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time. That was when acting was really understood. As for Sibyl, I
do not know at present whether her attachment is serious or not.
But there is no doubt that the young man in question is a perfect
gentleman. He is always most polite to me. Besides, he has the
appearance of being rich, and the flowers he sends are lovely.”
“You don’t know his name, though,” said the lad, harshly.

“No,” answered his mother, with a placid expression in her face.
“He has not yet revealed his real name. I think it is quite romantic
of him. He is probably a member of the aristocracy.” James Vane
bit his lip. “Watch over Sibyl, mother,” he cried, “watch over her.”
“My son, you distress me very much. Sibyl is always under my
special care.

Of course, if this gentleman is wealthy, there is no reason why she
could not contract an alliance with him. I trust he is one of the
aristocracy. He has all the appearance of it, I must say. It might be a
most brilliant marriage for Sibyl. They would make a charming
couple. His good looks are really quite remarkable; everybody
notices them.” The lad muttered something to himself, and
drummed on the windowpane with his coarse fingers. He had just
turned round to say something, when the door opened, and Sibyl
ran in.

“How serious you both are!” she cried. “What is the matter?”
“Nothing,” he answered. “I suppose one must be serious
sometimes. Goodbye, mother. I will have my dinner at five o’clock.
Everything is packed, except my shirts, so you need not trouble.”
“Good-bye, my son,” she answered, with a bow of strained

She was extremely annoyed at the tone he had adopted with her,
and there was something in his look that had made her feel afraid.
“Kiss me, mother,” said the girl. Her flower-like lips touched the
withered cheek, and warmed its frost.

“My child! my child!” cried Mrs. Vane, looking up to the ceiling in
search of an imaginary gallery.

“Come, Sibyl,” said her brother, impatiently. He hated his mother’s

They went out into the flickering wind-blown sunlight, and
strolled down the dreary Euston Road. The passers-by glanced in
wonder at the sullen, heavy youth, who, in coarse, ill-fitting
clothes, was in the company of such a graceful, refined-looking
girl. He was like a common gardener walking with a rose.

Jim frowned from time to time when he caught the inquisitive
glance of some stranger. He had that dislike of being stared at
which comes on geniuses late in life, and never leaves the
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