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But to hear the same, and even loftier words, from the lips of the curate, whom she had made her toy, almost her butt, was to have them brought down unexpectedly and painfully to her own level. If this was his ideal, why ought it not to be hers? Was she not his equal, perhaps his superior ? And so her very pride humbled her, as she said to herself, "Then I too ought to be useful. I can be; I will be ! ” “Lucia,” asked she, that very afternoon,

let me take the children off your hands while Clara is busy in the morning?"

“0, you dear good creature! but it would be such a gêne! They are really stupid, I am afraid, sometimes, or else I am. They make me so miserably cross at times."

“I will take them. It would be a relief to you, would it not?"

“My dear !” said poor Lucia, with a doleful smile, which seemed to Valencia's accusing heart to say, “Have you only now discovered that fact?"

From that day Valencia courted Headley's company more and more.

To fall in love with him was of course absurd ; and he had cured himself of his passing fancy for her. There could be no harm, then, in her making the most of conversation so different from what she heard in the world, and which in her heart of hearts she liked so much better. For it was with Valencia as with all women ; in this common fault of frivolity, as in most others, the men rather than they are to blame. Valencia had cultivated in herself those qualities which she saw admired by the men whom she met, and some one of whom, of course, she meant to marry; and, as their female ideal was a butterfly ideal, a butterfly she became. But beneath all lay, deep and strong, the woman's love of nobleness and wisdom, the woman's longing to learn and to be led, which has shown itself in every age in so many a fantastic and even ugly shape, and which is their real excuse for the flirting with "geniuses,” casting themselves at the feet of directors ; which had tempted her to coquette with Elsley, and was now bringing her into "undesirable" intimacy with the poor curate.

She had heard that day, with some sorrow, his announce ment that he wished to be gone ; but, as he did not refer to it again, she left the thought alone, and all but forgot it. The subject, however, was renewed about a week after. wards. “When you return to Aberalva,” she had said, in reference to some commission. I shall never return to Aberalva."

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“ Not return?'

“No; I have already resigned the curacy. I believe yone uncle has appointed to it the man whom Campbell found for me ; and an excellent man, I hear, he is. At least he will do better there than 1.

“But what could have induced you? How sorry all the people will be !"

“I am not so sure of that,” said he, with a smile. “I did what I could at last to win back at least their respect, and to leave at least not hatred behind me; but I am unfit for them. I did not understand them. I meant – no matter what I meant; but I failed. God forgive me! I shall now go somewhere where I shall have simpler work to do ; where I shall at least have a chance of practising the lesson which I learnt there. I learnt it all, strange to say, from the two people in the parish from whom I expected to learn least."

“Whom do you mean?
“The doctor and the schoolmistress.

Why from them less than from any in the parish ? She so good, and he so clever ?"

• That I shall never tell to any one now. Suffice it that I was mistaken."

Valencia could obtain no further answer; and so the days ran on, every one becoming more and more intimate, till a certain afternoon, on which they were all to go and pic-nic, under Claude's pilotage, above the lake of Gwynnant. Scoutbush was to have been with them; but a heavy day's rain in the mean while swelled the streams into fishing order; so the little man ordered a car, and started at three in the morning for Bettws with Mr. Bowie, who, however loath to give up the arrangement of plates and the extraction of champagne corks, considered his presence by the riverside a natural necessity.

My dear Miss Clara, ye see, there 'll be nobody to see that his lordship pits on dry stockings; and he's always getting over the tops of his water-boots, being young and daft, as we've all been, and no offence to you; and, to tell you truth, I can stand all temptations — in moderation, that

-- save an’except the chance o'cleiking a fish.”

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CHAPTER XX.

BOTH SIDES OF THE MOON AT ONCE.

The spot which Claude had chosen for the pic-nic was on one of the lower spurs of that great mountain of The Maid. en's Peak, which bounds the vale of Gwynnant to the south. Above, a wilderness of gnarled volcanic dykes, and purple heather ledges; below, broken into glens, in which still linger pale green ashwoods, relics of that primeval forest in which, in Bess's days, great Leicester used to rouse the hart with hound and horn.

Among these Claude had found a little lawn, guarded by great rocks, out of every cranny of which the ashes grew as freely as on flat ground. Their feet were bedded deep in sweet fern and wild raspberries, and golden-rod, and purple scabious, and tall blue campanulas. Above them, and be. fore them, and below them, the ashes shook their green filigree in the bright sunshine ; and through them glimpses were seen of the purple cliffs above, and, right in front, of the great cataract of Nant Gwynnant, a long snow-white line zig-zagging down coal-black cliff's for many a hundred feet, and above it, depth beyond depth of purple shadow away into the very heart of Snowdon, up the long valley of Cwm-dyli, to the great amphitheatre of Clogwyn-y-Garnedd; while over all the cone of Snowdon rose, in perfect symmetry, between his attendant peaks of Lliwedd and Crib Coch.

