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truth he was sorely puzzled how to “Slightly: it is seldom quite approach the theme that engaged free of pain. You have chosen a him. “I want your aid ; I want poor guide, Tony, when there is a your woman's wit to help me in a question of the habits of fine folk. difficulty. Here's what it is, Dolly," None know so little of their ways as and he sat down again at her side, I do. But surely you do not need and took her hand in his own. guidance. Surely you are well “Tell me, Dolly,” said he, suddenly, capable of understanding them in " is it true, as I have read some- all their moods.” where, that a woman, after having With all her attempts to appear made a man in love with her, will calm and composed, her lip shook boast that she is not in the least and her cheeks trembled as she bound to requite his affection if she spoke ; and Tony, more struck by satisfies herself that she has elevated her looks than her words, passed him in his ambition, given a higher his arm round her, and said, in a spring to his hope, made him, in kind and affectionate voice, “ I see fact, something better and nobler you are not well, my own dear than his own uninspired nature Dolly; and that I ought not to had ever taught him to be? I'm come here troubling you about my not sure that I have said what I own selfish cares; but I can never meant to say; but you'll be able help feeling that it's a sister I to guess what I intend."
speak to." “You mean, perhaps, will a “Yes, a sister,” said she, in a woman accept a man's love as a faint whisper—"a sister !" means of serving him without any “And that your brother Tony intention of returning it?"
has the right to come to you for Perhaps he did not like the fa- counsel and help.” shion in which she put his question, “So he has," said she, gulping for he did not answer, save by a nod. down something like a sob; “but
“I say yes ; such a thing is pos- these days, when my head is weary sible, and might happen readily and tired, and when - as to-day, enough if great difference of station Tony—I am good for nothingseparated them.”
Tell me," said she, hastily, “how “Do you mean, if one was rich does your mother bear your going and the other poor ?”
away? Will she let me come and sit “Not exactly ; because inequali- with her often ? I hope she will." ties of fortune may exist between “That she will, and be so happy persons of equal condition.”
to have you, too ; and only think, "In which case," said he, hur- Dolly, Alice Lyle-Mrs Trafford, I riedly, "you would not call their mean—has offered to come and keep stations unequal, would you ? ” her company sometimes. I hope
“That would depend on how far you'll meet her there : how you'd wealth contributed to the habits like her, Dolly!” of the wealthier. Some people are Dolly turned away her head, so accustomed to affluence, it is so and the tears, against which she had much the accompaniment of their struggled so long, now burst forth, daily lives, that the world has for and slowly fell along her cheek. them but one aspect.”
“You must not fancy, Dolly, that "Like our neighbours here, the because Alice is rich and great Lyles, for instance ?” said he. you will like her less. Heaven
Dolly gave a slight start, like a knows, if humble fortune could sesudden pang of pain, and grew parate us, ours might have done so." deadly pale. She drew away her “My head is splitting, Tony, hand at the same time, and passed dear. It is one of those sudden it across her brow.
attacks of pain. Don't be angry “Does your head ache, dear if I say Good-bye; there's nothing Dolly?" asked he, compassionately for it but a dark room, and quiet.”
“My poor dear Dolly,” said he, was it that I did not place the pressing her to him, and kissing matter as clearly as I might ? Was her twice on the cheek.
I too guarded, or was I too vague ? "No, no!" cried she, hysterically, Well, well. I remember the time as though to something she was when, no matter how stupid I was, answering; and then, dashing away, she would soon have found out she rushed from the room, and Tony my meaning! What a dreary could hear her door shut and locked thing that life of a governess must as she passed in.
be, when it could reduce one so "How changed from what she quick of apprehension and so readyused to be !” muttered he, as he witted as she was to such a state went his way ; “I scarcely can be- as this! Oh, is she not changed!” lieve she is the same! And, after And this was the burden of his all, what light has she thrown on musings as he wended his way tothe difficulty I put before her? Or wards home.
CHAPTER XXXV.-SIR ARTHUR ON LIFE AND THE WORLD IN GENERAL.
“ Here it is at last, mother," were, 'Come up and be examined'? said Tony, holding up the “de- I think I'm a good-tempered felspatch " as be entered the cottage. low; but I declare to you frankly,
- The order for the examination, if one of those ‘ Dons' were to put Tony !” said she, as she turned a question to me that I couldn't pale.
answer—and I'm afraid it would "No, but the order to do with not be easy to put any other-I'd out it, mother dear!— tbe order find it very hard not to knock him for Anthony Butler to report him- down! I mean, of course, mother, self for service, without any other if he did it offensively, with a test than his readiness to go chuckle over my ignorance, or wherever they want to send him. something that seemed to say, It seems that there's a row some- There's a blockhead, if ever there where-or several rows—just now. was one!' I know I couldn't Heaven bless the fellows that got help it !” them up, for it gives them no time “Oh, Tony, Tony !” said she, at the Office to go into any imper- deprecatingly. tinent inquiries as to one's French, “Yes, it's all very well to say or decimal fractions, or the other Tony, Tony ; but here's how it is. qualifications deemed essential to It would be all up' with me. It carrying a letter-bag, and so they've would be by that time decided sent for me to go off to Japan.” that I was good for nothing, and
“ To Japan, Tony—to Japan ?” to be turned back. The moment
“I don't mean positively to would be a triumphant one for the Japan, for Skeffy says it might be fellow that 'plucked' me-it alTaganrog, or Timbuctoo, or Tam- ways is, I'm told—but I'll be shot boff, or some other half-known if it should be all triumph to him!” place. But no matter, mother; it's “I won't believe this of you, so much a mile, and something be- Tony," said she, gravely. “It's sides per day; and the short and not like your father, sir ! " long of it is, I am to show myself “ Then I'd not do it, mother-at on Tuesday, the 9th, at Downing least if I could help it,” said he, Street, there to be dealt with as growing very red. “I say, mother, the law may direct."
