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expeditiously as may be. Having done against a tree; these are accidents to which that they can wait with some measure of the best and soberest of us are liable; but calmness for the decision of outsiders as unfortunately a censorious world is slow to what it may behove them to do next. to believe in them. But should they fail to fulfil this essential “ Shall I be taken ill, or shall I brazen condition, it is hardly possible for them to it out?” thought Gilbert.
" After all, it come out of the affair with credit. Apolo- is best not to show the white feather, and gies are all very well; but the general, I can't possibly remain in seclusion for and surely the correct, view of mankind is the next ten days. Anyhow, I won't see that when a blow has been struck the time a soul to-day, unless Brian comes. for apologies has gone by. Now Gilbert, He rose from his chair, intending to through no fault of his own, had been pre- give instructions to that effect. But he vented from wiping out the affront put was just a minute too late; for while his upon him by Mitchell; therefore it was hand was still on the bell the door was not surprising that, when he rose in the opened and Mr. Buswell was announced. morning, examined his face in the looking- Buswell entered the room slowly, mop. glass, and found it adorned just above the ping his forehead with his handkerchief bridge of the nose by a conspicuous red as he advanced, although the day was not swelling, he should have heartily exe- a warm one. crated his too officious brother.
"Good-morning, Mr. Segrave - how do found the fellow !” he exclaimed; " what you do, sir ? ” said he. brought him here at that moment of all He was perhaps the very last man in others? And what did he want to take Kingscliff whom Gilbert would have my part for? He ought to have been glad chosen to receive at that particular juncto see me thrashed; he ought to have ture. There, however, he was, and there enjoyed it. If he must needs interfere, was nothing for it but to make the best of why couldn't he wait at least another min him. Gilbert assumed as cordial a manute? But Brian always was a perfect ner as he could, placed a chair for his fool!”
unwelcome visitor, seated himself with his His reflections, as he proceeded with back to the light, and said cheerfully, his toilet, were of the most unenviable Well, Mr. Buswell, what is the news?” character. With all the will in the world “The noos, sir," replied Mr. Buswell, to chastise Mitchell, he did not see how “is not what I could wish it to be. Some the thing was to be accomplished. He of it's no noos to you and bad noos for dreaded scandal; he dreaded ridicule; he me; some of it's t'other way on; none of saw plainly enough that the utmost that it's just what you could call pleasant for he could hope for was to extort some ex- either of us. To begin with, it's known pression of penitence for an act of unpro- all over the town that you've broke off voked aggression. Mitchell, if brought your marriage, sir." to book, would probably have to admit “ It is quite true that the marriage that his attack was in no way justified by which was to have taken place between the circumstances; but would it be advis. me and Miss Greenwood will not now take able to bring Mitchell to book ? That place,” answered Gilbert; “but that is a was the question, and it was rather an private matter and has nothing to do with awkward one. Gilbert had not been able the election. Of course when I asked you to make an affirmative reply to it when he what the news was, it was to the election went down-stairs, uncomfortably conscious prospects that I referred." of his bruised forehead. If the servants Nothing to do with the election !" did not exchange significant grins as he echoed Buswell. “ Bless your 'eart, it passed them, he thought they did. After has everything to do with it! Why, if breakfast he shut himself up in his study you heard the things said that I heard and was very miserable. During the past yesterday but you'll hear 'em soon twenty-four hours fate had treated him so enough. The fact of the matter is, Mr. cruelly that it seemed as if things could Segrave, that you've played your cards hardly be worse with him; and yet of uncommon badly. From the very begin. course they might be worse. The meeting ning I told you, 'Get 'old of the Manor of electors which he had promised to ad- 'Ouse and you'll win 'and over 'and;' but dress on the morrow might hoot him, for you wouldn't listen to me, and what was instance, and some of them would assur- the consequence? Why, that you lost a edly want to know how he had come by couple o' 'undred votes straight off. I that ugly mark upon his brow. Any man can't put it at no less. Now, with a man may tunible down-stairs or hit his head | like Giles against you, it was no joke to
lose that number of votes; but to quarrel she bought the Manor 'Ouse property on the very eve of the election with a from your brother. I suppose if that has young lady who has done more for you by been said to me once, it has been said a canvassing in certain quarters of the town 'undred times; and what's the good of than ever I could have done - well, all I my answering that you're incapable of the can say is it looks to me like the act of a action? Bless you! they only laugh at loonatic! I make no observation of my me, and say they know better." own, but the pop'lar opinion is that your Perhaps I shall find out presently beyaviour to that young lady has been what you are driving at,” remarked Gil. atrocious, sir."
