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may have been in obedience to some such impulse that Gilbert had penned the above incautious words. For nothing could be more certain than that, after a week or two of unthinking bliss, he would begin to formulate against himself the accusation specified; and even if his own judg ment had not condemned him, was not Mr. Buswell ready and determined to act the part of a candid friend? That pillar of the Liberal cause was not long absent from Kingscliff, nor, after his return, did he lose much time in paying Gilbert a friendly visit.
"So you're going to be married, I hear," he began. “Well, Mr. Segrave, you disappoint me, you do indeed. Not that I've a word to say against your young lady, far from it. But she ain't the right one, you
Perhaps," said Gilbert mildly, "I may be excused for thinking myself the best judge of that."
"Quite natural you should think so," assented Mr. Buswell generously; "though not what I should have looked for from a man of your intelligence. I gave you fair warning too, as you may remember. Don't you make any mistake about it, sir; you ought to have married the Manor 'Ouse, or, in other words, Miss 'Untley."
And it was altogether useless to take up a lofty tone with this too familiar personage, and point out to him that the usages of society forbid such free mention of ladies' names.
"You and me ain't society," he returned, not a whit abashed, "and what passes betwixt you and me don't go no further. I'm determined to have the Manor 'Ouse, and I make no doubt but what I shall have it; for if you don't marry the young lady, there's plenty of others for her to choose from, and we may expect to see the property put up for sale again before very long. On'y, as I told you before, if Kingscliff don't get the land through you, why, there's a fairish number of Kingscliff voters who may think you ain't the man to represent 'em."
Threats or warnings of this kind, repeated day after day in varying language, made Gilbert long to throw off the Buswell yoke and fight his own battle; but that, as he very well knew, would be tantamount to abandoning the contest. Buswell, who continued to work for him with apparent assiduity, and who was all-powerful with the Radical portion of the constituency, could, and doubtless would, start a third candidate if defied; and it was easy to foresee who, in that event,
would be compelled, by loyalty to his party, to retire.
Thus it came to pass that the brow of Miss Kitty's lover was often clouded by care, and that he sometimes distressed her by the total irrelevance of his replies. "I do hope, dear," she said one day, with a profound sigh, "that when you are a member you will never, never vote for such an abominable thing as triennial Parliaments! What would life be worth to us if it were one long general election?"
"It is indeed an appalling picture," answered Gilbert, "but I dare say we should get accustomed to it and pull through somehow. I think any kind of life would be worth a good deal to me so long as I had you beside me, Kitty."
He said these pretty things to her every now and then, and meant them, too. He was still as much in love with her as he had ever been, and he realized besides that she was his best friend-possibly his only friend. If her love and companionship did not suffice to console him for all imaginable losses and disappointments, it must be acknowledged that therein he did not greatly differ from the majority of mankind; his misfortune was that he was perfectly conscious of a fact which most of us manage to keep out of sight.
No date had as yet been fixed for the wedding. It was to take place "after the election," but how soon or how long after remained an open question. Admiral and Mrs. Greenwood were not in a hurry, nor was Kitty; and for the time being they were, one and all, too much impressed with the paramount necessity of getting their candidate returned to have leisure for the consideration of other projects.
That their utmost efforts would be required was becoming more and more manifest as the autumn approached. It was all very well for Mr. Buswell to boast, "I 'old this division in the 'oller of my 'and;" but when his audacious words were reported in the Conservative camp, Sir John Pollington shook with silent, comfortable laughter, instead of becoming scarlet in the face and using bad language, as he would have done earlier in the year. For Giles, Q. C., was now hard at work and was proving himself able, energetic, and apt in the acquisition of popularity. All the hot summer through he was holding meetings here, there, and everywhere, making acquaintance with his constituents from the highest to the lowest, and delighting them with an inexhaustible supply of jokes and anecdotes. To the staid
san. The only approach to a difference that he ever had with Kitty was when, with flushed cheeks and a quiver in her voice, she begged him to keep disparaging remarks about Captain Mitchell for other
"He never breathes a word against you," she said, "although
Although he might justly lay so many sins to my charge?" suggested Gilbert, smiling.
