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all else froin his mind. He quite forgets to telegraph to his friend to withhold the publication of their marriage, and so in due course it appears.

As Coralie's attack proves a very mild one, they hope to verify the statement in the paper a week hence, so they pay no further heed to the mistake.

Ten days have elapsed. Again they are on the eve of the realization of their hopes.

Coralie sits dreaming before her dressing-room fire. All the misery and heart-ache of the past are forgotten. The only shadow in her present life is the condition of her aged parents, destitute save for her bounty. Their situation is very painful to her on account of their pride, which is constantly at war with dependent circumstances. Thank God, however, that her wealth is sufficient to purchase them every comfort, and oh, great joy! to render this union with fond, faithful Dick possible, in spite of

his poverty.

Rat-a-tat-tat sounds the postman's knock. “Two letters, Madame."

Still softly smiling to herself, as she thinks that the now near to-morrow will bring her tempest-tossed bark safe into the harbour of her hopes and happiness, she glances with languid interest at the handwriting of the address on the first envelope which she carelessly picks up. Only her solicitor's well-known hand, but addressed to Mrs. Hayward! She opens, and reads.

"DEAR MADAM,

“I regret that a most unexpected claim has been made against you, by a Mrs. René Symonds, who alleges that under the provisions of a Will signed and attested by your late husband, and of a more recent date than that under which you succeeded to his estate, all his property shall revert to her in the event of your marrying again. From a recent announcement in the Times it would appear that this contingency has already arisen. Awaiting your instructions, and assuring you that everything possible shall be done to further and protect your interests,

“I remain,
"Dear Madam,

“ Yours faithfully,

"Josiah WICKHAM."

Poor Coralie is too stunned by the suddenness of the shock to realize the full extent of her calamity. The letter falls from her nerveless hand, the colour forsakes her parted lips, and she stands as if spell-bound. Suddenly her eye rests on the other letter, as yet unopened, and the colour rushes to her face again as she recognizes the handwriting. With a supreme effort she conquers her conflicting emotions, opens the letter and reads.

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"DEAR MRS. HAYWARD,

“Pray accept my congratulations on your recent marriage. Believe me I share your happiness most sincerely. Your late husband apparently foresaw the event, and made provision accordingly. Of course you will not think of opposing his last wishes, as you were always such a dutiful wife. I shall not forget my duty to carry out his intentions, and have already obtained counsel's opinion that his last will is bound to stand. “ Yours most affectionately,

“RENÉ SYMONDS."

Poor Coralie ! Was this bitter cup of humiliation all then that she had gained by her devotion to duty ? Bravely she sits down to think-what should she do? Shall she renounce all the wealth that is yet her own, and fight the fierce battle of the world with the man whom she loves ? How will his loyalty stand the strain ? And then her parents, now entirely dependent on her for the very necessaries of life; how can she impose such a burden on her husband's slender and uncertain resources ? Again she recalls that the irrevocable step has not yet been taken, and when she thinks of René's triumphant sneers, the temptation to thwart and disappoint her, as she can so easily do, becomes almost irresistible; until love once more sweeps all other considerations aside.

Poor Coralie ! so absorbed is she in this wild conflict, that she does not hear the footfall that draws nearer and nearer to where she sits.

A kindly hand touches her shoulder, a kindly voice whispers " Coralie.”

With a cry she turns her wan, weary face and tear-dimmed eyes to greet her lover. He starts at sight of her, and earnestly asks the cause of her distress. But words fail her, choked by her sobs, and she only points to the open letters on the floor, and sinks into a chair, covering her face with her hands. What will he do? She dare not look at him as he slowly reads the fateful letters-years of agony seem to pass in those brief moments. The silence is broken by a low, earnest, sympathetic voice“Thank Heaven, Coralie, I can prove to you now that it is yourself and not your fortune that I have coveted so long." Clasped in his arms she drinks in all his fervent protestations of loyalty; but asks him to consider well the risks and hardships of such a lot as theirs must of necessity be, with so many dependent on then for support.

