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"Oh, the darling, lovely, odd thing!" exclaimed Juliette Randolph, while Vance lightly swung the glittering toy from his finger; but Marion turned pale, and slightly shivered.

"Where did it come from, Mr. Vance?" asked she.

"From the neck of a Pharaonic princess, as you desired that it should," returned Vance, watching with boyish zest the effect of his announcement.

“Oh, tell us all the story, please, Mr. Vance !-how you got it, and how she looked, and all,” pleaded Juliette, settling herself in the sofa-corner with the impatient delight of a child about to listen to a fairy-tale.

Vance looked at her appreciatively, then suffered his regard to linger for a moment upon the proud, dark eyes Marion Harleigh had almost unconsciously fixed upon his own, before he gayly answered:

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Oh, yes; we travellers are but too happy in finding audience for our adventures, you know; and this one in a manner belongs with the necklace. I wintered upon the Nile last year, partly, no doubt, for my own pleasure, but partly, as I hope you will not refuse to believe, Miss Harleigh, in the hope of fulfilling your commission more certainly than a mere passing visitor could have done; for a new mummy is not to be met with every day, even upon the Nile; and I promised, you will remember, to take the ornament you were so kind as to ask for, directly from the person of its original possessor. My inquiries, bribes, false hopes, and opportunities of allowing myself to be cheated in the neatest possible manner, were unlimited; so also was my patience and my faith in its final reward. That faith was justified upon the day when my dragoman mysteriously introduced into the cabin of the Sphynx a rascally-looking Arab calling himself Sheikh of El Kab, the village off which we lay, and who offered for a compensation to conduct the illustrious lord, of whom he had heard as desirous of opening a new tomb, to the door of one discovered only a few days previously

by himself and his son, who had resolved to sell their secret to the magnificent nobleman 'Inglis,' instead of to their own government, to whom it properly belonged.

"After hearing this story, I quietly remarked to my friend the Sheikh that I had been so many times imposed upon by the same account, and had lost so much time, patience, and money in consequence, that I had resolved to revenge myself upon the very next impostor for all that I had suffered at the hands of his fraternity, and that it was but fair to give him timely warning that I intended keeping to my resolution, and to offer him the chance of reconsidering his proposition.

"Without any pretence of being hurt in his feelings or wounded in his honor -pretences at which I should have only laughed—my Sheikh repeated his assertion that the tomb he mentioned was, and had been for ages, fast sealed, and that, from its situation and certain characters wrought upon the stone closing its door, he had no doubt it contained the remains of some person of consequence. Beyond this he knew nothing and professed nothing, and stipulated that, in all events, he was to receive a certain sum for admitting me to the tomb, let the results be what they might. Should they prove considerable, of course the reward was to be augmented.

"Rather impressed, after all, with the fellow's apparent honesty, I acceded to his terms, and that night, accompanied only by my two servants, I met him just outside the village, and followed to the catacombs perforating like the cells of a honey-comb the sandstone cliffs behind the town. The scene was wild enough, and more picturesque than you get even in the new Park, ladies; and, were I an artist either in words or colors, I would give it you with all the accessories of swarthy Arabs in snowwhite drapery and turbans, flashing torches, gloomy subterranean passages, sculptured walls, and paintings yet glowing with all the richness of the original color. Sparing this, however,

I will merely say that the old Sheikh proved himself a man of his word, and even 'builded better than he knew;' for the tomb whose door he had discovered hidden behind the pile of bones and dust half-filling an outer tomb, rifled ages ago, had never been opened, to all appearance, since it was first sealed up, perhaps three thousand years ago."

"Three thousand years!" softly exclaimed Juliette Randolph, opening her great blue eyes. "Has the world lasted more than three thousand years, Mr. Vance?"

Miss Harleigh's downcast eyes glittered impatient scorn; but Vance smiled with the indulgence rarely refused by men to a pretty woman's ignorance, while he replied,

"For perhaps four times three thousand years, Miss Randolph, woman's beauty and man's devotion have enacted upon this earth of ours the same old-new story that makes it to-day so beautiful and fresh, to fresh and beautiful eyes."

