ST. KITT'S. 1890.

The remarks which Emily had made regarding the share Laura Middleton had had in opening up her ideas on the subject of the mysteries in which she had now been fully initiated had not escaped my observation. It so happened that at that very time I was under an engagement to pay a visit to the Middletons, who were very distant relations of my mother. It of course occurred to me that it was possible I might be able to turn the information I had thus acquired to some account. Laura and I were old friends. She was about two years older than I, a very handsome, fine-looking girl but, as I had then fancied, upon rather a larger scale than quite suited my taste. We had always been on very good terms as children, but she had a sort of haughty, imperious air which, joined to the difference in our ages, had operated in a manner that would have prevented me from thinking of taking any liberties with her; and she was about the last person in the world I should have been disposed to imagine addicted to the amusements in which Emily had participated with her.

When I again met her on arriving at their country seat, I found that a considerable change had taken place in her person, but probably this was merely the natural result that the preceding two years, during which I had not seen her, had worked upon a girl at her time of life, by fully developing the proportions and fining down the parts of the figure which at an earlier period might have appeared too prominent. I too had grown considerably during this period, more so in proportion than she had, and now her height by no means appeared to me to be too great; and, altogether, I could not help acknowledging to myself that I had rarely seen a handsomer or finer-looking woman. She still retained somewhat of her haughty air, though softened down, and I could hardly fancy, when looking at her, that Emily's account of her behaviour in the hours when she gave herself up to enjoyment could be true. I soon, however, became aware of circumstances that tended to corroborate the tale, and which put me in the way of making advances to her, which I hastened to do.


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