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"I knew there was much to regret in Mabel's character," she said, weeping, " but I did trust to her principles. What can I do ? She seems past all sense of right and wrong. Oh, my poor child !”

“ Frances, dearest, this agitation will really injure you—for my sake, for the sake of all your other children, you must be calmer; Mabel's fault has brought its own bitter punishment, and this may after all be the turning point in her life, so often anticipated by her, but with such a wrong spirit. We must act with great judgment both towards her and Agnes.”

The thought of Agnes seemed to bring new trouble to Mrs. Grant. She scarcely knew herself how shaken she was by her accident, and how utterly prostrated was her strength.

All worry as far as possible had been so carefully kept from her, and now her agitation increased every moment, till she became quite hysterical, and nothing but Mrs. Rainsforth's wonderful self-control and great calmness saved her from an attack. As it was she was fairly exhausted, and lay back on her pillows unable to speak, and looking so ill that all the ground so slowly gained during the last weeks seemed lost, and she further than ever from recovery.

There was no time, however, to think ; Mrs. Rainsforth must act, and promising Colonel Grant to see him and Mrs. Grant again as soon as all her arrangements were made, she and Lambert left the sick-room.

They were scarcely outside the door when Lambert burst forth in no measured terms against the mischief-makers, as he called Mabel and Agnes, and it required all Mrs. Rainsforth's influence to soothe him into a more charitable state of mind.

His vehemence returned when alone with nurse, who was packing his portmanteau, and by turns weeping over her darling Miss Florence and condemning the authors of her present trouble.

There was much sorrow in every corner of the Priory to-day, and much bewilderment, too, amongst the uninitiated as to the causes of this sudden move, but we must leave them all, and go to our poor sinning and grieving Mabel, whose character we have undertaken to delineate, as far as possible, in these narrow limits.

She was in a storm of mingled grief, rage, and fear. She knew she was to blame, but she thought her papa might at least have listened to her defence. She was furious with Agnes, but for her all had been confessed; and with the Grants free con.

fession of a fault always led to free forgiveness, so much did they value the confidence of their children. She was dreadfully afraid of her papa, for she thought she had never seen him so angry, and she paced up and down her room, like some wild animal in its cage, listening to every sound, sometimes opening her door, and almost resolving to leave all and rush out so as to end her misery and know the worst; but then, restrained by the recollection of her father's stern command to go to her room and stay there, she knelt down and tried to pray ; but in vain, angry passions raged in her breast, and she remembered the words, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." She knew she was indulging in wicked feelings, but she could not shake them off. Suddenly a gentle knock was heard at her door, and without waiting for a reply, Mrs. Rainsforth came in, and before Mabel knew what was passing she was folded in the arms of her kind, forgiving friend.

“Oh! I know you must hate me," she sobbed; "but I never meant-I never thought how it would be-it is all Agnes. Oh! if I had never listened to her how happy I should be."

" Darling Mabel ! I feel more for you than I can say; but you must remember that all this is allowed for some wise purpose, and though it may seem to be brought about by the malice and wickedness of man, He who said, 'The remainder of wrath will I restrain,' will make good come out of this seeming evil.”

"Don't speak kindly to me, please, it only makes me feel much worse, I don't deserve it; but I shall never be happy again, so it does not much matter who speaks or who does not. Papa hates me, and so will mamma when she knows all.”

“My dear Mabel, this is wrong; you must try, if you are really sorry for what you have done, to repair it by fulfilling all the duties which are before you. I am going to London to-night, and

“You going ? oh! I shall have driven you away," and a fresh paroxysm of crying checked her speech. My love, indeed you must be calm ; I have not a moment to

. spare, but I could not leave you without coming myself to tell you of my departure, and to entreat you to try and be a comfort to your parents, who still love you dearly; and to the children, little Emmy amongst them, Mabel, and to poor Agnes too, you must be a forgiving friend, and by your influence and advice try to undo the mischief your yielding in one sad instance may have done."

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“Will you let me tell you all, dearest Mrs. Rainsforth? I shall be happier when you know the worst."

“I can give you just ten minutes, dear, and then I must go and pack.”

Mabel with a great effort calmed herself, and proceeded to tell Mrs. Rainsforth, from beginning to end, Agnes's gossip concerning her, and how at first she hoped, by accepting the confidence, she inight prevent further mischief, and how she had gone on from one day to another, still getting deeper into the meshes of deceit.

“And did you really believe me to be so unprincipled, Mabel ?” said Mrs. Rainsforth.

“No, I don't really think I ever did; but then Agnes was so plausible, and I did not know what was true.”

"Well, dear, I will ask your papa to tell you all after I am gone; and now give me a kiss, and remember your duty is to act as in the living present' if you would show real repentance for the past."

“But you will not be away long, will you ? ”

“I cannot tell, Mabel, my future is all dark at present, but you will hear of me, and you have my child for a little, so I am still half with you ;” and fearing more questions which it would have grieved her kind heart to answer, she disengaged herself from Mabel, and gently kissing her, left the room, and with her, so it seemed to Mabel, went out all the light from the sky-and the gloom was darker still, when the sound of carriage wheels was heard, and after a few minutes Agnes entered.