"No, not justly; but it must be more difficult for him to be generous than for you. And he is very, very generous !" cried Kitty, with tears in her eyes.
country gentlemen and their families, and | threw himself with characteristic energy. to the well-to-do inhabitants of the Kings- Gilbert found that it would not do to sneer cliff villas, his oratory came as a spring at the exertions of this unsolicited partiof fresh water in the desert. He was, perhaps, rather vulgar (and this exercised villadom a good deal), but then he was so very amusing; and what reward can be too great for a man who is capable of extracting amusement from modern En-ears than hers. glish politics? Even those who said they really must vote against him could not help liking him; and as for Admiral Greenwood, it would have been nothing short of cruelty to restrain him from asking this jolly opponent to dinner. So Mrs. Greenwood gave her consent, and the invitation was accepted, and Mr. Giles made himself so pleasant to everybody that all sting of personal animosity was removed from the struggle at once and forever. This was creditable to both sides, and was generally declared to be so; but somehow or other Giles got all the glory of it. In the humbler ranks of society, too-and especially among the tradespeople he earned many friends for himself. Business is business, and some of the latter shrewdly remarked that Mr. Segrave would continue to reside among them and consume the necessaries of life whether he were elected or not; whereas a stranger who spent his money freely, and who made no secret of his intention to purchase a villa in the town, in the event of his return, would be a distinct acquisition.
Well, if Mitchell abstained from bringing accusations against the young squire of Beckton, there were others who were less considerate; and indeed one of the terrors of canvassing is that the canvassed will not always understand the difference between public and private qualifications. Thus Mr. Puttick, when waited upon and requested in the most urbane manner to state his political views, replied bluntly that he didn't see a ha'porth to choose between Tories and Rads. If either side had proposed to abolish the duty on spirits, that would have been something like; but he had been informed that no such measure was in contemplation, and consequently he "hadn't no politics to speak of," beyond the general sentiment of Rule Britannia, which gave him a slightly Con
"But what I want cleared up, sir, is this," said he, fixing his eyes upon Gilbert's. "It has been put about as you done Mr. Brian out of his rights; and parson, when I ask him the question fair and square, he don't give me no answer. Now Dan'l Puttick ain't the man to promise his vote to a thief, if you'll excuse the liberty of me sayin' so."
All these things rendered it imperative upon earnest Liberals to bestir them-servative bias. selves; nor had Gilbert any reason to complain of lukewarmness on the part of his friends. In certain quarters of the borough Miss Kitty's influence was very strong, and many were the promises of support which her pleading drew from those who, on previous occasions, had not troubled themselves to go to the poll. The admiral, too, did good service by beating up the outlying districts and proclaiming aloud what great things the party of progress meant to do for the downtrodden tillers of the soil. He was, moreover, nobly seconded by a person from whom, at the most, nothing beyond a benevolent neutrality could have been expected. In truth, it was no love for Gilbert Segrave (whom he disliked and distrused) that led Captain Mitchell to espouse the cause which Miss Greenwood had so much at heart; but to her he could not help being loyal through thick and thin, and to please her he would have undertaken tasks more repulsive than that into which he now
It was not everybody who spoke with such shocking directness; but of hints and insinuations there was no lack; and the worst of it was that many of these were uttered in Kitty's presence. Gilbert bitterly attributed their origin to Monckton, but Monckton was another person of whom it was hardly safe to speak ill to his betrothed, so he had to smother his wrath and derive such comfort as he could from her indignant repudiation of the calumnies reported by Mr. Puttick and others.
It was something to know that neither whisperings nor backbitings could avail
her face would have done; but that glimpse of Miss Huntley's stimulated his desire for an interview with her; and indeed neighborly courtesy seemed to demand that he should lose no time about leaving a card at the Manor House. To the Manor House he accordingly betook himself on the following day; but even if he had wished to stop short at the formal ceremony of leaving his card at the door, he could hardly have done so after being informed that Miss Huntley was at home and had given particular orders for his admission. He was not sure that he quite liked this implied conviction on her part that he would call at the earliest possible moment, and, being more or less conversant with the ways of women, he at once suspected her of a design to draw him away from his allegiance. That she must resent his abrupt desertion of her he did not doubt for an instant; women, he thought, always do resent such behavior, whether the deserter be personally indifferent to them or not. Thus, with his nerves ready braced up for action and all his wits on the alert, he followed the butler across a thickly carpeted hall, which the resources of modern upholstery had adorned out of all resemblance to its former self, and was shown into what he remembered to have been in old days a small library.
to shake her faith in him for an instant; | possessed as little interest for Gilbert as it was something to know that, come weal, come woe, she would always remain faith ful to him. But he, for his part, did not want woe to come, and at times he was sadly doubtful whether he would always remain faithful to her. If only she had had Miss Huntley's fortune, or even the half of it! Every day, as he left his own domain, he had to pass the Manor House, and the sight of the transformation that was being wrought in that long-disused dwelling, of the masons hurrying to and fro, the gardeners planting, transplanting, and levelling, the furniture-vans unlading at the door, became a grievance to him. The place really ought to have been his; it ought never to have been separated from the Beckton property; perhaps he forgot that it had never been intended to be so separated. And after all, and in spite of all, it might have been his. That was the thought which would keep recurring to his mind and vexing him with its importunity. He might he was almost sure of it-have gained possession not only of the Manor House, but of all the wealth of which but a trifling portion was now being lavished upon its improvement; and wealth to an ambitious man means so much more than mere luxury. He had, it is true, the grace to be ashamed of these half-regrets; he tried to shake them off, and never went the length of asking himself whether it might not be yet time to repair his error- - supposing that he had committed an error. Still he looked forward to Miss Huntley's return with no slight interest and curiosity, wondering how she would receive him, and what effect the news of his engagement to Kitty Greenwood would have had upon her, and whether she would or would not exert herself on his behalf in the coming election fray.
