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Title: Daddy's Girl
Author: Meade, L. T., 1854-1914
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Daddy's Girl" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



 Author of "A Very Naughty Girl," "Polly, A New Fashioned
 Girl," "Palace Beautiful," "Sweet Girl Graduate,"
 "World of Girls," etc., etc.

 "Suffer the little children to come unto me."


[Illustration: DADDY'S GIRL. _Frontispiece._]



Philip Ogilvie and his pretty wife were quarrelling, as their custom
was, in the drawing-room of the great house in Belgrave Square, but
the Angel in the nursery upstairs knew nothing at all about that. She
was eight years old, and was, at that critical moment when her father
and mother were having words which might embitter all their lives, and
perhaps sever them for ever, unconsciously and happily decorating
herself before the nursery looking-glass.

The occasion was an important one, and the Angel's rosebud lips were
pursed up in her anxiety, and her dark, pretty brows were somewhat
raised, and her very blue eyes were fixed on her own charming little

"Shall it be buttercups, or daisies, or both?" thought the Angel to

A box of wild flowers, which had come up from the country that day,
lay handy. There were violets and primroses, and quantities of
buttercups and daisies, amongst these treasures.

"Mother likes me when I am pretty, father likes me anyhow," she
thought, and then she stood and contemplated herself, and pensively
took up a bunch of daisies and held them against her small, slightly
flushed cheek, and then tried the effect of the buttercups in her
golden brown hair. By-and-by, she skipped away from the looking-glass,
and ran up to a tall, somewhat austere lady, who was seated at a round
table, writing busily.

"What do you want, Sibyl? Don't disturb me now," said this individual.

"It is only just for a moment," replied the Angel, knitting her brows,
and standing in such a position that she excluded all light from
falling on the severe-looking lady's writing-pad.

"Which is the prettiest, buttercups or daisies, or the two twisted up
together?" she said.

"Oh, don't worry me, child, I want to catch this post. My brother is
very ill, and he'll be so annoyed if he doesn't hear from me. Did you
say buttercups and daisies mixed? Yes, of course, mix them, that is
the old nursery rhyme."

The little Sibyl stamped a small foot encased in a red shoe with an
impatient movement, and turned once more to contemplate herself in
the glass. Miss Winstead, the governess, resumed her letter, and a
clock on the mantelpiece struck out seven silvery chimes.

"They'll be going in to dinner; I must be very quick indeed," thought
the child. She began to pull out the flowers, to arrange them in
little groups, and presently, by the aid of numerous pins, to deck her
small person.

"Mother likes me when I am pretty," she repeated softly under her
breath, "but father likes me anyhow." She thought over this somewhat
curious problem. Why should father like her anyhow? Why should mother
only kiss her and pet her when she was downright pretty?

"Do I look pretty?" she said at last, dancing back to the governess's

Miss Winstead dropped her pen and looked up at the radiant little
figure. She had contrived to tie some of the wild flowers together,
and had encircled them round her white forehead, and mixed them in her
flowing locks, and here, there, and everywhere on her white dress were
bunches of buttercups and daisies, with a few violets thrown in.

"Do I look pretty?" repeated Sibyl Ogilvie.

"You are a very vain little girl," said Miss Winstead. "I won't tell
you whether you look pretty or not, you ought not to think of your
looks. God does not like people who think whether they are pretty or
not. He likes humble-minded little girls. Now don't interrupt me any

"There's the gong, I'm off," cried Sibyl. She kissed her hand to Miss
Winstead, her face all alight with happiness.

"I know I am pretty, she always talks like that when I am," thought
the child, who had a very keen insight into character. "Mother will
kiss me to-night, I am so glad. I wonder if Jesus Christ thinks me
pretty, too."

Sibyl Ogilvie, aged eight, had a theology of her own. It was extremely
simple, and had no perplexing elements about it. There were three
persons who were absolutely perfect. Jesus Christ Who lived in heaven,
but Who saw everything that took place on earth, and her own father
and mother. No one else was absolutely without sin, but these three
were. It was a most comfortable doctrine, and it sustained her little
heart through some perplexing passages in her small life. She used to
shut her eyes when her mother frowned, and say softly under her

"It's not wrong, 'cos it's mother. Mother couldn't do nothing wrong,
no more than Jesus could"; and she used to stop her ears when her
mother's voice, sharp and passionate, rang across the room. Something
was trying mother dreadfully, but mother had a right to be angry; she
was not sinful, like nurse, when she got into her tantrums. As to
father, he was never cross. He did look tired and disturbed sometimes.
It must be because he was sorry for the rest of the world. Yes, father
and mother were perfection. It was a great support to know this. It
was a very great honor to have been born their little girl. Every
morning when Sibyl knelt to pray, and every evening when she offered
up her nightly petitions, she thanked God most earnestly for having
given her as parents those two perfect people known to the world as
Philip Ogilvie and his wife.

"It was so awfully kind of you, Jesus," Sibyl would say, "and I must
try to grow up as nearly good as I can, because of You and father and
mother. I must try not to be cross, and I must try not to be vain, and
I must try to love my lessons. I don't think I am really vain, Jesus.
It is just because my mother likes me best when I am pretty that I
want to be pretty. It's for no other reason, really and truly; but I
don't like lessons, particularly spelling lessons. I cannot pretend I
do. Can I?"

Jesus never made any audible response to the child's query, but she
often felt a little tug at her heart which caused her to fly to her
spelling-book and learn one or two difficult words with frantic zeal.

As she ran downstairs now, she reflected over the problem of her
mother's kisses being softest and her mother's eyes kindest when her
own eyes were bright and her little figure radiant; and she also
thought of the other problem, of her grave-eyed father always loving
her, no matter whether her frock was torn, her hair untidy, or her
little face smudged.

Because of her cherubic face, Sibyl had been called the Angel when
quite a baby, and somehow the name stuck to her, particularly on the
lips of her father. It is true she had a sparkling face and soft
features and blue eyes; but she was, when all is said and done, a
somewhat worldly little angel, and had, both in the opinions of Miss
Winstead and nurse, as many faults as could well be packed into the
breast of one small child. Both admitted that Sibyl had a very loving
heart, but she was fearless, headstrong, at times even defiant, and
was very naughty and idle over her lessons.

Miss Winstead was fond of taking complaints of Sibyl to Mrs. Ogilvie,
and she was fond, also, of hoping against hope that these complaints
would lead to satisfactory results; but, as a matter of fact, Mrs.
Ogilvie never troubled herself about them. She was the sort of woman
who took the lives of others with absolute unconcern; her own life
absorbed every thought and every feeling. Anything that added to her
own comfort was esteemed; anything that worried her was shut as much
as possible out of sight. She was fond of Sibyl in her careless way.
There were moments when she was proud of the pretty and attractive
child, but she had not the slightest idea of attempting to mould her
character, nor of becoming her instructress. One of Mrs. Ogilvie's
favorite theories was that mothers should not educate their children.

"The child should go to the mother for love and petting," she would
say. "Miss Winstead may complain of the darling as much as she
pleases, but need not suppose that I shall scold her."

It was Sibyl's father, after all, who now and then spoke to her about
her unworthy conduct.

"You are called the Angel, and you must try to act up to your name,"
he said on one of these occasions, fixing his own dark-grey eyes on
the little girl.

"Oh, yes, father," answered the Angel, "but, you see, I wasn't born
that way, same as you was. It seems a pity, doesn't it? You're perfect
and I am not. I can't help the way I was born, can I, father?"

"No; no one is perfect, darling," replied the father.

"You are," answered the Angel, and she gave her head a defiant toss.
"You and my mother and my beautiful Lord Jesus up in heaven. But I'll
try to please you, father, so don't knit up your forehead."

Sibyl as she spoke laid her soft hand on her father's brow and tried
to smooth out some wrinkles.

"Same as if you was an old man," she said: "but you're perfect,
perfect, and I love you, I love you," and she encircled his neck with
her soft arms and pressed many kisses on his face.

On these occasions Philip Ogilvie felt uncomfortable, for he was a man
with many passions and beset with infirmities, and at the time when
Sibyl praised him most, when she uttered her charming, confident
words, and raised her eyes full of absolute faith to his, he was
thinking with a strange acute pain at his heart of a transaction which
he might undertake and of a temptation which he knew well was soon to
be presented to him.

"I should not like the child to know about it," was his reflection;
"but all the same, if I do it, if I fall, it will be for her sake, for
hers alone."


Sibyl skipped down to the drawing-room with her spirits brimful of
happiness. She opened the door wide and danced in.

"Here I come," she cried, "here I come, buttercups and daisies and
violets and me." She looked from one parent to the other, held out her
flowing short skirts with each dimpled hand, and danced across the

Mrs. Ogilvie had tears in her eyes; she had just come to the
sentimental part of her quarrel. At sight of the child she rose
hastily, and walked to the window. Philip Ogilvie went down the room,
put both his hands around Sibyl's waist, and lifted her to a level
with his shoulders.

"What a fairy-like little girl this is!" he cried.

"You are Spring come to cheer us up."

"I am glad," whispered Sibyl; "but let me down, please, father, I want
to kiss mother."

Mr. Ogilvie dropped her to the ground. She ran up to her mother.

"Father says I am Spring, look at me," she said, and she gazed into
the beautiful, somewhat sullen face of her parent.

Mrs. Ogilvie had hoped that Sibyl would not notice her tears, but
Sibyl, gentle as she looked, had the eyes of a hawk.

"Something is fretting my ownest mother," she whispered under her
breath, and then she took her mother's soft hand and covered it with
kisses. After kissing it, she patted it, and then she returned to her
father's side.

Neither Mr. nor Mrs. Ogilvie knew why, but as soon as Sibyl entered
the room it seemed ridiculous for them to quarrel. Mrs. Ogilvie turned
with an effort, said something kind to her husband, he responded
courteously, then the dinner gong sounded, and the three entered the

It was one of the customs of the house that Sibyl, when they dined
alone, should always sit with her parents during this hour. Mrs.
Ogilvie objected to the plan, urging that it was very bad for the
child. But Ogilvie thought otherwise, and notwithstanding all the
mother's objections the point was carried. A high chair was placed for
Sibyl next her father, and she occupied it evening after evening,
nibbling a biscuit from the dessert, and airing her views in a
complacent way on every possible subject under the sun.

"I call Miss Winstead crosspatch now," she said on this occasion. "She
is more cranky than you think. She is, really, truly, father."

"You must not talk against your governess, Sibyl," said her mother
from the other end of the table.

"Oh, let her speak out to us, my dear," said the father. "What was
Miss Winstead cross about to-day, Sibyl?"

"Spelling, as usual," said Sibyl briefly, "but more special 'cos Lord
Jesus made me pretty."

"Hush!" said the mother again.

Sibyl glanced at her father. There was a twinkle of amusement in his
eyes which he could scarcely keep back.

"My dear," he said, addressing his wife, "do you think Miss Winstead
is just the person----"

"I beg of you, Philip," interrupted the mother, "not to speak of the
child's teacher before her face. Sibyl, I forbid you to make unkind

"It's 'cos they're both so perfect," thought Sibyl, "but it's hard on
me not to be able to 'splain things. If I can't, what is to be done?"

She munched her biscuit sorrowfully, and looked with steadfast eyes
across the room. She supposed she would have to endure Miss Winstead,
crosspatch as she was, and she did not enjoy the task which mother and
Lord Jesus had set her.

The footman was in the act of helping Mr. Ogilvie to champagne, and
Sibyl paused in her thoughts to watch the frothy wine as it filled
the glass.

"Is it nice?" she inquired.

"Very nice, Sibyl. Would you like to taste it?"

"No, thank you, father. Nurse says if you drink wine when you're a
little girl, you grow up to be drunk as a hog."

"My dear Sibyl," cried the mother, "I really must speak to nurse. What
a disgraceful thing to say!"

"Let us turn the subject," said the father.

Sibyl turned it with a will.

"I 'spect I ought to 'fess to you," she said. "I was cross myself
to-day. Seems to me I'm not getting a bit perfect. I stamped my foot
when Miss Winstead made me write all my spelling over again. Father,
is it necessary for a little girl to spell long words?"

"You would not like to put wrong spelling into your letters to me,
would you?" was the answer.

"I don't think I'd much care," said Sibyl, with a smile. "You'd know
what I meant, wouldn't you, whether I spelt the words right or not?
All the same," she added, "I'll spell right if you wish it--I mean,
I'll try."

"That's a good girl. Now tell me what else you did naughty?"

"When Sibyl talks about her sins, would it not be best for her to do
so in private?" said the mother again.

"But this is private," said Mr. Ogilvie, "only her father and mother."

Mrs. Ogilvie glanced at a footman who stood not far off, and who was
in vain endeavoring to suppress a smile.

"I washed my doll's clothes, although nurse told me not," continued
Sibyl, "and I made a mess in the night nursery. I spilt the water and
wetted my pinny, and I _would_ open the window, although it was
raining. I ran downstairs, too, and asked Watson to give me a macaroon
biscuit. He wasn't to blame--Watson wasn't."

The unfortunate footman whose name was now introduced hastily turned
his back, but his ears looked very red as he arranged some glasses on
the sideboard.

"Father," whispered Sibyl, "do you know that Watson has got a
sweetheart, and----"

"Hush! hush!" said Mr. Ogilvie, "go on with your confessions."

"They're rather sad, aren't they, father? Now I come to think of it,
they are very, very sad. I didn't do one right thing to-day 'cept to
make myself pretty. Miss Winstead was so angry, and so was nurse, but
when I am with them I don't mind a bit being naughty. I wouldn't be a
flabby good girl for all the world."

"Oh, Angel, what is to become of you?" said her father.

Sibyl looked full at him, her eyes sparkled, then a curious change
came into them. He was good--perfect; it was lovely to think of it,
but she felt sure that she could never be perfect like that. All the
same, she did not want to pain him. She slipped her small hand into
his, and presently she whispered:

"I'll do anything in all the world to please you and mother and Lord

"That is right," said the father, who gave a swift thought at the
moment to the temptation which he knew was already on its way, and
which he would never yield to but for the sake of the child.

The rest of the dinner proceeded without many more remarks, and
immediately afterwards Sibyl kissed both her parents and went

"Good-night, little Spring," said her father, and there was a note of
pain in his voice.

She gave him an earnest hug, and then she whispered--

"Is it 'cos I'm a wicked girl you're sad?"

"No," he answered, "you are not wicked, my darling; you are the best,
the sweetest in all the world."

"Oh, no, father," answered Sibyl, "that is not true. I am not the best
nor the sweetest, and I wouldn't like to be too good, 'cept for you.
Good-night, darling father."

Mr. and Mrs. Ogilvie returned to the drawing-room.

"You spoil that child," said the wife, "but it is on a par with
everything else you do. You have no perception of what is right. I
don't pretend to be a good mother, but I don't talk nonsense to Sibyl.
She ought not to speak about nurse and governess before servants, and
it is disgraceful of her to drag the footman and his concerns into the
conversation at dinner. She ought not, also, to boast about doing
naughty things."

"I wish you would leave the child alone," said Ogilvie in an annoyed
voice; "she is good enough for me, little pet, and I would not have
her altered for the world. But now, Mildred, to return to our cause of
dissension before dinner, we must get this matter arranged. What do
you mean to do about your invitation to Grayleigh Manor?"

"I have given you my views on that subject, Philip; I am going."

"I would much rather you did not."

"I am sorry." Mrs. Ogilvie shrugged her shoulders. "I am willing to
please you in all reasonable matters; this is unreasonable, therefore
I shall take my own way."

"It is impossible for me to accompany you."

"I can live without you for a few days, and I shall take the child."

"Sibyl! No, I do not wish it."

"I fear you must put up with it. I have written to say that Sibyl and
I will go down on Saturday."

Ogilvie, who had been seated, now rose, and went to the window. He
looked out with a dreary expression on his face.

"You know as well as I do the reasons why it would be best for you not
to go to Grayleigh Manor at present," he said. "You can easily write
to give an excuse. Remember, we were both asked, and the fact that I
cannot leave town is sufficient reason for you to decline."

"I am going," said Mrs. Ogilvie. Her eyes, which were large and dark,
flashed with defiance. Ogilvie looked at her with a frown between his

"Is that your last word?" he inquired.

"It is, I go on Saturday. If you were not so disagreeable and
disobliging you could easily come with me, but you never do anything
to please me."

"Nor you to please me, Mildred," he was about to say, but he
restrained himself. After a pause he said gently, "There is one thing
that makes the situation almost unbearable."

"And what is that?" she asked.

"The attitude of little Sibyl toward us both. She thinks us--Mildred,
she thinks us perfect. What will happen to the child when her eyes are

"Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof," was Mrs. Ogilvie's
flippant remark. "But that attitude is much encouraged by you. You
make her morbid and sensitive."

"Morbid! Sibyl morbid! There never was a more open-hearted, frank,
healthy creature. Did you not hear her say at dinner that she would
not be a flabby good girl for anything? Now, I must tell you that
perhaps wrong as that speech was, it rejoiced my heart."

"And it sickened me," said Mrs. Ogilvie. "You do everything in your
power to make her eccentric. Now, I don't wish to have an eccentric
daughter. I wish to have a well brought up girl, who will be good
while she is young, speak properly, not make herself in any way
remarkable, learn her lessons, and make a successful _debut_ in
Society, all in due course."

"With a view, doubtless, to a brilliant marriage," added the husband,

"I am going to knock all of this nonsense out of Sibyl," was his
wife's answer, "and I mean to begin it when we get to Grayleigh

Mrs. Ogilvie had hardly finished her words before an angry bang at the
drawing-room door told her that her husband had left her.

Ogilvie went to his smoking-room at the other end of the hall. There
he paced restlessly up and down. His temples were beating, and the
pain at his heart was growing worse.

The postman's ring was heard, and the footman, Watson, entered with a

Ogilvie had expected this letter, and he knew what its purport would
be. He only glanced at the writing, threw it on the table near, and
resumed his walk up and down.

"It is the child," he thought. "She perplexes me and she tempts me.
Never was there a sweeter decoy duck to the verge of ruin. Poor little
innocent white Angel! Her attitude toward her mother and me is
sometimes almost maddening. Mildred wants to take that little innocent
life and mould it after her own fashion. But, after all, am I any
better than Mildred? If I yield to this"--he touched the letter with
his hand--"I shall sweep in gold, and all money anxieties will be laid
to rest. Little Sib will be rich by-and-by. This is a big thing, and
if I do it I shall see my way to clearing off those debts which
Mildred's extravagance, and doubtless my own inclination, have caused
me to accumulate. Whatever happens Sibyl will be all right; and yet--I
don't care for wealth, but Mildred does, and the child will be better
for money. Money presents a shield between a sensitive heart like
Sibyl's and the world. Yes, I am tempted. Sibyl tempts me."

He thrust the letter into a drawer, locked the drawer, put the key in
his pocket, and ran up to Sibyl's nursery. She was asleep, and there
was no one else in the room. The blinds were down at the windows, and
the nursery, pretty, dainty, sweet, and fresh, was in shadow.

Ogilvie stepped softly across the room, and drew up the blind. The
moonlight now came in, and shed a silver bar of light across the
child's bed. Sibyl lay with her golden hair half covering the pillow,
her hands and arms flung outside the bedclothes.

"Good-night, little darling," said her father. He bent over her, and
pressed a light kiss upon her cheek. Feather touch as it was, it
aroused the child. She opened her big blue eyes.

"Oh, father, is that you?" she cried in a voice of rapture.

"Yes, it is I. I came to wish you good-night."

"You are good, you never forget," said Sibyl. She clasped her arms
round his neck. "I went to bed without saying my prayers. May I say
them now to you?"

"Not for worlds," it was the man's first impulse to remark, but he
checked himself. "Of course, dear," he said.

Sibyl raised herself to a kneeling posture. She clasped her soft arms
round her father's neck.

"Pray God forgive me for being naughty to-day," she began, "and pray
God make me better to-morrow, 'cos it will please my darlingest father
and mother; and I thank you, God, so much for making them good, very
good, and without sin. Pray God forgive Sibyl, and try to make her

"Now, father, you're pleased," continued the little girl. "It was very
hard to say that, because really, truly, I don't want to be better,
but I'll try hard if it pleases you."

"Yes, Sibyl, try hard," said her father, "try very hard to be good.
Don't let goodness go. Grasp it tight with both hands and never let it
go. So may God indeed help you." Ogilvie said these words in a
strained voice. Then he covered her up in bed, drew down the blinds,
and left her.

"He's fretted; it's just 'cos the world is so wicked, and 'cos I'm not
as good as I ought to be," thought the child. A moment later she had
fallen asleep with a smile on her face.

Ogilvie went to his club. There he wrote a short letter. It ran as


     "Your offer was not unexpected. I thought it over even
     before it came, and I have considered it since. Although I
     am fully aware of the money advantages it holds out to me I
     have decided to decline it. Frankly, I cannot undertake to
     assay the Lombard Deeps Gold Mine, although your offer has
     been a great temptation. No doubt you will find another man
     more suited for your purpose.

               "Yours sincerely,
                    "PHILIP OGILVIE."

It was between one and two that same night that Ogilvie let himself in
with his latchkey.

His wife had been to one or two receptions, and had not yet gone to
bed. She was standing in the hall, looking radiant as he had seldom
seen her. She was dressed beautifully, and her hair and neck were
covered with diamonds.

"What," he cried, "up still, Mildred? You ought to be in bed."

He did not give her any glance of admiration, beautiful as she
appeared. He shivered slightly with a movement which she did not
notice as she stood before him, the lamplight falling all over her
lovely dress and figure.

"I am so glad you have come back, Phil," she said. "I shall sleep
better now that I have seen you. I hear that Lord Grayleigh has
offered you the post of engineer on the board of the Lombard Deeps
Mine Company."

Ogilvie did not answer. After a moment's pause he said in a sullen

"Had you not better go to bed? It is much too late for you to be up."

"What does that matter? I am far too excited to sleep, and it is wrong
of you to keep things of moment from your wife. This offer means a
large addition to our income. Why, Phil, Phil, we can buy a country
place now; we can do, oh! so many things. We can pay those terrible
debts that worry you. What is the matter? Aren't you pleased? Why do
you frown at me? And you are pale, are you ill?"

"Come into my smoking-room," he said, gravely. He took her hand and,
drawing her in, switched on the electric light. Then he turned his
wife round and looked full at her.

"This will make a great difference in our position," she said. Her
eyes were sparkling, her cheeks were flushed, her pearly teeth showed
between her parted lips.

"What do you mean by our position?" he said.

"You know perfectly well that we have not money enough to keep up this
house; it is a struggle from first to last."

"And yet I earn close on six thousand a year, Mildred. Have you never
considered that you are the person who makes it a struggle?"

"It is impossible; impossible to manage," she said, petulantly.

"It is, when you buy all these worthless baubles"--he touched her
diamonds, and then he started away from her. "Why you should saddle
yourself and me with debts almost impossible to meet for the sake of
these is beyond my comprehension; but if you really do want a fresh
toy in the way of an ornament to-morrow you have but to order it--that
is, in moderation."

"Ah! I knew you had accepted," she said, making a quick dancing
movement with her small feet. "Now I am happy; we can have a place if
possible on the river. I have always longed to live close to the
Thames. It is most unfashionable not to have a country seat, and the
child will be well off by-and-by. I was told to-night by a City man
who is to be one of the directors of the new company, that if you are
clever you can make a cool forty thousand pounds out of this business.
He says your name is essential to float the thing with the public."

"You know, perhaps, what all this means?" said Ogilvie, after a pause.

"Why do you speak in that tone, quite with the Sibyl air?"

"Don't dare to mention the child's name at a moment like this. I just
wish to tell you, Mildred, in a few words, what it would mean to the
world at large if I assayed the Lombard Deeps Gold Mine."

"Oh, your business terms do so puzzle me," she answered. "I declare I
am getting sleepy." Mrs. Ogilvie yawned slightly.

"It would be better if you went to bed, but as you are here I shall
put your mind at rest. If I accepted Grayleigh's offer----"

"If! But you have done so, of course you have."

"If I do, my name as engineer to the company will cause many people to
buy shares. Now, Mildred, I am not sure of the Lombard Deeps Gold
Mine. I know more about this business than I can explain to you, and
you have a tongue, and women cannot keep secrets."

"As usual, you taunt me," she said, "but what does that matter? I
could bear even an insult from you to-night, I am so excited and so
pleased. I believe in the Lombard Deeps Gold Mine. I intend to put
all the money I can lay hold of into it. Of course you will assay the
Lombard Deeps? I never could make out what assaying meant, but it
seems to be a way of raking in gold, and I was told to-night by Mr.
Halkett that you are the most trusted assayer in London. Has the
letter come yet? Has Lord Grayleigh yet offered you the post?"

"The letter has come."

"You would make thousands a year out of it. Phil, oh, Phil, how happy
I am! You have replied, have you not?"

"I have."

"Then why do you keep me in suspense? It is settled. What are you so
glum about?"

"I have declined the offer. I cannot assay the Lombard Deeps Gold

"Philip!" His wife's voice was at first incredulous, then it rose into
a scream.

"You cannot be speaking the truth," she said.

"My answer is posted. I am not too scrupulous about small things, but
I draw the line at a matter of that sort. Go to bed."

She did not speak for a moment, her face turned pale, then she went
close up to him.

"I hate you," she said; "go your own way in the future," and she left
him standing silent.


Sibyl and her mother went to Grayleigh Manor on the following
Saturday. Sibyl was wild with excitement. Nurse was going, of course,
to look after her, but Miss Winstead was to remain at home. Sibyl felt
that she could manage nurse, but there were moments when Miss Winstead
was a little obstinate. She would have a delightful time now in the
country with her perfect mother. Of course, there was the pain of
parting with father, who was just as perfect, if not a little more so.
In her heart of hearts Sibyl felt that she understood her father, and
that there were times when she did not quite understand her mother;
but, never mind, her mother was the perfection of all feminine beauty
and loveliness, and grace and goodness, and her father was the
perfection of all masculine goodness and nobility of character. Sibyl
in her heart of hearts wished that she had been born a boy.

"I am much more like a boy than a girl," she thought, "and that is why
I understand father so well. But it will be lovely going to the
country with mother, my ownest mother. I expect I'll have great fun;
and, as mother doesn't care so very much whether I am perfect or not,
perhaps I can be a little naughty on my own account. That will be
lovely. I can't be really naughty with father, it is impossible;
father is so very tall up, and has such grand thoughts about things;
but I can with mother."

So Sibyl watched the packing of her dainty frocks and gay sashes and
pretty ribbons, and then ran down to the smoking-room to kiss and hug
her father.

Ogilvie was very grave and silent, and did not say a word, nor draw
her out in any way, and her mother was out most of the time either
paying calls or shopping, and at last the day dawned when they were to
go away. Ogilvie had kissed Sibyl with great passion the night before.

"Don't forget me while you are away, little woman," he said, "and look
after mother, won't you?"

"She won't need me to look after her, she's quite, quite perfect,"
said Sibyl; "but I'm going to watch her, and try to copy her."

"Child, don't do that," said the man.

"Not copy my ownest mother? What do you mean, father?"

"Well, well, darling, God will look after you, I do believe. You are
not far from Him, are you, Sib? You know we call you the Angel. Angels
are supposed to have their home in heaven."

"Well, my home is right down here on earth," said Sibyl in a very
contented tone. "I'll have a real jolly time away, I 'spect."

"I hope there will be some nice little boys and girls there with whom
you can play; and go to bed early, Sib, just for father's sake, and
don't forget to pray for me."

"I will, I will," said the child; "I always thank God for you because
he made you so beautiful and good."

"Well, I am busy now; go to bed, little woman."

That was the last Sibyl saw of her father before she went away, for he
did not go to see his wife and daughter off, and Mrs. Ogilvie looked
decidedly cross as they stepped into the train. But they soon found
themselves at Grayleigh Manor.

Sibyl and her nurse were hurried off to the nursery regions, very much
to the little girl's secret indignation, and Mrs. Ogilvie seemed to be
swept into a crowd of people who all surrounded her and talked eagerly
and laughed noisily. Sibyl gave them a keen glance out of those very
blue eyes, and in her heart of hearts thought they were a poor lot.

She and nurse had two nice rooms set apart for their own special use,
a sitting-room and a sleeping-room, and nurse proceeded to unpack the
little girl's things, and then to dress her in one of her prettiest

"You are to go to tea in the schoolroom," she said. "There are two or
three other children there, and I hope you will be very good, Miss
Sibyl, and not spoil this beautiful frock."

It was a white cashmere frock, very much embroidered and surrounded by
little frills and soft laces, and, while absolutely simple and quite
suited to the little girl, was really a wonder of expense and art.

"It's a beautiful dress," she said; "you are wearing money now."

"Money," said Sibyl, "what do you mean?"

"This frock is money; you look very nice in it. Be sure, now, you
don't spot it. It would be wicked, just as if you were throwing
sovereigns into the fire."

"I don't understand," said Sibyl; "I wish it wasn't a grand frock. Did
you bring any of my common, common frocks, nursie?"

"I should think not, indeed. Your fine lady mother would be angry if
she saw you looking a show."

"If you speak again in that tone of my mother I'll slap you," said

"Highty-tighty!" said the nurse; "your spirit is almost past bearing.
You need to be broke in."

"And so do you," answered Sibyl. "If mother is good you are not, and
I'm not, so we both must be broke in; but I've got a bit of a temper.
I know that. Nursie, when you were a little girl did you have a bit of
a temper of your own?"

"That I did. I was a handful, my mother used to say."

"Then we _has_ something in common," said Sibyl, her eyes sparkling.
"I'm a handful, too. I'm off to the schoolroom."

"There never was such a child," thought the woman as Sibyl dashed
away, banging the door after her; "she's not shy, and she's as sweet
as sweet can be, and yet she's a handful of spirit, of uppishness and
contrariness. Well, God bless her, whatever she is. How did that
heartless mother come by her? I can understand her being the master's
child, but her mother's! Dear me, I'm often sorry when I think how
mistook the poor little thing is in that woman she thinks so perfect."

Sibyl, quite happy, her heart beating high with excitement, poked her
radiant little face round the schoolroom door. There were three
children already in the room--Mabel, Gus, and Freda St. Claire. They
were Lord Grayleigh's children, and were handsome, and well cared for,
and now looked with curiosity at Sibyl.

"Oh, you're the little girl," said Mabel, who was twelve years of
age. She raised her voice in a languid tone.

"Yes, I _are_ the little girl," said Sibyl. She came forward with
bold, confident steps, and looked at the tea table.

"Where is my place?" she said. "Is it laid for me? I am the visitor."

Gus, aged ten, who had been somewhat inclined to sulk when Sibyl
appeared, now smiled, and pulled out a chair.

"Sit down," he said; "you had better sit there, near Mabel; she's
pouring out tea. She's the boss, you know."

"What's a boss?" said Sibyl.

"You must be a silly not to know what a boss is."

"I aren't no more silly than you are," said Sibyl. "May I have some
bread and butter and jam? I'll ask you some things about town, and
perhaps you can't answer me. What's a--what's a--oh, I'll think of
something real slangy presently; but please don't talk to me too much
while I'm eating, or I'll spill jam on my money frock."

"You are a very queer little girl," said Mabel; but she looked at her
now with favor. A child who could talk like Sibyl was likely to be an

"What a silly you are," said Gus. "What did you put on that thing
for? We don't want frilled and laced-up frocks, we want frocks that
girls can wear to climb trees in, and----"

"Climb trees! Oh," cried Sibyl, "are you that sort? Then I'm your
girl. Oh, I am glad! My ownest father would be pleased. He likes me to
be brave. I'm a hoyden--do you know what a hoyden is? If you want to
have a few big larks while I am here, see to 'em quick, for I'm your

Gus burst into a roar of laughter, and Mabel smiled.

"You are very queer," she said. "I don't know whether our governess
will like our being with you. You seem to use strange words. We never
get into scrapes--we are quite ladylike and good, but we don't wear
grand frocks either. Can't you take that thing off?"

"I wish I could. I hate it myself."

"Well, ask your servant to change it."

"But my nurse hasn't brought a single shabby frock with me."

"Are all your frocks as grand as that?"

"Some of 'em grander."

"We might lend her one of our own brown holland frocks," said Freda.

"Oh, do!" said Sibyl; "that will be lovely."

"We are going to do some climbing this afternoon, so you may as well
put it on," continued Freda.

Sibyl clapped her hands with delight. "It's a great comfort coming
down to this place," she said finally, "'cos I can give way a little;
but with my father and mother I have to keep myself in."


"It's mostly on account of my most perfect of fathers."

"But isn't Philip Ogilvie your father?" said Gus.

"Mr. Ogilvie," corrected Sibyl, in a very proud tone.

"Oh, fudge! I heard father call him Philip Ogilvie. He's not perfect."

Sibyl's face turned white; she looked full at Gus. Gus, not observing
the expression in her eyes, continued, in a glib and easy tone:

"Father didn't know I was there; he was talking to another man. I
think the man's name was Halkett. I'm always great at remembering
names, and I heard him say 'Philip Ogilvie will do what we want. When
it comes to the point he's not too scrupulous.' Yes, scrupulous was
the word, and I ran away and looked it out in the dictionary, and it
means--oh, you needn't stare at me as if your eyes were starting out
of your head--it means a person who hesitates from fear of acting
wrongly. Now, as your father isn't scrupulous, that means that he
doesn't hesitate to act wrong."

Sibyl with one swift, unerring bang struck Gus a sharp blow across the

"What have you done that for, you little beggar?" he said, his eyes
flashing fire.

"To teach you not to tell lies," answered Sibyl. She turned, went up
the room, and stood by the window. Her heart was bursting, and tears
were scorching her eyeballs. "But I won't shed them," thought the
child, "not for worlds."

Sibyl's action was so unexpected that there was a silence in the room
for a few moments, but presently Freda stole softly to Sibyl's side
and touched her on her arm.

"Gus is sorry he said anything to hurt you," she said; "we didn't
understand that you would feel it as you do, but we are all sorry, and
we like you all the better for it. Won't you shake hands with Gus and
be friends?"

"And I'll never say a word against your father again," said Gus.

"You had better not," answered Sibyl. "No, I won't shake hands; I
won't make friends with you till I know something more about you. But
I'd like to climb trees, and to get into a holland frock."


It was great fun getting into the holland frock, more particularly
when it was discovered to be too short, and also very dirty. It had a
great ink-stain in front, and the sleeves were tight and showed a good
bit of Sibyl's white arms. She looked at herself in the glass and
danced about in her excitement.

"You can have this old sailor hat to match the frock," said Freda in
conclusion. "Now no one will say you are too fine. Come out now, Gus
and the others are waiting."

Yes, the sun shone once more for Sibyl, and she forgot for a time
Gus's cruel words about her father. He was most attentive to her now,
and initiated her into the mystery of climbing. Screams of laughter
followed her valiant efforts to ascend the leafy heights of certain
beech trees which grew not far from the house. This laughter attracted
the attention of a lady and gentleman who were pacing the leafy alley
not far away.

"What a noise those children make," said Lord Grayleigh to his

"How many children have you, Lord Grayleigh?" asked Mrs. Ogilvie. She
looked full at him as she spoke.

"I have three," he replied; "they are great scamps, and never for a
single moment fit to be seen. Since their mother died"--he sighed
as he uttered these words, he was a widower of over two years'
standing--"I have kept them more or less with myself. There is no harm
in them, although they are pickles. Come, I will introduce you to
them. That reminds me, I have not yet seen your own little daughter."

Mrs. Ogilvie was very proud of Sibyl, but only when she looked her
best. The mother now contemplated, with a feeling of satisfaction, the
nice dresses which she had secured for the child before she came into
the country. No one could look more lovely than this little daughter
of hers, when dressed suitably, so abundant was her golden brown hair,
and so blue were her eyes, so straight the little features, so soft
the curves of the rosy lips. It is true those blue eyes had an
expression in them which never in this world could Mrs. Ogilvie
understand, nevertheless, the child's beauty was apparent to the most
superficial observer; and Mrs. Ogilvie turned and accompanied Lord
Grayleigh in the direction of the merry sounds willingly enough.

"I see four little figures dancing about among those trees," said
Lord Grayleigh. "We will see them all together."

They turned down a side walk, and came face to face with Sibyl
herself. Now, at that instant the little girl certainly did not look
at her best. The holland frock, short and shabby, had a great rent
above the knee, her soft cheek was scratched and bleeding slightly,
and there was a smudge across her forehead.

Sibyl, quite unconscious of these defects, flew to her mother's side.

"Oh, Mummy," she cried, "I'm so happy. Gus has been teaching me to
climb. Do you see that beech tree? I climbed as far as the second
branch, and Gus said I did it splendid. It's lovely to sit up there."

Sibyl did not even notice Lord Grayleigh, who stood and watched this
little scene with an amused face. Mrs. Ogilvie was by no means

"What do you mean, Sibyl," she said, "by wearing that disgraceful
frock? Why did nurse put it into your trunk? And you know I do not
wish you to climb trees. You are an extremely naughty girl. No, Lord
Grayleigh, I will not introduce my little daughter to you now. When
you are properly dressed, Sibyl, and know how to behave yourself, you
shall have the honor of shaking hands with Lord Grayleigh. Go into
the house, now, I am ashamed of you."

Sibyl turned first red and then white.

"Is that Lord Grayleigh?" she whispered.

"Yes, my dear, but I shall not answer any of your other questions at
present. I am extremely displeased with you."

"I am sorry you are angry, mother; but may I--may I say one thing,
just one, afore I go?"

Mrs. Ogilvie was about to hustle the child off, when Lord Grayleigh
interfered. "Do let her speak," he said; "she looks a most charming
little maid. For my part I like children best in _deshabille_. What is
it, little woman?"

"It's that I don't want to shake hands with you--never, _never_!"
answered Sibyl, and she turned her back on the astonished nobleman,
and marched off in the direction of the house.

Mrs. Ogilvie turned to apologize.

"I am terribly ashamed of Sibyl, she is the most extraordinary child,"
she said. "What can have possessed her to put on that frock, and why
did she speak to you in that strange, rude way?" Here Mrs. Ogilvie
uttered a sigh. "I fear it is her father's doing," she continued, "he
makes her most eccentric. I do hope you will overlook her naughty
words. The moment I go into the house I shall speak to her, and also
to nurse for allowing her to wear that disgraceful frock."

"I don't think your nurse is to blame," said Lord Grayleigh. "I have a
keen eye for dress, and have a memory of that special frock. It
happens to possess a green stain in the back which I am not likely to
forget. I think my Freda wore it a good deal last summer, and I
remember the occasion when the green stain was indelibly fixed upon
it. You must know, Mrs. Ogilvie, that my three children are imps, and
it was the impiest of the imps' frocks your little girl happened to be
wearing. But what a handsome little creature she is! A splendid face.
How I have come to fall under her displeasure, however, is a mystery
to me."

"Oh, you can never account for Sibyl's whims," said Mrs. Ogilvie; "it
is all her father's fault. It is a great trial to me, I assure you."

"I should be very proud of that child if I were you," answered Lord
Grayleigh. "She has a particularly frank, fine face."

"Oh, she is handsome enough," answered Mrs. Ogilvie. "But what she
will grow up to, heaven only knows. She has the strangest ideas on all
sorts of subjects. She absolutely believes that her father and I are
perfect--could you credit it? At the same time she is a very naughty
child herself. I will go into the house, now, and give her a talking

"Don't scold her, poor little thing," said Lord Grayleigh. He was a
kind-hearted man in the main. "For my part," he continued, "I like
naughty children; I must force her confidence presently. She has quite
roused my curiosity. But now, Mrs. Ogilvie, to turn to other matters,
what can we do to persuade your husband to alter his mind? You know,
of course, that I have asked him to assay the Lombard Deeps Mine?"

"I do know it," answered Mrs. Ogilvie, the color flushing into her
face. "Philip is too extraordinary at times. For my part, I really do
not know how to thank you; please believe that I am altogether on your
side. If only we could persuade that eccentric husband of mine to
change his mind."

"He is a strange fellow," answered Lord Grayleigh slowly; "but, do you
know, I think all the more of him for a letter I received a few days
ago. At the same time, it will be prejudicial to our interests if he
should not act as engineer in this new undertaking. He is the one man
the public absolutely trusts, and of course----"

"Why do you think more of him for refusing an advantageous offer?"

"I don't know that I can explain. Money is not everything--at least,
to some people. Shall we go into the house? I need not say that I am
glad you are on our side, and doubtless your husband's scruples"--Lord
Grayleigh laid the slightest emphasis on the word, and made it, even
to the obtuse ears of his hearer, sound offensive--"even your
husband's scruples of conscience may be overcome by judicious
management. A wife can do much on occasions of this sort, and also a
friend. He and I are more than acquaintances--we are friends. I have a
hearty liking for Ogilvie. It is a disappointment not to have him
here, but I hope to have the pleasure of lunching with him on Monday.
Trust me to do what I can to further your interests and his own on
that occasion. Now shall we go into the house? You will like to rest
before dinner."

Mrs. Ogilvie often liked to affect weariness, it suited her peculiar
style of beauty to look languid. She went slowly to her room. Her
maid, Hortense, helped her to take off her travelling dress, and to
put on a teagown before she lay down on the sofa. She then told the
girl to leave her.

When alone Mrs. Ogilvie thought rapidly and deeply. What was the
matter with Philip? What did Lord Grayleigh mean by talking of
scruples? But she was not going to worry her head on that subject.
Philip must not be quixotic, he must accept the good things the gods
sent him. Additional wealth would add so immensely to their happiness.

"Money _is_ everything," she thought, "whatever Lord Grayleigh may
say. Those who refuse it are fools, and worse. Lord Grayleigh and I
must bring Philip to his senses."

She moved restlessly on her sofa, and looked across the comfortable

With a little more wealth she could hold her own with her friends and
acquaintances, and present a good figure in that world of society
which was her one idea of heaven. Above all things, debts, which came
between her and perfect bliss, could be cleared off. Her creditors
would not wait for payment much longer, but if Philip assayed the new
mine, he would be handsomely paid for his pains, and all her own cares
would take to themselves wings and fly away. Why did he hesitate? How
tiresome he was! Surely his life had not been so immaculate up to the
present that he should hesitate thus when the golden opportunity to
secure a vast fortune arrived.

Ogilvie came of one of the best old families across the border, and
had a modest competence of his own handed down to him from a long line
of honorable ancestors. He had also inherited a certain code which he
could not easily forget. He called it a code of honor, and Mrs.
Ogilvie, alas! did not understand it. She reflected over the
situation now, and grew restless. If Philip was really such a goose as
to refuse his present chance, she would never forgive him. She would
bring up to him continually the golden opportunity he had let slip,
and weary his very soul. She was the sort of soft, pretty woman who
could nag a man to the verge of distraction. She knew that inestimable
art to perfection. She felt, as she lay on the sofa and toyed with the
ribbons of her pretty and expensive teagown, that she had her weapons
ready to hand. Then, with an irritated flash, she thought of the
child. Of course the child was nice, handsome, and her own; Sibyl was
very lucky to have at least one parent who would not spoil her. But
was she not being spoiled? Were there not some things intolerable
about her?

"May I come in, Mumsy, or are you too tired?" There was something in
the quality of the voice at the door which caused Mrs. Ogilvie's
callous heart to beat quicker for a moment, then she said in an
irritated tone--

"Oh, come in, of course; I want to speak to you."

Sibyl entered. Nurse had changed her holland frock, and dressed the
little girl in pale pink silk. The dress was very unsuitable, but it
became the radiant little face and bright, large eyes, and pathetic,
sweet mouth, to perfection.

Sibyl ran up to her mother, and, dropping on one knee by her side,
looked up into her face.

"Now you'll kiss me," she said; "now you're pleased with your own
Sibyl. I am pretty, I'm beautiful, and you, darling mother, will kiss

"Get up, Sib, and don't be absurd," said Mrs. Ogilvie; but as she
spoke a warm light came into her eyes, for the child was fascinating,
and just in the mood to appeal most to her mother.

"Really," said Mrs. Ogilvie, "you do look nice in that dress, it fits
you very well. Turn round, and let me see how it is made at the back.
Ah! I told Mademoiselle Leroe to make it in that style; that little
watteau back is so very becoming to small girls. Turn round now
slowly, and let me get the side view. Yes, it is a pretty dress; be
sure you don't mess it. You are to come down with the other children
to dessert. You had better go now, I am tired."

