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“Is it possible !" exclaimed Evelyn.

Yes, very possible, and this is far from being a solitary instance. And yet these people would not say they were proud. They would argue, Can we be proud who do not care how old and shabby our dress is, who are on as friendly a footing with this poor starving man and his family, as with many richer and more-thought-of people among our acquaintances ?' Beware of this sort of pride, Evelyn! it is the most dangerous, the most insinuating, the most plausible of all."

Indeed, Georgy, I will try to guard against it. It frightens me when I hear of these things. How shall I ever keep straight ?"

“I must remind you again of your rudder, Evy. If you do not neglect that, it must keep you straight."

“ Is there anything else you were going to caution me against ?"

“I was going to warn you, dearest, not to learn to set an undue value upon society and fashionnot to exalt them above other and more important considerations. Oh! Evy, these things are of so little importance in reality, and so dangerous to those who think too much of them.”

“Miss Templeman has been very right about that, Georgy. I am sure she has done her best to make us value higher things." “ Yes, and I hope

we shall carry out her training. She has been a real friend to us, and I feel as if I were parting with an aunt instead of a school. mistress. But now it is getting late, and you have to be up early to-morrow. Good night, dearest Evelyn, will you wear this ring in remembrance of our friendship, and these four happy years ?” Georgina passed a simple hair ring on her finger, and putting her arms round her, and imprinting one long kiss on her forehead, left the room.

Evelyn Falconer was the youngest child of a gentleman of considerable property in one of the midland counties of England. She had two brothers and as many sisters, and when at the age of thirteen, Mrs. Falconer had found great difficulty in replacing the governess who then left them to be married, she decided on sending Evelyn to school and taking her two eldest daughters into society. It was arranged that Evelyn should come home for six weeks every winter and summer, but when the first holidays came, her sisters were suffering from the hooping cough, and it was thought wise for Evelyn to spend them with an aunt who resided a short distance from Redbourn, where she was at school, and this arrangement was found to save so much trouble and expense, and Mrs. Layton was so glad to have her niece with her, that it was settled that she should spend all her holidays with her aunt, until the time came that she was to leave school altogether.

That time was now come, and Evelyn looked forward with a mixed feeling of hope and fear, to returning to the home and friends that she had not seen for four years. And certainly there seemed much to make her anxious, for the training at Miss Templeman's bad been very different to that, which, as far as she could remember, her sisters had received. Music, drawing, dancing, French and Italian, these had been pre-eminent in their education ; history, geography, grammar,

had been taught them she knew, but they were far from being considered so essential as the others. Religious instruction they had never had of any sort, for Miss Taylor had been looked upon as a first-rate governess, and having received high testimonials with her, Mrs. Falconer had implicitly entrusted to her the education of her daughters, both moral and physical, and religious instruction had no place in her catalogue of necessary attainments for young ladies. With the remembrance of Miss Taylor and the schoolroom at Everley, came to Evelyn's mind the ceaseless interruptions, the parties, picnics, visitors in the house, and visits to be paid out of it, which had continually interfered with Augusta and Mary's education. Certainly education at Redbourn and education at Everley, were two very different things. True, Evelyn was not so accomplished as her sisters ; she could not draw, she could not play brilliantly, she knew very little Italian, and could not play a single air on the harp or guitar ; but what then? She was thoroughly grounded in history, geography, divinity-all that constitutes a good English education. She could not converse like her sisters; she could not run on with a long string of light airy sentences, of no use, save to pass away time lightly and agreeably : but she could think, deeply, seriously, earnestly, and when her natural reserve was once overcome, she could talk, simply and feelingly. But with such a different education, internally as well as externally, how would she be in the home to which she was returning after so long an absence? Would her parents, would her sisters love her when they found her so different from themselves ? Would they not be disappointed ? and would not Evelyn's own life be sad and solitary, unloved and unsympathised with in the home for which she had so long been yearning ?

These were the thoughts that crowded into her mind as she sat by her bedroom fire with Georgina Berkeley on her last evening at Redbourn. And she had not even the satisfaction of confiding her doubts and fears to that true sympathising friend, for she felt she had no right to canvass her relations, even to one so gentle and charitable. Since the first tearful evening, when sad hearts and home-sick thoughts had drawn the two girls together, amongst the crowd of strange inquisitive faces that had greeted them at Miss Templeman's on their first arrival, Evelyn Falconer and Georgina Berkeley had been firm friends; and Georgina's stronger and more matured mind had done much to strengthen the principles that, aided by Evelyn's natural disposition, Miss Templeman's careful training had fostered. But now that friendship, which had been the only thing that had made school-life endurable, was to be broken; not entirely indeed, that could never be, but all personal intercourse was to cease; Georgina would no longer be the constant companion that she had been for the last four years, and intercourse by letter was after all but a poor substitute for the daily interchange of thought, and the free mutual confidence they had so long enjoyed.

And Georgina's life was to be changed also. She had petitioned that she might not be forced to remain at school after Evelyn's departure, and she was to return within a few days to her quiet home at the rectory of Lynwood. To strive to make home cheerful and happy to her widowed father, and to endeavour to supply the place of her who had been such a loss to them both-this was to be her task, and although she did not look forward to it with the same nervous, anxious expectation, with which Evelyn regarded her return to Everley, it was with a deep feeling of her own unworthiness, and a prayer for assistance and support, that she prepared to fill the position for which it had been for some years her endeavour to fit herself.

And here we leave them, to follow Evelyn to her newly recovered home, and learn how the four years at Redbourn had fitted her for the trials and difficulties which must necessarily await her after so long an absence.

CHAPTER II.

“Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,

Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home-

Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene,-one step enough for me.".

Lyra Apostolica.

Late on the following evening, in the drawingroom at Everley, sat several persons listening attentively for the sound of carriage wheels coming up the lawn. There was a tall, pleasant-looking gentleman, with hair slightly tinged with grey, but with a firm, erect figure, seated on one side of the fireplace, absorbed in the contents of the newspaper he was reading. Opposite to him, reclining on a sofa, lay his wife, a handsome person of about five and forty. There was considerable grace in her figure and posture, and in the rich folds of the embroidered silk dress she wore, and in the tasteful, elegant cap which covered her head. But although there was a smile on her face, there was a resolution and determination in the expression of her countenance, and a slightly unamiable turn in her lip which was not altogether pleasing. A book lay in her lap, but she did not appear much interested in it, for although she occasionally turned over a leaf, she talked continually to her daughters who stood by the piano at the further end of the

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