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Lord sets us to find anybody's fortune in our garret, I hope it'll be our own!"

"Fortune," observed Uncle True, "is a word I ain't partial to. It's so apt to get a 'mis' tacked on to the fust end on't afore you know it! If the Lord ever uses it— which I doubt,-I'm sartin He never applies it to houses, nor lands, nor bank-stock. I reckon your an' my fortunes, Priscilly, 'll never be found in the garret, unless we take to keepin' our Bibles an' sayin' our prayers thar!"

That afternoon, I sent the address of Paola Valpino, so unexpectedly obtained from the artist, to Mrs. Thorne; and felt that my part in the affair was ended.

XXXIV.

DAISY.

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N the following day Mrs. Thorne left for New Orleans. I told myself frankly that I was glad she had gone. There are some natures the association with which tends inevitably to debasement, a lowering of the moral tone, and a darkening or obliquation of the moral vision. It must be a strong mind, a

tenacious idiosyncrasy, a most alert and unyielding will, that can long endure their contact without deterioration. I had learned to dread Mrs. Thorne's. There was some dull, remote chord in my heart that seldom failed to acknowledge the subtle power of her influence, by giving forth a harsh and discordant sound. I breathed freer therefore, in knowing that influence would be felt no more. The temporary twisting of our life-threads was over; hereafter each would be spun separately to its end. She would not return to Shiloh until after my departure; or she would only come to gather up such of her personal effects as were worthy of transferring to another and a different sphere.

Four or five days afterward, Mr. Divine having kindly placed the "woman-horse" (the current phrase for an animal suited to feminine use), and the small top-buggy (a recent purchase), at my disposal, I set forth alone, purposing to call upon Mrs. Danforth, shop a little at Clay Corner, and visit the railway station in search of a package of. music, etc., to be sent me by express.

Mrs. Danforth came first in order. After we had discussed various affairs of the Sewing Society, and arranged for a full report of its acts,—to be read at the next meeting, as the speediest and most effectual way of causing certain grumblers to regale themselves in the fashion known as "eating one's own words,”—the stream of her talk began to eddy around various points of personal or family history, of no special interest to me. I waited absently, therefore, for a gap in the narrative through which I might civilly take my leave, when a name, carelessly tossed upon its sur face, caught my attention.

"I beg your pardon, but of whom were you just now speaking?"

"Of Chester Danforth, my husband's brother.".

A fac-simile of that illegible name in Captain Hart's manuscript, stereotyped on my memory by a long process of patient study, instantly rose before me. DanforthChester Danforth! certainly; how blind I was not to have seen it before!

"Do you know if he was ever in the south of Italy?"

I asked.

"To be sure he was, as we have sorrowful cause to remember. He lost his only child there by the malarial fever."

"Ah, indeed! how very sad!" returned I, mechanically, too intent upon my own train of thought to give much heed or sympathy to the event. "Did you ever hear of his having taken an orphan girl under his charge at La Pizzo!"

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Why, yes, of course. It was Pearl-more's the pity!"

"And she died soon after at Sondrio ?"

"Died! good gracious, no! She is very much alive— rather too much so, all things considered!"

My surprise verged upon incredulity. "Do I under, stand you to say," I asked, with very distinct and deliber

ate emphasis, "that the orphan girl of whom Mr. Chester Danforth took charge at La Pizzo, in the year 18-, lived, and is still alive?"

"Exactly," replied she, nodding her head. "She is called Pearl Danforth, and I have the inappreciable honor to be her aunt by adoption. Chester failed in every attempt to find out her relatives; and was glad to fail, I suppose, for he and his wife had become so attached to her in the year and a half that they had her with them in Europe, that it would have been like losing a second child to have given her up. So, finally, they adopted her formally—a hazardous proceeding, I think, with a strange child, for you cannot tell what sort of blood it may have in its veins, nor in what unpleasant shape it may manifest itself. Pearl, certainly, has some very queer drops in hers. She grew up a strange, self-willed, erratic creature, as innocent to outward appearance as a child, but in reality as cool and subtle and slippery as quicksilver. Chester had hard work to keep her in order, at the last; and after he died, her mother-that is to say, Chester's wife-could not control her at all; since then she has taken her own course pretty much. She consorts chiefly with spirit-rappers, clairvoyants, short-skirted Bloomerites, long-haired philanthropists, and the like; she even professes to be a remarkably good medium (of the Old Nick, I grant!) herself, and can tip tables and spell out unmeaning sentences by the slow halfyard with the best of them, when she likes; in short, she is up to all manner of mischief, and keeps her poor mother in constant dread of what she may do next."

"Can you tell where she may be found?"

"Well, no, not precisely; nobody ever does know just where Pearl is to be found-the most unlikely spot you can think of is apt to be the one. Nevertheless, there is no difficulty in finding her when you want her; she is the sort of person easy to be traced. She always leaves a dozen or two of dazed individuals along her track, staring after her,

open-mouthed and bewildered, and only too glad to get a listener to all the strange things they have to tell of her. But what, may I ask, do you know of her, or of Chester?"

I hastily turned the matter over in my mind, and decided that it was necessary to acquaint Mrs. Danforth with the finding and the contents of Captain Hart's letter, which I did as briefly as possible. She threw up her hands, when I had done, with an odd, deprecatory gesture.

"So the little witch is to be an heiress, and more independent than ever!" exclaimed she. "Between you and me, a fortune could scarcely have tumbled into a more preposterous spot. Don't you think we should be justified in suppressing the fact of Pearl's identity with Cyrus Thorne's supposed-to-be-dead child, and leaving Rick and Carrie in the enjoyment of the property? I really believe they have the best right to it."

I scarcely heard her. I was picturing Mrs. Thorne's disappointment, and striving to look a little way into the dusk of her children's future.

"I see we are to do right, though the heavens fall,” laughed Mrs. Danforth, construing my silence into disapproval of her mock-earnest proposition. "Well, then, it becomes my duty to inform Pearl of this odd turn in her affairs; and you, I suppose, will do as much for Mrs. Thorne."

The suggestion was like the firm grasp of a policeman upon an escaped convict's shoulder. It. was a positive despair to be thus forced back into a distasteful atmosphere, just as I was congratulating myself upon breathing it no more; and into a new and inauspicious connection with an affair that I had believed to be, so far as I was concerned, happily concluded. And Mala did not scruple to question the wisdom of the providence by which I was alternately made to appear as the good and the evil genius of a person with whom I should be best pleased to have nothing to do.

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