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CHAPTER XLVI.

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briefly related how all his hopes had come been worse than an ass, while - Mortimer to shipwreck. There was nobody in the had perhaps taken a somewhat mercenary world except Mortimer to whom he could and commonplace view of a cruelly hard speak so openly, and it was in some sort case. a relief to him to be able to tell the whole truth. But if he expected comfort or sympathy, he mistook his man.

LADY EVELYN DISGRACES HERSELF. “I must say, Brett, that I think you have been worse than an ass," was Morti. WHEN Marcia informed - for mer's comment upon his narrative. “If there was no possibility of disguising the you had been content with ruining your truth from her — that Sir George Brett self, you would have been only an ass, I had proved as good as his word and had suppose; but what right have you to throw disinherited his nephew, she entrenched over a girl whom you profess to love ? herself in a position of obstinate incredu. You can't really care very much about lity, whence she was not to be dislodged her."

by any efforts on Willie's part. “ You don't understand," returned Wil. Oh, he may say this, that, or the lie. “I haven't thrown her over, she other," she declared; "it doesn't by any wouldn't have taken me under any cir- means follow that he will do what he says cumstances.'

he will do. You may hold a pistol to a “How do you know that? Have you man's head and shout out. Your money or asked her?"

your life!' but if you can't frightep him “No; but it isn't always necessary to and can't get his money, you won't run the ask — you yourself admitted that before risk of shooting him.. George has always you went away."

been a bully. When he finds that bully. “One can't be sure of anything withouting won't help him with you, he will surasking.”

render for his own sake, if not for yours. “ Well — why don't you do it, then?” He can't do otherwise, because he can't

• Upon my word, Brett," answered Moro discover anybody to replace you.". timer, after pondering for a few seconds, This attitude of Marcia's had the con“I think I will. I'm sure I don't know venience of relieving her from any pangs whether you're mistaken or not about Lady of conscience ; but, to do her justice, she Evelyn's feelings; but any way, it seeins did not knowingly adopt it on that account. to me that you've chosen to put yourself She was persuaded that Sir George would out of it. Neither her mother nor Weth- come round in time, and as for her son's erby would allow her to marry you upon abandonment of the hopes he had cher. your present income, and I agree with you ished, she really could not see that that that you couldn't make such an offer to was a subject for regret. He had not her. So I don't see why I shouldn't try intended to breathe a word to her about my luck. I can but fail, after all.”

those hopes; but it is needless to say that He was, no doubt, fully entitled to try she extorted a full confession from him his luck upon a forlorn hope; and forlorn with very little difficulty, and, having done hopes, as has been proved again and again, so, she did not fail to point out to him how ofteu turn out successful. To be sure, he undeserving of any honest man's love a had heard with his own ears what had girl must be to whom that love could not sounded like an unequivocal avowal on so much as be avowed without a simulta. Lady Evelyn's part of her love for Willie neous production of vouchers to show that Breit; yet in moments of excitement peo- he was wealthy as well as love-sick. ple sometimes say things which they do Willie did not argue the point, he con

Moreover, the pain of separa- fined himself to a statement which could tion from her had abated something of his not be disputed — namely, that whether pride ; so that he would now have been Lady Evelyn was deserving or undeserv. thankful to be accepted, even though it ing, he loved her. That was why he must should be for reasons which he had once leave Torquay, and that was why he had declared insufficient to satisfy him. determined to exchange to lodia as soon

He met with no opposition from Willie, as might be. Marcia, however, would not who wished him good-night, but could not hear of either of these projects. The find it in his heart to wish him good luck. question of India she was content to leave So these two friends went their several in abeyance, reserving it for future discusways, each of them, naturally enough, feel. sion; but to her son's leaving her in his ing a little disappointed in the other. present weak state of healih she could not Willie, as Mortimer had truly said, had and would not consent. The end of it

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was that, for the sake of peace, he agreed be allowed to do so and was anxious to to remain where he was a little longer. insure the discomfiture of Lady Evelyn. When all was said, it did not so very " Laura made me promise to send you to much signify. Probably he would see tea there; apparently she thinks that a little or nothing more of Lady Evelyn. bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Besides, it would not matter if he did, Poor Laura! I am really sorry for her, supposing that she accepted Mortimer, though she richly deserves to be put to which he was now inclined to think that confusion. I could see that she was anxthere was every chance of her doing. ious to impress upon me how very conde.

