'AIRY FAIRY LILIAN.' 235
'How do you do, Tom?' Lady Chetwoode says,
putting her a little to one side to welcome her hus¬
band, but still holding her hand. ' I do hope you two
have come to stay a long time in the country.'
' Yes, until after Christmas, so you will have time
to grow heartily sick of us,' says Mrs. Steyne. ' Ah,
She and Florence press cheeks sympathetically, as
though no evil passages belonging to the past have
ever occurred between them. And then Lady Chet¬
woode introduces Lilian.
' This is Lilian,' she says, drawing her forward.
* I have often written to you about her.'
'Mj supplanter,' remarks Mabel Steyne, turning
with a smile that lights up all her handsome brunette
face. As she looks at Lilian, fair, and soft, and
pretty, the rather insouciant expression that has grown
upon her own dm'ing her encounter with Florence
fades, and once more she becomes her own gay self.
' I hope you will prove a better companion to Auntie
than I was,' she says, with a merry laugh, taking and
pressing Lilian's hand, Lilian instinctively returns
the pressure and the laugh. There is something won¬
derfully fetching in INIrs, Steyne's dark, brilliant eyes.
' She is the best of children!' Lady Chetwoode
says, patting Lilian's shoulder; ' though, indeed, my
dear Mabel, I saw no fault in you.'
' Of course not. Have you noticed. Miss Chesney,
Lady Chetwoode's greatest fiiiHng ? It is that she
will not see a fault in anyone.'
'She never mentioned your faults, at all events,'
LiHan answers, smiling.
' I hope your baby is quite well ?' Florence asks
calmly, who is far too well bred ever to forget her
' The darHng child—yes—I hope she is well,'
Lady Chetwoode says, hastily, feeling as though she
has been guilty of unkindness in not asking for the