8 MOLLY BAWN.
' A quarter to nine. I really think he can't be coming
now,' breaks in Letitia hopefully.
' Coming or not coming, I shan't remain in for him an
instant longer this delicious night,' says Molly, walking
towards the open window, under which runs a balcony, and
gazing out into the still, calm moonlight. ' He is probably
not aware of my existence; so that even if he does come
he will not take my absence in bad part; and if he does,
so much the better. Even in such a poor revenge there is
' Molly,' apprehensively, ' the dew is falling.'
' I hope so,' answers Molly, with a smile, stepping out
into the cool, refreshing dark.
Down the wooden steps, along the gravel path, into the
land of dreaming flowers she goes. Pale moonbeams light
her way as, with her gown uplifted, she wanders from bed
to bed, and with a dainty greediness drinks in the honeyed
breathings round her. Here now she stoops to lift with
eentle touch a drooping head, lest in its slumber some de¬
filing earth come near it; and here she stands to mark a
spider's net, brilliant with dews from heaven. A crafty
thing to have so fair a home !—And here she sighs.
' AVell, if he doesn't come, what matters it ? A .stranger
cannot claim regret. And yet what fun it would have been,
what fun ! (Poor lily, what evil chance can:e by you to break
your stem and lay your white head there?) Peihaj)s—
who knows?—he might be the stupidest mortal that ever
dared to live, and then—yet not so stupid as the walls, and
trees, and shrubs, while he can own a tongue to answer
back. Ah! wretched .slug, would you devour my tender
opening leaves? Ugh! 1 cannot touch the slimy thing.
Where has my trowel gone? I wish my cai'.s had never
heard his name—Luttrell—a pretty name too; but we all
know how little is in that. I feel absurdly disappointed;
and why ? Because it is decreed that a man I never have
known I never shall know. I doubt my brain is softening.
But why has my tent been pitched in such a lonely sjjot?
And why did he say he'd come I And why did John tell
me he was good to look at, and, oh! that best of all things
A sound—a step—the vague certainty of a presence
near. And Molly, turning, finds herself but a few yards