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to object. Yet she could think of no forbears had lived and loved, and valid argument against Fay's desire governed and fought, for generations she was only conscious of repugnance back. What an admirable wife she towards the idea. For the moment she would be for this man with the dark, sat in perplexed silence.
determined face and conquering cbar“You wouldn't really like it, Fay," acter! Mrs. Fleetwood always had Isabel said in soft reproach.
liked and esteemed Clive Somerton. “I should! Of course I should enjoy So as far as she was able she stified it most thoroughly!"
her disapproval of Fay's engagement to "I don't know what your father the Rani during their London visit, and would have said,” Mrs. Fleetwood put felt there was no more to be said or forward uneasily.
done at present save write to her bus"I am certain he would have said band's old friend and tender the ser
Fay decided. “A good salary vices of her youngest daughter, knowfor the time being, a unique experience ing full we that acceptance without -all most interesting. I wonder what question would follow. the Rani will think of London! and the It was just at this juncture that Rajah too. What fun for Captain Marion returned from the Riviera. Somerton and me!"
When Marion came home or went Mrs. Fleetwood still felt troubled away the establishment was given and in doubt, but the mention of Clive over to her convenience for the entire Somerton by Fay gave her a certain day. She was one of those people who comfort. A little secret idea, born in have the knack of commanding unthe maternal mind during Captain divided attention, when they require Somerton's farewell visit last time he it, from those around them. It is a was at home, now gained vitality and mysterious faculty, not easily to be de became a decided hope. That time fined, for selfishness is not always the when Captain Somerton asked par- correct explanation of it. All selfish ticularly for Fay-she had allowed her- people have not the power of eliciting self to wonder-? Then nothing fur- service from others. But whether selfther came of it, no letters, except one ishness was the secret of Mariop's of condolence to herself on her hus.
influence or not, the housemaid invariband's death. Fay never mentioned him ably packed for her and prepared her except quite casually, and the poor lit- for a journey, often to the unavoidtie idea had dwindled and shrunk, al- able neglect of the woman's other most died altogether, until revived now duties; the parlormaid was incited to by the prospect of frequent meetings polish to perfection her toilet silver and between the pair should she consent
her patent leather shoes, to mend to this, Fay's eager wish. Her heart gloves and stockings and iron blouses fluttered with gentle pleasure. Per during her busiest hours, and as often haps, after all, one of her girls was to as not the cook was commandeered as find the right sort of husband and go well. Now on Marion's return from back with him to India to carry on abroad a fire had been airing her bedthe family connection with the coun- room all day despite the mildness of try; to write long letters home every the weather, a tea-gown hung over a mail about the housekeeping, and the chair before the fire, the bath water servants, and the old familiar life; to was hot, tea could be sent in at any bring home babies: Dear little Fay nioment. The very cabman made no with her sweet, true nature, and her complaint at finding he was expected inherent love for the land where her to carry the lady's heavy luggage up
stairs for a very small addition to his "Sir Rowland Curtice," was the fare.
petrifying answer. Directly Isabel saw her sister she Isabel sat down on the bed and was conscious of a subtle change in stammered: “But when, how-when Marion, who looked handsomer than did it happen?" She was confused, ever, yet older, harder, more self- bewildered by Marion's
She contained. Marion had the air of one thought Marion hated Sir Rowland in possession of some knowledge that Curtice! rendered her at once superior to her “It happened just before I came surroundings, yet in no way elated home. He has been at Nice all the thereby. Something must have hap- time. I refused him soon after we got pened! Isabel observed that she was out there. I refused him again, later very gracious to them all-said she The third time, when he was sufwas quite glad to be home again, ad- ficiently abject, I said yes. He will mired Isabel's improvements in the not be home just yet. He was going garden, pronounced her mother to be on to Russia and I made him keep to looking much stronger, was interested his engagements, but I shall marry in Fay's agreement to act as cicerone him in the autumn before our year of to the Rotah Rani, and did not deride mourning is over, because it will be the plan as they had all half antici- cheaper for Mother. A quiet wedpated she might do. But throughout ding,' as the papers will say, 'owing to she was quite impersonal, just as her mourning in the bride's family.'" letters had been impersonal during “But Marion, are you, do you—" her absence. Yes, Nice was delightful; Isabel hesitated. She feared the anMrs. de Wick was much better, though she would probably be obliged to go “Am I in love with him?" Marion to Aix in July to get quite well. No, turned out the electric light with slow they had not been very gay; at first deliberation, went to the window and Mrs. de Wick's health had stood in the threw it open, then drew up a chair way, and lately people had been leav- and sat resting her arms on the sill. ing the place, as the season was nearly Isabel came behind her and looked
So on, and so on-not a word of out. A waft of damp, scented breeze her own intimate doings or interests swept her face. "Why, it's raining!" or affairs. Certainly, thought Isabel she said. “You'll get wet, Marion." again, something had happened? She "It isn't much, and I like the air," hung about Marion furtively all the she put her hands to her face as evening till they went to bed; then she though to cool it. Outside the gentle could endure it no longer, and followed rain pattered the leaves and her into her bedroom.
