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Henrietta Temple - A Love Story
by Benjamin Disraeli
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It was in this mood, exhausted by a visit to his lawyer, that he stepped into a military club and took up a newspaper. Caring little for politics, his eye wandered over, uninterested, its pugnacious leading articles and tedious parliamentary reports; and he was about to throw it down when a paragraph caught his notice which instantly engrossed all his attention. It was in the 'Morning Post' that he thus read:

'The Marquis of Montfort, the eldest son of the Duke of———, whose return to England we recently noticed, has resided for several years in Italy. His lordship is considered one of the most accomplished noblemen of the day, and was celebrated at Rome for his patronage of the arts. Lord Montfort will shortly be united to the beautiful Miss Temple, the only daughter of the Right Honourable Pelham Temple. Miss Temple is esteemed one of the richest heiresses in England, as she will doubtless inherit the whole of the immense fortune to which her father so unexpectedly acceded. Mr. Temple is a widower, and has no son. Mr. Temple was formerly our minister at several of the German Courts, where he was distinguished by his abilities and his hospitality to his travelling countrymen. It is said that the rent-roll of the Yorkshire estates of the late Sir Temple Devereux is not less than 15,000L. per annum. The personal property is also very considerable. We understand that Mr. Temple has purchased the mansion of the Duke of ——-, in Grosvenor-square. Lord Montfort accompanied Mr. Temple and his amiable daughter to this country.'

What a wild and fiery chaos was the mind of Ferdinand Armine when he read this paragraph. The wonders it revealed succeeded each other with such rapidity that for some time he was deprived of the power of reflection. Henrietta Temple in England! Henrietta Temple one of the greatest heiresses in the country! Henrietta Temple about to be immediately married to another! His Henrietta Temple, the Henrietta Temple whom he adored, and by whom he had been worshipped! The Henrietta Temple whose beautiful lock of hair was at this very moment on his heart! The Henrietta Temple for whom he had forfeited fortune, family, power, almost life!

O Woman, Woman! Put not thy trust in woman! And yet, could he reproach her? Did she not believe herself trifled with by him, outraged, deceived, deluded, deserted? And did she, could she love another? Was there another to whom she had poured forth her heart as to him, and all that beautiful flow of fascinating and unrivalled emotion? Was there another to whom she had pledged her pure and passionate soul? Ah, no! he would not, he could not believe it. Light and false Henrietta could never be. She had been seen, she had been admired, she had been loved: who that saw her would not admire and love? and he was the victim of her pique, perhaps of her despair.

But she was not yet married. They were, according to these lines, to be soon united. It appeared they had travelled together; that thought gave him a pang. Could he not see her? Could he not explain all? Could he not prove that his heart had ever been true and fond? Could he not tell her all that had happened, all that he had suffered, all the madness of his misery; and could she resist that voice whose accents had once been her joy, that glance which had once filled her heart with rapture? And when she found that Ferdinand, her own Ferdinand, had indeed never deceived her, was worthy of her choice affection, and suffering even at this moment for her sweet sake, what were all the cold-blooded ties in which she had since involved herself? She was his by an older and more ardent bond. Should he not claim his right? Could she deny it?

Claim what? The hand of an heiress. Should it be said that an Armine came crouching for lucre, where he ought to have commanded for love? Never! Whatever she might think, his conduct had been faultless to her. It was not for Henrietta to complain. She was not the victim, if one indeed there might chance to be. He had loved her, she had returned his passion; for her sake he had made the greatest of sacrifices, forfeited a splendid inheritance, and a fond and faithful heart. When he had thought of her before, pining perhaps in some foreign solitude, he had never ceased reproaching himself for his conduct, and had accused himself of deception and cruelty; but now, in this moment of her flush prosperity, 'esteemed one of the richest heiresses in England' (he ground his teeth as he recalled that phrase), and the affianced bride of a great noble (his old companion, Lord Montfort, too; what a strange thing is life!), proud, smiling, and prosperous, while he was alone, with a broken heart and worse than desperate fortunes, and all for her sake, his soul became bitter: he reproached her with want of feeling; he pictured her as void of genuine sensibility; he dilated on her indifference since they had parted; her silence, so strange, now no longer inexplicable; the total want of interest she had exhibited as to his career; he sneered at the lightness of her temperament; he cursed her caprice; he denounced her infernal treachery; in the distorted phantom of his agonised imagination she became to him even an object of hatred.

