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THE PROFESSOR'S WIFE. .

CHAPTER I.

“ And yet these blottings chronicle a life-
A whole life-mine."

Paracelsus.

A FLY stood already packed before the door of the pretty little parsonage of Rockworthy: the last bag was being handed in, while the grey-haired, bright-eyed master of the house was playfully releasing himself from the energetic embraces of his niece.

“ Come, come, Beatrice, my dear; indeed, you must go. The train will not wait for you.”

And if I miss it, so much the better; I should come back so much the sooner, Uncle Gerald.”

“For shame! and put out your aunt's dinnertable; a fine beginning! There, go, my dear. Write to me when you can, but don't make a conscience of me.”

“Promise not to send the proof-sheets finally till I come back." “I make no promises---"

His words were

B

smothered in a last emphatic caress, and Beatrice, retorting, “There will be hundreds of mistakes if you don't wait for me !” sprang into the fly, followed by her maid, and was driven away.

Mr. Egerton watched till he could see her no longer, then turned back into his house with a smile, muttering to himself, “I wonder how my darling will come back to me!”

Some twenty years before, he had been suddenly summoned to the deathbed of his elder brother, Alan Egerton, who had left his young widow and baby daughter in his charge. Mr. Egerton had made a home for them in his own parsonage, and when, after a few years, Mrs. Egerton died also, he had concentrated all his love and tenderness upon the little Beatrice.

All that her parents could leave, and both were rich, they had left absolutely to her; and, as Mr. Egerton had done the same, she was already wealthy, and reputed an heiress.

Mr. Egerton's sister, the aunt with whom Beatrice was going to stay, had been married many years before, and her two daughters, Eleanor and Maude, were the only girl-friends Beatrice had ; they were often sent by turns to the parsonage for long visits, though hitherto Beatrice had never stayed with them in return. They had a brother, whom Beatrice had never seen, and about whom she had all the curiosity girls are wont to feel about the brothers of their friends. He was to be at Westernbrook, with some college acquaintances; and this was all she knew concerning the party she was to meet.

On arriving at the Westernbrook station, she found a carriage waiting for her; and after driving through what seemed to her miles of park, with several gates and lodges, each of which she took to be the end of her journey, she saw the lights of the great house on the other side of a large piece of water.

“Oh, Maynard, what a big place !” she said to her maid, who was as awestruck as herself; “how shall I ever find my way?”

“ Your cousins will be sure to show you, Miss Beatrice."

"Well, I hope some one will show you, Maynard. Oh dear, how I wish Uncle Gerald could have come too!"

At that moment the carriage swept up to a grand deep open porch, an inner door was thrown open, and she found herself caught by both hands, as her host kissed her without giving her time to get rid of her thick veil.

Why, my dear child, how late you are! we were getting quite uneasy. Come in, you must be half frozen ;” and he hurried her through a second hall, past a wonderful carved staircase that made her exclaim, “Oh! Uncle Arthur, stop, let me look at that!" and into a great library bright with two fires and a lamp.

“Time enough for examining the house later; here she is, Cecilia.”

While her aunt and cousins received her with eager welcome, and robbed her of her heavy furs, Maude carrying off her hat in spite of her protest, “My hair is so untidy, oh! Maude, you really mustn't !” Şir Arthur went on

“ The child positively wanted to follow the hounds

on her

way in."

“I—follow the hounds! what do you mean?”

“On the stairs, no doubt," said Lady Westernbrook, laughing; “so you shall by-and-by, my dear, when your uncle keeps you waiting, as he will. The carving is a hunt, you must know. Ring for tea, Eleanor. Will you have tea first or go to your room, childie? Don't be afraid of your hair.”

“Does it look decent?” said Beatrice; “then I'll stay, please, Aunt Cecilia.”

There was a simultaneous entrance at that moment of the tea, and three young men, two of whom paused and hesitated to advance, while the third came into the circle with easy familiarity, and holding out his hand said, “ How do you do, Cousin Beatrice ?"

"A capital introduction, Frank," said his mother, “ Here is another new cousin for you, Beatrice, Alan Egerton,-where are you, Alan ?

Here, Aunt Cecilia,” said the person in question, rather afraid to show myself, for D'Eynecourt and I have been experimenting with Grant's copying machine, and the result to our hands—” and he showed some hideous stains. " It won't come off, Cousin Beatrice; you may give me your hand without fear.”

“Miss Egerton, Mr. D'Eynecourt," continued Lady Westernbrook, introducing the third member of the party. “Are you equally disfigured, Mr. D'Eynecourt?”

“ Worse, I think,” he said, laughing; “ for I thought I understood it, and having said I could

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