quite calm now. But you must have a little pity on me-I am like a thirsty man who has come at last in sight of water. Sweetheart, since you are to be my wife, why should you hold me off?

You have played with me so often-let me feel sure of you for once!"

His arm was stealing round her now, his face was bent to hers; but Nathalie shivered again. Gazing at him with eyes wide with horror, almost with hatred, she stretched ont both her hands and thrust him from her.

"I can't!" she cried, almost with a scream. "Oh, my God, I can't! What was I thinking of! How could I give such a promise? Keep off-or I shall die with loathing!"

The admonition was needless; Peter had already fallen back, and stood with his arms hanging stiffly by his side, as one transfixed.

"I can't do it," she went on moaningly. "You mustn't be angry-I tried, indeed, I tried. But now I know-I can't!"

"There is somebody else," said Peter; his lips were so dry that the words were scarcely intelligible, but she heard them, and averted her head.

"You may as well own up," he went on, making a strong effort to regain command of himself; "I know it without your telling me, but I must hear the whole story. Who is the man?"

"You wouldn't know- -" she began falteringly.

"I choose to know, though," interrupted he, catching at the words.

"His name is Ralph Cheverill," she said, almost in a whisper. "I met him two years ago at Monte Carlo. A young Englishman-we met often. Afterwards he followed us, my cousin and I, to Switzerland."

"Why did you not marry him?" queried Peter as she paused.

She laughed bitterly.

"He said he loved me, but-well, it was not convenient to him to marry a penniless girl. His family was a great one, but he was a younger son; he was in a smart regiment, though he called

himself a poor man-he had been accustomed all his life to everything that wealth can give ease, pleasure, luxury -he didn't see fit to give up these things for me."

"Yet you love him still?" said Peter, his lips writhing in a very strange smile.

"I love him still!" she owned defiantly. "Heavens! yes," she added with gathering passion, "I love him-I will always love him. I cannot tear him from my heart. I cannot forget him, though he has made my life a torture to me."

"And you! What have you done with my life?" broke out Peter violently. "I wonder I don't kill you as you stand there bragging of your love for another man. And I-I-oh, my God, I thought I was the first!"

"Kill me and welcome!" cried she, gazing up, without blanching, into his glaring eyes. "Put me out of my misery-it will be a boon. I have no fear of death."

"No, you only fear love-my love," he groaned. And, turning from her, and leaning his arms against the wall, he hid his face in them.

She went towards him, trembling in spite of her brave words.

"Oh, Peter, forgive me," she faltered, "I did want to love you-all my life I have always craved for love. Nobody else cares a snap of their fingers for me-I knew you were good and true

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clasping and unclasping her hands nervously; then she gently touched his

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ginning, when he shook her off and turned upon her fiercely.

"No!" he cried; and thrusting her she was be- from him he left her. (To be continued.)


To turn from the "Agamemnon" and the "Antigone" to "Nero" is to pass from the shades of dead princes to their figures in waxwork. We do not feel any real terror or pity or awe in the presence of "Nero" and "Agrippina"; what strikes us is the spectacular effect. The fault lies primarily with the audience, which would not endure a vital and convincing tragedy. Classical plays are still admitted because tradition has authorized them, and we should own ourselves wanting in good taste if we questioned them. But if the "Antigone" and "Electra" or "Hamlet" and "Lear" were for the first time offered to a modern public, no manager would risk accepting them, no cultured audience would stand the strain on their nerves, and no reviewer would hesitate to condemn such revelations of human agony. As it is, these resuscitated plays do not overwhelm us, partly because we are famliar with the themes, but chiefly because we can only superficially realize them. There is in the dramatis personæ something remote from our own times and our own natures. Some tones, indeed, immortally human, speak to us even out of the bye-gone world of Hellas, but they reach us rather as echoes than as a voice from the living. The motives, the methods and the actions of Greek drama belong to the past. The characters and their fates inhabit the regions of poetry and myth. We have continually to suppress our sense of possibilities if we conceive of them as

fashioned of the same elements as ourselves. The crime of Atreus in banqueting his brother Thyestes on the limbs of his children is the motive that underlies the trilogy of Eschylus, and the unwitting error of Edipus in marrying his own mother supplies the trilogy of Sophocles. To the modern mind these causes seem too outrageous to excite the least thrill of horror. But it was not so with the audience for whom they were created. The Greeks had passed abruptly from the Homeric stage of thought and feeling to one of high intellectual development. Their religion still preserved the crude materials of savage faith. And the Greeks formed only small isolated city-states, surrounded on all sides by morally barbaric Macedonians, Orientals and Egyptians, amongst whose princes unnatural sins and violent deeds were not uncommon. To the Athenians these tragedies must have been incomparably more moving than they can ever be to us, because they violated no sense of reality. But we are obliged to ignore the central purpose before we can be touched by the remnant that is still conceivable, the wrath and misery of the blind, exiled king, the grief and sacrifice of Antigone. In reading the Prometheus, no religious sentiment exalts our sympathy for the beneficent God, no awe amazes us at his defiance of Zeus.

The Elizabethans are by several grades of feeling nearer to us than the Greeks are. Life had widened in their

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