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I remember how my poor dear old father dinner; after which, papas and mammas used to wonder at it, when our hounds began to look at their watches, and remet close by, in a better country. I'm monstrate with daughters, coming up afraid I forgot to tell him what a pretty with sparkling eyes and hair a little creature ‘Gipsey' was, and how well she shaken out of place, and pleading for was ridden.'

“ just one more dance." “ You have “ But Tom is only twenty, and he been going on ever since one o'clock,” remust go into a profession."

monstrated the parents ; “And are ready “ Yes, yes; much too young, I know to go on till one the next day,” replied -too young for anything serious. We the children. By degrees, however, the had better see them together, and then, frequent sound of wheels were heard, if there is anything in it, we can keep and the dancers got thinner and thinner, them apart. There cannot be much the till, for the last half-hour, some halfmatter yet.”

dozen couples of young people danced “Well, dear, if you are satisfied, I am an interminable reel, while Mr. and sure I am."

Mrs. Porter, and a few of the most And so the conversation turned on good-natured matrons of the neighbourother subjects, and Mr. and Mrs. Brown hood looked on. Soon after midnight enjoyed their moonlight drive home the band struck; no amount of negus through the delicious summer night, and could get anything more out of them were quite sorry when the groom got but “God save the Queen," which they down from the hind-seat to open their accordingly played and departed ; and own gates at half-past twelve.

then came the final cloaking and driving About the same time, the festivities off of the last guests. Tom and Mary at Barton Manor were coming to a close. saw the last of them into their carriage There had been cold dinner in the tent at the hall-door, and lingered a moment at six, after the great match of the day; in the porch. and, after dinner, the announcement of “What a lovely night!” said Mary, the scores, and the distribution of prizes "How I hate going to bed !” to the winners. A certain amount of “It is a dreadful bore," answered toasts and speechifying followed, which Tom ; "but here is the butler waiting to the ladies sat through with the most shut up; we must go in.” exemplary appearance of being amused. “I wonder where papa and mamma When their healths had been proposed

are." and acknowledged, they retired, and “Oh, they are only seeing things put were soon followed by the younger por: a little to rights. Let us sit here till tion of the male sex; and, while the they come; they must pass by to get to J. P.'s and clergymen sat quietly at their their rooms.” wine, which Mr. Porter took care should So the two sat down on some hall be remarkably good, and their wives chairs. went in to look over the house and have “Oh dear! I wish it were all coming tea, their sons and daughters split up over again to-morrow,” said Tom, leaninto groups, and some shot handicaps, ing back, and looking up at the ceiling. and some walked about and flirted, and "By the way, remember I owe you a some played at bowls or lawn billiards. pair of gloves : what colour shall they And soon the band appeared again from

be ?the servants' hall, mightily refreshed, 'Any colour you like. I can't bear to and dancing began on the grass, and in think of it. I felt so dreadfully ashamed due time was transferred to the tent, when they all came up, and your

mother when the grass got damp with the night looked so grave; I am sure she was very dew, and then to the hall of the house, angry." when the lighting of the tent began to "Poor mother, she was thinking of fail. And then there came a supper, my hat with three arrow holes in

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“Well, I am very sorry, because I Mary leant back in her chair, and began wanted them to like me."

to pull to pieces some flowers she held "And so they will ; I should like to in her hand. know who can help it.”

“Don't pull them to pieces ; give “Now, I won't have

any
of

I have kept your non

them to me," said Tom. sensical compliments. Do you think the rosebud you gave me at Oxford, they enjoyed the day ?"

folded

up Yes, I am sure they did. My father “Which you took, you mean to say. said he had never liked an archery No, I won't give you any of them—or, meeting so much."

let me see-yes, here is a sprig of “But they went away so early.” lavender; you may have that.”