"Why, Mabel, what has happened to the house ? not a soul to be seen; the drawing-room is deserted; I looked into the diningroom, and evidently Colonel Grant has not dined. I met nurse lookirg like thunder, and she would not speak to me, and you -oh dear!” she said suddenly, as if recollecting herself, “ Mabel dear, I do hope Mrs. Grant is not worse."

Oh, Agnes ! it is all your doing—Mrs. Rainsforth is going away this very night. All you told me of her was not true; papa is to tell me the real story, if indeed he ever speaks to me again—but Lambert has heard all and has come home furious with us, and papa was more angry than I have ever seen him, and the end of it all is that Mrs. Rainsforth is to go."

“And what better end could you desire,” said Agnes, exultingly; "just the very thing I wanted, -disagreeable, hypocritical

“Agnes," said Mabel, “I have been very wrong in listening to

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you, I see it all now, I feel I have been so very wicked, that I have no right to speak, but, at any rate I will not let you blame Mrs. Rainsforth before me any more. If you say another word against her I will brave all papa's anger, and go to him that he may stop you."

“Hey day, Miss ! what is all this about? We have changed a little within the last few hours; well, never mind, I had plenty to tell you about this said charming Mrs. Everett, not Rainsforth, Mabel—but now I will hold my tongue.'

Young ladies," said nurse, just putting her head inside the door, “the Colonel wishes to see you in the study immediately."

Mabel started up-anything was better than this long, dreary suspense, and she was so humbled in her own eyes, that it seemed as if it would be a relief to tell her papa how ashamed and grieved she was for all that was past. Not so Agnes-sh

. was in mortal dread of Colonel Grant's anger, but in so proud and rebellious a mood, that she determined to brave it in spite of her fears.

“I say, Mabel, wait till I have taken off my hat; do, there's a dear," she said, putting off the dreaded movement, but Mabel was out of hearing, and in the library sobbing out her repentance at her father's feet, entreating only to be forgiven-so unlike her, making no excuses, taking the whole blame upon herself, acknowledging her want of principle, and what Colonel Grant thought the most hopeful feature in her case, making no promises for the future. He saw that her repentance was genuine, and he felt she would be sufficiently punished by the circumstances which had arisen from her fault; that this was no time for reproaches, her own conscience would be sufficient reproof, and all the father's heart melted within him as he saw his sorrowing child.

“ Mabel, dear, I do forgive you, and so does she you have most injured; but you know there is One greater than all against whom you have sinned; have you sought His forgiveness ?

“Oh yes, indeed papa, I have tried to pray, but my mind is so distracted I cannot even think.”

“ Let us pray together, my child,” he said; and kneeling down, in a short but heartfelt prayer he asked for forgiveness for the past, and grace and help for the future.

When they rose from their knees, Agnes was standing there quite awe struck. It seemed to place her conduct in such a new and solemn light.

“Agnes,” said Colonel Grant," have you anything to say in palliation of your conduct? You have spread

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a scandalous report to the detriment of one who has been almost a mother to you; even had it been true your duty would have been to tell me of it, but it is utterly false, and may cause incalculable mischief."

Agnes replied sullenly, she could not refuse to answer Mrs. Sinclair when she questioned her.

- Bat how came she ever to hear of Mrs. Rainsforth, or to know anything of her circumstances ?”

Agnes grew crimson; she remembered first the servants' gossip, and then the listening behind a hedge, and finding herself taken in the toils like a wild bull in a net, she had recourse to anger, and declared it was very hard, especially as her mamma was away, and finally she broke into a passionate torrent of tears which generally in her experience carried all before it in her old home, but Colonel Grant was proof against even that, few grave, stern words, he made her understand in what light he regarded her conduct, but added

"I do not punish either of you, because I believe your sin will bring its own punishment, if you have any right feeling left, but I must withhold all confidence for the future, till you have proved yourselves worthy of it, and you must submit to be treated like children until we have rep laced Mrs. Rainsforth. You will be under nurse's charge, as I cannot subject myself or my family to any more mischief from gossip. Mabel, this equally applies to you, by way of precaution, not punishment.”

Mabel seemed thankful for anything to be done or suffered, to show her sincerity, and kissing her father she only implored to be allowed to be with Mrs. Rainsforth till the last ; and that request being granted she flew to her, and by every little thoughtful attention tried to show how deeply and sincerely she loved her, and how bitterly she grieved over what she had done. She found relief in action, and it was not until Mrs. Rainsforth and Lambert had driven off that she fully realized all that had happened. She awoke the next morning with the dreadful feeling that something was hanging over her which clouded all her sunshine, and gradually it all dawned upon her, though it seemed like a frightful dream. How she longed to be alone; for Agnes, who shared her room, was particularly anxious to talk over all that had taken place during the last few days, wondering how Mrs. Rainsforth knew, and why and where she had gone. Mabel was thankful when breakfast-time came, though she shrank from encountering her papa, with whom they had always

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