During several days he vainly awaited scending it was of her to consent to a news of his rival, who, he thought, would match between her daughter and my son. surely have the common humanity to And it so happens that not even a threat communicate with him, and at length be of rushing off to the south of France will could no longer resist setting forth upon secure my son for her." a round of inquiry to the various hotels. Willie glanced at the clock and got up. His curiosity was gratified at the first of It would be better to iocur such suffering these to which he applied, where he learnt as might have to be undergone in the that Mr. Mortimer had left Torquay on course of a last interview with the girl the previous morning. That might be whom he loved than to listen any longer taken as tolerably conclusive evidence to that kind of thing. Besides, foolish that Mr. Mortimer had been dismissed. though it might be to wish for one more Perhaps it was selfish and ill-natured to sight of her face, he did wish for it. So, rejoice, but he could not help rejoicing; shortly afterwards, he was shown into the and indeed he was able to say to himself drawing-room at Malton Lodge, where he that he had a right to do so, since he was found Lady Wetherby alone. persuaded that if Lady Evelyn had con- She rose at once and held out her hand, sented to marry Mortimer it would not looking at him with kindly, sorrowful eyes. have been because she loved the man. I am so glad you have come !" she said. And, on bis return home, his mother had - It was good of you to grant my request, a piece of intelligence to impart to him because I know you would rather have which raised his spirits still farther, al- stayed away. _But I felt that I couldn't though he hardly knew why it should. bear to leave Torquay without telling you

" Laura Wetherby has been here,” Mar- that I admire and respect you, though I cia told him ; "she came to say good-bye. can't think you wise." It seems that they have decided all of a “ You know all about it, then?" said sudden to go off to Cannes for the winter. Willie. I don't know what has come over Laura, “Yes, Mr. Mortimer told me. but she isn't at all what she used to be. posed to Evelyn the day before yesterday Her manner was very cold and disagree and she refused him. “I am sorry for it, able this afternoon, and when I asked her because I like him and I don't think she what was the matter she wouldn't tell me. will casily find his superior ; but if she I could guess, though, as soon as I heard doesn't care for him, there is no more to that Mr. Mortimer had been here and had be said. Perhaps you are his superior in gone away again. That girl has been a some ways only, you see, you have little too clever, and between two stools made yourself impossible." she bas fallen to the ground. I would give “I couldn't possibly do otherwise,” said something to see her face when you take Willie. leave of her and omit to give her the * Well, I don't knW; it seems to me option of rejecting you. Because, of that it was a tremendous sacrifice to make course, you won't give her the option. for a very doubtful advantage. NeverJust now you are by way of being a poor theless, I am not so insensible but that I man with no expectations, and I presume can admire you for making it. My admiyou won't be quite so ridiculous as to lay ration isn't of much use to you, though, your poverty and your blank prospects at is it?” she added, with a compassionate her feet.”

smile. "I shall not do that," answered Willie “Yes, it is,” returned Willie ; “it is a curtly. "I shall not even take leave of very great comfort and happiness to me to her. I did take leave of them after a know that you understand. The sacrifice fashion the other day, and I don't care to isn't quite so tremendous as it looks either. go to Malton Lodge again.”

All I have given up is the succession to « Well, I think you will bave to go," my uncle's property, which I didn't par. said Marcia, who felt that he might safely ticularly care about."

LIVING AGE. VOL. LXXIII.

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“ Haven't you given up rather more that he was sorry to give her so much tban that?"

trouble. He hardly knew what he said; No; because I know now that I am for he was a good deal perturbed and taken nothing at all to Lady Evelyn and that I aback. Somehow or other, he felt sure never could have been anything. I dare that this offer of providing him with a say she told you that I am going out to means of exit for which he had not been India. I mentioned that to her the other making was only a pretext, and that she day, and I suppose I hoped that she had something particular to say so bim. would be a little bit sorry. But she didn't Nor was his intuition at fault, as her first care in the least; she only recommended words proved. me to go to some place where plenty of “Mr. Brett,” she said, while they were sport was obtainable. Well, of course walking down the steep path which led she wouldn't have spoken in that way, if through the garden, “ I want to know why she had ever thought of me otherwise you are going to India ?” than as one of the nonentities whom she He glanced quickly at her; but the is accustomed to meet and forget.” light of a watery November moon be

Lady Wetherby may have held a differ- trayed no secrets, and he could not tell ent opinion, but it was obviously out of whether her question was prompted by the question for her to contradict him. mere curiosity or by some kindly suspi. From the highest of motives this noble, but cion of the truth. " I think you do know,' misguided young man had seen fit to cut he answered at length; though he felt his own throat; what good purpose could that he had no business to make such an be served by suggesting to him that if he answer. had abstained from that fatal act he might “Do I?" she returned. “ If I do, it is have had a happy life? So she only looked only because I heard something from Mr. regretful and held her tongue, and perhaps Mortimer which I did not wish to be. wished that he would go away.

lieve." He was about to do so when Lady Eve- “I am sure of that,” said Willie ; “I lyn's entrance obliged him to resume his was sure that, if you ever heard of it, you seat for a few minutes. At least, he said would be sorry for it. But it is true, and to himself, that politeness compelled him it can't be helped, and it is no fault of to submit to a brief and painful ordeal, yours- - or of mine. After all, I think I though in truth he would have suffered a am rather glad that you know. It isn't as good deal more pain rather than forego it. if my love for you could cause you the As it happened, he was not detained long. smallest annoyance or discomfort.