"They had a very long drive, you “Thank you. But, why lavender ?” know. Let me see,” he said, feeling in “ Lavender stands for sincerity. It his breast-pocket, “mother left me a will remind you of the lecture you gave note, and I have never looked at it till me.” now.” He took a slip of paper out and “I wish you would forget that. But read it, and his face fell.

you know what flowers mean, then ? Do “What is it?” said Mary, leaning give me a lecture : you owe me one. forward.

What do those flowers mean which you “Oh, nothing; only I must go to- will not give me,—the piece of heather morrow morning."

for instance ?" “There, I was sure she was angry.” “Heather signifies constancy."

“No, no; it was written this morn- “ And the carnations ?” ing before she came here. I can tell by “Jealousy." the paper."

“And the heliotrope?" “But she will not let you stay here a “Oh, never mind the heliotrope." day, you see.”

“ But it is such a favourite of mine. “I have been here a good deal, con- Do tell me what it means ?sidering all things. I should like never Je vous aime,” said Mary, with a to go away.”

laugh, and a slight blush; “it is all nonPerhaps papa might find a place for

Oh, here's mamma at last," and you,

if
you

asked him. Which should she jumped up and went to meet her you like,—to be tutor to the boys, or mother, who came out of the drawinggamekeeper?

room, candle in hand. “On the whole, I should prefer the “My dear Mary, I thought you were tutorship at present; you take so much gone to bed,” said Mrs. Porter, looking interest in the boys.'

from one to the other seriously. “ Yes, because they have no one to “Oh, I'm not the least tired, and I look after them now in the holidays. couldn't go without wishing you and But, when you come as tutor, I shall papa good night, and thanking you for wash my hands of them.”

all the trouble you have taken.” “Then I shall decline the situation." “Indeed, we ought all to thank you," “How are you going home to-mor- said Tom ; "every body said it was the

pleasantest party they had ever been at." “I shall ride round by Englebourn. “I am very glad it went off well,” They wish me to go round and see Katie said Mrs. Porter gravely; "and now, and uncle Robert. You talked about Mary, you must go to bed.” riding over there yourself this morning." “I am afraid I must leave you to

“I should like it so much. But how morrow morning,” said Tom. can we manage it? I can't ride back “Yes ; Mrs. Brown said they expect by myself.”

you at home to-morrow.” “Couldn't you stay and sleep there?" “I am to ride round by uncle Robert's;

“I will ask mamma. No, I'm afraid it would you like one of the boys to go can hardly be managed;" and so saying, with me?”

sense.

row ?

A CRISIS

“Oh, dear mamma, could not Charley vociferously bewailed his approaching and I ride over to Englebourn? I do so departure, and tried to get him to name long to see Katie."

some day for his return before their “No, dear; it is much too far for you. holidays ended. Instead of encouraging We will drive over in a few days' time.” the idea, Mrs. Porter reminded Neddy

And, so saying, Mrs. Porter wished and Charley that they had only ten Tom good night, and led off her daughter. days more, and had not yet looked at

Tom went slowly upstairs to his room, the work they had to do for their tutor and, after packing his portmanteau for in the holidays. Immediately after the carrier to take in the morning, threw breakfast Mrs. Porter wished him goodup his window and leant out into the bye herself very kindly, but (he could night, and watched the light clouds not help thinking) without that air of swimming over the moon, and the silver near relationship which he had flattered mist folding the water meadows and himself was well established between willows in its soft cool mantle. His himself and all the members of the thoughts were such as will occur to any Porter family; and then she had added, reader who has passed the witching age “Now, Mary, you must say good-bye; I of twenty ; and the scent of the helio- want you to come and help me with trope-bed, in the flower-garden below, some work this morning.” He had seemed to rise very strongly on the scarcely looked at her all the morning, night air.

and now one shake of the hand and she was spirited away in a moment, and he

was left standing, dissatisfied and unCHAPTER XXXII.

