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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 538 pages of information about Janice Meredith.

Sir Frederick’s ashen hue changed to a ruddy one, as he said:  “Lord Clowes, ’t is a bitter mouthful for a man to eat, but I ask your clemency till my luck changes, for change it must, since cards and dice cannot always run against one.  I know I deserve it not at your hands, after what has passed—­”

“Cease your stuttering, man,” ordered the commissary.  “Had I revenge in my heart I’d have sent the bailiff not come myself.  The bills shall wait your convenience, and all I ask for the lenience is that ye dine with me and do me one service.  Ye did me a bad stroke with Miss Meredith; now I ask ye to offset it by telling her what my vengeance has been.”

Mobray hesitated.  “Lord Clowes, I will do nothing to trick Miss Meredith, desperately placed as I am.”

“Chut!  Who talks of trickery?  Ye told her the facts of my parole; therefore ye owe it to me, even though it may not serve your own suit, to tell her as well what is in my favour.”

“And so help you to win her.  I cannot do her that wrong, my Lord.”

“Is it worse to tell her only the truth about me than to seek to persuade her into a marriage with a bankrupt?”

“You state it unsparingly.”

“Not more so, I doubt not, than ye did the matter of my parole—­which some day I shall be able to justify, and the gentlemen of the army will then sing a very altered tune—­ with this difference, that I say it to your face and ye did not.”

With bowed head Sir Frederick answered:  “You are right, my Lord, and I will say what I can in your favour to Miss Meredith.”

“Spoke like an honest man.  Fare ye well till next Wednesday, when I shall look for ye to a three-o’clock dinner.”

Whatever pain and shame the words cost him, honourably the baronet fulfilled his promise by going to the commissary’s quarters the following day and telling Janice the facts.  The girl listened to his explanation with a face grave almost to sadness.  “I—­What you have told me, Sir Frederick,” she said gently at the end, “is of much importance to me just at this time, and I thank you.”

“I know, I know,” groaned the young officer, miserably, “and ’t is only part of my horrible run of luck that I should—­that—­ah—­Take him, Miss Meredith, and end my torture.”

“Can you advise me to marry Lord Clowes?”

“After his generosity to me, in honour I must say nothing against him, but ’t is asking too much of human nature for me to aid his suit.”

[Illustration:  “Art comfortable, Janice?”]

“I—­oh, I know not what to do!” despairingly wailed the girl.  “Mommy says ’t is for me to decide, and dadda thinks I cannot do better, and to the ear it seems indeed the only thing to do.  Yet I shudder every time I think of it, and twice, when I have dreamed that I was his wife, I have waked the whole house with my screams to be saved from him.”

“Miss Meredith,” burst out the baronet, “give me the right to save you.  You know I love you to desperation; that I would live to make you—­”

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