flowers, otherwise everything was curi"Marion-do tell me!" she urged. ously quiet, not even a footfall re
Marion laughed spontaneously. sounded along the road. There was a “Why? You don't mean to say I look faint grey light as of a rising moon like it?" and she regarded her reflec- behind vapory clouds. tion in the mirror with critical atten- Isabel sat down again on the low tion.
bedstead. A sense of desolation op"Like what?" Isabel inquired breath. pressed her. A sbrinking from a lessly.
future without Marion, the sister and “As if I was engaged to be mar- companion she so loved and admired, ried?"
whose actions and precepts she had "Oh! Marion, who is it?"
never questioned since as little girls
together the one had led and dominated, while the other copied and followed in slavish acceptance of the elder's word and example. A host of affectionate recollections crowded into her mind, remembrances all darkened now by the dread of separation, by the dread, too, that Marion might find no real happiness in this step she seemed so firmly determined to take. It was almost the deepest moment of emotion in Isabel's passive life.
“No, I am not in love with him," said Marion calmly, “but I have brought him crawling and begging to my feet, and he can give me money and position and social power. Why shouidn't I take it all? One can't have everything. I refused of my own free will to marry the only man I could ever have cared for, and now he is dead.” She caught her breath and held it for the moment while she mastered the sob that threatened to shake her. "I am not rushing blindly into this marriage, Isabel. I know what I am do. ing, and I think it is worth doing. I don't mean to allow my own past folly to spoil my life. If Tom had come home and asked me again to marry him I think I should have done it, and gone back to India a more humbleminded person than I left it! As it is, there is a great deal to live for still, from my point of view, and I might as well live for it. I suppose I may consider myself lucky to get the chance!"
Isabel only cried.
Marion came and sat beside her sister on the bed. "Don't, Isabel, dear. What's the matter?"
“Oh! supposing he is unkind and horrid to you!"
Marion laughed. "I'm not at all afraid,” she said confidently. “I am much more likely to be unkind and horrid to him, though I shall try not to be. Listen, darling,” she kissed Isabel tenderly, “there is no need whatever to be miserable. I'm going
to enjoy life as far as possible. Perhaps if I had married Tom Gray I shouldu't have been happy, and there would have been no riches or luxury to fall back upon by way of consolation. I don't fear the future for myself at all. But there is something that worries me that has worried me ever since that horrible evening when Mother brought the Pioneer Mail into the drawing-room and I realized what Tom's dying meant to me."
Isabel was tearfully interrogative.
"It is the feeling that I influenced you all wrong, Isabel, about Arthur Dakin. Long ago, if it hadn't been for me, you might have married him and been happy in your own kind, unselfish way. I only saw what I had done that night when—".
“Oh! Marion, dearest, don't! You only wanted to save me from trouble and hardship and anything disagreeable. And there was really nothing between us, he never really said anything—."
Isabel's quiet weeping turned into shattering tears and sobs. The sisters held each other tightly.
In a little while Marion withdrew herself from Isabel's convulsive embrace. “Isabel," she said, "you must stop crying. Mother will hear you. Besides I want to tell you something else."
In the enforced calm that followed Isabel listened to a scheme unfolded by her sister, that when the living at Beach fell vacant, which it was to do this autumn, Sir Rowland should offer it to the Rev. Arthur Dakin. Marion in the meantime would write to him, tell him of her approaching marriage, and sound him on the subject of accepting the living that was in the gift of her future husband.
"That is, if you'd like him to have the living, Isabel. Of course he would jump at it. I believe it's a very good living as livings go nowadays."
At first Isabel was speechless with that at any rate he was not married or glad gratitude. Then she began to ap- even engaged- she knew this, for sbe prebend obstacles. She feared Mr. bad made it her business to find out Dakin might think his duty lay in In- from some Indian people who were dia. In that case, Marion decided, they breaking their homeward journey at would all go out to India after she had Nice, people who were intimate friends become Lady Curtice, in order, ostensi- of Mr. Lakin's and had actually come bly, that Sir Rowland might complete direct from the very station where he the tour that was interrupted by fever, was at present the chaplain. and finish his ridiculous book.
“And now, after all this,” said But, perhaps, persisted Isabel, Mr. Marion prosaically, “I should like to Dakin bad forgotten all about her, and
go to bed.
You seem to forget that cared for or was already married to I've been traveling for the last I don't somebody else. To this Marion replied know how many hours."
