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JU^IE. FAIRY GOLD. BY EDWARD GARRETT, AUTHOR OF " RAB BETIIUNE'S DOUBLE,'' " BY STILL WATERS," " NOT BY BREAD ALONE," ETC. CHAPTER XL THE LAST STRAW. 'ATTEES between the old cottage and the new mansion had got so bad that they eonld scarcely get worse, when it was quietly announced that Horace Abchurch and Carrie Windham intended to make their lives into one! Indeed, that intention was pos¬ sibly decided, and its carrying out was certainly hastened, by the general position arising from the painful aspect of affairs. There could be no doubt that in one sense Hawthorn Cottage Avas none the poorer for Hector MacCrimmon's withdrawal. Miss Windham had her own little annuity, and Carrie kept her city appointment. Yet a change which was rapidly creeping over Miss Windham meant a change for the whole of the little establishment. Miss Windham never said one word to anybody to show her consciousness of the growing alienation between her great nephew and his old friends. Un¬ doubtedly she but felt it the more for this silence, which nevertheless clinging affection always tenderly preserves while there lingers the least hope that things may ever again be as they were in times past. The secret sorrow and disappointment showed them¬ selves upon her much as a high wind shows on a tree in late autumn, Avhen it carries down the last withered No. 64 June, 1896. leaves. The infirmities of age, whose creeping onset Carrie had long watched, now advanced with leaps and bounds. To keep the house and also to provide most of its income, was almost beyond Carrie's power, especially when she became aware that it was no longer right that the old lady should be left alone for long hours daily. Many mornings found Miss Windham so feeble that Carrie had to give up her day's work. She gave many hints to Hector concerning her own increased burdens and his aunt's swift break up. In her brave wish to let him know the truth, to save him from doing despite to his own better self in any mere ignorance or thoughtlessness, she silenced her own pride, which would rather have reminded him of nothing that he found it possible to forget! Either Hector could not or he would not grasp the situation. It was true that in his presence the poor old great aunt brightened up, and tried to gather love and comfort from his words, only, alas, to be generally more depressed and nerveless after he had gone. He said the auntie was all right—if her work Avas taken from her it Avould but shorten her days,—and as for being left alone, she had ahvays liked it, and as people greAV old they liked to be left alone more rather than less—it was so restful to them. One perpetual soreness betAA^een Hector and Carrie had been her steady AvithdraAA'al from his festive occasions. It AA'as not his fault that she Avould not accept the dresses and jeAvellery he said he and his wife AA-ould have rejoiced to give her. Such futile liberality Avould have lain like a curse on Carrie's