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mind while she sat awaiting the of an hour, felt deeply disinclined entrance of the person or persons to reveal the weak points of her who were approaching the door. own family to the inspection of the “If it is the-the owner of the Wentworths. “All that there is house, it will be best to tell him to explain can be done very simply. what things you mean to remove," Thank you, I will not sit down. said Lucy; and before Miss Wode. Up to this time we may be allowed honse could answer, the door was to imagine ourselves in our own opened. They started, however, to -in our father's house. What we perceive not Wodehouse, but a per- have to say is simple enough." sonage of very different appearance, “But pardon me, my dear Miss who came in with an easy air of Wodehouse — ” said Jack Wentpolite apology, and looked at them worth. with eyes which recalled to Lucy “My sister is Miss Wodehouse,” the eyes which had been gazing said Lucy. “What there is to setinto her own scarcely an hour ago. tle had better be arranged with our " Pardon me," said this unlooked- -our brother. If he will tell us for visitor ; “your brother, Miss precisely when he wishes us to go Wodehouse, finds some difficulty in away, we shall be ready. Mary is explaining himself to relations from going to be married," she went on, whom he has been separated so turning round so as to face Wodelong. Not to interfere with family house, and addressing him pointprivacy, will you let me assist at edly, though she did not look at the conference?” said Jack Went- him—to the exclusion of Jack, who, worth. “My brother, I under- experienced man as he was, felt stand, is a friend of yours, and disconcerted, and addressed himyour brother-is a--hem—a friend self with more precaution to a task of mine," the diplomatist added, which was less easy than he supscarcely able to avoid making a posed. wry face over the statement. Wode. “Oh, Lucy!” cried Miss Wodehouse came in behind, looking an house, with a blush worthy of inch or two taller for that acknow- eighteen. It was perhaps the first ledgment, and sat down, confront time that the fact had been so ing his sisters, who were standing broadly stated, and the sudden anon the defensive. The heir, too,nouncement made before two men had a strong sense of property, as overwhelmed the timid woman. was natural, and the disarrange- Then she was older than Lucy, ment of the room struck him in and had picked up in the course of that point of view, especially as her career one or two inevitable Miss Wodehouse continued to prop scraps of experience, and she could herself up against the St Agnes in not but wonder with a momentary the back of her chair. Wodehouse qualm what Mr Proctor might think looked from the wall to the table, of his brother-in-law. Lucy, who and saw what appeared to him a thought Mr Proctor only too well clear case of intended spoliation. off, went on without regarding her " By Jove, they didn't mean to sister's exclamation. go empty-handed,” said the vaga- “I do not know when the marbond, who naturally judged accord- riage is to be I don't suppose they ing to his own standard, and knew have fixed it yet,” said Lucy;“but no better. Upon which Lucy, ris- it appears to me that it would save ing with youthful state and dig- us all some trouble if we were nity, took the explanation upon allowed to remain until that time. herself.
I do not mean to ask any favour," "I do not see why we should she said, with a little more sharphave the mortification of a spec- ness and less dignity. “We could tator," said Lucy, who already, pay rent for that matter, if-if it having been engaged three-quarters were desired. She is your sister," said Lucy, suddenly looking Wode that an answer was expected of house in the face,“ as well as mine. him, Wodehouse flushed all over I daresay she has done as much for with the embarrassment of the poyou as she has for me. I don't ask sition. He cleared his throat, he any favour for her—but I would cut shifted his eyes, which were emoff my little finger if that would barrassed by Lucy's gaze, he pushed please her,” cried the excited young bis chair from the table, and made woman, with a wildness of illustra- various attempts to collect himself, tion so totally out of keeping with but at last ended by a pitiful apthe matter referred to, that Miss peal to Jack Wentworth, who had Wodehouse, in the midst of her been looking seriously on. “You emotion, could scarcely restrain a might come to a fellow's assistance!” scream of terror; "and you too cried Wodehouse.“ By Jove, it might be willing to do something; was for that you came here." you cannot have any kind of feeling “ The Miss Wodehouses evifor me,” Lucy continued, recover- dently prefer to communicate with ing herself; “but you might perhaps their brother direct,” said Jack have some feeling for Mary. If we Wentworth, “ which is a very nacan be permitted to remain until tural sentiment. If I interfere, it her marriage takes place, it may is simply because I have had the perhaps bring about—a feeling advantage of talking the matter more like-relations; and I shall over, and understanding a little be able to- "
what you mean. Miss Wodehouse, “Forgive you,” Lucy was about your brother is not disposed to to say, but fortunately stopped act the part of a domestic tyrant. herself in time; for it was the fact He has come here to offer you the of his existence that she had to house, which must have so many forgive, and naturally such an tender associations for you, not amount of toleration was difficult for a short period, as you wish, to explain. As for Wodehouse but forhimself, he listened to this appeal “I didn't know she was going to with very mingled feelings. Some be married,” exclaimed Wodehouse natural admiration and liking woke -" that makes all the difference, by in his dull mind as Lucy spoke. Jove. Lucy will marry fast enough; He was not destitute of good im- but as for Mary, I never thought pulses, nor of the ordinary human she would hook any one at her time affections. His little sister was of life," said the vagabond, with a pretty, and a lady,and clever enough rude laugh. He turned to Lucy, to put Jack Wentworth much more not knowing any better, and with in the background than usual. He some intention of pleasing her; but said " By Jove" to himself three or being met by a look of indignafour times over in his beard, and tion under which he faltered, he showed a little emotion when she went back to bis natural rôle of said he could have no feeling for sulky insolence. “By Jove, when her. At that point of Lucy's ad- I gave in to make such an offer, I dress he moved about uneasily in never thought she had a chance of his chair, and plucked at his beard, getting married," said the heir, “I and felt himself anything but com- ain't going to give what belongs to fortable. “By Jove, I never had me to another man— a chance," the prodigal said, in his “Your brother wishes," said Jack undertone. “I might have cared Wentworth, calmly, “ to make over a deal for her if I had had a chance. the house and furniture as it stands She might have done a fellow good, to you and your sister, Miss Wodeby Jove," mutterings of which Lucy house. Of course it is not to be took no manner of notice, but pro- expected that he should be sorry to ceeded with her speech. When she get his father's property ; but he is had ended, and it became apparent sorry that there should be no-no
provision for you. He means that nant Lucy, whose little hand clenchyou should have the house- ". ed involuntarily in her passion.
