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“ And how do you want the sum divided ?” he asked.
I don't want it divided at all. There's no occasion whatever to mention the sum. The books will show my property. I want my wife, in the case of her surviving me, to have the whole of it."
“ And failing her ?”
"My daughters, of course—equally divided. If my wife lives, there is no occasion to mention them. I want them to be dependent upon her as long as she lives, and so hold the family together as long as possible. She knows my wishes about them in everything. I have no
secrets from her."
“I have only to carry out instructions. I have no right to offer any suggestions.”
“ That means that you would suggest something. Speak out, man."
“Suppose your daughters wished to marry ?”
“I leave all that to their mother, as I said, They must be their
Well, call on me the day after to-morrow, and I shall have the draught at least ready.”
When the two girls reached the flagstaff, their parents were not there. Jane was glad of this, for it precluded questioning as to the point whence they had arrived. As they stood waiting, large snow-flakes began to fall, and the wind was rising. But they had not to wait long before the gentlemen made their appearance, busily conversing, so busily indeed that, when they had joined the girls, they walked away towards the railway-station without concerning themselves to ask what had become of Mary and Thomas.
When they reached the railway-station, Mr. Boxall became suddenly aware that two of their party were missing.
Why, Jane, where's Mary? And where's Tom ? Where did you leave them ?”
“ Somewhere about the pines. I thought they would have been back long ago.”
The two fathers looked at each other, and each seeing that the other looked knowing, then first consented, as he thought, to look knowing himself.
“Well,” said Mr. Worboise, “they're old enough to take care of themselves, I suppose.
I vote we don't wait for them.” “ Serve them right,” said Mr. Boxall.
Oh, don't, papa," interposed Jane. “Well, Jane, will you stop for them ?” said her father.
But a sudden light that flashed into Jane's eyes made him change his tone. He did not know why, but the idea of Charles Wither rose in his mind, and he made haste to prevent Jane from taking advantage of the proposal.
“Come along," he said. “Let them take care of themselves. Come along.”
The suspicion had crossed him more than once, that Mr. Wither and Jane possibly contrived to meet without his knowledge, and the thought made him writhe with jealousy; for it lay in his nature to be jealous of every man of whom his wife or his daughters spoke well—that is, until he began to like him himself, when the jealousy, or what was akin to it, vanished. But it was not jealousy alone that distressed him, but the anxiety of real love as well.
By the time they reached Camden Road station, the ground was covered with snow.
When Tom and Mary arrived at the pines, I have said they found that the rest of their party
“Oh, never mind,” said Mary, merrily; " let us run down into the hollow, and wait till they come back.
We can keep the pines in sight, you know. I daresay they are not far off. They will never go without us.”
Partly from false gallantry, partly from inclination, Thomas agreed. They descended the bank of sand in a quite opposite direction from that taken by Jane and her companions, and wandered along down the heath. By this time, the sky was all gray and white. Long masses of vapour were driving overhead with jagged upper edges. They looked like lines of fierce warriors, stooping in their eager rush to the battle. But down in the hollows of the heath all was still, and they wandered on for some time without paying any heed to the signs of the coming storm. Does my reader ask what they talked about ? Nothing worthy of record, I answer; although every word that Thomas uttered, seemed to Mary worth looking into for some occult application of the sort she would gladly have heard more openly expressed. At length, something cold fell upon her face, and Thomas glancing that moment at her countenance, saw it lying there, and took it for a tear. She looked up: the sky was one mass of heavy vapour, and a multitude of great downy snow-flakes was settling slowly on the earth. In a moment they were clasped hand in hand. The pleasure of the snow, the excitement of being shut out from the visible, or rather the seeing world, wrapped in the skirts of a storm with a pretty girl for his sole companion, so wrought upon Thomas, who loved to be moved and hated to will, that he forgot Lucy, and stood in delight, gazing certainly at the falling snow, and not at Mary Boxall, but holding her hand tight in his own. She crept closer to him, for a