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Helen could interpose to prevent it, the intruder had pushed her way into the room, and taken up her station at the bed's foot.

"A fitting attendant you have chosen, my dear cousin!” she exclaimed, with a kind of desperate composure; "a fitting attendant truly to wait upon you in your sickness! I marvel at your folly, Philip, and at your wilful blindness to the deceptions practised on you. Surely you might find a more fitting nurse than a person of that description!” — and she pointed at Helen scornfully; “but I must now really insist upon her removal, for if she remain, it will of course be impossible for me to do so, and I am most desirous

But here Helen, no longer able to keep silence, interposed:

"For the love of God, madam," she cried, "be silent! Do you not know that he is dying?”

Mrs. Wraxham (for so she was called) haughtily scanned the eager woman with an irritating impertinence, which under any other circumstances would have stung her to the quick.

"Is it possible," she asked, "that you have the audacity to address me, and to remain in my presence when I have desired you to withdraw? shameless woman! retire to the infamous places to which those of your class resort, and

But she had said enough: for scarcely were the cruel words spoken, when Philip, rising in his bed with convulsive but apparently unconscious effort, shook his hand wildly towards her, and pronounced an awful curse upon her head!

Alas! that those fearful words should have been the last his dying lips could frame! In vain did Helen,

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with strained attention, yearn for one more sound from the tongue that death had silenced all was mute and still: and when they had laid him gently down, the angry frown was still upon his brow, though the once warm heart had ceased to beat.

So Helen was left alone to pray beside the dead, and to take a sad and salutary lesson from the Great Teacher, who, abroad and at home, is ever forcing upon us His stern and unwelcome warnings, and lying in wait for us both at our goings out and at our com

ings in.

CHAPTER II.

“The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together; our

virtues would be proud, if our faults whipped them not; and our crimes would despair, if they were not cherished by virtues.

ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL.

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HELEN LANGTON was the youngest of three sisters, daughters of a country surgeon, who had for many years been what is called a "respected inhabitant" of à, cathedral city. He was styled Doctor by the unenlightened, and his cure of bodies was extensive and lucrative: it had, moreover,

descended to him in the way of inheritance, his father before him having been entrusted with the same important functions. Dr. Langton was a practitioner of the good old school physicking and phlebotomising, cauterising and torturing, after the manner of his predecessor; looking with an eye of suspicion on all things new, and in his opinion inexpedient, and growing fat and facetious on the diseases of his fellow-beings. It was said that the Doctor had made “a power of money,” and so in truth he had; but, what was more to the purpose, he had kept it well in hand

not spending his substance in vain attempts to make a figure in the world, nor being cursed with the fatal ambition of overtopping those who were of higher standing than himself.

The old-fashioned "gig" in which the parent, to whose business he had succeeded, had been wont for nearly half a century to install his ponderous person

when proceeding on his professional visits, was not deemed unworthy of conveying, on similar errands, the slimmer and more active son; nor was it till a sickly wife and two socially ambitious daughters insisted on the superior claims to respectability of a “brougham," that the time-honoured "tilbury” was reduced to the inactivity that its advancing years demanded. There was

an encouraging cheerfulness in the Doctor's ruddy face, and a coaxing insinuation in his voice, that in a sick-room were invaluable; and, to judge by the expansive benevolence of both his words and manner, not even the double-sized heart of the great Dupuytren* could have been of larger dimensions, or more filled to overflowing with the milk of human kindness.

Perhaps at home, and viewed under the cold wet blanket of reality, the popular provincial Esculapius might have appeared just a little less genial, a trifle less communicative, and in a slight degree more given to slumber and port wine, than might have been suspected from his demeanour in public; but then it must be remembered that moments of relaxation are absolutely necessary to hard-working professional men, and that those for whom they labour have no right (provided their ailments are not neglected) to inquire into the secrets of a doctor's domestic life.

No one ever dreamt of calling the Doctor a “bad father;" for though his whole soul was in his surgery,

* The heart of Dupuytren, the celebrated French physician, was ascertained after death to weigh as much as twenty ounces; the average weight of that organ in the human body being no more than twelve ounces.

and what heart he had was centred in the dissectingroom, he rewarded his children for the straight limbs and rosy cheeks which did him credit, by allowing them full liberty of action; provided always that they did not encroach on his time, or trouble him with complaints which must necessarily be cured gratis. Under these circumstances the Doctor's parental character remained unimpeachable, only laying itself open to criticism on one point — namely, that he openly preferred his sons to his daughters, from the indubitable fact that the former might be eventually rendered useful as assistants, while the latter could only hope to be so as the possible partners of other men.

Mrs. Langton was one of that numerous body of rarely-beard-of and never-seen women who are conventionally termed “worthy." She had brought a numerous family into the world, and, content with that portion of her maternal duty, had at once subsided into an invalid, interesting to no one but herself, and absorbed in the care of her own health and the nursing of her own nerves. The Doctor (whose tender solicitude for the fretful fancies of other ladies had earned for him many a "one pound one") had very little commiseration to bestow on the wife of his bosom. In the early days of her chronic invalidism, he had looked upon her as a specimen, studying her curiously if not lovingly; but after awhile, having committed the catalogue of her diseases to memory, he ceased to refer to it thus adding another, and a daily recurring one, to her long list of personal griev

ances.

The girls, thanks to their having been born and raised in the atmosphere of complaints and camphor

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