Martin knew that he had already incurred the penalty of a lecture, and dry bread for his tea. No matter, the evening had furnished him with an adventure; it was better than muffins and toast.

He walked home with Caroline. On the way he promised to see Mr. Moore, in spite of the dragon who guarded his chamber, and appointed an hour on the next day, when Caroline was to come to Briarmains Wood and get tidings of him; he would meet her at a certain tree. The scheme led to nothing; still be liked it.

Having reached home, the dry bread and the lecture were duly administered to him, and he was dismissed to bed at an early hour. He accepted his punishment with the toughest stoicism.

Ere ascending to his chamber he paid a secret visit to the dining-room, a still, cold, stately apartment, seldom used, for the family customarily dined in the back- parlour. He stood before the mantelpiece, and lifted his candle to two pictures hung above—female heads; one, a type of serene beauty—happy and innocent; the other, more lovely—but forlorn and desperate.

‘She looked like that,’ he said, gazing on the latter sketch, ‘when she sobbed, turned white, and leaned against the tree.’

‘I suppose,’ he pursued, when he was in his room, and seated on the edge of his pallet-bed—‘I suppose she is what they call “in love”; yes, in love with that long thing in the next chamber. Whisht! is that Horsfall clattering him? I wonder he does not yell out. It really sounds as if she had fallen on him tooth and nail; but I suppose she is making the bed. I saw her at it once—she hit into the mattress as if she was boxing. It is queer, Zillah (they call her Zillah)— Zillah Horsfall is a woman, and Caroline Helstone is a woman; they are two individuals of the same species— not much alike though. Is she a pretty girl, that Caroline? I suspect she is—very nice to look at— something so clear in her face—so soft in her eyes. I approve of her looking at me; it does me good. She has long eyelashes; their shadow seems to rest where she gazes, and to instil peace and thought. If she behaves well, and continues to suit me as she has suited me to-day, I may do her a good turn. I rather relish the notion of circumventing my mother and that ogress old Horsfall. Not that I like humouring Moore; but whatever I do I’ll be paid for, and in coin of my own choosing; I know what reward I will claim—one displeasing to Moore, and agreeable to myself.’

He turned into bed.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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