A little quivering smile emphasized the look not yet died out of Miss Harleigh's haughty eyes; but Juliette, blushing like a rose, lifted her innocent gaze to meet the meaning Vance rather looked than spoke, and then she said, "But the story, Mr. Vance."

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'Yes, the story. We penetrated the tomb at last, although not without much difficulty and hard work, for the cement was like stone, and the stone like-well, like stone itself. At last, however, we stood within the little chamber beside the single sarcophagus it contained. At the head lay, upon a sculptured pedestal, a lamp burned dry, but with the wick still clinging to the lip, and, at the foot, an exquisite vase of alabaster, three feet high.

"We lost no time, for the adventure was not without its peril had we been discovered by the Turkish authorities in opening the sarcophagus, and in removing the innumerable folds of mummy-cloth swathing the occupant by the expeditious means of slitting the whole series from neck to heel with a sharp

knife, and turning it back like the covers of a box. Within lay a slight, elegant figure, very dark in color, as mummies nearly always are, but retaining sufficient beauty of outline, both in face and form, to prove to my mind that a rare loveliness of the days gone by lay before me, neither preserved nor quite destroyed; and in my heart I wished that the too careful love that had laid it here had rather given that beautiful form to Nature, who would in those three thousand years have produced and reproduced from that germ, flowers enough to beautify the whole earth.

"But Miss Randolph's eyes are exclaiming, 'The story! the story!' and I return, contritely. This mummy, I had expected, would be richly decorated with amulets and ornaments, for such was the rule in the interment of women of the higher class among the Egyptians; but, to my surprise, there was absolutely no ornament about it, with the exception of the necklace you now hold, and a small square box or reliquary of gold suspended from it, and containing a bit of parchment inscribed with a brief hieroglyphic sentence. Carefully removing these, I folded the cerements once more about the silent figure, replaced the cover of the sarcophagus, and left my Pharaonic princess to resume the slumber so rudely disturbed. Let us hope that no evil dream connected with her lost necklace has marred her rest."

Vance ended smilingly; and Marion, who had listened with the utmost intentness, although never raising her eyes, suddenly looked at him, demanding,

"And what was written on the slip of parchment, Mr. Vance?" "Hieroglyphics."

"But they can be read by modern science," replied Marion, a little impatiently.

"Yes; and the parchment, with an impression from the clasp of the necklace, is now in the hands of the man best qualified to decipher them, of all our cryptic scholars. I left them with

him last night, and am to learn his decision to-day. You shall know it almost as soon as I."

"Thanks," said Marion, breathing a little more freely. "It would be horrible to me to have a three-thousandyear-old secret hung like a millstone about my neck, if I could never hope to solve it."

"Then you will wear the necklace?" asked Vance, smiling down upon her, for he had risen to take leave.

"Certainly. Shall you be at Mrs. Lane's to-night?"

"May I hope to meet you there?" "We are going, and I shall wear the necklace of scarabæi, with many thanks to the giver."

"It is not a gift; it is a commission. You sent for it by me, as you send to Paris through your modiste for a new dress. It is a debt."

"Indeed!" exclaimed Marion, a little superbly. She had walked beside Vance the length of the drawing-room, and now stood near the door, out of ear-shot from the sofa.

"Yes," replied Vance, pausing in his leave-taking, and slowly adding, "The price is already fixed. Do you wish to know it?"

"Perhaps I should know it before accepting the necklace. It may be beyond my means," said Marion, struggling for an indifferent look and tone.

"I think not-I hope not. I cannot tell you now what that price is, but you will wear the necklace to-night?" "Yes," murmured Marion, and felt glad to see him go.

"What a splendid man, Marion dear! And he knows such a quantity! One really feels quite ashamed of ignorance beside him," prattled little Juliette; and her cousin, with a lingering, unfathomable smile upon her lips, made some vague reply, and hid the true answer in her heart.

That evening, at nine o'clock, came an imperative ring at the Harleigh door, and a message earnestly requesting Miss Harleigh to see Mr. Vance for one moment on important business.

