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SUMMER EVE.

AIR Summer Eve! sweet as the purling stream,
To parched lips, amid Arabian sand,

Calm as the silent echoes of a dream,
That wafts the exile to his native land.
Kind Summer Eve! life's hard realities
Are melted by thy spirit-soothing breath,
The stricken heart forgets its miseries,

The dying dreams not hopelessly of death.
Cool Summer Eve! thy gentle murmurings
Tell me of happy moments, ever fled,

Nor heed the stubborn course of Saturn's wings,
But dare the footsteps of the past to tread.
Sweet Summer Eve! I've sat and watched thee die,
And one by one, the timid starlets shine,
Celestial rivals of her glistening eye,

Whose loving hand was fondly clasped in mine.
Dear Summer Eve! we sat and watched thee die,
From twilight shadows into glooms of night,
Nor recked how fast the happy hours could fly,
When love had lent his pinions to their flight.
Still Summer Eve! thou hast full many a tale;
Fain would I, lingering, hearken yet to thee,
Charmer of grief, though other loves may fail,
A welcome thou wilt ever meet from me.

G. B. R.

WHO WINS MISS BURTON?

A Tale of the London Season.

CHAPTER V.

AGATHA did not weep, as she had

done the night before, she only felt despair, utter despair.

If Mr. Lynn had been kind to her, she might have told him all, and he might have saved her, and they might have been happy; but now her only chance was gone, and she had nothing left. She no longer cared to continue her walk, so she went home again and locked herself in her own room. Her mother was not aware that she had been out, and it was late in the day before she was disturbed. Lord Dunmore had arrived, and was waiting to see her. She sent a message to tell her mother to make what excuse she liked, but that she could not, and would not, see the earl that day. Mrs. Burton was fain to say that her darling Agatha had so severe a headache, in consequence of the fatigues of the ball, that she had positively forbidden her leaving her

room.

All that day was passed by Agatha in a kind of weary unrest. Towards night, worn out both in body and mind, she fell into a long, deep sleep, and dreamed she was at St. Helens, sitting on the sandbank, and that Mr. Lynn was reading Locksley Hall,' and that he compared her to Amy, and told her that he had been thinking that their future would be the same. Then she had upbraided him with his want of trust, and accused him of not loving her; and so he had disappeared, and Lord Dunmore had come, and opening a case of glittering jewels, offered them to her; and she had taken them in her hand and was going to put them on, when they turned into coils of living snakes; and then she tried to throw them from her, and shrieking in her horror, awoke.

The next day Lord Dunmore was no longer to be put off; and, at her mother's entreaty, Agatha was ready

VOL. X.-NO. LVI.

to receive him when his cab drove to the door.

She had, by a strong effort of will, so far conquered herself that, outwardly, she was much the same as usual. Lord Dunmore was most eager to know how she was, and why she had been ill: he was suspicious about the ball, and suspicious about the man he had just caught a glimpse of standing in the doorway; but Agatha laughed it off, said she was faint from the heat, and called his attention to her rapid recovery. At last he was soothed, and gave Agatha a costly diamond ring, and their engagement was thus metaphorically sealed.

It was a matter of course that all Mrs. Burton's friends should be loud in their congratulations, and Agatha became a person of immense importance. Even Lady Dunmore was obliged, or thought it her best policy, to write a letter to her daughter-in-law elect, which letter, although it did not actually say so, gave a general impression that Agatha ought to consider herself the most fortunate woman in England, and that her gratitude should be evinced accordingly.

Lady Dunmore was still in Paris, and finding that it was too late to save her son, as she said to her intimate friends with real tears in her eyes, from two of the most designing women she had ever met, she thought it best to remain where she

was.

Lord Dunmore was anxious to be married immediately: whenever he made up his mind that he wanted a thing, he never rested until he had obtained it. When he was a child, this propensity made him a terror to the nurses and governesses, as his choice would often fall on things impossible for him to have, and many and dire would be the scenes that ensued. When Lord Dunmore proposed that the wedding should

L

take place at once, Agatha begged that it might be postponed until the spring; but of this he would not hear, and was so really annoyed, that Mrs. Burton was in an agony lest he should get out of it altogether, and entreated Agatha not to be rash.

Agatha was just in that state of mind that she did not feel as if she really cared what happened; and although to gain time would have been a relief, still, as it was to be, perhaps, after all, it would be better for it to take place at once. The first week in December was accordingly fixed upon, and the preparations were begun.

