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demesne, over which Leslie might have been mistress at that very day. Some women might have repented, and considered it a sacrifice made for one who had ill repaid it, but Leslie had never repented, neither had it been a sacrifice, for she thought it not good to be a wife with a sorrowful heart, with duty paramount instead of affection. So she looked at the broad lands of Mordaunt, with a heart at peace, and eyes that simply rejoiced them
, selves in their sunlighted beauty.
Leslie walked quickly from the station, enjoying the thoughts of the surprise which she was going to give Aunt Hester, and Uncle George, and Sally, and Susan, and Flora, and Barney, and the white cat, and the black King Charlie. Happy those who are confident that such “surprises” will bring nothing but gladness to the surprised! Leslie felt very grateful when she thought of it; “there is much love left on the earth after all,” thought she; yet she sighed. Having chosen an unfrequented bye-path, she met no one she knew till she
came to the arched street-entrance of the Corner House, from whence Barney's odd face was peering out. His shout, and torrent of exclamations were worth hearing, though a great many of them were quite unintelligible to Leslie.
“What is that you are saying, Barney ?" said she, siniling. What grand gentleman is he talking about, Flora ?” shaking hands with that fat rosy lady, who was radiant with smiles. Susan, who had been in a state of wrathful excitement about her mistress's sudden activity, now came forward, saying with reproachful acidity, “There's no grand gentlemen this way now-a-days, Miss Leslie,-more's the pity.
It's only that Miss Morris is stumping up and down the garden with one of them doctors, who's walking her off her legs."
No, she isn't ; she's in the Roundel,” fiercely asserted Barney.
A good deal puzzled, but with an clamation of pleased surprise at Miss Morris being in such an elevated locality, she ran
lightly up stairs. No; Hester was not in the Roundel ; it was empty ; only upon the little table was a man's glove, a well-worn Bible in a strange language, and several letters addressed in large, upright, but illegible characters. Leslie saw it all. Then came a slow step up the winding staircase. Had she not often heard its peculiar tread before? It never used to be so slow and heavy, yet she knew it was the same which, in old time, even as to-day, quickened the calm heart, though it did not now as then, bring a vivid colour to a happy face. No; she was very pale-growing more like white marble every instant. A white, worn Philip entered the room, leaning on a staff; she would scarcely have known him, so changed was he from the stalwart man who had gone out from his own land. She had no time, no power, for fresh fear and anxiety ; he was
and still there came a sense of support and strength, and the old feeling of happy, leaning trust. Leslie did not fall, for she was held by a sustaining arm; neither did she faint, for she was conscious that all had been a mistake, how, she did not know or care to know--the first quick glance had told her all she needed. But the surprise had been too much for her. It seemed as if all the strength of mind with which she had supported the sorrow and disappointment of the last six months, and indeed the two previous years of anxiety and separation, had at once deserted her. She wept soft, quiet floods of tears, that were utterly beyond her power or control. Long ago Philip had been wont to dislikescenes and feminine sensibilities, yet, strange to say, I do not find it recorded that he was at all displeased at these unreasonable and unmanageable tears of Leslie's. Another curious thing was, that, by some unaccountable glamour, Philip did not perceive that Leslie, so far from looking her best, was very decidedly plainer and older than when they had last met. On the contrary, he fancied that he could trace higher
and truer beauty than ever. At last, she grew more composed, and, as she looked up in his face, anxious fears for him came into her mind. “Oh, Philip! what has it been; have you been long ill ?”
“ All right now,” said he with his old cheery look. “An intermittent fever, and a deal of hard work, and a few weeks' rations of mice and shoe-leather, brought me down a little ; but, oh, Leslie, what have you thought of me all this time? How is it you do not hate me?"
Leslie had forgotten the two years' suffering; it was as nothing to her now, only she said
“Tell me, dear Philip ?"
There was not much to tell ; not much excuse for him, most people would have thought. Philip thought so himself, for there had been jealousy, and distrust, and impulsive temper on his part. They had loved each other longer than either had fully acknowledged to themselves. Meeting so often as