worth their thousands; ladies whose fingers never touched dish-water;

ladies who wouldn't buy a glove of anybody else if they went bare-handed

to the grave. He lived with his sister Maude Arthurlena in a house where

there were twenty-two other boarders who could be seated at meals all at

the same time, so immense was the dining-room. He ate his dinner at a

restaurant daily, and expended twenty-five cents for it without

blenching. He went to the theatre once a week, and was often accompanied

by "lady friends" who were "elegant dressers."

In a moment of wrath Stephen had called him a "counter-jumper," but it

was a libel. So short and rough a means of exit from his place of power

was wholly beneath Claude's dignity. It was with a "Pardon me, Miss

Dix," that, the noon hour having arrived, he squeezed by that slave and

victim, and raising the hinged board that separated his kingdom from

that of the ribbon department, passed out of the store, hat in hand,

serene in the consciousness that though other clerks might nibble

luncheon from a brown paper bag, he would speedily be indulging in an

expensive repast; and Miss Dix knew it, and it was a part of his almost

invincible attraction for her.

It seemed flying in the face of Providence to decline the attentions of

such a gorgeous butterfly of fashion simply because one was engaged to

marry another man at some distant day.

All Edgewood femininity united in saying that there never was such a

perfect gentleman as Claude Merrill; and during the time when his

popularity was at its height Rose lost sight of the fact that Stephen

could have furnished the stuff for a dozen Claudes and have had enough

left for an ordinary man besides.

April gave place to May, and a veil hung between the lovers,--an

intangible, gossamer-like thing, not to be seen with the naked eye, but,

oh! so plainly to be felt. Rose hid herself thankfully behind it, while

Stephen had not courage to lift a corner. She had twice been seen

driving with Claude Merrill--that Stephen knew; but she had explained

that there were errands to be done, that her grandfather had taken the

horse, and that Mr. Merrill's escort had been both opportune and

convenient for these practical reasons. Claude was everywhere present,

the centre of attraction, the observed of all observers. He was

irresistible, contagious, almost epidemic. Rose was now gay, now silent;

now affectionate, now distant, now coquettish; in fine, everything that

was capricious, mysterious, agitating, incomprehensible.

One morning Alcestis Crambry went to the post-office for Stephen and

brought him back the newspapers and letters. He had hung about the River

Farm so much that Stephen finally gave him bed and food in exchange for

numberless small errands. Rufus was temporarily confined in a dark room

with some strange pain and trouble in his eyes, and Alcestis proved of

use in many ways. He had always been Rose's slave, and had often brought

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