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never felt inclined to be savage “What is the matter, dear ?" for I towards the female race, because knew as well as a thousand sighs one of them had disappointed me. could have told me, that she was in And the beauty of it was that I trouble; and being up to every could not hold one spark of rancour trick of hers, I was sure that her against her. The great generosity eyes were full of tears, although of love was in me; and all the she would not let me see them. fault I had to find went abroad “Butter returned on your hands among her sex, but never touched again?” I suggested in a feeling herself. So do jilted poets wail tone ; for there was an old lady, about all other wonen, but acquit quite a double patent screw, at the the one they love.
further end of the parish, who was But Grace showed her sympathy never tired of boasting — as old more delicately, according to her Croaker told us more than oncesex and education. What pleased that her butter was made by a me most in her behaviour was that baronet's daughter, yet sent her such she never brought her own little messages as no Duchess would whiffs of love-and lovers are al- think of sending to her dairymaid. ways having either whiffs, or tiffs- “Returned on my own hands,” into her placid pretty interviews Grace seemed to mutter, and I let with me.
She even broke out her take her time, unable as I was against her own sect, now and then to make this out. Then without --for the women had begun to caring properly where she might make sect of sex even then, as they be in the narrow little room, she feiga to do now altogether-and hit upon, by force of a gleam from expressed a contempt of them, the fireplace, that very same cracked which any man would have been and spotted looking-glass, in which extremely rash to acquiesce in. She my friend Tom had admired himmeant it for the best, and I was self. With infinitely better reason much obliged about it; but not the —however feminine and wavering faintest fibre of my heart was put –Grace Cranleigh might have rein tune by it.
garded herself, and defied any one Then all of a sudden it became (except Dariel) to peep over the the duty of my life to comfort her. snowy shoulders. But instead of One evening, getting on for Christ- pride, what came? I know not. mas-tide, I was sitting in my be- Only that I flung my pipe away, loved den, after a rather hard day's and had my darling sister in my work, as glum as a Briton can wish arms, where she cast away all preto be, but soothed by my pipe, and tence, and would have spoiled any the smell of saddles, when in came waistcoat, that was not worn out. Grace very quietly and kindly, but “He-he-he,” she sobbed. And without saying anything at first, as
I said, "What he ?” and she anif I were too busy to notice her. swered “him," as if there was only She began to sweep a trifle of to- one man in the world, though he bacco-dust which had dropped on might go into fifty cases. “ Jackthe table contradictorily--for I am son ?” I asked. But she would not a wonderfully tidy fellow-into the have it even at such a crisis. pink cup of her palm; and then
“My Jack," she declared, lookshe went and put something straighting up at me, as if every George was that was straight enough before for rubbish ; "my own Jack—will you any man; and then she pretended never understand ? And when I not to hear me, when I asked was getting so fond of him."
I am very
thinks more of me than ever. If have thought of nothing else, for you had only seen his face ——" at least three months. You have “Don't cry, my dear child. Now made too much of him
; with the
don't cry any more. usual result, I daresay.”
sorry if I misunderstood you. But “Oh don't touch me! Don't how could I help it? You do come near me! No wonder your take such a time. What can be Dariel ran away.
You have not his reason for behaving in this the least sense of noble things. manner?” What have I done, to have such a
“ Because he is ru
She never was much of a hand at “There must be a crack in the crying ; but this terrible word, and family," I said, as she cut away her effort at it, served as the cord into a Windsor chair, and fixed all that brings down the shower-bath. her soul on the fire, as if it were “Hoo-hoo-hoo!” she went, and it the only warm thing left on earth. was no good for me to say anything.
“Wonderful, wonderful,” I pur- “Oh that Dariel were crying for sued my own reflections, till she me like that!” was the thought should come round.
that came into my selfish heart. “And you don't even seem to “I should not mind being ru-rucare to ask what it is he has done ruined, if I could only hope for
!” Grace began to show her that.” Then Grace got better, as pretty nose over her left shoulder, girls always do, if you let them while I snuffed the candles, and have their cry out. began to fill a pipe.
