the kindness of a good-natured man to beg a favor which she had no right to ask, and receiving a refusal which she had richly deserved, was no remarkable event in my experience as my father's secretary and copyist. But the change in his face while he read the correspondence altered my opinion of the letters. There was more in them evidently than I had discovered. I kept my manuscript copy--here it is:
From Miss Elizabeth Chance to the Rev. Abel Gracedieu.
(Date of year, 1859. Date of month missing.)
"DEAR SIR: : You have, I hope, not quite forgotten the interesting conversation that we had last year in the governor's rooms. I am afraid I spoke a little flippantly at the time; but I am sure you will believe me when I say that this was out of no want of respect for yourself. My pecuniary position being far from prosperous, I am endeavoring to obtain the vacant situation of house-keeper in a public institution, the prospectus of which I enclose. You will see it is a rule of the place that a candidate must be a single woman (which I am), and must be recommended by a clergyman. You are the only reverend gentleman whom it is my good fortune to know, and the thing is of course a mere formality. Pray excuse this application, and oblige me by acting as my reference. Sincerely yours, ELIZABETH CHANCE.
"P. S. Please address: Miss E. Chance, Poste Restante, St. Martin's-le-Grand, London."
From the Rev. Abel Gracedieu to Miss Chance.
"MADAM: The brief conversation to which your letter alludes took place at an accidental meeting between us. I then saw you for the first time, and I have not seen you since. It is impossible for me to assert the claim of a perfect stranger, like yourself, to fill a situation of trust. I beg to decline acting as your representative. Your obedient servant, ABEL GRACEDIEU."
My father was still at the window.
In that idle position he could hardly complain of me for interrupting him, if I ventured to talk about the letters which I had put together. If my curiosity displeased him, he had only to say so, and there would be an end to any allusions of mine to the subject. My first idea was to join