Mr. Brock noticed the altered tone in which his old friend spoke, and the unwillingness with which she gave her answerCan you tell me more about her without referring to yourselfhe went onI am sure I can protect you, if you will only help me a little. air max heels Her name, for instanceyou can tell me her nameMrs. Armadale shook her head, “The name I knew her by,” she said, “would be of no use to you. She has been married since then; she told me so herselfAnd without telling you her married name“She refused to tell itDo you know anything of her friends“Only of her friends when she was a child. They called themselves her uncle and aunt. They were low people, and they deserted her at the school on my father’s estate. We never heard any more of themDid she remain under your father’s care“She remained under my care; that is to say, she traveled with us. We were leaving England, just as that time, for Madeira. I had my father’s leave to take her with me, and to train the wretch to be my maid” At those words Mrs. Armadale stopped confusedly. Mr. Brock nike air max heels tried gently to lead her on. It was useless; she started up in violent agitation, and walked excitedly backward and forward in the roomDon’t ask me any more!” she cried out, in loud, angry tonesI parted with her when she was a girl of twelve years old. I never saw her again, I never heard of her again, from that time to this. I don’t know how she has discovered me, after all the years that have passed; I only know that she has discovered me. She will find her way to Allan next; she will poison my son’s mind against me. Help me to get away from her! help me to take Allan away before she comes back!” The rector asked no more questions; it would have been cruel to press her further. The first necessity was to compose her by promising compliance with all that she desired. The second was to induce her to see another medical man. Mr. Brock contrived to reach his end harmlessly in this latter case by reminding her that she wanted strength to travel, and that her own medical attendant might restore her all the more speedily to herself if he were assisted by the best professional advice. Having overcome her habitual reluctance to seeing strangers by this means, the rector at once went to Allan; and, delicately concealing what cheap jordan heels Mrs. Armadale had said at the interview, broke the news to him that his mother was seriously ill. Allan would hear of no messengers being sent for assistance: he drove off on the spot to the railway, and telegraphed himself to Bristol for medical help. On the next morning the help came, and Mr. Brock’s worst fears were confirmed. The village surgeon had fatally misunderstood the case from the first, and the time was past now at which his errors of treatment might have been set right. The shock of the previous morning had completed the mischief. Mrs. Armadale’s days were numbered. The son who dearly loved her, the old friend to whom her life was precious, hoped vainly to the last. In a month from the physician’s visit all hope was over; and Allan shed the first bitter tears of his life at his mother’s grave. She had died more peacefully than Mr. Brock had dared to hope, leaving all her little fortune to her son, and committing him solemnly to the care of her one friend on earth. The rector had entreated her to let him write and try to reconcile her brothers with her before it was too late. She had only answered sadly that it was too late already. But one reference escaped her in her last illness to those early sorrows which had weighed heavily on all her after-life, and which had passed thrice already, like shadows of evil, between the rector and herself. Even on her deathbed she had shrunk from letting the light fall clearly on the story of the past. She had looked at Allan kneeling by the bedside, and had whispered to Mr. Brock: “Never let his Namesake come near him! Never let that Woman find him out !” No word more fell from her that touched on the misfortunes which had tried her in the past, or on the dangers which she dreaded in the future. The secret which she had kept from her son and from her cheap nike high heels friend was a secret which she carried with her to the grave. When the last offices of affection and respect had been performed, Mr. Brock felt it his duty, as executor to the deceased lady, to write to her brothers, and to give them information of her death. Believing that he had to deal with two men who would probably misinterpret his motives if he left Allan’s position unexplained, he was careful to remind them that Mrs. Armadale’s son was well provided for, and that the object of his letter was simply to communicate the news of their sister’s decease. The two letters were dispatched toward the middle of January, and by return of post the answers were received. The first which the rector opened was written not by the elder brother, but by the elder brother’s only son. The young man had succeeded to the estates in Norfolk on his father’s death, some little time since. He wrote in a frank and friendly spirit, assuring Mr. Brock that, however strongly his father might have been prejudiced against Mrs. Armadale, the hostile feeling had never extended to her son. For himself, he had only to add that he would be sincerely happy to welcome his cousin to Thorpe Ambrose whenever his cousin came that way. The second letter was a far less agreeable reply to receive than the first. The younger brother was still alive, and still resolute neither to forget nor forgive. He informed Mr. Brock that his deceased sister’s choice of a husband, and her conduct to her father at the time of her marriage, had made any relations of affection or esteem impossible, on his side, from that time forth. Holding the opinions he did, it would be equally painful to his nephew and himself if any personal intercourse took place between them. He had adverted, as generally as possible, to the nature of the differences which had kept him apart from his late sister, in order to satisfy Mr. Brock’s mind that a personal acquaintance with young Mr. Armadale was, as a matter of delicacy, quite out of the question and, having done this, he would beg leave to close the correspondence. Mr. Brock wisely destroyed the second letter on the spot, and, after showing Allan his cousin’s invitation, suggested that he should go to Thorpe Ambrose as soon as he felt fit to present himself to strangers. Allan listened to the advice patiently enough; but he declined to profit by itI will shake hands with my cousin willingly if I ever meet him,” he said; “but I will visit no family, and be a guest in no house, in which my mother has been badly treated.” Mr. Brock remonstrated gently, and tried to put matters in their proper light. Even at that timeeven while he was still ignorant of even