(To be continued)
THE STORY OF MODERN BULGARIA IN BRIEF. By "modern" I mean since 1877, for was frustrated by Dizzy. Not a piece, • little is known of the ancient Bulgars, merely a couple of pawns, it should be; and the history of the country under but, when in 1885, Eastern Rumelia the Turk is the tale of a rabbit- declared herself Bulgaria, and the two warren periodically ferreted by its pawns became one piece after all, it Moslem owners, and raided all the was not England who growled, but year round by Greek weasels. Europe Austria. At a bint from Vienna Serhad forgotten there was such a race. via crossed the frontier. King Milan They were called Macedonians, Rume declared he would take his coffee in lians, Greeks. Their literature, laws, Sofia, but ignominiously beaten at royal race and aristocracy had per- Slievnitza, the poltroon only escaped ished. Their language was not in type. capture by hard spurring. Europe (The Scriptures were first printed in rubbed astonished eyes, for the desBulgarian in 1858 by Americans, it was pised race had charged with the bay. years before any other works came onet! Little Bulgaria had scored off from the same press.) Sad ballads, her own bat, for the “lent" Russian proverbs, and dim-eyed hope survived, officers had resigned their commissions but the nation—the idea was absurd! before the battle. The inwardness of Other racial revivals could appeal to this sordid intrigue was the narrow historic pasts, Greece, Italy, Germany. head and little soul of Czar Alexander Not so Bulgaria. The latest arrival III., the Mujik Emperor, a colossus of among European races was reborn gross flesh and mule-like obstinacy. amid a snowstorm and baptized in For him Bulgaria was just an outlying blood. Her story begins in the Shipka province of Russia, and her prince Pass, when the all-but beaten Russians his cousin, Alexander of Battenberg-a found, to their surprise, that the re- sort of upper servant. But prince and lieving force of Bulgars could fight people had of late shown wills of their doggedly: the dull-faced, tongue-tied own-so he was for letting them be people were worth saving, it seemed. crushed. When the crushing process Later, at Berlin, Gortschakoff's scheme miscarried the gloomy barbarian fell for making the rescued province a back upon the usual Muscovite re piece in his game against the Turk sources, wholesale bribery, intrigue
and ruffianly violence. The young tained from the general's coachman prince had ascended the throne as a each night his next day's route, and stranger, a foreigner ignorant of his packed every meeting he addressed subjects, their language and customs. with silent, respectful auditors who Russia had thought him a helpless pup- voted against the proposals he recompet in the hands of Russian ministers, mended. After a year of interregnum civil ofticials and loaned military men, a prince was found prepared to accept but he had inexplicably won the love the risks. Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg, of his subjects. It was unpardonable. a nephew of England's Queen ("my He was seized in his bed, bundled into aunt,” he always called her) and a a carriage, thrust down into a ship's grandson of Louis Philippe, some time cabin, and landed, still in his pyjamas, King of the French, was twenty-six, at a Russian port, whilst hireling plausible, tenacious, politic, acute, pagangs began abortive insurrections at tient, far-sighted and silently ambiRustchug, etc., in favor of annexation tious. He is one of the two or three to Russia. But Bulgaria stood stiff and really able rulers of our time, and, demanded her prince, and Russia dis- considering his opportunities and matecovered, or the stupid and brutal bully rials, quite the most successful. Royal who ruled her discovered, that there by descent, a man of science by bent, are things which even a Czar cannot an actor to the tips of his fingers, he do. This was in 1886. Prince Alex- glided to the stage from the wing at ander returned to his capital a changed a moment when the company were at
Had an insidious drug been ad- sixes and sevens, and half the pit peltministered to him in Russia ? Some ing orange-peel; he improvised plot, say so; others deny it. Anything is dialogue and business, and for fivepossible east of the Pruth. He who and-twenty exciting years has kept his bad been alert, debonair, gallant, was realm and himself in the centre of the now a listless, hopeless dreamer, in- stage: a long run for a King! From tent oniy upon abdicating his throne. the first he determined to be royal; I stood by his tomb last week. It is whatever the issue of his daring exheaped with garlands and wreaths sent periment, he would be a monarch by every crowned head in Europe. He
whilst it lasted, would house himself was a gentleman of winning person- in a palace, surround himself with the ality and noble presence. Upon his ab- trappings and insignia of his house, dication Russia thought her path clear; and impress his personality upon his a man after the Czar's own heart, Gen- subjects, the Ports, and Europe at large. eral Kaulbars, was sent to bully the For years it was a desperate game. Bulgarians into petitioning for annexa- The Mujik Emperor loathed him and tion; but the ex-prince's Premier, M. gave a free hand to the Asiatic Bureau, Stambouloff, had assumed the regency gang of the most unscrupulous and was scouring Europe for a suitable blackguards that even Russia could constitutional ruler. The Kaulbars produce. From 1897 to 1904, seven conducted hiinself so arrogantly that long years, every artifice of corruption, his name became a byword in Ger- chicane and violence was exhausted. many, and an editor was fined for Neither the life of the Prince nor those describing the conduct of an official as of his ministers was safe for a day. “Kuulbarsch." He stumped the coun- This sounds extravagant, but is well try convening meetings of peasants to within the mark. Millions of levs listen to his threats and promises. The (francs) were expended in corrupting Bulgarians are no fools. They ascer- officials, lampering with regiments,