"But Mummy--Mumsy!"

"Don't call me Mummy or Mumsy, say mother. I don't like

"What's that?" asked Sibyl, knitting her brows.

"Mummy or Mumsy are abbreviations of a very sacred name."

"Sacred name!" said Sibyl, in a thoughtful tone. "Oh yes, I won't call
you anything but mother. Mother is most lovely."

"Well, I hope you will be a good child, and not annoy me as you have
been doing."

"Oh, mother darling, I didn't mean to vex you, but it was such a
temptation, you know. You were never, never tempted, were you, mother?
You are made so perfect that you cannot understand what temptation
means. I did so long to climb the trees, and I knew you would not like
me spoil my pretty frock, and Freda lent me the brown holland. When I
saw you, Mums--I mean, mother--I forgot about everything else but just
that I had climbed a tree, and that I had been brave, although for a
minute I felt a scrap giddy, and I wanted to tell you about what I had
done, my ownest, most darling mother."

Mrs. Ogilvie sprang suddenly to her feet.

"Come here," she said. There was a sharpness in her tone which
arrested the words on Sibyl's lips. "Look at me, take my hand, look
steadily into my face. I have just five minutes to spare, and I wish
to say something very grave and important, and you must listen

"Oh, yes, mother, I am listening; what is it?"

"Look at me. Are you attending?"

"Yes, I suppose so. Mother, Freda says she will give me a Persian
kitten; the Persian cat has two, such beauties, snow-white. May I have
one, mother?"

"Attend to me, and stop talking. You think a great deal of me, your
mother, and you call me perfect. Now show that you put me in high

"That sounds very nice," thought Sibyl to herself. "Mother is just in
her most beautiful humor. Of course I'll listen."

"I wish," continued the mother, and she turned slightly away from the
child as she spoke, "I wish you to stop all that nonsense about your
father and me. I wish you to understand that we are not perfect,
either of us; we are just everyday, ordinary sort of people. As we
happen to be your father and mother, you must obey us and do what we
wish; but you make yourself, and us also, ridiculous when you talk as
you do. I am perfectly sick of your poses, Sibyl."

"Poses!" cried Sibyl; "what's poses?"

"Oh, you are too tiresome; ask nurse to explain, or Miss Winstead,
when you go home. Miss Winstead, if she is wise, will tell you that
you must just turn round and go the other way. You must obey me, of
course, and understand that I know the right way to train you; but you
are not to talk of me as though I were an angel. I am nothing of the
kind. I am an ordinary woman, with ordinary feelings and ordinary
faults, and I wish you to be an ordinary little girl. I am very angry
with you for your great rudeness to Lord Grayleigh. What did it mean?"

"Oh, mother! it meant----" Sibyl swallowed something in her throat.
Her mother's speech was unintelligible; it hurt her, she did not
exactly know why, but this last remark was an opening.

"Mother, I am glad you spoke of it. I could not, really and truly,
help it."

"Don't talk nonsense. Now go away. Hortense is coming to dress me for
dinner. Go."

"But, mother! one minute first, please--please."

"Go, Sibyl, obey me."

"It was 'cos Lord Grayleigh spoke against my----"

"Go, Sibyl, I won't listen to another word. I shall punish you
severely if you do not obey me this instant."

"I am going," said the child, "but I cannot be----"

"Go. You are coming down to dessert to-night, and you are to speak
properly to Lord Grayleigh. Those are my orders. Now go."

Hortense came in at that moment. She entered with that slight whirl
which she generally affected, and which she considered truly Parisian.
Somehow, in some fashion, Sibyl felt herself swept out of the room.
She stood for a moment in the passage. There was a long glass at the
further end, and it reflected a pink-robed little figure. The cheeks
had lost their usual tender bloom, and the eyes had a bewildered
expression. Sibyl rubbed her hands across them.

"I don't understand," she said to herself. "Perhaps I wasn't quite
pretty enough, perhaps that was the reason, but I don't know. I think
I'll go to my new nursery and sit down and think of father. Oh, I wish
mother hadn't--of course it's all right, and I am a silly girl, and I
get worser, not better, every day, and mother knows what is best for
me; but she might have let me 'splain things. I wish I hadn't a pain
here." Sibyl touched her breast with a pathetic gesture.

"It's 'cos of father I feel so bad, it's 'cos they told lies of
father." She turned very slowly with the most mournful droop of her
head in the direction of the apartment set aside for nurse and
herself. She had thought much of this visit, and now this very first
afternoon a blow had come. Her mother had told her to do a hard thing.
She, Sibyl, was to be polite to Lord Grayleigh; she was to be polite
to that dreadful, smiling man, with the fair hair and the keen eyes,
who had spoken against her father. It was unfair, it was dreadful, to
expect this of her.

"And mother would not even let me 'splain," thought the child.

"Hullo!" cried a gay voice; "hullo! and what's the matter with little
Miss Beauty?" And Sibyl raised her eyes, with a start, to encounter
the keen, frank, admiring gaze of Gus.

"Oh, I say!" he exclaimed, "aren't we fine! I say! you'll knock Freda
and Mabel into next week, if you go on at this rate. But, come to the
schoolroom; we want a game, and you can join."

"I can't, Gus," replied Sibyl.

"Why, what's the matter?"

"I don't feel like playing games."

"You are quite white about the gills. I say! has anybody hurt you?"

"No, not exactly, Gus; but I want to be alone. I'll come by-and-by."

"Somebody wasn't square with her," thought Gus, as Sibyl turned away.
"Queer little girl! But I like her all the same."


Sibyl's conduct was exemplary at dessert. She was quiet, she was
modest, she was extremely polite. When spoken to she answered in the
most correct manner. When guests smiled at her, she gave them a set
smile in return. She accepted just that portion of the dessert which
her mother most wished her to eat, eschewing unwholesome sweets, and
partaking mostly of grapes. Especially was she polite to Lord
Grayleigh, who called her to his side, and even put his arm round her
waist. He wondered afterwards why she shivered when he did this. But
she stood upright as a dart, and looked him full in the face with
those extraordinary eyes of hers.

At last the children's hour, as it was called, came to an end, and the
four went round kissing and shaking hands with the different guests.
Mrs. Ogilvie put her hand for an instant on Sibyl's shoulder.

"I am pleased with you," she said; "you behaved very nicely. Go to bed

"Will you come and see me, Mumsy--mother, I mean--before you go to

"Oh no, child, nonsense! you must be asleep hours before then. No,
this is good-night. Now go quietly."

Sibyl did go quietly. Mrs. Ogilvie turned to her neighbor.

"That is such an absurd custom," she said; "I must break her of it."

"Break your little girl of what?" he asked. "She is a beautiful
child," he added. "I congratulate you on having such a charming

"I have no doubt she will make a very pretty woman," replied Mrs.
Ogilvie, "and I trust she will have a successful career; but what I
was alluding to now was her insane wish that I should go and say
good-night to her. Her father spoils that child dreadfully. He insists
on her staying up to our late dinner, which in itself is quite against
all my principles, and then will go up to her room every evening when
he happens to be at home. She lies awake for him at night, and they
talk sentiment to each other. Very bad, is it not; quite out of date."

"I don't know," answered Mr. Rochester; "if it is an old custom it
seems to me it has good in it." As he spoke he thought again of the
eager little face, the pathetic soft eyes, the pleading in the voice.
Until within this last half-hour he had not known of Sibyl's
existence; but from this instant she was to come into his heart and
bear fruit.

Meanwhile the child went straight to her room.

"Won't you come to the schoolroom now?" asked Gus in a tone of

"No; mother said I was to go to bed," answered Sibyl.

"How proper and good you have turned," cried Mabel.

"Good-night," said Sibyl. She could be quite dignified when she
pleased. She allowed the girls to kiss her, and she shook hands with
Gus, and felt grown-up, and, on the whole, notwithstanding the
unsatisfied feeling at her heart, rather pleased with herself. She
entered the room she called the nursery, and it looked cheerful and
bright. Old nurse had had the fire lit, and was sitting by it. A
kettle steamed on the hob, and nurse's cup and saucer and teapot, and
some bread and butter and cakes, were spread on the table. But as
Sibyl came in the sense of satisfaction which she had felt for a
moment or two dropped away from her like a mantle, and she only knew
that the ache at her heart was worse than ever. She sat down quietly,
and did not speak, but gazed fixedly into the fire.

"What is it, pet?" nurse said. "Is anything the matter?"

"No," answered Sibyl. "Nursie, can I read the Bible a bit?"

"Sakes alive!" cried nurse, for Sibyl had never been remarkable for
any religious tendency, "to be sure, my darling," she answered. "I
never go from home without my precious Bible. It is the one my mother
gave me when I was a little girl. I'll fetch it for you, dearie."

"Thank you," replied Sibyl.

Nurse returned, and the much-read, much-worn Bible was placed
reverently in Sibyl's hands.

"Now, my little darling," said nurse, "you look quite white. You'll
just read a verse or two, and then you'll go off to your bed."

"I want to find a special verse," said Sibyl. "When I have read it I
will go to bed." She knitted her brows and turned the pages in a
puzzled, anxious way.

"What's fretting you, dear? I know the Bible, so to speak, from end to
end. Can old nursie help you in any way?"

"I know the verse is somewhere, but I cannot find the place. I
remember reading it, and it has come back to me to-night."

"What is it, dear?"

"'God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.'"

"Oh, yes, love," answered nurse promptly, "that's in the Epistle of
St. James, fourth chapter, sixth verse. I learned the whole of the
Epistle for my mother when I was young, and I have never forgotten a
word of it. Here it is, dear."

"But what are you fretting your head over that verse for?" asked the
puzzled old woman; "there's some that I could find for you a deal more
suitable to little ladies like yourself. There's a beautiful verse,
for instance, which says, 'Children, obey your parents in the Lord.'
That means all those in charge of you, dear, nurses and governesses
and all. I heard its meaning explained once very clear, and that was
how it was put."

"There is not a bit about nurses and governesses in the Bible," said
Sibyl, who had no idea of being imposed upon, although she was in
trouble. "Never mind that other verse now, nursie, it's not that I'm
thinking of, it's the one you found about 'God resisteth the proud,
and giveth grace to the humble.' It seems to 'splain things."

"What things, dear?"

"Why, about mother. Nursie, isn't my mother quite the very humblest
woman in all the world?"

"Oh, my goodness me, no!" exclaimed the woman under her breath. "I
wouldn't remark it, my dear," she said aloud.

"That's 'cos you know so very little. You can't never guess what my
ownest mother said to me to-day, and I'm not going to tell you, only
that verse comforts me, and I understand now."

Sibyl got up and asked nurse to take off her pink frock. She felt
quite cheerful and happy again. She knelt down in her white nightdress
and said her prayers. She always prayed for her father and mother in a
peculiar way. She never asked God to give them anything, they had
already got all that heart could wish. They were beautiful in person,
they were lovely in character, they were perfect in soul. She could
only thank God for them. So she thanked God now as usual.

"Thank You, Jesus, for giving me father and mother," said Sibyl, "and
in especial for making my mother just so truly perfect that she is
humble. She does not like me to think too much of her. It is because
she is humble, and You give grace to the humble. It is a great comfort
to me, Jesus, to know that, because I could not quite understand my
mother afore dinner. Good-night, Jesus, I am going to sleep now; I am
quite happy."

Sibyl got into bed, closed her eyes, and was soon sound asleep.

On the following Monday Lord Grayleigh went to town, and there he had
a rather important interview with Philip Ogilvie.

"I failed to understand your letter," he said, "and have come to you
for an explanation."

Ogilvie was looking worried and anxious.

"I thought my meaning plain enough," he replied, "but as you are here,
I will answer you; and first, I want to put a question to you. Why do
you wish me to be the assayer?"

"For many reasons; amongst others, because I wish to do you a good
turn. For your position you are not too well off. This will mean
several thousands a year to you, if the vein is as rich as we hope it
will be. The alluvial we know is rich. It has washed at five ounces to
the ton."

"But if there should not happen to be a rich vein beneath?" queried
Ogilvie, and as he spoke he watched his companion narrowly.

Lord Grayleigh shrugged his shoulders. The action was significant.

"I see," cried Ogilvie. He was silent for a moment, then he sprang
to his feet. "I have regarded you as my friend for some time,
Grayleigh, and there have been moments when I have been proud of your
acquaintanceship, but in the name of all that is honorable, and all
that is virtuous, why will you mix up a pretended act of benevolence
to me with--you know what it means--a fraudulent scheme? You are
determined that there shall be a rich vein below the surface. In
plain words, if there is not, you want a false assay of the Lombard
Deeps. That is the plain English of it, isn't it?"

"Pooh! my dear Ogilvie, you use harsh words. Fraudulent! What does the
world--our world I mean--consist of? Those who make money, and those
who lose it. It is a great competition of skill--a mere duel of wits.
All is fair in love, war, and speculation."

"Your emendation of that old proverb may be _fin de siècle_, but it
does not suit my notions," muttered Ogilvie, sitting down again.

Grayleigh looked keenly at him.

"You will be sorry for this," he said; "it means much to you. You
would be quite safe, you know that."

"And what of the poor country parson, the widow, the mechanic? I grant
they are fools; but----"

"What is the matter with you?" said Lord Grayleigh; "you never were so

"I don't know that I am scrupulous now. I shall be very glad to assay
the mine for you, if I may give you a----"

"We need not enter into that," said Grayleigh, rising; "you have
already put matters into words which had better never have been
uttered. I will ask you to reconsider this: it is a task too
important to decline without weighing all the _pros_ and _cons_. You
shall have big pay for your services; big pay, you understand."

"And it is that which at once tempts and repels me," said Ogilvie.
Then he paused, and said abruptly, "How is Sibyl? Have you seen much
of her?"

"Your little daughter? I saw her twice. Once, when she was very dirty,
and rather rude to me, and a second time, when she was the perfection
of politeness and good manners."

"Sibyl is peculiar," said Ogilvie, and his eyes gleamed with a flash
of the same light in them which Sibyl's wore at intervals.

"She is a handsome child, it is a pity she is your only one, Ogilvie."

"Not at all," answered Ogilvie; "I never wish for another, she
satisfies me completely."

"Well, to turn to the present matter," said Lord Grayleigh; "you will
reconsider your refusal?"

"I would rather not."

"But if I as a personal favor beg you to do so."

"There is not the slightest doubt that the pay tempts me," said
Ogilvie; "it would be a kindness on your part to close the matter now
finally, to relieve me from temptation. But suppose I were to--to
yield, what would the shareholders say?"

"They would be managed. The shareholders will expect to pay the
engineer who assays the mine for them handsomely."

Ogilvie stood in a dubious attitude, Grayleigh went up and laid his
hand on his shoulder.

"I will assume," he said, "that you get over scruples which after all
may have no foundation, for the mine may be all that we wish it to be.
What I want to suggest is this. Someone must go to Australia to assay
the Lombard Deeps. If you will not take the post we must get someone
else to step into your shoes. The new claim was discovered by the
merest accident, and the reports state it to be one of the richest
that has ever been panned out. Of course that is as it may be. We will
present you, if you give a good assay, with five hundred shares in the
new syndicate. You can wait until the shares go up, and then sell out.
You will clear thousands of pounds. We will also pay your expenses and
compensate you handsomely for the loss of your time. This is Monday;
we want you to start on Saturday. Give me your decision on Wednesday
morning. I won't take a refusal now."

Ogilvie was silent; his face was very white, and his lips were
compressed together. Soon afterward the two men parted.

Lord Grayleigh returned to Grayleigh Manor by a late train, and
Ogilvie went back to his empty house. Amongst other letters which
awaited him was one with a big blot on the envelope. This blot was
surrounded by a circle in red ink, and was evidently of great moment
to the writer. The letter was addressed to "Philip Ogilvie, Esq.," in
a square, firm, childish hand, and the great blot stood a little away
from the final Esquire. It gave the envelope an altogether striking
and unusual appearance. The flap was sealed with violet wax, and had
an impression on it which spelt Sibyl. Ogilvie, when he received this
letter, took it up tenderly, looked at the blot on the cover of the
envelope, glanced behind him in a shamefaced way, pressed his lips to
the violet seal which contained his little daughter's name, then
sitting down in his chair, he opened the envelope.

Sibyl was very good at expressing her feelings in words, but as yet
she was a poor scribe, and her orthography left much to be desired.
Her letter was somewhat short, and ran as follows:--

     "DADDY DEAR,--Here's a blot to begin, and the blot means a
     kiss. I will put sum more at the end of the letter. Pleas
     kiss all the kisses for they com from the verry botom of my
     hart. I have tried Daddy to be good cos of you sinse I left
     home, but I am afraid I have been rather norty. Mother gets
     more purfect evry day. She is bewtiful and humbel. Mother
     said she wasn't purfect but she is, isn't she father? I miss
     you awful, speshul at nights, cos mother thinks its good for
     me not to lie awake for her to come and kiss me. But you
     never think that and you always com, and I thank God so much
     for having gived you to me father. Your SIBYL."

     "Father, what does 'scroopolus' mean? I want to know

The letter finished with many of these strange irregular blots, which
Ogilvie kissed tenderly, and then folded up the badly-spelt little
epistle, and slipped it into his pocket-book. Then he drew his chair
forward to where his big desk stood, and, leaning his elbows on it,
passed his hands through his thick, short hair. He was puzzled as he
had never been in all his life before. Should he go, or should he
stay? Should he yield to temptation, and become rich and prosperous,
or should he retain his honor, and face the consequences? He knew
well--he had seen them coming for a long time--the consequences he was
about to face would not be pleasant. They spelt very little short of
ruin. He suddenly opened a drawer, and took from its depths a sheaf of
accounts which different tradespeople had sent in to his wife. Mrs.
Ogilvie was hopelessly reckless and extravagant. Money in her hand was
like water; it flowed away as she touched it. Her jeweler's bill alone
amounted to thousands of pounds. If Ogilvie accepted the offer now
made to him he might satisfy these pressing creditors, and not deprive
Sibyl of her chance of an income by-and-by. Sibyl! As the thought of
her face came to him, he groaned inwardly. He wished sometimes that
God had never given him such a treasure.

"I am unworthy of my little Angel," he said to himself. Then he
started up and began to pace the room. "And yet I would not be without
her for all the wealth in the world, for all the greatness and all the
fame," he cried; "she is more to me than everything else on earth. If
ever she finds out what I really am, I believe I shall go raving mad.
I must keep a straight front, must keep as clean as I can for Sibyl's
sake. O God, help me to be worthy of her!"

He read the badly-spelt, childish letter once again, and then he
thrust the bills out of sight and thought of other liabilities which
he himself had incurred, till his thoughts returned to the tempting
offer made to him.

"Shall I risk it?" he said to himself. "Shall I risk the chance of the
mine being really good, and go to Australia and see if it is as rich
as the prospectuses claim it to be. But suppose it is not? Well, in
that case I am bound to make it appear so. Five ounces of gold to
every ton; it seems _bona fide_ enough. It it is _bona fide_, why
should not I have my share of the wealth? It is as legitimate a way of
earning money as any other," and he swerved again in the direction of
Lord Grayleigh's offer.

Lord Grayleigh had given him until Wednesday to decide.

"I am sorry to seem to force your hand," that nobleman had said to him
at parting, "but if you distinctly refuse we must send another man,
and whoever goes must start on Saturday."

A trip to Australia, how he would enjoy it! To be quite away from
London and his present conventional life. The only pain was the
thought of parting with Sibyl. But he would do his business quickly,
and come back and clasp her in his arms, and kiss her again and look
into her eyes and--turn round; yes, he would turn short round and
choose the right path, and be what she really thought him, a good man.
In a very small degree, he would be the sort of man his child imagined

As these thoughts flashed before his mind he forgot that dinner was
cooling in the dining-room, that he himself had eaten nothing for some
hours, and that a curious faintness which he had experienced once or
twice before had stolen over him. He did not like it nor quite
understand it. He rose, crossed the room, and was about to ring the
bell when a sudden spasm of most acute pain passed like a knife
through his chest. He was in such agony that for a moment he was
unable to stir. The sharpness of the pain soon went off, and he sank
into a chair faint and trembling. He was now well enough to ring his
bell. He did so, and the footman appeared.

"Bring me brandy, and be quick," said Ogilvie.

The man started when he saw his face. He soon returned with the
stimulant, which Ogilvie drank off. The agony in his chest subsided by
degrees, and he was able to go into the dining-room and even to eat.
He had never before had such terrible and severe pain, and now he was
haunted by the memory of his father, who had died suddenly of acute
disease of the heart.

After dinner he went, as usual, to his club, where he met a friend
whom he liked. They chatted about many things, and the fears and
apprehensions of the puzzled man dropped gradually from him. It was
past midnight when Ogilvie returned home. He had now forgotten all
about the pain in his chest. It had completely passed away. He felt
as well and vigorous as ever. In the night, however, he slept badly,
had tiresome dreams, and was much haunted by the thought of his child.
If by any chance he were to die now! If, for instance, he died on his
way to Australia, he would leave Sibyl badly provided for. A good deal
of his private means had already been swallowed up by his own and his
wife's extravagant living, and what was left of it had been settled
absolutely on his wife at the time of their marriage. Although, of
course, this money at her mother's death would revert to Sibyl, he had
a presentiment, which he knew was founded on a firm basis, that Mrs.
Ogilvie might be careless, inconsiderate--not kind, in the true sense
of the word, to the little girl. If it came to be a tussle between
Sibyl's needs and her mother's fancied necessities, Ogilvie's
intuitions told him truly that Sibyl would go to the wall.

"I must do something better than that for my little daughter," thought
the man. "I will not go to Australia until I have decided that point.
If I go, I shall make terms, and it will be for Sibyl's sake."

But again that uncomfortable, tiresome conscience of his began to
speak; and that conscience told him that if he went to Australia for
the purpose of blinding the eyes of possible shareholders in London,
he would in reality be doing the very worst possible thing for his

He tossed about between one temptation and another for the remainder
of the night, and arose in the morning unrefreshed. As he was
dressing, however, a thought came to him which he hailed as a possible
relief. Why not do the right thing right from the beginning; tell
Grayleigh that the proposed commission to visit Australia was
altogether distasteful to him; that he washed his hands of the great
new syndicate; that they might sweep in their gold, but he would have
nothing to say to it? At the same time he might insure his life for
ten thousand pounds. It would be a heavy interest to pay, no doubt,
and they would probably have to live in a smaller house, and he and
his wife would have to put down their expenses in various ways, but he
would have the comfort of knowing that whatever happened Sibyl would
not be without means of subsistence.

"When I have done that, and absolutely provided for her future, I
shall have a great sense of rest," thought the man. "I will go and see
Dr. Rashleigh, of the Crown and Life Insurance Company, as soon as
ever I get to the City. That is a happy thought."

He smiled cheerfully to himself, ran downstairs, and ate a hearty
breakfast. A letter from his wife lay upon his plate. He did not even
open it. He thrust it into his pocket and went off to the City,
telling his servant as he did so that he would be back to dinner.

As soon as he got to his office he read his letters, gave his clerks
directions, and went at once to see Dr. Rashleigh, of the Insurance

Rashleigh happened to be one of his special friends, and he knew his
hours. It was a little unusual to expect him to examine him for an
insurance without an appointment; but he believed, in view of his
possible visit to Australia, that Rashleigh would be willing to
overlook ceremony.

He arrived at the office, saw one of the clerks downstairs, heard that
Rashleigh was in and would soon be disengaged, and presently was shown
into the doctor's consulting room.

Rashleigh was a grey-haired man of about sixty years of age. He spent
a couple of hours every day in the consulting room of the Crown and
Life Insurance Company. He rose now, and extended his hand with
pleasure when Ogilvie appeared.

"My dear Ogilvie, and what do you want with me? Have you at last
listened to my entreaties that you should insure your life in a
first-class office?"

"Something of the kind," said Ogilvie, forcing a smile, for again that
agony which had come over him yesterday assailed him. He knew that his
heart was throbbing faintly, and he remembered once more that his
father had died of heart disease. Oh, it was all nonsense; of course
he had nothing to fear. He was a man in his prime, not much over
thirty--he was all right.

Rashleigh asked him a few questions.

"I may have to go to Australia rather suddenly," said Ogilvie, "and I
should like first to insure my life. I want to settle the money on my
child before I leave home."

"How large a sum do you propose to insure for?" asked the doctor.

"I have given the particulars to the clerk downstairs. I should like
to insure for ten thousand pounds."

"Well, I daresay that can be managed. You are an excellent client, and
quite a young man. Now just let me sound your lungs, and listen to
your heart."

Ogilvie removed his necktie, unbuttoned his shirt, and placed himself
in the doctor's hands.

Dr. Rashleigh made his examination without comment, slowly and
carefully. At last it was over.

"Well?" said Ogilvie, just glancing at him. "It's all right, I

"It is not the custom for a doctor at an insurance office to tell his
patient anything about the result of the examination," was Rashleigh's
answer. "You'll hear all in good time."

"But there really is no time to lose, and you are an old friend. You
look grave. If it cannot be done, of course it cannot, but I should
like to know."

"When do you propose to go to Australia?"

"I may not go at all. In fact if----" Ogilvie suddenly leaned against
the table. Once again he felt faint and giddy. "If this is all right,
I shall probably not go."

"But suppose it is not all right?"

"Then I sail on Saturday."

"I may as well tell you the truth," said Rashleigh; "you are a brave
man. My dear fellow, the office cannot insure you."

"What do you mean?"

"Heart," said Rashleigh.

"Heart! Mine? Not affected?"



"It is hard to answer that question. The heart is a strange organ, and
capable of a vast amount of resuscitation; nevertheless, in your case
the symptoms are grave; the aortic valve is affected. It behooves you
to be very careful."

"Does this mean that I----" Ogilvie dropped into a chair. "Rashleigh,"
he said suddenly, "I had a horrible attack last night. I forgot it
this morning when I came to you, but it was horrible while it lasted.
I thought myself, during those moments of torture, within a
measurable--a very measurable distance of the end."

"Describe your sensations," said Rashleigh.

Ogilvie did so.

"Now, my dear fellow, I have a word to say. This insurance cannot be
done. But, for yourself, you must avoid excitement. I should like to
prescribe a course of living for you. I have studied the heart

"Will nothing put me straight? Cure me, I mean?"

"I fear not."

"Well, good-by, Rashleigh; I will call round to see you some evening."

"Do. I should like you to have the advice of a specialist, Anderson,
the greatest man in town on the heart."

"But where is the use? If you cannot cure me, he cannot."

"You may live for years and years, and die of something else in the

"Just what was said to my father, who did not live for years and
years," answered the man. "I won't keep you any longer, Rashleigh."

He left the office and went down into the street. As he crossed the
Poultry and got once more into the neighborhood of his own office, one
word kept ringing in his ears, "Doomed."

He arrived at his office and saw his head clerk.

"You don't look well, Mr. Ogilvie."

"Never mind about my looks, Harrison," replied Ogilvie. "I have a
great deal to do, and need your best attention."

"Certainly, sir; but, all the same, you don't look well."

"Looks are nothing," replied Ogilvie. "I shall soon be all right.
Harrison, I am off to Australia on Saturday."


On that same Tuesday Lord Grayleigh spent a rather anxious day. For
many reasons it would never do for him to press Ogilvie, and yet if
Ogilvie declined to go to Queensland matters might not go quite
smoothly with the new Syndicate. He was the most trusted and eminent
mine assayer in London, and had before now done useful work for
Grayleigh, who was chairman of several other companies. Up to the
present Grayleigh, a thoroughly worldly and hard-headed man of
business, had made use of Ogilvie entirely to his own benefit and
satisfaction. It was distinctly unpleasant to him, therefore, to find
that just at the most crucial moment in his career, when everything
depended on Ogilvie's subservience to his chief's wishes, he should
turn restive.

"That sort of man with a conscience is intolerable," thought Lord
Grayleigh, and then he wondered what further lever he might bring to
bear in order to get Ogilvie to consent to the Australian visit.

He was thinking these thoughts, pacing up and down alone in a retired
part of the grounds, when he heard shrill screams of childish
laughter, and the next moment Sibyl, in one of her white frocks, the
flounces badly torn, her hat off and hair in wild disorder, rushed
past. She was closely followed by Freda, Mabel and Gus being not far

"Hullo!" said Lord Grayleigh; "come here, little woman, and account
for yourself."

Sibyl paused in her mad career. She longed to say, "I'm not going
to account for myself to you," but she remembered her mother's
injunction. She had been on her very best behavior all Sunday, Monday,
and up to now on Tuesday, but her fit of goodness was coming to an
end. She was in the mood to be obstreperous, naughty, and wilful; but
the thought of her mother, who was so gently following in the path of
the humble, restrained her.

"If mother, who is an angel, a perfect angel, can think herself
naughty and yet wish me to be good, I ought to help her by being as
good as I possibly can," she thought.

So she stopped and looked at Lord Grayleigh with the wistful, puzzled
expression which at once repelled and attracted him. His own daughters
also drew up, panting.

"We were chasing Sib," they said; "she challenged us. She said that,
although she does live in town, she could beat us."

"And it looked uncommonly like it when I saw you all," was Grayleigh's
response. "Sibyl has long legs for her age."

Sibyl looked down at the members in question, and put on a charming
pout. Grayleigh laughed, and going up to her side, laid his hand on
her shoulder.

"I saw your father yesterday. Shall I tell you about him?"

This, indeed, was a powerful bait. Sibyl's soft lips trembled
slightly. The wistful look in her eyes became appealing.

"Pathetic eyes, more pathetic than any dog's," thought Lord Grayleigh.
He took her hand.

"You and I will walk by ourselves for a little," he said. "Run away,
children. Sibyl will join you in a few moments."

Sibyl, as if mesmerized, now accompanied Lord Grayleigh. She disliked
her present position immensely, and yet she wondered if it was given
to her by Lord Jesus, as a special opportunity which she was on no
account to neglect. Should she tell Lord Grayleigh what she really
thought of him? But for her mother she would not have hesitated for a
moment, but that mother had been very kind to her during the last two
days, and Sibyl had enjoyed studying her character from a new point of
view. Mother was polite to people, even though they were not quite
perfect. Mother always looked sweet and tidy and ladylike, and
beautifully dressed. Mother never romped, nor tore her clothes, nor
climbed trees. It was an uninteresting life from Sibyl's point of
view, and yet, perhaps, it was the right life. Up to the present the
child had never seriously thought of her own conduct at all. She
accepted the fact with placidity that she herself was not good. It was
rather interesting to be "not good," and yet to live in the house with
two perfectly angelic beings. It seemed to make their goodness all the
whiter. At the present moment she longed earnestly to be "not good."

Lord Grayleigh, holding her hand, advanced in the direction of a

"We will sit here and talk, shall we?" he said.

"Yes, shall us?" replied Sibyl.

Lord Grayleigh smiled; he placed himself in a comfortable chair, and
motioned Sibyl to take another. She drew a similar chair forward,
placed it opposite to her host, and sat on it. It was a high chair,
and her feet did not reach the ground.

"I 'spect I'm rather short for my age," she said, looking down and
speaking in a tone of apology.

"Why, how old are you?" he asked.

"Quite old," she replied gravely; "I was eight at five minutes past
seven Monday fortnight back."

"You certainly have a vast weight of years on your head," he replied,
looking at her gravely.

She did not see the sarcasm, she was thinking of something else.
Suddenly she looked him full in the face.

"You called me away from the other children 'cos you wanted to speak
about father, didn't you? Please tell me all about him. Is he quite

"Of course he is."

"Did he ask about me?"

"Yes, he asked me how you were."

"And what did you say?"

"I replied, with truth, that I had twice had the pleasure of seeing
you; once when you were very rude to me, once when you were equally

Sibyl's eyes began to dance.

"What are you thinking of, eight-year-old?" asked Lord Grayleigh.

"Of you," answered Sibyl with promptitude.

"Come, that's very interesting; what about me? Now, be quite frank and
tell me why you were rude to me the first time we met?"

"May I?" said Sibyl with great eagerness. "Do you really, truly mean

"I certainly mean it."

"You won't tell--mother?"

"I won't tell--mother," said Lord Grayleigh, mimicking her manner.

Sibyl gave a long, deep sigh.

"I am glad," she said with emphasis. "I don't want my ownest mother to
be hurt. She tries so hard, and she is so beautiful and perfect. It's
most 'portant that I should speak to you, and if you will promise----"

"I have promised; whatever you say shall be secret. Now, out with it."

"You won't like it," said Sibyl.

"You must leave me to judge of that."

"I am going to be fwightfully rude."

"Indeed! that is highly diverting."

"I don't know what diverting is, but it will hurt you."

"I believe I can survive the pain."

Sibyl looked full at him then.

"Are you laughing at me?" she said, and she jumped down from her high

"I would not dream of doing so."

The curious amused expression died out of Lord Grayleigh's eyes. He
somehow felt that he was confronting Sibyl's father with all those
unpleasant new scruples in full force.

"Speak away, little girl," he said, "I promise not to laugh. I will
listen to you with respect. You are an uncommon child, very like your

"Thank you for saying that, but it isn't true; for father's perfect,
and I'm not. I will tell you now why I was rude, and why I am going to
be rude again, monstrous rude. It is because you told lies."

"Indeed!" said Lord Grayleigh, pretending to be shocked. "Do you know
that that is a shocking accusation? If a man, for instance, had said
that sort of thing to another man a few years back, it would have been
a case for swords."

"I don't understand what that means," said Sibyl.

"For a duel; you have heard of a duel?"

"Oh, in history, of course," said Sibyl, her eyes sparkling, "and one
man kills another man. They run swords through each other until one of
them gets killed dead. I wish I was a man."

"Do you really want to run a sword through me?"

Sibyl made no answer to this; she shut her lips firmly, her eyes

"Come," said Lord Grayleigh, "it is unfair to accuse a man and not to
prove your accusation. What lies have I told?"

"About my father."

"Hullo! I suppose I am stupid, but I fail to understand."

"I will try and 'splain. I didn't know that you was stupid, but you do
tell lies."

"Well, go on; you are putting it rather straight, you know."

"I want to."

"Fire away then."

"You told someone--I don't know the name--you told somebody that my
father was unscroopolus."

"Indeed," said Lord Grayleigh. He colored, and looked uneasy. "I told
somebody--that is diverting."

"It's not diverting," said Sibyl, "it's cruel, it's mean, it's wrong;
it's lies--black lies. Now you know."

"But whom did I tell?"

"Somebody, and somebody told me--I'm not going to tell who told me."

"Even suppose I did say anything of the sort, what do you know about
that word?"

"I found it out. An unscroopolus person is a person who doesn't act
right. Do you know that my father never did wrong, never from the time
he was borned? My father is quite perfect, God made him so."

"Your father is a very nice fellow, Sibyl."

"He is much better than nice, he is perfect; he never did anything
wrong. He is perfect, same as Lord Jesus is perfect."

The little girl looked straight out into the summer landscape. Her
lips trembled, on each cheek there flushed a crimson rose.

Lord Grayleigh shuffled his feet. Had anyone in all the world told him
that he would have listened quietly, and with a sense of respect, to
such a story as he was now hearing, he would have roared with
laughter. But he was not at all inclined to laugh now that he found
himself face to face with Sibyl.

"And mother is perfect, too," she said, turning and facing him.

Then he did laugh; he laughed aloud.

"Oh, no," he said.

"So you don't wonder that I hate you," continued Sibyl, taking no
notice of that last remark. "It's 'cos you like to tell lies about
good people. My father is perfect, and you called him unscroopolus. No
wonder I hate you."

"Listen now, little girl." Lord Grayleigh took the hot, trembling
hand, and drew the child to his side.

"Don't shrink away, don't turn from me," he said; "I am not so bad as
you make me out. If I did make use of such an expression, I have
forgotten it. Men of the world say lots of things that little girls
don't understand. Little girls of eight years old, if they are to grow
up nice and good, and self-respecting, must take the world on trust.
So you must take me on trust, and believe that even if I did say what
you accuse me of saying, I still have a great respect for your father.
I think him a right down _good_ fellow."

"The best in all the world?" queried Sibyl.

"I am sure at least of one thing, that no little girl ever had a
fonder father."

"And you own up you told a lie? You do own up that father's quite

"Men like myself don't care to own themselves in the wrong," said Lord
Grayleigh, "and the fact is--listen, you queer little mortal--I don't
like perfect people. It is true that I have never met any."

"You have met my father and my mother."

"Come, Sibyl, shall we make a compromise? I like you, I want you to
like me. Forget that I said what I myself have forgotten, and believe
that I have a very great respect for your father. Come, if he were
here, he would ask you to be friendly with me."

"Would he?" said the child. She looked wistful and interested. "There
are lots of things I want to be 'splained to me," she said. Then,
after a moment--"I'll think whether I'll be friends with you, and
I'll let you know, may be to-morrow."

As she said the last words she pushed aside his detaining hand, and
ran out of the summer-house. He heard her eager, quick steps as she
ran away, and a moment later there came her gay laughter back to him
from the distance. She had joined the other children, and was happy in
her games.

"Poor little maid!" he said to himself, and he sat on grave and
silent. He did not like to confess it, but Sibyl's words had affected

"The faith she has in that poor fellow is quite beautiful," was his
inward thought; "it seems a sin to break it. If he does go to
Queensland it will be broken, and somewhat rudely. I could send
Atherton. Atherton is not the man for our purpose. His report won't
affect the public as Ogilvie's report would, but he has never yet been
troubled by conscience, and Sibyl's faith will be unshaken. It is
worth considering. It is not every man who has got a little daughter
like Sibyl."

These thoughts came and worried him; presently he rose with a laugh.

"What am I," he said to himself, "to have my way disturbed by the
words of a mere child?" And just then he heard the soft rustle of a
silk dress, and, looking up, he saw the pretty face of Mrs. Ogilvie.

"Come in and sit down," he said, jumping up and offering her a chair.
"It is cool and yet not draughty in here. I have just had the pleasure
of a conversation with your little daughter."

"Indeed! I do hope she has been conducting herself properly."

"I must not repeat what she said; I can only assure you that she
behaved charmingly."

"I am so relieved; Sibyl so often does not behave charmingly, that you
don't wonder that I should ask you the question."

"She has a very great respect for you," said Lord Grayleigh; "it makes
me think you a better woman to have a child regard you as she does."

Mrs. Ogilvie fidgeted; she had seated herself on a low rustic chair,
and she looked pretty and elegant in her white summer dress, and her
hat softening the light in her beautiful eyes. She toyed with her
white lace parasol, and looked, as Sibyl had looked a short time ago,
across the lovely summer scene; but in her eyes there shone the world
with all its temptations and all its lures, and Sibyl's had made
acquaintance with the stars, and the lofty peaks of high principle,
and honor, and knew nothing of the real world.

Lord Grayleigh, in a kind of confused way which he did not himself
understand, noticed the difference in the glance of the child and the

"Your little girl has the highest opinion of you," he repeated; "the
very highest."

"And I wish she would not talk or think such nonsense," said Mrs.
Ogilvie, in a burst of irritation. "You know well that I am not what
Sibyl thinks me. I am an ordinary, everyday woman. I hope I am"--she

"You are that, undoubtedly," said the nobleman, slightly bowing his

"I hope I am what a man most likes in a woman, agreeable, charming,
and fairly amiable; but I am no saint, and I don't want to be. Sibyl's
attitude towards me is therefore most irritating, and I am doing my

"You are doing what?" said Lord Grayleigh. He rose, and stood by the
summer-house door.

"To open her eyes."

"I would not if I were you," he said, gravely; "it is not often that a
child has her faith. To shake it means a great deal."

"What are you talking about now?"

"I don't often read my Bible," he continued, "but, of course, I did as
a boy--most boys do. My mother was a good woman. I am thinking of
something said in that Holy Book."

"You are quite serious; I never knew you in this mood before."

"I must tell it to you. 'Whosoever shall offend one of these little
ones, it were better that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and
he were cast into the depths of the sea.'"

"How unpleasant," said Mrs. Ogilvie, after a pause, "and I rather fail
to see the connection. Shall we change the subject?"

"With pleasure."

"What arrangement did you make with Philip yesterday?"

"I made no absolute arrangement, but I think he will do according to
your wishes."

"Then he will assay the mine, act as the engineer to the company?"


"Has he promised?"

"Not yet, but my impression is that he will do it."

"What does assaying the mine mean?"

Mrs. Ogilvie knitted her pretty dark brows, and looked as inquisitive
and childish at that moment as Sibyl herself.

"To assay a mine means to find out accurately what it contains," said
Lord Grayleigh. Once again his eyes turned away from his questioner.
He had very little respect for Mrs. Ogilvie's conscience, but he did
not want to meet anyone's gaze at that instant.

"Nevertheless," he continued, after a pause, "your husband has not
definitely promised, and it is on the cards that he may refuse."

"He will be a madman if he does," cried Mrs. Ogilvie, and she stamped
her pretty foot impatiently.

"According to Sibyl's light, he will be the reverse of that; but then,
Sibyl, and your husband also, believe in such a thing as conscience."

"Philip's conscience!" said the wife, with a sneer; "what next?"

"It appears to me," said Lord Grayleigh, "that he has an active one."

"It has come to life very quickly, then. This is mere humbug."

"Let me speak. To be frank with you, I respect your husband's
conscience; and, perhaps, if you respected it more----"

"I really will not stay here to be lectured," said Mrs. Ogilvie. "It
is to your advantage, doubtless, that Philip should do something for
you; it must be to your advantage, for you are going to pay him well.
Will he do it, or will he not? That is the question I want answered."

"And I cannot answer it, for I do not know."

"But you think he will?"

"That is my impression."

"You can, at least, tell me what occurred."

"I can give you an outline of what occurred. I made him an offer to go
to Queensland."

"To go where?" said Mrs. Ogilvie, looking slightly startled.

"As the mine happens to be in Queensland, how can he assay it in

"I didn't know."

"Yes, if he does anything, he must go to Queensland. He must see the
mine or mines himself; his personal report is essential. He will be
paid well, and will receive a large number of shares."

"What do you mean by being paid well?"

"He will have his expenses, and something over."

"Something over! that is a very elastic term."

"In your husband's case it will mean thousands."

"Oh, I see; and then the shares?"

"The shares will practically make him a rich man."

"Then of course he will consent. I will go at once, and send him a
line." She turned to leave the summer-house. Lord Grayleigh followed
her. He laid his hand for an instant on her slim arm.

"If I were you," he said, and there was an unwonted tremble in his
voice as he spoke, "if I were you, upon my honor, I'd leave him

"Leave him alone now? Why should not the wife influence the husband
for his own good?"

"Very well," said Lord Grayleigh; "I only ventured to make a

She looked at him in a puzzled way, raised her brows, and said:

"I never found you so disagreeable before." She then left the

Lord Grayleigh stood still for a moment, then, with quick strides, he
went in the direction of the shrubbery. Sibyl, hot, excited,
breathless after her game, did not even see him. He called her and she

"May I speak to you?" he said. He had the courteous manner to her
which he did not vouch-safe to many of his gay lady acquaintances.

She ran to his side at once.

"Don't you want to send your father a letter by this post?"

"Yes, of course; is there time?"

"I will make time; go into the house and write to him."

"But why?"

"He would like to hear from you."

"Do you want me to say anything special?"

"Nothing special; write to him from your heart, that is all." And then
Lord Grayleigh turned away in the direction of his stables. He ordered
the groom to saddle his favorite horse, and was soon careering across
country. Sibyl's letter to her father was short, badly spelt, and
brimful of love. Mrs. Ogilvie's was also short, and brimful of

The two letters, each as wide as the poles apart in spirit and in
intention, met in the post-box, and were each carried as rapidly as
mail trains could take them to the metropolis.

On the next morning these letters lay beside Philip Ogilvie's plate at
breakfast. Sibyl's was well blotted and sealed with her favorite
violet seal. Mrs. Ogilvie's was trim, neat, and without a blemish.
Ogilvie read them both, first the mother's, then the child's. Sibyl's
was almost all kisses: hardly any words, just blots and kisses.
Ogilvie did not press his lips to the kisses this time. He read the
letter quickly, thrust it into his pocket, and once more turned his
attention to what his wife had said. He smiled sarcastically as he
read. The evening before he had written Lord Grayleigh accepting the
proffered engagement. The die was cast.