comfortable, with a sense of incompleteness in his mind, and as if he had had a thread in his life suddenly broken off

which he could not tell how to get In the forenoon of the following day joined again. Tom rode slowly along the street of However, there was nothing for it Englebourn towards the rectory gate. but to get off. He had no excuse for He had left Barton soon after breakfast, delay, and had a long ride before him; without having been able to exchange a so he and the boys went round to the word with Mary except in the presence stable. On their passage through the of her mother, and yet he had felt more garden the idea of picking a nosegay anxious than ever before at least to say and sending it to her by one of the boys good bye to her without witnesses. came into his head. He gathered the With this view he had been up early, flowers, but then thought better of it, and had whistled a tune in the hall, and and threw them away. What right, held a loud conversation with the boys, after all, had he to be sending flowers to who appeared half-dressed in the gallery her-above all, flowers to which they had above, while he brushed the dilapidated attached a meaning, jokingly it was true, white hat, to let all whom it might con- but still a meaning? No, he had no cern know that he was on the move. right to do it; it would not be fair to Then he had walked up and down the her, or her father and mother, after the garden in full view of the windows till kind

way in which they had all received the bell rang for prayers. He was in him. So he threw away the flowers, the breakfast-room before the bell had and mounted and rode off, watched by done ringing, and Mrs. Porter, followed the boys, who waved their straw hats by her daughter, entered at the same as he looked back just before coming to moment. He could not help fancying a turn in the road which would take him that the conversation at breakfast was a out of sight of the Manor House. He little constrained, and particularly re- rode along at a foot's pace for some marked that nothing was said by the time, thinking over the events of the purposeless, and somewhat melancholy, the house and inquired for his uncle. urged his horse into a smart trot along He had not been in Englebourn for the waste land which skirted the road.

some years, and the servant did not But, go

what

pace he would, it mattered know him, and answered that Mr. Winter not; he could not leave his thoughts was not out of his room and never saw behind. So he pulled up again after a strangers till the afternoon. Where mile or so, slackened his reins, and, was Miss Winter then ? She was down leaving his horse to pick his own way the village at Widow Winburn's, and he along the road, betook himself to the couldn't tell when she would be back, serious consideration of his position. the man said. The contents of Katie's

The more he thought of it the more note of the day before had gone out of discontented he became, and the day his head, but the mention of Betty's clouded over as if to suit his temper. name recalled them, and with them He felt as if within the last twenty-four something of the kindly feeling which hours he had been somehow unwarrant- he had had on hearing of her illness. ably interfered with. His mother and So, saying he would call later to see his Mrs. Porter had both been planning uncle, he started again to find the something about him, he felt sure. If widow's cottage, and his cousin. they had anything to say, why couldn't The servant had directed him to the they say it out to him? But what could last house in the village, but, when he there be to say? Couldn't he and Mary got outside the gate, there were houses be trusted together without making fools in two directions. He looked about for of themselves ? He did not stop to some one from whom to inquire further, analyze his feelings towards her, or to and his

eye

fell upon our old acquaintconsider whether it was very prudent or ance, the constable, coming out of his desirable for her that they should be door with a parcel under his arm. thrown so constantly and unreservedly The little man was in a brown study, together. He was too much taken up and did not notice Tom's first address. with what he chose to consider his own He was in fact anxiously thinking over wrongs for any such consideration. his old friend's illness and her son's “Why can't they let me alone?” was trouble ; and was on his way to farmer the question which he asked himself Grove's, having luckily the excuse of perpetually, and it seemed to him the taking a coat to be tried on, in the most reasonable one in the world, and hopes of getting him to interfere and that no satisfactory answer was possible patch up the quarrel between young to it, except that he ought to be, and Tester and Harry. should be, let alone. And so at last he Tom's first salute had been friendly rode along Englebourn street, convinced enough ; no one knew better how to that what he had to do before all other

other speak to the poor, amongst whom he things just now was to assert himself had lived all his life, than he. But, not properly, and show every one, even his getting any answer, and being in a own mother, that he was no longer a touchy state of mind, he was put out, boy to be managed according to any and shoutedone's fancies except his own.

