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Her matrimonial prospects, however, being still far in the future, it behooved her to make her present existence as tolerable as possible. She knew how much depended on Holcroft, and was unaware of any other method of learning his purposes except that of watching him.

Holcroft had been a careful woman, and the extent and substantial character of her wardrobe proved that her husband had not been close in his allowances to her. Mrs. Mumpson's watery blue eyes grew positively animated as she felt of and held up to the light one thing after another. "Mrs.

I went to my father's thinking to have met with my cozen John Holcroft, but he came not, but to my great grief I found my father and mother in a great deal of discontent one with another, and indeed my mother is grown now so pettish that I know not how my father is able to bear with it.

"Hold on," said Holcroft, "I'm not going to sponge on you. I've got some favors to ask, and I want you to take in return some butter half spoiled in the making and this basket of eggs. They're all right." "Go to thunder, Holcroft! What do you take me for?

"Was ever a woman put in such a cruel position?" "Oh, yes! Many and many a time. As a rule, though, they are too sensible and kind-hearted to make so much trouble." "If you have legal rights, why don't you quietly enforce them instead of threatening?" For a moment he was confused and then said recklessly, "It would come to the same thing in the end. Holcroft would never give you up."

My motive for inspecting is very different from yours." "Shouldn't wonder if you was sorry some day," the girl had remarked, and so the matter had dropped and been forgotten. Holcroft solaced himself with the fact that Jane and Mrs. Wiggins served his meals regularly and looked after the dairy with better care than it had received since his wife died.

No printed copy was obtainable, and Holcroft contrived to commit the whole play to memory by attending ten performances, much as Mozart had pirated the ancient exclusive music of St. Peter's in Rome. He was at this period a thriving literary craftsman, and the author of a series of popular plays in which the critics of the time had just begun to note and resent an obtrusive democratic tendency.

Mother and daughter listened until they heard him overhead, then, taking the candle, they began a most minute examination of everything in the room. Poor Holcroft listened also; too worried, anxious, and nervous to sleep until they came up and all sounds ceased in the adjoining apartment. Mrs. Mumpson Takes Up Her Burdens The next morning Holcroft awoke early.

Wholesome, agreeable occupation enabled Alida to put away sad thoughts and memories. Nature and pleasant work are two potent healers, and she was rallying fast under their ministry. Holcroft would have been blind indeed had he not observed changes for the better.

She recalled her hopeless grief when she had last seen the building of one of their little homes; and she fell upon her knees with a gratitude too deep for words, and far more grateful to Heaven than words. Stepping out on the porch, she saw by the shadows that the sun was low in the west and that Holcroft was coming down the lane with his horses. He nodded pleasantly as he passed on to the barn.

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