14 Lady Audley's Secret.
the sound of Lucy's words. Ail the doubts and fears and
timid aspirations were ended now. He must be contented, like
other men of his age, to be married for his fortune and his
Lucy Graham went slowly up the stairs to her Httle room at
the top of the house. She plaw;ed her dim candle on the chest
of drawers, and seated herself on the edge of the v^rhite bed j
stiU and wliite as the draperies hanging round her.
" No more dependence, no more drudgeiy, no more humiHa-
tions," she said; " every trace of the old Hfe melted away—every
clue to identity buried and forgotten—except these, except
She had never taken her left hand from the black ribbon at
her throat. She drew it from her bosom as she spyoke, and
looked at the object attached to it.
It was neither a locket, a miniature, nor a cross: it was a
ring wrapped in an oblong piece of paper—the paper partly
printed, partly written, yeUow with age, and crumpled with
ON BOARD THE ABGCS.
He threw the end of his cigar into the water, and leaning hu
elbows upon the bulwarks, stared meditatively at the waves.
" How wearisome they are! " he said; " blue, and green, and
opal; opal, and blue, and green; aU very weU in their way,
of course, but three months of them are rather too much,
He did not attempt to finish his sentence; his thoughts
seemed to wander in the very midst of it, and carry hini g
thousand miles or so away.
"Poor Httle girl, how pleased she'U bo!" he muttered.
Oldening his cigar-case, and lazily surveying its contents; " how
pleased and how surprised! Poor Httle girl 1 After three years
and a half, too; she will be surprised."
He was a young man of about five-and-twenty, with a dark
face, bronzed by exposure to the sun; he had handsome brown
eyes, with a feminine smile in them, that sjiarkled through his
'(•lack lashes, and a bushy beard and moustache that covered
the whole of the lower part of his face. He was tall and
powerfully built; he wore a loose grey suit, and a felt ha'*,
thrown carelessly upon his black hair. His name was George
Talboys, and he was aft-cabin passenger on board the good shi
Argus, laden with Australian wool, and saiHng frc,«i Sidney t«