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"The poor most of all," she said. "I know how good he was to them." Somebody knocked at the door and asked something of Miss McCroke, which obliged the governess to leave her pupil. Roderick was glad at her departure, That substantial figure in its new black dress had been a hinderance to freedom of conversation. Miss McCroke's absence did not loosen Violet's tongue.

Vast plains of barren sand, a pyramid or two, Memnon's head breathing wild music in the morning sunshine, crocodiles, copper-coloured natives, and Antony and Cleopatra. These things were about as much as Miss McCroke's painstaking tuition had implanted in her pupil's mind.

Her pupil's sanctum sanctorum that pretty up-stairs room, half schoolroom, half boudoir, and wholly untidy was not, in Miss McCroke's opinion, an apartment to be violated by the presence of a young man. "And as Rory hasn't had any luncheon, and has come ever so far out of his way to see me, please order something substantial for him," said Vixen. Her governess obeyed.

The stags' heads had a goblin look. It was like a scene of enchantment, and Violet, in her black frock and amber sash, looked like the enchantress Circe, Vivien, Melusine, or somebody of equally dubious antecedents. It was Miss McCroke's sleepiest hour. Orange pekoe, which has an awakening influence upon most people, acted as an opiate upon her. She sat blinking owlishly at the two young figures.

There was nothing to be said against Vixen's appearance there, except Miss McCroke's objection that Squire Tempest's daughter and heiress ought not to make her début in society at any public ball whatever; ought, in a manner, hardly to be seen by the human eye as a grown-up young lady, until she had been presented to her gracious sovereign. But Mrs.

"Oh yes, I know," answered Rorie quickly, for he knew that when the floodgates of Miss McCroke's eloquence were once loosened the tide ran strong, "when house and lands are gone and spent a man may turn usher in an academy, and earn fifty pounds a year and his laundress's bill by grinding Caesar's Commentaries into small boys. But I shouldn't lay in a stock of learning with that view.