bert.“ In the mean time, allow me to tell " Mr. Buswell,” said Gilbert, with some you that this assumption of innocent prodignity, please to understand, once for bity on your part has a somewhat grotesque all, that I cannot allow my private affairs effect. “I think you must be forgetting to be made the subject of public discus- that there is nobody in the room but oursion."
selves. Whether I have or have not been “Ah! but you can't help it, you see," "making up' to Miss Huntley, as you elereturned Buswell. “A public man, Mr. gantly phrase it, there is something rather Segrave, has no private affairs.” And as comical in your professing to think me if to illustrate his dictum, Mr. Buswell, incapable of the very action which you who had been staring fixedly at his en- have been urging me to commit from the tertainer during the last few minutes, went first day when you undertook to support on, “You've got a nasty bump right in the my
candidature." middle of your forehead, I see. What “Not me, Mr. Segrave,” returned Bushave you been doing to yourself? Not well emphatically. "I grant you that been running up against anybody's fist, I when you was a free man I advised you 'ope.”
to marry Miss 'Untley, and very sound Gilbert ground his teeth, but did not advice it was too; but you wouldn't be lose his temper. “I met with a slight guided by me, and you went and engaged accident yesterday," he said, “and I am yourself to Miss Greenwood instead. afraid I shall hardly be fit to show myself | Well and good; you were free to choose; upon a platform for a day or two. In fact, and the only remark I made to you on the I was thinking of asking you whether our subject was, that if Kingscliff didn't get meeting for to-morrow might not be post- the Manor 'Ouse estate through you, a poned.
fairish number of Kingscliff voters might “I dare say we can manage to get you think you wasn't the right man to repre: excused from attending the meeting," re- sent 'em. Just what they ’ave thought ! plied Mr. Buswell, with a short laugh. Well, you might ’ave persuaded Miss “So you met with an accident, did you ? 'Untley to sell, and if you had dropped a Well, well, accidents will 'appen in the thousand or two over the transaction, best-reg'lated families. Your brother ar- that'd have been the price you'd have had rived yesterday, I'm told. Now, if there's to pay for your fancy; but been anything in the natur' of a fracas “Do you mean to tell me that that was between you and 'im
what you advised ?" interrupted Gilbert. “ There has been nothing of the kind,” “Just so, sir; that and nothing else. interrupted Gilbert," and you must excuse Now look 'ere, Mr. Segrave; I'm a peacemy adding that that is a very impertinent able citizen, and as such I make it a suggestion.”