In ten minutes she came down to

him, superb in gold-colored silk and black lace, but without ornaments.

"Your business is very urgent, then, Mr. Vance," said she, a little haughtily.

"Thank God!" murmured Vance, staring at her regal neck and shoulders.

"For what? That you have some important business at last?" asked Marion Harleigh, one of the women who instinctively resent, even upon the man they love, the attempt to reconcile them to lure and jess. It was upon one of the profoundest truths of feminine nature that the mythologists founded their fable of Atalanta, of the sleeping princess-yes, of the Sphynx herself. He who approaches such a woman's heart with intent to win, must wholly subdue it, or she will turn upon him and slay him with her eyes for daring to make the attempt.

But Vance was too engrossed to note the antagonism so flattering to his vanity which had replaced Miss Harleigh's ordinary suavity.

"You have not put on the necklace!" exclaimed he at last.

"I was interrupted before my toilet was complete," said Marion.

"I can never be sufficiently thankful. I went from here to call upon the savant whom I mentioned this morning. He had gone out-as I afterward discovered, had gone to find me. I remained down-town, and finally dined at Delmonico's with a friend. On my way home I called once more upon the savant, whose first words were

"Have you parted with that necklace?'

"I said that I had presented it to the lady for whom it was procured. "She will not wear it?' exclaimed he.

"She has promised to do so tonight,' said I.

"Great Heaven! You have killed her, man!' thundered he, and then went on to show me the translation of the hieroglyph taken from the breast of the mummy. It was

"See me, the beloved of a king. I scorned him for a lesser love, and thus I lie.'

"Upon the clasp of the necklace were imperative engagement in town, comengraved the words, pelling her to leave with her father in "The gods who give life, also take the morning, not to return until his it.' return at night.

"In some way that infernal (beg pardon, but I could not help it) necklace was the cause of that unhappy woman's death. Probably it is poisoned, and I -I brought it to you, and urged you to wear it-for my sake!"

His emotion was as unfeigned as it was evident; and Marion Harleigh forgot even her antagonism-forgot the danger she had escaped, and drooped her happy eyes, lest her lover should read them too easily.

But a lover reads his lady's eyes even through the lids, and, five minutes later, Millard Vance had presented Miss Harleigh with a girdle in place of the rejected necklace-a girdle formed of his own right arm; and she, her pride forgotten, submitted to its tender compulsion, nestled close to his heart, and even yielded her lips to his kiss, as meekly as the simplest country maiden could have done.

What wonder that Marion forgot then, or afterward, to repeat to any one the half-revealed secret of the necklace hidden in the depths of her wellstocked jewel-box?

The winter passed, and the spring, and Mr. Harleigh took his daughter, the niece who was to him almost another daughter, and the good-natured elderly cousin who matronized them, to the little cottage by the sea where they spent always a portion of the year.

Vance went also, finding quarters in a farmhouse close at hand, and spending all his time with the two girls. Marion, now that she had time to think and to command herself, was the most capricious and shyest of flancées; and poor Vance never knew from day to day if he should be permitted to quietly lay his homage at her feet, or if he must watch to see it spurned, ridiculed, or rejected. Seldom, indeed, could he obtain a tête-à-tête, and not unfrequently Marion declined altogether to see him, pleading, to-day a severe headache, tomorrow a dressmaker, the next day an

In all his sufferings, at first poignant, but, alas! as time went on more endurable, from, these various caprices and desertions, Vance found comfort always awaiting his acceptance in the pitying eyes and tremulous smile of Juliette Randolph, who, single-hearted darling that she was, could never understand how her cousin found pleasure in tormenting thus the man she loved-and such a man!

"Perhaps she does not love me, Juliette," suggested Vance, in disconsolate reply to this wonder, naïvely expressed on one occasion.

"Not love you, Millard! Why, of course she does! How could she-" began the child, and there stopped, blushing like the dawn.