In process of time the builder's men departed, the traces of their labor were removed, the stream of furniture-vans ceased, and the gravel-drive was carefully swept. At last, when Gilbert was riding howewards one fine autumn afternoon, admiring the yellow and russet tints of the woods with that increased appreciation which arises from the sense of ownership, a smart victoria dashed past him, and he was aware of two ladies, one of whom turned her head to nod to him in a very friendly fashion, while the other allowed him to see no more of her person than a very broad back.
Miss Joy's back and any expression that she might contrive to throw into it
Here, too, the upholsterers and decorators had been at work, and certainly no lady could wish for a more charming snuggery than that in which Miss Huntley was now seated, writing letters. Gilbert took in all the details of the picture at a glance- the subdued coloring, the artistic furniture, the Japanese bronzes, and old china, and what not-and smothered a sigh, for the refinements which money can buy always appealed forcibly to him. A wood fire was crackling cheerfully upon the high, brass-mounted dogs; but the windows, which looked out over the bay, had been thrown open, letting in the crisp autumnal air and a flood of yellow sunlight.
Beatrice rose and held out her hand with a frank smile which ought to have sufficed to disarm suspicion. "This is very pretty of you," she said. “I wanted you to be the first to welcome me, because I am painfully aware that I and my belongings are brand-new, while everything around us is as old as the hills. Your countenance gives us a sort of sanction; and we shall try to mellow as quickly as we can."
"I don't think either you or your be- | any good fortune at all," Gilbert declared ; longings stand in need of any sanction," answered Gilbert politely.
"We are grateful for it, all the same. Now find a comfortable chair for yourself, and tell me what Kingscliff has been saying and doing all this long time."
MISS HUNTLEY'S TACTICS.
SAD it is to think of neglected opportunities, and sad to look upon what might have been ours, but for our folly or perversity; but the contemplation of great gain relinquished from honorable and disinterested motives is both soothing and inspiring. Gilbert, sitting in a luxurious armchair, with his back to the light and his eyes upon the beautiful and wealthy lady who had placed herself opposite to him, felt that he occupied a strong moral position, and that in any encounter which might be imminent it would be needless for him to employ strategy. So, in answer to her question he said,
"Kingscliff is, and has been, busy electioneering. That sums up its public annals. In the way of personal items, I don't know that I have any to offer you, except what you have perhaps heard already, that I am going to be married." And then he looked at her to see whether she would wince.
only I am not a rich man, and many people would say that I should have acted more prudently by marrying a woman with a little money of her own, that's all. I thought you might possibly take that view."
66 Oh, if you talk about prudence that is another matter. One may be permitted to congratulate one's friends sometimes on being imprudent. Congratulations are especially appropriate in the present instance, because I should imagine that, as a rule, you look a very long time before you leap. We can't all be romantic-I myself, for instance, am distressingly the reverse but that is rather our misfortune than our fault; and nothing is more refreshing than to see an unromantic person doing a romantic thing. Still, I hope you won't give up all idea of political life just yet; that would be almost a pity, I think.”
He assured her that he fully intended to enter Parliament and remain there, if only a majority of the electors could be brought to intrust their interests to him, and this for a time gave the conversation another turn. But Miss Huntley_soon harked back to the subject of Kitty Greenwood, in whose praise it seemed as if she could not find anything strong enough to say. So eulogistic was she that at length Gilbert, somewhat bewildered by a line of criticism which he had not anticipated, and a trifle vexed by the reiterated implication that he was fortunate beyond his deserts, began insensibly to point to the reverse of the medal and to hint that, although Kitty might be worth a sacrifice, a sacrifice had not the less been made for "I didn't know it was," said Gilbert, her sake. He caught himself in the act not best pleased. "Is it also a foregone of saying that a man who has gone certain conclusion that I am to be congratu-lengths in the heedlessness of youth can't lated?" honorably retreat, and broke off, red and ashamed, in the middle of his sentence.
Of course, she did no such thing; she laughed a little and answered: "Oh, I heard of your engagement ages ago, and I ought to have begun by congratulating you; but I feel as if all that had been gone through. It was such a very foregone conclusion, wasn't it?"
Naturally. It would require a stronger mind than mine to offer anything except congratulations to persons about to marry."
"I am sure you would always use the proper formula; but are your congratulations sincere in my particular case?" persisted Gilbert, not choosing to be put off in that way.