rule to keep a civil tongue in my ’ead; "No offence, sir; we're all of us liable but if any man accuses me of 'aving adto have turbulent relatives, and a cousin vised him to play a dirty trick, why, I of my own was in the county gaol not so don't see what I'm to do in justice to mymany years ago. But I'm glad I was mis- self except give him the lie direct.” taken in my little conjectur', because any This only was wanting. After having such episode at a time like this would been scornfully rejected by Beatrice, perdooce a painful impression. Not, to knocked down by Mitchell, and magnanibe sure, that you could stand much lower mously preserved from a thrashing by in the public estimation than you do al. Brian, to be called a liar by Mr. Buswell ready. As I was saying just now, pop'lar was no more than might have been exopinion is very adverse to you, sir; and pected. For one moment Gilbert thought then it's openly asserted - mind, I don't of doing as he had been done by and remake myself responsible for the truth of verting to the use of those simple weapthe assertion that you've been making ons with which nature has supplied us for up to our friend Miss 'Untley ever since our protection, but this was only a fleeting
impulse. If he yielded to it and laid that in their quarter than in any other. From fat old man sprawling upon the floor, he what I gathered yesterday, there are many would only have to pick him up again, and staunch Liberals in other parts of the subsequently explain to all whom it might town who wouldn't give their votes for a concern (in other words, to all Kingscliff) Tory, but who would rather not go to the why he had been guilty of such a startling polls at all than give 'em for you. breach of hospitality. Besides, as a mat- Gilbert turned a shade paler. For a ter of fact, Buswell was in the right. He man who loved popularity this was not had never in so many words given the very agreeable news. “ You are supply. counsel attributed to him; possibly he ing me,” he remarked, “ with very strong had never even hinted at it. Gilbert arguments in favor of fighting the election could not feel quite sure upon the point, out. To withdraw in the face of such an nor, in his present pass, could he feel it to opposition as you describe would be tan. be of any great importance.
tamount to admitting that I had done “We won't quarrel over it, Mr. Bus- something to deserve it.” well,” he said mildly. “I may have mis- Maybe so," answered Mr. Buswell understood you ; at any rate, since I am bluntly; " but we can't help that. We not going to marry Miss Huntley, there is have the interests of the party to consider, no need to say anything about dirty tricks. and if you won't take a friendly 'int and It would be more to the purpose, perhaps, retire voluntarily, we shall ’ave to request if you would tell me the object of your you to go in a more or less public manvisit; because I see that you have one."
ner." Mr. Buswell's countenance exhibited “ And if I decline to comply with that some return of the embarrassment which request?” had been visible upon it at the beginning “ You couldn't very well decline ; but if of the interview. “Well, sir,” he an- you did, I believe we should start our own swered, “there was an informal meeting candidate, and the seat would go to Giles. of the party last night, and in consequence You wouldn't be well advised in adopting of what took place there I have come, in that course, Mr. Segrave, take my word an informal and personal capacity, to sug- for it. It would be remembered against gest to you that
you should withdraw your you that you had split up the party, and candidature."
that wouldn't 'elp your chance with anGilbert had more than half suspected other constituency at some future time. that this was coming; After remaining What's more, we should be obliged, in silent for a few seconds he asked, “ And self-defence, to make known our reasons upon what grounds, Mr. Buswell, do you for chucking you overboard - which, I suggest that I should retire ?
expect, you wouldn't like.” Upon any grounds that you may please * You have found your candidate, I preto select, sir,"answered Mr. Buswell, who sume?” Gilbert observed, after a moment perhaps had not anticipated so gentle a or two of troubled reflection. response.
“I should put it upon 'ealth, “Well, yes ; we 'ave. Believe me or if I was you ; but I don't know as it mat- not, as you like, Mr. Segrave, but I don't ters much. Whatever excuse you may want to enter Parliament just at present. make will meet with no contradiction from I can't well afford to give up the time to me, you may depend."
it, nor yet I don't see what I shall gain by “ You don't quite understand me,” said it. But it has been put to ine that, as Gilbert. “I meant to ask why you have nobody else could stand, with any chance developed this sudden anxiety to get me of success, so late in the day, I didn't off your hands.”
ought to 'old back.” “ Because we have ascertained that we Gilbert saw that he was beaten. can't return you, sir -- that's why. It's "I admire your public spirit, Mr. Busthe fisherinen and sailors that have cooked well,” said he, “and I feel that it ought your goose. Miss Greenwood had got all not to be baulked of its legitimate reward. their votes for you as safe as could be, But if I retire in your favor, it must be and now they swear they'll vote for Giles distinctly understood that I retire of my to a man. If you doubt me, just go and own accord, not in consequence of any ask 'em. On second thoughts, though, I charges that may have been brought shouldn't recommend you to do that. against me.” They're a rough lot, those fishermen, and '" I haven't brought no charges," Mr. you've put their backs up, Mr. Segrave, I Buswell declared. “ I told you what the can tell you. The bad feeling ain't con- pop'lar opinion was, that's all.” fined to them either, though it's stronger Very well; but I think I may fairly
ask you to do something towards correct-fore Buswell, he would not have been ing that popular opinion.".
