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a condition of entertaining his proposal that he should submit to examination by a competent medical man. After some hesitation he consented to this. The doctor’s report was conclusive. In Julian’s present state of health the climate of \Vest Africa would in all probability kill him in three months’ time. ‘ Foiled in his first attempt, he addressed himself next to a London Mission. Here, it was impossible to raise the question of climate; and here, I grieve to say, he has succeeded. ‘He is now working—in other words, he is now deliberately risking his life—in the Mission to Green Anchor Fields. The district known by this name is situated in a remote part of London, near the Thames. It is notoriously infested by the most desperate and degraded set of wretches in the whole metropolitan population; and it is so thickly inhabited that it is hardly ever completely free from epidemic disease. In this horrible place, and among these dangerous people, Julian is now employing himself from morning to night. None of his old friends ever see him. Since he joined the Mission he has not even called on Lady Janet Roy. ‘ My pledge is redeemed—the facts are before you. Am I wrong in taking my gloomy view of the prospect? I cannot forget that this unhappy man was once my friend ; and I really see no hope for him in the future. Deliberately self-exposed to the violence of ruflians and the outbreak of disease, who is to extricate him from his shocking position? The one person who can do it is the person whose association with him would be his ruin—Mercy Merrick. Heaven only knows what

disasters it may be my painful duty to communicate to you in my next letter!

'You are so kind as to ask me to tell you something about myself and my plans.

'I have very little to say on either head. After what I have suffered—my feelings trampled on, my confidence betrayed—I am as yet hardly capable of deciding what I shall do. Returning to my old profession—to the army—is out of the question, in these levelling days, when any obscure person who can pass an examination may call himself my brother officer, and may one day perhaps command me as my superior in rank. If I think of any career, it is the career of diplomacy. Birth and breeding have not quite disappeared as essential qualifications in that branch of the public service. But I have decided nothing as yet.

'My mother and sisters, in the event of your returning to England, desire me to say that it will afford them the greatest pleasure to make your acquaintance. Sympathising with me, they do not forget what you too have suffered. A warm welcome awaits you when you pay your first visit at our house.

'Most truly yours,

'Horace Holmcroft.'


From Miss Grace Roseberrt to Mr. Horace

'Dear Mr. Holmcroft,

'I snatch a few moments from my other avocations to thank you for your most interesting and delightful letter. How well you describe, how accurately you judge! If Literature stood a little higher as a profession, I should almost advise you —but no! if you entered Literature, how could you associate with the people whom you would be likely to meet?

'Between ourselves, I always thought Mr. Julian Gray an over-rated man. I will not say he has justified my opinion. I will only say I pity him. But, dear Mr. Holmcroft, how can you, with your sound judgment, place the sad alternatives now before him on the same level? To die in Green Anchor Fields, or to fall into the clutches of that vile wretch—is there any comparison between the two? Better a thousand times die at the post of duty than marry Mercy Merrick.

'As I have written the creature's name, I may add —so as to have all the sooner done with the subject— that I shall look with anxiety for your next letter. Do not suppose that I feel the smallest curiosity about this degraded and designing woman. My interest in

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her is purely religious. To persons of my devout turn of mind, she is an awful warning. When I feel Satan near me—it will be such a means of grace to think of Mercy Merrick!

'Poor Lady Janet! I noticed those signs of mental decay to which you so feelingly allude, at the last interview I had with her in Mablethorpe House. If you can find an opportunity, will you say that I wish her well, here and hereafter? and will you please add, that I do not omit to remember her in my prayers?

'There is just a chance of my visiting England towards the close of the autumn. My fortunes have changed since I wrote last. I have been received as reader and companion by a lady who is the wife of one of our high judicial functionaries in this part of the world. I do not take much interest in him; he is what they call a "self-made man." His wife is charming. Besides being a person of highly intellectual tastes, she is greatly her husband's superior—as you will understand when I tell you that she is related to the Gommerys of Pommery; not the Pommerys of Gommery, who (as your knowledge of our old families will inform you) only claim kindred with the younger branch of that ancient race.

'In the elegant and improving companionship which I now enjoy, I should feel quite happy but for one drawback. The climate of Canada is not favourable to my kind patroness ; and her medical advisers recommend her to winter in London. In this event, I am to have the privilege of accompanying her. Is it necessary to add that my first visit will be paid at your house? I feel already united by sympathy to your mother and your sisters. There is a sort of freemasonry among gentlewomen, is there not? With best thanks and remembrances, and many delightful anticipations of your next letter, believe me, dear Mr. Holmcroft,

'Truly yours,

'Grace Roseberry.'


From Mr. Horace Holmcroft to Miss Grace

'My Dear Miss Roseberry,

'Pray excuse my long silence. I have waited for mail after mail, in the hope of being able to send you some good news at last. It is useless to wait longer. My worst forebodings have been realised : my painful duty compels ma to write a letter which will surprise and shock you.

'Let me describe events in their order as they happened. In this way I may hope to gradually prepare your mind for what is to come.

'About three weeks after I wrote to you last, Julian Gray paid the penalty of his headlong rashness. I do not mean that he suffered any actual violence at the hands of the people among whom he had cast his lot. Oa the contrary, he succeeded, incredible as it may

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