Poor Ferdinand Armine! it was the first time he had experienced the maddening pangs of jealousy.

Yet how he had loved this woman! How he had doated on her! And now they might have been so happy! There is nothing that depresses a man so much as the conviction of bad fortune. There seemed, in this sudden return, great wealth, and impending marriage of Henrietta Temple, such a combination, so far as Ferdinand Armine was concerned, of vexatious circumstances; it would appear that he had been so near perfect happiness and missed it, that he felt quite weary of existence, and seriously meditated depriving himself of it.

It so happened that he had promised this day to dine at his cousin's; for Glastonbury, who was usually his companion, had accepted an invitation this day to dine with the noble widow of his old patron. Ferdinand, however, found himself quite incapable of entering into any society, and he hurried to his hotel to send a note of excuse to Brook-street. As he arrived, Glastonbury was just about to step into a hackney-coach, so that Ferdinand had no opportunity of communicating his sorrows to his friend, even had he been inclined.



CHAPTER III.

In Which Glastonbury Meets the Very Last Person in the World He Expected, and the Strange Consequences.

WHEN Glastonbury arrived at the mansion of the good old duchess, he found nobody in the drawing-room but a young man of distinguished appearance, whose person was unknown to him, but who nevertheless greeted him with remarkable cordiality. The good Glastonbury returned, with some confusion, his warm salutation.

'It is many years since we last met, Mr. Glastonbury,' said the young man. 'I am not surprised you have forgotten me. I am Digby; perhaps you recollect me?'

'My dear child! My dear lord! You have indeed changed! You are a man, and I am a very old one.' 'Nay! my dear sir, I observe little change. Believe me, I have often recalled your image in my long absence, and I find now that my memory has not deceived me.'

Glastonbury and his companion fell into some conversation about the latter's travels, and residence at Rome, in the midst of which their hostess entered.

'I have asked you, my dear sir, to meet our family circle,' said her Grace, 'for I do not think I can well ask you to meet any who love you better. It is long since you have seen Digby.'

'Mr. Glastonbury did not recognise me, grandmamma,' said Lord Montfort.

'These sweet children have all grown out of your sight, Mr. Glastonbury,' said the duchess; 'but they are very good. And as for Digby, I really think he comes to see his poor grandmother every day.'

The duke and duchess, and two young daughters, were now announced.

'I was so sorry that I was not at home when you called, Glastonbury,' said his Grace; 'but I thought I should soon hear of you at grandmamma's.'

'And, dear Mr. Glastonbury, why did you not come up and see me?' said the younger duchess.

'And, dear Mr. Glastonbury, do you remember me?' said one beautiful daughter.

'And me, Mr. Glastonbury, me? I am Isabella.'

Blushing, smiling, bowing, constrained from the novelty of his situation, and yet every now and then quite at ease when his ear recalled a familiar voice, dear Mr. Glastonbury was gratified and happy. The duke took him aside, and they were soon engaged in conversation.

'How is Henrietta to-day, Digby?' enquired Isabella.

'I left her an hour ago; we have been riding, and expected to meet you all. She will be here immediately.'

There was a knock, and soon the drawing-room door opened, and Miss Temple was announced.

'I must make papa's apologies,' said Henrietta, advancing and embracing the old duchess. 'I hope he may get here in the evening: but he bade me remind your Grace that your kind invitation was only provisionally accepted.'

'He is quite right,' said the old lady; 'and indeed I hardly expected him, for he told me there was a public dinner which he was obliged to attend. I am sure that our dinner is a very private one indeed,' continued the old lady with a smile. 'It is really a family party, though there is one member of the family here whom you do not know, my dear Miss Temple, and whom, I am sure, you will love as much as all of us do. Digby, where is———'

At this moment dinner was announced. Lord Montfort offered his arm to Henrietta. 'There, lead the way,' said the old lady; 'the girls must beau themselves, for I have no young men to-day for them. I suppose man and wife must be parted, so I must take my son's arm; Mr. Glastonbury, you will hand down the duchess.' But before Glastonbury's name was mentioned Henrietta was half-way down stairs.

The duke and his son presided at the dinner. Henrietta sat on one side of Lord Montfort, his mother on the other. Glastonbury sat on the right hand of the duke, and opposite their hostess; the two young ladies in the middle. All the guests had been seated without Glastonbury and Henrietta recognising each other; and, as he sat on the same side of the table as Miss Temple, it was not until Lord Montfort asked Mr. Glastonbury to take wine with him, that Henrietta heard a name that might well indeed turn her pale.