We He had the pain and the pleasure of look- live in such different worlds that you are ing at Lady Evelyn, but it was little that very unlikely to come across me again or he heard of the sound of her voice, for she even to hear my name mentioned, and I was unusually subdued and scarcely ad- suppose it isn't an insult to love you, dressed half-a-dozen words to him. He though perhaps it would have been rather surmised that she knew all, that his pres- absurd and impertinent to tell you so. ence was somewhat embarrassing to her, That is, if I had told you with any idea and that she would be glad to get rid of that my love could possibly be returned.” him. Therefore he soon rose to say fare. “Is that genuine modesty or only a conwell- -a ceremony which was accom- ventional way of speaking ?”. Lady Evelyn plished after an unemotional fashion inquired. “I certainly didn't gather from which Lady Wetherby thought creditable what Mr. Mortimer said that you were so to all concerned. Presently it was all humble as all that." over; he was out of the house, and he felt, " I don't know what Mortimer may have as he walked slowly away, that the curtain told you,” replied Willie; “but I dare say had falleo finally upon the romance of his I can guess. He told you, perhaps, that life.

if I had been a rich man I should have However, he had not taken many steps summoned up courage to ask you to marry before he was called by name in a voice me, but that I couldn't ask you when í which he had not expected to hear again, found out that I should always be poor. unless it might be in his dreams.

Was that it?” “I forgot to tell you,” Lady Evelyn said, Lady Evelyn made a sign of assent. when she caught him up," that the garden “Well," resumed Willie, “I can't deny gate is locked; but I have the key here, that it was so. My uncle encouraged me, and I can let you out that way, if you and so did Lady Wetherby - or at any like."

rate, I thought she did. And sometimes He made some stupid reply to the effect you yourself said things which of course

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you didn't mean to be encouraging, but if you cared for me at all, you would bave which I was blind enough to fancy so. Do had a rather better opinion of me than what one will, one can't give up every tbat.” shred of hope until one has some decisive And, as Willie was evidently too much proof that hope is ridiculous. I quite un- astonished to make any rejoinder, she derstand now that it never entered into went on presently, with a little burst of your head to think of me as you thought laughter which was not very far removed of Mortimer."

from tears : Oh, how stupid you are ! “No; I have never thought of you in Everybody knows, except you; and now that way,” the girl replied. “I suppose I have had to disgrace myself by running your notion of the way in which I thought after you and entreating you not to desert of Mr. Mortimer was that, taking him all me. 'It would have served you well right round, he was too eligible to be lightly re- if I had let you go off to India ; only jected. All the same, I did reject him, only then I should have punished myself you see. There is no harm in my men- rather more than you, perhaps.”. tioning that, because I know you were in Are there really people who like to read his confidence, and you must have under- letters which are not addressed to them, stood why he went away.”.

to listen at doors and to peep through " Yes, and Lady Wetherby told me too. keyholes? It is said that there are, and I never believed that you cared for him, the assertion may be true; but the readbut I did think that you might consent to ers of this narrative shall not be insulted marry bim, because several times you by the suggestion that any of them can spoke to me as if you would. I am much belong to that most ignoble species. The more glad than sorry that I did you an mutual avowals of two young lovers are injustice."

beyond question charming, beautiful, and "Oh, you did not do me an injustice; I as nearly divine as anything in this fallen seriously contemplated marrying him at world can be -- but to appreciate them it one time. Only, as I am not going to is necessary to be one of the lovers. We marry him, notwithstanding all the induce. do not wish to overhear what our neighments that he has to offer, I think you bors may have to say to one another upon might give me credit for being a little less such occasions. What is certain is that greedy and selfish than you make me out.” they always take an unconscionably long

By this time they had reached the gate, time about repeating phrases which ought upon which Willie dropped his elbows, to be stale, but never will be stale so long gazing down at the bare branches of the as the course of nature continues to run trees beneath and the moonlit expanse along its appointed track. of sea beyond. He said, “I didn't mean It is natural to love, it is natural to to call you selfish or greedy; of course, I think nothing of sacrifices incurred for the know that you are neither the one nor the sake of those whom we love, and surely other. But to some people, I suppose, it is unnatural to marry from any other money is just as much a necessary of life motive than love. This was what Evelyn as food and fresh air are to me. Your Foljambe succeeded in impressing upon mother told me just now that I had made Willie Brett when he dwelt upon the hardmyself impossible, which is perfectly true. ships of a soldier's life and contrasted it Well, you see, Mortimer was possible; with the mode of existence which he preand I think you liked him without loving sumed to be essential to members of the him."

