much for him; he wanted to tell his wife. But Mrs. Atheling was not in her parlour. A few ash logs were burning brightly on the hearth, and there was a round table spread for supper, and the candles were lit, and showed him the mistress's little basket containing her keys and her knitting, but neither wife nor daughter were to be seen.
"It is always the way," he muttered. "It is enough to vex any man. Women are sure to be out of the road when they are wanted; and in the road when nobody cares to see them. Wherever has Maude taken herself?" Then he opened a door and called "Maude! Maude!" in no gentle voice.
In a few minutes the call was answered. Mrs. Atheling came hurriedly into the room. There was a pleasant smile on her large, handsome face, and she carried in her hands a bowl of cream and a loaf of white bread. "Why, John!" she exclaimed, "whatever is to do? I was getting a bit of supper for you. You are late home to-night, aren't you?"
"I should think I was--a
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