Glastonbury! It never entered into her head at the moment that it was the Mr. Glastonbury whom she had known. Glastonbury! what a name! What dreadful associations did it not induce! She looked forward, she caught the well-remembered visage; she sunk back in her chair. But Henrietta Temple had a strong mind; this was surely an occasion to prove it. Mr. Glastonbury's attention was not attracted to her: he knew, indeed, that there was a lady at the table, called Henrietta, but he was engrossed with his neighbours, and his eye never caught the daughter of Mr. Temple. It was not until the ladies rose to retire that Mr. Glastonbury beheld that form which he had not forgotten, and looked upon a lady whose name was associated in his memory with the most disastrous and mournful moments of his life. Miss Temple followed the duchess out of the room, and Glastonbury, perplexed and agitated, resumed his seat.

But Henrietta was the prey of emotions far more acute and distracting. It seemed to her that she had really been unacquainted with the state of her heart until this sudden apparition of Glastonbury. How his image recalled the past! She had schooled herself to consider it all a dream; now it lived before her. Here was one of the principal performers in that fatal tragedy of Armine. Glastonbury in the house, under the same roof as she? Where was Ferdinand? There was one at hand who could tell her. Was he married? She had enjoyed no opportunity of ascertaining it since her return: she had not dared to ask. Of course he was married; but was he happy? And Glastonbury, who, if he did not know all, knew so much. How strange it must be to Glastonbury to meet her! Dear Glastonbury! She had not forgotten the days when she so fondly listened to Ferdinand's charming narratives of all his amiable and simple life! Dear, dear Glastonbury, whom she was so to love! And she met him now, and did not speak to him, or looked upon him as a stranger; and he—he would, perhaps, look upon her with pity, certainly with pain. O Life! what a heart-breaking thing is life! And our affections, our sweet and pure affections, fountains of such joy and solace, that nourish all things, and make the most barren and rigid soil teem with life and beauty, oh! why do we disturb the flow of their sweet waters, and pollute their immaculate and salutary source! Ferdinand, Ferdinand Armine, why were you false?

The door opened. Mr. Glastonbury entered, followed by the duke and his son. Henrietta was sitting in an easy chair, one of Lord Montfort's sisters, seated on an ottoman at her side, held her hand. Henrietta's eye met Glastonbury's; she bowed to him.

'How your hand trembles, Henrietta!' said the young lady.

Glastonbury approached her with a hesitating step. He blushed faintly, he looked exceedingly perplexed. At length he reached her, and stood before her, and said nothing.

'You have forgotten me, Mr. Glastonbury,' said Henrietta; for it was absolutely necessary that some one should break the awkward silence, and she pointed to a chair at her side.

'That would indeed be impossible,' said Glastonbury.

'Oh, you knew Mr. Glastonbury before,' said the young lady. 'Grandmamma, only think, Henrietta knew Mr. Glastonbury before.'

'We were neighbours in Nottinghamshire,' said Henrietta, in a quick tone.

'Isabella,' said her sister, who was seated at the piano, 'the harp awaits you.' Isabella rose, Lord Montfort was approaching Henrietta, when the old duchess called to him.

Henrietta and Glastonbury were alone.

'This is a strange meeting, Mr. Glastonbury,' said Henrietta.

What could poor Glastonbury say? Something he murmured, but not very much to the purpose. 'Have you been in Nottinghamshire lately?' said Henrietta.

'I left it about ten days back with——-,' and here Glastonbury stopped, 'with a friend,' he concluded.

'I trust all your friends are well,' said Henrietta, in a tremulous voice.

'No; yes; that is,' said Glastonbury, 'something better than they were.'

'I am sorry that my father is not here,' said Miss Temple; 'he has a lively remembrance of all your kindness.'

'Kindness, I fear,' said Glastonbury, in a melancholy tone, 'that was most unfortunate.'

'We do not deem it so, sir,' was the reply.

'My dear young lady,' said Glastonbury, but his voice faltered as he added, 'we have had great unhappiness.'

'I regret it,' said Henrietta. 'You had a marriage, I believe, expected in your family?'

'It has not occurred,' said Glastonbury.

'Indeed!'

'Alas! madam,' said her companion, 'if I might venture indeed to speak of one whom I will not name, and yet——-'

'Pray speak, sir,' said Miss Temple, in a kind, yet hushed voice.