After remaining a few weeks longer in Brighton, Mrs. Burton thought it would be more convenient to return to London, as there were so many things to be arranged which could be done so much better on the spot, and Agatha was so tired of Lord Dunmore's constant society, that she eagerly acquiesced in a plan that might give her some time to herself. Of course Lord Dunmore accompanied them to London, and remained a few days to see them settled in Hertford Street, May Fair, where Mrs. Burton had taken a house until after the wedding; but there he left them, and went back to Dunmore Castle for some shooting, taking Captain Burton with him; so Agatha and her mother were alone.

Lord Dunmore had, during his stay in London, given Agatha the most costly presents, had chosen her opera-box for the next season, had been to Tattersall's to look at riding-horses for her especial use, and, indeed, had been, as Mrs. Burton said, quite lavish in his generosity; but Agatha he now considered as his own personal property, so that giving to her was, in fact, the same as giving to himself, a species of benevolence in which he had never been known to fail.

Captain Valentine Burton had come up to town to meet Lord Dunmore, and had given his mother to understand that his marriage with Miss Chatterton was, after all, not unlikely, as her parents had given him every encouragement since the

announcement of Agatha's engagement, and that as the young lady herself was desperate about him, he thought her eighty thousand pounds might be considered within reach; and Mrs. Burton felt really grateful that she had taken so much pains to secure the happiness of both her children. Agatha and Mrs. Burton were sitting, one afternoon late in November, over the drawing-room fire in Hertford Street, each apparently occupied with her own train of thought, when the footman brought in a letter, which he handed to Mrs. Burton. Agatha was listlessly turning over the pages of a book, but she was in reality not reading.

'Really, Agatha, you ought to consider yourself a most fortunate girl,' said Mrs. Burton, looking up from the perusal of her letter; 'Valentine gives a most wonderful account of Dunmore Castle, and says it is quite regal in its appointments.'

Agatha made some slight response, and her mother continued, reading parts of the letter aloud:

""Tell Agatha that the reception rooms are all fitted up with skyblue velvet and white satin, and that the ceiling and walls are painted in fresco, and most beautiful of their kind; that her boudoir looks too pretty for use, with its pink silk and white lace."

Agatha smiled; but her heart carried her in imagination to the Red House in the High Street of Denborough, and she felt that she loved its old-fashioned furniture a thousand times better than she could ever love the costliest belongings of Lord Dunmore.

But Mrs. Burton was delighted. She stirred the fire until it leaped up into a bright blaze, shutting out the premature darkness of the day caused by the dense yellow fog peculiar to the million-peopled city, and prepared herself to discuss more fully Captain Burton's letter. Agatha laid down the book, and listened, Mrs. Burton doing most of the conversation, and trying to imagine how everything would be at Dunmore, when Agatha was mistress; and thus the rest of the day

wore on, and lights were brought, and dinner announced. After dinner, Mrs. Burton talked it all over again, till Agatha, weary and heartsick, went to bed and dreamt that she was leaning on Lord Dunmore's arm, and that they were walking up the old High Street of Denborough, and that quite suddenly they met Mr. Lynn; that she put out her hand, but that he passed her by, and did not even seem to know her.

In the morning the fog was still so thick that it was almost impossible to see out of the window. Mrs. Burton, wrapped in a red shawl, declared, as she poured the water out of the steaming silver kettle into the teacups, that the fireside was the only place on such a day, but that she had some dutycalls that must be made that afternoon, that she would be obliged to sacrifice her personal feelings, and that Agatha must accompany her.

When the letters were brought in, Agatha took hers up, as she always did now, with a feeling of indifference. Lord Dunmore's almost illegible hand writing was there as usual, but she passed it over: another riveted her attention-it was Mrs. Vernor's. She had heard occasionally from Mrs. Vernor since leaving St. Helens; she had written to tell her of her engagement, and received her really heartfelt best wishes; and although she rarely mentioned the Lynns, every fresh letter inspired Agatha with the hope that she might tell her something about them.

This morning she held the letter a few minutes in her hand before opening it, and looked in vain for the Denborough postmark. It was not there, simply the London one. A few hurried lines inside explained that Mrs. Vernor had unexpectedly been summoned to town by one of her early pupils, who was dying. She wanted to see Agatha, and would go to Hertford Street the moment she had any spare time. She did not ask Agatha to go and see her, but Agatha determined at once to do so, and run the risk of finding her at home.

'Mamma,' said Agatha, need I

pay those visits with you this afternoon?'

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What has happened to prevent it, Agatha?'

'Mrs. Vernor is in town, and I must go and see her.'

'It is very provoking,' replied Mrs. Burton,' but people always will turn up when they are least wanted. Why could not to-morrow do? To-morrow I shall be out, and you will be alone.'

'Oh, I could not be happy to lose a day,' said Agatha, ' more especially as I do not know how long she means to remain.'

