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A Bargain

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There was a slight tap on the door, nncl Miss Hardaway entered tbe library with a littlé rnsh. She looked anxicrasly round and theu made a step townrd me. I I dropped my Kiuglake on my knee and looked at her. Evideutly she had come on some pressing business. She looked rather exeited ; also a trifle nervous. "Mr. Tyson?" said she. "Miss Hardaway?" said L "I - I want to have a talk with you about - about something whieh"- She hesitated. "Certmnly," I responded amiably. "Won't yon sit down?" She sank into a chair opposite me and regarded me with dubious eyes. "I hope yon won't think it extraordinary of me," she said in a sort of stamper, "but I wanted yoiir assistance. " "If I conld do anything, " I observed, to reassme her, "comnnind me. " She averted her eyes and fidgeted with a book upon the table. "Yousee,"she explained, "it. 's rather delicate." I nodded. "Exactly,'' I assented. "And -and I don't know, but I'm sure it's - U's rather dreadful. " "Good," said I. "Thingá are so flat, as a rule." "You will probably say 'No' at once," she went on, "and I'm sure I don't blame you." "I shonld like tohave the opporrunity, at any rate," I said, with a smile. She started and half rose in her chair. "I'm afraid I've interrupted yon in yonr reading, ' ' she exclaimed. "I - I only came in on the impulse. It's really nothing. " "Now," said I, lying back in my chair benignly, "yon positively fire my cnriosity. " "No, "shesaid, shaking her head. "It was nothing. I only" - I leaned forward and touched her arm. "Miss Hardaway," I said eamestly, "wbat, yon wonld rob a poor old fogy of bis only eonsolation - that of advising others? Pie! I tkirik you owe me something for the stndious way in whicb you have avoided me lately. " It seerued that I couldn't have said anytbing more to ' the point, thongh heaven knows I had no idea what the dear girl wanted. "Avoided you!"' she said. "No indeed. If you only knew. That's what" - Here she caine to an abrupt pause. "I should very much like to know what that is," I said after waiting fora moment. I suppose I looked at her kindly. Perhaps I beamed benevolently. Oldfogiesdo. At any rate ehe seemed to take courage, and sank once more into the depths of the armchair. "I bave been very much worried lately," she excJaimed, with a sigh. I ncdded comprebensively. "It - it was that that made me come rushing in here," Bhe went on. "I - I was d eter - rnined not to stand it any louger. " I waited politely. "It's that young Mr. Urquhart," she said, with an appealing glance at me, as if I should now nnderBtand all. I understood nothing, bnt I lifted my eyebrows. "Really?" I punctuated. "Yes," she resumed, taking fresh courage. "He is a frightful nuisance. He follows me about éverywhere. " She paused, and as I seemed expected to say something I remarked that it was very impertinent and that he ougbt to know botter. "Yon see, " said Miss Hardaway, "my aunt wants it. " I really did not comprehend what her aunt wanted, but I did not say so. I only pinched my expression into reater intelligence and sympathy. "And now that we are down here, he takes the opportunity of - of pesteriug me, and - and - well, Aunt Catherinn encourages hiin." "Ah," said I, puiling my inustache, "that makes a difficult situation, doesn't it?" "And I thought you rnight help me, "she ended with a plaintive shot from her eyes. "I, my child?" I asked in wonder. "But bow? I shotild be delighted, if I knew." Miss H;irdaway said nothing. She appeared to have exhausted her confidence and sat tremulously in the arnichair, as if she wonld like to leave it. "Teil me how you thonght I couïd help you," I said. "Shall I take him away and drown him?" "Oh, no, "sheesclairaed eagerly, "I didu't mean that!" Of course I did not suppose she had meant that. "Well, what was your idea?" lasked. "You see," began Miss Hardaway, "it is difiicuit for me, with Aunt Catherine as my chaperone. And she likes Mr. Urquhart." "Of course it is,"I assented. "Well, do you want me to chaperon you? Is that it?" Now I examined her. She was really a very pretty girl and particularly sowhen she blushed. She blushed now as she said : "You see. Mr. Tyson, I thought - it was very impertinent of me - but you know I was driven ont of my senses by the stupid - by tbings. And I thought, perhaps" - She hesitaied. "You are a great deal older tbanlam, aren't you?" "Bless you, yes!" Ianswered. "Twenty years, at least. I niigbtbeyonr father. " All the same, it was not nice to feel that, somehow. But Miss Hardaway was relieved - eased over hei1 difflculry, perhaps I should say. "Yes, I thought so, and that was what made me so rudo as to think that you - that I - that we rnight pretend, you know," she stamniered. "I wi)l pretend anytlii:;g you like, child," I declared. "WiH yon really'?" she asked eagerly. "Certainly, " I answered. "That we are eugaged?" she asked, hangin on my words. I will confess that I was soincwhat staggered, but in a second I chuckled to myself. "Most certainly, " J said. Miss Hardaway's eyes looked gratitude. "I knew you would be kind," she remarked. "Then that will get rid of him, you see," she added. "Yes, I suppose it wil) !" 