'The child of our affections, madam, is not what he was. God, in His infinite mercy, has visited him with great afflictions.'

'You speak of Captain Armine, sir?'

'I speak indeed of my broken-hearted Ferdinand; I would I could say yours. O Miss Temple, he is a wreck.' 'Yes! yes!' said Henrietta in a low tone.

'What he has endured,' continued Glastonbury, 'passes all description of mine. His life has indeed been spared, but under circumstances that almost make me regret he lives.'

'He has not married!' muttered Henrietta.

'He came to Ducie to claim his bride, and she was gone,' said Glastonbury; 'his mind sunk under the terrible bereavement. For weeks he was a maniac; and, though Providence spared him again to us, and his mind, thanks to God, is again whole, he is the victim of a profound melancholy, that seems to defy alike medical skill and worldly vicissitude.'

'Digby, Digby!' exclaimed Isabella, who was at the harp, 'Henrietta is fainting.' Lord Montfort rushed forward just in time to seize her cold hand.

'The room is too hot,' said one sister.

'The coffee is too strong,' said the other.

'Air,' said the young duchess.

Lord Montfort carried Henrietta into a distant room. There was a balcony opening into a garden. He seated her on a bench, and never quitted her side, but contrived to prevent anyone approaching her. The women clustered together.

'Sweet creature!' said the old duchess, 'she often makes me tremble; she has but just recovered, Mr. Glastonbury, from a long and terrible illness.'

'Indeed!' said Glastonbury.

'Poor dear Digby,' continued her grace, 'this will quite upset him again. He was in such spirits about her health the other day.'

'Lord Montfort?' enquired Glastonbury.

'Our Digby. You know that he is to be married to Henrietta next month.'

'Holy Virgin!' muttered Glastonbury; and, seizing advantage of the confusion, he effected his escape.



BOOK VI. [CONTINUED]



CHAPTER IV.

In Which Mr. Glastonbury Informs Captain Armine of His Meeting with Miss Temple.

IT WAS still an early hour when Mr. Glastonbury arrived at his hotel. He understood, however, that Captain Armine had already returned and retired. Glastonbury knocked gently at his door, and was invited to enter. The good man was pale and agitated. Ferdinand was already in bed. Glastonbury took a chair, and seated himself by his side.

'My dear friend, what is the matter?' said Ferdinand.

'I have seen her, I have seen her!' said Glastonbury.

'Henrietta! seen Henrietta?' enquired Ferdinand.

Glastonbury nodded assent, but with a most rueful expression of countenance.

'What has happened? what did she say?' asked Ferdinand in a quick voice.

'You are two innocent lambs,' said Glastonbury, rubbing his hands.

'Speak, speak, my Glastonbury.'

'I wish that my death could make you both happy,' said Glastonbury; 'but I fear that would do you no good.'

'Is there any hope?' said Ferdinand. 'None!' said Glastonbury. 'Prepare yourself, my dear child, for the worst.'

'Is she married?' enquired Ferdinand.

'No; but she is going to be.'

'I know it,' said Ferdinand.

Glastonbury stared.

'You know it? what! to Digby?'

'Digby, or whatever his name may be; damn him!'

'Hush! hush!' said Glastonbury.

'May all the curses———'

'God forbid,' said Glastonbury, interrupting him.

'Unfeeling, fickle, false, treacherous———'

'She is an angel,' said Glastonbury, 'a very angel. She has fainted, and nearly in my arms.'

'Fainted! nearly in your arms! Oh, tell me all, tell me all, Glastonbury,' exclaimed Ferdinand, starting up in his bed with an eager voice and sparkling eyes. 'Does she love me?'

'I fear so,' said Glastonbury. 'Fear!'

'Oh, how I pity her poor innocent heart!' said Glastonbury.

'When I told her of all your sufferings———'

'Did you tell her? What then?'

'And she herself has barely recovered from a long and terrible illness.'

'My own Henrietta! Now I could die happy,' said Ferdinand.

'I thought it would break your heart,' said Glastonbury.

'It is the only happy moment I have known for months,' said Ferdinand.

'I was so overwhelmed that I lost my presence of mind,' said Glastonbury. 'I really never meant to tell you anything. I do not know how I came into your room.'

'Dear, dear Glastonbury, I am myself again.'

'Only think!' said Glastonbury; 'I never was so unhappy in my life.'