Vance, a master in heart-lore as in books, finished the sentence, read the blushing face, and his own grew suddenly pale. Then his gloomy eyes wandered across the sea to the horizon-line, and rested there so long, that Juliette, who had as yet guessed neither his secret nor her own, gayly asked of what he was dreaming.

"I was thinking what a pity I came home last winter," said Vance simply.

"Oh, don't talk like that! Marion will be well to-morrow, and perhaps gay and bright. And on those days, you know, you do not wish that you had not come home," said Marion's cousin, with a smile as tender as it was arch.

Vance glanced at her, then away, and, leading her back to the house, excused himself from entering, and spent half the night pacing up and down the beach with the wild sea breaking whitely at his feet.

"I must have an explanation with Marion; and, unless she will consent to an early marriage, I shall leave this for some time. I will travel again, or—"

But if the night brings counsel, it also puts to sleep and benumbs the counsel that came before; and when, next

morning, Vance found his lady-love genial, beautiful, and even affectionate, he said nothing of the explanation or the journey, and the day went on as many a day had gone before.

And other days, and weeks, and months, while still the little party lingered at the shore, held by the warm, dry autumn days, as sweet as summer, and even richer in their gorgeous beauty.

And still the explanation had not come; and still Vance lingered; and still Juliette, the simple, loving child, all innocently sought to soothe the wounds inflicted by her haughty cousin, and all unconsciously gathered poison to herself from the wound she sought to heal.

At last there came a day when Marion, suddenly arraigning her own heart for judgment, found it guilty of hypocrisy, ingratitude, cruelty, and all uncharitableness toward the one creature upon earth for whose sake life was worth the living. She stood aghast at the record placed by memory before eyes too long and too wilfully blinded, and then took a resolve in strict accordance with her fault. As the sin had been a sin of pride, so the reparation was born of a profound and sweet humility,-child of pride wedded to


"I will go to him this moment," whispered Marion, "and, telling him how dearly, how wholly I love him, I will beg forgiveness for my fault, and, if he wishes still to take me all to himself, I will-"

So, on the moment she went. It was the night of the full moon, the harvestmoon, and all earth and ocean lay glowing and quivering in a bath of golden splendor. From the woods and fields came rich autumnal odors, and from over the sea, sighing breaths of a dying tropic breeze,-night-birds and insects on the one hand, the long waste of dreaming waves sliding up the sands, and breaking in music, upon the other. Marion stopped, to raise her face to heaven.

"Thank God for life, for this beauti

ful world, and for love," murmured she, and then went smiling on.

Her light feet made no noise upon the sand; the moon and the wind threw her long shadow and the rustling of her draperies behind her; and so she came all unconsciously along the beach to the spot where Vance and Juliette sat in the deep recess of a hollowed cliff.

Hearing her lover's voice, Marion paused. She could not speak indifferently to him just then, nor could she say what was in her heart to other ears than his. She hesitated, wondering how to act, but soon wondered no more, for Vance spoke again in answer to words which Marion did not hear.

"You do comfort me, darling; who else?" asked he passionately, and Marion, turned to stone as she stood, knew, as if she had seen it, the embrace and kiss that accompanied the words.

Then Juliette murmured sobbingly, "Oh, Millard, you must not-you ought not! It, is Marion whom you love, and she loves you. Let me go away from both of you-and die." "No, you shall stay with me, and live," cried Vance, ardently. "She does not love me now, if she ever did. Has not she been trying to prove how little she cares for me ever since we came here? And I-oh, darling, it is a simple, trusting, loving heart like yours that a man should give his own for. Marion is a splendid woman-a woman of grand intellect, passions, and possibilities; but you, Juliette, you are the dove whose nest is in my heart. Come to me, doveling-come to your home forever! Trust me; you have the right, and Marion will never suffer."

Then, in the pause that followed, she turned, and went her way, careless if she were seen and heard, or not. Turning her back upon the man that had wooed her to her doom, she saw her shadow stretching black and ominous along her path, and set her feet within it at every step. The dreaming sea, no longer whispering of love and hope, moaned wearily among its grasses; the sighing wind brought an odor of decay from the woods and fields, of chill

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