1 assented. "Then that's all settled," said she risiug suddenly to her feet, "and now I must go. It is so good of you, Mr. . " "But stay, " I interrupted, rising also. "Let us understand what om programwe is to be. You will teil Oatherine?" "I am going to teil hei' uw,"eh said firnily. "And - and what sicw - how ave we" - "Oh, you must walk bont with me a good deal," she said. "But won't that rather bore you?"I asked depreoatingly. "Oh, no," said Miss Haidaway frankly. "I like you. Besitles it's botter thaa Mr. Urqnhart. " The compliment was not Btraiiied. "And I am to cal] you" - I qneriecL "Oh, you must cali me lïetty," she returned promptly. "And you mnst cal! me"- I begaii. "Oh, I tbink Hl cali yon just Mr. Tyson,' ' she observed af ter a pause. "But do you think - don 't you think" - Miss Hardaway considered, frowuing. "I don't think I can cali you. What is your name, Mr Tyson?" ghe.asked. "Paul," said I meekly. "I know it's not a nice name." "Oh, it's not so bad," she said reassuringly, "only - allright. I" 11 cali yon that, and now" - "But is there nothing else?" I asked. "Are you stire we mustu'tdo anything else?" "Oh, no," said Miss Hardaway confidently. "We 're just engaged, yon know," and with the flutter of her gown was gone. Thé bargain was plain enough, but I was not quite sure how it woold turn out in ptactice. Yet itseemed toanswer wel! enongh, as far as she was concerned. My services were in ïequisition the very nest day. We walked together in the garden, and really it was not a disagreeable walk. As we turned a corner Miss Hardaway suddenly touched my arm. "Here he comes, " she said hastily. "Please do something. " Ihadno idea what to do. "To show him, " she explained impatieiitly aud then hurriedly seized my hand. We strolled away like thistill Mr. Urqubart passed. I hope it convinced him, butl could not help feeliug rather foolish. Theu Miss Hardaway pansed. "Please, go now, " she commanded. "I have promised to go out with Miss Vale. " It was quite straoge to be ordered about at some one else's will, and as I went back to my books I vaguely wondered if this was a fair sample of matrimonial experiences. There was no cali made upon me till the following afternoon, when I was requested to take Miss Hardaway for a short stroll on the clifïs. "We must keep np appearances, ' ' she explained. It was very pleasant on the cliffs, and there we met Mr. Urqnhart once more. I hastily seized her hand, but she drew it away f rom me with decisión. "Don 't!" she said. "I thought I had to do something, " I observed humbly. "Oh, no," she said in a vexed voice, "don't you see there's no need now?" I didn't see, but I touk her word for ifc. All the same I regretted that, there was no need. I had had no idea that she was such an attractive girl. It appears that only Annt Catheriue and Mr. Urquhart were supposed to know, but I was sure the whole hotel was in the secret. I carne to this conclusión from the persistent way in which we were left together. If we were scen in each other's company, we were conscientiously avoided, and peopleindulgently left the room in order that we might exchange confideuces. Miss Hardaway noticed this at last. She did noc seem to have anticipated it. "What do they do that for?" ehe. asked pettishly. "Oh, they suppose we want to be alone, " I answered cheeriully. "How foolish I" said Miss Hardaway frowning.' "Don't you want to go ;o yoür books?" she said suddenly. Idid not, but I took my dismissal and went. Later that day Miss Hardaway sought me. "I think, Mr. Tyson," said she, 'that we had better stop this pretense now. It has served its turn. " "Well," said I, "if you are quite sure that Mr. ürqnhart and Aunt Catheriue will not resume" - She shook her head. "I am not af raid of that," she said boldly. 'Very well," said I, "then we had better think out a way. Of course the engagement must be broken. But who is :o do it?" "I, of course," said Miss Eardaway in surprise. I passed the paper knife between my fingers reflectively. "That is of course the proper way," [ answered, "but it inay leave you open to a difflculty. Yon see, if you break with me, people will believe that you never reallycared for rne, and that will enconrage Mr. Urqubart and Aunt Catherine. " She bit her lips. "I never :hought of that," she said. "Then you must break it. " "Yes, I must break it, ;ut on what grounds?" I asked. "Couldn't you say that you bad made a mistake, and really cared for sorue one else?" 6he inquired. "But I don 't - I mean, would that be quite fair to' you, yoa see?" Miss Hardaway puckered her brow. "Put it on the grounds that I' interiere with yourwork, " she suggested, "and that you are wedded to that." "But you don't," I objected, "and besides I don't care if you do, and goodness knows I dou't want to be wedded to that always. " Ibis apparently was a new idea, for she regarded me earnestly for some moments, and Ibelieve sbe was exanaining the lines in my face. "I'm not so very o]d," I mnrmured. Miss Hardaway made no ieply, but ghmced out of the wïndow. Then, "I shall teil Aunt Catherine that itwasbroken off becanse of your work, " she said peusively. "I shall deny it, " Iprotested. "I dou't seo wby it should be broken off at all. ' ' Af ter a minute 's silence sho said in a lower voice, "It's such a, nuisauce to you." "It isn't," I declared. "I don't inind. I - let it go on. I'm not so very old, and it's the only time I shall be enaged. Let, me enjoy it while I can. " Miss Hardaway was siltnt. "Corne, " eaid I, taking her hand, "you wouldn't grudgo me a little pleasure, would yoni" Miss Hardaway laughed a self embarro-ssed little laugh. "Pleasnref" she echoed. "Certaiuly," saidlpromptly. "A ploasure whioh, alas, can never be more thau a shadow for an old fogy like me." She louked at me timorously. "I don't thiuk y-ju'ro an old fogy, " she said. I mado to draw her uearer but she diseugagod herself and siipped gently to the door. Ou the threshold she paused. "I - I won't eay anything to Aunt Catherine," she said, with a


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