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"No," was the answer; "as bad as bad can be. Our mate has got hurtbadly hurt, too."

Sarah retired delighted with her present, and promising to be ready on Wednesday. We then had a long chat over our plans. Papa, who had, I think, a strange tinge of romance in his disposition, quite looked forward to the adventure, and he and Polly talked it over with great glee. Papa said that he should write to Mr. Petersfield, tell him that we had found the chamber, and ask him to come down and be present at the finding of the will, so that he couldshould the box be too large for us to carrygive us his advice as to the best course for us to pursue.

One reason, doubtless, for their immunity from more than comparatively petty persecutions, such as fines and imprisonments, was, that the Harmers never took any part in political affairs; neither in plots, nor risings, nor civil wars, were they ever known actively to interfere.

The news came to us while we were at breakfast, and we were all inexpressibly shocked. Papa at once ordered the carriage, and directly it came to the door he started for Harmer Place to inquire himself as to the truth of these dreadful reports. He returned in about an hour and a half, and brought quite a budget of news to us. When he arrived, he had sent up his name, but Miss Harmer sent down word that Doctors Sadman and Wilkinson were in attendance, and that therefore she would not trouble him to come in. Papa had felt a good deal hurt at the message, but he thought it was probably given because Miss Harmer, knowing how much they had injured him, was afraid that her sister might recognize him, and in the state she was in, reveal something about the will. However, just as the carriage was driving away, Dr. Sadman, who, from the window above, had seen papa drive up, came to the door and called after him. Papa stopped the carriage, got out, and went back to speak to him. Dr. Sadman particularly wished him to come up to give them the benefit of his opinion. Finding that Miss Harmer was not in the room, and that Angela was insensible, and not likely ever to recover consciousness, he had gone up with him. He had found her in a dying state, and he did not think it at all likely that she would live more than a few hours. She was apparently dying from the effect of the shock upon the system, and the terror and pain that she had undergone; for round one arm a piece of string was found which had cut completely into the flesh, probably for the purpose of extorting the supposed place of concealment of plate, valuables, or money. She had not apparently received any injury which in itself would have been sufficient to cause death, but she had had a very heavy fall upon the back of her head which might have affected her brain. The symptoms, however, from which she was suffering were not exactly those which would have been caused by concussion of the brain; and although the fall had assisted to produce the evil, yet, on the whole, her death would be attributable rather to the mental shock, the terror and distress, than to actual bodily violence.

These visits were shortly returned, and invitations to dinner speedily followed. But not to dinner-parties alone was the festivity confined; picnics were got up, balls given, and it was unanimously agreed for once to overlook the fact that there was no lady head to Harmer Place, but that mothers and daughters should accept Mr. Harmer's lavish hospitality regardless of that fact. Indeed, the Harmers' accession to the property gave rise to a series of feasting and festivity such as had not been known in that part of the county for years previously.

"James, the lady is ill. Send Hannah here with some cold water, and my scent bottle, and run across to Dr. Cope's opposite, and tell him to come over at once. If he is out, run for the nearest doctor."

Then, closing the door, she advanced towards Sophy.

"Yes; a young married woman in the village who had just lost a baby of her own has taken it for the present. She consulted me about it only this morning, and I told her that in a short time when I could approach the subject with you, I would do so, although I did not expect that the opportunity would have occurred so soon. Still, I thought it right, painful as it must be to you, that you should know the truth. I believe from what I have heard that there can be no question as to the paternity of the infant, as I heard, late in the spring, rumours of your son being frequently down at the cottage. But it did not reach my ears until after he had gone abroad, consequently I could do nothing in the matter but hope for the best, and trust that rumour was mistaken."

"And I no other man, Percy; and now kiss me and go."