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to make some alteration in his harness.

'Hi' said the doctor, and in a moment more he was beside the


'Drive to Palace Gardens,' he went on, to Holyrood House, where Sir John Moffat lives.'



SINCE he left Stratford Doctor Dilton had seen the inside of many a good house and noble mansion. He had made a name and reputation for himself, and worked up so good a practice that my lord at the castle and the squire at the hall were equally glad to hear the sound of his horse's hoofs when illness was beneath their roofs. The stately dignity of the one home and the comfortable luxury of the other were perfectly familiar to him, repeated as both chanced to be, in a greater or lesser degree, in all the houses of any pretensions he visited; but the lavish upholstery, the purely decorative style of furnishing which obtains in most London residences, struck him with unpleasant surprise. Wherever he turned it was the same story, with a difference-nothing seemed for use; everything was for show. The old houses, so suitable for families, were elbowed out of court by staring edifices fit only for the reception of company. Rooms were not wanted for living in, but merely to fill with guests. Residences were not houses to which a man might return after the heat and turmoil of business to enjoy a slippered ease, to join in the gambols and pleasures of his children, but advertisements wherewith his credit might be maintained

and the inevitable hour of bankruptcy deferred.

Doctor Dilton had vaguely imagined Sir John Moffat's house would have been free of the modern craze for rich discomfort; but the moment he set foot across its threshold he found out his mistake. Money-money-money! everything money could buy-everything the possession of wealth could suggest! Amazed, he followed the butler across the hall, which gave promise of the wonders to follow. Still more amazed, he looked around the drawing-room, where he was left alone while Simonds went to inform my lady's lady of his arrival.

'I suppose he married some City heiress,' considered Doctor Dilton, 'and that all this is her taste;' and as so he thought his mind recurred to the long-ago past, when in the early morning, with the first beams of the rising sun glinting on the pinnacles of St. John's Church, he walked forth with the man he had seen again that afternoon, on a road which did not seem for him to have been strewn with roses.

The whole scene came before him vividly: the trees in the Grove and in the Green; the pure freshness of the morning air; the scents of the flowers that came to them as they walked; the look of the poor man's cottage, all set about with bud and blossom, clad in the beauty of climbers and creepers; Mrs. Palthorpe's sullen loveliness; the sickness unto death of the sick man; the kindly readiness with which the stranger, so suddenly pressed into an unwonted service, helped him to adjust the bandages; every detail of that fatal introduction passed through his mind, and once again he thanked God the woman had always seemed to him repellent rather than otherwise; that from the very first

there arose an antagonism between them, which never abated, but, on the contrary, increased.

His reverie was interrupted by Winter, who came to say that, if he pleased, her ladyship would feel obliged by his walking up-stairs.

'Is she confined to bed?' he asked, anxious to obtain some carte du pays, even though only of the slightest and sketchiest description.

"O no,' Winter answered; 'my lady never goes to bed, no matter how ill she may feel.'

'Was this a sudden attack?' he inquired. Foiled at one point, he thought he would try another.

'Very sudden, sir,' said the maid. 'My lady went to pay some visits, and had to return directly, she was taken so ill. She was greatly put out when she heard Doctor Merrard was away. Her ladyship feels he understands her so exactly.'

'Humph!' thought the doctor, not, perhaps, best pleased with this back-handed compliment; but he only said aloud, he trusted he might be able to prove of service.

The doctor, my lady,' said Winter, cautiously entering Lady Moffat's dressing-room, and advancing towards an easy-chair, where the sufferer reclined, her head resting against the back, her face turned away from the light.

She did not take the slightest notice of Winter's statement, never moved nor stirred a finger. Winter, accustomed, however, to her ladyship's eccentricities, was not disturbed by this mode of receiving her information.

She placed a chair for the doctor near his patient; moved a little table on which stood water, sal volatile, red lavender, eau-decologne, and a few other such feminine restoratives, somewhat nearer Lady Moffat's hand, and then, inquiring if there were any

thing more she could do, took an impatient gesture as a reply in the negative, and left the room.

Doctor Dilton, whose eyes were now growing accustomed to the half light, and who was wondering any woman could exist in an atmosphere so heavy with drug and perfume, availed himself of the pause which ensued to gain some idea of her ladyship's personal appearance. It did not instantly dawn upon him who Lady Moffat really was. The idea that my lady dressed in richest silk, with every accessory of wealth about her, surrounded by every luxury the heart of woman could desire, was identical with the slight girlwife, whose graceful curves were set off by no costlier material than a cheap print, never entered his mind.

