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"We can still be friends," she faltered.

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"Oh, no," he answered, with another laugh; "that is an exploded 1 notion. Friendship of that nature is not very safe under any circum- stances, certainly not under these. The relationship is antagonistic to the facts of life, and the friends, or one or other of them, will drift either into indifference and dislike, or- something warmer. You are a novelist, Miss Smithers; perhaps some day you will write a book to explain' why people fall in love where their affection is not wanted, and what purpose their distress' can possibly serve. And now, once more, good-bye!" and he lifted her hand to his lips and gently kissed it, and then, with a bow, turned and went.

From all of which it will be clearly seen that Mr. Tombey was decidedly a young man above the average, and one who took punishment 2 very well. Augusta looked after him, sighed deeply, and even wiped away a tear. Then she turned and walked aft, to where Lady Holmhurst was sitting chatting to the captain and enjoy'ing the balmy southern air, through which the great ship was rushing with outspread' sails like some huge white bird. As she came up, the captain made his bow and went, saying that he had something to see to, and for a minute Lady Holmhurst and Augusta were left alone. "Well, Augusta ?" said Lady Holmhurst, for she called her "Augusta"

now.

"Well, Lady Holmhurst!" said Augusta.

"And what have you done with that young man, Mr. Tombeythat very nice young man ?" she added with emphasis.

"I think that Mr. Tombey went forward," said Augusta.

The two women looked at each other, and, womanlike, each understood what the other meant. Lady Holmhurst had not been altogether innocent in the Tombey affair.

"Lady Holmhurst," said Augusta, taking the bull by the horns, "Mr. Tombey has been speaking to me, and has--"

1) To explode a thing is to cause it to burst, to go to pieces violently, to be destroyed; fig. to cause to disappear', go out of fashion, as to explode a notion, a doctrine, a fashion.

2) Punishment here means the pain, the suffering inflict'ed by disappoint'ment.

"Proposed' to you," sug(g)est'ed Lady Holmhurst, admiring the Southern Cross through her eye-glasses. "You said he went forward', you know."

"Has proposed to me," answered Augusta, ignô'ring the little joke. "I regret," she went on hurriedly, "that I have not been able to fall in with Mr. Tombey's plans. 2"

"Ah!" said Lady Holmhurst; "I am sorry, for some things. Mr. Tombey is such a nice young man, and so very gentlemanlike. I thought that perhaps it might suit your views, and it would have simplified your future arrangements. But, of course, while you are in New Zealand, I shall be able to see to them. By the way, it is understood that you come to stay with us for a few months at Government House, before you hunt up 3 your cousin.”

"You are very good to me, Lady Holmhurst," said Augusta, `with something like a sob.

"Suppose, my dear," answered the great lady, laying her little hand upon Augusta's beautiful hair, "that you were to drop the 'Lady Holmhurst' and call me 'Bessie'? It sounds so much more so'ciable, you know, and, besides', it is shorter, and does not waste so much breath."

Then Augusta sobbed outright, for her nerves were shaken: "You_ don't know what your kindness means to me," she said; “I have never had a friend, and since my darling died I have been so very lonely!"

1) Lady H. uses went forward in the sense of made advances, not in the literal sense in which Miss S. applies it.

2) To fall in with a person's plans is to approve of them and act in compliance with them.

3) To hunt up a person is to try to find him.

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CHAPTER VII.

THE CATASTROPHE.

AND SO these two fair women talked, making plans for the future as though all things endured' for ever, and all plans were destined to be realised. But even as they talked, somewhere up in the high heavens the Voice that rules the world spoke a word, and the Messenger of Fate rushed forth to do its bidding 2. On board the great ship were music and läughter and the sweet voices of singing women; but above it hung a pall 3 of doom. Not the most timid heart dreamed of danger. What danger could there be aboard' of that grand ship, which sped across the waves with the lightness and confidence of the swallow? There was naught to fear. A prosperous voyage was drawing to its end, and mothers put their babes to sleep with as sure a heart as though they were on solid English ground. Oh! surely, when his overflowing load of sorrows and dire mĭseries was mēted 4 out to man, some gentle Spirit pleaded for him—that he should not have foresight added to the tale, that he should not see the falling knife or hear the water lapping that one day shall entömb him? Or, was it kept back because man, having knowledge, would be man without reason?-for terror would make him mad, and he would end his fears by hurrying their fulfil'ment! At least, we are blind to the future, and let us be thankful for it. Presently Lady Holmhurst got up from her chair, and said that she was going to bed, but that, first of all, she must kiss Dick, her little boy, who slept with his nurse in another căbin. Augusta

1) At the very same moment.

