18 Lady Audley's Se&r6i.
ride of thA vessel, " what a fool I am to be frightened at triiiS I
Why do you come and say these things to me? Why do yon
come and terrify me out of my senses, when 1 am going straight
home to the woman I love; to a girl whose heart is as true aa
tlie light of heaven, and m whom 1 no more expect to find any
change than I do to see another sun rise in to-morrow's skyP
"Wliy do you come and tiy to put suj3h fancies into my head,
when I am going home to my darHng mfe? "
"Your wife?" she said; "that is different. There is no
reason that my terrors should terrify you. I am going to
England to rejoin a man to whom I was engaged to be mamed
fifteen years ago. He was too poor to marry then, and when
I was offerea a situation as governess in a rich Australian
family, I persuaded him to let me accept it, so that I might
leave him free and unfettered to win his way in the v/orld, while
I saved a Httle money to help us when we began Hfe together
I never meant to stay away so long, but things have gone badly
with him in England. That is my story, and you can under¬
stand my fears. They need not influence you. Mine is an
"So is nJne," said George, impatiently. "I teU you that
mine is an exceptional case, although I swear to you that, until
this moment, I have never kr^o-wn a fear as to the result of my
vo^rage home. But you are right; your terrors have nothing to
do with me. You have been away fifteen years; all kinds of
things may happen in fifteen years. Now, it is only three years
and a half since I left England. AVhat can have happened in
such a short time as that? "
Miss Morley looked at him with a mournful smile, but did
not speak. His feverish ardour, the freshness and impatience-
of his nature, were so strange and new to her, that she looked
at him half in admiration, half m pity.
" My pretty little wife! My gentle, innocent, loving, little
wife! Do yon know. Miss Morley," he said, \vith all his old
hopefulness of manner, " that I left my little girl asleep, with
her baby in her arms, p.nd -^vith nothing but a few blotted lines
to tell her why her faithful husband had deserted her? "
" Deserted her!" exclaimed the governess.
" Yes. I was a comet in a cavalry regiment when I first met
sny Httle darHng. We were quartered at a stupid sea-port
town, where my pet Hved with her shabby old father, a half-pay
naval officer; a regular old humbug, as poor as Job, and -vritb
an eye for nothing but the main chance. I saw through aU hia
ghaUow tricks to catch one of us for his pretty dauyliter. I
saw all the pitiful, contemptible, palpable traps he sel; for big
dragoons to walk into. I saw through his shabby-genteel
dinners and public-house port; his fino talk of %hc grandeur of