The following letter reached Philip Ogilvie late that same evening:--


     Your decision is naturally all that can be desired, and I
     only hope you may never live to regret it. I have, most
     unfortunately, given my ankle a bad sprain. I had a fall
     yesterday when out riding, and am obliged to lie up for a
     day or two. There is much that I should wish to talk over
     with you before you go to Queensland. Can you come down here
     to-morrow by the first train? I will not detain you an hour
     longer than I can help. All other arrangements are in the
     hands of my agents, Messrs. Spielmann & Co.

               Yours sincerely,

Ogilvie read this letter quickly. He knit his brow as he did so. It
annoyed him a good deal.

"I did not want to go there," he thought. "I am doing this principally
for the sake of the child. I can arrange all financial matters through
Spielmann. Grayleigh wants this thing done; I alone can do it to his
satisfaction and to the satisfaction of the public. He must pay
me--what he pays will be Sibyl's, the provision for her future. But I
don't want to see the child--until all this dirty work is over. If I
come back things may be altered. God only knows what may have
occurred. The mine may be all right, there may be deliverance, but I
didn't want to see her before I go. It is possible that I may not be
able to keep my composure. There are a hundred things which make an
interview between the child and me undesirable."

He thought and thought, and at last rose from his chair and began to
pace the room. He had not suffered from his heart since his interview
with Dr. Rashleigh. He gave it but scant consideration now.

"If I have a fatal disease it behooves me to act as if I were
absolutely sound," he said to himself. And he had so acted after the
first shock of Rashleigh's verdict had passed off. But he did not like
the thought of seeing Sibyl. Still, Grayleigh's letter could not be
lightly disregarded. If Grayleigh wished to see him and could not come
to town, it was essential that he should go to him.

He rang his bell and sent off a telegram to the effect that he would
arrive at Grayleigh Manor at an early hour on the following day.

This telegram Lord Grayleigh showed to Mrs. Ogilvie before she went to
bed that night.

"He has consented to go, as of course you are well aware," said Lord
Grayleigh, "and he comes here to see me to-morrow. But I would not say
anything about his departure for Queensland to your little daughter,
until after his visit. He may have something to say in the matter. Let
him, if he wishes it, be the one to break it to her."

"But why should not the child know? How ridiculous you are!"

"That is exactly as her father pleases," replied Lord Grayleigh. "I
have a kind of intuition that he may want to tell her himself. Anyhow,
I trust you will oblige me in the matter."

Mrs. Ogilvie pouted. She was not enjoying herself as much at Grayleigh
Manor as she had expected, and, somehow or other, she felt that she
was in disgrace. This was by no means an agreeable sensation. She
wondered why she was not in higher spirits. To visit Australia
nowadays was a mere nothing. Her husband would be back again, a rich
man, in six months at the farthest. During those six months she
herself might have a good time. There were several country houses
where she might visit. Her visiting list was already nearly full. She
would take Sibyl with her, although Sibyl sometimes was the reverse
of comforting; but it looked effective to see the handsome mother and
the beautiful child together, and Sibyl, when she did not go too far,
said very pathetic and pretty things about her. Oh yes, she and her
little daughter would have a good time, while the husband and father
was earning money for them in Australia: while the husband and father
was raking in gold, they might really enjoy themselves.

As she thought of this, Mrs. Ogilvie felt so light-hearted that she
could have skipped. Those debts which had weighed so on what she was
pleased to call her conscience, would be liquidated once and for all,
and in the future she would have plenty of money. It was the be-all of
existence to her feeble soul. She would have it in abundance in the
time which lay before her.

"Philip is a wise man. It was very silly of him to hesitate and make a
fuss," she thought; "but he has decided wisely, as I knew he would. I
shall give him a kiss when I see him, and tell him that I am quite
pleased with him."

She went to bed, therefore, cheerful, and the next morning put on her
very prettiest dress in order to meet her husband.

Ogilvie walked from the little station, which was only half a mile
away. Mrs. Ogilvie, going slowly up the avenue, saw him coming to
meet her. She stood under the shade of a great overhanging beech tree,
and waited until he appeared.

"Well, Mildred, and how are you?" said her husband. He took her hand,
and, bending forward, brushed the lightest of kisses against her

"Quite well," she replied. "Is not the day pleasant? I am so glad
about everything, Phil. But you don't look quite the thing yourself.
Have you taken cold or suffered from one of those nasty rheumatic

"I am all right," he answered shortly. "I have a very few moments to
be here, as I want to catch the 12.30 back. Do you know if Lord
Grayleigh is anywhere to be found?"

"I saw him half an hour ago. I think you will find him in the
smoking-room. He is expecting you."

"And"--Ogilvie glanced to right and left--"the child?"

"She is with the other children. Shall I send her to you?"

"Not yet."

"It is so nice of you to go, Phil; it will do you no end of good. You
will enjoy your voyage," continued Mrs. Ogilvie, turning now and
laying her hand on her husband's arm.

Mr. Rochester, who was quite a young man himself, and was deeply
occupied at this time with thoughts of love and marriage, happened to
see the pair as they sauntered by together. He knew nothing, of
course, of Ogilvie's intended visit to Australia, nor was he in any
sense of the word behind the scenes. On the contrary, he thought that
Mrs. Ogilvie and her husband made a perfect picture of beautiful love
between husband and wife.

"It is good of you," pursued Mrs. Ogilvie, turning once more to her
husband. "I am greatly obliged. I am more than obliged, I am relieved
and--and satisfied. We shall have a happy life together when you come
back. There are, of course, little matters we ought to talk over
before we go."

"Debts, you mean," said Ogilvie, bluntly. "I opened your bills in your
absence. They will be----"

"Oh, Phil!" Mrs. Ogilvie's face turned very white.

"I will speak about them before I leave," he continued. "Now I must
find Grayleigh."

"Is it true that you are going on Saturday?"

"Quite true."

"Had I not better return to town with you? There will be several
things to put in order."

"I can write to you, Mildred. Now that you are here you had better
stay here. The change will be good for you. You need not return to
the house in town before next week."

"If you really don't want me, I am certainly enjoying myself here."

"I don't want you," he replied, but as he spoke his grey eyes looked
wistful. He turned for an instant and glanced at her. He noted the
sunny, lovely hair, the agile, youthful, rounded figure. Once he had
loved her passionately.

"Sibyl will be delighted to see you," continued Mrs. Ogilvie. "She has
been, on the whole, behaving very nicely. Of course, making both
friends and foes, as is her usual impetuous way."

"That reminds me," said Ogilvie. "I shall see Sibyl before I leave;
but that reminds me."

"Of what?"

"I do not wish her to be told."

"Told what? What do you mean? My dear Phil, you are eccentric."

"I have no time to dispute the point, Mildred. I wish to give one
hasty direction, which is to be obeyed. Sibyl is not to be told that I
am going to Australia."

"What, never?"

"She must be told when I am gone, but not till then. I will write to
her, and thus break the news. She is not to be told to-day, not until
she gets home, you understand? I won't go at all if you tell her."

"Oh, of course, I understand," said Mrs. Ogilvie, in a frightened way;
"but why should not the child hear what really is good tidings?"

"I do not wish it. Now, have you anything further to say, for I must
see Lord Grayleigh immediately."

Mrs. Ogilvie clutched her husband's arm.

"You will leave me plenty of money when you go, will you not?"

"You shall have a bank-book and an account, but you must be careful.
My affairs are not in the most prosperous condition, and your bills
are terribly heavy."

"My bills! but I really----"

"We will not dispute them. They shall be paid before I go."

"Oh, my dear Philip, and you are not angry?"

"They shall be paid, Mildred. The liquidation of your debts is part of
the reward for taking up this loathsome work."

"Philip, how ridiculously morbid you are!"

The husband and wife walked slower and slower. Ogilvie saw Grayleigh
standing on the steps.

"There is Lord Grayleigh," he said. "I must go at once. Yes, the
bills will be paid." He laid his hand for a moment on her shoulder.

"There is nothing else, is there, Mildred?"

"No," she began, then she hesitated.

"What more?"

"A trinket, it took my fancy--a diamond cross--you noticed it. I could
not resist it."

"How much?" said the man. His face was very stern and white, and there
was a blue look round his lips.

"Two thousand pounds."

"Let me have the bill to-morrow at latest. It shall be cleared. Now
don't keep me."

He strode past her and went up to where Lord Grayleigh was waiting for

"This is good," said the nobleman. "I am very sorry I could not come
to town. Yes, my ankle is better, but I dare not use it. I am limping,
as you see."

"Shall we go into the house?" said Ogilvie; "I want to get this thing
over. I have not a moment if I am to start on Saturday."

"You must do what we want. The public are impatient. We must get your
report as soon as possible. You will wire it to us, of course."

"That depends."

"Now listen, Ogilvie," said Lord Grayleigh, as they both entered the
study of the latter and Ogilvie sank into a chair, "you either do this
thing properly or you decline it, you give it up."

"Can I? I thought the die was cast."

"The worldly man in me echoes that hope, but I _could_ get Atherton to
take your place even now."

"Even now?" echoed Philip Ogilvie.

"Even now it may be possible to manage it, although I"--Lord Grayleigh
had a flashing memory of Sibyl's face and the look in her eyes, when
she spoke of her perfect father. Then he glanced at the man who,
silent and with suppressed suffering in his face, stood before him.
The irresolution in Ogilvie's face took something from its character,
and seemed to lower the man's whole nature. Lord Grayleigh shivered;
then the uncomfortable sensation which the memory of Sibyl gave him
passed away.

"I shall regret it extremely if you cannot do what I want," he said,
with emphasis.

Ogilvie had a quick sensation of momentary relief. His wife owed
another two thousand pounds. It would be bankruptcy, ruin if he did
not go. He stood up.

"The time for discussing the thing is over," he said. "I will
go--and--do _as you wish_. The only thing to put straight is the price

"What do you mean by the price down?"

"I want money."

"Of course, you shall have it."

"I want more than my expenses, and something to cover the loss to my
business which my absence may create."

"How much more?" Lord Grayleigh looked at him anxiously.

"Ten thousand pounds in cash now, to be placed to my credit in my

"Ten thousand pounds in cash! That is a big order."

"Not too big for what you require me to do. You make hundreds of
thousands by me eventually; what is one ten thousand? It will relieve
my mind and set a certain matter straight. The fact is--I will confide
in you so far--my own pecuniary affairs are anything but flourishing.
I have had some calls to meet. What little property I own is settled
on my wife. You know that a man cannot interfere with his marriage
settlements. I have one child. I want to make a special provision for

"I know your child," said Lord Grayleigh, in a very grave tone; "she
is out of the common."

A spasm of pain crossed the father's face.

"She is," he answered slowly. "I wish to make a provision for her. If
I die (I may die, we are all mortal; I am going to a distant place;
possibilities in favor of death are ten per cent. greater than if I
remain at home)--if I die, this will be hers. It will comfort me, and
make it absolutely impossible for me to go back. You understand that
sometimes a miserable starved voice within me speaks. I allude to the
voice of conscience. However much it clamors, I cannot listen to it
when that sum of money lies in the bank to my credit, with my last
will and testament leaving it eventually to my daughter."

"I would not give your daughter such a portion, if I were you,"
thought Lord Grayleigh, but he did not say the words aloud. He said
instead, "What you wish shall be done."

The two men talked a little longer together. Certain necessary
arrangements were concluded, and Ogilvie bore in his pocket before he
left a check for ten thousand pounds on Lord Grayleigh's private

"This clinches matters," he said, and he gave a significant glance at

"You will see Spielmann for all the rest," was Grayleigh's answer;
"and now, if you must catch the train----"

"Yes, I must; good-by."

Lord Grayleigh walked with him as far as the porch.

"Have you seen your wife?" he asked. "Can we not induce you to wait
for the next train and stay to lunch?"

"No, thanks; it is impossible. Oh, I see you have sent for the
dog-cart; I will drive to the station."

Just then Sibyl, Gus and Freda appeared in view. Sibyl was extremely
dirty. She had been climbing trees to good effect that morning, and
there was a rent in front of her dress and even a very apparent hole
in one of her stockings. She and Gus were arguing somewhat fiercely,
and the cap she wore was pushed back, and her golden hair was all in a
tangle. Suddenly she raised her eyes, caught sight of her father, and,
with a shout something between a whoop and a cry, flung herself into
his arms.

"Daddy, daddy!" she cried.

He clasped her tightly to his breast. He did not notice the shabby
dress nor the torn stocking; he only saw the eager little face, the
eyes brimful with love; he only felt the beating of the warm, warm

"Why, dad, now I shall be happy. Where are you, Gus? Gus, this is
father; Gus, come here!"

But at a nod from Lord Grayleigh both Gus and Freda had vanished round
the corner.

"I will say good-by, if you must go, Ogilvie," said Grayleigh. He
took his hand, gave it a sympathetic squeeze, and went into the house.

"But must you go, father? Why, you have only just come," said Sibyl.

"I must, my darling, I must catch the next train; there is not ten
minutes. Jump on the dog-cart, and we will drive to the station

"Oh, 'licious!" cried Sibyl, "more than 'licious; but what will mother

"Never mind, the coachman will bring you back. Jump up, quick."

In another instant Sibyl was seated between her father and the
coachman. The spirited mare dashed forward, and they bowled down the
avenue. Ogilvie's arm was tight round Sibyl's waist, he was hugging
her to him, squeezing her almost painfully tight. She gasped a little,
drew in her breath, and then resolved to bear it.

"There's something troubling him, he likes having me near him,"
thought the child. "I wouldn't let him see that he's squeezing me up a
bit too tight for all the world."

The mare seemed to fly over the ground. Ogilvie was glad.

"We shall have a minute or two at the station. I can speak to her
then," he thought. "I won't tell her that I am going, but I can say
something." Then the station appeared in view, and the mare was
pulled up with a jerk; Ogilvie jumped to his feet, and lifted Sibyl to
the ground.

"Wait for the child," he said to the servant, "and take her back
carefully to the house."

"Yes, sir," answered the man, touching his hat.

Ogilvie went into the little station, and Sibyl accompanied him.

"I have my ticket," he said, "we have three minutes to spare, three
whole precious minutes."

"Three whole precious minutes," repeated Sibyl. "What is it, father?"

"I am thinking of something," he said.

"What?" asked the girl.

"For these three minutes, one hundred and eighty seconds, you and I
are to all intents and purposes alone in the world."

"Father! why, so we are," she cried. "Mother's not here, we are all
alone. Nothing matters, does it, when we are alone together?"


"You don't look quite well, dear father."

"I have been having some suffering lately, and am worried about
things, those sort of things that don't come to little girls."

"Of course they don't, father, but when I'm a woman I'll have them.
I'll take them instead of you."

"Now listen, my darling."

"Father, before you speak ... I know you are going to say something
very, _very_ solemn; I know you when you're in your solemn moments; I
like you best of all then. You seem like Jesus Christ then. Don't you
feel like Jesus Christ, father?"

"Never, Sib, never; but the time is going by, the train is signalled.
My dearest, what is it?"

"Mayn't I go back to town with you? I like the country, I like Gus and
Freda and Mabel, but there is no place like your study in the evening,
and there's no place like my bedroom at night when you come into it.
I'd like to go back with you, wouldn't it be fun! Couldn't you take

"I could, of course," said the man, and just for a moment he wavered.
It would be nice to have her in the house, all by herself, for the
next two or three days, but he put the thought from him as if it were
a temptation.

"No, Sib," he said, "you must go back to your mother; it would not be
at all right to leave your mother alone."

"Of course not," she answered promptly, and she gave a sigh which was
scarcely a sigh.

"It would have been nice all the same," said Ogilvie. "Ah! there is
my train; kiss me, darling."

She flung her arms tightly round his neck.

"Sibyl, just promise before I leave you that you will be a good girl,
that you will make goodness the first thing in life. If, for instance,
we were never to meet again--of course we shall, thousands of times,
but just suppose, for the sake of saying it, that we did not, I should
like to know that my little girl put goodness first. There is nothing
else worth the while in life. Cling on to it, Sibyl, cling tight hold
to it. Never forget that I----"

"Yes, father, I will cling to it. Yes, father!"

"That I wish it. You would do a great deal for me?"

"For you and Lord Jesus Christ," she answered softly.

"Then I wish this, remember, and whatever happens, whatever you hear,
remember you promised. Now here's my train, stand back. Good-by,
little woman, good-by."

"I'll see you again very, very soon, father?"

"Very soon," answered the man. He jumped into the carriage, the train
puffed out of the station. A porter came up to Sibyl and spoke to her.

"Anybody come to meet you, Miss?"

"No, thank you," she answered with dignity; "I was seeing my father
off to town; there's my twap waiting outside."

The man smiled, and the little girl went gravely out of the station.

Sibyl went back to Lord Grayleigh's feeling perplexed. There was an
expression about her father's face which puzzled her.

"He ought to have me at home with him," she thought. "I have seen him
like this now and then, and he's mostly not well. He's beautiful when
he talks as he did to-day, but he's mostly not well when he does it. I
'spect he's nearer Lord Jesus when he's not well, that must be it. My
most perfect father wants me to be good; I don't want to be good a
bit, but I must, to please him."

Just then a somewhat shrill and petulant voice called the child.

"My dear Sibyl, where _have_ you been? What are you doing on the
dog-cart? How unladylike. Jump down this minute."

The man pulled up the mare, and Sibyl jumped to the ground. She met
her mother's angry face with a smile which she tried hard to make

"I didn't do anything naughty, really, Mummy," she said. "Father took
me to the station to say good-by. He's off back to town, and he took
me with him, and I came back on the twap."

"Don't say twap, sound your 'r'--trap."

"Tw-rap," struggled Sibyl over the difficult word.

"And now you are to go into the house and ask Nurse to put on your
best dress. I am going to take you to a garden party, immediately
after lunch. Mr. Rochester and Lady Helen Douglas are coming with us.
Be quick."

"Oh, 'licious," said Sibyl. She rushed into the house, and up to the
nursery. Nurse was there waiting to deck her in silk and lace and
feathers. The little girl submitted to her toilet, and now took a vast
interest in it.

"You must make me quite my prettiest self," she said to the nurse;
"you must do your very best, 'cos mother----"

"What about your mother now, missy?"

"'Cos mother's just a little----Oh, nothing," said Sibyl, pulling
herself up short.

"She likes me best when I'm pretty," continued the child; "but father
likes me always. Nursie, do you know that my ownest father came down
here to-day, and that I dwove to the station to see him off? Did you
know it?"

"No, Miss Sibyl, I can't say I did."

"He talked to me in a most pwivate way," continued Sibyl. "He told me
most 'portant things, and I promised him, Nursie--I promised him that
I'd----Oh, no! I won't tell you. Perhaps I won't be able to keep my
promise, and then you'd----Nothing, Nursie, nothing; don't be
'quisitive. I can see in your face that you are all bursting with
'quisitiveness; but you aren't to know. I am going to a party with my
own mother after lunch, and Lady Helen is coming, and Mr. Rochester. I
like them both very much indeed. Lady Helen told me stories last
night. She put her arm round my waist, and she talked to me; and I
told her some things, too, and she laughed."

"What did you tell her, Miss Sibyl?"

"About my father and mother. She laughed quite funnily. I wish people
wouldn't; it shows how little they know. It's 'cos they are so far
from being perfect that they don't understand perfect people. But
there's the lunch gong. Yes, I do look very nice. Good-by, Nursie."

Sibyl ran downstairs. The children always appeared at this meal, and
she took her accustomed place at the table. Very soon afterwards, she,
her mother, Lady Helen, and Mr. Rochester, started for a place about
ten miles off, where an afternoon reception was being given.

Sibyl felt inclined to be talkative, and Mrs. Ogilvie, partly because
she had a sore feeling in her heart with regard to her husband's
departure, although she would not acknowledge it, was inclined to be
snappish. She pulled the little girl up several times, and at last
Sibyl subsided in her seat, and looked out straight before her. It was
then that Lady Helen once more put her arm round her waist.

"Presently," said Lady Helen, "when the guests are all engaged, you
and I will slip out by ourselves, and I will show you one of the most
beautiful views in all England. We climb a winding path, and we
suddenly come out quite above all the trees, and we look around us;
and when we get there, you'll be able to see the blue sea in the
distance, and the ships, one of which is going to take your----"

But just then Mrs. Ogilvie gave Helen Douglas so severe a push with
her foot, that she stopped, and got very red.

"What ship do you mean?" said Sibyl, surprised at the sudden break in
the conversation, and now intensely interested, "the ship that is
going to take my--my what?"

"Did you never hear the old saying, that you must wait until your ship
comes home?" interrupted Mr. Rochester, smiling at the child, and
looking at Lady Helen, who had not got over her start and confusion.

"But this ship was going out," said Sibyl. "Never mind, I 'spect it's
a secret; there's lots of 'em floating round to-day. I've got some
'portant ones of my own. Never mind, Lady Helen, don't blush no more."
She patted Lady Helen in a patronizing way on her hand, and the whole
party laughed; the tension was, for the time, removed.


Ogilvie made a will leaving the ten thousand pounds which Lord
Grayleigh had given him absolutely to Sibyl for her sole use and
benefit. He also made all other preparations for his absence from
home, and started for Queensland on Saturday. He wrote to his wife on
the night before he left England, repeating his injunction that on no
account was Sibyl to be yet told of his departure.

"When she absolutely must learn it, break it to her in the tenderest
way possible," he said; "but as Grayleigh has kindly invited you both
to stay on at Grayleigh Manor for another week, you may as well do so,
and while there I want the child to be happy. The country air and the
companionship of other children are doing her a great deal of good. I
never saw her look better than I did the other day. I should also be
extremely glad, Mildred, if on your return to town you would arrange
to send Sibyl to a nice day-school, where she could have companions. I
have nothing to say against Miss Winstead, but I think the child would
be better, less old-fashioned, and might place us more on the pedestal
which we really ought to occupy, if she had other children to talk to
and exchange thoughts with. Try to act, my dear wife, as I would like
in this particular, I beg of you. Also when you have to let my darling
know that I am away, you will find a letter for her in my left-hand
top drawer in my study table. Give it to her, and do not ask to see
it. It is just a little private communication from her father, and for
her eyes alone. Be sure, also, you tell her that, all being well, I
hope to be back in England by the end of the summer."

Ogilvie added some more words to his letter, and Mrs. Ogilvie received
it on Saturday morning. She read it over carelessly, and then turned
to Jim Rochester who stood near. During her visit to Grayleigh Manor
she had got to know this young man very well, and to like him
extremely. He was good-looking, pleasant to talk to, well informed,
and with genial, hearty views of life. He had been well brought up,
and his principles were firm and unshaken. His notion of living was to
do right on every possible occasion, to turn from the wrong with
horror, to have faith in God, to keep religion well in view, and as
far as in him lay to love his neighbor better than himself.

Rochester, it may be frankly stated, had some time ago lost his heart
to Lady Helen Douglas, who, on her part, to all appearance returned
his affection. Nothing had yet, however, been said between the pair,
although Rochester's eyes proclaimed his secret whenever they rested
on Lady Helen's fair face.

He watched Mrs. Ogilvie now with a sudden interest as she folded up
her husband's letter.

"Well," she said, turning to him and uttering a quick sigh; "he is
off, it is a _fait accompli_. Do you know, I am relieved."

"Are you?" he answered. He looked at her almost wistfully. He himself
was sorry for Ogilvie, he did not know why. He was, of course, aware
that he was going to Queensland to assay the Lombard Deeps, for the
talk of the great new gold mine had already reached his ears. He knew
that Ogilvie, moreover, looked pale, ill at ease, and worried. He
supposed that this uneasiness and want of alacrity in carrying a very
pleasurable business to a successful issue was caused by the man's
great attachment to his wife and child. Mrs. Ogilvie must also be
sorry when she remembered that it would be many months before she saw
him again. But there was no sorrow now in the soft eyes which met his,
nothing but a look of distinct annoyance.

"Really," she said with an impatient movement, "I must confide in some
one, and why not in you, Mr. Rochester, as well as another? I have
already told you that my husband is absolutely silly about that
child. From her birth he has done all that man could do to spoil her."

"But without succeeding," interrupted Jim Rochester. "I am quite
friendly with your little Sibyl now," he added, "and I never saw a
nicer little girl."

"Oh, that is what strangers always say," replied Mrs. Ogilvie,
shrugging her shoulders, "and the child is nice, I am not denying it
for a moment, but she would be nicer if she were not simply ruined. He
wants her to live in an impossible world, without any contradictions
or even the smallest pain. You will scarcely believe it, but he would
not allow me, the other day, to tell her such a very simple, ordinary
thing as that he was going to Queensland on business, and now, in his
letter, he still begs of me to keep it a secret from her. She is not
to know anything about his absence until she returns to London,
because, forsooth, the extra week she is to spend in the country would
not do her so much good if she were fretting. Why should Sibyl fret?
Surely it is not worse for her than for me; not nearly as bad, for
that matter."

"I am glad you feel it," said Rochester.

"Feel it? What a strange remark! Did you think I was heartless? Of
course I feel it, but I am not going to be silly or sentimental over
the matter. Philip is a very lucky man to have this business to do. I
would not be so foolish as to keep him at home; but he is ruining that
child, ruining her. She gets more spoilt and intolerable every day."

"Forgive me, Mrs. Ogilvie," said Lady Helen, who came upon the scene
at that moment, "I heard you talking of your little daughter. I don't
think I ever met a sweeter child."

Mrs. Ogilvie threw up her hands in protest.

"There you go," she said. "Mr. Rochester has been saying almost the
very same words, Lady Helen. Now let me tell you that Sibyl is not
your child; no one can be more charming to strangers."

As Mrs. Ogilvie spoke she walked a few steps away; then she turned and
resumed her conversation.

"The annoying part of this letter," she said, "is that Philip has
written a private communication to Sibyl, and when she hears of his
absence she is to be given this letter, and I am not even to see it. I
don't think I shall give it to her; I really must now take the
management of the child into my own hands. Her father will be
absent----Oh, there you are, Sibyl. What are you doing, loitering
about near windows? Why don't you play with your companions?" For
Sibyl had burst in by the open window, looking breathless.

"I thought--I thought," she began; "I thought, mother, that I heard
you----" her face was strangely white, and her wide-open eyes looked
almost wild in expression.

"It's not true, of course; but I thought I heard you say something
about father, and a--a letter I was to have in his absence. Did you
say it, mother?"

"I said nothing of the sort," replied Mrs. Ogilvie, flushing red, and
almost pushing Sibyl from the room, "nothing of the sort; go and

Sibyl gave her an earnest and very penetrating look. She did not
glance either at Mr. Rochester or Lady Helen.

"It's wicked for good people to tell lies, isn't it?" she said then,

"Wicked," cried her mother; "it's shamefully wicked."

"And you are good, mother, you don't ever tell lies; I believe you,
mother, of course." She turned and went out of the room. As she went
slowly in the direction of the field where the other children were
taking turns to ride bareback one of the horses, her thoughts were
very puzzled.

"I wish things would be 'splained to me," she said, half aloud, and
she pushed back her curls from her forehead. "There are more and more
things every day want 'splaining. I certainly did hear her say it. I
heard them all talking, and Lady Helen said something, and Mr.
Rochester said something, and mother said that father wished me not to
know, and I was to have a letter, and then mother said 'in his
absence.' Oh, what can it mean?"

The other children shouted to her from the field, but she was in no
mood to join them, and just then Lord Grayleigh, who was pacing up and
down his favorite walk, called her to his side.

"What a puzzled expression you are wearing, my little girl," he said.
"Is anything the matter?"

Sibyl skipped up to him. Some of the cloud left her face. Perhaps he
could put things straight for her.

"I want to ask you a question," she said.

"You are always asking questions. Now ask me something really nice;
but first, I have something to say. I am in a very giving mood this
morning. Sometimes I am in a saving mood, and would not give so much
as a brass farthing to anybody, but I am in the other sort of mood
to-day. I am in the mood to give a little golden-haired girl

"Sibyl," said the child, beginning to laugh; "if she is golden-haired
it must be me. What is it you want to give me?"

Her attention was immediately arrested; her eyes shone and her lips

"What would you like best in the world?"

"Oh, best in the whole world? But I cannot have that, not for a
week--we are going home this day week."

"And what will you have when you go home?"

"Father's kiss every night. He always comes up, Lord Grayleigh, and
tucks me in bed, and he kisses me, and we have a cozy talk. He never
misses, never, when he is at home. I am lonesome here, Lord Grayleigh,
because mother does not think it good for me that she should come; she
would if she thought it good for me."

"Well," said Lord Grayleigh, who for some reason did not feel quite
comfortable as Sibyl talked of her father's kisses, "we must find
something for you, not quite the best thing of all. What would be the
next best?"

"I know," said Sibyl, laughing, "a Shetland pony; oh, I do want one so
badly. Mother sometimes rides in the Park, and I do so long to go with
her, but she said we couldn't afford it. Oh, I do want a pony."

"You shall have one," said Lord Grayleigh; "it shall be my present to
a very good, charming little girl."

"Do you really think I am good?"

"Good? Excellent; you are a pattern to us all."

"Wouldn't father like to hear you. It's wonderful how he talked to me
about being good. I am not really good, you know; but I mean to try.
If you were to look into my heart, you would see--oh, but you shan't
look." She started back, clasped her hands, and laughed. "But when
father looks next, he shall see, oh, a white heart with all the
naughtiness gone."

"Tell me exactly what sort of pony you would like," said Lord
Grayleigh, who thought it desirable to turn the conversation.

"It must have a long mane, and not too short a tail," said Sibyl; "and
be sure you give me the very nicest, newest sort of side-saddle, same
as mother has herself, for mother's side-saddle is very comfy. Oh, and
I'd like a riding habit like mother's, too. Mother will be sure to say
she can't 'ford one for me, but you'll give me one if you give me the
pony and the side-saddle, won't you?"

"I'll give you the pony and the side-saddle, and the habit," said Lord
Grayleigh. "I'll choose the pony to-morrow, and bring him back with
me. I am going to Lyndhurst, in the New Forest, where they are going
to have a big horse fair. You will not mind having a New Forest pony
instead of a Shetland?"

[Illustration: "A perfect person could not tell a lie, could she?"
asked Sibyl.--Page 123. _Daddy's Girl._]

"I don't mind what sort my darling pony is," answered the child. "I
only want to have it. Oh, you are nice. I began by not liking you,
but I like you awfully now. You are very nice, indeed."

"And so are you. It seems to me we suit each other admirably."

"There are lots of nice people in the world," said Sibyl. "It's a very
pleasant place. There are two quite perfect, and there are others very
nice; you and Mr. Rochester and Lady Helen. But, oh, Lord Grayleigh, I
know now what I wanted to say. A perfect person couldn't never tell a
lie, could she?"

"Oh, it's the feminine gender," said Lord Grayleigh softly, under his

"It's a she," said Sibyl; "could she; could she?"

"A perfect person could not, little girl."

"Now you have made me so happy that I am going to kiss you," said
Sibyl. She made a spring forward, flung her arms round his neck, and
kissed him twice on his rough cheek. The next instant she had vanished
out of sight and joined her companions.

"It's all right," she said to Gus, who looked at her in some
amazement. "It's all right; I got a fright, but there wasn't a word of
it true. Come, let's play. Oh, do you know your father is going to
give me a pony? I am so happy."

In a week's time Mrs. Ogilvie and Sibyl returned to town. Sibyl was
intensely joyful on this occasion, and confided in everyone what a
happy night she would have.

"You don't know what father is," she said, looking full up into
Rochester's eyes. He was standing on the terrace, and the little girl
went and stood by his side. Sibyl was in her most confiding mood. She
considered Lord Grayleigh, Mr. Rochester, Lady Helen, and the children
were all her special friends. It was impossible to doubt their entire
sympathy and absolute ability to rejoice in her joy.

"I have had a good time here," she said, "very good. Lord Grayleigh
has been nice; I began by not liking him, but I like him now, and I
like you awfully, but after all there's no place for me like my own,
own home. It's 'cos of father."

"Yes," said Rochester. He looked anxiously, as Sibyl spoke, towards
the house. Everyone at Grayleigh Manor now knew that Sibyl was not to
be told of her father's absence during her visit. No one approved of
this course, although no one felt quite towards it with the same sense
of irritation that Mrs. Ogilvie herself did. Rochester wished at this
instant that Lord Grayleigh or someone else would appear. He wanted
anything to cause a diversion, but Sibyl, in happy ignorance of his
sentiments, talked on.

"It is at night that my father is the most perfect of all," she said.
"I wish you could see him when he comes into my room. I am in bed, you
know, lying down flat on my back, and mostly thinking about the
angels. I do that a lot at night, I have no time in the day; I think
of the angels, and Lord Jesus Christ, and heaven, and then father
comes in. He opens the door soft, and he treads on tiptoe for fear I'm
asleep, as if I could be! And then he kisses me, and I think in the
whole of heaven there can never be an angel so good and beautiful as
he is, and he says something to me which keeps me strong until the
next night, when he says something else."

"But your mother?" stammered Rochester. He was about to add, "She
would go to your room, would she not?" when he remembered that she
herself had told him that nothing would induce her to adopt so
pernicious a course.

"Oh, you're thinking about my perfect mother, too," said Sibyl. "Yes,
she is perfect, but there are different sorts in the world. My own
mother thinks it is not good for me to lie awake at night and think of
the angels and wait for father. She thinks that I ought to bear the
yoke in my youth. Solomon, the wise King Solomon--you have heard of
him, haven't you?"

Rochester nodded.

"He wrote that verse about bearing the yoke when you are young. I
learnt it a week ago, and I felt it just 'splained about my mother.
It's really very brave of mother; but, you see, father thinks
different, and, of course, I nat'rally like father's way best.
Mother's way is the goodest for me, p'waps. Don't you think mother's
way is the goodest for me, Mr. Rochester?"

"I dare say it is good for you, Sibyl. Now, shall we go and find Lady

"Seems to me," said Sibyl, "I'm always looking for Lady Helen when I'm
with you. Is it 'cos you're so desperate fond of her?"

"Don't you like her yourself?" said the young man, reddening visibly.

"Like her? I like her just awfully. She's the most 'licious person to
tell stories I ever comed across in all my borned days. She tells
every sort of story about giants and fairies and adventures, and
stories of little girls just like me. Does she tell you stories about
men just like you, and is that why you like to be with her?"

"Well, I can't honestly say that she has ever yet told me a story, but
I will ask her to do so."

"Do," said Sibyl; "ask her to tell you a story about a man like
yourself. Make him rather pwoper and stiff and shy, and let him blush
sometimes. You do, you know you do. Maybe it will do you good to hear
about him. Now come along and let's find her."

So Sibyl and Rochester hunted all over the place for Lady Helen, and
when they found her not, for she had gone to the nearest village on a
commission with one of the children, Rochester's face looked somewhat
grave, and his answers to the child were a little _distrait_. Sibyl
said to him in a tone of absolute sympathy and good faith--

"Cheer up, won't you? She is quite certain to marry you in the long

"Don't talk like that," said Rochester in a voice of pain.

"Don't what? You do want to marry Lady Helen. I heard mother say so
yesterday. I heard her say so to Hortense. Hortense was brushing her
hair, and mother said, 'It would be a good match on the whole for Lady
Helen, 'cos she is as poor as a church mouse, and Jim Rochester has
money.' Is my darling Lady Helen as poor as a church mouse, and have
you lots of money, Mr. Rochester?"

"I have money, but not lots. You ought not to repeat what you hear,"
said the young man.

"But why? I thought everybody knew. You are always trying to make her
marry you, I see it in your eyes; you don't know how you look when you
look at her, oh--ever so eager, same as I look when father's in the
room and he is not talking to me. I hope you will marry her, more
especial if she's as poor as a church mouse. I never knew why mice
were poor, nor why mother said it, but she did. Oh, and there is
mother, I must fly to her; good-by--good-by."

Rochester concealed his feelings as best he could, and hurried
immediately into a distant part of the grounds, where he cogitated
over what Sibyl, in her childish, way, had revealed.

The pony had been purchased, and Sibyl had ridden it once. It was a
bright bay with a white star on its forehead. It was a well-groomed,
well-trained little animal, and Lord Grayleigh had given Sibyl her
first riding lesson, and had shown her how to hold the reins, and how
to sit on her saddle, and the riding habit had come from town, and the
saddle was the newest and most comfortable that money could buy.

"It is my present to you," said Lord Grayleigh, "and remember when you
ride it that you are going to be a good girl."

"Oh dear, oh dear," said Sibyl, "I don't want _everyone_ to tell me
that I am to be a good girl. If it was father; but--don't please, Lord
Grayleigh; I'll do a badness if you talk to me any more about being so

"Well, I won't," said Lord Grayleigh, laughing.

"I 'spect father will write you a most loving letter about this," said
Sibyl. "Won't he be 'sprised? And did you tell mother about me having
a ride every morning?"

"I did."

"And did you speak to her about the food for my pony all being paid

"Yes, everything is arranged. Your pony shall be the best cared for in
all London, and you shall ride him every day for half-an-hour before
you go to school."

"Oh, I never go to school," said Sibyl in a sorrowful voice. "I have a
Miss Winstead to teach me. She is the sort that--oh, well, no matter;
she means all right, poor thing. She wants the money, so of course she
has to stay. She doesn't suit me a bit, but she wants the money. It's
all right, isn't it?"

"So it seems, little girl; and now here is the carriage, and the pony
has gone off to London already, and will be ready to take you on his
back to-morrow morning. Be sure you think of a nice name for him."

"Father will tell me a name. I won't let anybody else christen my
ownest pony. Good-by, Lord Grayleigh. I like you very much. Say
good-by to Mr. Rochester for me--oh, and there is Lady Helen;
good-by, Lady Helen--good-by."

They all kissed Sibyl when they parted from her, and everyone was
sorry at seeing the last of her bright little face, and many
conjectures went forth with regard to the trouble that was before the
child when she got to London. One and all thought that Ogilvie had
behaved cruelly, and that his wife was somewhat silly to have yielded
to him.

Sibyl went up to town in the highest spirits. She chatted so much on
the road that her mother at last told her to hold her tongue.

"Sit back in your seat and don't chatter," she said, "you disturb
other people."

The other people in the carriage consisted of a very old gentleman and
a small boy of Sibyl's own age. The small boy smiled at Sibyl and she
smiled back, and if her mother had permitted it would have chatted to
him in a moment of her hopes and longings; but, when mother put on
that look, Sibyl knew that she must restrain her emotions, and she sat
back in her seat, and thought about the children who bore the yoke in
their youth, and how good it was for them, and how rapidly she was
growing into the sort of little girl her father most liked.

"Mother," she said, as they got towards the end of the journey, "I'm
'proving, aren't I?"

"Proving, what do you mean?"

"_Im_proving, mother."

"I can't say that I see it, Sibyl; you have been very troublesome for
the last few days."

"Oh!" said the child, "oh!"

Sibyl changed seats from the one opposite, and nestled up close to her
mother, she tucked her hand inside her arm, and then began to talk in
a loud, buzzing whisper.

"It's 'cos of father," she said; "he begged me so earnest to be a good
girl, and I _have_ tried, _haven't_ you noticed it, mother? Won't you
tell him when we get home that I have tried?"

"Don't worry me, Sibyl, you know my views. I want you to be just a
sensible, good child, without any of those high-flown notions. When we
return to town you must make up for your long holiday. You must do
your lessons with extreme care, and try to please Miss Winstead."

"And to please father and Lord Jesus."

"Yes, yes, child."

"And to have a ride every morning on my darling pony?"

"We will try and manage that. Lord Grayleigh has been almost silly
over that pony; I doubt whether it is wise for you to have it."

"Oh, mother, he did say he would buy everything--the pony, the
saddle, the habit, and he would 'ford the food, too. You have not got
to pay out any money, mother, have you?"

"Hush, don't talk so loud."

The old gentleman buried himself in _The Times_ in order not to hear
Sibyl's distressed voice, and the little boy stared out of the window
and got very red.

"Take up your book and stop talking," said Mrs. Ogilvie.

Sibyl took up a book which she already knew by heart, and kept back a
sorrowful sigh.

"But it don't matter," she said to herself; "when I see father, he'll

They got to town, where a carriage was waiting for them. Sibyl could
scarcely restrain her eagerness.

"Mother, may I ask John if father's likely to be at home? Sometimes he
comes home earlier than usual. P'waps he came home to lunch and is
waiting for us. Can I call out to John through the window, mother?"

"No, sit still, you do fidget so."

"I'll try to be quiet, mother; it's only 'cos I'm so incited."

"Oh, dear," said Mrs. Ogilvie to herself, "what an awful evening I am
likely to have! When the silly child really finds out that her father
has gone, she will burst into hysterics, or do something else absurd.
I really wish it had been my luck to marry a husband with a grain of
sense. I wonder if I had better tell her now. No, I really cannot.
Miss Winstead must do it. Miss Winstead has been having a nice
holiday, with no fuss or worry of any sort, and it is quite fair that
she should bear the burden of this. But why it should be regarded as a
burden or a trial is a puzzle. Philip goes on a sort of pleasure
expedition to Queensland, and the affair is treated almost as if--as
if it were a death. It is positively uncanny."

Sibyl noticed that her mother was silent, and that she looked worried.
Presently she stretched out her hand and stroked her mother's.

"What are you doing that for?"

"'Cos I thought I'd rub you the right way," said Sibyl. "You are like
a poor cat when it is rubbed the wrong way, aren't you, just now,

"Don't be so ridiculous." Mrs. Ogilvie snatched her hand away.

They soon reached the house. The footman, Watson, sprang down and
lowered the steps. Sibyl bounded out and flew into the hall.

"Father, father!" she called. "I'm back. Are you in, father? Here I
are--Sibyl. I'm home again, father. The Angel is home again, father."

She did not often call herself the Angel, the name seemed to have more
or less slipped out of sight, but she did on this occasion, and she
threw back her pretty head and looked up the wide staircase, as if any
moment she might see her father hurrying down to meet her.

Mrs. Ogilvie turned to one of the servants, who was watching the child
in astonishment.

"She does not know yet," whispered Mrs. Ogilvie. "I am going into the
library; don't tell her anything, pray, but send Miss Winstead to me

Mrs. Ogilvie entered the library. Sibyl danced in after her.

"I can't see father anywhere," she said: "I 'spect he's not back yet."

"Of course he is not back so early. Now run upstairs and ask Nurse to
make you ready for tea. Leave me, I have something to say to Miss

Miss Winstead appeared at that moment. She had enjoyed her holiday,
and looked the better for it. Though she understood Sibyl very little,
yet at this moment she gazed at the child almost with alarm, for Mrs.
Ogilvie had written to her telling her that Mr. Ogilvie's absence had
not been alluded to in the child's presence.

Sibyl rushed to her and kissed her.

"I am back, and I am going to be good," she said. "I really, truly am;
aren't you glad to see me?"

"Yes, Sibyl."

"Go upstairs now, Sibyl," said her mother. Sibyl obeyed somewhat
unwillingly, some of the laughter went out of her eyes, and a little
of the excitement faded from her heart. She went up the wide stairs
slowly, very slowly. Even now she hoped that it might be possible for
her father to appear, turning the angle of the winding stairs, coming
out of one of the rooms. He always had such a bright face, there was
an eagerness about it. He was tall and rather slender, and that bright
look in his eyes always caused the child's heart to leap; then his
mouth could wear such a beautiful smile. It did not smile for many
people, but it always did for Sibyl. She wanted to see him, oh, so
badly, so badly.

"Well, never mind," she said to herself, "he can't help it, the
darling; but he'll be back soon," and she tripped into her nursery and
sat down; but she did not ask Nurse any questions, she was too busy
with her own thoughts.


"Miss Winstead," said Mrs. Ogilvie, "this is all most unpleasant."

"What do you mean?" asked the governess.

"Why, this whim of my husband's. He has been away for over a week, and
the child imagines that he is still in London, that he will return at
any instant and spoil her, after his usual injudicious fashion."

"Oh, I don't quite think that Mr. Ogilvie spoils your little Sibyl,"
said Miss Winstead; "he has peculiar ideas, that's all."

