538 WHA T WILL HE DO WITH IT?
be his gratitude, his joy, if she not only guarded his spotless Sophy, but saved from the bottomless abyss his guilty son ! Thus when Arabella Crane had, nearly five years before, sought Waife's discovered hiding-place, near the old blood-stained tower, mutual interests and sympathies had formed between them a bond of alliance not the less strong because rather tacitly acknowledged than openly expressed. Arabella had written to Waife from the Continent, for the first half-year, pretty often, and somewhat sanguinely, as to the chance of Losely's ultimate reformation. Then the intervals of silence became gradually more prolonged, and the letters more brief. But still, whether from the wish not unnecessarily to pain the old man, or, as would be more natural to her character, which, even in its best aspects, was not gentle, from a proud dislike to confess failure, she said nothing of the evil courses which Jasper had renewed. Evidently she was always near him. Evidently, by some means or other, his life, furtive and dark, was ever under the glare of her watchful eyes.
Meanwhile, Sophy had been presented to Caroline Montfort. As Waife had so fondly anticipated, the lone childless lady had taken with kindness and interest to the fair motherless child. Left to herself often for months together in the grand forlorn house, Caroline soon found an object to her pensive walks in the basket-maker's cottage. Sophy's charming face and charm- ing ways stole more and more into affections which were denied all nourishment at home. She entered into Waife's desire to improve, by education, so exquisite a nature ; and, familiarity growing by degrees, Sophy was at length coaxed up to the great house ; and during the hours which Waife devoted- to his ram- bles (for even in his settled industry he could not conquer his vagrant tastes, but would weave his reeds or osiers as he saun- tered through solitudes of turf or wood), became the docile, de- lighted pupil in the simj^le chintz room which Lady Montfort had reclaimed from the desert of her surrounding palace. Lady Montfort was not of a curious turn of mind ; profoundly indif- ferent even to the gossip of drawing-rooms, she had no rank- ling desire to know the secrets of village hearth-stones. Little acquainted even with the great world — scarcely at all with any world below that in which she had her being, save as she ap- proached humble sorrows by delicate charity — the contrast be- tween Waife's calling and his conversation roused in her no vig* ilant suspicions. A man of some education, and born in a rank that touched upon the order of gentlemen, but of no practical oi professional culture — with whimsical tastes — with roving, eccen-