264 'AIRY FAlRi LILIAN.'
Leaning her head rather backwards, she looks up into
his face and smiles one of her sweetest, tenderest smiles.
' I am not afraid of you now, Guardy,' she murmurs
softly; whereat his foolish heart beats madly. The old
friendly appellation, coming so unexpectedly from her,
touches him deeply; it is with difficulty he keeps him¬
self from straining her to his heart and pressing his Hps
upon the beautiful childish mouth upheld to him. He
has had his lesson, however, and refrains.
He is still regarding her with unmistakable admira¬
tion, when Miss Beauchamp's voice from the landing
above startles them both, and makes them feel, though
why they scarcely know, partners in guilt.
There is a metallic ring in it that strikes upon the
ear, and suggests all sorts of ladylike disgust and con¬
' I am sure, Guy, if Lilian's foot be as bad as she
says it is, she would feel more comfortable lying on a
sofa. Are you going to pose there aU the evening for
the benefit of the servants ? I think it is hardly good
taste of you to keep her in your arms upon the public
staircase, whatever you may do in private.'
The last words are uttered in a rather lowered tone,
but are still distinctly audible. Lilian blushes a slow
and painful red, and Sir Guy, giving way to a naughty
word that is also distinctly audible, carries her down
instantly to the dining-room.
For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;
Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.
This thought is as a death.—Shakespeaee.
The next day is dark and lowering, to Lilian's great
joy, who, now she is prevented by lameness from going