A proud, happy smile ripples over Dick's face as he listenswhat can he mean? “There is ample for them all, my darling! the same mail that brought you these cruel letters, brought me one that robs them of their venom. I have never told

you

of my hopes, for they were so wildly unlikely—but now they have been more than realized. When I was abroad, and meaning to settle, I ventured all my poor savings in the purchase of a piece of land, for which I was afterwards told by everybody I had paid a great deal too much. After some months I noticed several strangers hanging about, and ascertained, though not from them, that they were gold prospectors. Soon after I got an offer for my land of five times what I had paid, which I refused. This set me on the alert, and I had my property examined by an expert. Before he had finished I received your letter and hastened home at once.

"To-day I have his report, which says that at the lowest estimate my place is worth a hundred thousand pounds in the mining market, and may prove to be worth a great deal more."

So Malice for once is foiled by Fortune, and the oft-repeated question “What would you do?" requires no answer.

Drawn Blank.

BY MRS. ROBERT JOCELYN. Author of "The M. F. H.'S DAUGHTER,” “ £100,000 VERSUS GHOSTS,"

"The CRITON HUNT MYSTERY,” etc., etc.

"

CHAPTER XXXII.

LADY VI IS GREATLY PUZZLED.

MARY DUNSTABLE, as soon as she reached the farm house to which Sir John took her, absolutely refused to remain quietly there, as he wished her to do, until a doctor could be called in and her foot attended to properly.

Nothing would satisfy her but that she should start off at once in the farmer's gig for Delton Carr. She thanked Sir John for the assistance he had rendered her, and accepted his offer of further assistance in the way of seeing if he could ascertain Gingerbread's whereabouts; but her one thought seemed to be a strong desire to get home.

She professed that nothing in the world would induce her to be laid up in a farm-house. Personal comforts seemed to be her chief aim and object in life; next to that, as was quite apparent, was the wish to see the last of the man who had befriended her.

As to seeing a doctor, she would not hear of it. She had merely twisted her ankle,” she declared, “and nothing else was wrong."

So in the farmer's gig, driven by the farmer's son, Mary returned ignominiously to the “ Royal," and, once again forbidding anyone to send for a doctor, she was carried upstairs by Gargrave and Lord Morescliffe's valet, and put to bed by Marie, whose many protestations and exclamations of dismay brought down such a shower of abuse as had never before greeted that volatile little Frenchwoman's ears.

The sight of Mary's foot when, with an unflinching determination, she had cut her boot away from it, in spite of the pain which she endured the while, was not encouraging; and it so

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horrified the kind-hearted Marie, that even had she dared to do it she would have forgotten to resent the way in which she had been addressed. She set to work at once with hot water fomentations, and succeeded in slightly relieving Mary's pain for the time being.

But as Mary knew very well it was only for the time being ; the injury to her foot and ankle, whatever it might be, was of a serious nature, and it seemed more than probable that it would be a trouble to her for some time to come.

It seemed an age to Mary before Lady Vi returned ; and yet the moment that she had heard a report of Mary's accident, that young lady had turned her horse's head towards Delton Carr and almost galloped him home.

When she arrived she found Mary still lying on her bed; that she was suffering greatly it was easy enough for her to see, in spite of Mary's protestations to the contrary; and Lady Vi could not understand at all why her friend so hotly declared that she would not have a doctor called in ; that if one was sent for, she would refuse point blank to see him.

“I shall be all right to-morrow, Vi," urged Miss Dunstable, with an attempt at a light, careless tone, “Don't you fuss, my dear, I am not killed this time, or anything near it."

“ But why not send for the doctor, Mary?” persisted Lady Violet. “What possible harm can it do ?”

“I detest doctors," returned Mary, petulantly. Always have done so since I was a child, and old Sleek used to stuff me with the nastiest concoctions he could invent, when I was suffering from nothing in the world but a fit of boredom, productive of temper."

Lady Violet laughed.

'You are likely to suffer badly from one of those very trying attacks now, Mary, unless you get that foot of yours properly seen to without further delay," she replied quickly. “You know

“ quite well that it is as bad as ever it can be. Is it not so, Marie ?”

"Indeed, but it is, me lady," returned the French woman, looking up from the basin of boiling water, in which she had just, for about the hundredth time, immersed the sponge with which she was still fomenting her young mistress's foot. cause the pain to be frightful, my lady, only Mademoiselle she is so brave, she not confess how bad she feel.”

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