in the drawing-room. The ball-room was reached from the drawing-room, with a vestibule between them, and opening from this was a small chamber, prettily furnished but seldom used, which had no peculiar purpose of its own, but in which during the present evening many sweet words had probably been spoken. Now, at this last moment, Lord Rufford and Arabella Trefoil were there alone together. She had just got up from a sofa, and he had taken her hand in his. She did not attempt to withdraw it, but stood looking down upon the ground. Then he passed his arm round her waist and lifting her face to his held her in a close embrace from which she made no effort to free herself. As soon as she was released she hastened to the door which was all but closed, and as she opened it and passed through to the drawing-room said some ordinary word to him quite aloud in her ordinary voice. If his action had disturbed her she knew very well how to recover her equanimity.
THE LAST MORNING AT RUFFORD HALL
'WELL, my love?' said Lady Augustus, as soon as her daughter had joined her in her bedroom. On such occasions there was always a quarter of an hour before going to bed in which the mother and daughter discussed their affairs, while the two ladies' maids were discussing their affairs in the other room. The two maids probably did not often quarrel, but the mother and daughter usually did.
'I wish that stupid man hadn't got himself hurt.'
'Of course, my dear; we all wish that. But I really don't see that it has stood much in your way.'
'Yes, it has. After all, there is nothing like dancing, and we shouldn't all have been sent to bed at two o'clock.'
'Then it has come to nothing?'
'I didn't say that at all, mamma. I think I have done uncommonly well. Indeed, I know I have. But then if