is it too late to go up to the Abbey “It's a hasty summons, my poor and bid Sir Arthur good-bye? Alice Tony
asked me to do it, and I promised “ It might be worse, mother. her.” What would we say to it if it “Well, Tony, I don't know how you feel about these things now, adorned, or whether her native but there was a time that you gracefulness would not be far more never thought much what hour of attractive when her life became the day or night it was when you ennobled by duties. A continual went there."
comparison of Alice and Dolly “It used to be so !” said he would rise to his mind ; nothing thoughtfully; and then added, “but could be less alike, and yet there I'll go, at all events, mother, but they were, in incessant juxtaposiI'll not be long away, for I must tion; and while he pictured Alice in have a talk with you before bed- the humble manse of the minister, time.”
beautiful as he had ever seen her, “I have a note written to Sir he wondered whether she would be Arthur here ; will you just give it able to subdue her proud spirit to to him, Tony, or leave it for him such lowly ways, and make of that when you're coming away, for it thatched cabin the happy home wants no answer ?”
that Dolly had made it. His ex"All right, mother; don't take periences of life were not very large, tea till I come back, and I'll do my but one lesson they had certainly best to come soon.”
taught him—it was, to recognise in It was a well-worn path that led persons of condition, when well from the cottage to Lyle Abbey brought up, a great spirit of accomThere was not an hour of day or modation. In the varied company night Tony had not travelled it; of Sir Arthur's house he had conand as he went now, thoughts of stantly found that no one submitted all these long-agos would crowd on with a better grace to accidental his memory, making him ask him- hardships than he whose station self, Was there ever any one had had usually elevated him above so much happiness as I had in those the risks of their occurrence, and days? Is it possible that my life that in the chance roughings of a to come will ever replace to me sportsman life it was the born such enjoyment as that ?
gentleman-Sybarite it might be He was not a very imaginative at times—whose temper best susyouth, but he had that amount of the tained him in all difficulties, and quality that suffices for small castle- whose gallant spirit bore him most building; and he went on, as he triumphantly over the crosses and walked, picturing to himself what cares that beset him. It might not would be the boon he would ask be a very logical induction that led from Fortune if some benevolent him to apply this reasoning to fairy were to start out from the Alice, but he did so, and in so tall ferns and grant him his wish. doing he felt very little how the Would it be to be rich and titled time went over, till he found himand great, so that he might propose self on the terrace at Lyle Abbey. to make Alice his wife without any Led on by old habit, he passed semblance of inordinate pretension? in without ringing the bell, and or would it not be to remain as he was already on his way to the drawwas, poor and humble in condition, ing-room when he met Hailes the and that Alice should be in a rank butler. like his own, living in a cottage like In the midst of a shower of reDolly Stewart, with little household joicings at seeing him again-for cares to look after?
he was a great favourite with the It was a strange labyrinth these household - Hailes hastened to thoughts led him into, and he soon show him into the dining-room, lost his way completely, unable to where, dinner over, Sir Arthur sat satisfy himself whether Alice might in an easy-chair at the fire, alone, not lose in fascination when no long- and sound asleep. Roused by the er surrounded by all the splendid noise of the opening door, Sir appliances of that bigh station she Arthur started and looked up; nor
was he indeed very full awake Dear me, dear me! it seems like while Tony blundered out his ex- yesterday;" and he closed his eyes, cases for disturbing him.
and seemed lost in reverie ; but if “My dear Tony, not a word of he really felt it like yesterday, he this. It is a real pleasure to see would have remembered how insoyou. I was taking a nap, just be- lently the superb aide-de-camp cause I had nothing better to do. treated the meek civilian of the We are all alone here now, and the period, and how immeasurably place feels strange enough in the above Mr Lyle of those days stood solitude. Mark gone — the girls 'the haughty Captain Butler of the away--and no one left but Lady Governor-General's staff. Lyle and myself. There's your old “The soldiers used to fancy they friend ; that's some of the '32 cla- had the best of it, Tony; but, I take ret; fill your glass, and tell me that it, we civilians won the race at last;" you are come to pass some days and his eyes ranged over the vast with us."
room, with the walls covered by “I wish I was, sir; but I have pictures, and the sideboard loaded come to say good-bye. I'm off to with massive plate, while the array morrow for London."
of decanters on the small spider“ For London! What! another table beside him suggested largely freak, Tony ?”
