MORE THAN KIN.
' And let me feel that warm breath here and there,
To spread a rapture in my very hair.
O, the sweetness of the pain!
Give me those lips again !
Enough! enough! It is enough for me
To dream of thee.'
LyciLLE had her bath, and dressed herself in the prettiest
of pale-pink gingham gowns, trimmed with pillow-lace—
that pretty old-fashioned thread-lace which gives employ¬
ment to many a village child in the leafy lanes of Bucking¬
hamshire—and appeared radiant before her old governess at
their tete-a-tete luncheon. The Earl had gone to London by
the eleven o'clock express. They had the Castle all to them¬
selves, a stately abode of quietness and peace, the old
pictured faces smiling at them, or seeming to smile, in the
sunlight, just as in gloomy weather the same faces seemed
to frown; the perfume of myriad flowers breathing in upon
them through all the open casements.
They lunched in the old schoolroom, which served them
as a dining-room when the Earl was away. Opening out of
this was Lucille's morning-room—a white-panelled chamber,
hung with water-colours, and much adorned with old china
and new books. Here, in front of the wide low Tudor
window, stood Lucille's grand piano, her father's gift on her
seventeenth birthday ; and across the ebony case was spread
a tremendous work of art in the shape of a floral design
on olive-green cloth, executed in gold and colours by the
patient fingers of Miss Marjorum ; and on this embroidered
cloth stood a low, wide Venetian glass vase full of white
azaleas and gardenias, an arrangement which satisfied all
the requirements of high art.
Before Lucille sat down to luncheon, she was gratified by
Tompion's assurance that the tramp had eaten her soup, and
was ' sleeping beautiful.'
' Don't call her a tramp, Tompion,' said Lucille; ' her
name is Bess. She may be no more accustomed to tramping
than you or I. It may be only an accident in her life.'