"We need not discuss that point," said Mrs. Ogilvie in an irritated
tone. "We are back later than I thought, and I have to dine out
to-night. I want you, Miss Winstead, to break the tidings to the child
that her father has gone to Queensland."

"I?" said Miss Winstead; "I would really rather----"

"I fear your likes or dislikes with regard to the matter cannot be
considered. I cannot tell her, because I should not do it properly;
and also, a more serious reason, I really have not the time. You can
give Sibyl a treat, if you like, afterwards. Take her out for a walk
in the Park after tea, she always likes that; and you can take her to
a shop and buy her a new toy--any toy she fancies. Here's a sovereign;
you can go as far as that, you ought to get her something quite
handsome for that; and you might ask the little Leicesters next door
to come to tea to-morrow. There are a hundred ways in which the mind
of a child can be diverted."

"Not the mind of Sibyl with regard to her father," interrupted Miss

"Well, for goodness' sake, don't make too much of it. You know how
peculiar he is, and how peculiar she is. Just tell her that he has
gone away for a couple of months--that he has gone on an expedition
which means money, and that _I_ am pleased about it, that he has done
it for my sake and for her sake. Tell her he'll be back before the
summer is over. You can put it any way you like, only do it, Miss
Winstead--do it!"

"When?" asked Miss Winstead. She turned very pale, and leant one hand
on the table.

"Oh, when you please, only don't worry me. You had better take her off
my hands at once. Just tell her that I am tired and have a headache,
and won't see her until the morning; I really must lie down, and
Hortense must bathe my forehead. If I don't I shall look a perfect
wreck to-night, and it is going to be a big dinner; I have been
anxious for some time to go. And afterwards there is a reception at
the Chinese Embassy; I am going there also. Please ask Watson, on your
way through the hall, to have tea sent to my boudoir. And now you
quite understand?"

"But, please, say exactly what I am to tell your little girl."

"Don't you know? Say that her father has gone--oh, by the way, there's
a letter for her. I really don't know that she ought to have it. Her
father is sure to have said something terribly injudicious, but
perhaps you had better give it to her. You might give it to her when
you are telling her, and tell her to read it by-and-by, and not to be
silly, but to be sensible. That is my message to her. Now pray go,
Miss Winstead. Are you better? Have you had a nice time while we were

"I still suffer very badly with my head," said Miss Winstead, "but the
quiet has done me good. Yes, I will try and do my best. I saw Mr.
Ogilvie the day he left; he did not look well, and seemed sorrowful.
He asked me to be kind to Sibyl."

"I sincerely trust you are kind to the child; if I thought you did not
treat her with sympathy and understanding I should be obliged----"

"Oh, you need not go on," said Miss Winstead, coloring, and looking
annoyed. "I know my duty. I am not a woman with very large
sympathies, or perhaps very wide views, but I try to do my duty; I
shall certainly do my utmost for your dear little daughter. There is
something very lovable about her, although sometimes I fear I do not
quite understand her."

"No one seems to understand Sibyl, and yet everyone thinks her
lovable," said the mother. "Well, give her my love; tell her I will
ride with her in the morning. She has had a present of a pony, quite a
ridiculous present; Lord Grayleigh was determined to give it to her.
He took an immense fancy to the child, and put the gift in such a way
that it would not have been wise to refuse. Don't forget, when you see
Watson, to tell him to bring tea to my boudoir."

Miss Winstead slowly left the room. She was a very quiet woman, about
thirty-five years of age. She had a stolid manner, and, as she said
herself, was a little narrow and a little old-fashioned, but she was
troubled now. She did not like the task set her. As she went upstairs
she muttered a solitary word.

"Coward!" she said, under her breath.

"I wish I was well out of this," thought the governess. "The child is
not an ordinary one, and the love she bears her father is not an
ordinary love."

Miss Winstead's schoolroom looked its brightest and best. The days
were growing quite long now, and flowers were plentiful. A large
basket of flowers had been sent from Grayleigh Manor that morning, and
Miss Winstead had secured some of the prettiest for her schoolroom.
She had decorated the tea-table and the mantelpiece, but with a pain
at her heart, for she was all the time wondering if Sibyl knew or did
not know. She could not quite understand from Ogilvie's manner whether
she knew or not. He was very reserved about her just at the last, he
evidently did not like to talk of her.

Miss Winstead entered the schoolroom. She sat down for a moment near
the open window. The day was still in its prime. She looked at the
clock. The under-housemaid, who had the charge of the schoolroom tea,
now came in with the tray. She laid the cloth and spread the
tea-things. There was a plate of little queen-cakes for Sibyl.

"Cook made these for Miss Sibyl," she said. "Does she know yet, Miss
Winstead, that the master has gone?"

"No," said Miss Winstead; "and I have got to tell her, Anne, and it is
a task I anything but like."

"I wouldn't be in your shoes for a deal, Miss," replied Anne, in a
sympathetic voice.

Just then a light, childish step was heard in the passage, and Sibyl
burst into the room.

"Here I am. Oh, I am so glad tea is ready. What's the hour, please,
Miss Winstead? How are you, Anne; is your toothache better?"

"I have not had any toothache to mention since you left, Miss Sibyl."

"I am glad to hear that. You used to suffer awful pain, didn't you?
Did you go to Mr. Robbs, the dentist, and did he put your head between
his knees and tug and tug to get the tooth out? That's the way Nurse's
teeth were taken out when she was a little girl. She told me all about
it. Did Mr. Robbs pull your tooth out that way, Anne?"

"No, Miss, the tooth is better and in my head, I'm thankful to say."

"And how is cook? How are her sneezing fits?"

"All the servants are very well, I thank you, Miss."

"Don't make any more enquiries now, Sibyl, sit down and begin your
tea," said her governess.

Sibyl made an effort to suppress the words which were bubbling to her
lips. Anne had reached the door, when she burst out with--

"I do just want to ask one more question. How is Watson, Anne, and how
is his sweetheart? Has she been kinder to him lately?"

"Sibyl, I refuse to allow you to ask any further questions,"
interrupted Miss Winstead. She was so nervous and perplexed at the
task before her that she was glad even to be able to find fault with
the child. It was really reprehensible of any child to take an
interest in Watson's sweetheart.

Anne, smiling however, and feeling also inclined to cry, left the
room. She ran down to the servants' hall.

"Of all the blessed angel children, Miss Sibyl beats 'em," she cried.
"Not one of us has she forgot; dear lamb, even to my tooth and your
sneezing fits, cook; and Watson, most special did she inquire for Mary
Porter, the girl you're a-keeping company with. It's wonderful what a
tender heart she do have."

"That she have truly," said the cook, "and I'll make her some more
queen-cakes to-morrow, and ice them for her, that I will. It's but to
look at her to see how loving she is," continued the good woman. "How
she'll live without the master beats me. The missus ain't worthy of

This remark was followed by a sort of groan which proceeded from each
servant's mouth. It was evident that Mrs. Ogilvie was not popular in
the servants' hall.

Sibyl meanwhile was enjoying her tea.

"It's nearly five o'clock," she said, "father is sure to be in at six,
don't you think so, Miss Winstead?"

"He often doesn't come home till seven," answered Miss Winstead in a
guilty voice, her hand shaking as she raised the teapot.

"Why, what's the matter with you, Winnie dear," said Sibyl--this was
her pet name for the governess; "you have got a sort of palsy, you
ought to see a doctor. I asked Nurse what palsy was, and she said 'a
shaking,' and you are all shaking. How funny the teapot looks when
your hand is bobbing so. Do, Winnie, let me pour out tea."

"Not to-night. I was thinking that after tea you and I might go for a
little walk."

"Oh, I couldn't, really, truly; I must wait in till father comes."

"It is such a fine evening, that perhaps----"

"No, no, I don't want to go."

"But your mother has given me money; you are to buy anything you
please at the toy-shop."

This was a very great temptation, for Sibyl adored toys.

"How much money?" she asked in a tentative voice.

"Well, a good deal, a whole sovereign."

"Twenty shillings," said Sibyl, "I could get a lovely doll's house for
that. But I think sometimes I am getting tired of my dolls. It's so
stupid of 'em not to talk, and never to cry, and not to feel pain or
love. But, on the whole, I suppose I should like a new doll's house,
and there was a beauty at the toy-shop for twenty shillings. It was
there at Christmas-time. I expect it's a little dusty now, but I dare
say Mr. Holman would let me have it cheap. I am _very_ fond of Mr.
Holman, aren't you, Winnie? Don't you love him very, very much? He has
such kind, sorrowful eyes. Don't you like him?"

"I don't know that I do, Sibyl. Come, finish your tea, my dear."

"Have you been trying to 'prove yourself very much while I was away?"
said Sibyl, looking at her now in a puzzled way.

"Prove myself?"

"I can never say that whole word. _Im_prove is what I mean. Have you
been trying?"

"I always try, Sibyl."

"Then I think Lord Jesus is helping you, for you _are_ 'proved, you're
quite sympathisy. I like you when you're sympathisy. Yes, I have
finished my tea, and, if you wish it, I'll go out just as far as Mr.
Holman's to buy the doll's house. He is poor, and he'll be real glad
to sell it. He has often told me how little money he makes by the
toys, and how they lose their freshness and get dusty, and children
toss 'em. Some children are _so_ careless. Yes, I'll go with you,
and then we'll come straight home. Father will be back certain
to-night at six. He'll know that I'll be wanting him."

"Sibyl, I have something to tell you."


There was a tremulous note in Miss Winstead's voice which arrested the
gay, careless chatter. The child looked at her governess. That deep,
comprehensive, strange look visited her eyes. Miss Winstead got up
hastily and walked to the window, then she returned to her seat.

"What is it?" said Sibyl, still seated at the tea-table, but turning
round and watching her governess.

"It is something that will pain you, dear."

"Oh!" said Sibyl, "go on, please. Out with it! plump it out! as Gus
would say. Be quick. I don't like to be kept in 'spense."

"I am afraid, Sibyl, that you will not see your father to-night."

Sibyl jumped up just as if someone had shot her. She stood quite still
for a moment, and a shiver went through her little frame; then she
went up to Miss Winstead.

"I can bear it," she said; "go on. Shall I see father to-morrow?"

"Not to-morrow, nor the next day, nor the next."

"Go on; I am bearing it," said Sibyl.

She stood absolutely upright, white as a sheet, her eyes queerly
dilated, but her lips firm.

"It's a great shock, but I am bearing it," she said again. "_When_
will I see him?"

Miss Winstead turned now and looked at her.

"Child," she said, "don't look like that."

"I'm looking no special way; I'm only bearing up. Is father dead?"

"No; no, my dear. No, my poor little darling. Oh, you ought to have
been told; but he did not wish it. It was his wish that you should
have a happy time in the country. He has gone to Queensland; he will
be back in a few months."

"A few months," said Sibyl. "He's not dead?" She sat down listlessly
on the window seat. She heaved a great sigh.

"It's the little shots that hurt most," she said after a pause. "I
wouldn't have felt it, if you had said he was dead."

"Come out, Sibyl, you know now he won't be back by six."

"Yes, I'll go out with you."

She turned and walked very gravely out of the room.

"I'd rather she cried and screamed; I'd rather she rushed at me and
tried to hurt me; I'd rather she did anything than take it like that,"
thought the governess.

Sibyl went straight into the nursery.

"Nursie," she said, "my father has gone. He is in Queensland; he did
not wish me to be told, but I have been told now. He is coming back in
a few months. A few months is like for ever, isn't it, nursie? I am
going out with Miss Winstead for a walk."

"Oh, my darling," said nursie, "this has hurt you horribly."

"Don't," said Sibyl, "don't be sympathisy." She pushed nurse's
detaining hand away.

"It's the little shots that tell," she repeated. "I wouldn't have felt
anything if it had been a big, big bang; if he had been dead, I mean,
but I'm not going to cry, I'm not going to let anybody think that I
care anything at all. Give me my hat and gloves and jacket, please,

She went to Miss Winstead, put her hand in hers, and the two went
downstairs. When they got into the street Sibyl looked full at her,
and asked her one question.

"Was it mother said you was to tell me?"


"Then mother did tell me a----" Sibyl left off abruptly, her poor
little face quivered. The suffering in her eyes was so keen that Miss
Winstead did not dare to meet them. They went for a walk in the park,
and Sibyl talked in her most proper style, but she did not say any of
the nice, queer, interesting things she was, as a rule, noted for.
Instead, she told Miss Winstead dry, uninteresting little facts, with
regard to her visit to the country.

"I hear you have got a pony," said Miss Winstead.

"I don't want to talk about my pony, please," interrupted Sibyl. "Let
me tell you just what were the most perfect views near the place we
were in."

"But why may we not talk about your pony?"

"I don't want to ride my pony now."

Miss Winstead was alarmed about the child.

"You have walked quite far enough to-night," she said, "you look very

"I'm not a scrap tired, I never felt better in my life. Do let us go
to the toy-shop."

"A good idea," said the governess, much cheered to find Sibyl, in her
opinion, human after all. "We will certainly go there and will choose
a beautiful toy."

"Well, this is the turning, come along," said Sibyl.

"But why should we go to Holman's, there is a splendid toy-shop in
this street."

"I'd much rather go to Mr. Holman's."

Miss Winstead did not expostulate any further. Presently they reached
the shabby little shop. Mr. Holman, the owner of the shop, was a
special friend of the child's. He had once or twice, charmed by her
sympathetic way, confided some of his griefs to her. He found it, he
told her, extremely difficult to make the toy-shop pay; and Sibyl, in
consequence, considered it her bounden duty to spend every half-penny
she could spare at this special shop. She entered now, went straight
up to the counter and held out her hand.

"How do you do, Mr. Holman," she said; "I hope I find you quite well."

"Thank you, Missy; I am in the enjoyment of good health," replied the
shopman, flushing with pleasure and grasping the little hand.

"I am glad of that," answered Sibyl. "I have come, Mr. Holman, to buy
a big thing, it will do your shop a lot of good. I am going to spend
twenty shillings in your shop. What would you like me to buy?"

"You thought a doll's house," interrupted Miss Winstead, who stood
behind the child.

"Oh, it don't matter about that," said Sibyl, looking gravely back at
her; "I mean it don't matter now. Mr. Holman, what's the most dusty of
your toys, what's the most scratched, what's the toy that none of the
other children would like?"

"I have a whole heap of 'em," said Holman, shaking his head sadly.

"That he have, poor dear," here interrupted Mrs. Holman. "How do you
do, Missy, we are both glad to see you back again; we have had a dull
season, very dull, and the children, they didn't buy half the toys
they ought to at Christmas time. It's because our shop is in a back

"Oh, but it's a very nice street," said Sibyl; "it's retired, isn't
it? Well, I'll buy twenty shillings' worth of the most dusty of the
toys, and please send them home to-morrow. Please, Miss Winstead, put
the money down."

Miss Winstead laid a sovereign on the counter.

"Good-by, Mr. Holman; good-by, Mrs. Holman," said Sibyl. She shook
hands solemnly with the old pair, and then went out of the shop.

"What ails her?" said Holman. "She looks as if something had died
inside her. I don't like her looks a bit."

Mrs. Ogilvie enjoyed herself very much that evening. Her friends were
glad to see her back. They were full of just the pleasant sympathy
which she liked best to receive. She must be lonely without her
husband. When would he return? When she said in a few months' time,
they congratulated her, and asked her how she had enjoyed herself at
Grayleigh Manor. In short, there was that sort of fuss made about her
which most appealed to her fancy. She forgot all about Sibyl. She
looked at other women of her acquaintance, and thought that when her
husband came home she would wear just as dazzling gems and just as
beautiful dresses, and she, too, might talk about her country place,
and invite her friends down to this rural retreat at Whitsuntide, and
make up a nice house-party in the autumn, and again in the winter. Oh,
yes, the world with its fascinations was stealing more and more into
her heart, and she had no room for the best of all. She forgot her
lonely child during these hours.

Mrs. Ogilvie returned from a fashionable reception between twelve and
one in the morning. Hortense was up and tired. She could scarcely
conceal her yawns as she unstitched the diamonds which she had sewn on
her mistress's dress earlier in the evening, and put away the
different jewels. At last, however, her duties were over, and she went
away to her room.

Mrs. Ogilvie got into bed, and closing her eyes, prepared to doze off
into delicious slumber. She was pleasantly tired, and no more. As she
sank into repose, the house in the country and the guests who would
fill it mingled with her dreams. Suddenly she heard a clear voice in
her ears. It awoke her with a sort of shock. She raised herself on her
elbow, and saw her little daughter standing in her white nightdress by
the bedside.

"Mother," said Sibyl.

"What are you doing there, Sibyl? Go back to bed directly."

"Please, mother, I can't sleep. I have got a sort of up-and-down and
round-and-round feeling. I don't know what it is, but it's worse when
I put my head on my pillow. I 'spect I'm lonesome, mother. Mother, I
really, truly, am going to be sensible, and I know all about father;
but may I get into your bed just at the other side. I will lie as
still as a mouse; may I, mother?"

"Oh dear, how you tremble," said Mrs. Ogilvie; "how more than annoying
this is! You certainly are not a sensible child at the present moment.
If you felt so strange and nervous, why didn't you ask Nurse or Miss
Winstead to sleep in the room with you?"

"But, mother, that wouldn't have done me any good."

"What do you mean?"

"They wouldn't be you. I'll be quite happy if I can get into bed
alongside of you, mother."

"Of course you may, child, but please don't disturb me. I am very
tired, and want to sleep."

Sibyl ran round to the other side of the bed, slipped in, and lay as
quiet as a mouse.

Mrs. Ogilvie curled up comfortably, arranged her pillows, and closed
her eyes. She was very sleepy, but what was the matter with her? She
could not lose herself in unconsciousness. Was the perfectly still
little figure by her side exercising some queer power over her,
drawing something not often stirred within her heart to the surface?
She turned at last and looked at the child. Sibyl was lying on her
back with her eyes wide open.

"Why don't you shut your eyes and go to sleep?" asked her mother.

"I can't, on account of the round-and-roundness feeling," replied

"What a funny little thing you are. Here, give me your hand."

Mrs. Ogilvie stretched out her own warm hand and took one of Sibyl's.
Sibyl's little hand was cold.

"May I come quite close to you, mother?" asked Sibyl.

"Yes, darling."

The next instant she was lying in her mother's arms. Her mother
clasped her close to her breast and kissed her many times.

"Oh, now that's better," said the child with a sob. It was the first
attempt at a sob which had come from her lips. She nestled cosily
within her mother's clasp.

"I am much better," she said; "I didn't understand, but I understand
now. I got his letter."

"Must we talk about it to-night, Sibyl?" asked her mother.

"Not much; there's not much to say, is there? He said I was to be good
and to obey you. I was to be good all the time. It's very hard, but I
'spect I'll do it; I 'spect Lord Jesus will help me. Mother, why has
father gone to Queensland? It's such a long, long way off."

"For a most excellent reason," said Mrs. Ogilvie. "You really are
showing a great deal of sense, Sibyl. I never knew you more sensible
about anything. I was afraid you would cry and make scenes and be
naughty, and make yourself quite ill; that would have been a most
silly, affected sort of thing to do. Your father has gone away just on
a visit--we will call it that. He will be back before the summer is
over, and when he comes back he will bring us----"

"What?" asked the child. "What has he gone for?"

"My dear child, he has gone on most important business. He will bring
us back a great deal of _money_, Sibyl. You are too young yet to
understand about money."

"No, I am not," said Sibyl. "I know that when people have not much
money they are sorrowful. Poor Mr. Holman is."

"Who in the world is Mr. Holman?"

"He sells the toys in the back street near our house. I am very much
obliged to you, mother, for that sovereign. Mr. Holman is going to
send me some dusty toys to-morrow."

"What do you mean?"

"I can't 'splain, Mr. Holman understands. But, mother, I thought we
had plenty of money."

"Plenty of money," echoed Mrs. Ogilvie; "that shows what a very silly
little child you are. We have nothing like enough. When your father
comes back we'll be rich."

"Rich?" said Sibyl, "rich?" She did not say another word for a long
time. Her mother really thought she had dropped asleep. In about half
an hour, however, Sibyl spoke.

"Is it nice, being rich?" she asked.

"Of course it is."

"But what does it do?"

"Do? It does everything. It gives you all your pretty frocks."

"But I am more comfy in my common frocks."

"Well, it gives you your nice food."

"I don't care nothing about food."

"It gives you your comfortable home, your pony, and----"

"Lord Grayleigh gave me my pony."

"Child, I cannot explain. It makes all the difference between comfort
and discomfort, between sorrow and happiness."

"Do you think so?" said Sibyl. "And father has gone away to give me a
nice house, and pretty clothes, and all the other things between being
comfy and discomfy; and you want to be rich very much, do you,

"Very much indeed; I like the good things of life."

"I'll try and understand," said Sibyl. She turned wearily on her
pillow, and the next instant sleep had visited the perplexed little


"Nursie," said Sibyl, two months after the events related in the last
chapter, "mother says that when my ownest father comes back again
we'll be very rich."

"Um," replied nurse, with a grunt, "do she?"

"Why do you speak in that sort of voice, nursie? It's very nice to be
rich. I have been having long talks with mother, and she has 'splained
things. It means a great deal to be rich. I am so glad that my father
is coming back a very, very rich man. I didn't understand at first. I
thought to be rich just meant to have lots of money, and big, big
houses, and heaps of bags of sweeties, and toys and ponies, and, oh,
the kind of things that don't matter a bit. But now I know what to be
rich really is."

"Yes, dear," said nurse. She was seated in the old nursery close to
the window. She was mending some of Sibyl's stockings. A little pile
of neatly mended pairs lay on the table, and there was a frock which
also wanted a darn reclining on the back of the old woman's chair.
Sibyl broke off and watched her nurse's movements with close interest.

"Why do you wear spectacles?" she asked suddenly.

"Because, my love, my sight is failing. I ain't as young as I was."

"What does 'not as young as you was' mean?"

"What I say, my dear."

"I notice," said Sibyl, thoughtfully, "that all very, very old people
say they're not as young as they was, and so you wear spectacles 'cos
you're not as young as you was, and 'cos you can't see as well as you

"That's about it, Missy, and when I have to darn the stockings of a
naughty little Miss, and to mend holes in her dress, I have to put on
my glasses."

"Then I'm glad we're going to be rich; it will be quite easy to
'splain why I am glad," continued Sibyl, thoughtfully. "When our gold
comes, nursie, you'll never have to do no more darning, and you need
never wear your glasses 'cept just to read lovely books. Oh, we'll do
such a lot when we are rich. There's poor Mr. Holman: I was talking to
him only yesterday. Do you know, nursie, his shop isn't paying, not a
bit, and he was, oh, so sad about it, and Mrs. Holman began to cry.
She told me there's a new big toy-shop in Palace Road, a great big
lovely _swampy_ sort of shop. I mean by that, that it takes all the
customers. They go in there and they spend their money, and there's
none left for poor Mr. Holman. It's just 'cos he lives in Greek
Street, and Greek Street is what is called a back street. Isn't it
perfectly shameful, nursie? Mr. Holman said if they could afford to
have a shop in Palace Road he would get all the little boys and girls
back again. But they won't come into his nice, quiet _back_ street. I
like back streets, don't you, nursie? It's horrid of the boys and
girls not to go to Mr. Holman's."

"It's the way of the world, dear," answered nurse; "the world always
goes with the prosperous people. Them that are struggling the world
leaves behind. It's a cruel way, but it's the way the world has got."

"Then I hate the world," said Sibyl. "My beautiful Lord Jesus wouldn't
allow it if He was on earth now, would He, nursie?"

"Oh, my love, there'd be a lot of things _He'd_ have to change if He
came back; but don't ask me any more questions now, Missy. You go out
with your governess. You don't get half enough of the air, to my way
of thinking; you're looking peaky, and not what the master would like
to see."

"But I am perfectly well," answered Sibyl, "I never felt better in all
my borned days. You know, nursie, I have got a lot to do now. Father
gave me 'rections in that letter that nobody else is to see, and one
of them was that I was to keep well, so I'll go for a walk if you
think it will be good for me; only I just wish to say that when father
comes back dear Mr. Holman shall have his shop in Palace Road, and a
lot of fresh toys put in it, and then he'll be quite happy and
smiling, and his shop will swamp up all the children, and all the
pennies and all the half-pennies and sixpennies, and poor, dear,
darling Mrs. Holman won't have to wipe away her tears any more."

Sibyl skipped out of the room, and nurse said several times under her

"Bless her! the darling she is!"

Smartly dressed, as was her mother's wish, the little girl now ran
downstairs. Miss Winstead was not ready. Sibyl waited for her in the
hall. She felt elated and pleased, and just at that moment a servant
crossed the spacious hall, and opened the hall door. Standing on the
steps was Mr. Rochester. Sibyl uttered a great whoop when she saw him,
rushed forward, and seized him by the hand.

"Oh, I am glad to see you," she said. "Have you come to see me, or to
see mother?"

"I am very glad to see you," replied the young man; "but I did call to
see your mother."

"Well, come to the drawing-room, I'll entertain you till mother
comes. Go upstairs, please, Watson, and tell mother that Mr. Rochester
is here. Be sure you say Mr. Rochester--_nice_ Mr. Rochester."

Watson smiled, as he often did when Sibyl addressed him, and nice Mr.
Rochester and the little girl disappeared into the drawing-room.

Sibyl shut the door, took his hand, and looked earnestly into his

"Well?" she said.

"Why do you say that?" he asked, in some confusion.

"I was only wondering if Lady Helen had done it."

"Really, Sibyl, you say very queer things," answered Rochester. He sat
down on a chair.

"Oh, you know you are awfully fond of her, and you want her to marry
you, and I want her to marry you because I like you. You are very
nice, very nice indeed, and you are rich, you know. Mother has been
'splaining to me about rich people. It's most 'portant that everybody
should be rich, isn't it, Mr. Rochester? It's the only way to be
truly, truly happy, isn't it?"

"That it is not, Sibyl. Who has been putting such an idea into your

Sibyl looked at him, and was about to say, "Why, mother," but she
checked herself. A cloud took some of the brightness out of her eyes.
She looked puzzled for a moment, then she laughed.

"When my own father comes back again we'll all be rich people. I hope
when you are very, very rich you'll make," she said, "dear Lady Helen
happy. I am very glad, now, my father went to Australia. It gave me
dreadful pain at the time, but when he comes back we'll all be rich.
What has he gone about; do you know, Mr. Rochester?"

"Something about a gold mine. Your father is a great engineer, and his
opinion with regard to the mine will be of the utmost value. If he
says it is a good mine, with a lot of gold in it, then the British
public will buy shares. They will buy shares as fast as ever they

"What are shares?" asked Sibyl.

"It is difficult to explain. Shares mean a little bit of the gold out
of the mine, and these people will buy them in order to become rich."

"It's very puzzling," said Sibyl. "And it depends on father?"

"Yes, because if he says there is not much gold in the mine, then no
one will buy shares. Don't you understand, it all depends on him."

"It's _very_ puzzling," said Sibyl again. "Are you going to buy
shares, Mr. Rochester?"

"I think so," he answered earnestly. "I shall buy several shares, I
think, and if I do I shall be rich enough to ask Lady Helen to marry

"And you will be happy?"

"Very happy if she says 'yes.' But, Sibyl, this is a great secret
between you and me, you must never tell it to anyone else."

"You may trust me," said Sibyl, "I never tell things I'm told not to
tell. You can't think what wonderful 'portant things father has told
me, and I never, never speak of them again. Then you'll be glad to be

"Yes, because I shall be happy if Lady Helen is my wife," he answered,
and just then Mrs. Ogilvie came into the room.

Sibyl and Miss Winstead went out for their daily exercise. Sibyl had
already ridden the pony in the morning. It was a nameless pony.
Nothing would induce her to give it a title.

"When father comes back he'll christen my pony," she said, "but no one
else shall. I won't give it no name till he comes back."

She enjoyed her rides on the brisk little pony's back. She was rapidly
becoming a good horsewoman. When her mother did not accompany her the
redoubtable Watson followed his little mistress, and the exercise did
the child good, and helped to bring a faint color to her cheeks.

Now she and Miss Winstead walked slowly down the shady side of the
street. Sibyl was pondering over many things.

"It is very hot this morning," said the governess.

"Oh, that don't matter," replied Sibyl. "Miss Winstead, is your head
sometimes so full that it seems as if it would burst?"

"No," answered Miss Winstead, "I cannot say it is."

"Full of thoughts, you know."

"No," replied the governess again. "Don't turn in your toes, Sibyl,
walk straight, turn your toes out a little, so; keep step with me.
Little ladies ought to walk properly."

Sibyl took great pains to follow Miss Winstead's instructions. She was
always taking great pains now. A wonderful lot of her naughtiness and
daringness had left her. She was trying to be good. It was extremely
irksome, but when she succeeded she felt a great glow of pleasure, for
she believed herself near to her father.

"Miss Winstead," she said suddenly, "I have been thinking of
something. It is most terribly 'portant. Would you greatly mind if we
went to see the Holmans before we go back?"

"We shan't have time," replied Miss Winstead.

"Oh, but I want to go," said Sibyl, knitting her brows, "don't let us
go into the stupid Park, do come to the Holmans."

"I cannot do it, Sibyl, it is impossible. We must be back rather early
for lunch to-day, as your mother is going into the country this

"Mother going into the country, what for?"

"I cannot tell you, it is not my affair."

"That means that you know, but you won't tell."

"You can put it in that way if you like. I won't tell. Now come into
the Park, we can sit on one of the chairs under the trees and keep

Sibyl obeyed unwillingly. She felt, as she said afterwards, as if Miss
Winstead had rubbed her the wrong way.

"I am like a pussy-cat when its fur is rubbed quite the wrong side
up," thought the little girl. "I don't like it, not a bit."

Presently she slipped her hand through her governess's arm, and said
in a coaxing voice--

"Do come home through Greek Street; I do want just to say one word to
Mr. Holman, you can't think how 'portant it is."

"I cannot, Sibyl; you must not ask me again." Here Miss Winstead took
out her watch.

"We must hurry home," she said; "I had not the least idea the time was
going so fast."

They left the Park, and came back in time for lunch. During lunch
both Mrs. Ogilvie and her little daughter were very silent. Sibyl was
thinking of the Holmans, and how more than important it was that she
should see them soon, and Mrs. Ogilvie had another thought in her
head, a thought which caused her eyes to dance with pleasure.

"Why isn't Mr. Rochester here?" said the little girl at last.

"He could not stay," replied Mrs. Ogilvie. "You and he are great
friends, are you not, Sib?"

"He is nice, he is very nice," said the child; "he and Lady Helen--oh,
more than nice. I like 'em very much, don't you, mother?"

"Yes, dear." Mrs. Ogilvie got up. "Good-by, Sibyl, I shall be back
late this evening."

"Good-by, mother dear."

Mrs. Ogilvie left the room. Miss Winstead, having finished her lunch,
desired Sibyl to be quick with hers, and then to follow her to the
schoolroom. There was no one in the room now but Sibyl and the
footman, Watson. Watson began to remove the things. Sibyl played with
a biscuit. Suddenly she looked full up at the young man.

"Are you tired after your ride this morning Watson?"

"No, Miss Sibyl, not at all."

"I wonder if you're awfully hungry, Watson?"

"Why so, Miss?"

"Because it's time for the servants' dinner."

"Well, Miss, I'm going down to the hall presently, when I shall have
my appetite satisfied, thank you all the same for inquiring."

Watson greatly enjoyed having a private chat with Sibyl.

"You couldn't, p'waps," said the little girl, knitting her brows, "you
couldn't, p'waps, come a short way down the street with me afore you
begin your dinner?"

"Where do you want to go, Miss?"

"I want to see Mr. Holman; you know Mr. Holman, don't you, Watson? He
is the dear, kind, nice, sorrowful man who keeps the dusty toys."

"I have heard of him from you, Miss."

"It's most 'portant that I should see him and his wife, and if you
walked behind me, mother would not be very angry. Would you come,
Watson? You might just put on your hat and come at once. I have not
taken off my hat and coat. We can do it and be back afore Miss
Winstead finds out."

Watson looked out of the window. He saw Mrs Ogilvie at that moment go
down the steps, closing the door behind her. She walked away in the
direction of the nearest railway station. She held a dainty parasol
over her head. He turned to where the eager little face of Sibyl was
watching him.

"If you're very quick, Miss," he said, "I'll do it."

"You are good," said Sibyl. "Do you know, Watson, that you're a very
nice man--you have very good impulses, I mean. I heard father once say
of a man who dined here that he had good impulses, and I think he had
a look of you; and you have very good impulses, too. Now let's go; do
let's be quick."

A moment later the footman and the child were in the street. Sibyl
walked on in front, and Watson a couple of feet behind her. Holman's
shop was fortunately not far off, and they soon entered it.

"Watson," said the little girl, "you can stand in the doorway. It's
very private, what I has to say to the Holmans; you must on no account

"No, Miss, I won't."

Sibyl now entered the shop. Mrs. Holman was alone there. She was
attending in the shop while her husband was eating his dinner. She
looked very sad, and, as Sibyl expressed it afterwards, rusty. There
were days when Mrs. Holman did present that appearance--when her cap
seemed to want dusting and her collar to want freshness. Her black
dress, too, looked a little worn. Sibyl was very, very sorry for her
when she saw her in this dress.

"Dear! dear!" she said; "I am glad I came. You look as if you wanted
cheering up. Mrs. Holman, I've splendid news for you."

"What is that, my dear little lady? That you have got money to buy
another toy? But Mr. Holman said only as late as last night that he
wouldn't send you another worn-out toy not for nobody. 'Tain't fair,
my love. It seems like playing on your generosity, my dear."

"But I like them," said the child; "I do really, truly. I paint them
up with the paints in my paint-box and make them look as good as new.
They are much more interesting than perfect toys, they are truly."

"Well, dear, your mother would not like it if she know we treated you
in what my husband says is a shabby way."

"Don't think any more about that now, Mrs. Holman. You both treat me
as I love to be treated--as though I were your little friend."

"Which you are, darling--which you are."

"Well, Mrs. Holman, I must hurry; I must tell you my good news. Do you
remember telling me last week that you had a hundred pounds put away
in the Savings Bank, and that you didn't know what to do with it. You
said, 'Money ought to make money,' and you didn't know how your
hundred pounds would make money. It was such a funny speech, and you
tried to 'splain it to me, and I tried to understand."

"It was silly of my husband and me to talk of it before you, Missy. It
is true we have got a hundred pounds. It is a nest-egg against a rainy

"Now again you are talking funnily; a nest-egg against a rainy day?"

"Against a time of trouble when we may want to spend the money."

"Oh, I understand that," answered the child.

"And I had it well invested, but the money was paid back, and there
was nothing for it but to pop it into the Post Office Savings Bank."

"It's there still, is it?" said Sibyl, her eyes shining.

"Yes, dear."

"Well, now, what do you say to buying bits of gold with it?"

"Bits of gold with our hundred pounds?" said Mrs. Holman, staring at

"Yes, that is exactly what I mean; bits of gold. You will be able to
if you keep it long enough. If you promise to keep that money safe you
may be able to buy great lumps of gold out of my father's gold mine.
My father has gone to Australia to----Oh, I must not tell you, for it
really is an awful, awful secret; but, anyhow, when he comes back
you'll be able to make a lot of money out of your money, to buy heaps
of bits of gold. Will you promise to keep that hundred pounds till
father comes home? That's what I came about, to ask you to promise,
and Watson came with me because Miss Winstead wouldn't. Will you
promise, dear Mrs. Holman?"

"Bless you, darling," said Mrs. Holman, "so that is why your father
has gone away. It do sound exciting."

"It's awfully exciting, isn't it? We shall all be so rich. Mother said
so, and mother ought to know. You'll be rich, and I'll be rich, and
dear, dear nursie will be rich, and even Watson. Watson has got such
good impulses. He'll be rich, too, and he shall marry the girl he is
fond of; and there is a friend of mine, he wants to marry another
girl, and they shall be rich and they shall marry. Oh, nobody need be
sorrowful any more. Everybody will be quite happy when father comes
back. You'll be able to have your shop in Palace Road, and oh, be sure
you keep that hundred pounds till then."

Sibyl did not wait for Mrs. Holman to make any further remark. Mrs.
Holman's eyes looked bright and excited; the child dashed out of the

"Come, Watson," she said, "you'll have a splendid appetite for your
dinner, and you have done a very good deed. You have denied yourself,
Watson, and made a sorrowful woman happy. What do you think of that?"


About this time Mrs. Ogilvie was subjected to a somewhat severe form
of temptation. It had been one of the biggest dreams of her life to
possess a country place. She had never been satisfied with the fact
that she and her husband must live in town except when they went to
lodgings at the seaside, or were on visits to their friends. She
wanted to have their own country place to go to just when she pleased,
a place where she could invite her friends whenever the whim seized
her. In an evil moment, almost immediately after Ogilvie had gone to
Australia, she had visited a house agent and told him some of her

"My husband is not prepared to buy a place now," she said in
conclusion, "but he soon will be in a position to do so, and I want
you to look round for me and tell me if anything nice happens to come
into the market."

The agent had replied that he would be sure to let his client know if
anything suitable came his way. Very soon places, apparently quite to
Mrs. Ogilvie's heart, did come in the agent's way, and then somehow,
in some fashion, other house agents got wind of Mrs. Ogilvie's
desire, and now scarcely a post came that did not bring her most
tempting prospectuses with regard to country places. There was one in
particular which so exactly pleased her that she became quite
_distrait_ and restless except when she was talking of it. She went to
see this special place several times. It was on the Thames just above
Richmond. The grounds sloped down to the water. The house itself was
built in a low, rambling, eccentric fashion. It covered a considerable
extent of ground; there were several gardens, and they were all nicely
kept and were bright with flowers, and had many overhanging trees. The
house itself, too, had every modern comfort. There were many bedrooms
and several fine reception rooms, and there were tennis and croquet
lawns in the grounds, all smooth as velvet and perfectly level. There
were also kitchen-gardens, and some acres of land, as yet undevoted to
any special purpose, at the back of the house. It was just the sort of
place which a man who was in a nice position in society might be glad
to own. Its late owner had given it the somewhat eccentric title of
Silverbel, and certainly the place was as bright and charming as its

This desirable little property was to be obtained, with its
surrounding acres, for the modest sum of twenty thousand pounds, and
Mrs. Ogilvie was so fascinated by the thought of being mistress of
Silverbel, on the lovely winding River Thames, that she wrote to her
husband on the subject.

"It is the very best place of its kind in the market," she wrote. "It
was sold to its present owner for thirty thousand pounds, but he is
obliged to live abroad and is anxious to sell it, and would give it
for twenty thousand. I want you, when you receive this, to wire to me
to carry on negotiations in your absence. I have already consulted our
lawyer, Mr. Acland. He says the house is drained, and the air of the
place would be just the kind to suit Sibyl. She would enjoy so much
her row on the river, and all our friends would like it. With the
money you must now have at your disposal you can surely gratify me
with regard to Silverbel."

Mrs. Ogilvie had, of course, not yet received any answer to her
letter, but she visited Silverbel twice a week, and took Sibyl also to
see the beautiful place.

"It will be yours when father comes home," she said to the child.

Sibyl skipped about madly.

"It's just too 'licious!" she said. "Is this one of the things God
gives us because we are rich? Isn't it kind of Lord Jesus to make us
rich? Don't you love Him very, very much, mother?"

Mrs. Ogilvie always turned aside when Sibyl spoke to her about her
love for the Lord Jesus. Not that she considered herself by any means
an irreligious woman. She went to church always once, and sometimes
twice on Sunday. She subscribed to any number of charities, and as the
little girl now spoke her eyes became full of a soft light.

"We can have a bazaar here," she said, "a bazaar for the Home for
Incurables at Watleigh. Lady Severn was talking to me about it last
night, and said how terribly it needed funds. Sibyl, when father comes
back we will have a great big bazaar here at lovely Silverbel, and a
marquee on the lawn, and we will ask all the most charitable people in
London to take stalls; some of the big-wigs, you know."

"Big-wigs?" said Sibyl, "what are they?"

"People, my dear child, who are high up in the social scale."

"I don't understand, mother," answered Sibyl. "Oh, do look at this
rose, did you ever see such a perfect beauty? May I pick it, mother?
It is just perfect, isn't it, not quite full out and yet not a bud.
I'd like very much to send it to my ownest father."

"Silly child! Yes, of course you may pick it, but it will be dead long
before it reaches him."

"It's heart won't be dead," said Sibyl. She did not know why she made
the latter remark. She often did say things which she but half
understood. She carefully picked the rose and fastened it into the
front of her white dress. When she returned to town that evening she
put the rose in water and looked at it with affectionate interest.

"What a pretty flower! Where did my darling get it?" said nurse.

"At Silverbel, the beautiful, beautiful place that father is going to
buy when he is rich. You can't think how good mother is growing,
nursie; she is getting better and better every day."

"H'm!" said nurse.

"Why do you make those sort of noises when I speak of my mother? I
don't like it," said the child. "But I must tell you about Silverbel.
Mother says it is practicalically ours now. I don't quite know what
she means by practicalically, but I suppose she means that it is
almost our place. Anyhow, when my dearest rich father comes back it
will be ours, and we are going to make poor Mr. Holman quite rich, and
you, darling nursie, quite rich, and--and others quite rich. We are
going to have a great big bazaar at Silverbel, and the _big-wigs_ are
coming to it. Isn't it a funny word! perhaps you don't know what
big-wigs are, but I do."

Nurse laughed.

"Eat your supper and go to bed, Miss Sibyl. You are staying up a great
deal too late, and you are learning things you had better know nothing

Meanwhile Mrs. Ogilvie downstairs was having a consultation with her

"I don't want to lose the place," she said. "My husband is safe to be
satisfied with my decision."

"If you have really made up your mind to pay twenty thousand pounds
for the place, and I cannot say that I think it at all dear," replied
the lawyer, "I have no objection to lending you a couple of thousand
pounds to pay a deposit. You need not complete the purchase for at
least three months, and I have not the slightest doubt I can further
arrange that you may go into possession, say--well, any time you like
after the deposit money is paid."

"Can you really?" said Mrs. Ogilvie, her eyes growing dark and almost
passionate in their eagerness.

"At the worst it could be taken off your hands," he answered; "but
doubtless, from what you tell me, Ogilvie will be well able to
complete the thing; only remember, pray remember, Mrs. Ogilvie, that
this is rather a big matter, and if by any chance your husband does
not find the Lombard Deeps all that Lord Grayleigh expects"--he paused
and looked thoughtful. "I can lend you the money if you wish it," he
said then abruptly.

"The money to enable me to pay a deposit?" she said.

"Yes; two thousand pounds; I believe the owners will take that on
condition that the purchase is completed, say, in October."

"My husband will be back by then. I have a great mind to agree," she
said. She almost trembled in her eagerness. After a moment's pause she

"I will accept your offer, Mr. Acland. I don't know where to go in
August and September, and Silverbel will be the very place. Mr.
Ogilvie will thank you most heartily for your generous trust in us
both when he comes back."

"I have plenty of funds to meet this loan," thought the lawyer. "I am
safe so far." Aloud he said, "Then I will go and see the owners

"This clinches the matter," said Mrs. Ogilvie, "I will begin ordering
the furniture immediately."

The lawyer and the lady had a little further conversation, and then
Mrs. Ogilvie dressed and went out to dine, and told many of her
friends of her golden dreams.

"A place in the country, a place like Silverbel, has always been the
longing of my life," she said, and she looked pathetic and almost
ethereal, as she spoke, and as though nothing pleased her more than a
ramble through country lanes with buttercups and daisies within reach.

On the following Sunday, Rochester happened to lunch with Mrs. Ogilvie
and her little daughter. Mrs. Ogilvie talked during the entire meal of
the beautiful place which was soon to be hers.

"You shall come with Sibyl and me to see it to-morrow," she said. "I
will ask Lady Helen to come, too. I will send her a note by messenger.
We might meet at Victoria Station at eleven o'clock, and go to
Silverbel and have lunch at the little inn on the river."

Rochester agreed somewhat eagerly. His eyes brightened. He looked at
Sibyl, who gave him a meaning, affectionate, sympathetic glance. She
would enjoy very much seeing the lovers wandering through beautiful
Silverbel side by side.

