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He sat down by the broad hearth upon which the red embers were fading, and wondered at the change in that old house which, until the day of his friend's disappearance, had been so pleasant a home for all who sheltered beneath its hospitable roof. He sat brooding over the desolate hearth, and trying to decide upon what must be done in this sudden crisis.

He had somehow faded away, while the personages were climbing the stairs. He had faded away amid the expressed regrets of those few who by chance saw him in the act of fading. But even these bore up manfully. The high humour of the gathering was not eclipsed.

And presently came a voice hailing us in Spanish with demand as to who and what we were, whereat Sir Richard broke off his song to shout that we were fishermen, the which simple answer seemed to reassure our questioner, for we heard no more and soon the great ship was merely a vague shadow that, fading on our vision, merged into the night and was gone.

I watched the humble worker in the fields, the poor farm-girl; and I thought of the proud Victory whom my mind pictured enfolding all the beauties of the Louvre in her mighty wings! We were lying in the long grass, looking up at the sky through the branches of the apple-trees and watching the clouds drift past. The light was fading slowly, the leaves became dim, the birds stopped singing.

They looked into all the rooms below: opening the shutters as they went, to admit the fading light: and still finding nobody, and everything quiet and in its place, doubted whether they should go farther.

They were moving now along the edge of the Marsh, parallel with the line of rapidly fading horizon, following some trail only known to their keen youthful eyes. It was growing darker and darker. The cries of the sea-birds had ceased; even the call of a belated plover had died away inland; the hush of death lay over the black funereal pall of marsh at their side. The tide had run out with the day.

It has action, it has color, sheets of light, spires, shafts, beams and broad finger-like spreadings, that come and go, filmy veils of light winding and drifting in, weaving in and out among the beams and shafts, now glowing, now fading. It may be low in the north or spread over more than half the heavens. It may shift from east to western quarter of the northern heaven.

"And nothing in Farlingford?" inquired Barebone, gaily; but he turned, as he spoke, and glanced once more at Miriam Liston as if in some dim way the question could not be answered by any other. She was absorbed in her book again. The print must indeed have been large and clear, for the twilight was fading fast. She looked up and met his glance with direct and steady eyes of a clear grey.

She moved her easel nearer the window, thankful that no sky-scraper loomed between it and the fading sunset, for she needed a full half hour to complete her work. There were a number of good pictures on the walls, among them some really fine old Dutch interiors, but any artist would have turned from the best of them to study the picture silhouetted against the western window.

When Mr. Harte found himself with a fresh palette and his particular local color fading from the West, he did what he considered the only safe thing, and carried his young impression away to be worked out untroubled by any newer fact. He should have gone to Jimville. There he would have found cast up on the ore-ribbed hills the bleached timbers of more tales, and better ones.