tempted by Miss Huntley's gold, nor Not a little to Gilbert's surprise, Mr. duped by her transparent guile. Buswell flatly declined to make this con- Failure and detection are said to incite cession, alleging that he had not sufficient to remorse. That they promote a very knowledge of the circumstances to justify speedy and sincere regret we may be sure; him in accepting a brief on behalf of the and Gilbert, when he thought of the events accused, and adding that, according to his which had taken place since his father's experience, facts were best left to speak death, wished from the bottom of his heart for themselves. It seemed, indeed, that that he could make the world a year having gained the object of his visit, he younger and begin all over again. It is, was anxious to bring it to an end without of course, never too late to mend; but delay; nor did his host care to detain amendment is not the same thing as a him. He left the house five minutes later, fresh start; what has been done cannot being authorized to state that an address be undone, nor its consequences obliterto the electors, announcing Mr. Segrave's ated; so that, to practical men like Gilbert withdrawal, should be in the hands of the Segrave, sorrow over the unalterable past printers before nightfall.
is apt to appear a fruitless and foolish emotion. Nevertheless, he sat down upon
the grey granite balustrade and was very VESTIGIA NULLA RETRORSUM.
sorry – sorry for Kitty, sorry in some
degree for Brian, but above all sorry for For more than half an hour after Mr. himself. Whether he had deserved ill. Buswell had left him, Gilbert sat motion- luck or not, there was no denying that he less before his writing-table, his head had been singularly unlucky; he had been supported by his hand, and his eyes fixed deprived of everything that had hitherto upon vacancy. Then he rose, heaved a made life sweet to him, and the future long sigh, and passing through the hall, was so gloomy and so uncertain that it where he picked up a hat, sauntered aim- seemed hardly worth while to attempt any lessly out into the open air. The day was forecast of it. still and misty; the sea was as smooth as After a time, some slight noise caused a lake; the faint yellow sunshine had no him to look up, and on doing so he be. warmth in it, though it softened the grim- came aware that his brother was standing ness of the old grey mansion and lent a close beside him. melancholy beauty to the coast-line. To “Oh, it's you, is it?" he said rather Gilbert's eyes there was a great deal more irritably. " You seem to have acquired a of melancholy than of beauty in the scene. new habit of springing suddenly out of He walked slowly down to the lower bowl- the bowels of the earth." ing-green and then, facing about, looked “I beg your pardon if I startled you," up at the great empty home of his ances- said Brian; “I caught sight of you as I tors, which met his gaze with a stolid, un- was crossing the park, so that I thought compromising indifference. A sudden it wasn't necessary to go through the forloathing for the place and everything con- mality of ringing the bell and asking nected with it took possession of him; he whether you were at home.” would have shaken his fist at it if he had “ Not in the least necessary; and I don't been sure that none of the housemaids know why you should apologize for anwere looking out from the bedrooms, nouncing yourself, now that I am alone which had to be swept and dusted, though and disengaged, as you see. You didn't no one ever occupied them. That dismal scruple to do so yesterday, when I was abode, it seemed to him, had been the neither the one nor the other." source and origin of all his woes; it was “I was obliged to stop it, Gilbert. You for the sake of Beckton and the lands ap- would have done the same if you had seen pertaining thereto, that he had run the a man twice my size pitching into me." risk and incurred the penalty of total “How do you know that? I think I shipwreck. If only he had been content should at least have allowed you a chance to take his younger son's portion and of standing up for yourself. You meant make his way in the world like other well, I have no doubt; but you never in younger sons, he would doubtless have your life served me a worse turn than married his own love in due season, he when you prevented me from hitting that would have kept the friends of his youth, man — who, by the way, isn't quite twice he would perhaps have got into Parlia- my size. Thanks to you, he will be able ment without having to abase himself be. I to tell everybody now that he knocked me
down and that I have never called him to by sheer necessity; but since then I have account for it."