aristocracy and plutocracy. If she didn't "What constitutes impossibility ?" mind being comparatively poor, and if he Lady Evelyn inquired. “I admit that it didn't mind, what could other people's is impossible to marry upon two or three definitions of an impossible match signify hundred a year; but if you hesitate to ask to them? any one whom you love to marry you upon And if anybody is disposed to sympa. what you have, that can only be because thize with poor Lady Wetherby, who was you think she wouldn't consent to do well aware that her daughter had gone out, without luxuries for your sake."

and who was in a fever of doubt and anx. Willie started and turned round, so as iety all this time, it may be acknowledged to face her, his eyes dilated with won that his sympathy is not bestowed underment and interrogation. But she did worthily. Lady Wetherby had tried to not Ainch from his scrutiny.

do her duty; she was old enough to know “I mean it,” she said. “That is what I that love-matches do not invariably bring understood from Mr. Mortimer, and that about contentment, and she hoped that so is what I was sorry to hear. I hoped that, bonorable a young man as Mr. Brett bad

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proved himself to be, would feel bound to say that your proper course was as plain refrain from the declaration of sentiments as anything could be, and I quite thought which he had no right to declare. How that you realized it. I never was so taken ever, she had taken no account of the in by anybody in my life! Didn't you tell quandary in which an honorable young me in so many words that you recognized man who has had a declaration made to the impossibility of coming forward under him may find himself; so that she felt the circumstances, and that you were entitled to be very angry when at length going off to India without loss of time on Willie and Evelyn re-entered the drawing. that very account? room, looking somewhat guilty, yet by po “ He really was going,” Lady Evelyo means ashamed of themselves.

interposed before the young man could

make any reply; "he had taken all the CHAPTER XLVII.

first steps, and he would have taken all

the rest if I hadn't rushed after him and MARCIA DECLINES TO JUMP.

caught him by the collar. I alone am to It is all very well, and perhaps it is blame for this scandalous business; and, quite legitimate, to be angry with two as I said before, I don't care a bit. Now, young idiots who, ignorant of the changes mamma, what are you going to do? I and chances of this transitory life, are know what you can't do; but I should like bent upon linking their fortunes, or ab to hear what you think you can.” sence of fortunes, together for no better “I can refuse my consent," answered reason than that they have fallen in love Lady Wetherby feebly. with one another; but what is the use of “Oh, but you won't. You would never picking even a legitimate quarrel with do such an unkind thing as that — espehuman nature? We cannot alter it; we cially if you were brought to see, as you cannot make young people old or fools very soon would be, that it would be use. wise, and some of us are not altogether less as well as unkind. What you mean convinced that such a process would be is that you are bound to protest, and we salutary if we could bring it about. Lady fully acknowledge that you are. Well, Wetherby said everything that a sensible, you have made your protest now, and I practical, middle-aged woman could say. suppose Wetherby will make his." She began by scolding; then, growing

“There can't be the sh w of a doubt cooler, she pointed out some of the inev. that he will." itable consequences of marrying upon a Quite so. After which, you will all of small income; then she dwelt upon the you have to make the best of what can't fact, which could not be denied, that there be helped. Only it would be much nicer is a vast difference between romance and and much more like you to give in with a reality - and it is needless to add that good grace at once. At the bottom of she might just as well have held her your heart you are on our side already — tongue.

you know “We know all that, mamma,” Lady Eve. Perhaps she was; perhaps ninety-nine lyn said meekly ; " we are aware that we people out of a hundred are, at the bottom are going to behave in a most senseless of their hearts, on the side of imprudent way and that all our relations will point | lovers, although, for obvious reasons, they the finger of scorn at us. But the worst ought to hesitate before saying so. Lady of it is that we don't care a bit.”

Wetherby, at all events, ended by saying And then, after some further inter. so. She could not approve of her daughchange of arguments, which could only be ter's marrying a poor man; yet she could called arguments in so far as that they not help being glad that her daughter was were couched in argumentative forms, capable of such folly. Besides, when she Willie put in his word.

had struck her colors and when the ques. “ Lady Wetherby," said he,“ how would tion of ways and means had been brought you yourself have acted if you had been up for discussion she was able to console in Evelyn's place, or in mine? My firm herself with the thought that Evelyn, after belief is that you would have acted ex- all, would only be comparatively poor. actly as we have done."

She herself would for the rest of her life Then all I'can say is that you little be rich; she could easily make the young know me," returned Lady Wetherby, with couple an allowance and lay by enough to some asperity. “I don't know so much leave them a substantial sum when she about Evelyn, because of course excuses died. Moreover, it was difficult to believe ought to be made for girls who — who- that Sir George Brett's obduracy would in short, for girls of her age ; but I must prove invincible.

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