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On returning to the house, Magdalen felt her
shoulder suddenly touched from behind, as she
crossed the hall. She turned, and confronted
her sister. Before she could ask any questions,
Norah confusedly addressed her, in these words:
"I beg your pardon; I beg you to forgive

Magdalen looked at her sister in astonishment.
All memory, on her side, of the sharp words which
had passed between them in the shrubbery, was
lost in the new interests that now absorbed her;
lost as completely as if the angry interview had
never taken place. "Forgive you!" she repeated,
amazedly, "what for?"

"I have heard of your new prospects,"
pursued Norah, speaking with a mechanical
submissiveness of manner which seemed almost
ungracious; "I wished to set things right between us;
I wished to say I was sorry for what happened.
Will you forget it? Will you forget and forgive
what happened in the shrubbery?" She tried to
proceed; but her inveterate reserveor, perhaps,
her obstinate reliance on her own opinions
silenced her at those last words. Her face
clouded over on a sudden. Before her sister
could answer her, she turned away abruptly and
ran up stairs.

The door of the library opened, before
Magdalen could follow her; and Miss Garth
advanced to express the sentiments proper to the

They were not the mechanically-submissive
sentiments which Magdalen had just heard.
Norah had struggled against her rooted distrust
of Frank, in deference to the unanswerable
decision of both her parents in his favour; and had
suppressed the open expression of her antipathy,
though the feeling itself remained unconquered.
Miss Garth had made no such concession to the
master and mistress of the house. She had
hitherto held the position of a high authority on
all domestic questions; and she flatly declined to
get off her pedestal in deference to any change in
the family circumstances, no matter how amazing
or how unexpected that change might be.

"Pray accept my congratulations," said Miss
Garth, bristling all over with implied objections
to Frank—"my congratulations, and my
apologies. When I caught you kissing Mr. Francis
Clare in the summer-house, I had no idea you
were engaged in carrying out the intentions of
your parents. I offer no opinion on the subject.
I merely regret my own accidental appearance in
the character of an Obstacle to the course of true
lovewhich appears to run smooth in summer-
houses, whatever Shakespeare may say to the
contrary. Consider me for the future, if you
please, as an Obstacle removed. May you be
happy!" Miss Garth's lips closed on that last
sentence like a trap; and Miss Garth's eyes
looked ominously prophetic into the matrimonial

If Magdalen's anxieties had not been far too
serious to allow her the customary free use of her
tongue, she would have been ready, on the
instant, with an appropriately satirical answer. As
it was, Miss Garth simply irritated her. "Pooh!"
she saidand ran up-stairs to her sister's room.

She knocked at the door, and there was no
answer. She tried the door, and it resisted her
from the inside. The sullen, unmanageable
Norah was locked in.

Under other circumstances, Magdalen would
not have been satisfied with knockingshe would
have called through the door loudly and more
loudly, till the house was disturbed, and she had
carried her point. But the doubts and fears of
the morning had unnerved her already. She
went down stairs again softly, and took her hat
from the stand in the hall. "He told me to put
my hat on," she said to herself, with a meek
filial docility which was totally out of her

She went into the garden, on the shrubbery
side; and waited there to catch the first sight
of her father on his return. Half an hour passed;
forty minutes passedand then his voice reached
her from among the distant trees. "Come in to
heel!" she heard him call out loudly to the dog.
Her face turned pale. "He's angry with Snap!"
she exclaimed to herself, in a whisper. The next
minute he appeared in view; walking rapidly,
with his head down, and Snap at his heels in
disgrace. The sudden excess of her alarm as she
observed those ominous signs of something
wrong, rallied her natural energy, and determined
her desperately on knowing the worst.

She walked straight forward to meet her

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