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I looked at her face. It was perfectly simple and serious, without a sign of having intended a witticism in it anywhere. Repressing a smile at the odd, but, as it appeared, fortuitous, conjunction of names, I said:

"Would it be an impertinence to ask what name you have exchanged for that of Thorne? I may know some branch of your family."

66

My name was Dorn-Daisy Dorn."

"A dainty name for a dainty lady," I thought, but not aloud. Truth to tell, I did not seem to " get on " with Rick's wife. The child-like sweetness and simplicity of her manner was slightly iced with a hauteur that seemed absurdly out of place there. It occurred to me, finally, that the congelation might be due to her knowledge of Rick's former sentiment toward me, and I 99 "Racer gave to trot faster.

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Not until I drove through the great gate of Bryer Farm did I realize what an awkward mission had been forced upon me to bring home Rick's unheralded, unlooked-for bride; and Rick himself-nobody knew where. I sent an anxious glance down the long vista of the road, but he was not in sight.

“Will you go in ?" I asked, hoping, and, indeed, fully expecting, that the small creature beside me would beg to remain in the carriage until he should appear; but she only put forth her fairy-foot, and alighted, as easily as a bird might have done, on the porch. And Miss Bryer, warned of my arrival by some domestic scout, was already opening the door, with the pair of idiots at her back. Not until she had ushered us into the parlor, and cast several curious, questioning glances at my companion, did I venture upon an explanation. Taking Mrs. Rick's hand in mine, in the belief that a friendly, sympathizing touch would be helpful to her in her trying position, I said:

"Miss Bryer, I bring a new claimant for your love. Rick expected to have had the pleasure of presenting her

to you himself, but a provoking, though harmless, accident has detained him on the way hither. He is quite well, and will soon be here. Meantime, he sends you, by my hands, his wife."

"Hands his wife! hands his wife!" echoed the halfwits, rapturously. Miss Bryer seemed turned to stone..

"Who's there?" suddenly called Dr. Bryer's harsh voice from the farther door. And after a moment he added, impatiently, "Thunder and lightning! why don't you answer?"

Thus adjured, Miss Bryer found tremulous voice. "I don't know-I believe-Miss Frost says it's Rick's wife."

"Rick's knife," said the old man, sharply, "he's always losing something. Did that young woman find it? Oh! there's Miss Corse. How do you do, madam?"

I threw a compassionate glance at the bride, whose home-coming was so strange and so forlorn. Her expression confounded me. Its innocent serenity was undisturbed she stood looking on as at a spectacle in which she had no concern. Yet, for one brief instant, I seemed to catch a swift gleam of the eyes, a slight compression of the lips, indicating that she was not so totally unmoved as she appeared. I seemed to discover that the glances sped sidewise from under her long eyelashes, were cool, keen, subtle, comprehensive; noting every detail of the scene, penetrating the thoughts and analyzing the character of every actor therein. I seemed to see that she was at once observant, amused, contemptuous, and guarded.

I say, seemed,-for, the next moment, meeting her clear, childlike eyes turned full upon me, I felt that I had been under a delusion.

"I am sorry Carrie is not in," said Miss Bryer, addressing her new niece, in a trembling voice and with evident effort; "she would make it more pleasant for you. She would not be so much overcome by-" The quivering voice broke down completely.

“Then Carrie did not go with her mother," said I, thinking that the conversation would flow more smoothly on the level of the commonplace.

"No: she is only gone to one of the neighbors. I expect her in, every minute."

The information settled a difficulty for me. Since meeting with Rick Thorne, I had been disturbed by a suspicion that it was my duty to make him acquainted with the cause and object of Mrs. Thorne's journey to New Orleans, and the discovery of Cyrus Thorne's daughter; and so save him from the trying alternations of elation and disappointment which had befallen his mother. But it was not a pleasant task to tell a newly made bridegroom, in the presence of his bride, that his expectations of future wealth were cut off; neither was it a moment to ask for a private interview. The thought of Carrie made my way clear before me: I determined to tell her the facts, and leave her to communicate them to Rick.

It happened that the brother and sister met at the gate, and walked up the lane together. His story was told, therefore, and her surprise partly over, before they joined us. Their coming was a relief to us all. Rick was so easy, gay, and unembarrassed, and Carrie so unaffectedly glad of a sister-in-law, that the atmosphere grew light and bright at once.

Very soon, I drew Carrie aside. She listened to my statement with a gentle surprise.

"Mother did not tell me that she felt at all certain about it," said she, simply. "She only said that there was a little more hope of Rick's getting the property."

I was unfeignedly glad to hear it. I trusted that reflec tion had made Mrs. Thorne somewhat less sanguine, and that the edge of her disappointment might be proportionably blunted.

Charging Carrie to put Rick in possession of the whole story, before he chanced to hear the first part of it only from any other quarter, I took my leave.

XXXV.

A VISIT TO THE CITY.

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HE next morning, I started for New York, tak ing Ruth Winnot with me. Thus it came

about.

Ruth's progress in music has more than justified my anticipations. Exercises and studies that were Hills of Difficulty and Sloughs of

Despond to me, in the earlier stages of my musi

cal pilgrimage, she cleared almost at a bound. I was delighted, and told her so frankly, even enthusiastically. By and by, she grew careless. Content to read almost by instinct and to execute easily, she neglected to understand how and wherefore she did so. The faint dawning of conceit showed itself, not directly manifested to me, but by many subtile channels of look and tone. I had praised her too much and made her way too easy.

Then, without preparation or warning, I threw her into the thick of musical difficulties. I brought forth my old, grand songs and interminable studies, sang some of them to her, and gave her a lesson upon one or two others. She began in confidence and ended in confusion. She blundered and floundered through her hours of practice, and came to her lesson with a most dissatisfied and anxious face. She received plenty of criticism, and no word of praise. The criticism was repeated, in nearly the same words, at every succeeding lesson. At the fourth repetition, Ruth's head went down upon the piano, and sobs brake forth. I inquired, composedly enough, what was the matter?

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