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BY HENRY KINGSLEY, AUTHOR OF
of whom Welter, by a happy combi
nation of obstinacy and recklessness, LORD WELTER'S MÉNAGE. managed to vanquish three, in as many
months. It was hopeless. Lord Ascot THERE was a time, a time we have seen, would not hear of his going to school. when Lord Welter was a merry, hu He was his only boy, his darling. He morous, thoughtless boy. A boy, one could not part with him ; and, when would have said, with as little real Lady Ascot pressed the matter, he grew mischief in him as might be. He might obstinate, as he could at times, and said have made a decent member of society, he would not. The boy would do well who knows? But, to do him justice, he enough; he had been just like him at his had had everything against him from his age, and look at him now ! earliest childhood. He had never known Lord Ascot was mistaken. He had what a mother was, or a sister. His not been quite like Lord Welter at his earliest companions were grooms and age. He had been a very quiet sort of gamekeepers; and his religious instruc- boy indeed. Lord Ascot was a great tion was got mostly from his grand- stickler for blood in horses, and under mother, whose old-fashioned Sunday- stood such things. I wonder he could morning lectures and collect learnings, not have seen the difference between the 80 rigidly pursued that he dreaded sweet, loving face of his mother, capable Sunday of all days in the week, were of violent, furious passion though it was, succeeded by cock-fighting in the Croft and that of his coarse, stupid, handsome, with his father in the afternoon, and gipsy-looking wife, and judged accordlounging away the evening among the ingly. He had engrafted a new strain stable-boys. As Lord Saltire once said, of blood on the old Staunton stock, and in a former part of this story, “Ranford
consequences. was what the young men of the day What was to become of Lord Welter called an uncommon fast house."
was a great problem, still unsolved ; Fast enough, in truth. “All down when, one night, shortly before Charles hill and no drag on.” Welter soon paid his first visit to Ranford, vice defied his grandmother. For his father Cuthbert, disapproved of, Lord Ascot he cared nothing. Lord Ascot was so came up, as his custom was, into his foolishly fond of the boy that he never mother's dressing-room, to have half an contradicted him in anything, and used hour's chat with her before she went to even to laugh when he was impudent to bed. his grandmother, whom, to do Lord “I wonder, mother dear," he said, Ascot justice, he respected more than “whether Iought to ask old Saltire again, any living woman. Tutors were tried, or not? He wouldn't come last time,
No. 25.--VOL. V.
you know. If I thought he wouldn't Saltire. “Now, let us hear no more of come, I'd ask him.”
the cub, but have our picquet in peace." “ You must ask him," said Lady The next morning Lord Saltire had Ascot, brushing her grey hair, "and he an interview with Lord Ascot, and two will come.”
hours afterwards it was known that “Very well," said Lord Ascot. “It's Lord Welter was to go to Eton at once. a bore; but you must have some one to And so, when Welter met Charles at flirt with, I suppose."
Twyford, he told him of it. Lady Ascot laughed. In fact, she At Eton, he had rapidly found other had written before, and told him that boys brought up with the same tastes as he must come, for she wanted him; and himself, and with these he consorted come he did.
A rapid interchange of experiences went “Now, Maria," said Lord Saltire, on on among these young gentlemen ; which the first night, as soon as he and Lady ended in Lord Welter, at all events, Ascot were seated together on a quiet being irreclaimably vicious. sofa, “ what is it? Why have you Welter had fallen in love with brought me down to meet this mob of Charles, as boys do, and their friendjockeys and gamekeepers ? A fortnight ship had lasted on, waning as it went, here, and not a soul to speak to, but till they permanently met again at Mainwaring and yourself! After I was Oxford. There, though their intimacy here last time, dear old Lady Hainault was as close as ever, the old love died croaked out in a large crowd that some out amidst riot and debauchery. Charles one smelt of the stable.”
had some sort of a creed about women ; “Dear old soul,” said Lady Ascot. Welter had none. Charles drew a line “What a charming, delicate wit she at a certain point, low down it might has. You will have to come here again, be, which he never passed ; Welter though. Every year, mind.”
set no bounds anywhere. What Lord "Kismet," said Lord Saltire.
Hainault said of him at Tattersall's was what is the matter?”
true. One day, when they had been “ What do you think of Ascot's arguing on this point rather sharply,
Charles said, “Oh, Lord !” said Lord Saltire. “So “ If you mean what you say, you are I have been brought all this way to be not fit to come into a gentleman's house. consulted about a schoolboy. Well, I But you don't mean it, old cock ; so think he looks an atrocious young cub, don't be an ass. as like his dear mamma as he can be. He did mean it, and Charles was I always used to expect to hear her call right. Alas! that ever he should have me a pretty gentleman, and want to tell come to Ravenshoe! my fortune.
He had lived so long in the house Lady Ascot smiled : she knew her with Adelaide that he never thought
She knew he would have died of making love to her. They used to for her and hers.
quarrel, like Benedictand Beatrice. What “He is getting very troublesome,” happened was her fault. She was worthsaid Lady Ascot.
“ What would you less. Worthless! Let us have done with reco_"
it. I can expand over Lord Saltire and “Send him to Eton," said Lord Lady Ascot, and such good people, but I Saltire.
cannot over her more than is necessary. “But he is very high-spirited, James, Two things Lord Welter was very and"
fond of-brawling and dicing. He was “Send him to Eton. Do you hear, an arrant bully; very strong, and perMaria ?”
fect in the use of his fists, and of such “But Ascot won't let him go,” said courage and tenacity that, having once Lady Ascot.
begun a brawl, no one had ever made “Oh, he won't, won't he?" said Lord him leave it, save as an unqualified