The years had come and the years had gone, and before him he saw not the figure which, standing under the Portuguese laurel, startled the gentleman who once walked the Romford-road at break of day, but a larger, more magnificent woman, upon whose shapely hand diamonds sparkled, whose stately throat was set off by frillings of the most delicate lace.

All at once, finding he made no sign, she impatiently raised her head, and, pushing back her hair with both hands, said, irritably,

'I thought you were never coming. I sent for you hours ago;' and she looked up at him with the eyes he had never forgotten, unchanged, save that the shadows of years lay lurking in their wonderful depths.

It is not too much to say Doctor Dilton almost gasped. This thing-this awful thing-he felt could not be ; and yet it seemed still more impossible earth held two women so strongly resembling each other as Thomas Palthorpe's faithless wife and the mistress of

Sir John Moffat's splendid mansion.

In her face there gleamed no light of recognition. Doctor Dilton had worked hard and lived hard, and age had told upon him, as it always does on men whose toil, mental and physical, continues year in year out. While she had fared sumptuously, never known the lack of money, lain soft, slept soundly, troubled about nothing on the face of God's wide earth save her own comfort, her own ease, her own gratificationhe had been out in all sorts of wild weather, called up at night, anxious now and then about wife and children, worried about difficult cases, tried by the multiplicity of awkward tempers he came in contact with.

He was changed out of recognition. Not so Lady Moffat. An An older, handsomer, finer, more decided Mira Palthorpe, than she who looked enviously at the wives of the rich merchants who came to shop in Stratford Broadway, and whose marvellous beauty had seemed something superhuman when seen by the glinting moonbeams under the arching trees of Epping; but Mira Palthorpe still. O yes, he knew her! Without the shadow of doubt, he felt sure the woman before him was identical with the negligent wife he had talked to so often and so plainly in the poor parlour, love had never transformed and glorified for her.

All these thoughts and more swept through Doctor Dilton's mind even while he answered,

I came

'I am sorry I was out when your messenger arrived. here the moment I returned home.'

Well, now you are here see what you can do for me. Make my heart stop beating, will you? What must I take to get rid of this hammering in my head? I feel as

if I should like to go out and walk for miles and miles; but when I even try to cross the room my strength fails me.'

He took her hand in his, and felt it was dry and burning. In the olden days he had never retained it one second longer than he could help, but now he seemed in no hurry to relinquish his hold.

With calm deliberation he laid his fingers on her pulse, and counted its wild irritable throbbings, asking her some questions the while concerning her health in general. Then, quite leisurely, he proceeded to ascertain whether, medically, her frightful nervousness could be accounted for. From the first he felt satisfied her ailment, however it might have been produced, was purely mental; but he was far too careful a doctor to take his own opinions for granted unless he could find them confirmed by facts. Heart sound; lungs not affected; liver to be depended on; digestion not at fault; nothing he could discover amiss in her splendid physical constitution.

And yet her pulse such as no woman in health ought to have. Doctor Dilton again touched the white soft wrist, and, with head a little bent, was considering the story he was listening to in silence, when, suddenly and swiftly, his own was seized, and his hand pushed aside with a strong firm grip.

Steadily he looked in Lady Moffat's face.

'What is it?' he asked. 'What is the matter?'

She did not answer; she only gazed at him with a sort of wondering incredulity, a frightened amazement. Then that expression died away; the old sullen darkness deepened in her eyes; she relaxed her grasp, and released his hand.

"I a am going mad, I think,' she murmured; and turning her face once again from him, laid it wearily against the velvet of her chair.

'You have had a shock of some kind to-day,' he said.

'A horrible shock,' she answered, shuddering as she spoke.

'I am afraid this is a case in which medicine can do very little; but I will send you something that may do you good.'

'I am afraid there is nothing will do that really,' she replied.

'Well, we must try, at any rate,' he said, trying to speak cheerfully. I hope I shall find you better when I call to-morrow.'

'I don't think you will,' she moaned despondently.

There was no use prolonging a dialogue of this kind; so the doctor rose, and after taking his leave moved towards the door, his eyes, almost unwittingly, taking in every detail of the luxury and refinement surrounding a woman who had sinned as few of her sex ever do sin, who had so dared that scarce any one would have possessed the courage and the folly to go through to the end.

Doctor! The word fell very faintly upon his ear, but as he heard he stopped, and retraced his steps.

