Page:What will he do with it.djvu/567

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WHAT WILL HE DO WITH IT?

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��" Certainly not. He knows but what is generally said in the world, that Darrell's daughter eloped with a Mr. Hammond, a man of inferior birth, and died abroad, leaving but one child, who is also dead. Still Lionel does suspect — my very injunc- tions of secrecy must make him more than suspect — that the Loselys are somehow or other mixed up with Darrell's family history. Hush ! I hear his voice yonder — they approach."

" My dear cousin, let it be settled between us, then, that you frankly and without delay communicate to Lionel the whole truth, so far as it is known to us, and put it to him how best and most touchingly to move Mr. Darrell toward her, of whom we hold him to be the natural protector. I will write to my uncle •to return to England, that he may assist us in the same good work. Meanwhile, I shall have only good tidings to communi- cate to Sophy in my new hopes to discover her grandfather through Merle."

Here, as the sun was setting, Lionel and Sophy came in sight ; above their heads, the western clouds bathed in gold and purple. Sophy, perceiving George, bounded forward, and reached his side, breathless.

��CHAPTER V.

Lionel Haughton having lost his heart, it is no longer a question what HE will do with it. But what will be done with it is a very grave question indeed.

Lionel forestalled Lady Montfort in the delicate and embar- rassing subject which her cousin had urged her to open. For while George, leading away Sophy, informed her of his journey to Norwich, and his interview with Merle, Lionel drew Lady Montfort into the house, and with much agitation, and in abrupt, hurried accents, implored her to withdraw the promise which forbade him to inform his benefactor how and where his time had been spent of late. He burst forth with a declaration of that love with which Sophy had inspired him, and which Lady Montfort could not be but prepared to hear. " Nothing," said he, "but a respect for her more than filial anxiety at this moment could have kept my heart thus long silent. But that heart is so deeply pledged — so utterly hers — that it has grown an ingratitude, a disrespect to my generous kinsman, to conceal from him any longer the feelings which must color my whole future existence. Nor can I say to her, ' Can you return my affection ? — will you

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