Mrs. Burton thought it best not to contradict her, so it was arranged that she was to leave her at Mrs. Vernor's, whilst she paid the visits, and then to call for her again.

The direction given was to a small crescent in Bayswater; a place, as Mrs. Burton said, of which she had never heard the name, and which she only hoped her coachman might be able to find, and then she asked what was Lord Dunmore's news.

Agatha had forgotten to open the letter, but she did so at once on being reminded, and tried to appear interested in a photograph of her future home-a magnificent castle, standing high, surrounded by noble trees and beautiful gardens, with a broad lake winding away in the distance.

Mrs. Burton was, of course, enchanted, and told Agatha that she must have given her a fairy godmother; and Agatha laughed and said that, after all, she might find out one day that she was only Cinderella.

If Agatha might have chosen, she would have put on her plainest winter dress that afternoon; but Mrs. Burton wished her to pay a visit of state in Belgrave Square before she went to Bayswater, and to dress as befitted the future Lady Dunmore, it being on one of Lord Dunmore's great friends that they were to call; and Cameron having laid out a violet silk dress, a violet velvet mantle, and a white bonnet with violet feathers, there was nothing left but to put them on.

Lady Mary Haughton was not at home, so they drove to Bayswater. Mrs. Vernor being at home, Agatha

got out, and Mrs. Burton drove away, promising to call again in an hour. Agatha followed the maid into the sitting-room: a dim figure was standing before her, the door shut behind her, and she was just about to exclaim Mrs. Vernor, when her voice failed, the room went into darkness;-the figure was not Mrs. Vernor, it was Mr. Lynn.

'I have made a mistake,' she said, desperately; 'I came to see Mrs. Vernor, and I thought-' But she was trembling so violently that she was obliged to grasp the back of the chair to save herself from falling.

Whatever Mr. Lynn's first feelings may have been, he mastered them quickly.

You thought rightly, Miss Burton, Mrs. Vernor is here, or will be in a few minutes.' And then he bowed, without offering his hand, and turning a chair round, asked her to sit down.

Agatha obeyed. She did not know if she were very happy, or very miserable; she was in a dream. For a few minutes both were silent, then Mr. Lynn took out his watch.

'I ordered the carriage to call for me again in an hour,' said Agatha, 'hearing that Mrs. Vernor was at home.'

'I fear there may have been some mistake,' replied Mr. Lynn; 'but I will go and see.' And he left the

room.

Agatha covered her face with both her hands, and tried to think what she ought to do, or ought to say. Mr. Lynn was only absent a few minutes.

'I am afraid,' he said, on re-entering, 'that some blunder has been made. Mrs. Vernor is out, and her return uncertain.'

Agatha rose. 'I had better go,' she said.

For a moment Mr. Lynn looked at her as he used to do in the old St. Helens days, and seemed about to speak, but he checked himself, and then said, coldly,

'I fear either alternative will be equally unwelcome-returning alone in a cab, or waiting for your own carriage.'

'I think,' said Agatha 'it would be best to wait, only—

'Only I am here,' replied Mr. Lynn, with a slight inclination of the head, and a shade of sarcasm in his voice. But Miss Burton need be under no apprehension; when my services can be dispensed with I am ready to leave the house, and so spare her the pain of my society.'

Something almost like a moan came from Agatha's lips. She had been standing up, but she sat down, and turned her face to the window, without speaking. There was something like triumph mingled with the bitterness that lay at Mr. Lynn's heart, as he looked at Agatha; but he felt that he had never loved her so madly as he did then, in her proud desperation; not that he showed it, there was a fiend at his heart, and it goaded him on to torture her.

'If you have any message for Mrs. Vernor, and can trust me with it, I will promise to deliver it.'

'I shall see Mrs. Vernor myself, I hope,' replied Agatha; 'I have nothing new to tell her.'

'Miss Burton's life cannot be so uneventful,' he said, 'or perhaps her usual discretion prevents her from troubling her friends with her personal interests.'

The hot tears came into Agatha's eyes at the implied reproach; but she was in the shade, and Mr. Lynn did not see her face, he only saw the diamond ring that glittered on her finger. He waited a minute, and then he bowed and was about to leave the room. He had even reached the door when Agatha interrupted him. There was a wild, hunted look in her large dark eyes, as she exclaimed,

'Mr. Lynn, don't go; I ask it as a favour, please don't go.' She went back to her seat. It had all been done on the impulse of the moment, something had impelled her to it.

Mr. Lynn closed the door, came in and sat down.

'Miss Burton, I do it because you ask me; nothing now but your words shall influence me.' He was cruel even yet, but Agatha did not remonstrate. She looked up, and the pained expression on her face soothed his angry spirit, and he asked gently about her mother, brother, and her London life.

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