made a little money, and am likely to make “I don't think he will do that,” said more; and in short, I should like to Brian; "he knows that you were ready get it back again if I could." enough to fight him, and that it is no fault “ Yes ?” said Gilbert. “Well, I have of yours if he hasn't taken back a black some reason to think that your ambition eye to Berwick with him."
may be gratified before very long. You Oh, he has gone back to Berwick, have my best wishes at all events. then?"
“ You don't want to keep the property “ Yes; I persuaded him to go. He told yourself then ?" asked Brian eagerly. me to say that if you wanted him, you Keep it? I haven't got it. If 'I had knew where he was to be found, or some. I should probably dispose of it to the thing to that effect. He was bound to say highest bidder; Buswell
, or yourself, as that much ; but I hope you'll take no no- the case might be.” tice of his message, Gilbert.”
“ Exactly; and I don't want it to go to Gilbert shrugged his shoulders, without Buswell. I know you don't feel as I do replying
about these things; and I quite under" You see,” Brian went on - for he stand that it may be to your interest to could not help being aware that if he him- conciliate Buswell ; but after all, there is self had been assaulted he would have another side to the question. It wouldn't allowed no man to talk him out of his be quite pleasant to you to have a row of right of retaliation," you see, it isn't as if cheap villas run up so close to your gates, he doubted your pluck or as if he had at- would it? And even if Buswell were dis. tacked you in any public place. Nobody appointed, surely he wouldn't use his in. but ourselves knows, or ever will know, Auence to prevent your being returned. what occurred; and it is so much better He has had his own way in a good many to avoid a row which might get into the matters, and I should think you might newspapers, and
fairly represent to him that he couldn't “My dear fellow," interrupted Gilbert, expect to have it in everything.' “pray don't trouble yourself to provide “Buswell always gets what he wants. me with excuses; I don't require your Whether the Manor House will prove an eloquent reasoning to convince me that I exception or not I really don't know; but must pocket the insult. When one has let me remind you once more that the been insulted all round one ceases to be Manor House doesn't belong to me, but particular as to a kick more or less. Per- to Miss Huntley." haps I might have been feeling a shade “ Isn't that much the same thing?" less humiliated at the present moment if asked Brian. “ You said I might speak you had kindly allowed me to fight my plainly.” own battle yesterday, that's all. It was “I see," answered Gilbert, with a slight bad luck for me that you should have smile, that you require to be posted up turned up at that particular moment; but in the latest intelligence. You behold in I am not in luck just now. Talking of me, my dear Brian, the victim of one of that, why did you turn up, and where did the simplest plots that ever was devised. you come from?
You may have noticed, perhaps, that the “ I'm staying at the Royal for a day or simplesť plots are usually the most suc. two," answered Brian, glad to change the cessful. Clever people, like myself, are subject. “I rather wanted to see you not on their guard against them. We about something."
flatter ourselves that when our neighbors “ You might have done me the honor to want to make fools of us they will pay us accept my humble hospitality; but never the compliment of displaying a little in. mind. What is it that you want to see genuity in their designs. If we wish to me about?”
arrive at their motives we set to work to Brian fidgeted for a minute and then burrow scientifically beneath the surface; sat down on the balustrade beside his we are too sharp to waste our time in exbrother. “Gilbert,” he began, “may I amining what stares us in the face. That speak plainly to you?"
is why I was ridiculously taken aback “ Please avail yourself of that privilege. when Miss Huntley was so kind as to tell Others have done so pretty freely of late, me that, upon the whole, she would rather and I am accustomed to it."
marry a convict than me.” "Well, it's about the Manor House. I “ Did she say that?” exclaimed Brian. sold the place because I was so hard up " She did indeed ; and I must own that at the time that I was driven into selling the expression seemed to me to be un.