"It's the most darling, lovely place," she said; "nobody knows how
beautiful it is. I do hope it will soon be ours."

"When our ship comes in, it will be ours," said Mrs. Ogilvie, and she
laughed merrily and looked full of happiness.

When the servants left the room, however, Rochester bent forward and
said something to Mrs. Ogilvie which did not please that good lady
quite so much.

"Have you heard the rumors with regard to the Lombard Deeps Gold
Mine?" he asked.

"What rumors?" Mrs. Ogilvie looked anxious. "I know nothing whatever
about business," she said, testily, "I leave all that absolutely to my
husband. I know that he considers the mine an excellent one, but his
full report cannot yet have reached England."

"Of course it has not. Ogilvie's report in full cannot come to hand
for another six weeks. I allude now to a paragraph in one of the great
financial papers, in which the mine is somewhat depreciated, the gold
being said to be much less to the ton than was originally supposed,
and the strata somewhat shallow, and terminating abruptly. Doubtless
there is no truth in it."

"Not a word, not a word," said Mrs. Ogilvie; "but I make a point of
being absolutely ignorant with regard to gold mines. I consider it
positively wrong of a woman to mix herself up in such masculine
matters. All the sweet femininity of character must depart if such
knowledge is carried to any extent."

"Lady Helen knows about all these sort of things, and yet I think she
is quite feminine," said Rochester; and then he colored faintly and
looked at Sibyl, whose eyes danced with fun.

Mrs. Ogilvie slowly rose from the table.

"You will find cigars in that box," she said. "No, Sibyl, you are not
to stay with Mr. Rochester; come to the drawing-room with me."

"Oh, do let her stay," earnestly pleaded the young man, "she has often
sat with me while I smoked before."

"Well, as you please, but don't spoil her," said the mother. She left
the room, and Sibyl curled herself up luxuriously in a deep armchair
near Mr. Rochester.

"I have a lot of things to ask you," she said; "I am not going to be
like my ownest mother, I am going to be like Lady Helen. I want to
understand about the gold mine. I want to understand why, if you give
your money to a certain thing, you get back little bits of gold. Can
you make the gold into sovereigns, is that what happens?"

"It is extremely difficult for me to explain," said Rochester, "but I
think the matter lies in a nutshell. If your father gives a good
report of the mine there will be a great deal of money subscribed, as
it is called, by different people."

"What's subscribed?"

"Well, given. You know what it means when people ask your mother to
subscribe to a charity?"

"Oh, yes, I know quite well; and Mr. and Mrs. Holman, they may
subscribe, may they?"

"Yes, whoever they may be. I don't know Mr. and Mrs. Holman, but of
course they may intend to subscribe, and other people will do the
same, and if we give, say, a hundred pounds we shall get back perhaps
one hundred and fifty, perhaps two hundred."

"Oh, that's very nice," said Sibyl; "I seem to understand, and yet I
don't understand."

"You understand enough, my dear little girl, quite enough. Don't
puzzle your poor little brain. Your mother is right, these are matters
for men."

"And you are quite certain that my father will say that the beautiful
mine is full of gold?" said Sibyl.

"He will say it if the gold is there."

"And if it is not?"

"Then he will tell the truth."

"Of course," said Sibyl, proudly. "My father couldn't tell a lie if he
was even to try. It would be impossible, wouldn't it, Mr. Rochester?"

"I should say quite impossible," replied Rochester firmly.

"You are awfully nice, you know," she said; "you are nice enough even
for Lady Helen. I do hope father will find the mine full up to the
brim with gold. Such a lot of people will be happy then."

"So they will," replied Rochester.

"And darlingest mother can have the beautiful place. Hasn't the new
place got a lovely name--Silverbel?"

"It sounds very pretty, Sibyl."

"And you will come to-morrow and see it, won't you?"


"And you will bring Lady Helen?"

"Your mother will bring Lady Helen."

"It's all the same," replied Sibyl. "Oh, I am so glad."

She talked a little longer, and then went upstairs.

Miss Winstead often spent Sunday with her friends. She was not in the
schoolroom now as Sibyl entered. Sibyl thought this was a golden
opportunity to write to her father. She sat down and prepared to write
a letter. This was always a somewhat laborious task. Her thoughts
flowed freely enough, but her hand could not wield the pen quite quick
enough for the eager thoughts, nor was her spelling perfect, nor her
written thoughts quite so much to the point as her spoken ones.
Nevertheless, it was full time for her father to hear from her, and
she had a great deal to say. She took a sheet of paper, dipped her pen
in the ink, and began:

     "DARLINGIST FATHER,--Yesterday I picked a rose at Silverbel,
     the place that mother wants us to have when you com bak
     rich. Here's the rose for you. Pwaps it will be withered,
     father, but its hart will be alive. Kiss it and think of
     Sibyl. It's hart is like my hart, and my hart thinks of you
     morning, noon, and night, evry night, father, and evry
     morning, and allways, allways during the hole of the day.
     It's most portant, father, that you should come back rich.
     It's most solum nesesarey. I do so hope the mine will be
     full up to the brim with gold, for if it is a lot of people
     here will be made happy. Have you found the mine yet,
     father, and is it ful to the brim of gold? You don't know
     how portant it is. It's cos of Mr. and Mrs. Holman, father,
     and their dusty broken toys, and cos of nursie and her
     spectakles, and cos of one who wants to marry another one,
     and I mustn't tell names, and cos of the big-wigs, father.
     Oh, it is portant.

               "Your lovin

"He'll understand," thought Sibyl; "he's wonderful for seeing right
through a thing, and he'll quite know what I mean by the 'heart of the
rose,'" and she kissed the rose passionately and put it inside the
letter, and nurse directed the letter for her, and it was dropped into
the pillar-box that same night.

The letter was not read by the one it was intended for until--but that
refers to another part of the story.


The next day was a glorious one, and Lady Helen, Mr. Rochester, Mrs.
Ogilvie, and Sibyl all met at Victoria Station in time to catch the
11.20 train to Richmond, the nearest station to Silverbel. There a
carriage was to meet them, to take them to the house. They were to
lunch at a small inn close by, and afterwards have a row on the river;
altogether a very delightful day was planned.

It was now the heart of a glorious summer--such a summer as does not
often visit England. The sky was cloudless; the sun shone, but the
great heat was tempered by a soft, delicious breeze.

Sibyl, all in white, with a white shady hat making her little face
even more lovely than usual, stood by her mother's side, close to a
first-class carriage, to await the arrival of the other two.

Lady Helen and Rochester were seen walking slowly down the platform.
Sibyl gave one of her gleeful shouts, and ran to meet them.

"Here you both is!" she said, and she looked full up at Lady Helen,
with such a charming glance of mingled affection and understanding,
that Lady Helen blushed, in spite of herself.

Lady Helen Douglas was a very nice-looking girl, not exactly pretty,
but her gray eyes were capable of many shades of emotion. They were
large, and full of intelligence. Her complexion was almost colorless.
She had a slim, graceful figure. Her jet-black hair, which she wore
softly coiled round her head, was also thick and beautiful. Sibyl used
to like to touch that hair, and loved very much to nestle up close to
the graceful figure, and take shy peeps into the depths of the eyes
which seemed to hold secrets.

"You do look nice," said Sibyl, speaking in a semi-whisper, but in a
tone of great ecstasy, "and so does Mr. Rochester. Do you know, I
always call him nice Mr. Rochester. Watson is so interested in him."

"Who is Watson?" asked Lady Helen.

"Don't you know, he is our footman. He is very nice, too; he is full
of impulses, and they are all good. I expect the reason he is so
awfully interested in _dear_ Mr. Rochester is because they are both
having love affairs. You know, Watson has a girl, too, he is awfully
fond of; I 'spect they'll marry when father comes back with all the
gold. You don't know how fond I am of Watson; he's a very great,
special friend of mine. Now here's the carriage. Let's all get in.
Aren't you both glad you're coming, and coming together, both of you
_together_, to visit Silverbel. It's a 'licious place; there are all
kinds of little private walks and shrubberies, and seats for two under
trees. Two that want to be alone can be alone at Silverbel. Now let's
all get into the carriage."

Poor Rochester and Lady Helen at that moment thought Sibyl almost an
_enfant terrible_. However, there was no help for it. She would have
her say, and her words were bright and her interest of the keenest. It
mattered nothing at all to her that passers-by turned to look and
smiled in an amused way.

Mrs. Ogilvie was in an excellent humor. All the way down she talked to
Lady Helen of the bazaar which she had already arranged was to take
place at Silverbel during the last week in August.

"I had meant to put it off until my husband returned," she remarked
finally, "but on reflection that seemed a pity, for he is scarcely
likely to be back before the end of October, and by then it would be
too late; and, besides, the poor dear Home for Incurables needs its
funds, and why should it languish when we are all anxious, more than
anxious, to be charitable? Mr. Acland, my lawyer, is going to pay a
deposit on the price of the estate, so I can enter into possession
almost immediately. I am going to get Morris & Liberty to furnish the
place, and I shall send down servants next week. But about the
bazaar. I mean it to be perfect in every way. The stalls are to be
held by unmarried titled ladies. Your services, Lady Helen, must be
secured immediately."

"Oh, yes," cried Sibyl, "you are to have a most beautiful stall, a
flower stall: what do you say?"

"If I have a stall I will certainly choose a flower stall," replied
Lady Helen, and she smiled at Sibyl, and patted her hand.

They soon arrived at Richmond, and got into the carriage which was
waiting for them, and drove to Silverbel. They had lunch at the inn as
arranged, and then they wandered about the grounds, and presently
Sibyl had her wish, for Rochester and Lady Helen strolled away from
her mother and herself, and walked down a shady path to the right of
the house.

"There they go!" cried the child.

"There who go, Sibyl?" asked Mrs. Ogilvie.

"The one who wants to marry the other," replied Sibyl. "Hush, mother,
we are not to know, we are to be quite blind. Aren't you awfully

"You are a very silly, rude little girl," replied the mother. "You
must not make the sort of remarks you are always making to Mr.
Rochester and Lady Helen. Such remarks are in very bad form. Now,
don't take even the slightest notice when they return."

"Aren't I to speak to them?" asked Sibyl, raising her eyes in wonder.

"Of course, but you are not to say anything special."

"Oh, nothing special. Am I to talk about the weather?"

"No; don't be such a little goose."

"I always notice," replied Sibyl, softly, "that when _quite_ strangers
meet, they talk about the weather. I thought that was why. Can't I say
anything more--more as if they were my very dear old friends? I
thought they'd like it. I thought they'd like to know that there was
one here who understanded all about it."

"About it?"

"Their love, mother, their love for--for each other."

"Who may the one be who is supposed to understand?"

"Me, mother," said Sibyl.

Mrs. Ogilvie burst into a ringing laugh.

"You are a most ridiculous little girl," she said. "Now, listen; you
are not to take any notice when they come back. They are not engaged;
perhaps they never will be. Anyhow, you will make yourself an
intensely disagreeable child if you make such remarks as you have
already made. Do you understand?"

"You has put it plain, mother," replied Sibyl. "I think I do. Now,
let's look at the flowers."

"I have ordered the landlord of the inn to serve tea on the lawn,"
continued Mrs. Ogilvie. "Is it not nice to feel that we are going to
have tea on our own lawn, Sibyl?"

"It's lovely!" replied Sibyl.

"I am devoted to the country," continued the mother; "there is no
place like the country for me."

"So I think, too," replied Sibyl. "I love the country. We'll have all
the very poorest people down here, won't we, mother?"

"What do you mean?"

"All the people who want to be made happy; Mr. and Mrs. Holman, and
the other faded old people in the almshouses that I went to see one
time with Miss Winstead."

"Now you are talking in your silly way again," replied Mrs. Ogilvie.
"You make me quite cross when you talk of that old couple, Mr. and
Mrs. Holman."

"But, mother, why aren't they to be rich if we are to be rich? Do you
know that Mrs. Holman is saving up her money to buy some of the gold
out of father's mine. She expects to get two hundred pounds instead of
one. It's very puzzling, and yet I seem to understand. Oh, here comes
Mr. Landlord with the tea-things. How inciting!"

The table was spread, and cake, bread and butter, and fruit provided.
Lady Helen and Rochester came back. They both looked a little
conscious and a little afraid of Sibyl, but as she turned her back on
them the moment they appeared, and pretended to be intensely busy
picking a bouquet of flowers, they took their courage in their hands
and came forward and joined in the general conversation.

Lady Helen elected to pour out tea, and was extremely cheerful,
although she could not help reddening when Sibyl brought her a very
large marguerite daisy, and asked her to pull off the petals and see
whether the rhyme came right.

"What rhyme?" asked Lady Helen.

"I know it all, shall I say it to you?" cried Sibyl. She began to pull
off the different petals, and to repeat in a childish sing-song

     "One he loves, two he loves, three he loves they say,
     Four he loves with all his heart, five he casts away,
     Six _he_ loves, seven _she_ loves, eight they both love,
       Nine he comes, ten he tarries,
       Eleven he woos, twelve he marries."

Sibyl repeated this nonsense with extreme gusto, and when the final
petal on the large daisy proclaimed that "twelve he marries," she
flung the stalk at Rochester and laughed gaily.

"I knew _you'd_ have luck," she said. Then she caught her mother's
warning eye and colored painfully, thus making the situation, if
possible, a little more awkward.

"Suppose we go for a row on the river this lovely afternoon," said
Lady Helen, starting up restlessly. She had talked of the coming
bazaar, and had wandered through the rooms at Silverbel, and had
listened to Mrs. Ogilvie's suggestions with regard to furniture and
different arrangements until she was almost tired of the subject.

Rochester sprang to his feet.

"I can easily get a boat," he said; "I'll go and consult with mine

He sauntered across the grounds, and Sibyl, after a moment's
hesitation, followed him. A boat was soon procured, and they all found
themselves on the shining silver Thames.

"Is that why our house is called Silverbel?" asked Sibyl. "Is it 'cos
we can see the silver shine of the river, and 'cos it is _belle_,
French for beautiful?"

"Perhaps so," answered the mother with a smile.

The evening came on, the heat of the day was over, the sun faded.

"What a pity we must go back to London," said Sibyl. "I don't think I
ever had such a lovely day before."

"We shall soon be back here," replied Mrs. Ogilvie. "I shall see about
furnishing next week at the latest, and we can come down whenever we
are tired of town."

"That will be lovely," said Sibyl. "Oh, won't my pony love cantering
over the roads here!"

When they landed at the little quay just outside the inn, the landlord
came down to meet them. He held a telegram in his hand.

"This came for you, madam, in your absence," he said, and he gave the
telegram to Mrs. Ogilvie. She tore it open. It was from her lawyer,
Mr. Acland, and ran as follows:

"Ominous rumors with regard to Lombard Deeps have reached me. Better
not go any further at present with the purchase of Silverbel."

Mrs. Ogilvie's face turned pale. She looked up and met the fixed stare
of her little daughter and of Rochester. Lady Helen had turned away.
She was leaning over the rails of the little garden and looking down
into the swiftly flowing river.

Mrs. Ogilvie's face grew hard. She crushed up the telegram in her

"I hope there is nothing wrong?" asked Rochester.

"Nothing at all," she replied. "Yes, we will come here next week.
Sibyl, don't stare in that rude way."

The return journey was not as lively as that happy one in the morning.

Sibyl felt through her sensitive little frame that her mother was
worried about something. Rochester also looked anxious. Lady Helen
alone seemed unconscious and _distrait_. When the child nestled up to
her she put her arm round her waist.

"Are you sad about anything, darling Lady Helen?" whispered Sibyl.

"No, Sibyl; I am quite happy."

"Then you are thinking very hard?"

"I often think."

"I do so want you to be awfully happy."

"I know you do, and I think I shall be."

"Then that is right. _Twelve he marries_. Wasn't it sweet of the
marguerite daisy to give Mr. Rochester just the right petal at the
end; wasn't it luck?"

"Yes; but hush, don't talk so loud."

Mr. Rochester now changed his seat, and came opposite to where Lady
Helen and the child had placed themselves. He did not talk to Lady
Helen, but he looked at her several times. Presently he took one of
Sibyl's hands, and stroked it fondly.

"Does Lady Helen tell you beautiful stories too?" asked Sibyl,

"No," he answered; "she is quite naughty about that. She never tells
me the charming stories she tells you."

"You ought to," said Sibyl, looking at her earnestly; "it would do him
good. It's an awfully nice way, if you want to give a person a home
truth, to put it into a story. Nurse told me about that, and I
remembered it ever since. She used to put her home truths into
proverbs when I was quite young, such as, 'A burnt child dreads the
fire,' or 'Marry in haste, repent at leisure,' or----"

"Oh, that will do, Sibyl." Lady Helen spoke; there was almost a
piteous appeal in the words.

"Well," said Sibyl, "perhaps it is better to put home truths into
stories, not proverbs. It's like having more sugar. The 'home truth'
is the pill, and when it is sugared all over you can swallow it. You
can't swallow it _without_ the sugar, can you? Nursie begins her
stories like this: 'Miss Sibyl, once upon a time I knew a little
girl,' and then she tells me all about a horrid girl, and I know the
horrid girl is me. I am incited, of course, but very, very soon I get
down to the pill. Now, I am sure, Mr. Rochester, there are some things
you ought to be told, there are some things you do wrong, aren't
there, Mr. Rochester?"

"Oh, Sibyl, do stop that ceaseless chatter," cried her mother from the
other end of the carriage; "you talk the most utter nonsense," and
Sibyl for once was effectually silenced.

The party broke up at Victoria Station, and Mrs. Ogilvie and her
little daughter drove home. As soon as ever they arrived there Watson
informed Mrs. Ogilvie that Mr. Acland was waiting to see her in the

"Tiresome man!" she muttered, but she went to see him at once. The
electric light was on; the room reminded her uncomfortably of her
husband. He spent a great deal of time in his library, more than a
very happy married man would have done. She had often found him there
with a perplexed brow, and a heart full of anxiety. She had found him
there, too, in his rare moments of exultation and happiness. She would
have preferred to see the lawyer in any room but this.

"Well," she said, "why did you send me that ridiculous telegram?"

"You would not be surprised if you had read the article which appeared
to-day in _The Financial Enquirer_."

"I have never heard of _The Financial Enquirer_."

"But City men know it," replied Mr. Acland, "and to a great extent it
governs the market. It is one of our leading financial papers. The
rumors it alludes to may be untrue, but they will influence the
subscriptions made by the public to the share capital. In fact, with
so ominous an article coming from so first-rate a source, nothing but
a splendid report from Ogilvie can save the mine."

Mrs. Ogilvie drummed with her delicate taper fingers on the nearest

"How you puzzle a poor woman with your business terms," she said.
"What do I know about mines? When my husband left me he said that he
would come back a rich man. He gave me his promise, he must keep his

"He will naturally keep his word if he can, and if the mine is all
that Lord Grayleigh anticipates everything will be right," replied
Acland. "There is no man more respected than Ogilvie in the City. His
report as assayer will save the situation; that is, if it is
first-rate. But if it is a medium report the capital will not be
sufficiently subscribed to, and if the report happens to be bad the
whole thing will fall through. We shall know soon now."

"This is very disturbing," said Mrs. Ogilvie. "I have had a long,
tiring day, and you give me a headache. When is my husband's report
likely to reach England?"

"Not for several weeks, of course. It ought to be here in about two
months' time, but we may have a cablegram almost any day. The public
are just in a waiting attitude, they want to invest their money. If
the mine turns out a good thing shares will be subscribed to any
extent. Everything depends on Ogilvie's report."

"Won't you stay and have some supper?" said Mrs. Ogilvie, carelessly.
"I have said already that I do not understand these things."

"I cannot stay, I came to see you because it is important. I want to
know if you really wish to go on with the purchase of Silverbel. I am
ready to pay a deposit for you of £2,000 on the price of the estate,
which will, of course, clinch the purchase, and this deposit I have
arranged to pay to-morrow, but under the circumstances would it not be
best to delay? If your husband cannot give a good report of the mine
he will not want to buy an expensive place like Silverbel. My advice
to you, Mrs. Ogilvie, is to let Silverbel go. I happen to know at this
moment of another purchaser who is only waiting to close if you
decline. When your husband comes back rich you can easily buy another

"No other place will suit me except Silverbel," she answered.

"I strongly recommend you not to buy it now."

"And I intend to have it. I am going down there to live next week. Of
course, you arranged that I could go in at once after the deposit was

"Yes, on sufferance, subject to your completing the purchase in

"Then pray don't let the matter be disturbed again. I shall order
furniture immediately. You are quite a raven, a croaker of bad news,
Mr. Acland."

Mr. Acland raised his hand in deprecation.

"I thought it only fair to tell you," he answered, and the next moment
he left the house. As he did so, he uttered a solitary remark:

"What a fool that woman is! I pity Ogilvie."


It was the last week in July when Mrs. Ogilvie took possession of
Silverbel. She had ordered furniture in her usual reckless fashion,
going to the different shops where she knew she could obtain credit.
The house, already beautiful, looked quite lovely when decorated by
the skilful hands which arranged draperies and put furniture into the
most advantageous positions.

Sibyl's room, just over the front porch, was really worthy of her. It
was a bower of whiteness and innocence. It had lattice windows which
looked out on to the lovely grounds. Climbing roses peeped in through
the narrow panes, and sent their sweet fragrance to greet the child
when the windows were open and she put her head out.

Sibyl thought more than ever of her father as she took possession of
the lovely room at Silverbel. What a beautiful world it was! and what
a happy little girl she, Sibyl, thought herself in possessing such
perfect parents. Her prayers became now passionate thanks. She had got
so much that it seemed unkind to ask Lord Jesus for one thing more. Of
course, He was making the mine full of gold, and He was making her
father very, very rich, and everyone, everyone she knew was soon to be

Lady Helen Douglas came to stay at Silverbel, and this seemed to give
an added touch to the child's sense of enjoyment, for Lady Helen had
at last, in a shy half whisper, told the eager little listener that
she did love Mr. Rochester, and, further, that they were only waiting
to proclaim their engagement to the world until the happy time when
Sibyl's father came back.

"For Jim," continued Lady Helen, "will take shares in the Lombard
Deeps, and as soon as ever he does this we can afford to marry. But
you must not speak of this, Sibyl. I have only confided in you because
you have been our very good friend all along."

Sibyl longed to write off at once to her father to hurry up matters
with regard to the gold mine.

"Of course, it is full of gold, quite full," thought the child; "but I
hope father will write, or, better still, come home quickly and tell
us all about it."

She began to count the days now to her father's return, and was
altogether in such a happy mood that it was delightful to be in her
presence or to see her joyful face.

Sibyl was nearly beside herself with delight at having exchanged her
dull town life for this happy country one. She quickly made friends
with the poor people in the nearest village, who were all attracted by
her bright ways and pretty face. Her mother also gave her a small part
of the garden to do what she liked with, and when she was not digging
industriously, or riding her pony, or talking to Lady Helen, or
engaged in her lessons, she followed her mother about like a faithful
little dog.

Mrs. Ogilvie was so pleased and contented with her purchase that she
was wonderfully amiable. She often now sat in the long evenings with
Sibyl by her side, and listened without impatience to the child's
rhapsodies about her father. Mrs. Ogilvie would also be glad when
Philip returned. But just now her thought of all thoughts was centred
on the bazaar. This bazaar was to clinch her position as a country
lady. All the neighbors round were expected to attend, and already she
was busy drawing up programmes of the coming festivities, and
arranging with a great firm in London for the special marquee, which
was to grace her lawn right down to the river's edge.

The bazaar was expected to last for quite three days, and, during that
time, a spirited band would play, and there would be various
entertainments of all sorts and descriptions. Little boats, with
colored flags and awnings, were to be in requisition on the brink of
the river, and people should pay heavily for the privilege of
occupying these boats.

Mrs. Ogilvie clapped her hands almost childishly when this last
brilliant idea came to her, and Sibyl thought that it was worthy of
mother, and entered into the scheme with childish enthusiasm.

The third week in August was finally decided as the best week for the
bazaar, and those friends who were not going abroad promised to stay
at Silverbel for the occasion.

Some weeks after Mrs. Ogilvie had taken possession of Silverbel, Mr.
Acland called to see her.

"We have had no cable yet from your husband," he said, "and the rumors
continue to be ominous. I wish with all my heart we could silence
them. I, myself, believe in the Lombard Deeps, for Grayleigh is the
last man to lend his name or become chairman of a company which has
not brilliant prospects; but I can see that even he is a little

"Oh, pray don't croak," was Mrs. Ogilvie's response and then she once
again likened Mr. Acland to the raven.

"You are a bird of ill-omen," she said, shaking her finger playfully
in his face.

He frowned as she addressed him; he could not see the witticism of her

"When people are perfectly happy and know nothing whatever with
regard to business, what is the good of coming and telling these
dismalities?" she continued. "I am nothing but a poor little feminine
creature, trying to do good, and to make myself happy in an innocent
way. Why will you come and croak? I know Philip quite well enough to
be certain that he would not have set foot on this expedition if he
had not been satisfied in advance that the mine was a good one."

"That is my own impression," said Mr. Acland, thoughtfully; "but don't
forget you are expected to complete the purchase of Silverbel by the
end of October."

"Oh! Philip will be back before then," answered Mrs. Ogilvie in a
light and cheerful tone. "Any day now we may get a cablegram. Well,
sweetheart, and what are you doing here?"

Sibyl had entered the room, and was leaning against the window frame.

"Any day we may expect what to happen, mother darling?" she asked.

"We may expect a cable from father to say he is coming back again."

"Oh! do you think so? Oh, I am so happy!"

Sibyl skipped lightly out of the room. She ran across the sunny,
radiant garden, and presently found herself in a sort of wilderness
which she had appropriated, and where she played at all sorts of
solitary games. In that wilderness she imagined herself at times a
lonely traveler, at other times a merchant carrying goodly pearls, at
other times a bandit engaged in feats of plunder. All possible scenes
in history or imagination that she understood did the child try to
enact in the wilderness. But she went there now with no intention of
posing in any imaginary part. She went there because her heart was

"Oh, Lord Jesus, it is so beautiful of you," she said, and she looked
up as she spoke full at the blue sky. "I can scarcely believe that my
ownest father will very soon be back again; it is quite too

A few days after this, and toward the end of the first week in August,
Sibyl was one day playing as usual in the grounds when the sound of
carriage wheels attracted her attention. She ran down to see who was
arriving, and a shout of delight came from her when she saw Lord
Grayleigh coming down the drive. He called the coachman to stop and
put out his head.

"Jump into the carriage, Sib, I have not seen you for some time. When
are you going to pay me another visit at Grayleigh Manor?"

"Oh, some time, but not at present," replied Sibyl. "I am too happy
with mother here to think of going away. Isn't Silverbel sweet, Lord

"Charming," replied Grayleigh. "Is your mother in, little woman?"

"I think so. She is very incited about the bazaar. Are you coming to
the bazaar?"

"I don't know, I will tell you presently."

Sibyl laid her little hand in Lord Grayleigh's. He gave it a squeeze,
and she clasped it confidingly.

"Do you know that I am so monstrous happy I scarcely know what to do,"
she said.

"Because you have got a pretty new place?"

"No, no, nothing of that sort. It's 'cos father is coming back afore
long! He will cable, whatever that means, and soon afterward he'll
come. I'm always thanking Lord Jesus about it. Isn't it good of Him to
send my ownest father back so soon?"

Lord Grayleigh made no answer, unless an uneasy movement of his feet
signified a sense of discomfort. The carriage drew up at the porch and
he alighted. Sibyl skipped out after him.

[Illustration: "Shall I find mother for you?" asked Sibyl, leading
Lord Grayleigh across the lawn.--Page 208. _Daddy's Girl_.]

"Shall I find mother for you?" she said. "Oh, there she is on the
lawn. Darlingest mother, she can think of nothing at present but the
bazaar, when all the big-wigs are to be present. You're a big-wig,
aren't you? I asked nurse what big-wigs were, and she said people with
handles. Mother said they were people in a _good social position_.
I remember the words so well 'cos I couldn't understand 'em, but when
I asked Miss Winstead to 'splain, she said mother meant ladies and
gentlemen, and when I asked her to tell me what ladies and gentlemen
was, she said people who behaved nicely. Now isn't it all very
puzzling, 'cos the person who I think behaves nicest of all is our
footman, Watson. He has lovely manners and splendid impulses; and
perhaps the next nicest is dear Mrs. Holman, and she keeps a toy-shop
in a back street. But when I asked mother if Watson and Mrs. Holman
were big-wigs, she said I spoked awful nonsense. What do you think,
Lord Grayleigh? Please do try to 'splain."

Lord Grayleigh had laughed during Sibyl's long speech. He now laid his
hand on her arm.

"A big-wig is quite an ugly word," he said, "but a lady or a
gentleman, you will find them in all ranks of life."

"You haven't 'splained a bit," said the little girl. "Mother wants
big-wigs at her bazaar; you are one, so will you come?"

"I will answer that question after I have seen your mother."

Lord Grayleigh crossed the lawn, and Sibyl, feeling dissatisfied,
turned away.

"He doesn't look quite happy," she thought; "I'm sorry he is coming
to take up mother's time. Mother promised, and it's most 'portant, to
ride with me this evening. It's on account of poor Dan Scott it is so
'portant. Oh, I do hope she won't forget. Perhaps Miss Winstead would
come if mother can't. I promised poor Dan a basket of apples, and also
that I'd go and sit with him, and mother said he should cert'nly have
the apples, and that she and I would ride over with them. He broke his
arm a week ago, poor fellow! poor little Dan! I'll go and find Miss
Winstead. If mother can't come, she must."

Sibyl ran off in search of her governess, and Lord Grayleigh and Mrs.
Ogilvie, in deep conversation, paced up and down the lawn.

"You didn't hear by the last mail?" was Lord Grayleigh's query.

"No, I have not heard for two mails. I cannot account for his

"He is probably up country," was Lord Grayleigh's answer. "I thought
before cabling that I would come and inquire of you."

"I have not heard," replied Mrs. Ogilvie. "Of course things are all
right, and Philip was never much of a correspondent. It probably
means, Lord Grayleigh, that he has completed his report, and is coming
back. I shall be glad, for I want him to be here some time before
October, in order to see about paying the rest of the money for our
new place. What do you think of Silverbel?"

"Oh, quite charming," said Lord Grayleigh, in that kind of tone which
clearly implied that he was not thinking about his answer.

"I am anxious, of course, to complete the purchase," continued Mrs.

"Indeed!" Lord Grayleigh raised his brows.

"Mr. Acland lent me two thousand pounds to pay the deposit," continued
the lady, "but we must complete by the end of October. When my husband
comes back rich, he will be able to do so. He will come back rich,
won't he?" Here she looked up appealingly at Lord Grayleigh.

"He will come back rich, or we shall have the deluge," he replied,
oracularly. "Don't be uneasy. As you have not heard I shall cable. I
shall wire to Brisbane, which I fancy is his headquarters."

"Perhaps," answered Mrs. Ogilvie, in an abstracted tone. "By the way,
if you are going back to town, may I make use of your carriage? There
are several things I want to order for my bazaar. It is to be in about
a fortnight now. You will remember that you are one of the patrons."

"Certainly," he answered; "at what date is the bazaar to be held?"

She named the arranged date, and he entered it in a gold-mounted
engagement book.

"I shall stay in town to-night," continued Mrs. Ogilvie. "Just wait
for me a moment, and I will get on my hat."

Soon afterward the two were driving back to the railway station. Mrs.
Ogilvie had forgotten all about her engagement to Sibyl. Sibyl saw her
go off with a feeling of deep disappointment, for Miss Winstead had a
headache, and declined to ride with the little girl. Dan Scott must
wait in vain for his apples. But should he wait? Sibyl wondered.

She went down in a discontented way to a distant part of the grounds.
She was not feeling at all happy now. It was all very well to have a
heart bubbling over with good-nature and kindly impulses; but when
those impulses were flung back on herself, then the little girl felt
that latent naughtiness which was certainly an integral part of her
character. She saw Dan Scott's old grandfather digging weeds in the
back garden. Dan Scott was one of the gardener's boys. He was a
bright, cheery-faced little fellow, with sloe-black eyes and
tight-curling hair, and a winsome smile and white teeth. Sibyl had
made friends with him at once, and when he ceased to appear on the
scenes a week back, she was full of consternation, for Dan had fallen
from a tree, and broken his arm rather badly. He had been feverish
also, and could not come to attend to his usual work. His old
grandfather had at first rated the lad for having got into this
trouble, but then he had pitied him.

Sibyl the day before had promised old Scott that she and her mother
would ride to Dan's cottage and present him with a basket of early
apples. There were some ripening now on the trees, long in shape,
golden in color, and full of delicious juice.

Sibyl had investigated these apples on her own account, and pronounced
them very good, and had thought that a basket of the fruit would
delight Dan. She had spoken to her mother on the subject, and her
mother, in the height of good-humor, had promised that the apples
should be gathered, and the little girl and she would ride down a
lovely country lane to Dan's cottage. They were to start about six
o'clock, would ride under the shade of some spreading beech trees, and
come back in the cool of the evening.

The whole plan was delightful, and Sibyl had been thinking about it
all day. Now her mother had gone off to town, and most clearly had
forgotten her promise to the child.

"Well, Missy," said old Scott as he dug his spade deep down into the
soil; "don't stand just there, Missy, you'll get the earth all over

Sibyl moved to a respectful distance.

"How is Dan?" she asked, after a pause.

"A-wrastling with his pain," answered Scott, a frown coming between
his brows.

"Is he expecting me and mother with the beautiful apples?" asked
Sibyl, in a somewhat anxious tone.

"Is he expecting you, Missy?" answered the old man, raising his
beetling brows and fixing his black eyes on the child. "Is he
a-counting the hours? Do ducks swim, Missy, and do little sick boys
a-smothered up in bed in small close rooms want apples and little
ladies to visit 'em or not? You said you'd go, Missy, and Dan he's
counting the minutes."

"Of course I'll go," replied Sibyl, but she looked anxious and
_distrait_. Then she added, "I will go if I possibly can."

"I didn't know there was any doubt about it, Missy, and I tell you Dan
is counting the minutes. Last thing he said afore I went out this
morning was, 'I'll see little Missy to-day, and she is to bring me a
basket of apples.' Seems to me he thinks a sight more of you than the

Sibyl turned pale as Scott continued to speak in an impressive voice.

"Dear, dear, it is quite dreadful," she said, "I could cry about it, I
could really, truly."

"But why, Missy? What's up? I don't like to see a little lady like you

"Mr. Scott, I'm awfully, awfully sorry; I am terribly afraid I can't

Old Scott ceased to delve the ground. He leant on the top of his spade
and looked full at the child. His sunken eyes seemed to burn into

"You promised you'd go," he said then slowly.

"I did, I certainly did, but mother was to have gone with me, and she
has had to go to town about the bazaar. I suppose you couldn't take
back the apples with you when you go home to-night, Mr. Scott?"

"I could not," answered the old man. He began to dig with lusty and,
in the child's opinion, almost venomous vigor.

"Besides," he added, "it wouldn't be the same. It's you he wants to
see as much as the fruit. If I was a little lady I'd keep my word to
the poor. It's a dangerous thing to break your word to the poor;
there's God's curse on them as do."

Sibyl seemed to shrink into herself. She looked up at the sky.

"Lord Jesus wouldn't curse a little girl like me, a little girl who
loves Him," she thought; but, all the same, the old man's words
seemed to chill her.

"I'll do my very best," she said, and she went slowly across the
garden. Old Scott called after her:

"I wouldn't disappoint the little lad if I was you, Missy. He's
a-counting of the minutes."

A clock in the stable yard struck five. Old Scott continued to watch
Sibyl as she walked away.

"I could take the apples," he said to himself; "I could if I had a
mind to, but I don't see why the quality shouldn't keep their word,
and I'm due to speak at the Mission Hall this evening. Little Miss
should know afore she makes promises. She's a rare fine little 'un,
though, for all that. I never see a straighter face, eyes that could
look through you. Dear little Missy! Dan thinks a precious sight of
her. I expect somehow she'll take him the apples."

So old Scott went on murmuring to himself, sometimes breaking off to
sing a song, and Sibyl returned to the house.


She walked slowly, her eyes fixed on the ground. She was thinking
harder than she had ever thought before in the whole course of her
short life. When she reached the parting of the ways which led in one
direction to the sunny, pretty front entrance, and in the other to the
stables, she paused again to consider.

Miss Winstead was standing in the new schoolroom window. It was a
lovely room, furnished with just as much taste as Sibyl's own bedroom.
Miss Winstead put her head out, and called the child.

"Tea is ready, you had better come in. What are you doing there?"

"Is your head any better?" asked Sibyl, a ghost of a hope stealing
into her voice.

"No, I am sorry to say it is much worse. I am going to my room to lie
down. Nurse will give you your tea."

Sibyl did not make any answer. Miss Winstead, supposing that she was
going into the house, went to her own room. She locked her door, lay
down on her bed, and applied aromatic vinegar to her forehead.

Sibyl turned in the direction of the stables.

"It don't matter about my tea," she said to herself. "Nursie will
think I am with Miss Winstead, and Miss Winstead will think I am with
nurse; it's all right. I wonder if Ben would ride mother's horse with
me; but the first thing is to get the apples."

The thought of what she was about to do, and how she would coax Ben,
the stable boy, to ride with her cheered her a little.

"It's awful to neglect the poor," she said to herself. "Old Scott was
very solemn. He's a good man, is Scott, he's a very religious man, he
knows his Bible beautiful. He does everything by the Psalms; it's
wonderful what he finds in them--the weather and everything else. I
asked him before the storm came yesterday if we was going to have
rain, and he said 'Read your Psalms and you'll know. Don't the Psalms
for the day say "the Lord of glory thundereth"?' and he looked at a
black cloud that was coming up in the sky, and sure enough we had a
big thunderstorm. It's wonderful what a religious man is old Scott,
and what a lot he knows. He wouldn't say a thing if it wasn't true. I
suppose God does curse those who neglect the poor. I shouldn't like to
be cursed, and I did promise, and Dan _will_ be waiting and watching.
A little girl whom Jesus loves ought to keep her promise. Well,
anyhow, I'll get the apples ready."

Sibyl rushed into the house by a side entrance, secured a basket and
entered the orchard. There she made a careful and wise selection. She
filled the basket with the golden green fruit, and arranged it
artistically with apple-leaves.

"This will tempt dear little Dan," she said to herself. There were a
few greengages just beginning to come to perfection on a tree near.
Sibyl picked several to add to her pile of tempting fruit, and then
she went in the direction of the stables. Ben was nowhere about. She
called his name, he did not answer. He was generally to be found in
the yard at this hour. It was more than provoking.

"Ben! Ben! Ben!" called the child. Her clear voice sounded through the
empty air. There came a gentle whinny in response.

"Oh, my darling Nameless Pony!" she thought. She burst open the stable
door, and the next instant stood in the loose box beside the pony. The
creature knew her and loved her. He pushed out his head and begged for
a caress. Sibyl selected the smallest apple from the basket and gave
it to her pony. The nameless pony munched with right good will.

"I could ride him alone," thought Sibyl; "it is only two or three
miles away, and I know the road, and mother, though she may be angry
when she hears, will soon forgive me. Mother never keeps angry very
long--that is one of the beautiful things about her. I do really
think I will go by my lone self. I made a promise. Mother made a
promise too, but then she forgets. I really do think I'll go. It's too
awful to remember your promise to the poor, and then to break it. I
wonder if I could saddle pony? Pony, darling, will you stay very quiet
while I try to put your saddle on? I have seen Ben do it so often, and
one day I coaxed him to let me help him."

Just then a voice at the stable door said--

"Hullo! I say!" and Sibyl, starting violently, turned her head and saw
a rough-headed lad of the name of Johnson, who sometimes assisted old
Scott in the garden. Sibyl was not very fond of Johnson. She took an
interest in him, of course, as she did in all human beings, but he was
not fascinating like little Dan Scott, and he had not a religious way
with him like old Scott; nevertheless, she was glad to see him now.

"Oh, Johnson," she said eagerly, "I want you to do something for me so
badly. If you will do it I will give you an apple."

"What is it, Miss?" asked Johnson.

"Will you saddle my pony for me? You can, can't you?"

"I guess I can," answered Johnson. He spoke laconically.

"Want to ride?" he said. "Who's a-goin' with yer?"

"No one, I am going alone."

Johnson made no remark. He looked at the basket of apples.

"I say," he cried, "them's good, I like apples."

"You shall have two, Johnson; oh, and I have a penny in my pocket as
well. Now please saddle the pony very fast, for I want to be off."

Johnson did not see anything remarkable in Sibyl's intended ride. He
knew nothing about little Missy. As far as his knowledge went it was
quite the habit for little ladies to ride by themselves. Of course he
would get the pony ready for her, so he lifted down the pretty new
side-saddle from its place on the wall, and arranged it on the forest
pony's back. The pony turned his large gentle eyes, and looked from
Johnson to the child.

"It don't matter about putting on my habit," said Sibyl. "It will take
such a lot of time, I can go just as I am, can't I, Johnson?"

"If you like, Miss," answered Johnson.

"I think I will, really, Johnson," said Sibyl in that confiding way
which fascinated all mankind, and made rough-headed Johnson her slave
for ever.

"I might be caught, you know, if I went back to the house."

"Oh, is that it?" answered Johnson.

"Yes, that's it; they don't understand. No one understands in the
house how 'portant it is for me to go. I have to take the apples to
Dan Scott. I promised, you know, and it would not be right to break my
promise, would it, Johnson?"

Johnson scratched his head.

"I guess not!" he said.

"If I don't take them, he'll fret and fret," said Sibyl; "and he'll
never trust me again; and the curse of God is on them that neglect the
poor. Isn't it so, Johnson? You understand, don't you?"

"A bit, perhaps, Missy."

"Well, I am very much obliged to you," said the little girl. "Here's
two apples, real beauties, and here's my new penny. Now, please lead
pony out, and help me to mount him."

Johnson did so. The hoofs of the forest pony clattered loudly on the
cobble stones of the yard. Johnson led the pony to the entrance of a
green lane which ran at the back of Silverbel. Here the little girl
mounted. She jumped lightly into her seat. She was like a feather on
the back of the forest pony. Johnson arranged her skirts according to
her satisfaction, and, with her long legs dangling, her head erect,
and the reins in her hands, she started forward. The basket was
securely fastened; and the pony, well pleased at having a little
exercise, for he had been in his stable for nearly two days, started
off at a gentle canter.

Sibyl soon left Silverbel behind her. She cantered down the pretty
country road, enjoying herself vastly.

"I am so glad I did it," she thought; "it was brave of me. I will tell
my ownest father when he comes back. I'll tell him there was no one to
go with me, and I had to do it in order to keep my promise, and he'll
understand. I'll have to tell darling mother, too, to-night. She'll be
angry, for mother thinks it is good for me to bear the yoke in my
youth, and she'll be vexed with me for going alone, but I know she'll
forgive me afterward. Perhaps she'll say afterward, 'I'm sorry I
forgot, but you did right, Sibyl, you did right.' I am doing right,
aren't I, Lord Jesus?" and again she raised her eyes, confident and
happy, to the evening sky.

The heat of the day was going over; it was now long past six o'clock.
Presently she reached the small cottage where the sick boy lived. She
there reined in her pony, and called aloud:

"Are you in, Mrs. Scott?"

A peevish-looking old woman wearing a bedgown, and with a cap with a
large frill falling round her face, appeared in the rose-covered porch
of the tiny cottage.

"Ah! it's you, Missy, at last," she said, and she trotted down as well
as her lameness would let her to the gate. "Has you brought the
apples?" she cried. "You are very late, Missy. Oh, I'm obligated, of
course, and I thank you heartily, Miss. Will you wait for the basket,
or shall I send it by Scott to-morrow?"

"You can send it to-morrow, please," answered Sibyl.

"And you ain't a-coming in? The lad's expecting you."

"I am afraid I cannot, not to-night. Mother wasn't able to come with
me. Tell Dan that I brought him his apples, and I'll come and see him
to-morrow if I possibly can. Tell him I won't make him an out-and-out
promise, 'cos if you make a promise to the poor and don't keep it,
Lord Jesus is angry, and you get cursed. I don't quite know what
cursed means, do you, Mrs. Scott?"

