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with a simper and a "How interesting! How excited you must be! How I wish I were in your place!" and he had responded with a mechanical smile and an inaudible mutter.

Older? He looked twenty years older; he looked old enough for anything.

The minutes were passing.

Were they to part where Sir Philip was calling a halt in front of the door, to have no chance of, no loophole for-for one kind word, one murmur of forgiveness? A thought oc

curred to Iva.

"Will you please follow my mother?" she addressed her visitors courteously. "Reggie, show them the way. I must go and fetch the girls from the schoolroom; they will want to -to say 'Good-bye'." She was half up the staircase, when there came a flying tread behind her. She knew who it was.

"Not there," said Reggie hoarsely, seeing she was about to turn in at the nearer doorway. "Let that wait. I'll see them-oh, yes, I'll see them "-impatiently-" but here come in here," pushing open a small empty sittingroom, once Sir Thomas's den, now unused.

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Iva, you must come in!" shutting the door. "You must give me these few last minutes. It is all over, you know; all that is over and done with; never mind what happened yester

day, it seems so little and so old-so long ago. When I left here last night, I--all I thought of was to get you to forgive me—and to let me keep the photograph-and-and perhaps— never mind what. That's all at an end. You must forgive me now?" He paused; she mutely inclined her head.

"We are friends, are we not, Iva?" "Yes,"

"You don't mind my holding your hand?" "No."

"What I want to say is that I shall never forget you. I don't know what I am going to do, nor what sort of a life I am going to lead. Like other fellows, I suppose. I'll try

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to keep straight, and work my way up in the service, and shoot and fish when I go on leave, and-but I shan't come back to England. All's over here. Of course, you will marry. Why shouldn't you? I-I hope you will at least, I think so. But it can't do any one any harm for you to know that a poor fellow who once loved you goes on loving you. Because I shall. Shall I tell you how I know I shall? Because there has never been a time in life when I have not. my Oh, don't cry.

It's true, and I'm glad of it. . . .

I found it out

last night. Your being so angry with meno, it wasn't that; it was my caring so much

ΙΟ

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about it, and-and other things that came out
because of it, all together laid bare what had
been hidden even from myself. You don't mind
my telling you, do you, dear? . . . I felt as if I
couldn't go away without your knowing
And he repeated it over and over again.
The clock on the mantelpiece struck the half-
hour. "I must go," said Reggie hurriedly.
"We were to have left before this. It will
take all our time to get off now. Iva"-he
bit his lip-"Good-bye," he said quietly, both
hands in his.

"Good-bye," came in a tremulous whisper

back.

A long sigh, and he walked slowly to the door, she standing where she was.

But at the door Reggie turned, and paused for an instant as irresolute. Then he moved

back to her side. without?"

"Iva," he said,
"Iva," he said, "I can't go

It took but a few seconds, that embrace which was to last a lifetime.

There was one mute, imploring movement, one solitary kiss-nay, it scarce had any passion in it, it was so sad, so tender, and so hopeless-and the two fell apart, his arms dropping from her waist.

Her eyes blind with tears, she heard the door close.

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147

CHAPTER XVI.

MR. JABEZ DRUITT.

"I MUST Own I do not see it in the light you do."

The speaker, a pleasant-looking man between forty and fifty years of age, coloured slightly as he spoke, and his hesitating accents sounded as if he were anxious to convince himself even more than the person to whom they were addressed.

That person was his brother, and an older, bulkier, and harder-featured edition of himself. No one could ever have mistaken Amos Druitt for anything but a business man, a clumsilybuilt, ill-dressed, probably rich and prosperous partner in a commercial house. He looked the character-knew that he did--and had no desire to look anything else. To his mind a Manchester merchant was anybody's equalso long as (metaphorically) his pockets bulged. What, therefore, Jabez meant by "cutting the concern" at his time of life, withdrawing his share of the capital, and turning his back

upon Change, with all its merry ups and downs, interest, excitement, and almost invariable profit, was to the elder Mr. Druitt inexplicable. He had always thought his younger brother a fool, but it appeared that Jabez was a bigger fool than he had believed possible.

Some intimation of this had just elicited the remark wherewith this chapter opens, and the contempt of the senior partner had caused the rising colour on the junior's cheek.

I

"I do not see things as you do, Amos. never have, as you know. With me business has always been the means to an end, not the end itself. I have worked here for over twenty

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"What have I done?" A brusque, pertinent interruption.

"Ten years more, I admit. You are ten years older than I, and might have retired at my age had you chosen. I have often wondered you did not."

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"Wouldn't be paid to do it. Retire? And pray, what should I do with myself if I were to retire, as you call it-stagnate, as I call it?" 'Still I cannot see that your inclinations need control mine. It is not my opinion that I shall 'stagnate,' and it is my intention to ' retire"." And, in spite of the moderation with which the opinion was announced, it was

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