expected a start, a look of deprecation: the start he saw, but it was a very slight one; no look whatever was directed to him.

‘Do you hear me?’ he asked.

‘Yes, uncle.’

‘Of course, you mean to attend to what I say.’

‘Yes, certainly.’

‘And there must be no letter-scribbling to your cousin Hortense; no intercourse whatever. I do not approve of the principles of the family; they are Jacobinical.’

‘Very well,’ said Caroline quietly.

She acquiesced then; there was no vexed flushing of the face, no gathering tears: the shadowy thoughtfulness which had covered her features ere Mr. Helstone spoke remained undisturbed; she was obedient.

Yes, perfectly; because the mandate coincided with her own previous judgment; because it was now become pain to her to go to Hollow’s Cottage; nothing met her there but disappointment; hope and love had quitted that little tenement, for Robert seemed to have deserted its precincts. Whenever she asked after him—which she very seldom did, since the mere utterance of his name made her face grow hot—the answer was, he was from home, or he was quite taken up with business. Hortense feared he was killing himself by application. He scarcely ever took a meal in the house; he lived in the counting-house.

At church only Caroline had the chance of seeing him, and there she rarely looked at him. It was both too much pain and too much pleasure to look: it excited too much emotion; and that it was all wasted emotion she had learned well to comprehend.

Once, on a dark, wet Sunday, when there were few people at church, and when especially certain ladies were absent, of whose observant faculties and tomahawk tongues Caroline stood in awe, she had allowed her eye to seek Robert’s pew, and to rest awhile on its occupant. He was there alone; Hortense had been kept at home by prudent considerations relative to the rain and a new spring ‘chapeau.’ During the sermon he sat with folded arms and eyes cast down, looking very sad and abstracted. When depressed, the very hue of his face seemed more dusk than when he smiled, and to-day cheek and forehead wore their most tintless and sober olive. By instinct Caroline knew, as she examined that clouded countenance, that his thoughts were running in no familiar or kindly channel; that they were far away, not merely from her, but from all which she could comprehend, or in which she could sympathize. Nothing that they had ever talked of together was now in his mind; he was rapt from her by interests and responsibilities in which it was deemed such as she could have no part.

Caroline meditated in her own way on the subject; speculated on his feelings, on his life, on his fears, on his fate; mused over the mystery of ‘business,’ tried to comprehend more about it than had ever been told her—to understand its perplexities, liabilities, duties, exactions; endeavoured to realize the state of mind of a ‘man of business,’ to enter into it, feel what he would feel, aspire to what he would aspire. Her earnest wish was to see things as they were, and not to be romantic. By dint of effort she contrived to get a glimpse of the light of truth here and there, and hoped that scant ray might suffice to guide her.

‘Different, indeed,’ she concluded, ‘is Robert’s mental condition to mine: I think only of him; he has no room, no leisure, to think of me. The feeling called love is, and has been for two years, the predominant emotion of my heart—always there, always awake, always astir: quite other feelings absorb his reflections and govern his faculties. He is rising now, going to leave the church, for service is over. Will he turn his head towards this pew? No, not once—he has not one look for me. That is hard: a kind glance would

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