She looked up at him; looked with a haggard hunted expression in her eyes that touched Doctor Dilton, in spite of his better judgment.

'There was something I wanted to say,' she remarked, toying with her fan, which she had not hitherto used, but I forget what it was now. I shall remember-to-morrow.'

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He walked to the door again, had his hand even upon the handle, and then returned. She glanced askance at his homely figure, as he came close to her side; then, compelled by something in his


face, grasped her chair with both hands, while she looked up at him with wild frightened eyes, from which fear had cast out for a moment the evil light of old.

'Pray do not be alarmed,' he began gently, more gently than he had ever spoken to her in the far-away days at Stratford. 'I only want to ease your mind of one source of anxiety. The question you wished to ask me a moment ago was, unless I am greatly mistaken, whether I remembered you. No-nodon't do that;' for she covered her fair sinful face with trembling hands; 'your secret is quite safe with me. I should not be fit for my occupation if upon occasion I failed to be deaf, dumb, blind, to anything but the condition of a patient.'

She removed her hands from her face, and, stretching them out, caught his, crying wildly,

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Help me, help me!" But this was more than he had bargained for or meant to concede.

With but scant courtesy he released his fingers; and then, half ashamed of his impetuosity, stood silent, while she said mournfully,

'Ah, you always hated me!'

'I never liked you,' he answered, his sturdy honesty coming to his help in the moment of extremest need; but for that very reason you may trust me now. Were you Lady Moffat fifty times over, I should be sorry for you still.'

'I am Lady Moffat!' she cried. 'What do you mean by saying if I were?'

He shook his head slowly, sorrowfully.

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'Never mind about that,' he said. Whatever you may be, whoever you are, makes no difference to me. If you think I can do you good I will come again; if not, all you have to say is, Stay away." Your identity with a cer



tain lady in the days when I was younger is safe with me. Goodbye.' And quite freely he held out his hand in farewell.

Perhaps in that very fact she read danger.

'What do you mean,' she asked, by suggesting I am not Lady Moffat?

'I suggested nothing,' he answered. I am quite willing to take you for what you profess to be. So long as I am asked to attend Lady Moffat, I come to see Lady Moffat. If you do not wish me to come again, I will stay away.'

'No; I would rather you came,' she said, after a moment's pause; 'though what evil wind blew you to Kensington, I cannot imagine.'


'I simply came here to keep cousin's practice together, while he goes down to my place ill,' was the reply.

Since we bought this house, I have never known a day's peace,' she remarked wearily; " never-never. I wish Palace Gardens had been buried fathoms deep before we heard of it.'

'You played for high stakes.' 'And lost,' she replied-and lost.'

'If I might venture a suggestion-' he hesitated.

'Venture, whatever it may be,' she said.

'I would tell Sir John everything that is on your mind.'

'Too late,' was the despairing answer; 'too late-too late!'

'Unless I hear from you to the contrary, I will see you again to-morrow,' said Doctor Dilton. 'I shall send you something directly that should prove of benefit.'

And so, without more formal leave-taking, he quitted the room, pausing just for a moment, as he closed the door behind him, to

draw a long breath of wonder and relief.

As he so paused, he saw a gentleman walk along the corridor and down the staircase. It was Sir John Moffat; and instinctively Doctor Dilton slackened his pace, ere following in his wake. There were many reasons-hundreds they then seemed-why he should not at that moment meet the owner of Holyrood House.

The cab is at the door, Sir John,' he heard the butler say, and I have put in the luggage.'

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'Thank you,' said Sir John. And Doctor Dilton proceeding slowly down the grand flightwhich at Holyrood House does not spring out of the main hall, but gives upon it-could see Sir John take his hat from Simonds, and suffer that functionary to assist him with his outer coat.

Not liking to stay, not caring to intrude, the doctor followed Sir John's footsteps leisurely across the hall. He saw him pass through the door, enter the cab; heard Simonds ask where the man was to drive, and say, 'Victoria-in time for the French mail.'

Then modestly he edged his own way out past Simonds, who stood on the steps looking into the night, and considering all the sins of all the masters he had ever served.

What a lovely night for the time of year! said Doctor Dilton, who had lived too long in the country to fall into the fatal mistake Londoners affect of 'keeping the lower orders at their distance.'

'Lovely, sir,' answered Simonds, moving a step or two back. 'May I take the liberty of asking how her ladyship is now? this tentatively.

'I hope I shall find her better to-morrow,' answered Doctor Dil

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