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    Software name: appdown
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      Godfrey Bergan stood motionless for some minutes. His nephew's persistency had irritated his nerves, if it had not convinced his understanding. Nor was he altogether unimpressed by the solemnity of the young man's parting words. Though he had not condescended to state the fact to Bergan, it was still true that he had exacted what he considered to be very complete and satisfactory evidence, touching the correctness of Doctor Remy's antecedents, before giving him his daughter. Yet it was only after he had recapitulated this evidence to himself, point by point, and had also taken into account the doctor's late brilliant achievements, present high standing, and promising prospects for the future, that he could rid himself of a certain chill weight of responsibility, which seemed somehow to have been flung upon his shoulders by Bergan's last sentence.


      Captain Hulbert took his yacht to other waters in November, only to come sailing back again in December, when he finally laid up the Vendetta in winter quarters, and took up his abode at the Mount, where he availed himself of his brother's stud, which had been reduced to two old hunters and a pair of carriage-horses of mediocre quality. And so the shortening days drew on towards Christmas; baby's first Christmas, as that small person's adorers remarkedas if it were a wonderful thing for any young Christian to make a beginning of lifeand all was happiness at the Angler's Nest. All was happiness without a cloud, till one morningAllegra and her brother being alone in the library, where she sometimes painted at her little table-easel, while he readshe put down her palette and went over to him, laying her hand upon his shoulder as he sat in his accustomed place in the old-fashioned bow-window."No," she cried, with a sudden piteous change in her face, "I can't remember."


      At Oakstead, Dick was informed that Mr. Bergan was at the Hall, and wherefore. He dared not go after him, knowing that Doctor Remy would certainly be there also. He debated with himself, for a moment, whether it would not be well to make his errand known to Mrs. Bergan; but murmuring cynically, "A woman conceals only what she don't know," he decided to entrust her with a message simply. This was so mysteriously and solemnly given, however, as necessarily to suggest to her, after his departure, that he might possibly have found some clue to the mystery of Bergan's absence; whereupon she dispatched a servant to the Hall with the message,though not without a strict injunction that he should deliver it to his master privately. But this, as has been seen, was not so well observed as to prevent some portion of the message from reaching Doctor Remy's ears, and exciting his suspicions.At the same instant, he saw several persons emerging from the shadow of the Oakstead woods. Mr. Bergan, Hubert Arling, and Doctor Gerrish, he recognized at a glance, and he stayed to recognize no more:these, in conjunction with Berganalive, and in possession of his facultieswere enough to show him that his deep-laid scheme had come to naught, that the prize for which he had thought, labored, and sinned, was snatched from his hands in the very moment of success. Some important figurecould it be Providence?had been overlooked or changed in his calculations, and made them all come wrong.

      "How can you tell that? You think of them to-night as strangersand they seem intolerable. You would like them after a week, and be warmly attached to them at the end of a month. Why, you have known us for less than three months, and we fancy ourselves quite old friends."

      Rue was accordingly summoned from her faithful watch over her dead master. She declared positively that she had been with him from an early stage of his attack, until his death; and that he had taken only the medicines and food ordered by Doctor Remy, except the untimely drink of brandy, and the afore-mentioned powder. He had swallowed nothing whatever after the arrival of Mr. Arling,not even the brandy for which he had called with almost his last breath."Not for the world, not for my life," she said, with her hands tightly clasped, her eyes still hidden under the heavy lids, tearless nowand with dry and quivering lips, from which the words came with a dull and soulless sound. "I would die to save him an hour's pain. I would fling away this wretched life rather than grieve him for a moment."


      They went in to dinner presently, Captain Hulbert and Isola, Mr. Colfox and Allegra. Tho table was a small oval, at which five people made a snug little party. There was a central mass of white chrysanthemums, a cheerful glow of coloured Venetian glass, delicatest pink and jade-green, under the light of a hanging lamp. John Hulbert looked round him with a pleased expression, taking in the flowers, the glass, the cream-white china, the lamplight, everything; and then the two fair young faces, one pale and pensive, the other aglow with the delight of life, eagerly expectant of new ideas.

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      "Is your book very interesting?" he asked, at last, exasperated by her calmness.

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      I have won by an ace. The childs mine.

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      alllittle