"You must be very conceited if you doubt it. Kitty Greenwood is the prettiest girl in the county, and as good as she is pretty. Really, with the highest possible respect for you, I don't see what better fortune you are entitled to by your merits."
"I don't consider myself entitled to VOL. LX. 3074
Miss Huntley did not seem to see his embarrassment. "Are you by any chance going to Morden this afternoon? she asked; "and if you are, may I drive you there? I do so want to see Kitty again."
He could not, of course, do otherwise than accept this offer gratefully; and soon afterwards he was seated in a low phaeton, drawn by a pair of well-matched cobs, and driven by Miss Huntley with the ease of a practised whip. She contrived to keep him very well amused by the way. She never in her wanderings lost touch of the fashionable world, its sayings and doings, whereas Gilbert, the moment that he left London, felt himself as utterly excluded
as if he were dead from the society which | chosen Kingscliff! I shouldn't wonder if
he loved all the more dearly because he Buswell were to mention that in one of did not, strictly speaking, belong to it. his huge painted advertisements. A busiTherefore both the matter and the manner ness-like man, Buswell, and uncommonly of Miss Huntley's talk fell refreshingly useful to us at the present juncture, I can upon ears which for so many weeks had tell you. Our friend there is to be our been listening to quite another style of future M.P., you know, and we shall count conversation; and of this she was doubt-upon your assistance to get him in." less aware. She may even have been also aware that the effect produced upon her hearer was not entirely pleasurable, and that by degrees he became affected with a vague restlessness and dissatisfaction, as exiles are moved first to joy and then to tears by the accents of their fatherland. "How completely out of it one is down here!" he exclaimed, with a sigh.
To which she responded cheerfully, "Oh, you will be glad enough to be out of it for a few months after a session or two. The time is rapidly approaching wher Parliament will meet before Christmas, and sit until the second week in August." He sighed again, wondering whether he would be able to afford a London house, and whether, if he could do so, it would be such a house and in such a neighborhood as to enable him to receive the friends whom he was chiefly desirous of retaining. This was a point which he had latterly debated more than once with painful misgivings. He dismissed it impatiently, as he had dismissed it before, with the perfectly just reflection that it was too late to repine at comparative poverty now, and that he must be contented with such good luck as had fallen to his share.
Nor, in truth, did that luck present itself under an unfavorable aspect when Kitty, who had seen the approach of the phaeton from afar, came to the door to greet her lover and embrace her visitor. There was no need to draw comparisons between these two reunited friends. Certainly Miss Huntley's dress was more skilfully cut than Kitty's; but a woman with her income would have been inexcusable if her gowns had been badly cut; and if she had a certain air which was lacking in a provincial maiden, what else could be expected? Each was charming in her own way.
The warm-hearted Greenwoods, at any rate, found Miss Huntley charming, and loudly proclaimed their joy at her return. The admiral bustled into the drawingroom, where she was seated between his wife and daughter, and joined in their demonstrations with much heartiness.
"Well, Miss Huntley, you make us all very proud; upon my word you do. The whole world to choose from, and you have
But she shook her head laughingly, and unfastening her jacket, pointed to a small yellow enamel brooch, fashioned in the shape of a primrose, which she wore at her neck. "Sent me by Clementina," she explained, "with instructions to display it at all times and places until further orders. Would you expose me to the risk of being disowned by my family forever?
Perhaps, as you have no vote, and as your out-door servants won't be upon the register, we may forgive you for sporting that ugly symbol," answered the admiral; "but it is a sad thing to think of your being still in the darkness of Toryism, Miss Huntley."
"I was born and bred in a Tory atmosphere," she said. "If I haven't yet seen the error of my ways it is the fault of Mr. Segrave, who undertook to convert me, and abandoned his enterprise before he was half-way through it. Naturally, I have had a relapse, and I'm afraid there won't be time to instruct my ignorance of the difference between tweedledum and tweedledee before the end of November."
However, as Gilbert soon discovered, she was neither so ignorant of these distinctions nor so persuaded of their microscopic character as she chose to pretend. She did not remain long at the Greenwoods' that afternoon; but he met her there again on the following day, and walked home with her; and as they walked she spoke of the future distribution of parties with a shrewdness which both surprised and fascinated him.
"Whatever you do," she said, "don't go in for extreme Radicalism. The country isn't Radical yet; or if it is, that is only a passing fit, which will be followed by a reaction when the inevitable European war breaks out. It is quite true that the mass of the electors neither know nor care anything about foreign politics; but the result of having no foreign policy will be brought home to them before they are much older, and then they will get frightened and angry. Join the moderates and bide your time. It is the fashion to laugh at these men, but they are the men who will come to the front as soon as they have found out what to call themselves, and