“But I never thought she was She had a great deal of self-congoing to be married, by Jove," pro- trol, but she was not quite equal tested the rightful owner. “Look to such an emergency; and it was here, Molly ; you shall have the fur- all she could do to keep from stampniture. The house would sell for a ing her foot, which was the only good bit of money. I tell you, utterance of rage possible to a genWentworth
tlewoman in her position. “I Jack Wentworth did not move would rather see my father's house from the mantelpiece where he was desecrated by you living in it," she standing, but he cast a glance upon cried, passionately, “than accept it his unlucky follower which froze as a gift from your hands. Mary, the words on his lips. “My good we are not obliged to submit to fellow, you are quite at liberty to this. Let us rather go away at decline my mediation in your once. I will not remain in the affairs. Probably you can manage same room with this man!” cried them better your own way," said Lucy. She was so overwhelmed Wodehouse's hero. “I can only with her unwonted passion that beg the Miss Wodehouses to par- she lost all command of the posidon my intrusion." Jack Went tion, and even of herself, and was worth's first step towards the door false for the moment to all her let loose a flood of nameless ter- sweet codes of womanly behaviour. rors upon the soul of his victim. “How dare you, sir !" she cried, If he were abandoned by his in the sudden storm, for which nopowerful protector, what would body was prepared. “We will rebecome of him? His very desire move the things belonging to us, of money, and the avarice which with which nobody has any right prompted him to grudge making to interfere, and we will leave imany provision for his sisters, was, mediately. Mary, come with me!” after all, not real avarice, but the When she had said this, Lucy swept spendthrift's longing for more to out of the room, pale as a little spend. The house which he was fury, and feeling in her heart a sentenced to give up represented savage female inclination to strike not so much gold and silver, but so Jack Wentworth, who opened the many pleasures, fine dinners, and door for her, with her little white bad company. He could order the clenched hand. Too much excited dinners by himself, it is true, and to remark whether her sister had get men like himself to eat them ; followed her, Lucy ran up-stairs but the fine people—the men who to her room, and there gave way had once been fine, and who still to the inevitable tears. Coming retained a certain tarnished glory to herself after that was a terribly -were, so far as Wodehouse was humbling process to the little concerned, entirely in Jack Went- Anglican. She had never fallen worth's keeping. He made a piteous into “a passion” before that she appeal to his patron as the great knew of, certainly never since man turned to go away.
