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TILE STOUT OF A HOMO.
CHAPTER L The day was full of sweetness aid light, the glory and warmth that only simmer can shed aver and extract from the laid, and which made even the self absorbed young pair under the trees on the lawn, down by the verdure eovered old vicarage house, grateful for the shel ter afforded them. Any one who had aeaa the naturalness of such self-absorp tion, and at the same time have felt sor Ty for it For though the dawning lining between them was “natural,” it was not fit The girl wa9 the third daughter of a poor country parson, who eked out a slender professional incoras bv takiug pupils. The hoy was a highly prized sou of a noble house. And still they were allowed to be together. The young fellow of seventeen, though he had not come to bn lull nentage oi maily beauty, yet was a very worthy idol, so far as appearances went, for a young girl to set up anil worship. Ho had the slender, clearly definsd, delicate form and features that belong to the handsomest rape in the world—the English Aristocracy. There was a look of “breed” about him that was unmis takable—that look which is ntverseen unless blood and culture have aided in prsdueing it. What wonder, then, that May Barou contrasted him with the well-to-do young farmer in her father’s parish; aud having dona that, erected an altar in her heart, whereon ebe worshipped Lionel Hastings unceasingly! She was supremely happy this morning, tor her mother ha$ given her a half holiday to dispose of as she pleased. That excelleut mother, on household cares intent, quite believed that she would go off for a stroll in the woods with some girl friend, as it had been iaer waut to do from her childhood. But Lionel magnificently ordered her to “stay aqd read poetry to him under the weeping-willow,” nud she was only too pleased to obey him. One song rau thus; X ou call xae t weut ana tenner samss, Anci gently smooth »ny tresses ; And all the while ny huppy heart, Boats time to yonr caresses. You love me in yonr Under way! I answer as yea let me; bet oh! there comes another day— The day that you’M forget me! Her voice had faltered more than once ia the reading, and he had watched trer confusion and enjoyed it with hall laughing malice. Boy a? be was he knew so well what was iu the young girl's heart. He thoroughly understood her sudden shame aud perfectly realized how keculy the dread that he might go away and forget her cut May Baron. “Look at me, petl” he said with sud den authority. “1—I am looking for something else to read," she stammered. “Look at me and confess. Area't you sorry you lead those lines, because they define your own situation and feel ings to a certain degree ?'! . . “Lionel, don’t be so rudo arid cruel.” He had taken her chin in his hand and turned her face toward him. And she kuew her face was telling the truth —tint she lored him much I “My own pi', he paid, more softly and seriously, “i shall never go away and forget you —trust me for that." Then he reached himself up aud kissed the.little face thai vfne rich with happy blushes now ; and May was well couteut to Ijelieve him. i'l shall have you painted-by Millais,'* he said presently, and regarding her critically. Theu he west on to tell her that Mil a s ad painted his two sisters, both »f whom wer* great beaiftis* and celebrated belles and both of whoih were Carried to peers of the realm. “They were the youngest brides of their respective sea son*,”, he added. “Ida wan only six* teen." “Sixteeh! my age!" iu astonishment. “It was luck your sister Ida didn’t care far any af the others,” she suggested timidly. “She did, though. She was an awful gooae about a fellow called Bartre Friel; but hadn't the needful. The best of it is that the St. John’s cousin had intro duced St. John toTda. He thought”— the hoy paused and laughed lightly at the absurdity of it—“that Ida would win old SL John's liking—she won the title and coronet." They were summoned to luncheon soon after this and May went in dream ily, her head being full of faint outlines of the romances in real life, of which Lionel’s sister Ida was the heroine. Her meditations on this subject were put to flight abruptly. Her father spots in agitated tones—tones which the poor wife knew so well portented fresh struggles, fresh combats with pov erty. “Lionel, I have had a letter from Lady Hastings this morning; she thinks that the sooner you go to Oxford the better.” Mr. Baron’s voice trembled very obviously. Lionel “going to Ox ford” meant the direct loss of three hun dred a year to the poor overwrought vicar of Ballon. Lionel wrote a nice note to May during his first term—a note which May prized next to her twisted gold ring, though there was little in it save an account ©f his feaats on the river,and of the prowees of a certain well-pedigreed bull-dog pup. She heard bo more from him. * * * * * , * - Gradually the old vicarage house and all the occupants of it faded from his mind. He finished his college career with inorethau credit. He was a touch more than clever, and his impetuosity stood him instead of perseverance and carried him well on the road he had $hoeen. By the time he was five-and twenty had done such good service to tire government by the subtlety, skill and energy with which he had carried thro1 a delicate negotiation abroad, that the government recognized his claim munifi cently, and gave him an important and highly salaried home appointment. In fact, Lionel Hastings bad made his mark, and the mothers of daughters regarded h:m kindly. The years had flown with him—the eight years had passed since he had said good-bye to May Baron and promised never to forget her. But they had flown with her. CHAPTER II. The first three years that passed after their parting had gone by peacefully enough. But the last five had seen her knocked about from oue family of stran gers to another, now as companion, now, as governess, for her father and mother were dead, and all May inherited from them was a patient, brave heart. There had been uo lack of lovers during those long years. But Bhe clung as tenacious ly to her old memories as she did to that •frail little pledge of the affection Lionel Hastings had forgotten. So she prefer red working her way on wearily enough to forfeiting her claims to aherished hope and her ring. She was acting as Secretary and aman uensis to a lady, who insieted on being “literary,” and who, luckily for May, was really fond of good works. This lady was sufficiently bright and clever to be able to collect about her a bright and clever circle. It wae while mingling with this circle that May heard the name of her old lore again for the first time in eight years. One evening