“Hullo, my man, can't you hear me?" He rode straight to the stables and “ Ees, I beant dunch,” replied the loosed the girths of his horse and gave constable, turning and looking at his particular directions about grooming and questioner. feeding him, and stayed in the stall for “I thought you were, for I spoke some minutes rubbing his ears and loud enough before. Which is Mrs. fondling him. The antagonism which Winburn's cottage ?” possessed him for the moment against “ The furdest house down ther," he mankind perhaps made him appreciate said, pointing, “'tis in my way if you've the value of his relations with a well- a mind to come.” Tom accepted the trained beast. Then he went round to offer and walked along by the constable.

)

you know ?

I mean,

“ Ees."

“Mrs. Winburn is ill, isn't she?” to be doin' for yourself, like; but I he asked, after looking his guide over. thought you med ha' been a 'sistant, or

Ees, her be-terreble bad,” said the summat." constable.

“Well, then, you're just mistaken,' “What is the matter with her, do said Tom, considerably disgusted at being

taken for a country doctor's assistant. Zummat o' fits, I hears. Herve “I ax your pardon," said the conhad em this six year, on and off.” stable. “But if you beant in the doc“I suppose it's dangerous.

torin' line, what be gwine to Widow she isn't likely to get well ?

Winburn's for, make so bould ?” « 'Tis in the Lord's hands," replied “ That's my look out, I suppose," said the constable, “but her's that bad wi' Tom, almost angrily. “That's the house, pain, at times, 'twould be a mussy if isn't it?” and he pointed to the cottage 'twoud plaase He to tak her out on't.” already described at the corner of Engle“ Perhaps she mightn't think so,"

bourn Copse. said Tom superciliously; he was not in the mind to agree with any one. The Good day, then.” constable looked at him solemnly for a “ Good day,” muttered the constable, moment and then said

not at all satisfied with this abrupt close “Her's been a God-fearin' woman of the conversation, but too unready to from her youth up, and her's had a deal prolong it. He went on his own way o' trouble. Thaay as the Lord loveth slowly, looking back often, till he saw He chasteneth, and tisn't such as thaay the door open; after which he seemed as is afeard to go afore Him.”

better satisfied, and ambled out of sight. “Well, I never found that having “The old snuffler!” thought Tom, as troubles made people a bit more anxious he strode up to the cottage door—"a to get out on't,' as you call it,” said ranter, I'll be bound, with his • Lord's Tom.

troubles,' and 'Lord's hands,' and 'Lord's “It don't seem to me as you can ’a marks. I hope Uncle Robert hasn't had much o' trouble to judge by,” said many such in the parish.” the constable, who was beginning to be He knocked at the cottage door, and nettled by Tom's manner.

in a few seconds it opened gently, and “How can you tell that?"

Katie slipped out with her finger on her Leastways 'twould be whoam-made, lips. She made a slight gesture of surthen,” persisted the Constable," and prise at seeing him, and held out her ther's a sight o' odds atween whoam- hand. made troubles and thaay as the Lord “ Hush !” she said, “she is asleep. sends."

You are not in a hurry ?” “So there may be ; but I may

have “No, not particularly," he answered seen both sorts for anything you can abruptly; for there was something in tell.”

her voice and manner which jarred with “Nay, nay; the Lord's troubles leaves his humour. His marks."

“ Hush !” she said again, "you must “And you don't see any of them in not speak so loud. We can sit down

here, and talk quietly. I shall hear if The constable jerked his head after she moves." his own peculiar fashion, but declined So he sat down opposite to her in the to reply directly to this interrogatory. little porch of the cottage. She left the He parried it by one of his own. door ajar, so that she might catch the “ In the doctorin' line, make so

least movement of her patient, and then bould ?”

turned to him with a bright smile, and “No," said Tom. " You don't seem

said, to have such very good eyes, after all.” Well, I am so glad to see you !

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my face, eh?

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