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afraid I've a bad heart," said Mary, looking up
at him, tearfully. " But what I said first was
rightwe mustn't see one another any more."

"Perhaps we never shallwho knows
whether I may live to come back?"

"Oh, Frank, Frank!" And then the sad tears

These two had had no method or design in
their fallyoung and beautiful, they had loved
"not wisely but too well." Of course the
penalty would be paid by both in one shape or
anothernay, perhaps the bitterness of that
hour almost expiated their sin. Frank offered
to marry Mary, but she knew, and he knew, that
it could never be, and that the moment that
witnessed their parting witnessed it as for ever.
We need not try to portion out the relative
shares of blameboth passionate, both weak,
we know on which descends the heavier punishment.

They had not met till now since her disgrace
became public, but neither made any allusion to
it; Mary said nothing of the hard words which
had frenzied and driven her to the verge of self-
destructionof that terrible hour she never
thought without fear and trembling. But Frank
guessed much. At home he had heard his
mother speak with a severe compassion of Mary,
and mention it as commendable that she kept
herself in seclusion, not appearing even at
church. And he had brought this upon her!
She and her mother and sister had kept his share
of her secret faithfully, and she had borne all
the contumely in her own person when the mere
mention of his name would with many have gone
far to mitigate the blackness of her sin. He
could not thank her for thisany words seemed
poor and cold, and she would none of his
caresses. They stood side by side looking over to
the sunset and the gilded trees, and speaking
little; but there was the aching pang of
remorse in both their hearts. The after-taste of
guilt is very bitter.

Presently there was a sound of distant
children's voices, and Mary knew that the people
were coming out of church.

"Now, Frank dear," said she, turning her
sorrowful pale face up to his.

"Must I go, Mary?"

There were a few tears mingled, scalding-
tears, such as may your eyes and mine never
have to shed! Heart-drops that could not heal
the heart-ache, lave out the sin, lessen the

The little one was asleep in Mary's arms all
the time, close pressed to her bosom. Frank
kissed the rosy, dimpled face, and kissed its
mother. "Mary, I was very cruel to you
very selfish," he said.

"Never mind, love, that is all over. I will
like to remember, whenwhen I don't see you
any more, that you loved me. Oh, Frank

And thus they parted: and Mary ran home
crying, crying. You pity the good and true
lovers on whom sorrow falls; have a little pity,
too, for those whose passion lies under the ban
of shame and separation. For all grief there is
perfect healing, save for that guilt which society
immaculate never condones. Scourge the sin as
savagely as you will, but remember the sinners'
humanity, and lay the lash on them lightly:
perhaps, as Mrs. Ward said to her erring
daughter, you have had less temptation from
the flesh and the devil than your weak brothers
and sisters around you.


ONE night, rather more than two years after
this parting, Mary Ward again took her way up
to the stile by Ash-pool. Her little lad was now
old enough to toddle beside her, clinging to her
gown, to run on before and then scamper back,
laughing and crowing, to hide his face against
her knees. He was a very beautiful child, with
great dark-blue eyes, and brown hair curling in
rings all over his head, and every day, to Mary's
mingled joy and dread, he grew more like his
father, who was far away with the army in the

All the long morning there had been the
ringing of Heckerdyke church bells for a great
victory. Mary had heard the sound over the
hills, and had paused in her work often to listen,
and think where was Frank all the time that the
sun was shining and the bells were ringing
through bonny Rivisdale? Was he lying dead,
face upwards, on the crimson battle-field, or
was he writhing, in wounded misery, in an
hospital tent, or was he one amongst the happy
saved and victorious? She was in feverish
haste, for Alice was to meet her at the stile,
with any news she could get from the rectory,
whither she could never go, and once or twice
she would have carried the boy, that they might
get on the faster; but he was full of spirits and
mischief, and would use his own little legs to
run in amongst the wheat, to gather the poppies
and gay blue corn-flowers, and kept her waiting
again and again. But when she reached the
stile, she was all too soonno Alice was there,
nor in sight upon the path; so she went further
and further, until she came to the brow of the
hill, which looked down full upon the village.
A little way off was the church, with the
rectory and rectory gardens, and, leaning
over the last stile, with the boy playing at
her feet, she tried to school herself to watch
and wait. At first it did not strike her that,
though the sun had gone round from the south
side of the house, all the blinds were down and
the lower shutters half closed. But there was
a strange silence and hush about the place; the
door into the flowery porch was shut, and Mr.
Lascelles was not taking his evening stroll of
inspection amongst his roses. The joy-bells
had ceased five hours ago, and though the day's
work was done, there was no noise of cricket-
players on the village-green, or of quoit-players
at the alehouse.

She knew that Alice would go to the back-
door at the rectory, and she kept her eyes on
that, distinguishing curiously the green ivy
leaves, with the sunshine slanting round a