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Lousiana by Frances Hodgson Burnett

'Taint no critter from round yere


"Mebbe

me a-speakin's I did'll help her," she said. "Seems like it kinder teched her an' sot her thinkin'. She was dretfle fond of her pappy an' she was allers a purty peaceable advise-takin' little thing--though she aint so little nuther. She's reel tall an' slim."

CHAPTER XVIII.

"HE KNEW THAT I LOVED YOU."

It was almost dark when the buggy returned. As Jake drove up to the gate he bent forward to look at something.

"Thar's a critter hitched to the fence," he remarked. "'Taint no critter from round yere. I never seen it afore."

Mrs. Nance came out upon the porch to meet them. She was gently excited by an announcement she had to make.

"Louisianny," she said, "thar's a man in the settin'-room. He's a-waitin' to see ye. I asked him ef he hed anything to sell, an' he sed no he hedn't nothin'. He's purty _gen_-teel an' stylish, but not to say showy, an' he's polite sort o' manners."

"Has he been waiting long?" Louisiana asked.

"He's ben thar half a hour, an' I've hed the fire made up sence he come."

Louisiana removed her hat and cloak and gave them to Mrs. Nance. She did it rather slowly, and having done it, crossed the hall to the

sitting-room door, opened it and went in.

There was no light in the room but the light of the wood fire, but that was very bright. It was so bright that she had not taken two steps into the room before she saw clearly the face of the man who waited for her.

It was Laurence Ferrol.

She stopped short and her hands fell at her sides. Her heart beat so fast that she could not speak.

His heart beat fast, too, and it beat faster still when he noted her black dress and saw how pale and slight she looked in it. He advanced towards her and taking her hand in both his, led her to a chair.

"I have startled you too much," he said. "Don't make me feel that I was wrong to come. Don't be angry with me."

She let him seat her in the chair and then he stood before her and waited for her to speak.

"It was rather--sudden," she said, "but I am not--angry."

There was a silence of a few seconds, because he was so moved by the new look her face wore that he could not easily command his voice and words.

"Have you been ill?" he asked gently, at last.

He saw that she made an effort to control herself and answer him quietly, but before she spoke she gave up even the effort. She did not try to conceal or wipe away the great tears that fell down her cheeks as she looked up at him.

"No, I have not been ill," she said. "My father is dead."


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