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leather stockings, who had been
knighted for heroic action against
the Spaniards, in the days of King
James, to the late James Epping,
Esq., member of parliament, in the
conventional frock-coat of modern
society. Some of them bore .names
upon the frames, but she was un
named, this beauty of the long ago,
dressed in the big. Gainsborough hat
and wide-sleeved gown of the day of
x the third George.
Gurney was fascinated by this pic
ture. It embodied more than any
picture he had ever seen the woman
of whom he Had secretly dreamed.
He had never met her, had not even
acknowledged his own secret ro
mance until he saw her face look out
at his from the canvas. And she
must have been dead nearly a cen
tury! When one lives alone one is prone
to gain rein to fancies which the
normal man, because they are ab
normal, easily represses. Gurney's
work was abandoned; he would
spend hours before the picture, gazr
ing at the face that was bent down
toward his.' His fancies became al
. "Work? He don't workvany more,"
said old Mrs. Smith, the village gos
sip. "He just moons around and
starts at the pictures. I think tfie
young man must be in love. , When-
' Alf was courting me he looked jus"t
In due time this piece of news.
. reached the ears of the kind-hearted
Mrs. Epping. She had already for
given Gurney for his. lack of cour
tesy. "Perhaps the young man lives too
much alone," she said. "Martha, tell
James to harness the pony to the
When the invalid made a decision
se acted upon it. In little over an
hour she had driven up to the manor
house, and at the gate found herself
confronted by a young man with
Wild jeyes and tousled hair and yet
unmistakably a gentleman.
"Mr. Gurney?" she asked-, "tam
Vlrs. Epping.", And seeing that "he,"
made no move to ask her in, she
added tactfully: , )
"I have heard about your paintings
and thought I would ask you to let
me see them. We are so much alone .
here, my daughter and I, and it is a. -real
pleasure to meet any one out'
side the village society."
In half an hour she had complete
ly won his heart. She departed,, car- .
rying his promise to pay her a call at
no distant date. But when Gurney
was alone again the sense of the
dead woman came overpoweringly '
upon him. He loved her, wildly, pas
sionately, this Epping lady who had.
.been laid to rest so long before his'
birth. No human societycbuld atone
for the loss of her. -He speni the
night'before her jicture.
His work was now completely for
gotten. The fixed idea ha'd' become
the center of his life; he knew that
he was worthless without that love
that vcould never be his.
4n the morning . old Mrs. Smith
found him lying in a delirium in the
"Brain fever," pronounced the doc
tor. "The cause? Well, I should say
overwork, combined1 with solitude,
perhaps. It is not right for a man to
live alone, especially a..giftea' young
man whose proper place is in the
world of men." ,
"I shall. never forgive myself
never," said Mrs. Epping." "James,,
harness the pony to the dog-cart."
This timeshe had come to stay, as
two well-filled trunks "that accom
panied her attested. She and, Sylvia
took up their residence, at theManor, .
and for two weeksrthey assidiously,
nursed Gurney through the crisis 6f
his malady. . .
Now whether Mrs. Epping had.'
shrewdly guessed the source of the.
disjointed mutterings, which escaped '
the artist's lips during hisdelirium
or whether it.'was kindly chance, -ao-body
can say, but when Gurney open-,
ed his eyes again to. reason jie saw'i