[Illustration: An old woman wearing a bedgown, and with a cap with a
large frill, appeared in the porch of the tiny cottage.--Page 224.
_Daddy's Girl_.]

"Oh, don't I," answered Mrs. Scott. "It's a pity you can't come in,
Missy. There, Danny, keep quiet; the little lady ain't no time to be
a-visiting of you. That's him calling out, Missy; you wait a
minute, and I'll find out what he wants."

Mrs. Scott hobbled back to the house, and the pony chafed restlessly
at the delay.

"Quiet, darling; quiet, pet," said Sibyl to her favorite, patting him
on his arched neck.

Presently Mrs. Scott came back.

"Dan's obligated for the apples, Miss, but he thinks a sight more of a
talk with you than of any apples that ever growed. He 'opes you'll
come another day."

"I wish, I do wish I could come in now," said Sibyl wistfully; "but I
just daren't. You see, I have not even my riding habit on, I was so
afraid someone would stop me from coming at all. Give Danny my love.
But you have not told me yet what a curse means, Mrs. Scott."

"Oh, that," answered Mrs. Scott, "but you ain't no call to know."

"But I'd like to. I hate hearing things without understanding. What is
a curse, Mrs. Scott?"

"There are all sorts," replied Mrs. Scott. "Once I knowed a man, and
he had a curse on him, and he dwindled and dwindled, and got smaller
and thinner and poorer, until nothing would nourish him, no food nor
drink nor nothing, and he shrunk up ter'ble until he died. It's my
belief he haunts the churchyard now. No one likes to go there in the
evening. The name of the man was Micah Sorrel. He was the most ter'ble
example of a curse I ever comed acrost in my life."

"Well, I really must be going now," said Sibyl with a little shiver.
"Good-by; tell Dan I'll try hard to come and see him to-morrow."

She turned the pony's head and cantered down the lane. She did not
consider Mrs. Scott a specially nice old woman.

"She's a gloomy sort," thought the child, "she takes a gloomy view. I
like people who don't take gloomy views best. Perhaps she is something
like old Scott; having lived with him so long as his wife, perhaps
they have got to think things the same way. Old Scott looked very
solemn when he said that it was a terrible thing to have the curse of
the poor. I wonder what Micah Sorrel did. I am sorry she told me about
him, I don't like the story. But there, why should I blame Mrs. Scott,
for I asked her to 'splain what a curse was. I 'spect I'm a very queer
girl, and I didn't really keep my whole word. I said positive and
plain that I would take a basket of apples to Dan, and go and sit with
him. I did take the apples, but I didn't go in and sit with him. Oh,
dear, I'll have to go back by the churchyard. I hope Micah Sorrel
won't be about. I shouldn't like to see him, he must be shrunk up so
awful by now. Come along, pony darling, we'll soon be back home

Sibyl lightly touched the pony's ears with a tiny whip which Lord
Grayleigh had given her. He whisked his head indignantly at the motion
and broke into a trot, the trot became a canter, and the canter a

Sibyl laughed aloud in her enjoyment. They were now close to the
churchyard. The sun was getting near the horizon, but still there was
plenty of light.

"A little faster, as we are passing the churchyard, pony pet," said
Sybil, and she bent towards her steed and again touched him, nothing
more than a feather touch, on his arched neck. But pony was spirited,
and had endured too much stabling, and was panting for exercise; and,
just at that moment, turning abruptly round a corner came a man waving
a red flag. He was followed by a procession of school children, all
shouting and racing. The churchyard was in full view.

Sibyl laughed with a sense of relief when she saw the procession.
She would not be alone as she passed the churchyard, and doubtless
Micah Sorrel would be all too wise to make his appearance, but the
next instant she gave a cry of alarm, for the pony first swerved
violently, and then rushed off at full gallop. The red flag had
startled him, and the children's shouts were the final straw.

"Not quite so fast, darling," cried Sibyl; "a little slower, pet."

But pet and darling was past all remonstrances on the part of his
little mistress. He flew on, having clearly made up his mind to run
away from the red flag and the shouting children to the other end of
the earth. In vain Sibyl jerked the reins and pulled and pulled. Her
small face was white as death; her little arms seemed almost wrenched
from their sockets. She kept her seat bravely. Someone driving a
dog-cart was coming to meet her. A voice called--

"Hullo! Stop, for goodness' sake; don't turn the corner. Stop! Stop!"

Sibyl heard the voice. She looked wildly ahead. She had no more power
to stop the nameless pony than the earth has power to pause as it
turns on its axis. The next instant the corner was reached; all seemed
safe, when, with a sudden movement, the pony dashed madly forward, and
Sibyl felt herself falling, she did not know where. There was an
instant of intense and violent pain, stars shone before her eyes, and
then everything was lost in blessed unconsciousness.


On a certain morning in the middle of July the _Gaika_ with Ogilvie on
board entered the Brisbane River. He had risen early, as was his
custom, and was now standing on deck. The lascars were still busy
washing the deck. He went past them, and leaning over the taffrail
watched the banks of low-lying mangroves which grew on either side of
the river. The sun had just risen, and transformed the scene. Ogilvie
raised his hat, and pushed the hair from his brow. His face had
considerably altered, it looked worn and old. His physical health had
not improved, notwithstanding the supposed benefit of a long sea

A man whose friendship he had made on board, and whose name was
Harding, came up just then, and spoke to him.

"Well, Ogilvie," he cried, "we part very soon, but I trust we may meet
again. I shall be returning to England in about three months from now.
When do you propose to go back?"

"I cannot quite tell," answered Ogilvie. "It depends on how soon my
work is over; the sooner the better, as far as I am concerned."

"You don't look too well," said his friend. "Can I get anything for
you, fetch your letters, or anything of that sort?"

"I do not expect letters," was Ogilvie's answer; "there may be one or
two cables. I shall find out at the hotel."

Harding said something further. Ogilvie replied in an abstracted
manner. He was thinking of Sibyl. It seemed to him that the little
figure was near him, and the little spirit strangely in touch with his
own. Of all people in the world she was the one he cared least to give
his thoughts to just at that moment.

"And yet I am doing it for her," he muttered to himself. "I must go
through with it; but while I am about it I want to forget her. My work
lies before me--that dastardly work which is to stain my character and
blemish my honor; but there is no going back now. Sibyl was unprovided
for, and I have an affection of the heart which may end my days at any
moment. For her sake I had no other course open to me. Now I shall not
allow my conscience to speak again."

He made an effort to pull himself together, and as the big liner
gradually neared the quay, he spoke in cheerful tones to his
fellow-passengers. Just as he passed down the gangway, and landed on
the quay, he heard a voice exclaim suddenly--

"Mr. Ogilvie, I believe?"

He turned, and saw a small, dapper-looking man, in white drill and a
cabbage-tree hat, standing by his side.

"That is my name," replied Ogilvie; "and yours?"

"I am Messrs. Spielmann's agent, and my name is Rycroft. I had
instructions to meet you, and guessed who you were from the
description given to me. I hope you had a good voyage."

"Pretty well," answered Ogilvie; "but I must get my luggage together.
Where are you staying?"

"At the Waharoo Hotel. I took the liberty to book you a room. Shall we
go up soon and discuss business; we have no time to lose?"

"As you please," said Ogilvie. "Will you wait here? I will return

Within half an hour the two men were driving in the direction of the
hotel. Rycroft had engaged a bedroom and private sitting-room for
Ogilvie. He ordered lunch, and, after they had eaten, suggested that
they should plunge at once into business.

"That is quite to my desire," said Ogilvie. "I want to get what is
necessary through, in order to return home as soon as possible. It was
inconvenient my leaving England just now, but Lord Grayleigh made it a
condition that I should not delay an hour in examining the mine."

"If he wishes to take up this claim, he is right," answered Rycroft,
in a grave voice. "I may as well say at once, Mr. Ogilvie, that your
coming out is the greatest possible relief to us all. The syndicate
ought to do well, and your name on the report is a guarantee of
success. My proposal is that we should discuss matters a little
to-day, and start early to-morrow by the _Townville_ to Rockhampton.
We can then go by rail to Grant's Creek Station, which is only eight
miles from the mine. There we can do our business, and finally return
here to draw up the report."

"And how long will all this take?" asked Ogilvie.

"If we are lucky, we ought to be back here within a month."

"You have been over the mine, of course, yourself, Mr. Rycroft?"

"Yes; I only returned to Brisbane a week ago."

"And what is your personal opinion?"

"There is, beyond doubt, alluvial gold. It is a bit refractory, but
the washings panned out from five to six ounces to the ton."

"So I was told in England; but, about the vein underneath? Alluvial is
not dependable as a continuance. It is the vein we want to strike.
Have you bored?"

"Yes, one shaft."

"Any result?"

"That is what your opinion is needed to decide," said his companion.
As Rycroft spoke, the corners of his mouth hardened, and he looked
fixedly at Ogilvie. He knew perfectly well why Ogilvie had come from
England to assay the mine, and this last question took him somewhat by

Ogilvie was silent. After a moment he jumped up impatiently.

"I may as well inquire for any letters or cables that are waiting for
me," he said.

Rycroft lit his pipe and went out. He had never seen Philip Ogilvie
before, and was surprised at his general appearance, and also at his

"Why did they send him out?" he muttered. "Sensitive, and with a
conscience: not the sort of man to care to do dirty work; but perhaps
Grayleigh was right. If I am not much mistaken, he will do it all the

"I shall make my own pile out of this," he thought. He returned to the
hotel later on, and the two men spent the evening in anxious
consultation. The next day they started for Rockhampton, and late in
the afternoon of the fourth day reached their destination.

The mine lay in a valley which had once been the bed of some
prehistoric river, but was now reduced to a tiny creek. On either
side towered the twin Lombard peaks, from which the mine was to take
its name. For a mile on either side of the creek the country was
fairly open, being dotted with clumps of briggalow throwing their dark
shadows across the plain.

Beyond them, where the slope became steep, the dense scrub began. This
clothed the two lofty peaks to their summits. The spot was a
beautiful one, and up to the present had been scarcely desecrated by
the hand of man.

"Here we are," said Rycroft, "here lies the gold." He pointed to the
bed of the creek. "Here is our overseer's hut, and he has engaged men
for our purpose. This is our hut, Ogilvie. I hope you don't mind
sharing it with me."

"Not in the least," replied Ogilvie. "We shall not begin operations
until the morning, shall we? I should like to walk up the creek."

Rycroft made a cheerful answer, and Ogilvie started off alone. He
scarcely knew why he wished to take this solitary walk, for he knew
well that the die was cast. When he had accepted Lord Grayleigh's
check for ten thousand pounds he had burnt his boats, and there was no
going back.

"Time enough for repentance in another world," he muttered under his
breath. "All I have to do at present is to stifle thought. It ought
not to be difficult to go forward," he muttered, with a bitter smile,
"the downhill slope is never difficult."

The work of boring was to commence on the following morning, and the
camp was made close to the water hole beneath some tall gum trees.
Rycroft, who was well used to camping, prepared supper for the two.
The foreman's camp was about a hundred yards distant.

As Ogilvie lay down to sleep that night he had a brief, sharp attack
of the agony which had caused him alarm a couple of months ago. It
reminded him in forcible language that his own time on earth was in
all probability brief; but, far from feeling distressed on this
account, he hugged the knowledge to his heart that he had provided for
Sibyl, and that she at least would never want. During the night which
followed, however, he could not sleep. Spectre after spectre of his
past life rose up before him in the gloom. He saw now that ever since
his marriage the way had been paved for this final act of crime. The
extravagances which his wife had committed, and which he himself had
not put down with a firm hand, had led to further extravagances on his
part. They had lived from the first beyond their means. Money
difficulties had always dogged his footsteps, and now the only way
out was by a deed of sin which might ruin thousands.

"But the child--the child!" he thought; something very like a sob rose
to his lips. Toward morning, however, he forced his thoughts into
other channels, drew his blanket tightly round him, and fell into a
long, deep sleep.

When he awoke the foreman and his men were already busy. They began to
bore through the alluvial deposit in several directions, and Ogilvie
and Rycroft spent their entire time in directing these operations. It
would be over a fortnight's work at least before Ogilvie could come to
any absolute decision as to the true value of the mine. Day after day
went quickly by, and the more often he inspected the ore submitted to
him the more certain was Ogilvie that the supposed rich veins were a
myth. He said little as he performed his daily task, and Rycroft
watched his face with anxiety.

Rycroft was a hard-headed man, troubled by no qualms of conscience,
anxious to enrich himself, and rather pleased than otherwise at the
thought of fooling thousands of speculators in many parts of the
world. The only thing that caused him fear was the possibility that
when the instant came, Ogilvie would not take the final leap.

"Nevertheless, I believe he will," was Rycroft's final comment;
"men of his sort go down deeper and fall more desperately than
harder-headed fellows like myself. When a man has a conscience his
fall is worse, if he does fall, than if he had none. But why does a
man like Ogilvie undertake this sort of work? He must have a motive
hidden from any of us. Oh, he'll tumble safe enough when the moment
comes, but if he doesn't break his heart in that fall, I am much
mistaken in my man."

Four shafts had been cut and levels driven in many directions with
disappointing results. It was soon all too plain that the ores were
practically valueless, though the commencement of each lode looked
fairly promising.

After a little over a fortnight's hard work it was decided that it was
useless to proceed.

"There is nothing more to be done, Mr. Ogilvie," said Rycroft, as the
two men sat over their supper together. "For six months the alluvial
will yield about six ounces to the ton. After that"--he paused and
looked full at the grim, silent face of the man opposite him.

"After that?" said Ogilvie. He compressed his lips the moment he
uttered the words.

Rycroft jerked his thumb significantly over his left shoulder by way
of answer.

"You mean that we must see this butchery of the innocents through,"
said Ogilvie.

"I see no help for it," replied Rycroft. "We will start back to
Brisbane to-morrow, and when we get there draw up the report; I had
better attend to that part of the business, of course under your
superintendence. We must both sign it. But first had we not better
cable to Grayleigh? He must have expected to hear from us before now.
He can lay our cable before the directors, and then things can be put
in train; the report can follow by the first mail."

"I shall take the report back with me," said Ogilvie.

"Better not," answered his companion, "best trust Her Majesty's mails.
It might so happen that you would lose it." As Rycroft spoke a crafty
look came into his eyes.

"Let us pack our traps," said Ogilvie, rising.

"The sooner we get out of this the better."

The next morning early they left the solitude, the neighborhood of the
lofty peaks and the desecrated earth beneath. They reached Brisbane in
about four days, and put up once more at the Waharoo Hotel. There the
real business for which all this preparation had been made commenced.
Rycroft was a past master in drawing up reports of mines, and Ogilvie
now helped him with a will. He found a strange pleasure in doing his
work as carefully as possible. He no longer suffered from qualms of
conscience. The mine would work really well for six months. During
that time the promoters would make their fortunes. Afterward--the
deluge. But that mattered very little to Ogilvie in his present state
of mind.

"If I suffer as I have done lately from this troublesome heart of mine
I shall have gone to my account before six months," thought the man;
"the child will be provided for, and no one will ever know."

The report was a plausible and highly colored one.

It was lengthy in detail, and prophesied a brilliant future for
Lombard Deeps. Ogilvie and Rycroft, both assayers of knowledge and
experience, declared that they had carefully examined the lodes, that
they had struck four veins of rich ore yielding, after crushing, an
average of six ounces to the ton, and that the extent and richness of
the ore was practically unlimited.

They spent several days over this document, and at last it was

"I shall take the next mail home," said Ogilvie, standing up after he
had read his own words for the twentieth time.

"Sign first," replied Rycroft. He pushed the paper across to Ogilvie.

"Yes, I shall go to-morrow morning," continued Ogilvie. "The _Sahara_
sails to-morrow at noon?"

"I believe so; but sign, won't you?"

Ogilvie took up his pen; he held it suspended as he looked again at
his companion.

"I shall take a berth on board at once," he said.

"All right, old chap, but sign first."

Ogilvie was about to put his signature to the bottom of the document,
when suddenly, without the least warning, a strange giddiness,
followed by intolerable pain, seized him. It passed off, leaving him
very faint. He raised his hand to his brow and looked around him in a
dazed way.

"What is wrong," asked Rycroft; "are you ill?"

"I suffer from this sort of thing now and then," replied Ogilvie,
bringing out his words in short gasps. "Brandy, please."

Rycroft sprang to a side table, poured out a glass of brandy, and
brought it to Ogilvie.

"You look ghastly," he said; "drink."

Ogilvie raised the stimulant to his lips. He took a few sips, and the
color returned to his face.

"Now sign," said Rycroft again.

"Where is the pen?" asked Ogilvie.

He was all too anxious now to take the fatal plunge. His signature,
firm and bold, was put to the document. He pushed it from him and
stood up. Rycroft hastily added his beneath that of Ogilvie's.

"Now our work is done," cried Rycroft, "and Her Majesty's mail does
the rest. By the way, I cabled a brilliant report an hour back.
Grayleigh seemed anxious. There have been ominous reports in some of
the London papers."

"This will set matters right," said Ogilvie. "Put it in an envelope.
If I sail to-morrow, I may as well take it myself."

"Her Majesty's mail would be best," answered Rycroft. "You can see
Grayleigh almost as soon as he gets the report. Remember, I am
responsible for it as well as you, and it would be best for it to go
in the ordinary way." As he spoke, he stretched out his hand, took the
document and folded it up.

Just at this moment there came a tap at the door. Rycroft cried, "Come
in," and a messenger entered with a cablegram.

"For Mr. Ogilvie," he said.

"From Grayleigh, of course," said Rycroft, "how impatient he gets!
Wait outside," he continued to the messenger.

The man withdrew, and Ogilvie slowly opened the telegram. Rycroft
watched him as he read. He read slowly, and with no apparent change of
feature. The message was short, but when his eyes had travelled to
the end, he read from the beginning right through again. Then, without
the slightest warning, and without even uttering a groan, the flimsy
paper fluttered from his hand, he tumbled forward, and lay in an
unconscious heap on the floor.

Rycroft ran to him. He took a certain interest in Ogilvie, but above
all things on earth at that moment he wanted to get the document which
contained the false report safely into the post. Before he attempted
to restore the stricken man, he took up the cablegram and read the
contents. It ran as follows:--

     _"Sibyl has had bad fall from pony. Case hopeless. Come home
     at once."_

"So Sibyl, whoever Sibyl may be, is at the bottom of Ogilvie's fall,"
thought Rycroft. "Poor chap! he has got a fearful shock. Best make all
safe. I must see things through."

Without an instant's hesitation Rycroft took the already signed
document, thrust it into an envelope, directed it in full and stamped
it. Then he went to the telegraph messenger who was still waiting

"No answer to the cable, but take this at once to the post-office and
register it," he said; "here is money--you can keep the change."

The man departed on his errand, carrying the signed document.

Rycroft now bent over Ogilvie. There was a slightly blue tinge round
his lips, but the rest of his face was white and drawn.

"Looks like death," muttered Rycroft. He unfastened Ogilvie's collar
and thrust his hand beneath his shirt. He felt the faint, very faint
beat of the heart.

"Still living," he murmured, with a sigh of relief. He applied the
usual restoratives. In a few moments Ogilvie opened his eyes.

"What has happened?" he said, looking round him in a dazed way. "Oh, I
remember, I had a message from London."

"Yes, old fellow, don't speak for a moment."

"I must get back at once; the child----"

"All right, you shall go in the _Sahara_ to-morrow."

"But the document," said Ogilvie, "it--isn't needed; I want it back."

"Don't trouble about it now."

Ogilvie staggered to his feet.

"You don't understand. I did it because--because of one who will not
need it. I want it back."

"Too late," said Rycroft, then. "That document is already in the post.
Come, you must pull yourself together for the sake of Sibyl, whoever
she is."


There was a pretty white room at Silverbel in which lay a patient
child. She lay flat on her back just as she had lain ever since the
accident. Her bed was moved into the wide bay window, and from there
she could look out at the lovely garden and at the shining Thames just
beyond. From where she lay she could also see the pleasure boats and
the steamers crowded with people as they went up and down the busy
river, and it seemed to her that her thoughts followed those boats
which went toward the sea. It seemed to her further that her spirit
entered one of the great ships at the mouth of the Thames and crossed
in it the boundless deep, and found a lonely man at the other side of
the world into whose heart she crept.

"I am quite cosy there," she said to herself, "for father's perfect
heart is big enough to hold me, however much I suffer, and however sad
I am."

Not that Sibyl was sad, nor did she suffer. After the first shock she
had no pain of any sort, and there never was a more tranquil little
face than hers as it lay on its daintily frilled pillow and looked out
at the shining river.

There was no part of the beautiful house half so beautiful as the room
given up to her use. It might well and aptly be called the Chamber of
Peace. Indeed, Miss Winstead, who was given to sentimentalities and
had a poetic turn of mind, had called Sibyl's chamber by this title.

From the very first the child never murmured. She who had been so
active, like a butterfly in her dancing motion, in her ceaseless
grace, lay on her couch uncomplaining. And as to pain, she had
scarcely any, and what little she had grew less day by day. The great
specialist from London said that this was the worst symptom of the
case, and established the fact beyond doubt that the spine was fatally
injured. It was a question of time. How long a time no one could quite
tell, but the great doctors shook their heads over the child, and an
urgent cablegram was sent to Ogilvie to hurry home without a moment's

But, though all her friends knew it, no one told Sibyl herself that
she might never walk again nor dance over the smoothly kept lawns, nor
mount the nameless pony, nor carry apples to Dan Scott. In her
presence people thought it their duty to be cheerful, and she was
always cheerful herself. After the first week or so, during which she
was more or less stunned and her head felt strangely heavy, she liked
to talk and laugh and ask questions. As far as her active little
brain went there was but little difference in her, except that now her
voice was low, and sometimes it was difficult to follow the rapid,
eager words. But the child's eyes were quite as clear and beautiful as
ever, and more than ever now there visited them that strange, far-away
look and that quick, comprehending gaze.

"I want nothing on earth but father, the touch of father's hand and
the look in his face," she said several times; and then invariably her
own eyes would follow the steamers and the boats as they went down the
river toward the sea, and she would smile as the remembrance of the
big ships came to her.

"Miss Winstead," she said on one of these occasions, "I go in my own
special big ship every night across the sea to father. I sleep in
father's heart every night, that's why I don't disturb you, and why
the hours seem so short."

Miss Winstead had long ceased to scold Sibyl, and nurse was now never
cross to the little girl, and Mrs. Ogilvie was to all appearance the
most tender, devoted mother on earth. When the child had been brought
back after her accident Mrs. Ogilvie had not yet returned from town.
She had meant to spend the night at the house in Belgrave Square. An
urgent message, however, summoned her, and she arrived at Silverbel
about midnight. She lost all self-control when she saw the beautiful
unconscious child, and went into such violent hysterics that the
doctors had to take her from the room.

But this state of grief passed, and she was able, as she said to
herself, to crush her mother's heart in her breast and superintend
everything for Sibyl's comfort. It was Mrs. Ogilvie herself who, by
the doctor's orders, sent off the cablegram which her husband received
at the very moment of his fall from the paths of honor. It was she who
worded it, and she thought of nothing at that moment but the child who
was dying in the beautiful house. For the time she quite forgot her
dreams of wealth and of greatness and of worldly pleasure. Nay, more,
she felt just then that she could give up everything if only Sibyl
might be saved. Mrs. Ogilvie also blamed herself very bitterly for
forgetting her promise to the child. She was indeed quite inconsolable
for several days, and at last had a nervous attack and was obliged to
retire to her bed.

There came an answering cable from Ogilvie to say that he was starting
on board the _Sahara_, and would be in England as quickly as the great
liner could bring him across the ocean. But by the doctor's orders
the news that her father was coming back to her was not told to Sibyl.

"Something may detain him; at any rate the suspense will be bad for
her," the doctors said, and as she did not fret, and seemed quite
contented with the strange fancy that she crossed the sea at night to
lie in his arms, there was no need to give her any anxiety with regard
to the matter.

But as the days went on Mrs. Ogilvie's feelings, gradually but surely,
underwent a sort of revulsion. For the first week she was frantic,
ill, nervous, full of intense self-reproach. But during the second
week, when Sibyl's state of health assumed a new phase, when she
ceased to moan in her sleep, and to look troubled, and only lay very
still and white, Mrs. Ogilvie took it into her head that after all the
doctors had exaggerated the symptoms. The child was by no means so ill
as they said. She went round to her different friends and aired these
views. When they came to see her she aired them still further.

"Doctors are so often mistaken," she said, "I don't believe for a
single instant that the dear little thing will not be quite as well as
ever in a short time. I should not be the least surprised if she were
able to walk by the time Philip comes back. I do sincerely hope such
will be the case, for Philip makes such a ridiculous fuss about her,
and will go through all the apprehension and misery which nearly
wrecked my mother's heart. He will believe everything those doctors
have said of the child."

The neighbors, glad to see Mrs. Ogilvie cheerful once more, rather
agreed with her in these views, that is, all who did not go to see
Sibyl. But those who went into her white room and looked at the sweet
patient's face shook their heads when they came out again. It was
those neighbors who had not seen the child who quoted instances of
doctors who were mistaken in their diagnoses, and Mrs. Ogilvie derived
great pleasure and hope from their conversation.

Gradually, but surely, the household settled down into its new life.
The Chamber of Peace in the midst of the house diffused a peaceful
atmosphere everywhere else. Sibyl's weak little laugh was a sound to
treasure up and remember, and her words were still full of fun, and
her eyes often brimmed over with laughter. No one ever denied her
anything now. She could see whoever she fancied, even to old Scott,
who hobbled upstairs in his stockings, and came on tiptoe into the
room, and stood silently at the foot of the white bed.

"I won't have the curse of the poor, I did my best," said Sibyl,
looking full at the old man.

"Yes, you did your best, dearie," he replied. His voice was husky,
and he turned his head aside and looked out of the window and coughed
in a discreet manner. He was shocked at the change in the radiant
little face, but he would not allow his emotion to get the better of

"The blessing of the poor rests on you, dear little Miss," he said
then, "the blessing of the poor and the fatherless. It was a
fatherless lad you tried to comfort. God bless you for ever and ever."

Sibyl smiled when he said this, and then she gazed full at him in that
solemn comprehending way which often characterized her. When he went
out of the room she lay silent for a time; then she turned to nurse
and said with emphasis:

"I like old Scott, he's a very religious man."

"That he is, darling," replied nurse.

"Seems to me I'm getting religious too," continued Sibyl. "It's 'cos
of Lord Jesus, I 'spect. He is kind to me, is Lord Jesus. He takes me
to father every night."

The days went by, and Mrs. Ogilvie, who was recovering her normal
spirits hour by hour, now made up her mind that Sibyl's recovery was
merely a question of time, that she would soon be as well as ever, and
as this was the case, surely it seemed a sad pity that the bazaar,
which had been postponed, should not take place.

"The bazaar will amuse the child, besides doing a great deal of good
to others," thought Mrs. Ogilvie.

No sooner had this idea come to her, than she found her
engagement-book, and looked up several items. The bazaar had of course
been postponed from the original date, but it would be easy to have it
on the 24th of September. The 24th was in all respects a suitable
date, and those people who had not gone abroad or to Scotland would be
glad to spend a week in the beautiful country house. It was such a sad
pity, thought Mrs. Ogilvie, not to use the new furniture to the best
advantage, not to sleep in the new beds, not to make use of all the
accessories which had cost so much money, or rather which had cost so
many debts, for not a scrap of the furniture was paid for, and the
house itself was only held on sufferance.

"It will be doing such a good work," said Mrs. Ogilvie to herself. "I
shall be not only entertaining my friends and amusing dear little
Sibyl, but I shall be collecting money for an excellent charity."

In the highest spirits she ran upstairs and burst into her little
daughter's room.

"Oh, Mummy," said Sibyl. She smiled and said faintly, "Come and kiss
me, Mummy."

Mrs. Ogilvie was all in white and looked very young and girlish and
pretty. She tripped up to the child, bent over her and kissed her.

"My little white rose," she said, "you must get some color back into
your cheeks."

"Oh, color don't matter," replied Sibyl. "I'm just as happy without

"But you are quite out of pain, my little darling?"

"Yes, Mummy."

"And you like lying here in your pretty window?"

"Yes, mother darling."

"You are not weary of lying so still?"

Sibyl laughed.

"It is funny," she said, "I never thought I could lie so very still. I
used to get a fidgety sort of pain all down me if I stayed still more
than a minute at a time, but now I don't want to walk. My legs are too
heavy. I feel heavy all down my legs and up to the middle of my back,
but that is all. See, Mummy, how nicely I can move my hands. Nursie is
going to give me some dolls to dress."

"What a splendid idea, Sib!" said Mrs. Ogilvie, "you shall dress some
dolls for mother's bazaar."

"Are you going to have it after all?" cried Sibyl, her eyes
brightening. "Are the big-wigs coming?"

"Yes, pet, and you shall help me. You shall dress pretty little dolls
which the big-wigs shall buy--Lord Grayleigh and the rest."

"I like Lord Grayleigh," replied Sibyl. "I am glad you are going to
have the bazaar, Mummy."

Mrs. Ogilvie laughed with glee. She seated herself in a comfortable
rocking chair near the window and chatted volubly. Sibyl was really a
wonderfully intelligent child. It was delightful to talk to her. There
was no narrowness about Sibyl. She had quite a breadth of view and of
comprehension for her tender years.

"My dear little girl," said Mrs. Ogilvie, "I am so glad you like the
idea. Perhaps by the day of the bazaar you will be well enough to come
downstairs and even to walk a little."

Sibyl made no answer to this. After a moment's pause she said:

"Do have the bazaar and let all the big-wigs come. I can watch them
from my bed. I can look out of the window and see everything--it will
be fun."

Soon afterward Mrs. Ogilvie left the room. She met Miss Winstead on
the stairs.

"Miss Winstead," she said, "I have just been sitting with the child.
She seems much better."

"Do you think so?" replied Miss Winstead shortly.

"I do. Why do you stare at me in that disapproving manner? You really
are all most unnatural. Who should know of the health of her child if
her own mother does not? The little darling is recovering fast--I
have just been having a most interesting talk with her. She would like
me to have the bazaar."

"The bazaar!" echoed Miss Winstead. "Surely you don't mean to have it

"Yes, here. The child is greatly interested. She would like me to have
it, and I am going to send out invitations at once. It will be held on
the 24th and 25th of the month."

"I would not, if I were you," said Miss Winstead slowly. "You know
what the doctors have said."

Mrs. Ogilvie first turned white, and then her face grew red and angry.

"I don't believe a single word of what they say," she retorted with
some passion. "The child looks better every day. What the dear little
thing wants is rousing. The bazaar will do her no end of good. Mark my
words, Miss Winstead, we shall have Sibyl on her feet again by the

"You forget," said Miss Winstead slowly, "the _Sahara_ is due in
England about that date. Mr. Ogilvie will be back. He will not be
prepared for--for what he has to see."

"I know quite well that my husband will return about then, but I don't
understand what you mean by saying that he will not be prepared.
There will be nothing but joyful tidings to give him. The child nearly
herself and the bazaar at its height. Delightful! Now pray, my good
creature, don't croak any more; I must rush up to town this
afternoon--there is a great deal to see about."


Lord Grayleigh was so anxious about the Syndicate that he would not go
to Scotland for the shooting as usual. Later on he would attend to his
pleasures, but not now. Later on when Ogilvie had returned, and the
company was finally floated, and the shares taken up, he would relax
his efforts, but just at present he was engaged over the biggest thing
of his life. He was cheerful, however, and full of hope. He even
thanked Providence for having aided all his exertions. So blinded was
he by the glare of avarice and the desire for adding wealth to wealth
that Ogilvie's cablegram set every anxiety at rest. He even believed
that the mine was as full of gold as the cablegram seemed to indicate.
Yes, everything was going well. The Lombard Deeps Company would be
floated in a short time, the Board of Directors was complete.

Ogilvie's cablegram was shown to a few of the longest-headed men in
the financial world, and his report was anxiously looked for. Rumors
carefully worded got by degrees into the public press, the ominous
whispers were absolutely silenced: all, in short, was ripe for action.
Nothing definite, however, could be done until the full report of the
mine arrived.

Lord Grayleigh was fond of saying to himself: "From the tone of
Ogilvie's cablegram the mine must be all that we desire, the ore rich,
the veins good, the extent of the wealth unlimited. It will be nice,"
Lord Grayleigh reflected, "to be rich and also honest at the same
time." He was a man with many kindly impulses, but he had never been
much troubled by the voice of conscience. So he went backward and
forward to his lovely home in the country, and played with his
children, and enjoyed life generally.

On a certain day in the first week of September he received a letter
from Mrs. Ogilvie; it ran as follows:--


     "You have not, I hope, forgotten your promise to be, as
     Sibyl said, one of the big-wigs at my bazaar."

"But I _had_ forgotten it," muttered Grayleigh to himself. "That woman
is, in my opinion, a poor, vain, frivolous creature. Why did she
hamper Ogilvie with that place in his absence? Now, forsooth, she must
play at charity. When that sort of woman does that sort of thing she
is contemptible."

He lowered his eyes again, and went on reading the letter.

     "I was obliged to postpone the original date," continued his
     correspondent, "but I have quite fixed now that the bazaar
     shall be held at our new lovely place on the 24th. You, I
     know, will not disappoint me. You will be sure to be
     present. I hope to clear a large sum for the Home for
     Incurables at Watleigh. Have you heard how badly that poor
     dear charity needs funds just now? If you hesitate for a
     moment to come and help, just cast a thought on the poor
     sufferers there, the children, who will never know the
     blessing of strength again. Think what it is to lighten the
     burden of their last days, and do not hesitate to lend your
     hand to so worthy a work. I have advertised you in the
     papers as our principal supporter and patron, and the sooner
     we see you at Silverbel the better.

               "With kind regards, I remain,
                    "Yours sincerely,
                         "MILDRED OGILVIE.

     "P.S.--By the way, have you heard that our dear little Sibyl
     has met with rather a nasty accident? She fell off that pony
     you gave her. I must be frank, Lord Grayleigh, and say that
     I never did approve of the child's riding, particularly in
     her father's absence. She had a very bad tumble, and hurt
     her back, and has since been confined to her couch. I have
     had the best advice, and the doctors have been very silly
     and gloomy in their reports. Now, for my part, I have not
     the slightest faith in doctors, they are just as often
     proved wrong as right. The child is getting much better, but
     she is still, of course, confined to her bed. She would send
     you her love if she knew I was writing."

Lord Grayleigh let this letter drop on to the table beside him. He sat
quite still for a moment, then he lit a cigarette and began to pace
the room. After a pause he took up Mrs. Ogilvie's letter and re-read
the postscript.

After having read it a second time he rang his bell sharply. A servant

"I am going to town by the next train; have the trap round," was
Grayleigh's direction.

He did go to town by the next train, his children seeing him off.

"Where are you going, father?" called out Freda. "You promised you
would take us for a long, long drive this afternoon. Oh, this is
disappointing. Are you coming back at all to-night?"

"I don't think so, Freda. By the way, have you heard that your little
friend Sibyl has met with an accident?"

"Has she?" replied Freda. "I am very sorry. I like Sibyl very much."

"So do I!" said Gus, coming up, "she's the best sort of girl I ever
came across, not like an ordinary girl--quite plucky, you know. What
sort of accident did she have, father?"

"I don't know; I am going to see. I am afraid it has something to do
with the pony I gave her. Well, good-by, youngsters; if I don't return
by the last train to-night, I'll be back early to-morrow, and we can
have our drive then."

Lord Grayleigh drove at once to Victoria Station, and took the next
train to Richmond. It was a two-mile drive from there to Silverbel. He
arrived at Silverbel between five and six in the afternoon. Mrs.
Ogilvie was pacing about her garden, talking to two ladies who had
come to call on her. When she saw Lord Grayleigh driving up the
avenue, she uttered a cry of delight, apologized to her friends, and
ran to meet him--both her hands extended.

"How good of you, how more than good of you," she said. "This is just
what I might have expected from you, Lord Grayleigh. You received my
letter and you have come to answer it in person."

"I have come, as you say, to answer it in person. How is Sibyl?"

"Oh, better. I mean she is about the same, but she really is going on
very nicely. She does not suffer the slightest pain, and----"

"Can I see her?"

"Of course you can. I will take you to her. Dear little thing, she
will be quite delighted, you are a prime favorite of hers. But first,
what about the bazaar? Ah, naughty man! you need not think you are
going to get out of it, for you are, as Sibyl says, one of the
big-wigs. We cannot do without big-wigs at our bazaar."

"Well, Mrs. Ogilvie, I will come if I can. I cannot distinctly promise
at the present moment, for I may possibly have to go to Scotland; but
the chances are that I shall be at Grayleigh Manor, and if so I can

Mrs. Ogilvie was walking with Lord Grayleigh down one of the corridors
which led to the Chamber of Peace while this conversation was going
on. As he uttered the last words she flung open the door.

"One of the big-wigs, Sibyl, come to see you," she said, in a playful

Lord Grayleigh saw a white little face with very blue eyes turned
eagerly in his direction. He did not know why, but as he looked at the
child something clutched at his heart with a strange fear. He turned
to Mrs. Ogilvie and said,

"Rest assured that I will come." He then went over, bent toward Sibyl
and took her little white hand.

"I am sorry to see you like this," he said. "What has happened to you,
my little girl?"

"Oh, nothing much," answered Sibyl, "I just had a fall, but I am quite
all right now and I am awfully happy. Did you really come to see me?
It is good of you. May I talk to Lord Grayleigh all by myself, mother

"Certainly, dear. Lord Grayleigh, you cannot imagine how we spoil this
little woman now that she is lying on her back. I suppose it is
because she is so good and patient. She never murmurs, and she enjoys
herself vastly. Is not this a pretty room?"

"Beautiful," replied Lord Grayleigh, in an abstracted tone. He sank
into a chair near the window, and glanced out at the smoothly kept
lawn, at the flower-beds with their gay colors, and at the silver
Thames flowing rapidly by. Then he looked again at the child. The
child's grave eyes were fixed on his face; there was a faint smile
round the lips but the eyes were very solemn.

"I will come back again, presently," said Mrs. Ogilvie. "By the way,
Sib darling, Lord Grayleigh is coming to our bazaar, the bazaar for
which you are dressing dolls."

"Nursie is dressing them," replied Sibyl in a weak voice--the mother
did not notice how weak it was, but Lord Grayleigh did. "It somehow
tires me to work. I 'spect I'm not very strong, but I'll be better
perhaps to-morrow. Nursie is dressing them, and they are quite

"Well, I'll come back soon; you mustn't tire her, Lord Grayleigh, and
you and I have a great deal to talk over when you do come downstairs."

"I must return to town by the next train," said Lord Grayleigh; but
Mrs. Ogilvie did not hear him. She went quickly away to join the
friends who were waiting for her in the sunny garden.

"Lord Grayleigh has come," she said. "He is quite devoted to Sibyl; he
is sitting with her for a few minutes; the child worships him.
Afterward he and I must have a rather business-like conversation."

"Then we will go, dear Mrs. Ogilvie," said both ladies.

"Thank you, dear friends; I hope you don't think I am sending you
away, but it is always my custom to speak plainly. Lord Grayleigh will
be our principal patron at the bazaar, and naturally I have much to
consult him about. I will drive over to-morrow to see you, Mrs. Le
Strange, and we can discuss still further the sort of stall you will

The ladies took their leave, and Mrs. Ogilvie paced up and down in
front of the house. She was restless, and presently a slight sense of
disappointment stole over her, for Lord Grayleigh was staying an
unconscionably long time in Sibyl's room.

Sibyl and he were having what he said afterward was quite a straight

"I am so glad you have come," said the little girl; "there are some
things you can tell me that no one else can. Have you heard from
father lately?"

"I had a cablegram from him not long ago."

"What's that?"

"The same as a telegram; a cablegram is a message that comes across
the sea."

"I understand," said Sibyl. She thought of her pretty fancy of the
phantom ships that took her night after night to the breast of her

"What are you thinking about?" said Lord Grayleigh.

"Oh, about father, of course. When he sent you that message did he
tell you there was much gold in the mine?"

"My dear child," said Lord Grayleigh, "what do you know about it?"

"I know all about it," answered Sybil. "I am deeply interested,

"Well, my dear little girl, to judge from your father's message, the
mine is full of gold, quite full."

"Up to the tip top?"

"Yes, you can express it in that way if you like, up to the tip top
and down, nobody knows how deep, full of beautiful yellow gold, but
don't let us talk of these things any more. Tell me how you really
fell, and what that naughty pony did to you."

"You must not scold my darling nameless pony, it was not his fault a
bit," said Sibyl. She turned first red and then whiter than usual.

"Do you greatly mind if I _don't_ talk about it?" she asked in a voice
of sweet apology. "It makes me feel----"

"How, dear?"

"I don't know, only I get the up and down and round and round feel. It
was the feel I had when pony sprang; he seemed to spring into the air,
and I fell and fell and fell. I don't like to get the feel back, it is
so very round and round, you know."

"We won't talk of it," said Lord Grayleigh; "what shall I do to amuse

"Tell me more about father and the mine full of gold."

"I have only just had the one cablegram, Sib, in which he merely
stated that the news with regard to the mine was good."

"I am delighted," said Sibyl. "It's awfully good of Lord Jesus. Do you
know that I have been asking Lord Jesus to pile up the gold in the
mine. He can do anything, you know, and He has done it, you see. Isn't
it sweet and dear of Him? Oh, you don't know all He has done for me!
Don't you love Him very much indeed, Lord Grayleigh?"

"Who, Sibyl?"

"My Lord Jesus Christ, my beautiful Lord Jesus Christ."

Lord Grayleigh bent and picked up a book which had fallen on the
carpet. He turned the conversation. The child's eyes, very grave and
very blue, watched him. She did not say anything further, but she
seemed to read the thought he wished to hide. He stood up, then he sat
down again. Sibyl had that innate tact which is born in some natures,
and always knew where to pause in her probings and questionings.

"Now," she continued, after a pause, "dear Mr. and Mrs. Holman will be

"Mr. and Mrs. Holman," said Lord Grayleigh; "who are they?"

"They are my very own most special friends. They keep a toy-shop in
Greek Street, a back street near our house. Mrs. Holman is going to
buy a lot of gold out of the mine. I'll send her a letter to tell her
that she can buy it quick. You'll be sure to keep some of the gold for
Mrs. Holman, she is a dear old woman. You'll be quite sure to remember

"Quite sure, Sibyl."

"Hadn't you better make a note of it? Father always makes notes when
he wants to remember things. Have you got a note-book?"

"In my pocket."

"Please take it out and put down about Mrs. Holman and the gold out of
the mine."

Lord Grayleigh produced a small note-book.

"What do you wish me to say?" he inquired.

"Put it this way," said Sibyl eagerly, "then you won't forget. Some of
the gold in the----"

"Lombard Deeps Mine," supplied Lord Grayleigh.

"Some of the gold in the Lombard Deeps Mine," repeated Sibyl, "to be
kept special for dear Mr. and Mrs. Holman. Did you put that? Did you
put _dear_ Mr. and Mrs. Holman?"

"Just exactly as you have worded it, Sibyl."

"Her address is number ten, Greek Street, Pimlico."

The address being further added, Sibyl gave a sigh of satisfaction.

"That is nice," she said, "that will make them happy. Mrs. Holman has
cried so often because of the dusty toys, and 'cos the children won't
come to her shop to buy. Some children are very mean; I don't like
some children a bit."

"I am glad you're pleased about the Holmans, little woman."

"Of course I am, and aren't you. Don't you like to make people happy?"

Again Lord Grayleigh moved restlessly.

"Have you any other notes for this book?" he said.

"Of course I have. There's the one who wants to marry the other one.
I'm under a vow not to mention names, but they want to marry _so_
badly, and they will in double quick time if there's gold in the mine.
Will you put in your note-book 'Gold to be kept for the one who wants
to marry the other,' will you, Lord Grayleigh?"

"I have entered it," said Lord Grayleigh, suppressing a smile.

