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The Breton Mills

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Jopyriglited by the Author, and published by arrangement with him. CHAPTER XXXI. INK. Philip left his wife to fall asleep if she could, and made his way to his study where ha and lus father beforo him had fought out so many battles. His secret was out. The polira might be at his door that very night to claim bis bride back from him. He had beaten one man tor her, but ho could not defend her against the force they would bring against him. The air of hislittle village had grown close and suffocating. How long would it be before the storm would burst. He tried to calm himself and calcúlate how much time his crowding destiny would give him. He was rich and powerful and had many friends, and nothiag that could happen to his wife could make hún less formidable, tliough it might break his heart. There was not a soul in Bretonville that had something to hope of his favor, or to fear from his displeasure. He could shut up his milis and the village would becomo a desert ; he could lower wages and send starvation knocking at every door. And there was not one creature in the village but knew his power. He had not used it to harm them yet, but would not a man forget mercy in defending his own home? And then what did they know, after all, even the mob that had insulted nis wife? They might suspect, but guspicion was not enough to give them courage to assiil all tho bulwarks of wealth and respectability about such a heme as Philip Bretonas. Even the discharged servaut, Thomas Bailes, did not hold the trump card in this terrible game of life and death. No one held it but Giddmgs, the lawyar, and he was provided f or as 3 1 Philip paused beforo the window. There could be no vital danger yet. It would take time. His enemies were on the right track, but there were blind windings in it that would hinder tho scent. Hinder it, but at last what? His milis seep.ied to hold him in bondage. His life work was hero where the danger was, to show the world what an einployer ought to concede to bis workmen. To set a bright example to soften the rigor of his class. Could ho forsake his glorious work ; To be sure his workmen were proving themselves ungrateful, and murmured louder against him today than ever against his father. They had taken their children away from the schools to spite him, though he would not suffer their little bodies to be tortured in the milis any more. They begrudged him his luxuries, as if it were their money that bought them. Thero were no more smilesand hearty words for him from the poor he had done the best he knew for, and all the manufacturera around were laughing at his failuro, as thy called it. But a look of determination came over the young man's pale f:ii:e. He believed he could plant his feet likï the rock and wemout thoir impatience. The violence of his peoplo shoula not mae him tremble. He was their friend and th-:y would come to believe it. He had not done all they wished. but he could not sec any i'urther yet, and he would take no step blindly because of reproaches. If he were nat right he was nearer right than thousands of his By and by their turbulence would subside, when it could notstir him, and his measures would have time to bring forth their certain frults of smiles and prospenty. New blocks of milis would stretch away in sll directions, and the homes of liis working people would dot with happy cottages all tho huls and valleys near. Bui; Bertha. Did he love his milis or her the more ! She should not be permitted even to guess her own terrible story, or her lite would oe clouded like his. But the air of the village would soon be trembling with the news, and the hand of pitiless justiee would be luid upon her. Should he wait for it? God had granted him one week of peace, and now this month for warning. Was not the world large' U'ere there not high mountains and unpeoplod de.serts, where they could be safe? where he could Indo his darliig from iusulting Iooks and words, where no prison cells gaped open for her A Budden great light broke over Philip's face as he walkcd his littlo study with rapid turns. He could save hor. The plan unfolded itself in his mind. There was yet timo if he were quick. He must give up his great plan for his workmen ; hemustselï his mili, but he could yet save his wife if she were willing. Uut she might refuse to go. Philip hurried to the room where he had left her and opened the door so suddenly that she startcd up in terror. Her nerves were so shaken that day, poor girl. "Bertha, my love." he said, brcathlessly, "how would you like a trip to Europei" ''You are joking, Philip." Was it eagerness or aversión in her eyes? He feit afraid to iook and see. What resource was left if sho would not goí "Hcw can you leave your business?" There was an inflection in her voice that made him glance quickly at her face. Tho coldcst wonien have their enthusiasms; he had touched hers. He hardly knew her, her face had such a uciv vitality in it. "And would jou reallylike it somuch?" he said, with his deep teuderness, that had a touch of rejroaeh in it, which she was too lull ever to caten. Ho tame up to her and explained what charming routes they should take, and what lovely lands they should see. Not France and Italy and the banks of the Khine alone, but even Egypt and the far east, not a spot of beauty in the wholo far off world, but they would enjoy it. A flush was on Bertha's eheeks, at last, and her e ves shone like a young girl's while a 'lover whispers the first romance into her ears. And Philip sat by her sido only too happy to see her smile, and to touch her golden braids of hair. It was after the table in Mrs. Ginness' iactory boarding house had been set for next morning's breakfast, which was soou after tea this same day, that one of the boarders carne into the dining room and cleared away the dishes in front of him to write a letter. It was not a very highly ornamented room, but everything was pdinfully clean, i-eminding one of the aching arms of sonie poor woman, everything but the table cloth. Clean linen is ono of the most exclusive luxuries of the rich: the industrious poor may achieve shining floors, and glistenijig faces, but spotless lineo is quite beyond tnein. But it made very little difference to this man to-night, for his eyes were swollen so that discriminating visión was out of the question. He spread his paper before him, and after uncorking his iuk bottle, made two or three abortivo attempts to dip his pen. Then Bailes, for it was he, looked arouud to see if any body was laughiug at him. But the room was empty, all but a Freuch girl and her lover in one corner, who were quite too uiuch taken up with each other to take noties of any'body else. Thcn ho tried again, ana this time iiiked not alone the pen and halt the length of the holder, but the palm of nis haml i üiirl as a natural but apparently not foreaeen consequence, that portion of the talilccloth within his reach. If it had been ruuch that Bailes had cared to say, he probably wouM have given up in despair, luit it u;is only two lines, and even a blind man could write two üues, if ho had a whole sheet of paper for leeway. The two lines Bailes wrote were these: "Cunan. You are wanted here at oncel Afrieud." 10 BE CO.VrmTED.J


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