There they sat, and laughed, and talked, the pleasant summer afternoon, in their pleasant summer bower; and never regretted the silence of the birds, so sweetly did Valencia's song go up, in many a rich sad Irish melody ; while the lowing of the milch kine, and the wild cooing of the herd-boys, came softly up from the vale below, "and all the air was filled with pleasant noise of waters.”

Then Claude must needs photograph them all, as they sat, and group them first according to his fancy; and among his fancies was one, that Valencia should sit as queen, with Headley and the major at her feet. And Headley lounged there, and looked into the grass, and thought it well for him could he lie there forever.

Then Claude must photograph the mountain itself; and all began to talk of it.

See the breadth of light and shadow,” said Claude; “how the purple depth of the great lap of the mountain is thrown back by the sheet of green light on Lliwedd, and the red glory on the cliffs of Crib Coch, till you seem to look away into the bosom of the hill, mile after mile."

“ And so you do,” said Headley. "I have learnt to distinguish mountain distances since I have been here. That peak is four miles from us now; and yet the shadowed cliffs at its foot seem double that distance.'

And look, look,” said Valencia, “ at the long line of glory with which the western sun is gilding the edge of the left-hand slope, bringing it nearer and nearer to us every moment, against the deep blue sky !”

“But what a form! Perfect lightness, perfect symmetry!” said Claude. “ Curve sweeping over curve, peak towering over peak, to the highest point, and then sinking down again as gracefully as they rose. One can hardly help fancying that the mountain moves, that those dancing lines are not instinct with life."

At least," said Headley, “ that the mountain is a leaping wave, frozen just ere it fell.”

Perfect !” said Valencia. " That is the very expression! So concise, and yet so complete!”

And Ileadley, poor fool, felt as happy as if he had found a gold mine.

"To me,” said Elsley, “the fancy rises of some great Eastern monarch sitting in royal state ; with ample shoulders sloping right and left, he lays his purple-mantled arms upon the heads of two of those Titan guards who stand on either side his footstool."

“ While from beneath his throne,” said Headley, "as Eastern poets would say, flow everlasting streams, lifegiving, to fertilize broad lands below.”

"I did not know that you, too, were a poet," said Valencia.

Nor I, madam. But if such scenes as these, and in such company, cannot inspire the fancy even of a poor country curate to something of exaltation, he must be dull indeed."

“Why not put some of these thoughts into poetry?“What use?" answered he, in so low, sad, and meaning a tone, meant only for her ear, that Valencia looked down at him ; but he was gazing intently upon the glorious scene. Was he hinting at the vanity and vexation of spirit of poor Elsley's versifying? Or did he mean that he had now no purpose in life, no prize for which it was worth while to win honor ?

She did not answer him ; but he answered himself — perhaps to explain away his own speech, —

No, madam! God has written the poetry already, and there it is before me. My business is, not to re-write it clumsily, but to read it humbly, and give him thanks for it."

More and more had Valencia been attracted by Headley during the last few weeks. Accustomed to men who tried to make the greatest possible show of what small wits they possessed, she was surprised to find one who seemed to think it a duty to keep his knowledge and taste in the background. She gave him credit for more talent than appeared ; for more, perhaps, than he really had. She was piqued, too, at his very modesty and self-restraint. Why did not he, like the rest who dangled about her, spread out his peacock's train for her eyes, and try to show his wor. ship of her by setting himself off in his brightest colors ? And yet this modesty awed her into respect of him, for she could not forget that, whether he had sentiment much or little, sentiment was not the staple of his manhood; she could not forget his cholera work; and she knew that, under that delicate and bashful outside lay virtue and heroism, enough and to spare.

“But, if you put these thoughts into words, you would teach others to read that poetry.”

“My business is to teach people to do right; and, if I cannot, to pray God to find some one who can.”

“Right, Headley !” said Major Campbell, laying his hand on the curate's shoulder. “God dwells no more in books written with pens than in temples made with hands ; and the sacrifice which pleases Him is not verse, but righteousness. Do you recollect, Queen Whims, what I wrote once in your album ?

* Be good, sweet maid, and let who will be clever,

· Do noble things, not dream them, all day long;
So making life, death, and that vast forever,

One grand, sweet song.' “But, you naughty, hypocritical Saint Pere, you write poetry yourself, and beautifully."

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