"And mother, of course," continued Sibyl, "wants lots of money, and
there's my nurse, her eyes are failing, she would like enough gold to
keep her from mending stockings or doing any more fine darning, and
I'd like Watson to have some. Do you know, Lord Grayleigh, that Watson
is engaged to be married? He is really, truly."

"I am afraid, Sibyl, I do not know who Watson is."

"Don't you? How funny; he is our footman. I'm awfully fond of him. He
is full of the best impulses, is Watson, and he is engaged to a very
nice girl in the cookery line. Don't you think it's very sensible of
Watson to engage himself to a girl in the cookery line?"

"I think it is thoroughly sensible, but now I must really go."

"But you won't forget all the messages? You have put them all down in
your note-book. You won't forget any of the people who want gold out
of the Lombard Deeps?"

"No, I'll be certain to remember every single one of them."

"Then that's all right, and you'll come to darling mother's bazaar?"

"I'll come."

"I am so glad. You do make me happy. I like big-wigs awfully."


A few days before the bazaar Lady Helen Douglas arrived at Silverbel.
She had returned from Scotland on purpose. A letter from Lord
Grayleigh induced her to do so. He wrote to Lady Helen immediately
after seeing Sibyl.

"I don't like the child's look," he wrote; "I have not the least idea
what the doctors have said of her, but when I spoke on the subject to
her mother, she shirked it. There is not the least doubt that Mrs.
Ogilvie can never see a quarter of an inch beyond her own selfish
fancies. It strikes me very forcibly that the child is in a precarious
state. I can never forgive myself, for she met with the accident on
the pony I gave her. She likes you; go to her if you can."

It so happened that by the very same post there had come an urgent
appeal from Mrs. Ogilvie.

"If you cannot come to the bazaar," she wrote to Lady Helen, "it will
be a failure. Come you must. Your presence is essential, because you
are pretty and well born, and you will also act as a lure to another
person who can help me in various ways. I, of course, allude to our
mutual friend, Jim Rochester."

Now Lady Helen, even with the attraction of seeing Mr. Rochester so
soon again, would not have put off a series of visits which she was
about to make, had not Lord Grayleigh's letter decided her. She
therefore arrived at Silverbel on the 22d of September, and was
quickly conducted to Sibyl's room. She had not seen Sibyl for a couple
of months. When last they had met, the child had been radiant with
health and spirits. She was radiant still, but that quick impulsive
life had been toned down to utter quiet. The lower part of the little
body was paralyzed, the paralysis was creeping gradually up and up. It
was but a question of time for the loving little heart to be still for

Sibyl cried with delight when she saw Lady Helen.

"Such a lot of big-wigs are coming to-morrow," she said, "but Lord
Grayleigh does not come until the day of the bazaar, so you are quite
the first. You'll come and see me very, very often, won't you?"

"Of course I will, Sibyl. The fact is I have come on purpose to see
you. I should not have come to the bazaar but for you. Lord Grayleigh
wrote to me and said you were not well, and he thought you loved me,
little Sib, and that it would cheer you up to see me."

"Oh, you are sweet," answered the child, "and I do, indeed I do love
you. But you ought to have come for the bazaar as well as for me. It
is darling mother's splendid work of charity. She wants to help a lot
of little sick children and sick grown up people: isn't it dear of

"Well, I am interested in the bazaar," said Lady Helen, ignoring the
subject of Mrs. Ogilvie's noble action.

"It is so inciting all about it," continued the little girl, "and I
can see the marquee quite splendidly from here, and mother flitting
about. Isn't mother pretty, isn't she quite sweet? She is going to
have the most lovely dress for the bazaar, a sort of silvery white;
she will look like an angel--but then she is an angel, isn't she, Lady

Lady Helen bent and kissed Sibyl on her soft forehead. "You must not
talk too much and tire yourself," she said; "let me talk to you. I
have plenty of nice things to say."

"Stories?" said Sibyl.

"Yes, I will tell you stories."

"Thank you; I do love 'em. Did you ever tell them to Mr. Rochester?"

"I have not seen him lately."

"You'll be married to him soon, I know you will."

"We need not talk about that now, need we? I want to do something to
amuse you."

"It's odd how weak my voice has grown," said Sibyl, with a laugh.
"Mother says I am getting better, and perhaps I am, only somehow I do
feel weak. Do you know, mother wanted me to dress dolls for her, but I
couldn't. Nursie did 'em. There's one big beautiful doll with wings;
Nurse made the wings, but she can't put them on right; will you put
them on proper, Lady Helen?"

"I should like to," replied Lady Helen; "I have a natural aptitude for
dressing dolls."

"The big doll with the wings is in that box over there. Take it out
and sit down by the sofa so that I can see you, and put the wings on
properly. There's plenty of white gauze and wire. I want you to make
the doll as like an angel as you can."

Lady Helen commenced her pretty work. Sibyl watched her, not caring to
talk much now, for Lady Helen seemed too busy to answer.

"It rests me to have you in the room," said the child, "you are like
this room. Do you know Miss Winstead has given it such a funny name."

"What is that, Sibyl?"

"She calls it the Chamber of Peace--isn't it sweet of her?"

"The name is a beautiful one, and so is the room," answered Lady

"I do wish Mr. Rochester was here," was Sibyl's next remark.

"He will come to the bazaar, dear."

"And then, perhaps, I'll see him. I want to see him soon, I have
something I'd like to say."

"What, darling?"

"Something to you and to him. I want you both to be happy. I'm
tremendous anxious that you should both be happy, and I think--I
wouldn't like to say it to mother, for perhaps it will hurt her, but I
do fancy that, perhaps, I'm going to have wings, too, not like
dolly's, but real ones, and if I have them I might----"

"What, darling?"

"Fly away to my beautiful Lord Jesus. You don't know how I want to be
close to Him. I used to think that if I got into father's heart I
should be quite satisfied, but even that, even that is not like being
in the heart of Jesus. If my wings come I must go, Lady Helen. It will
be lovely to fly up, won't it, for perhaps some day I might get tired
of lying always flat on my back. Mother doesn't know, darling mother
doesn't guess, and I wouldn't tell her for all the wide world, for she
thinks I'm going to get quite well again, but one night, when she
thought I was asleep, I heard Nursie say to Miss Winstead, 'Poor
lamb, she'll soon want to run about again, but she never can, never.'
I shouldn't like to be always lying down flat, should you, Lady

"No, darling, I don't think I should."

"Well, there it is, you see, you wouldn't like it either. Of course I
want to see father again, but whatever happens he'll understand. Only
if my wings come I must fly off, and I want everyone to be happy
before I go."

Lady Helen had great difficulty in keeping back her tears, for Sibyl
spoke in a perfectly calm, contented, almost matter-of-fact voice
which brought intense conviction with it.

"So you must marry Mr. Rochester," she continued, "for you both love
each other so very much."

"That is quite true," replied Lady Helen.

Sibyl looked at her with dilated, smiling eyes. "The Lombard Deeps
Mine is full to the brim with gold," she said, in an excited voice. "I
know--Lord Grayleigh told me. He has it all wrote down in his
pocket-book, and you and Mr. Rochester are to have your share. When
you are both very, very happy you'll think of me, won't you?"

"I can never forget you, my dear little girl. Kiss me, now--see! the
angel doll is finished."

"Oh, isn't it lovely?" said the child, her attention immediately
distracted by this new interest. "Do take it down to mother. She's
dressing the stall where the dolls are to be sold; ask her to put the
angel doll at the head of all the other dolls. Take it to mother now.
I can watch from my window--do go at once."

Lady Helen was glad of an excuse to leave the room. When she got into
the corridor outside she stopped for a moment, put her handkerchief to
her eyes, made a struggle to subdue her emotion, and then ran

The great marquee was already erected on the lawn, and many of the
stall-holders were arranging their stalls and giving directions to
different workmen. Mrs. Ogilvie was flitting eagerly about. She was in
the highest spirits, and looked young and charming.

"Sibyl sent you this," said Lady Helen.

Mrs. Ogilvie glanced for a moment at the angel doll.

"Oh, lay it down anywhere, please," she said in a negative tone. But
Lady Helen thought of the sweet blue eyes looking down on this scene
from the Chamber of Peace. She was not going to put the angel doll
down anywhere.

"Please, Mrs. Ogilvie," she said, "you must take an interest in it."
There was something in her tone which arrested even Mrs. Ogilvie's

"You must take a great interest in this doll," she continued. "Little
Sibyl thinks so much of it. Forgive me, Mrs. Ogilvie, I----"

"Oh, what is it now," said Mrs. Ogilvie, "what can be the matter?
Really everyone who goes near Sibyl acts in the most extraordinary
way." She looked petulantly, as she spoke, into Lady Helen's agitated

"I cannot help thinking much of Sibyl," continued Lady Helen, "and I
am very--more than anxious about her. I am terribly grieved, for--I

"You think what? Oh, please don't begin to be gloomy now. You have
only seen Sibyl for the first time since her accident. She is very
much better than she was at first. You cannot expect her to look quite
well all of a sudden."

"But have you had the very best advice for her?"

"I should rather think so. We had Sir Henry Powell down twice.
Everything has been done that could be done. It is merely a question
of time and rest. Time and rest will effect a perfect cure; at least,
that is my opinion."

"But what is Sir Henry Powell's opinion?"

"Don't ask me. I don't believe in doctors. The child is getting
better, I see it with my own eyes. It is merely a question of time."

"Sibyl is getting well, but not in the way you think," replied Lady
Helen. She said the words with significance, and Mrs. Ogilvie felt her
heart throb for a moment with a sudden wild pain, but the next instant
she laughed.

"I never knew anyone so gloomy," she said, "and you come to me with
your queer remarks just when I am distracted about the great bazaar. I
am almost sorry I asked you here, Lady Helen."

"Well, at least take the doll--the child is looking at you," said Lady
Helen. "Kiss your hand to her; look pleased even if you are not
interested, and give me a promise, that I may take to her, that the
angel doll shall stand at the head of the doll stall. The child wishes
it; do not deny her wishes now."

"Oh, take her any message you like, only leave me, please, for the
present. Ah, there she is, little darling." Mrs. Ogilvie took the
angel doll in her hand, and blew a couple of kisses to Sibyl. Sibyl
smiled down at her from the Chamber of Peace. Very soon afterward Lady
Helen returned to her little friend.

It was on the first day of the bazaar when all the big-wigs had
arrived, when the fun was at its height, when the bands were playing
merrily, and the little pleasure skiffs were floating up and down the
shining waters of the Thames, when flocks of visitors from all the
neighborhood round were crowding in and out of the marquee, and people
were talking and laughing merrily, and Mrs. Ogilvie in her silvery
white dress was looking more beautiful than she had ever looked before
in her life, that a tired, old-looking man appeared on the scene.

Mrs. Ogilvie half expected that her husband would come back on the day
of the bazaar, for if the _Sahara_ kept to her dates she would make
her appearance in the Tilbury Docks in the early morning of that day.
Mrs. Ogilvie hoped that her husband would get off, and take a quick
train to Richmond, and arrive in time for her to have a nice straight
talk with him, and explain to him about Sibyl's accident, and tell him
what was expected of him. She was anxious to see him before anyone
else did, for those who went in and out of the child's room were so
blind, so persistent in their fears with regard to the little girl's
ultimate recovery; if Mrs. Ogilvie could only get Philip to herself,
she would assure him that the instincts of motherhood never really
failed, that her own instincts assured her that the great doctors were
wrong, and she herself was right. The child was slowly but gradually
returning to the paths of health and strength.

If only Ogilvie came back in good time his wife would explain these
matters to him, and tell him not to make a fool of himself about the
child, and beg of him to help her in this great, this auspicious
occasion of her life.

"He will look very nice when he is dressed in his, best," she said to
herself. "It will complete my success in the county if I have him
standing by my side at the door of the marquee to receive our
distinguished guests."

As this thought came her eyes sparkled, and she got her maid to dress
her in the most becoming way, and she further reflected that when they
had a moment to be alone the husband and wife could talk of the
wonderful golden treasures which Ogilvie was bringing back with him
from the other side of the world. Perhaps he had thought much of her,
his dear Mildred, while he had been away.

"Men of that sort often think much more of their wives when they are
parted from them," she remembered. "I have read stories to that
effect. I dare say Philip is as much in love with me as he ever was.
He used to be devoted to me when first we were married. There was
nothing good enough for me then. Perhaps he has brought me back some
jewels of greater value than I possess; I will gladly wear them for
his sake."

But notwithstanding all her dreams and thoughts of her husband,
Ogilvie did not come back to his loving wife in the early hours of the
first day of the bazaar. Neither was there any message or telegram
from him. In spite of herself, Mrs. Ogilvie now grew a little fretful.

"As he has not come in time to receive our guests, if I knew where to
telegraph, I would wire to him not to come now until the evening," she
thought. But she did not know where to telegraph, and the numerous
duties of the bazaar occupied each moment of her time.

According to his promise Lord Grayleigh was present, and there were
other titled people walking about the grounds, and Lady Helen as a
stall-holder was invaluable.

Sibyl had asked to have her white couch drawn nearer than ever to the
window, and from time to time she peeped out and saw the guests
flitting about the lawns and thought of her mother's great happiness
and wonderful goodness. The band played ravishing music, mostly dance
music, and the day, although it was late in the season, was such a
perfect one that the feet of the buyers and sellers alike almost kept
time to the festive strains.

It was on this scene that Ogilvie appeared. During his voyage home he
had gone through almost every imaginable torture, and, as he reached
Silverbel, he felt that the limit of his patience was almost reached.
He knew, because she had sent him a cable to that effect, that his
wife was staying in a country place, a place on the banks of the
Thames. She had told him further that the nearest station to Silverbel
was Richmond. Accordingly he had gone to Richmond, jumped into the
first cab he could find, and desired the man to drive to Silverbel.

"You know the place, I presume?" he said.

"Silverbel, sir, certainly sir; it is there they are having the big

As the man spoke he looked askance for a moment at the occupant of his
cab, for Ogilvie was travel-stained and dusty. He looked like one in a
terrible hurry. There was an expression in his gray eyes which the
driver did not care to meet.

"Go as fast as you can," he said briefly, and then the man whipped up
his horse and proceeded over the dusty roads.

"A rum visitor," he thought; "wonder what he's coming for. Don't look
the sort that that fine young lady would put up with on a day like

Ogilvie within the cab, however, saw nothing. He was only conscious of
the fact that he was drawing nearer and nearer to the house where his
little daughter--but did his little daughter still live? Was Sibyl
alive? That was the thought of all thoughts, the desire of all
desires, which must soon be answered yea or nay.

When the tired-out and stricken man heard the strains of the band, he
did rouse himself, however, and began dimly to wonder if, after all,
he had come to the wrong house. Were there two houses called
Silverbel, and had the man taken him to the wrong one? He pulled up
the cab to inquire.

"No, sir," replied the driver, "it's all right. There ain't but one
place named Silverbel here, and this is the place, sir. The lady is
giving a big bazaar and her name is Mrs. Ogilvie."

"Then Sibyl must have got well again," thought Ogilvie to himself. And
just for an instant the heavy weight at his breast seemed to lift. He
paid his fare, told the man to take his luggage round to the back
entrance, and jumped out of the cab.

The man obeyed him, and Ogilvie, just as he was, stepped across the
lawn. He had the air of one who was neither a visitor nor yet a
stranger. He walked with quick, short strides straight before him and
presently he came full upon his wife in her silvery dress. A large
white hat trimmed with pink roses reposed on her head. There were
nature's own pink roses on her cheeks and smiles in her eyes.

"Oh, Phil!" she cried, with a little start. She was quite clever
enough to hide her secret dismay at his arriving thus, and at such a
moment. She dropped some things she was carrying and ran toward him
with her pretty hands outstretched.

"Why, Phil!" she said again. "Oh, you naughty man, so you have come
back. But why didn't you send me a telegram?"

"I had not time, Mildred; I thought my own presence was best. How is
the child?"

"Oh, much the same--I mean she is going on quite, _quite_ nicely."

"And what is this?"

Ogilvie motioned with his hand as he spoke in the direction of the
crowd of people, the marquee, and the band. The music of the band
seemed to get on his brain and hurt him.

"What is all this?" he repeated.

"My dear Phil, my dear unpractical husband, this is a bazaar! Have you
never heard of a bazaar before? A bazaar for the Cottage Hospital at
Watleigh, the Home for Incurables; such a useful charity, Phil, and so
much needed. The poor things are wanting funds dreadfully; they have
got into debt, and something must be done to relieve them Think of all
the dear little children in those wards, Phil; the Sisters have been
obliged to refuse several cases lately. It is most pathetic, isn't it?
Oh, by the way, Lord Grayleigh is here; you will be glad to see him?"

"Presently, not now. How did you say Sibyl was?"

"I told you a moment ago. You can go and see her when you have changed
your things. I wish you would go away at once to your room and get
into some other clothes. There are no end of people you ought to meet.
How strange you look, Phil."

"I want to know more of Sibyl." Here the husband caught the wife's
dainty wrist and drew her a little aside. "No matter about other
things at present," he said sternly. "How is Sibyl? Remember, I have
heard no particulars; I have heard nothing since I got your cable. How
is she? Is there much the matter?"

"Well, I really don't think there is, but perhaps Lady Helen will tell
you. Shall I send her to you? I really am so busy just now. You know I
am selling, myself, at the principal stall. Oh, do go into the house,
you naughty dear; do go to your own room and change your things! I
expected you early this morning, and Watson has put out some of your
wardrobe. Watson will attend on you if you will ring for him. You will
find there is a special dressing room for you on the first floor. Go,
dear, do."

But Ogilvie now hold both her hands. His own were not too clean; they
were soiled by the dust of his rapid journey. He gripped her wrists

"_Where_ is the child?" he repeated again.

"Don't look at me like that, you quite frighten me. The child, she is
in her room; she is going on nicely."

"But is she injured? Can she walk?"

"What could you expect? She cannot walk yet, but she is getting better
gradually--at least, I think so."

"What you think is nothing, less than nothing. What do the doctors

As Ogilvie was speaking he drew his wife gradually but surely away
from the fashionably dressed people and the big-wigs who were too
polite to stare, but who were all the time devoured with curiosity. It
began to be whispered in the crowd that Ogilvie had returned, and that
his wife and he were looking at certain matters from different points
of view. There were several men and women present, who, although they
encouraged Mrs. Ogilvie to have the bazaar, nevertheless thought her a
heartless woman, and these people now were rather rejoicing in
Ogilvie's attitude. He did not look like a person who could be trifled
with. He drew his wife toward the shrubbery.

"I will see the child in a minute," he said; "nothing else matters.
She is ill, unable to walk, lying down. I want to hear full
particulars. If you will not tell them to me, I will send for the
doctor. The question I wish answered is this, _what do the doctors

Tears filled Mrs. Ogilvie's pretty, dark eyes.

"Really, Phil, you are too cruel. After these weeks of anxiety, which
only a mother can understand, you speak to me in that tone, just as if
the dear little creature were nothing to me at all."

"You can cry, Mildred, as much as you please, and you can talk all the
sentimental stuff that best appeals to you, but answer my question
now. What do the doctors say, and what doctors has she seen?"

"The local doctor here, our own special doctor in town, and the great
specialist, Sir Henry Powell."

"Good God, that man!" said Ogilvie, starting back. "Then she must have
been badly hurt?"

"She was badly hurt."

"Well, what did the doctors say? Give me their verdict. I insist upon

"They--they--of course, they are wrong, Phil. You are hurting me; I
wish you would not hold my hands so tightly."

"Speak!" was his only response.

"They said at the time--of course they were mistaken, doctors often
are. You cannot imagine how many diagnoses of theirs have been proved
to be wrong. Yes, I learned that queer word; I did not understand it
at first. Now I know all about it."

"Speak!" This one expression came from Ogilvie's lips almost with a

"Well, they said at the time that--oh, Phil, you kill me when you look
at me like that! They said the case was----"

"Hopeless?" asked the man between his white lips.

"They certainly _said_ it. But, Phil; oh, Phil, dear, they are wrong!"

He let her hands go with a sudden jerk. She almost fell.

"You knew it, and you could have that going on?" he said. "Go back to
your bazaar."

"I certainly will. I think you are terribly unkind."

"You can have those people here, and that band playing, when you know
_that_? Well, if such scenes give you pleasure at such a time, go and
enjoy them."

He strode into the house. She looked after his retreating figure; then
she took out her daintily laced handkerchief, applied it to her eyes,
and went back to her duties.

"I am a martyr in a good cause," she said to herself; "but it is
bitterly hard when one's husband does not understand one."


This was better than the phantom ship. This was peace, joy, and
absolute delight. Sibyl need not now only lie in her father's arms
at night and in her dreams. She could look into his face and hear
his voice and touch his hand at all hours, day and night.

Her gladness was so real and beautiful that it pervaded the entire
room, and in her presence Ogilvie scarcely felt pain. He held her
little hand and sat by her side, and at times when she was utterly
weary he even managed to raise her in his arms and pace the room with
her, and lay her back again on her bed without hurting her, and he
talked cheerfully in her presence, and smiled and even joked with her,
and they were gay together with a sort of tender gaiety which had
never been theirs in the old times. At night, especially, he was her
best comforter and her kindest and most tender nurse.

For the first two days after his return Ogilvie scarcely left Sibyl.
During all that time he asked no questions of outsiders. He did not
even inquire for the doctor's verdict. Where was the good of asking a
question which could only receive one answer? The look on the child's
face was answer enough to her father.

Meanwhile, outside in the grounds, the bazaar went on. The marquee was
full of guests, the band played cheerily, the notable people from all
the country round arrived in carriages, and bought the pretty things
from the different stall-holders and went away again.

The weather was balmy, soft and warm, and the little skiffs with their
gay flags did a large trade on the river. Lord Grayleigh was one of
the guests, returning to town, it is true, at night, but coming back
again early in the morning. He heard that Ogilvie had returned and was
naturally anxious to see him, but Ogilvie sent word that he could not
see anyone just then. Grayleigh understood. He shook his head when
Mrs. Ogilvie herself brought him the message.

"This cuts him to the heart," he said; "I doubt if he will ever be the
same man again."

"Oh, Lord Grayleigh, what nonsense!" said the wife. "My dear husband
was always eccentric, but as Sibyl recovers so will he recover his
equanimity. It is a great shock to him, of course, to see her as she
is now, dear little soul. But I cannot tell you how bad I was at
first; indeed, I was in bed for nearly a week. I had a sort of nervous
attack--nervous fever, the doctor said. But I got over it. I know now
so assuredly that the darling child is getting well that I am never
unhappy about her. Philip will be just the same by-and-by."

Grayleigh made no reply. He gave Mrs. Ogilvie one of his queer
glances, turned on his heel and whistled softly to himself. He
muttered under his breath that some women were poor creatures, and he
was sorry for Ogilvie, yes, very sorry.

Grayleigh was also anxious with regard to another matter, but that
anxiety he managed so effectually to smother that he would not even
allow himself to _think_ that it had any part in Ogilvie's curious
unwillingness to see him.

At this time it is doubtful whether Ogilvie did refuse to see
Grayleigh in any way on account of the mine, for during those two days
he had eyes, ears, thoughts, and heart for no one but Sibyl. When
anyone else entered her room he invariably went out, but he quickly
returned, smiling as he did so, and generally carrying in his hand
some treasure which he had brought for her across the seas. He would
then draw his chair near the little, white bed and talk to her in
light and cheerful strains, telling her wonderful things he had seen
during his voyage, of the sunsets at sea, of a marvelous rainbow which
once spanned the sky from east to west, and of many curious mirages
which he had witnessed. He always talked to the child of nature,
knowing how she understood nature, and those things which are the
special heritage of the innocent of the earth, and she was as happy
during those two peaceful days as it was ever the lot of little mortal
to be.

But, in particular, when Mrs. Ogilvie entered the sick room did
Ogilvie go out. He had during those two days not a single word of
private talk with his wife. To Miss Winstead he was always polite and
tolerant; to nurse he was more than polite, he was kind, and to Sibyl
he was all in all, everything that father could be, everything that
love could imagine. He kept himself, his wounded conscience, his
fears, his heavy burden of sin in abeyance for the sake of the
fast-fleeting little life, because he willed, with all the strength
of his nature, to give the child every comfort that lay in his power
during her last moments.

But the peaceful days could not last long. They came to an end with
the big bazaar. The band ceased to play on the lawn, the pleasure
boats ceased to ply up and down the Thames, the lovely Indian summer
passed into duller weather, the equinoctial gales visited the land,
and Ogilvie knew that he must brace himself for something he had long
made up his mind to accomplish. He must pass out of this time of
quiet into a time of storm. He had known from the first that he must
do this, but until the bazaar came to an end, by a sort of tacit
consent, neither the child nor the man talked of the gold mine.

But now the guests having gone, even Lady Helen Douglas and Lord
Grayleigh having left the house, Ogilvie knew that he must act.

On the morning of the third day after his return Mrs. Ogilvie entered
Sibyl's room. She came in quietly looking pale and at the same time
jubilant. The result of the bazaar was a large check which was to be
sent off that day to the Home for Incurables at Watleigh. Mrs. Ogilvie
felt herself a very good and charitable woman indeed. She wore her
very prettiest dress and had smiles in her dark eyes.

"Oh! my ownest darling mother, how sweet you look!" said little Sibyl.
"Come and kiss me, darling mother."

Mrs. Ogilvie had to bend forward to catch the failing voice. She asked
the child what she said. Sibyl feebly repeated her words.

"Don't tire her," said Ogilvie; "if you cannot hear, be satisfied to
guess. The child wishes you to kiss her."

Mrs. Ogilvie turned on her husband a look of reproach. There was an
expression in her eyes which seemed to say: "And you think that I, a
mother, do not understand my own child." But Ogilvie would not meet
his wife's eyes. He walked to one of the windows and looked out. The
little, white couch had been moved a trifle out of the window now that
the weather was getting chilly, and a screen was put up to protect the
child from any draught.

Ogilvie stood and looked across the garden. Where the marquee had
stood the grass was already turning yellow, there were wisps of straw
about; the scene without seemed to him to be full with desolation.
Suddenly he turned, walked to the fireplace, and stirred the fire into
a blaze. At that moment Miss Winstead entered the room.

"Miss Winstead," said Ogilvie, "will you sit with Sibyl for a short
time? Mildred, I should like a word with you alone."

His voice was cheerful, but quite firm. He went up to Sibyl and kissed

"I shall soon be back, my little love," he said, and she kissed him
and smiled, and watched both parents as they went out of the room.

"Isn't it wonderful," she said, turning to her governess, "how perfect
they both are! I don't know which is most perfect; only, of course I
can't help it, but I like father's way best."

"I should think you did," replied Miss Winstead. "Shall I go on
reading you the new fairy tale, Sibyl?"

"Not to-day, thank you, Miss Winstead," answered Sibyl.

"Then what shall I read?"

"I don't think anything, just now. Father has been reading the most
beautiful inciting things about a saint called John, who wrote a story
about the New Jerusalem. Did you ever read it?"

"You mean a story out of the Bible, from the Book of Revelation?"

"Perhaps so; I don't quite know what part of the Bible. Oh, it's most
wonderful inciting, and father reads so splendid. It's about what
happens to people when their wings are grown long. Did you never read
about it, Miss Winstead? The New Jerusalem _is_ so lovely, with
streets paved with gold, same as the gold in the gold mine, you know,
and gates all made of big pearls, each gate one big whole pearl. I
won't ask you to read about it, 'cos I like father's way of reading
best; but it's all most wonderful and beautiful."

The child lay with a smile on her face. She could see a little way
across the garden from where she lay.

Meanwhile Ogilvie and his wife had gone downstairs. When they reached
the wide central hall, he asked her to accompany him into a room
which was meant to be a library. It looked out toward the back of the
house, and was not quite in the same absolute order as the other
beautiful rooms were in. Ogilvie perhaps chose it for that reason.

The moment they had both got into the room he closed the door, and
turned and faced his wife.

"Now, Mildred," he said, "I wish to understand--God knows I am the
last person who ought to reproach you--but I must clearly understand
what this means."

"What it means?" she repeated. "Why do you speak in that tone? Oh,
it's very fine to say you do not mean to reproach me, but your eyes
and the tone of your voice reproach me. You have been very cruel to
me, Philip, these last two days. What I have suffered, God only knows.
I have gone through the most fearful strain; I, alone, unaided by you,
have had to keep the bazaar going, to entertain our distinguished
guests, to be here, there, and everywhere, but, thank goodness, we did
collect a nice little sum for the Home for Incurables. I wonder,
Philip, when you think of your own dear little daughter, and what she

"Hush!" said the man.

Mrs. Ogilvie paused in her rapid flow of words, and looked at him with
interrogation in her eyes.

"I refuse to allow Sibyl's name to enter into this matter," he said.
"You did what you did, God knows with what motive. I don't care, and I
do not mean to inquire. The question I have now to ask is, what is the
meaning of _this_?" As he spoke he waved his hand round the room, and
then pointed to the grounds outside.

"Silverbel!" she cried; "but I wrote to you and told you the place was
in the market. I even sent you a cablegram. Oh, of course, I forgot,
you rushed away from Brisbane in a hurry. You received the other
cablegram about little Sibyl?"

"Yes, I received the other cablegram, and, as you say, I rushed home.
But why are you here? Have you taken the house for the season, or

Mrs. Ogilvie gave an excited scream, ending off in a laugh.

"Why, we have bought Silverbel," she cried; "you are, you must be
pleased. Mr. Acland lent me enough money for the first deposit, and
you have just come back in time, my dear Phil, to pay the final sum
due at the end of October, eighteen thousand pounds. Quite a trifle
compared to the fortune you must have brought back with you. Then,
of course, there is also the furniture to be paid for, but the
tradespeople are quite willing to wait. We are rich, dear Phil, and
I am so happy about it."

"Rich!" he answered. He did not say another word for a moment, then he
went slowly up to his wife, and took her hand.

"Mildred," he said slowly, "do you realize--do you at all realize the
fact that the child is dying?"

"Nonsense," she answered, starting back.

"The child is dying," repeated Ogilvie, "and when the child dies, any
motive that I ever had for amassing gold, or any of those things which
are considered essential to the worldly man's happiness, _goes out_.
After the child is taken, I have no desire to live as a wealthy man,
as a man of society, as a man of means. Life to me is reduced to the
smallest possible modicum of interest. When I went to Queensland, I
went there because I wished to secure money for the child. I did
bitter wrong, and God is punishing me, but I sinned for her sake.... I
now repent of my sin, and repentance means----"

"What?" she asked, looking at him with round, dilated eyes.

"Restitution," he replied; "all the restitution that lies in my

"You--you terrify me," said Mrs. Ogilvie; "what are you talking about?
Restitution! What have you to give back?"

"Listen, and I will explain. You knew, Mildred--oh, yes, you knew it
well enough--that I went to Australia on no honorable mission. You did
not care to inquire, you hid yourself behind a veil of pretended
ignorance; but you _knew_--yes, you did, and you dare not deny
it--that I went to Queensland to commit a crime. It would implicate
others if I were to explain things more fully. I will not implicate
others, I will stand alone now, in this bitter moment when the fruit
of my sin is brought home to me. I will bear the responsibility of my
own sin. I will not drag anybody else down in my fall, but it is
sufficient for you to know, Mildred, that the Lombard Deeps Mine as a
speculation is worthless."

"Worthless!" she cried, "impossible!"

"Worthless," he repeated.

"Then why, why did you send a cablegram to say the mine was full of
gold? Lord Grayleigh told me he had received such a message from you."

"I told a dastardly lie, which I am about to put straight."

"But, but," she began, her lips white, her eyes shining, "if you do
not explain away your lie (oh, Phil, it is such an ugly word), if you
do not explain it away, could not the company be floated?"

"It could, and the directors could reap a fortune by means of it. Do
you understand, Mildred, what that implies?"

"Do I understand?" she replied. "No, I was always a poor little woman
who had no head for figures."

"Nevertheless you will, I think, take it in when I explain. You are
not quite so stupid as you make yourself out. The directors and I
could make a fortune--it would be easy, for there is enough gold
in the mine to last for at least six months, and the public are
credulous, and can be taken in. We should make our fortunes out of the
widows and orphans, out of the savings of the poor clerks, and from
the clergyman's tiny stipend. We could sweep in their little earnings,
and aggrandize our own wealth and importance, and _lose our souls_.
Yes, Mildred, we could, but we won't. I shall prevent that. I have a
task before me which will save this foulest crime from being

Mrs. Ogilvie dropped into a chair; she burst into hysterical weeping.

"What you say can't be true, Phil. Oh, Phil, darling, do have mercy."

"How?" he asked.

"Don't do anything so mad, so rash. You always had such a queer,
troublesome sort of conscience. Phil, I cannot stand poverty, I cannot
stand being dragged down; I must have this place; I have set my heart
on it."

He came up to her and took both her hands.

"Is it worth evil?" he asked.

"What do you mean?"

"Is anything under the sun worth evil?" She made no answer. He dropped
her hands and left the room.


Ogilvie went up to Sibyl. Suffering and love had taught him many
lessons, amongst others those of absolute self-control. His face was
smiling and calm as he crossed the room, bent over the child and
kissed her. Those blue eyes of hers, always so full of penetration and
of knowledge, which was not all this earth, could detect no sorrow in
her father's.

"I must go to town, I shall be away for as short a time as possible.
As soon as I come back I will come to you," he said. "Look after her,
please, Miss Winstead. If you cannot remain in the room, send nurse.
Now, don't tire yourself, my little love. Remember that father will be
back very soon."

"Don't hurry, father darling," replied Sibyl "'cos I am quite happy
thinking about you, even if you are not here."

He went away, ran downstairs, put on his hat and went out. His wife
was standing in the porch.

"One moment, Phil," she called, "where are you going?"

"To town."

"To do what?"

"To do what I said," he answered, and he gave her a strange look,
which frightened her, and caused her to fall back against the wall.

He disappeared down the avenue, she sank into a chair and began
to weep. She was thoroughly miserable and frightened. Philip had
returned, but all pleasant golden dreams were shattered, for although
he had sent a cablegram to Lord Grayleigh, saying that all was well,
better than well, his conscience was speaking to him, that troublesome
terrible conscience of his, and he was about to destroy his own work.

"What fearful creatures men with consciences are," moaned Mrs.

Meanwhile Ogilvie walked quickly up the avenue. Just at the gates he
met an old couple who were coming in. They were a queer-looking old
pair, dressed in old-fashioned style. Ogilvie did not know them, but
the woman paused when she saw him, came forward, dropped a curtsey and

"I beg your pardon, sir."

"What can I do for you?" said Ogilvie. He tried to speak courteously,
but this delay, and the presence of the old couple whose names he did
not even know, irritated him.

"If you please, sir, you are Mr. Ogilvie?"

"That is my name."

"We know you," continued the old woman, "by the likeness to your
little daughter."

The mention of Sibyl caused Ogilvie now to regard them more

"May I inquire your names?" he asked.

"Holman, sir," said the woman. "This is my husband, sir. We heard only
yesterday of dear little Missie's illness, and we couldn't rest until
we came to enquire after her. We greatly 'opes, sir, that the dear
little lamb is better. We thought you wouldn't mind if we asked."

"By no means," answered Ogilvie. "Any friends of Sibyl's, any real
friends, are of interest to me."

He paused and looked into the old woman's face.

"She's better, ain't she, dear lamb?" asked Mrs. Holman.

Ogilvie shook his head; it was a quick movement, his face was very
white, his lips opened but no words came. The next instant he had
hurried down the road, leaving the old pair looking after him.

Mrs. Holman caught her husband's hand.

"What do it mean, John?" she asked, "what do it mean?"

"We had best go to the house and find out," was Holman's response.

"Yes, we had best," replied Mrs. Holman; "but, John, I take it that
it means the worst. The little lamb was too good for this earth. I
always said it, John, always."

"Come to the house and let's find out," said Holman again.

He took his old wife's hand, and the strange-looking pair walked down
the avenue. Presently they found themselves standing outside the
pretty old-fashioned porch of lovely Silverbel. They did not know as
they walked that they were in full view of the windows of the Chamber
of Peace, and that eager blue eyes were watching them, eager eyes
which filled with love and longing when they gazed at them.

"Miss Winstead!" cried little Sibyl.

"What is it, dear?" asked the governess.

Sibyl had been silent for nearly a quarter of an hour, and Miss
Winstead, tired with the bazaar and many other things, had been
falling into a doze. The sudden excitement in Sibyl's voice now
arrested her attention.

"Oh, Miss Winstead, they have come."

"Who have come, dear?"

"The Holmans, the darlings! I saw them walking down the avenue. Oh, I
should so like to see them. Will you go down and bring them up? Please

"But the doctor said you were to be quiet, and not excite yourself."

"What does it matter whether I incite myself or not? Please, please
let me see the Holmans."

"Yes, dear," replied Miss Winstead. She left the room and went
downstairs. As she entered the central hall she suddenly found herself
listening to an animated conversation.

"Now, my good people," said Mrs. Ogilvie's voice, raised high and
clear, "you will be kind enough to return to town immediately. The
child is ill, but we hope soon to have her better. See her, did you
say, my good woman? Certainly not. I shall be pleased to offer you
refreshment if you will go round to the housekeeper's entrance, but
you must take the next train to town, you cannot see the child."

"If you please, Mrs. Ogilvie," here interrupted Miss Winstead, coming
forward. "Sibyl noticed Mr. and Mrs. Holman as they walked down the
avenue, and is very much pleased and delighted at their coming to see
her, and wants to know if they may come up at once and have a talk
with her?"

"Dear me!" cried Mrs. Ogilvie; "I really must give the child another
bedroom, this sort of thing is so bad for her. It is small wonder the
darling does not get back her health--the dreadful way in which she
is over-excited and injudiciously treated. Really, my good folks, I
wish you would go back to town and not make mischief."

"But if the little lady wishes?" began Mrs. Holman, in a timid voice,
tears trembling on her eyelids.

"Sibyl certainly does wish to see you," said Miss Winstead in a grave
voice. "I think, Mrs. Ogilvie," she added, "it would be a pity to
refuse her. I happen to know Mr. and Mrs. Holman pretty well, and I do
not think they will injure dear little Sibyl. If you will both promise
to come upstairs quietly," continued Miss Winstead, "and not express
sorrow when you see her, for she is much changed, and will endeavor to
speak cheerfully, you will do her good, not harm."

"Oh, yes, we'll speak cheerfully," said Holman; "we know the ways of
dear little Miss. If so be that she would see us, it would be a great
gratification, Madam, and we will give you our word that we will not
injure your little daughter."

"Very well," said Mrs. Ogilvie, waving her hand, "My opinion is
never taken in this house, nor my wishes consulted. I pass the
responsibility on to you, Miss Winstead. When the child's father
returns and finds that you have acted as you have done you will
have to answer to him. I wash my hands of the matter."

Mrs. Ogilvie went out on to the lawn.

"The day is improving," she thought. She glanced up at the sky. "It
certainly is miserable at home, and every one talks nonsense about
Sibyl. I shall really take a drive and go and see the Le Stranges. I
cannot stand the gloom of the house. The dear child is getting better
fast, there is not the least doubt of it, and why Phil should talk as
he does, and in particular why he should speak as if we were paupers,
is past bearing. Lose Silverbel! I certainly will not submit to that."

So the much aggrieved wife went round in the direction of the stables,
gave orders that the pony trap was to be got ready for her, and soon
afterward was on her way to the Le Stranges. By the time she reached
that gay and somewhat festive household, she herself was as merry and
hopeful as usual.

Meantime Miss Winstead took the Holmans upstairs.

"You must be prepared for a very great change," said Miss Winstead,
"but you will not show her that you notice it. She is very sweet and
very happy, and I do not think anyone need be over-sorry about her."

Miss Winstead's own voice trembled. The next moment she opened the
door of the Chamber of Peace, and the old-fashioned pair from whom
Sibyl had bought so many dusty toys stood before her.

"Eh, my little love, and how are you, dearie?" said Mrs. Holman. She
went forward, dropped on her knees by the bed, and took one of Sibyl's
soft white hands. "Eh, dearie, and what can Mrs. Holman do for you?"

"How do you do, Mrs. Holman?" said Sibyl, in her weak, but perfectly
clear voice; "and how do you do, Mr. Holman? How very kind of you both
to come to see me. Do you know I love you very much. I think of you so
often. Won't you come to the other side of the bed, Mr. Holman, and
won't you take a chair? My voice is apt to get tired if I talk too
loud. I am very glad to see you both."

"Eh! but you look sweet," said Mrs. Holman.

Mr. Holman now took his big handkerchief and blew his nose violently.
After that precautionary act he felt better, as he expressed it, and
no longer in danger of giving way. But Mrs. Holman never for a single
instant thought of giving way. She had once, long ago, had a child of
her own--a child who died when young--and she had sat by that dying
child's bed and never once given expression to her feelings. So why
should she now grieve little Sibyl by showing undue sorrow?

"It is nice to look at you, dearie," she repeated, "and what a pretty
room you have, my love."

"Everything is beautiful," said little Sibyl, "everything in all the
world, and I love you so much."

"To be sure, darling, and so do Holman and I love you."

"Whisper," said Sibyl, "bend a little nearer, my voice gets so very
tired. Have you kept your hundred pounds quite safe?"

"Yes, darling, but we won't talk of money now."

"Only," said Sibyl, "when the gold comes from the mine _you'll_ be all
right. Lord Grayleigh has wrote your name and Mr. Holman's in his
note-book, and he has promised that you are to get some of the gold.
You'll be able to have the shop in Buckingham Palace Road, and the
children will come to you and buy your beautiful toys." She paused
here and her little face turned white.

"You must not talk any more, dearie," said Mrs. Holman. "It's all
right about the gold and everything else. All we want is for you to
get well."

"I am getting well," answered Sibyl, but as she said the words a
curious expression came into her eyes.

"You know," she said, as Mrs. Holman rose and took her hand before she
went away, "that when we have wings we fly. I think my wings are
coming; but oh, I love you, and you won't forget me when you have your
big shop in Buckingham Palace Road?"

"We will never forget you, dearie," said Mrs. Holman, and then she
stooped and kissed the child.

"Come, Holman," she said.

"If I might," said old Holman, straightening himself and looking very
solemn, "if I might have the great privilege of kissing little
Missie's hand afore I go."

"Oh, indeed, you may," said Sibyl.

A moment later the old pair were seen going slowly down the avenue.

"Blessed darling, her wings are very near, I'm thinking," said Mrs.
Holman. She was sobbing now, although she had not sobbed in the sick

"Queer woman, the mother," said Holman. "We'll get back to town, wife;
I'm wonderful upset."

"We'll never sell no more of the dusty toys to no other little
children," said Mrs. Holman, and she wept behind her handkerchief.


Ogilvie went straight to town. When he arrived at Victoria he took a
hansom and drove to the house of the great doctor who had last seen
Sibyl. Sir Henry Powell was at home. Ogilvie sent in his card and
was admitted almost immediately into his presence. He asked a few
questions, they were straight and to the point, and to the point did
the specialist reply. His last words were:

"It is a question of time; but the end may come at any moment. There
never was any hope from the beginning. From the first it was a matter
of days and weeks, I did not know when I first saw your little
daughter that she could live even as long as she has done, but the
injury to the spine was low down, which doubtless accounts for this

Ogilvie bowed, offered a fee, which Sir Henry refused, and left the
house. Although he had just received the blow which he expected to
receive, he felt strangely quiet, his troublesome heart was not
troublesome any longer. There was no excitement whatever about him; he
had never felt so calm in all his life before. He knew well that, as
far as earthly success and earthly hope and earthly joy went, he was
coming to the end of the ways. He knew that he had strength for the
task which lay before him.

He went to the nearest telegraph office and sent three telegrams to
Lord Grayleigh. He pre-paid the answers of each, sending one to
Grayleigh's club, another to his house in town, and another to
Grayleigh Manor. The contents of each were identical.

    "Wire immediately the next meeting of the directors of the
    Lombard Deeps."

He gave as the address to which the reply was to be sent his own house
in Belgrave Square.

Having done this he paid a visit to his solicitor, Mr. Acland. Acland
did not know that he had come back, and was unfeignedly glad to see
him, but when he observed the expression on his friend's face, he
started and said:

"My dear fellow, you don't look the better for your trip; I am sorry
to see you so broken down."