nursery times ; and often enough “I don't see what good it can do her severe serene girlhood had lookyou to rob a poor fellow !” cried ed reproving and surprised upon Wodehouse. “But look here, I ain't the tumults of Prickett's Lane, going to turn against your advice. awing the belligerents into at least I'll give it them, by Jove, for life, temporary silence. Now poor Lucy that is, for Mary's life," said the sat and cried over her downfall; munificent brother. “She's twenty she had forgotten herself ; she had years older than Lucy- "
been conscious of an inclination to “How do you dare to subject us stamp, to scold, even to strike, in to such insults ?” cried the indig. the vehemence of her indignation; and she was utterly overpowered hind, and watched the course of by the thought of her guiltiness. events with anxious steadiness. “ The very first temptation !” she She did not care for money any said to herself; and made terrible more than Lucy did; but she could reflections upon her own want of not help thinking it would be very strength and endurance. To-day, pleasant if she could produce one too, of all days, when God had been good action on " poor Tom's" part so good to her! “If I yield to the to plead for him against any posfirst temptation like this, how shall sible criticisms of the future. Miss I ever endure to the end?” cried Wodehouse was old enough to Lucy, and in her heart thought, know that her Rector was not an with a certain longing, of the sacra ideal hero, but an ordinary man, ment of penance, and tried to think and it was quite possible that he what she could do that would be might point a future moral now most disagreeable-to the inortify. and then with “ that brother of ing of the flesh. Perhaps if she yours, my dear.” The elder sister had possessed a more lively sense waited accordingly, with her heart of humour, another view of the beating quick, to know the decisubject might have struck Lucy; sion, very anxious that she might but humour, fortunately for the have at least one generous deed to unity of human sentiment, is gene- record to the advantage of poor rally developed at a later period Tom. of life, and Lucy's fit of passion “I think we are quite decided only made her think with greater on the point,” said Jack Wenttenderness and toleration of her worth. “Knowing your sentiments, termagants in Prickett's Lane. Wodehouse, I left directions with
The three who were left down- Waters about the papers. I think stairs were in their different ways you will find him quite to be trustimpressed by Lucy's passion. Jack ed, Miss Wodehouse, if you wish Wentworth, being a man of hum- to consult him about letting or our and cultivation, was amused, selling- " but respectful, as having still a “ By Jove !” exclaimed Wodecertain faculty of appreciating abso- house, under his breath. lute purity when he saw it. As for “Which, I suppose, continued Wodehouse, he gave another rude the superb Jack, "you will wish laugh, but was cowed in spite of to do under the pleasant circumhimself, and felt involuntarily what stances, upon which I beg to offer a shabby wretch he was, recognis- you my congratulations. Now, Tom, ing that fact more impressively from my good fellow, I am at your serthe contempt of Lucy's pale face vice. I think we have done our than he could have done through business here.” hours of argument. Miss Wode- Wodehouse got up in his sulking house, for her part, though very reluctant way like a lazy dog. “I anxious and nervous, was not with suppose you won't try to move the out an interest in the question un- furniture now ?” he said. These der discussion. She was not speci- were the only adieux he intended ally horrified by her brother, or to make, and perhaps they might anything he could say or do. He have been expressed with still less was Tom to her-a boy with whom civility, had not Jack Wentworth she had once played, and whom she been standing waiting for him at had shielded with all her sisterly the door. might in his first transgressions. “Oh, Tom ! I am so thankful you She had suffered a great deal more have done it," cried Miss Wodeby his means than Lucy could ever house." It is not that I care for suffer, and consequently was more the money; but oh, Tom, I am so tolerant of him. She kept her seat glad to think nobody can say any. with the St Agnes in the chair be- thing now." She followed them
wistfully to the door, not giving up Miss Wodehouse, going out after hopes of a kinder parting. “I think him to the landing - place. But it is very kind and nice of you, Wodehouse was in no humour to and what dear papa would have be gracious. Instead of paying any wished," said the elder sister, for attention to her, he looked regretgetting how all her father's plans fully at the property he had lost. had been brought to nothing ; " and “Good-bye," he said, vaguely. of course you will live here all the “By Jove! I know better than same !" she said, with a little eager- Jack Wentworth does the value of ness, "that is till-till-as long as property. We might have had a we are here "
jolly month at Homburg out of " Good-bye, Miss Wodehouse," that old place,” said the prodigal, said Jack Wentworth. “I don't with regret, as he went down the think either your brother or I will old-fashioned oak stair. That was stay much longer in Carlingford. his farewell to the house which he You must accept my best wishes had entered so disastrously on the for your happiness all the same." day of his father's funeral. He
"You are very kind, I am sure," followed his leader with a sulky said the embarrassed bride; “and aspect through the garden, not venoh, Tom, you will surely say good-turing to disobey, but yet feeling bye | Say good-bye once as if you the weight of his chains. And this meant it; don't go away as if you was how Wodehouse accomplished did not care. Tom, I always was his personal share in the gift to his very fond of you; and don't you sisters, of which Miss Wodehouse feel a little different to us, now told every body that it was “so you've done us a kindness ?” cried good of Tom !”
* Going to be married !” said the “I am going to marry some time, Squire ; "and to a sister of -- I sir, I hope," said the Perpetual thought you told me she was as old Curate, with more cheerfulness than as Dora, Frank ? I did not expect he felt; “but not at the present to meet with any further complica- moment. Of course we both know tions,” the old man said, plaintively; that is impossible. I should like “ of course you know very well I you to come with me and see her don't object to your marrying ; but before you leave Carlingford. She why on earth did you let me speak would like it, and so should I.” of Wentworth Rectory to Hux- “ Well, well," said the Squire. table 1 " cried Mr Wentworth. He Naturally, having been married so was almost more impatient about often himself, he could not refuse this new variety in the family cir- a certain response to such a call cumstances than he had been of upon his sympathy. “I hope you more serious distresses. “God bless have made a wise choice," said the me, sir," said the Squire," what do experienced father, not without a you mean by it! You take means sigh ; " a great deal depends upon to affront your aunts and lose Skel- that-not only your own comfort, mersdale ; and then you put it into sir, but very often the character of my head to have Mary at Went your children and the credit of the worth ; and then you quarrel with family. You may laugh,” said Mr the Rector, and get into hot water Wentworth, to whom it was no in Carlingford; and, to make an laughing matter; “but long before end of all, you coolly propose to an you are as old as I am, you will innocent young woman, and tell me know the truth of what I say. you are going to marry-what on Your mother, Frank, was a speciearth do you mean?”
men of what a woman ought to be