“ What makes it so know the high opinion I always tressing, so heart-breaking, is that have of your opinion."
the whole of it has been through “You had better not say a word me—through me, whom he chose about it,” I answered in the kindest without a single penny—me, who manner; no doubt it is the usual had nothing more than poverty to thing. You told me that all men bring him, poverty, and faith, and were alike, till you made such a very ordinary mind! And then, an idol of poor Stocks and Stones. not content with that, I must do Now you see that he is just like the my best to rob him of every farrest of us.
thing of his noble fortune. Per“I have long ceased to hope for haps one of the wealthiest men in any greatness from you; but I did the world, until he set eyes upon expect some fairness," my sister unlucky me. Oh George, it will spoke as if I had not allowed her to never be in your power to undersay a word all this time : "you stand my pure contempt for money ! know that I cannot argue, George ; Yet you ought not to rob anybody or at least you pretend to think so, of it, and I have robbed the noblest which comes to the very same thing man that ever lived of every penny, with a man. Then how thoroughly every penny!” ashamed of yourself you ought to “In the name of the forty be, as soon as you can spare me thieves, and Morgiana, and the man time to tell you the simple truth. they cut into four pieces, how can Mr Jackson Stoneman, the gentle- you have done all this?" I asked, man you, with such admirable taste being certain that there never was a and such lofty humour, call ‘Stocks girl more reasonable, yet rememberand Stones,' is not tired of me, as ing how the wisest of them love a you kindly imagine. In fact he little speculation.
“ To anybody but you, George, And when Black Friday came, as it would be too self-evident to re- you know it did, through some quire any explanation. Why will very stupid error of the Governyou drive me to a thing so painful? ment, Jack only laughed at first, Do you mean to say that he does except for the sake of some dear not love me?"
friends of his, who were hit rather “Better than his life, I believe; hard; it appeared so ridiculous to and better even than his money. suppose that a firm like his could But how does that bear upon the be affected. But there proved to matter? They don't quote love be something, I cannot quite underupon the Stock Exchange.' stand it, although I keep my books "Oh George!
And you think 80 clearly that I know every faryou are a business man!” Grace thing owing to me, something, smiled gloriously through her tears, some involvement, some terrible possibly through her triumph over affair, which will force him to give me, probably through the joy of up the Hall, and the shooting, and my assurance. “Can anybody do the pedigree Butterfly cows, and two things at once ? Could my Jack attend to ups and downs, keep “ Don't let him do it. Don't his whole mind intent on Argen- hear of it for a moment. You will tinas, contangoes, fundangoes, hold- never get such another fellow," I overs, and holdunders, and even exclaimed, as she turned away to unspeakable Turks with fifty wives, wipe her glistening cheeks.
" He'll when the whole of his pure heart come round as right as a roach in was down here? Why he only the end. You didn't let him off on went up about once a-week, if he that tack, I hope.” could get me to go out nutting with “ As for letting him off, dear
George, is he a trout that I should Alas, I see. Neglected busi- treat him so? He is not like a slip
Loft understrappers, and pery fish for a moment, but a deepdashing young clerks, and trusty hearted, true-hearted, wonderful man. old codgers with pens behind their Why his conversation is as different ears to stick to the stools ; while he from yours—but I will not deprecimade sweet hay. But there must ate you, unless you go against me. be something more than that.” Only I should like to know how I
“You turn everything into vul- can help myself. When a gentlegarity, George. And you
are capable man says— I am truly sorry, but I of laughing at the most sacred can't have any more to do with you' things. But there was more than -oh dear, oh dear, what can any that, and a great deal more than lady do?” that. You may have heard him "Lay hold of his coat, and say, speak in his grand confiding manner None of that nonsense! I am the of a man named Franks, who has best judge of that question, and I been with him many years.
He have settled it the other way; has promoted him from place to unless you put up the bans within place, and trusted him with almost a month, you must favour me with everything; and I do believe that the address of your Solicitors.'” Franks had no intention of doing “Don't laugh at me.
I have anything crooked. And he spoke never laughed at you.
I did tell in the most enthusiastic terms of him over and over again that the me, though of course they never money could never make any differmention such a subject in the office. ence to me, and indeed that I was
very glad, except for his sake, flower-pot, and wait to be coaxed because then nobody could ever say home, when the tea is getting cold. —but he talked of the duty of a There is something very large in man, and so forth, and the crime of the character of Slemmick, and he allowing me to sacrifice myself, and shows it by his confidence in fema Cranleigh the wife of a bankrupt, inine affection. At the same time, and I don't know what else, for I it does appear a little small of you, broke down then, and he was to quote Mother Slemmick against obliged-
She is married, and cannot “Of course he was—any amount help herself.” of physical sustentation, as the “Hear, hear!” I cried, leaving reporters call it. But leave it to her to put the point to it; which me, my dear. Where is he now? she did with a blush, and a very Too late for him to go back to cheerful smile.