"I have a good deal to try me," said Ogilvie; "please do not discuss
my looks. It does not matter whether I am ill or well. I have much to
do and must do my work quickly. You have heard, of course, about the

"Of her accident?" exclaimed Acland; "yes, her mother wrote to me some
time ago--she had a fall from her pony?"

"She had."

"Take a chair, won't you, Ogilvie?"

Ogilvie dropped into one. Acland looked at him and then said, slowly:

"I judged from Mrs. Ogilvie's note that there was nothing serious the
matter. I hope I am not mistaken."

"You are mistaken," replied Ogilvie; "but I cannot quite bear to
discuss this matter. Shall we enter at once on the real object of my

"Certainly," said Acland.

A clerk entered the room. "Leave us," said Acland to the man, "and say
to any inquirers that I am particularly engaged. Now, Ogilvie," he
added as the clerk withdrew, "I am quite at your service."

"Thank you. There is a little business which has just come to my ears,
and which I wish to arrange quickly. My wife tells me that she has
borrowed two thousand pounds from you in order to pay a deposit on the
place on the Thames called Silverbel."

"Yes, the place where your wife is now staying."


"I hope you approve of Silverbel, Ogilvie; it is really cheap at the
price; and, of course, everyone knows that you have returned a very
rich man. It would have been pleasanter for me had you been at home
when the purchase was made, but Mrs. Ogilvie was insistent. She had
taken a strong fancy to the place. There were several other less
expensive country places in the market, but the only one which would
please her was Silverbel. I cabled to you, but got no reply. Your wife
implored me to act, and I lent her the deposit. The purchase must be
completed at the end of October, in about a month from now. I hope you
don't blame me, Ogilvie?"

"I don't blame you--I understand my wife. It would have been difficult
to refuse her. Of course, had you done so matters might have been a
little easier for me now. As it is, I will pay you back the deposit. I
have my cheque-book with me."

"What do you mean?"

"I should like to write a cheque for you now. I must get this matter
put straight, and, Acland, you must find another purchaser."

"Not really!" cried Mr. Acland. "The place is beautiful, and cheap at
the price, and you have come back a rich man."

"On the contrary, I have returned to England practically a pauper."

"No!" cried Mr. Acland; "but the report of the Lombard Deeps----"

"Hush, you will know all soon. It is sufficient for you at present to
receive the news in all confidence that I am a ruined man. Not that it
matters. There will be a trifle for my wife--nothing else concerns me.
May I fill in this cheque?"

"You can do so, of course," replied Acland. "I shall receive the money
in full sooner or later from the other purchaser, and then you can
have it back."

"It would be a satisfaction to me, however, to pay you the deposit you
lent my wife at once."

"Very well."

Ogilvie filled in a cheque for two thousand pounds.

"You had better see Mrs. Ogilvie with regard to this," he said, as he
stood up. "You transacted the business with her, and you must break to
her what I have already done, but what I fear she fails to believe,
that the purchase cannot possibly go on. It will not be in my power,
Acland, to complete it, even if I should be alive at the time."

"I know another man only too anxious to purchase," said Acland; "but I
am deeply sorry for you--your child so ill, your own mission to
Queensland a failure."

"Yes, quite a failure. I won't detain you any longer now. I may need
your services again presently."

Ogilvie went from the lawyer's house straight to his own in Belgrave
Square. It was in the hands of a caretaker. A seedy-looking man in a
rusty black coat opened the door. He did not know Ogilvie.

"I am the master," said Ogilvie; "let me in, please."

The man stood aside.

"Has a telegram come for me?"

"Yes, sir, five minutes ago."

Ogilvie tore it open, and read the contents.

     "Meeting of directors at one o'clock to-morrow, at Cannon
     Street Hotel. Not necessary for you to be present unless you
     wish. GRAYLEIGH."

Ogilvie crushed up the telegram, and turned to the man.

"I shall sleep here to-night," Ogilvie said, "and shall be back in the
course of the evening."

He then went to his bank. It was within half-an-hour of closing. He
saw one of the managers who happened to be a friend of his. The
manager welcomed him back with effusion, and then made the usual
remark about his changed appearance.

Ogilvie put his troublesome questions aside.

"I had an interview with you just before I went to Queensland," he
said, "and I then placed, with a special note for your instructions
in case anything happened to me, a sum of money in the bank."

"A large sum, Ogilvie--ten thousand pounds."

"Yes, ten thousand pounds," repeated Ogilvie. "I want to withdraw the

"It is a considerable sum to withdraw at once, but as it is not on
deposit you can have it."

"I thought it only fair to give you a few hours' notice. I shall call
for it to-morrow about ten o'clock."

"Do you wish to take it in a cheque?"

"I think not, I should prefer notes." Ogilvie added a few more words,
and then went back to his own house.

At last everything was in train. He uttered a sigh of relief. The
house looked gloomy and dismantled, but for that very reason it suited
his feelings. Some of the furniture had been removed to Silverbel, and
the place was dusty. His study in particular looked forbidding, some
ashes from the last fire ever made there still remained in the grate.
He wondered if anyone had ever entered the study since he last sat
there and struggled with temptation and yielded to it.

He went up to his own room, which had been hastily prepared for him,
and looked around him in a forlorn way. He then quickly mounted
another flight of stairs, and found himself at last in the room where
his little daughter used to sleep. The moment he entered this room he
was conscious of a sensation of comfort. The worldliness of all the
rest of the house fell away in this sweet, simply furnished chamber.
He sat down near the little empty bed, pressed his hand over his eyes,
and gave himself up to thought.

Nobody knew how long he sat there. The caretaker and his wife took no
notice. They were busy down in the kitchen. It mattered nothing at all
to them whether Ogilvie were in the house or not. He breathed a
conscious sigh of relief. He was glad to be alone, and the spirit of
his little daughter seemed close to him. He had something hard to go
through, and terrible agony would be his as he accomplished his task.
He knew that he should have to walk through fire, and the fire would
not be brief nor quickly over. Step by step his wounded feet must
tread. By no other road was there redemption. He did not shirk the
inevitable. On the contrary, his mind was made up.

"By no other road can I clasp her hand in the Eternity which lies
beyond this present life," he thought. "I deserve the pain and the
shame, I deserve all. There are times when a man comes face to face
with God. It is fearful when his God is angry with him. My God is
angry--the pains of hell take hold of me."

He walked to the window and looked out. It is doubtful if he saw much.
Suddenly beside the little empty bed he fell on his knees, buried his
face in his hands and a sob rose to his throat.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the following day, shortly before one o'clock, the directors of the
Lombard Deeps Company assembled in one of the big rooms of the Cannon
Street Hotel. Lord Grayleigh, the Chairman, had not yet arrived. The
rest of the directors sat around a long, green baize table and talked
eagerly one to the other. They formed a notable gathering, including
many of the astutest financiers in the city. As they sat and waited
for Grayleigh to appear, they eagerly discussed the prospects of the
new venture. While they talked their spirits rose, and had any outside
spectator been present he would have guessed that they had already
made up their minds to an enormous success.

Just on the stroke of one Grayleigh, carrying a roll of documents in
his hand, entered the room. There was a lull in the conversation as he
nodded to one and another of his acquaintances, went quickly up the
room and took his seat at the head of the table. Here he arranged his
papers and held a short consultation with the secretary, a tall man of
about fifty years of age. There was a short pause and then Lord
Grayleigh rose to his feet.

"Gentlemen," he began, "although, as you know, I have been and am
still chairman of several companies, I can say without hesitation that
never have I presided at a meeting of the directors of any company
before which had such brilliant prospects. It is my firm conviction,
and I hope to impress you all with a similar feeling, that the Lombard
Deeps Mining Company has a great career before it."

Expressions of satisfaction rose from one or two present.

Lord Grayleigh proceeded: "This I can frankly say is largely due to
our having secured the services of Mr. Philip Ogilvie as our assayer,
but I regret to have to tell you all that, although he has returned
to England, he is not likely to be present to-day. A very serious
domestic calamity which ought to claim your deepest sympathy is the
cause of his absence, but his report in detail I shall now have the
pleasure of submitting to you."

Here Lord Grayleigh took up the document which had been signed by
Ogilvie and Rycroft at the Waharoo Hotel at Brisbane. He proceeded to
read it aloud, emphasizing the words which spoke of the value of the
veins of gold beneath the alluvial deposit.

"This report," he said in conclusion, "is vouched for by the
signatures of my friend Ogilvie and also by James Rycroft, who is
nearly as well known in Queensland as Ogilvie is in London."

As detail after detail of the brilliantly worded document which
Ogilvie and Rycroft had compounded with such skill, fell upon the ears
of Lord Grayleigh's audience, satisfaction not unmixed with avarice
lit up the eyes of many. Accustomed as most of these men were to
assayers' reports, what they now listened to unfeignedly astonished
them. There was a great silence in the room, and not the slightest
word from Lord Grayleigh's clear voice was lost.

When he had finished he laid the document on the table and was just
about, as he expressed it, to proceed to business when a movement at
the door caused all to turn their heads. Ogilvie had unexpectedly
entered the room.

Cries of welcome greeted him and many hands were stretched out. He
contented himself, however, with bowing slightly, and going up the
room handed Lord Grayleigh a packet.

"Don't open it now," he said in a low voice, "it is for yourself, and
carries its own explanation with it."

He then turned and faced the directors. There was something about his
demeanor and an indescribable look on his face, which caused the
murmurs of applause to die away and silence once more to fill the

Lord Grayleigh slipped the small packet into his pocket and also rose
to his feet.

Ogilvie's attitude and manner disturbed him. A sensation as though of
coming calamity seemed to weigh the air. Lord Grayleigh was the first
to speak.

"We are all glad to welcome you back, Ogilvie," he said. "In more
senses than one we are pleased that you are able to be present just
now. I have just been reading your report to these gentlemen. I had
finished it when you entered the room."

"It is an admirable and brilliant account of the mine, Mr. Ogilvie,"
said a director from the far end of the table. "I congratulate you not
only on the good news it contains, but on the excellent manner in
which you have put details together. The Lombard Deeps will be the
best thing in the market, and we shall not need for capital to work
the mine to the fullest extent."

"Will you permit me to look at my report for a moment, Lord
Grayleigh?" said Ogilvie, in a grave tone.

Grayleigh gave it to him. Ogilvie took it in his hand.

"I have come here to-day," he said, "to speak for a moment"--his voice
was husky; he cleared his throat, and went on--"to perform a painful
business, to set wrong right. I am prepared, gentlemen, for your
opprobrium. You think well of me now, you will not do so long. I have
come here to speak to you of that----"

"Sit down," said Grayleigh's voice behind him. "You must be mad.
Remember yourself." He laid his hand on Ogilvie's arm. Ogilvie shook
it off.

"I can tell you, gentlemen, what I have come to say in a few words,"
he continued. "This report which I drew up, and which I signed, is as
_false as hell_."

"False?" echoed a voice in the distance, a thin voice from a
foreign-looking man. "Impossible!"

"It is false," continued Ogilvie. "I wrote the report and I ought to
know. I spent three weeks at the Lombard Deeps Mine. There were no
rich veins of gold; there was a certain alluvial deposit, which for a
time, a few months, might yield five ounces to the ton. I wrote the
report for a motive which no longer exists. God Himself smote me for
my infamous work. Gentlemen, you can do with me exactly as you think
fit, but this report, signed by me, shall never go before the world."

As he said the last words he hastily tore away his own signature,
crushed it in his hands and, crossing the room, threw it into a small
fire which was burning in the grate.

This action was the signal for great excitement on the part of most of
the directors. Others poured out floods of questions. Lord Grayleigh
alone remained quietly seated in his chair, but his face was white,
and for the time he was scarcely conscious of what he was doing.

"I have no excuse to offer," continued Ogilvie, "and I refuse to
inculpate anyone with myself in this matter. This was my own concern;
I thought out the report, I worded it, I signed it. Rycroft was more
or less my tool. In the moment of my so-called victory God smote me.
You can do with me just as you please, but the Lombard Deeps Company
must collapse. I have nothing further to say."

He left the room, dropping the now worthless document on to the table
as he did so. No one interrupted him or prevented his exit. As his
footsteps died away on the stairs the discomfited and astonished
directors looked one at the other.

"What is the meaning of it all?" said one, going up to Grayleigh;
"you are chairman, and you ought to know."

Grayleigh shook himself and stood up.

"This must be a brief madness," he said; "there is no other way to
account for it. Ogilvie, of all men under the sun! Gentlemen, you know
his character, you know what his name was worth as our engineer, but
there is one other thing you do not know. The poor fellow has a child,
only one, to whom he is devoted. I heard this morning that the child
is dying. Under such circumstances his mind may have been unhinged.
Let me follow him. I will return after I have said a word to him."

The chairman left the room, ran quickly downstairs and out into the
street. Ogilvie had hailed a hansom and was getting into it.

"One moment first," said Grayleigh.

"What do you want?" asked Ogilvie.

"An explanation."

"I gave it upstairs."

"You are mad--you are mad."

"On the contrary, I believe that I am sane--sane at last. I grant you
I was mad when I signed the report, but I am sane now."

"What packet was that you gave me?"

"Your money back."

"The ten thousand pounds?"

"Yes; I did not want it. I have delivered my soul, and nothing else

"Tell me at least one thing. Is this strange action on your part owing
to the child's accident?"

"It is. I was going headlong down to hell, but God, through her, has
pulled me up short. Gold is utterly valueless to me now. The child is
dying, and I cannot part with her for all eternity. You can draw your
own conclusions."

As Ogilvie spoke he shook Grayleigh's detaining hand from his arm. The
chairman of the Lombard Deeps Company stood still for a moment, then
returned to the directors.

As Grayleigh walked slowly upstairs he had a moment's conflict with
his own conscience. In one thing at least Ogilvie was generous. He had
not dragged Lord Grayleigh to the earth in his own fall. The affair of
the ten thousand pounds was known to no one else.

"He fell, and I caused him to fall," thought Lord Grayleigh. "In the
moment of his fall, if I were even half a man, I would stand by him
and acknowledge my share in the matter. But no; where would be the
use? I cannot drag my children through the mire. Poor Ogilvie is
losing his child, and for him practically life is over."

Grayleigh re-entered the room where the directors waited for him.

"I saw Ogilvie just now," he said, "and he sticks to his story. I
fear, too, that I was wrong in my conjecture with regard to his
madness. He must have had a temporary madness when he drew up and
signed the false report. I suppose we ought to consider ourselves

"At least the widows and orphans won't be ruined," said one of the
directors, a thin-faced anxious-looking man. "Well, of course, Lord
Grayleigh, we must all wash our hands of this."

"We must do so advisedly," was Grayleigh's remark; "remember, we have
gone far. Remember, the cablegram was not kept too secret, and the
knowledge of the excellent report sent by Ogilvie has got to the
ears of one or two city editors. He must give out that there was a
misunderstanding as to the value of the mine."

"And what of Ogilvie himself?" said an angry-looking man. "Such
infamous conduct requires stringent measures. Do you gentlemen share
my views?"

One or two did, but most protested against dragging Ogilvie's story
too prominently into the light of day.

"It may reflect on ourselves," said one or two. "It is just possible
there may be some people who will not believe that he was alone in
this matter."

Lord Grayleigh was the last to speak.

"If I were you, gentlemen," he said, moodily, "I would leave Ogilvie
to his God."


"Philip!" said Mrs. Ogilvie, as he re-entered pretty Silverbel about
four o'clock that afternoon, "I have just had an extraordinary
telegram from our lawyer, Mr. Acland."

Ogilvie looked full at her but did not speak.

"How strangely tired and worn you look," she replied; "what can be the
matter with you? Sometimes, when I think of you and the extraordinary
way in which you are acting, I come to the conclusion that your brain
cannot be right."

"You are wrong there, Mildred. There was a time when not only my brain
but all my moral qualities were affected, but I believe these things
are put right at last."

He gave a hollow laugh.

"I am enjoying, for the first time for many months, the applause of an
approving conscience," he continued; "that is something to live for."

"Have you done anything rash, Philip?"

"I have done something which my conscience justifies. Now, what about
the telegram from Acland?"

"He is coming here this evening to have a talk with me. What can he
have to say?"

"Doubtless his visit is accounted for by an interview I had with him
yesterday. I asked him to explain matters to you, as you and he
conducted the business with regard to this place together. Mildred,
Silverbel must be given up."

Her face grew red with passion, she felt inclined to stamp her foot.

"It cannot be," she cried, "we have already paid two thousand pounds

"That money was returned by me to Acland yesterday. He has doubtless
heard of another purchaser. It will be a lucky thing for us, Mildred,
if he takes the furniture as well as the place. Pray don't keep me

She gave a sharp cry and flung herself into a chair. Ogilvie paused as
if to speak to her, then changed his mind and went slowly upstairs. On
the landing outside Sibyl's door he paused for a moment, struggling
with himself.

"The bitterness of death lies before me," he muttered, for he knew
that difficult as was the task which he had accomplished that morning
at the Cannon Street Hotel, terrible as was the moment when he stood
before his fellow men and branded himself as a felon, these things
were nothing, nothing at all to that which now lay before him, for
God demanded something more of the man--he must open the eyes of
the child who worshipped him. The thought of this awful task almost
paralyzed him; his heart beat with heavy throbs and the moisture stood
on his forehead. One look at Sibyl, however, lying whiter and sweeter
than ever in her little bed, restored to him that marvellous
self-control which love alone can give.

Nurse was in the room, and it was evident that nurse had been having a
bout of crying. Her eyelids were red. She turned when she saw her
master, went up to him and shook her head.

"Leave us for a little, nurse," said Ogilvie.

She went away at once.

Ogilvie now approached the bed, dropped into a chair and took one of
Sibyl's hands.

"You have been a long time away, father," said the child.

"I have, my darling, I had a great deal to do."

"Business, father?"

"Yes, dearest, important business."

"You don't look well," said Sibyl. She gazed at him, apprehensively,
her blue eyes opened wide, and a spasm of pain flitted across her

"I have had a hard time," said the man, "and now, my little girl, I
have come to you, to you, my dearest, to perform the hardest task of
my life."

"To me, father? The hardest task of your life?"

"Yes, my little daughter, I have something to say to you."

"Something bad?" asked Sibyl.

"Something very bad."

Sibyl shut her eyes for a minute, then she opened them and looked
steadily at her father, her childish lips became slightly compressed,
it was as if a world of strength suddenly entered her little frame,
as though, dying as she was, she was bracing herself to endure.

"I am very sorry," she said. "I love you so much. What is it,
darlingest father?"

"Let me hold your hand," he said. "It will be easier for me to tell
you something then."

She gave it to him. He clasped it in both of his, bent forward, and
began to speak.

"At the moment, little Sibyl, when the cablegram which told me of your
accident was put into my hand, I had just done something so wicked, so
terrible, that God Himself, God Almighty, rose up and smote me."

"I don't understand," said the child.

"I will explain. The cablegram told me that you were ill, very ill. I
wanted to undo what I had done, but it was too late. I hurried back to
you. God came with me on board the ship. God came, and He was angry; I
had a terrible time."

"Still I do not understand," repeated Sibyl.

"Let me speak, my dear girl. I reached home, and I saw you, and then a
temptation came to me. I wanted us both, you and I, to be happy
together for two days. I knew that at the end of that time I must open
your eyes."

"Oh, we were happy!" said the child.

"Yes, for those two days we had peace, and we were, as you say, happy.
I put away from me the thought of that which was before me, but I knew
that it must come. It has come, Sibyl. The peace has been changed to
storm; and now, little girl, I am in the midst of the tempest; the
agony I feel in having to tell you this no words can explain."

"I wish you would try and 'splain, all the same," said Sibyl, in a
weak, very weak voice.

"I will, I must; it is wrong of me to torture you."

"It's only 'cos of you yourself," she murmured.

"Listen, my darling. You have often given thoughts to the Lombard
Deeps Mine?"

"Oh, yes." She raised herself a little on her pillow, and tried to
speak more cheerfully. "I have thought of it, the mine full, full of
gold, and all the people so happy!"

Her voice grew quite animated.

"Any special people, dearest?"

"So many," she replied. "I told Lord Grayleigh, and he put their
names in his note-book. There's Mr. and Mrs. Holman, the people who
keep the toy-shop; she has a hundred pounds, and she wants to buy some
of the gold."

"The old pair I saw coming to see you yesterday? Are they the Holmans?
Yes, I remember they told me that was their name."

"They came, father. I love 'em so much; and there's Mr. Rochester and
Lady Helen, they want to marry. It's a secret, but you may know. And
nurse, she wants some of the gold, 'cos her eyes ache, and you sent a
cablegram, father, and said the gold was there; it's all right."

"No, Sibyl, it is all wrong; the gold is not in the mine."

"But you sent a cablegram."

"I did."

"And you said it was there."

"I did."

She paused and looked at him; her eyes grew full of pain; the pain
reached agony point.

"You said it?"

"I did worse," said the man. He stood up, folded his arms across his
chest, and looked down at her. "I did worse, and to tell you is my
punishment. I not only sent that cablegram, but I wrote an account of
the mine, a false account, false as my false heart was, Sibyl, and I
signed it with my name, for the gold I said was in the mine was not

"Why did you do it, father?"

"Because I was a scoundrel."

"What's that?" asked Sibyl.

"A bad man."

"No," said the child, "no, you was always my most perfect----"

"You thought so, darling; you were wrong. Even when I went to
Queensland I was far from that. I could not bid you good-by before I
went, because of the sin which I was about to commit. I committed the
sin, I dropped away from honor, I let goodness go. I did that which
could never, never, under any circumstances, be worth doing, for there
is nothing worth evil, there is nothing worth sin, I see it now."

"Then you are sorry?"

"I have repented," he cried; "my God, I have repented," and he fell on
his knees and covered his face. For the child's sake he kept back the
sobs which rose to his throat.

Sibyl looked at the bent head, at the dark hair already sprinkled with
gray. She lay quite still, there was not the slightest doubt that the
shock was great. Ogilvie waited, longing, wondering if the little
hand would touch his head, if the child would forgive him.

"She is so holy, so heavenly herself," he murmured; "is it possible
that she can forgive? It must be a cruel shock to her."

The little, white hand did not touch him. There was complete stillness
in the room. At last he raised his eyes and looked at her. She looked
steadily back at him.

"And so you was never perfect?" she said.


"And was mother never perfect?"

"Not as you think of perfection, Sibyl, but we need not talk of her
now. I have sinned far more deeply than your poor mother has ever

The puzzled expression grew deeper on Sibyl's face. An old memory of
her mother returned to her. She saw again the scene, and recalled her
mother's words, the words she had overheard, and which the mother had
denied. She was quite still for a full moment, the little clock on the
mantelpiece ticked loudly, then she said slowly:

"And Lord Jesus, isn't He perfect?"

Ogilvie started when he heard her words.

"Aye, He is perfect," he answered, "you are safe in trusting to Him.
He is all that your dreams and all that your longings desire."

She smiled very faintly.

"Why did He come into the world?" was her next question.

"Don't you know that old story? Has no one told you?"

"Won't you tell me now, father?"

"The old story was that Christ Jesus came into the world to save

"Sinners," repeated Sibyl, "'cos He loved 'em?"

"Would He have done that for anything else, do you think?"

"I 'spect not," she replied, and again the faint smile filled her

"Then He loves _you_," she said, after a moment. "He came from heaven
'cos of you."

"It seems like it, my little girl, and yet I cannot bring myself to
believe that He can love me."

"Don't speak to me, father, for a minute; go away, and look out of the
window, and come back when I call you."

He rose at once, crossed the room, and stood looking out. In a short
time the feeble voice called him back.

"Father!" There was a change in the face, the look of pain had
vanished, the sweet eyes were as peaceful as ever, and more clearly
than ever did that amazing knowledge and comprehension fill them,
which never belonged to this earth.

"Kneel down, father," said Sibyl.

He knelt.

Now she laid her little hand in his, and now she smiled at him, and
now, as if she were strong and well again, she stroked his hand with
her other hand, and at last she feebly raised the hand and pressed it
to her lips.

"I am loving you so much," she said, "same as Jesus loves you, I

Then Ogilvie did give a sob. He checked it as it rose to his throat.

"It is all right," she continued, "I love you. Jesus is perfect ...
and He loves you."

"But do you, Sibyl, really love me the same as ever?" he asked, and
there was a note of incredulity in his voice.

"Seems to me I love you more'n ever" was her answer, and the next
instant her soft arms encircled his neck, and he felt her kisses on
his cheek.

But suddenly, without warning, there came a change. There was a catch
in the eager, quick breath, the arms relaxed their hold, the little
head fell back on the pillow, the face almost rosy a moment back was
now white, but the eyes were radiant and full of a wonderful,
astonished light.

"Why," cried Sibyl, "it's Lord Jesus! He has come. He is here, looking
at me." She gazed toward the foot of the bed, her eyes were raised
slightly upward each moment the ecstatic expression grew and grew in
their depths.

"Oh, my beautiful Lord Jesus," she whispered. "Oh, take me." She tried
to raise her arms and her eyes were fixed on a vision which Ogilvie
could not see. There was just an instant of absolute stillness, then
the clear voice spoke again.

"Take me, Lord Jesus Christ, but first, afore we go, kiss father, and
tell him you love him."

The eager lips were still, but the light, too wonderful for this
mortal life, continued to fill the eyes.

It seemed to Ogilvie that great wings encircled him, that he was
wrapped in an infinite peace. Then it seemed also as if a kiss sweet
beyond all sweetness brushed his lips.

The next instant all was cold and lonely.


There is such a thing in life as turning straight round and going the
other way. This was what happened to Philip Ogilvie after the death of
Sibyl. All his life hitherto he had been on the downward plane. He was
now decidedly on the upward. The upward path was difficult, and his
feet were tired and his spirits sore, and often he faltered and
flagged and almost stopped, but he never once went back. He turned no
look toward the easy way which leads to destruction, for at the top of
the path which he was now climbing, he ever and always saw his child
waiting for him, nor did he feel even here on earth that his spirit
was really far from hers. Her influence still surrounded him--her
voice spoke to him in the summer breeze--her face looked at him out of
the flowers, and her smile met him in the sunshine.

He had a rough time to go through, but he endured everything for her
sake. By degrees his worldly affairs were put into some sort of order,
and so far as his friends and society went he vanished from view. But
none of these things mattered to him now. He was living on earth, it
is true; but all the ordinary earth desires had died within him. The
spiritual life, however, did not die. Day by day it grew stronger and
braver; so it came to pass that his sympathies, instead of dwindling
and becoming small and narrow, widened, until once more he loved and
once more he hoped.

He became very tolerant for others now, and especially was he tolerant
to his wife.

He bore with her small ways, pitied her grief, admitted to himself
that there were limits in her nature which no power could alter, and
did his best to make her happy.

She mourned and grieved and grieved and mourned for that which meant
nothing at all to him, but he was patient with her, and she owned to
herself that she loved him more in his adversity than she had done in
his prosperity.

For Sibyl's sake, too, Ogilvie roused himself to do what he could for
her special friends. There was a tiny fund which he had once put aside
for his child's education, and this he now spent in starting a shop
for the Holmans in Buckingham Palace Road. He made them a present of
the shop, and helped them to stock it with fresh toys. The old pair
did well there, they prospered and their trade was good, but they
never forgot Sibyl, and their favorite talk in the evenings as they
sat side by side together was to revive memories of the little, old
shop and the child who used to buy the dusty toys.

As to Lord Grayleigh, Philip Ogilvie and he never met after that day
outside the Cannon Street Hotel. The fact is, a gulf divided them; for
although both men to a great extent repented of what they had done,
yet there was a wide difference in their repentance--one had acted
with the full courage of his convictions, the other still led a life
of honor before his fellow-men, but his heart was not straight with

Grayleigh and Ogilvie, therefore, with the knowledge that each knew
the innermost motives of the other, could not meet nor be friends.
Nevertheless Sibyl had influenced Grayleigh. For her sake he ceased to
be chairman of several somewhat shady companies, and lived more than
he had done before in his own place, Grayleigh Manor, and surrounded
by his children. He was scarcely heard to mention Sibyl's name after
her death.

But amongst his treasures he still keeps that little old note-book in
which she begged of him to enter her special wishes, and so much
affected was he in his heart of hearts, by her childish words, that he
used his utmost influence and got a good diplomatic appointment for
Rochester, thus enabling him and Lady Helen to marry, although not by
the means which Sibyl had suggested.

These things happened a few years ago, and Ogilvie is still alive,
but, although he lives still on earth, he also waits on the verge of
life, knowing that at any hour, any moment, day or night, the message
may come for him to go, and in his dreams he believes that the first
to meet him at the Gates will be the child he loves.

                         [THE END.]

A. L. Burt's Catalogue of Books for Young People by Popular Writers,
52-58 Duane Street, New York


=Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.= By LEWIS CARROLL. 12mo, cloth, 42
illustrations, price 75 cents.

"From first to last, almost without exception, this story is
delightfully droll, humorous and illustrated in harmony with the
story."--=New York Express.=

=Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There.= By LEWIS
CARROLL. 12mo, cloth, 50 illustrations, price 75 cents.

"A delight alike to the young people and their elders, extremely funny
both in text and illustrations."--=Boston Express.=

=Little Lucy's Wonderful Globe.= By CHARLOTTE M. YONGE. 12mo, cloth,
illustrated, price 75 cents.

"This story is unique among tales intended for children, alike for
pleasant instruction, quaintness of humor, gentle pathos, and the
subtlety with which lessons moral and otherwise are conveyed to
children, and perhaps to their seniors as well."--=The Spectator.=

=Joan's Adventures at the North Pole and Elsewhere.= By ALICE CORKRAN.
12mo, cloth, illustrated, price 75 cents.

"Wonderful as the adventures of Joan are, it must be admitted that
they are very naturally worked out and very plausibly presented.
Altogether this is an excellent story for girls."--=Saturday Review.=

=Count Up the Sunny Days: A Story for Girls and Boys.= By C. A. JONES.
12mo, cloth, illustrated, price 75 cents.

"An unusually good children's story."--=Glasgow Herald.=

=The Dove in the Eagle's Nest.= By CHARLOTTE M. YONGE. 12mo, cloth,
illustrated, price $1.00.

"Among all the modern writers we believe Miss Yonge first, not in
genius, but in this, that she employs her great abilities for a high
and noble purpose. We know of few modern writers whose works may be so
safely commended as hers."--=Cleveland Times.=

=Jan of the Windmill.= A Story of the Plains. By MRS. J. H. EWING.
12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

"Never has Mrs. Ewing published a more charming volume, and that is
saying a very great deal. From the first to the last the book
overflows with the strange knowledge of child-nature which so rarely
survives childhood; and moreover, with inexhaustible quiet humor,
which is never anything but innocent and well-bred, never priggish,
and never clumsy."--=Academy.=

=A Sweet Girl Graduate.= By L. T. MEADE. 12mo, cloth, illustrated,
price $1.00.

"One of this popular author's best. The characters are well imagined
and drawn. The story moves with plenty of spirit and the interest does
not flag until the end too quickly comes."--=Providence Journal.=

=Six to Sixteen=: A Story for Girls. By JULIANA HORATIA EWING. 12mo,
cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

"There is no doubt as to the good quality and attractiveness of 'Six
to Sixteen.' The book is one which would enrich any girl's book
shelf."--=St. James' Gazette.=

=The Palace Beautiful=: A Story for Girls. By L. T. MEADE. 12mo,
cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

"A bright and interesting story. The many admirers of Mrs. L. T. Meade
in this country will be delighted with the 'Palace Beautiful' for more
reasons than one. It is a charming book for girls."--=New York

=A World of Girls=: The Story of a School. By L. T. MEADE. 12mo,
cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

"One of those wholesome stories which it does one good to read. It
will afford pure delight to numerous readers. This book should be on
every girl's book shelf."--=Boston Home Journal.=

=The Lady of the Forest=: A Story for Girls. By L. T. MEADE. 12mo,
cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

"This story is written in the author's well-known, fresh and easy
style. All girls fond of reading will be charmed by this well-written
story. It is told with the author's customary grace and
spirit."--=Boston Times.=

=At the Back of the North Wind.= By GEORGE MACDONALD. 12mo, cloth,
illustrated, price $1.00.

"A very pretty story, with much of the freshness and vigor of Mr.
Macdonald's earlier work.... It is a sweet, earnest, and wholesome
fairy story, and the quaint native humor is delightful. A most
delightful volume for young readers."--=Philadelphia Times.=

=The Water Babies=: A Fairy Tale for a Land Baby. By CHARLES KINGSLEY.
12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

"The strength of his work, as well as its peculiar charms, consist in
his description of the experiences of a youth with life under water in
the luxuriant wealth of which he revels with all the ardor of a
poetical nature."--=New York Tribune.=

=Our Bessie.= By ROSA N. CAREY. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

"One of the most entertaining stories of the season, full of vigorous
action, and strong in character-painting. Elder girls will be charmed
with it, and adults may read its pages with profit."--=The Teachers'

=Wild Kitty.= A Story of Middleton School. By L. T. MEADE. 12mo,
cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

"Kitty is a true heroine--warm-hearted, self-sacrificing, and, as all
good women nowadays are, largely touched with the enthusiasm of
humanity. One of the most attractive gift books of the season."--=The

=A Young Mutineer.= A Story for Girls. By L. T. MEADE. 12mo, cloth,
illustrated, price $1.00.

"One of Mrs. Meade's charming books for girls, narrated in that simple
and picturesque style which marks the authoress as one of the first
among writers for young people."--=The Spectator.=

=Sue and I.= By MRS. O'REILLY. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price 75

"A thoroughly delightful book, full of sound wisdom as well as

=The Princess and the Goblin.= A Fairy Story. By GEORGE MACDONALD.
12mo, cloth, illustrated, price 75 cents.

"If a child once begins this book, it will get so deeply interested in
it that when bedtime comes it will altogether forget the moral, and
will weary its parents with importunities for just a few minutes more
to see how everything ends."--=Saturday Review.=

=Pythia's Pupils:= A Story of a School. By EVA HARTNER. 12mo, cloth,
illustrated, price $1.00.

"This story of the doings of several bright school girls is sure to
interest girl readers. Among many good stories for girls this is
undoubtedly one of the very best."--=Teachers' Aid.=

=A Story of a Short Life.= By JULIANA HORATIA EWING. 12mo, cloth,
illustrated, price $1.00.

"The book is one we can heartily recommend, for it is not only
bright and interesting, but also pure and healthy in tone and

12mo, cloth, illustrated, price 75 cents.

"Wonderful as the adventures of Bluebell are, it must be admitted that
they are very naturally worked out and very plausibly presented.
Altogether this is an excellent story for girls."--=Saturday Review.=

=Two Little Waifs.= By MRS. MOLESWORTH. 12mo, cloth, illustrated,
price 75 cents.

"Mrs. Molesworth's delightful story of 'Two Little Waifs' will charm
all the small people who find it in their stockings. It relates the
adventures of two lovable English children lost in Paris, and is just
wonderful enough to pleasantly wring the youthful heart."--=New York

=Adventures in Toyland.= By EDITH KING HALL. 12mo, cloth, illustrated,
price 75 cents.

"The author is such a bright, cheery writer, that her stories are
always acceptable to all who are not confirmed cynics, and her record
of the adventures is as entertaining and enjoyable as we might
expect."--=Boston Courier.=

=Adventures in Wallypug land.= By G. E. FARROW. 12mo, cloth,
illustrated, price 75 cents.

"These adventures are simply inimitable, and will delight boys and
girls of mature age, as well as their juniors. No happier combination
of author and artist than this volume presents could be found to
furnish healthy amusement to the young folks. The book is an artistic
one in every sense."--=Toronto Mail.=

=Fussbudget's Folks.= A Story for Young Girls. By ANNA F. BURNHAM.
12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

"Mrs. Burnham has a rare gift for composing stories for children. With
a light, yet forcible touch, she paints sweet and artless, yet natural
and strong, characters."--=Congregationalist.=

=Mixed Pickles.= A Story for Girls. By MRS. E. M. FIELD. 12mo, cloth,
illustrated, price 75 cents.

"It is, in its way, a little classic, of which the real beauty and
pathos can hardly be appreciated by young people. It is not too much
to say of the story that it is perfect of its kind."--=Good

=Miss Mouse and Her Boys.= A Story for Girls. By MRS. MOLESWORTH.
12mo, cloth, illustrated, price 75 Cents.

"Mrs. Molesworth's books are cheery, wholesome, and particularly well
adapted to refined life. It is safe to add that she is the best
English prose writer for children. A new volume from Mrs. Molesworth
is always a treat."--=The Beacon.=

=Gilly Flower.= A Story for Girls. By the author of "Miss Toosey's
Mission." 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

"Jill is a little guardian angel to three lively brothers who tease
and play with her.... Her unconscious goodness brings right thoughts
and resolves to several persons who come into contact with her. There
is no goodiness in this tale, but its influence is of the best
kind."--=Literary World.=

=The Chaplet of Pearls=; or, The White and Black Ribaumont. By
CHARLOTTE M. YONGE. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

"Full of spirit and life, so well sustained throughout that grown-up
readers may enjoy it as much as children. It is one of the best books
of the season."--=Guardian.=

=Naughty Miss Bunny=: Her Tricks and Troubles. By CLARA MULHOLLAND.
12mo, cloth, illustrated, price 75 cents.

"The naughty child is positively delightful. Papas should not omit the
book from their list of juvenile presents."--=Land and Water.=

=Meg's Friend.= By ALICE CORKRAN. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price

"One of Miss Corkran's charming books for girls, narrated in that
simple and picturesque style which marks the authoress as one of the
first among writers for young people."--=The Spectator.=

=Averil.= By ROSA N. CAREY. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

"A charming story for young folks. Averil is a delightful
creature--piquant, tender, and true--and her varying fortunes are
perfectly realistic."--=World.=

=Aunt Diana.= By ROSA N. CAREY. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

"An excellent story, the interest being sustained from first to last.
This is, both in its intention and the way the story is told, one of
the best books of its kind which has come before us this
year."--=Saturday Review.=

=Little Sunshine's Holiday=: A Picture from Life. By MISS MULOCK.
12mo, cloth, illustrated, price 75 cents.

"This is a pretty narrative of child life, describing the simple
doings and sayings of a very charming and rather precocious child.
This is a delightful book for young people."--=Gazette.=

=Esther's Charge.= A Story for Girls. By ELLEN EVERETT GREEN. 12mo,
cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

"... This is a story showing in a charming way how one little girl's
jealousy and bad temper were conquered; one of the best, most
suggestive and improving of the Christmas juveniles."--=New York

=Fairy Land of Science.= By ARABELLA B. BUCKLEY. 12mo, cloth,
illustrated, price $1.00.

"We can highly recommend it; not only for the valuable information it
gives on the special subjects to which it is dedicated, but also as a
book teaching natural sciences in an interesting way. A fascinating
little volume, which will make friends in every household in which
there are children."--=Daily News.=

=Merle's Crusade.= By ROSA N. CAREY. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price

"Among the books for young people we have seen nothing more unique
than this book. Like all of this author's stories it will please young
readers by the very attractive and charming style in which it is

=Birdie:= A Tale of Child Life. By H. L. CHILDE-PEMBERTON. 12mo,
cloth, illustrated, price 75 cents.

"The story is quaint and simple, but there is a freshness about it
that makes one hear again the ringing laugh and the cheery shout of
children at play which charmed his earlier years."--=New York

=The Days of Bruce:= A Story from Scottish History. By GRACE AGUILAR.
12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

"There is a delightful freshness, sincerity and vivacity about all of
Grace Aguilar's stories which cannot fail to win the interest and
admiration of every lover of good reading."--=Boston Beacon.=

=Three Bright Girls:= A Story of Chance and Mischance. By ANNIE E.
ARMSTRONG. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

"The charm of the story lies in the cheery helpfulness of spirit
developed in the girls by their changed circumstances; while the
author finds a pleasant ending to all their happy makeshifts. The
story is charmingly told, and the book can be warmly recommended as a
present for girls."--=Standard.=

=Giannetta:= A Girl's Story of Herself. By ROSA MULHOLLAND. 12mo,
cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

"Extremely well told and full of interest. Giannetta is a true
heroine--warm-hearted, self-sacrificing, and, as all good women
nowadays are, largely touched with enthusiasm of humanity. The
illustrations are unusually good. One of the most attractive gift
books of the season."--=The Academy.=

=Margery Merton's Girlhood.= By ALICE CORKRAN. 12mo, cloth,
illustrated, price $1.00.

"The experiences of an orphan girl who in infancy is left by her
father to the care of an elderly aunt residing near Paris. The
accounts of the various persons who have an after influence on the
story are singularly vivid. There is a subtle attraction about the
book which will make it a great favorite with thoughtful
girls."--=Saturday Review.=

=Under False Colors:= A Story from Two Girls' Lives. By SARAH DOUDNEY.
12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

"Sarah Doudney has no superior as a writer of high-toned stories--pure
in style, original in conception, and with skillfully wrought out
plots; but we have seen nothing equal in dramatic energy to this
book."--=Christian Leader.=

=Down the Snow Stairs=; or, From Good-night to Good-morning. By ALICE
CORKRAN. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price 75 cents.

"Among all the Christmas volumes which the year has brought to our
table this one stands out facile princeps--a gem of the first water,
bearing upon every one of its pages the signet mark of genius.... All
is told with such simplicity and perfect naturalness that the dream
appears to be a solid reality. It is indeed a Little Pilgrim's
Progress."--=Christian Leader.=

=The Tapestry Room=: A Child's Romance. By MRS. MOLESWORTH. 12mo,
cloth, illustrated, price 75 cents.

"Mrs. Molesworth is a charming painter of the nature and ways of
children; and she has done good service in giving us this charming
juvenile which will delight the young people."--=Athenæum, London.=

=Little Miss Peggy:= Only a Nursery Story. By MRS. MOLESWORTH. 12mo,
cloth, illustrated, price 75 cents.

Mrs. Molesworth's children are finished studies. A joyous earnest
spirit pervades her work, and her sympathy is unbounded. She loves
them with her whole heart, while she lays bare their little minds, and
expresses their foibles, their faults, their virtues, their inward
struggles, their conception of duty, and their instinctive knowledge
of the right and wrong of things. She knows their characters, she
understands their wants, and she desires to help them.

=Polly=: A New Fashioned Girl. By L. T. MEADE. 12mo, cloth,
illustrated, price $1.00.

Few authors have achieved a popularity equal to Mrs. Meade as a writer
of stories for young girls. Her characters are living beings of flesh
and blood, not lay figures of conventional type. Into the trials and
crosses, and everyday experiences, the reader enters at once with zest
and hearty sympathy. While Mrs. Meade always writes with a high moral
purpose, her lessons of life, purity and nobility of character are
rather inculcated by example than intruded as sermons.

=One of a Covey.= By the author of "Miss Toosey's Mission." 12mo,
cloth, illustrated, price 75 cents.

"Full of spirit and life, so well sustained throughout that grown-up
readers may enjoy it as much as children. This 'Covey' consists of the
twelve children of a hard-pressed Dr. Partridge out of which is chosen
a little girl to be adopted by a spoiled, fine lady. We have rarely
read a story for boys and girls with greater pleasure. One of the
chief characters would not have disgraced Dickens' pen."--=LITERARY

=The Little Princess of Tower Hill.= By L. T. MEADE. 12mo, cloth,
illustrated, price 75 cents.

"This is one of the prettiest books for children published, as pretty
as a pond-lily, and quite as fragrant. Nothing could be imagined more
attractive to young people than such a combination of fresh pages and
fair pictures; and while children will rejoice over it--which is much
better than crying for it--it is a book that can be read with pleasure
even by older boys and girls."--=Boston Advertiser.=

For sale by all booksellers, or sent postpaid on receipt of price by
the publisher, =A. L. BURT, 52-58 Duane Street, New York.=


1. Minor changes have been made to correct obvious typesetter's
errors; otherwise, every effort has been made to remain true to the
author's words and intent.

2. In the advertising pages at the end of this book, the names of
books and reviewers were set in bold type-face; this is indicated by
a = at the beginning and end of the words in bold.

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