2) Bidding is from to bid, meaning to command. To do one's bidding is to obey one's command.

3) A pall is a square cloth made of black velvet, thrown over a coffin, when it is carried to the grave. Here it is used fig. to denote' the fearful danger threatening the vessel.

4) To mete is ob'solete for to measure; it is still used in a fig. sense, synonymous with dole out. Observe' tale (lower down), in connection with it. See p. 11, note 7.

Mr. Meeson's Will.

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rose and went with her, and they both kissed the sleeping child, a bonny boy of five, and then they kissed each other and separated for the night.

Some hours afterwards, Augusta woke up, feeling very restless. For an hour or more she lay thinking of Mr. Tombey and many other things, and listening to the swift "lap, lap" of the water as it slipped past the vessel's sides, and the occasional tramp of the watch as they set fresh sails. At last her feeling of unrest became too much for her, and she rose and partially, very partially, dressed herself for in the gloom she could only find her flannel vest1 and petticoat - twisted her long hair in a coil round her head, put on a.... hat and a thick ulster that hung upon the door-for they were running into chilly lătitudes-and slipped out on deck.

It was growing towards dawn, but the night was still dark. Looking up, Augusta could only just make out the outlines of the huge bellying sails, for the Kangaroo was rushing along before the westerly wind under a full head of steam, and with every .. inch of her canvas set to ease the screw 2. There was something very exhilarating about the movement, the freshness of the night, and the wild sweet song of the wind as it sang amongst the rigging 3. Augusta turned her face towards it, and, being alone, stretched out her arms as though to catch it. The whole scene awoke some answering greatness in her heart: something that slumbers in the bosoms of the higher race of human beings, and only stirs-and then but faintly-when the passions move them, or when Nature communes' with her nobler children. She felt that at that moment she could write as she had never written yet. All sorts of beautiful ideas, all sorts of aspirations after that noble calm, and purity of thought and life for which we pray and long, but are not allowed' to reach, came

1) Vests are garments made of flannel, cotton or some other material and are worn next to the skin. In the United States and by tailors the word is used for waistcoat.

2) To ease the screw is to facilitate the working of the screw-propeller, to lessen the strain put upon it by the speed of the ship. This was done by setting all the sails, every inch of canvas.

3) Rigging is the collective name for the ropes on board a ship, used for supporting the masts or for working the sails. The former are called standing rigging, the latter running rigging.

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flowing into her heart. She almost thought that she could hear her lost Jeannie's voice calling down the gale, and her strong imagination began to paint her hovering like a sea-bird upon white wings high above the mainmast's taper 2 point, and gazing through the darkness into the soul of her she loved. Then, by those faint and imperceptible degrees' with which ideas fade one into another 3, from Jeannie her thought got round to Eustace Meeson. She wondered if he had ever called at the lodgings at Birmingham after she left? Somehow, she had an idea that she was not altogether indifferent to him; there had been a look in his eyes she did not quite understand. She almost wished now that she had sent him a line or a message. Perhaps she would do so from New Zealand.

Just then her meditations were interrupt'ed by a step, and, turning round, she found herself face to face with the captain.

"Why, Miss Smithers!" he said, "what on earth are you doing here at this hour-making up romänces?"

"Yes," she answered, laughing, and with perfect truth. "The fact of the matter is, I could not sleep, so I came on deck: and very pleasant it is!"

"Yes," said the captain, "if you want something to put into your stories you won't find anything better than this. The Kangaroo is showing her heels 4, isn't she, Miss Smithers? That's the beauty of her, she can sail as well as steam; and when she has a strong wind like this abaft, it would have to be something very quick that could catch her. I believe that we have been running over seven'teen'

1) Down is often used to denote motion along with; e. g. to swim down a stream, to float down a river.

2) A taper is originally a small thin wax-candle, hence a thing gradually becoming narrower towards the top, as the taper of a spire. The mast became thinner towards the point.

3) Things fade when they grow weak or löse their freshness, so that they may gradually disappear. One idea slowly vănished and was replaced by another.

4) Showing one's heels is fleeing, running away from; here it means that the ship was going at full speed.

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