Under the Big Dipper

him. Her lips quivered and she nervously fingered the lace handkerchief she was holding in her hand.

“Mr. Morton, Her Highness is afraid to trust herself to a stranger. She is unstrung and I have not succeeded in persuading her to act as you propose.”

Helène leaned forward, resting her elbows upon her knees, and pressed the lace against her tired eyes. Suppressing a sob with a quick intake of her breath, she continued in a trembling voice, though with no trace of resentment in it:

“Why did not papa send someone we know—one of our own people? Please, do not misunderstand me. I have done all I could—I told her everything you bade me say,”—the tears were not to be denied now; they fell slowly unchecked.

John felt as if he would choke. It was as he had feared! He looked at Helène confounded and utterly at a loss what to say.

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