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      Mrs Goodford ate a slice of hot beef in dead silence, with a circular mill-like motion of her chin. It disappeared before her daughter had time to begin eating on her own account, which gave her an opportunity for another attempt to thaw the glacial silence that presided over the nice family party.CHAPTER XV.

      He then put on the black cap and slowly commenced the sentence. The life that had seemed to have departed from the still and contracted form, rallied for a momentthe eyes unclosed and fixed on the appalled countenance of Skipwith; and, when the concluding invocation of mercy for the soul of the criminal fell tremulously from the lips of the judge, she, in a voice low but distinct, answered "Amen!" and then a slight tremor and a faint gasp released the soul of Edith.She had the satisfactionand that made her step the more briskly and gave the sunshine this mysterious power of exhilarationof knowing that she was serving and supplying. She loved the knowledge that never had Keelings typewriting been done for him so flawlessly, that never had the details of his business, such as came{195} within her ken, been so unerringly recorded. He might ask for the reference to the minutest point in a month-old letter, and she could always reinforce his deficient memory of it, and turn up the letter itself for confirmation of her knowledge. When days of overwhelming work had occurred, and he had suggested getting in a second typewriter to assist her, she had always, with a mixture of pride in her own efficiency, and of jealousy of a helping hand, proved herself capable of tackling any task that might be set her. Probably she could not have done it for any one else, but she could do it for him. It was easier, so she told herself, to do his work herself, than to instruct anybody else what to do. She allowed herself just that shade of self-deception, knowing all the time that there were plenty of routine letters that any one else could have done as well as she. But she did not want anybody else to do them.

      I suppose I do, she said. Certainly I hate being wrong.

      From Kobe westward the route lies through the famous Inland Sea of Japan, known to the Japanese as the Suwo Nada. The Inland Sea is more like a lake than an arm of the ocean; and there have been travellers who could not readily believe that it was connected with the ocean, and that its waters were salt instead of fresh. The distance is, in round numbers, about two hundred and fifty miles; and through the entire voyage the land is constantly in sight, and generally close at hand. The islands rise sharply from the water, and a large portion of them are densely wooded and exceedingly picturesque.Calverley had beheld the group as they entered the court, and instantly averting his eyes from the mother and son, he fixed them upon Margaret.

      That evening De Boteler spoke little during supper, and while drinking the second cup after the repast, he desired the page who stood behind his chair, to order the monk John to attend him directly. Father John presently appeared, and approaching the foot of the table, made a low obeisance, and then with his hands crossed on his bosom, and with eyes cast down, awaited till De Boteler should address him. De Boteler looked for a moment earnestly at the monk, ere in a stern voice he said:

      Hush! said Mr Silverdale, holding up his hand as he did at the benediction.


      "And if he was a headstrong boy, and felt one stroke of the lash," interrupted the galleyman, "would he not fly from the bondage, even to become a thing like me? Hark you, Holgrave," he continued, starting upon his feet, extending his right arm, and fixing his full black eyes on his face"hark you, Holgrave! my father was as honest a man as ever drew the breath of heaven; and yet I trade and traffic in cheatery. My father's greatest oath was 'the saints defend us!' and he would not drink a second cup at one sitting; and yet there is not a holy name that I have not blasphemed every day for these nine years, and scarcely a day that I have not drunk moremore than my head could well carry. My father could not have slept if he had missed the shrovetide, and yet I have passed years, aye, and am likely to pass my life, without a single shrift. Yes, yes, he continued, dropping his arm, and sinking down upon his seat, I have done every thing butmurder"(Margaret crossed herself)"and scarcely can I clear myself even of that; and all because I was a bondman's son! Yes, Holgrave, I know what bondage is; I know what it is to be buffetted and railed at, and threatened with the tumbrel. I never was lazy; but I hated to be driven. All men are not made alike; some are only fit to be slaves, while others are endowed by nature with a high, proud spiritof such was your mother."


      The table at which she worked was covered with small cardboard slips, bearing in her neat minute handwriting the titles and the authors of the books in Mr Keelings library. Each appeared twice, once under its author, once under its title, and these she was sorting out into an alphabetical file from which she would compile her catalogue. She had been at work on it for about a fortnight, and the faint hopes she had originally entertained of getting it finished by the end of the year had now completely vanished. He had been{129} buying books in very large numbers; already wing-bookcases had begun to invade the floor space of his room, and he intended in the spring to build out farther into the garden. But Norah was not at all sure that she regretted the vanishing of those hopes: the work interested her, and she had the true book-lovers pride in making all the equipment connected with books as perfect as it could be. Three times a week she went with her brother after supper for a couple of hours work in Mr Keelings library: the other evenings she brought into order at home the collection of slips she had made there.