there jgs a company and among tie foist# was Lionel. May felt aa$f tne w<S#»."Lionel, don’t you know me?" must be painted on her face, aa after speaking to Mre. Gaspard and his mother he turned and carelessly scanned the form and feature# of the girl who wore the twisted ring on her finger,.. . . ..... “A golden beauty," was bi# thoughts as he let his gaze travel away from her. “Never seen her before; quite new evidently." It was relief to ber that at this mo ment, Mr#. Gaspard came to her and issued her polite command in these words, “My dear, will you sing ?” Lionel looked at her again. How dear be was to her in spite of bis unconsciousness! How desperately dear! How she hated Lady Hastings at that momeut for comiDg up to him and putting her hand ©n his arm and telling him that she must take him away ! How she envied the mother! IIow sheen vied the sen ! hhe ooulu not resist toe impulse, be fore her—though she strove to be blind to it—rose the scene and the actors in it—the day that was full of all summer glory, sweetness, warmth and light—the velvet lawn the weeping willow and rose colored vicarage, and the splendid boy hero to whom a lovely, shy little girl was reading poetry. She could not resist the impulse.— Come what would, he should be remind ed of that scene too. And so when her pearly notes in all their purity emote his ear, they fell on the words: Ton love mo in your tender way ? I answered as you let me ; But oh 1 there cemes another day— The day that you’ll forget me 1 And after one eager gasping glance, be exclaimed. “Why, it's May—May Baron,” and her song came to an end. ITis self possession was eo easy, so perfect, that May at once recovered her own. True, she ceased singing the in stant he exclaimed; “Why* ita May—May Baron I” But even his mother could find no fault with the slow, sweet smile and gentle inclina tion of the head with which the beauti ful and clever compauion greeted her father’s former pupil. lie did not recognize the ring. As soon as she recognized that he was ab solutely without any recollection of what she had supposed them to be to one an' other, May took care that he should not aee it She slipped on her glove, and when that was done she felt safer. But she need have had no fear. He had for* gotten the episode of the ring as utterly as he bad forgotten the words he had spoken when she read the poem under the willow tree, the same poem she had sung this night Soon there was a fresh arrival. Love ly Lady St. John, the leader of the wild est, gayest, most daring set in tows, entered, and in another minute a “friend ly” smile flashed round the circle as Bartie Friel lounged in. Of all spectacles od the face of the earth, Lady St. Job p’s reckless disregard of appearanees was the most obnoxious to Lady St John’s brother. He was fond oHier, proud of her, well inclined to believe that there was—as 6be used to assure him—“no harm in her intimacy with poor Bartie. But he could not indure the looks that wereca6t npon the affair. And in exact proportion as he loved his sister he detested Bartie Frisk So now with a sterner face than Lady St John’s friends and aJspereers cared to smile into, he proceeded to take leave of his hostess and botf himself out of the room. As he was doing this he heard the man who was carelessly compromising Efa—the man whom Ue toast disliked in the world—aok: “Who is that will the jet in her fiaj$v? ^b* is the lonliest woman out! A9 these words fell on Lionel'* ear lie remembered that ha h^d not said good-bye to “the loveliest woman out," who was no othef than hi* kid friend and play fellow, May Bhrok. II* wade his way back to her, atfd some little delay being caused by tbe increasing crowd, by the time he reached her Bartie Friel bad gained tbe intro duction and was engaging Ler in con versation. A sharp angry spasm of annoyance— he could not define the cause of it— Lionel Hastings, and he tufneJ away and left the house without giving an other word to May. ' That night the ring and his own letter were packed up carefully put aside, she could not make up her mind to destroy them though something told her that it would be wiser to do so. But “just for a little longer" she kept them. ****** Itlis greatly to be pitted that every one is afflicted with the baleful thing, a too communicative triend. At any rate Lady St. John was ao afflicted, and thus it happened one day, when Lionel was quietly having a cup of tea with his sister, that they learned from the lips of this friend that Bartie Friel waa posi tirely going to marry that Miss Laron who lived with Mr#. Gaspard. Lady St. John received the tidings with the utmost sang froid. “Ishe?’ she asked, indifferently. “Bartie Friel marry that girl!” Lionel exclaimed the moment he was alone with Ida. “She shall know what he is before she is a day older. Why, shea a good girl. The fellow would shock her out of her life or reason.’’ And then it all came to him. “Why, I was in love with her myself when I was a lad,” he thought, and he wondered if May ever thought of that An hour later he was inquiring for Miss Baron at Mis. Gaspard’s door, and heariug that ehe would receive him. “On the score of old friendship I am going to presume greatly with you— greatly, Miss Baron,” be began. She opened her evea in aatonishment. “Haven't you forgotten the old friend ship yet?” she said. “What a wonder ful memory you must have!’’ “Indeed I have not forgotten the old friendship yet,” he replied gently; “it prompt* me to say something that you may not like to hear." lie paused and her treacherous heart began to beat. But she was mistress of herself. His ring and his letter were nestling in her bosom all the while. She made no answer and he thought; “She is resenting my interference; she has forgotten how fond I was of her when I was a boy and ebe looks upon this as mere impertinence.” “You are astonished at my interfering; I feel sure of that. But, May, I cannot forget the days when we were children together; ean you ?” “She bent her head down lower and he could not we her eyes, but he went on; “You have forgotten, probably, May, and why should you have remem bered, inJeed? But 1 will remember you, and then you will understand that it was more than friendly interest that prompts me to interfere." Memory jog ged him at this moment and be went on glibly ; “Ycm must have forgotten how I loved you, darling—'” “Have you not been the one to for get V , _ “On my faith, no! Not now, when I see yon again,” he protested ardently and then as he clasped her in his arms she showed him a verse from tbesoDgthat had awakened his memories: I do not fear the darkest way With those dear arms about me ; But oh ! I dread another day— The day you’ll d^ without me I