of good living. " Scarcely a freak, sir," said he, “A very old friend of mine, Jos. smiling. “They've telegraphed to Hughes—he was salt assessor at me to come up and report myself Bussorabad-once remarked to me, for service at the Foreign Office.” 'Lyle,' said he, 'a man must make “ As a Minister, eh?”
his choice in life, whether he pre“ No, sir; a Messenger.”
fers a brilliant start or a good finish, “ An excellent thing, too; a capi- for he cannot have both.' Take tal thing. A man must begin some- your pleasure when young, and you where, you know. Every one is must consent to work when old; not as lucky as I was, to start with but if you set out vigorously, deterclose on twelve hundred a year. I mined to labour hard in early life, wasn't twenty when I landed at when you come to my age, Tony, Calcutta, Tony - a mere boy!” you may be able to enjoy your rest” — Here the baronet filled his glass, and and here he waved his hand round, drank it off with a solemnity that as though to show the room in seemed as if it were a silent toast which they sat—“to enjoy your to his own health, for in his own rest, not without dignity.” estimation he merited that honour, Tony was an attentive listener, very few men having done more and Sir Arthur was flattered, and for themselves than he had; not went on. “I am sincerely glad to that he had not been over-grateful, have the opportunity of these few however, to the fortune of his early moments with you. I am an old days in this boastful acknowledg- pilot, so to say, on the sea you are ment, since it was in the humble about to adventure upon; and really, capacity of an admiral's secretary- the great difficulty young fellows they called them clerks in those have in life is, that the men who days-he had first found himself in know the whole thing from end to the Indian Ocean, a mere accident end will not be honest in giving leading to his appointment on shore their experiences. There is a cerand all his subsequent good fortune. tain 'snobbery'-I bave no other ** Yes, Tony," continued he, “I word for it—that prevents their started at what one calls a high confessing to small beginnings. rung of the ladder. It was then They don't like telling how humble I first saw your father; he was they were at the start; and what is about the same age you are now, the consequence? The value of the He was on Lord Dollington's staff, whole lesson is lost! Now, I have
no such scruples, Tony. Good you to take this step ; but if you family connections and relatives of had a friend--a man of rank and influence I had ; I cannot deny it. station-one whose position your I suppose there are scores of men uncle could not but acknowledge as would have coolly sat down and at least the equal of his own— " said to their right honourable cou- “He could be no friend of mine sin or their noble uncle, 'Help me who should open any negotiations to this-get me that ;' but such on my part with a relation who has was not my mode of procedure. treated my mother so uncourteousNo, sir; I resolved to be my own ly, sir." patron, and I went to India.”
“I think you are under a misWhen Sir Arthur said this, he take, Tony. Mrs Butler told me looked as though his words were : that it was rather her own fault “I volunteered to lead the assault. than Sir Omerod's that some sort It was I that was first up the of reconciliation was not effected. breach. But, after all, Tony, I can't Indeed, she once showed me a letget the boys to believe this.” Now ter from your uncle when she was these boys were his three sons, two in trouble about those Canadian of them middle-aged, white-headed, bonds." liverless men in Upper India, and “Yes, yes, I know it all,” said the third that gay dragoon with Tony, rising, as if all his patience whom we have had some slight was at last exhausted. “I have read acquaintance.
the letter you speak of; he offered to "I have always said to the boys, lend her five or six hundred pounds, "Don't lie down on your high re- or to give it, I forget which ; and lations.'” Had he added that they he was to take me'-here he burst would have found them a most un- into a fit of laughter that was alcomfortable bed, he would not have most hysterical in its harsh mockbeen beyond the truth. “Do as I ery—“to take me. I don't know did, and see how gladly, ay, and what he was to do with me, for how proudly, they will recognise I believe he has turned Papist, you. I say the same to you, Tony. Jesuit, or what not; perhaps I You have, I am told, some family was to have been made a priest, or connections that might be turned a friar; at all events, I was to have to account?”
been brought up dependent on his “None, sir; not one," broke in bounty—a bad scheme for each of Tony, boldly.
us. He would not have been very “Well, there is that Sir Omerod proud of his protegé; and, if I Butler. I don't suspect he is a know myself, I don't think I'd man of much actual influence. He have been very grateful to my prois, I take it, a bygone."
tector. My dear mother, however, “I know nothing of him ; nor had too much of the mother in do I want to know anything of her to listen to it, and she told him," said Tony, pushing his glass him so, perhaps too plainly for from him, and looking as though his refined notions in matters of the conversation were one he would phraseology; for he frumped and gladly change for any other topic; wrote no more to us." but it was not so easy to tear Sir “Which is exactly the reason why Arthur from such a theme, and he a friend, speaking from the eminence went on.
which a certain station confers, might “It would not do for you, per- be able to place matters on a better haps, to make any advances to- and more profitable footing.” wards him.”
“Not with my consent, sir, de“I should like to see myself !” pend upon it,” said Tony, fiercely. said Tony, half choking with angry “My dear Tony, there is a vulgar impatience.
adage about the impolicy of quar“I repeat, it would not do for relling with one's bread-and-butter;