to deepen the hold he had on her. Watch your own speech, and notice how it is guided by your less conscious purposes, and you will understand that contradiction in Stephen.

Philip Wakem was a less frequent visitor, but he came occasionally in the evening, and it happened that he was there when Lucy said, as they sat out on the lawn, near sunset,

`Now Maggie's tale of visits to aunt Glegg is completed, I mean that we shall go out boating every day until she goes: - She has not had half enough boating, because of these tiresome visits, and she likes it better than anything. Don't you, Maggie?'

`Better than any sort of locomotion, I hope you mean,' said Philip, smiling at Maggie, who was lolling backward in a low garden chair, `else she will be selling her soul to that ghostly boatman who haunts the Floss - only for the sake of being drifted in a boat for ever.'

`Should you like to be her boatman?' said Lucy. `Because, if you would, you can come with us and take an oar. If the Floss were but a quiet lake instead of a river, we should be independent of any gentleman, for Maggie can row splendidly. As it is, we are reduced to ask services of knights and squires, who do not seem to offer them with great alacrity.'

She looked playful reproach at Stephen, who was sauntering up and down, and was just singing in pianissimo falsetto

`The thirst that from the soul doth rise, Doth ask a drink divine.'

He took no notice, but still kept aloof: he had done so frequently during Philip's recent visits.

`You don't seem inclined for boating,' said Lucy, when he came to sit down by her on the bench. `Doesn't rowing suit you now?'

`O, I hate a large party in a boat,' he said, almost irritably. `I'll come when you have no one else.'

Lucy coloured, fearing that Philip would be hurt: it was quite a new thing for Stephen to speak in that way, but he had certainly not been well of late. Philip coloured too, but less from a feeling of personal offence than from a vague suspicion that Stephen's moodiness had some relation to Maggie, who had started up from her chair as he spoke, and had walked towards the hedge of laurels to look at the descending sunlight on the river.

`As Miss Deane didn't know she was excluding others by inviting me,' said Philip, `I am bound to resign.'

`No, indeed, you shall not,' said Lucy, much vexed. `I particularly wish for your company tomorrow. The tide will suit at half-past ten - it will be a delicious time for a couple of hours to row to Luckreth and walk back, before the sun gets too hot. And how can you object to four people in a boat?' she added, looking at Stephen.

`I don't object to the people, but the number,' said Stephen, who had recovered himself, and was rather ashamed of his rudeness. `If I voted for a fourth at all, of course it would be you, Phil. But we won't divide the pleasure of escorting the ladies - we'll take it alternately. I'll go the next day.'

This incident had the effect of drawing Philip's attention with freshened solicitude towards Stephen and Maggie; but when they re-entered the house, music was proposed, and Mrs Tulliver and Mr Deane being occupied with cribbage, Maggie sat apart near the table where the books and work were placed - doing nothing, however, but listening abstractedly to the music. Stephen presently turned to a duet which he insisted that Lucy and Philip should sing: he had often done the same thing before, but this evening Philip thought he divined some double intention in every word and look of Stephen's, and watched him keenly - angry with himself all the while for this clinging suspicion. For had not Maggie virtually denied any ground for his doubts on her side? and she was truth itself; it was impossible not to believe her word

  By PanEris using Melati.

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