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- Marguerite Verne - 20/71 -


shaded border. "You know it would be such a disgraceful thing to have an uncarpeted floor in the city."

The last remark was in tones slightly ironical, and showed that Marguerite Verne held views not in accordance with good form and fearlessly regarded the consequence.

"Of course, mother would not have a carpeted chamber in the summer season, and now, I really like it, but I fear that some of our guests are very often surprised."

It being past the noon dinner-hour a luncheon was prepared and the girls were interrupted by the indefatigable Hal knocking lustily on the chamber door.

"Really, Jennie, I would rather sit here than eat," said Marguerite, going to the mirror to re-arrange the mass of silken hair that crowned her prettily shaped head.

"I am going to take Cousin Marguerite down to luncheon," cried a voice from without.

This set both girls in a fit of laughter.

"You can't say that you did not raise a beau while in the Vale," cried Jennie, with a roguish twinkle of her eye.

"Indeed, Cousin Marguerite will hare no city chaps skulkin' 'round while I am here," cried our twelve-year old with all the airs of a dude of twenty.

Next in turn came a tramp around the proud old domain of "Gladswood."

The stately elms seemed to extend a kindly welcome. All nature seemed to say "welcome, to Gladswood." The birds seemed to have been practising some of their latest melodies, for never did grander strains issue from their sylvan orchestra.

How pleasantly the hours glided by in this charming abode. Truly it hath been said--

"How noiseless falls the foot of time That only treads on flowers."

"It is a fortnight to-day since I came to Gladswood," said Marguerite, one bright, sunny afternoon, as she came up the broad avenue, crowned with lovely wild flowers and such trophies as the neighboring wood afforded.

Cousin Jennie had remained at home to assist in some extra duties, and as she greeted the "spirit of the woods," as she playfully dubbed Marguerite, she was worthy of notice.

A neatly fitting light colored print wrapper, spotless in its purity; a linen collar, fastened by a silver horse shoe pin; a long, plain, white muslin apron; a neat and substantial shoe, tied with black ribbon, and high over all a crowning mass of purplish black hair, in beautiful and striking contrast.

"You radiant country maid," cried Marguerite, "stand until I admire you awhile."

Jennie was playfully turned around as an automaton in a shop window, and at length breaking forth into a merry laugh, exclaimed, "You saucy minx, please turn your wit upon some other object."

And thus amid fun, frolic and gaiety, Marguerite's visit came to an end, and on the last eve to be spent at Gladswood, the girls are seated in the old summer house enjoying an uninterrupted chat--that blissful recreation peculiar to each and every maiden.

"Madge, I am almost sorry that you came," said Jennie, taking the pretty white hand within her own. "Promise me that you will come while Mr. Lawson is here," cried the girl in a vehement and almost determined manner, while the large, brown eyes had a far-off look that she tried hard to conceal.

"It is impossible, Jennie; besides, you must not mention the matter again."

Marguerite's voice was clear and bird-like, but Jennie Montgomery fancied she felt a slight tremor in the last words uttered, and with that intuitive caution characteristic of her mother pressed the subject no further, and the warm-hearted maiden felt keenly her utter helplessness to render her companion any sympathy.

"Let us go in, Cousin Jennie," said Marguerite, in tender tones that seemed as reproach to the high-minded girl, but she heeded not, and playfully putting her arm around her companion's waist, led her into the parlor, where the rest of the family were seated around awaiting their appearance.

"Marguerite is too proud," murmured Jennie, as she sought her own room on returning from seeing her fair cousin aboard the down accommodation train which was to carry her homewards.

"Oh, my loving Marguerite, I know more than you think. I could indeed tell you much that you little dream of, but why is it thus?" and humming an old-fashioned air Jennie mechanically went back to her household duties, as if all the world were sunshine and brightness, and not a troubled thought had ever found a resting-place within her mind.

CHAPTER XIV.

AT THE NORTHWEST.

The scene is changed; and we find ourselves transported beyond a doubt to the far-famed city of Winnipeg--that emporium of wealth, enterprise and industry which arose from its prairie surroundings as by the magic of the enchanter's wand.

It is a bright, cheerful day in leafy June, and as one jogs leisurely adown Main street, there are to be seen many happy smiling faces.

But we are bent upon important business, and yield not to the more leisurely inclined side of our nature. A large four-story building is our destination. Its door posts, windows and available space are decorated with the inevitable shingle that sooner or later ushers the professional into the notice of his victims. And this building was not alone in such style of decoration.

"Dear me, I believe every other man in this place is a lawyer! Sakes alive--it's worse than being among a nest of hornets." Such was the exclamation of an elderly lady who had recently arrived, and was out taking a survey of the town.

And the old lady was not far astray, as Winnipeg has proportionately more of the legal fraternity than any other city of the Dominion.

But to our subject. Having arrived at the end of a spacious corridor we stop directly opposite a door bearing a placard--the letters are of gilt upon a black ground:

N. H. SHARPLEY, Attorney-at-Law, Notary Public, etc.

A medium-sized man is seated at the desk busily engaged over a lengthy looking document which he has just received from the young copyist at the further end of the office.

"All right, Ned, you are at liberty for the next hour. Wait: You can in the meantime run up for the ink," said Mr. Sharpley, Attorney-at-Law, in an impatient tone, as though he wished to enjoy the delightful communion of his own thoughts.

And while the scion of the law was wending his steps towards the Hudson Bay Company store--that mammoth collection of goods from every clime--the father, yea rather grandfather, of variety stores-- the disciple of Coke and Blackstone takes out of his breast pocket a letter, which, judging from its crumpled state, must have claimed the reader's attention more than once.

"Five thousand dollars--not bad, by Jove," muttered Mr. Sharpley, in firm set tones, then began whistling the air accompanying the words:

"Never kick a man when he's going down the hill."

Before going further let us take a survey at Nicholas Sharpley, Esq., Attorney-at-Law, as he sits with his right arm resting on the desk and his left supporting his very important head. He is about thirty-five years of age, or perhaps less. His face is long and his chin sharp, so that his name is no misnomer. A pair of glittering, steel-like eyes, play a prominent part in the expression of his face. A sinister smile plays hide-and-seek around the thin, pale lips, while the movement betray a flexibility of mind that is not nattering to the possessor.

There is about the man a striking combination of Uriah Heap and Mr. Pecksniff; which, to an honest-minded man, rendered him intolerable.

But Nicholas Sharpley had his followers, and thrived and shone bright among the legal luminaries, and was always ready to do the most unprincipled jobs to be met with.

A cunning leer passed over the greyish countenance as the dazzling vision protruded itself before Mr. Sharpley. He drew his fingers convulsively through the mass of bristling hair (which might be designated by that color known as iron grey), and then suppressing a yawn, muttered: "It's worth the trying. The fellow's good for another five--that's a bonanza these devilish hard times."

The attorney then glanced over the contents of the prized letter once more and evidently experienced a fresh sensation of delight.

"Tracy beats the devil--all for the sake of a girl too; bet my life she's no better than the rest of them. Well, Mr. Tracy, my humble client, you will pay a good price for the enchanting dearie, who has caught you body and soul--fools--fools--men are fools."

Poor Nicholas made the last assertion with much force of manner,


Marguerite Verne - 20/71

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