Then she gave me London, I should think. But I a kiss, to make up for little words ; wonder he didn't come to see me.” and I set out to see what I could
“He did. But you were not to do for her. be found. Oh George, I am thinking I found the poor Stockbroker of every one of us. What shall we looking stock-broken, and sitting do? The Hall will be thrown upon on a hard chair, with his long legs our hands again, at a time of year crossed. when you would as soon live in a “Off for the Mediterranean?" hearse. And Harold has made I asked ; and he said — “Bay of another of his great hits, which Biscay, or Bay of Fundy. Going always cost a hundred pounds, and to the bottom anyhow." never produce a penny. How often “Rot!" I replied, with less I wish that I werelikeold Sally, with- elegance than terseness. “ Don't out any pedigree Butterfly blood, and try to make me think that you allowed to go and rout my husband would ever throw the sponge up. up, just as Mrs Slemmick is !”
I know you a bit better than that, “She routed him out from the Jackson Stoneman.” root - house, last week,” said I, “Would you like me to be a being glad of any frivolous turn thief, George Cranleigh ? If I that might bring the dry colours choose to be a thief, I can slip out into the rainbow ; "she believed very lightly. But if I prefer to be that he was gone
an honest man, there is very small leaving his wages in his Sunday chance of my doing it. waistcoat pocket, and Snowdrop He told me in a few words what Violet Hyacinth just wheezing into his position was, owing to a panic the whooping-cough. But no; she which had ended in a crash, underrated the nobility of man. through the roguery of a few, and He bad tucked up his legs on a big the folly of the many; and how his flower-pot with a pipe in his mouth; own firm had become involved in and his heart was so full that he thoroughly unsound transactions, was going without breakfast. Are mainly through his own inattention women alone to be considered and his confidence in a very clever faithful ?”
fellow, who had cut things a little “You mean that I am worse than too fine at last, as very clever Mrs Slemmick.” Girls never take fellows nearly always do. the moral of the proverb aright. “We must lose a quarter of a “Very well, I daresay I am. But million,” he said, “even if we pull I will never tuck my feet upon a through at all, which is more than
doubtful. All depends upon to- allow it. A man who knows the morrow. But it is not for myself world would never believe it for that I care, George. It is for your
a moment." darling sister - the best, and the “ Then he must know a very bad bravest, and the most unselfish world, and be a worthy member of girl - why she wanted to stick to it. What do you suppose I would me through everything! She be- have done to my sister, if she had haved as if it could make no differ- been mean enough to shy off, ence between us."
because of your misfortune ?” “I should hope so indeed. I “How can I tell, George? You would disown her if she did other- are one of the most pig-headed wise. Did you think that she was fellows going. But you could not going to have you for your money, have been angry with her, for not Jackson ?"
being quite as stubborn as you “I am not quite so bad as that, you may be sure.
Still you must “Jackson, this is what I would excuse a modest fellow for thinking have done. I would have taken the his money the best part of him." mane-scissors that hang above my Here I was glad to see one of his mantel, and shorn off her great crop old dry smiles. “But the point of of hair to her ears. No gold for it is this, as you know well enough her there, if her heart were all without my telling - I can have pinchbeck.” nothing more to say to Grace; Stoneman looked at me with who was worth all my cash, and outraged feelings.
“Not even my credit, and ambitions, and brother could do that,” he said, everything except my conscience to “brutal as brothers by nature seem me.
to be. But without any humbug, “That is all very fine, and very George, do you really mean that lofty in its way,” I answered with you wish it to go on?” a superior smile, which refreshed “If I did not, I should be a him as it was meant to do; " and wretched snob. It was not for among City people it may hold good, money that you wanted Grace ; or the big world of the Clubland. and you insult her by fancying that But no sound Englishman takes it she wanted you for yours."
You don't suppose that my "All this is very pleasant docfather approved of your going in trine, and an edifying parable for for our Grace, because you then little boys and girls ;” the stockwere a wealthy man, I should hope." broker had a peculiar trick of showI spoke with strong confidence; ing his keen eyes as if in a gable, but perhaps the strength of it was when his mind was puzzled or chiefly in my voice.
excited ; “but it would not hold “God forbid !” he replied with water, George, either in a court of horror; while I tried not to doubt honour, or a council of wisdom. that God had forbidden. “No, Grace is entitled, both by birth and I am well aware that Sir Harold beauty, and I am sure that I might disliked it from the first, and Lady say by intellect as well, to a position Cranleigh even more. It was noth- which high rank alone, or wealth ing but the goodness of dear Grace. on her husband's part can secure. And that makes it such a frightful High rank I cannot give her. thing for me. Why, that Angel Wealth I could have given. But was ready to stick to me, like the prospect of that has vanished, like a brick, if I only would and with it vanishes all my hope of