course I don't say that I shall remain there for life; but—it might happen so."

A pang, sharp as a two-edged sword, struck Edina. "What, and abandon your country for ever, and—and home ties?"

"As to home ties, Edina, I shall have none then. There is only my father now. Of course my future movements will be regulated with reference to him as long as he is with us. But—I fear—that may not be very much longer. As you know."

She made a slight movement of assent; and bent her head over the ferns.

"And I shall not be likely to make home ties for myself," went on George Atkinson, unconscious of the anguish he was inflicting. "I shall never marry."

"Why?" breathed Edina.

"I scarcely know why," he replied, after a pause, as if searching for a reason. "I have never admitted the

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