26 latdy Audley't Secret.
not jealous of them, only proud to see her so much admired.
You should have heard her laugh and talk with them; throw¬
ing all their compliments and fine speeches back at them, as it
were, as if they had been pelting her with roses. She set
everybody mad about her wherever she went. Her singing,
her playing, her painting, her dancing, her beautiful smile, and
sunshiny ringlets ! She was always the talk of a place, as long
as we stayed in it."
" Is she at home to-night P "
"No, she has gone out with Sir Michael to a dinner-party,at
the Beeches. They've seven or eight miles to diive, and they
won't be back tiU after eleven."
" Then I'll tell you what, Phoebe; if the mside of the house is
so mighty fine, I should Hke to have a look at it."
" You shall, then. Mrs. Barton, the housekeeper, knows you
by sight, and she C£in't object to my showing you some of the
It was almost dark when the cousins left the shrubbery and
walked slowly to the house. The door by wliich they entired
led into the servants' hall, on one side of which was the house¬
keeper's room. Phoebe Marks stopped for a moment to ask
the housekeeper if she might take her cousin through some of
the rooms, and having received permission to do so, lighted a
candle at the lamp in the hall, and beckoned to Luke to follow
her into the other part of the house.
The long, black oak corridors were dim in the ghostly twil igli t
—the Hght carried by Phoebe looking only a poor speck of llame
in. the dark passages through which the girl led her cousin.
Luke looked • suspiciously over his shoulder now and then, half
frightened of the creaking of his own hob-nailed boots.
" It's a mortal duU place, Phoebe," he said, as they emerged
from a passage into the principal haU, which was not yet
Hghted; " I've heard tell of a murder that was done here in
" There are murders enough in these times, as to that,
Luke," answered the girl, ascending the staircase, foUowed by
the young man.
She led the way through a great drawing-room, rich in satih
and ormolu, buhl and inlaid cabinets, bronzes, cameos, statuettes,
and trinkets, that gHstened in the dusky Hght; then through a
morning-room hung with proof engravings of valuable pictures;
through this into an ante-chamber, where she stopped, holding
the Hght above her head.
The young man stared about him, open-mouthed and open-
** It's a rsu« fine plac«," he said, " and must have cost a powei
of money "