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in the affairs of a young lady with whom he was outwardly, at any rate, on the terms of merest acquaint


"It was very kind of you to think so much about me," said Augusta gently. "I had no idea that you would call again, or I would have left word where I was going."

"Well, thank Heaven you are safe and sound, at any rate," answered Eustace; and then, with a sudden burst of anxiety, "you are not going back to New Zealand just yet, are you?"

"I don't know. I am rather sick of the sea at present."

"No, indeed, she is not," said Lady Holmhurst; "she is going to stop with me and Dick. Miss Smithers saved Dick's life, you know, when the nurse, poor thing, had run away. And now, dear, you had better tell Mr. Meeson about the will."

"The will. What will?" asked Eustace.

"Listen, and you will hear."

And Eustace did listen with open eyes and ears while Augusta, getting over her shyness as best she might, told the whole story of his uncle's death, and of the way in which he had communicated his testamentary wishes.

"And do you mean to tell me," said Eustace, astounded, "that you allowed him to have his confounded will tattooed upon you?"

"Yes," answered Augusta, "I did; and, what is more, Mr. Meeson, I think that you ought to be very much obliged to me; for I daresay that I shall often be sorry for it."

I am very much obliged," answered Eustace. "I had

no right to expect such a thing, and, in short, I do not know what to say. I should never have thought that any woman was capable of such a sacrifice for for a comparative stranger."

Then came another awkward pause.

"Well, Mr. Meeson," said Augusta at last, rising brusquely from her chair, "the document belongs to you, and so I suppose that you had better see it. Not that I think that it will be of much use to you, however, as I see that 'probate had been allowed to issue,' whatever that may mean, of Mr. Meeson's other will."

"I do not know that that will matter," said Eustace, "as I heard a friend of mine, Mr. Short, who is a barrister, talk about some case the other day in which probate was revoked on the production of a subsequent will."

"Indeed!" answered Augusta, "I am very glad to hear that. Then perhaps, after all, I have been tattooed to some purpose. Well; I suppose you had better see it," and with a gesture that was half shy and half defiant, she drew off the lace shawl, and turned her back towards him so that he might see what was inscribed across it.

Eustace stared at the broad line of letters, which, with the signatures written underneath, might mean a matter of two millions of money to him.

"Thank you," he said at last, and, taking up the shawl, he threw it over her again.

"If you will excuse me for a few minutes, Mr. Meeson," interrupted Lady Holmhurst at this point; "I have to go and see about the dinner," and before Augusta could interfere she had left the room.

Eustace closed the door behind her, and turned, feeling

instinctively that a great crisis in his fortunes had come. There are some men who rise to an emergency, and some who shrink from it, and the difference is that difference between the man who succeeds and the man who fails in life, and in all which makes life worth living.

Eustace belonged to the class that rises, and not to that which shrinks.



UGUSTA was leaning against the marble mantelpiece-indeed, one of her arms was resting upon it, for she was a tall woman. Perhaps she, too, felt that there was something in the air; at any rate, she turned away her head, and began to play with a bronze Japanese lobster which adorned the mantelpiece.

"Now for it," said Eustace to himself, drawing a long breath, to try and steady the violent pulsation of his heart.

"I don't know what to say to you, Miss Smithers," he began.

"Best say nothing more about it," she put in quickly. "I did it, and I am glad that I did it. What do a few marks matter if a great wrong is prevented thereby? I am not ever likely to have to go to court. Besides, Mr. Meeson, there is another thing: it was through me that you lost your inheritance; it is only right that I should try to be the means of bringing it back to you."

She dropped her head again, and once more began to play with the bronze lobster, holding her arm in such a fashion that Eustace could not see her face. But if he could not see her face she could see his in the glass, and narrowly observed its every change, which, on the whole, though natural, was rather mean of her.

Poor Eustace grew pale and paler yet, till his handsome countenance became positively ghastly. It is wonderful how frightened young men are the first time that they propose. It wears off afterwards-with practice one gets accustomed to anything.

"Miss Smithers-Augusta," he gasped, "I want to say something to you!" and he stopped dead.

"Yes, Mr. Meeson," she answered cheerfully, "what is it?"

"I want to tell you"-and again he hesitated.

"What you are going to do about the will?" suggested Augusta.

"No-no; nothing about the will-please don't laugh at me and put me off!

She looked up innocently—as much as to say that she never dreamed of doing either of these things. She had a lovely face, and the glance of her grey eyes quite broke down the barrier of his fears.

"Oh, Augusta, Augusta," he said, "don't you understand? I love you! I love you! No woman was ever loved before as I love you. I fell in love with you the very first time I Meeson's, when I had the you; and ever since then I

in love with you.

saw you in the office at row with my uncle about have got deeper and deeper When I thought that you were

drowned it nearly broke my heart, and often and often

I wished that I were dead too!"

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