'I have endured for the last four hours the tortures of the damned,' said Ferdinand, 'to think that she was going to be married, to be married to another; that she was happy, proud, prosperous, totally regardless of me, perhaps utterly forgetful of the past; and that I was dying like a dog in this cursed caravanserai! O Glastonbury! nothing that I have ever endured has been equal to the hell of this day. And now you have come and made me comparatively happy. I shall get up directly.'

Glastonbury looked quite astonished; he could not comprehend how his fatal intelligence could have produced effects so directly contrary from those he had anticipated. However, in answer to Ferdinand's reiterated enquiries, he contrived to give a detailed account of everything that had occurred, and Ferdinand's running commentary continued to be one of constant self-congratulation.

'There is, however, one misfortune,' said Ferdinand, 'with which you are unacquainted, my dear friend.'

'Indeed!' said Glastonbury, 'I thought I knew enough.'

'Alas! she has become a great heiress!'

'Is that it?' said Glastonbury.

'There is the blow,' said Ferdinand. 'Were it not for that, by the soul of my grandfather, I would tear her from the arms of this stripling.'

'Stripling!' said Glastonbury. 'I never saw a truer nobleman in my life.'

'Ah!' exclaimed Ferdinand.

'Nay, second scarcely to yourself! I could not believe my eyes,' continued Glastonbury. 'He was but a child when I saw him last; but so were you, Ferdinand. Believe me, he is no ordinary rival.'

'Good-looking?'

'Altogether of a most princely presence. I have rarely met a personage so highly accomplished, or who more quickly impressed you with his moral and intellectual excellence.'

'And they are positively engaged?'

'To be married next month,' replied Glastonbury.

'O Glastonbury! why do I live?' exclaimed Ferdinand; 'why did I recover?'

'My dear child, but just now you were comparatively happy.'

'Happy! You cannot mean to insult me. Happy! Oh, is there in this world a thing so deplorable as I am!'

'I thought I did wrong to say anything,' said Glastonbury, speaking as it were to himself.

Ferdinand made no observation. He turned himself in his bed, with his face averted from Glastonbury.

'Good night,' said Glastonbury, after remaining some time in silence.

'Good night,' said Ferdinand, in a faint and mournful tone.



CHAPTER V.

Which, on the Whole, Is Perhaps as Remarkable a Chapter as Any in the Work.

WRETCHED as he was, the harsh business of life could not be neglected; Captain Armine was obliged to be in Lincoln's Inn by ten o'clock the next morning. It was on his return from his lawyer, as he was about to cross Berkeley-square, that a carriage suddenly stopped in the middle of the road, and a female hand apparently beckoned to him from the window. He was at first very doubtful whether he were indeed the person to whom the signal was addressed, but as on looking around there was not a single human being in sight, he at length slowly approached the equipage, from which a white handkerchief now waved with considerable agitation. Somewhat perplexed by this incident, the mystery was, however, immediately explained by the voice of Lady Bellair.

'You wicked man,' said her little ladyship, in a great rage. 'Oh! how I hate you! I could cut you up into minced meat; that I could. Here I have been giving parties every night, all for you too. And you have been in town, and never called on me. Tell me your name. How is your wife? Oh! you are not married. You should marry; I hate a ci-devant jeune homme. However, you can wait a little. Here, James, Thomas, Peter, what is your name, open the door and let him in. There get in, get in; I have a great deal to say to you.' And Ferdinand found that it was absolutely necessary to comply.

'Now, where shall we go?' said her ladyship; 'I have got till two o'clock. I make it a rule to be at home every day from two till six, to receive my friends. You must come and call upon me. You may come every day if you like. Do not leave your card. I hate people who leave cards. I never see them; I order all to be burnt. I cannot bear people who leave bits of paper at my house. Do you want to go anywhere? You do not! Why do not you? How is your worthy father, Sir Peter? Is his name Sir Peter or Sir Paul? Well, never mind, you know whom I mean. And your charming mother, my favourite friend? She is charming; she is quite one of my favourites. And were not you to marry? Tell me, why have you not? Miss—Miss—you know whom I mean, whose grandfather was my son's friend. In town, are they? Where do they live? Brook-street! I will go and call upon them. There, pull the string, and tell him where they live.'

And so, in a few minutes, Lady Bellair's carriage stopped opposite the house of Miss Grandison.

'Are they early risers?' said her ladyship; 'I get up every morning at six. I dare say they will not receive me; but do you show yourself, and then they cannot refuse.'

In consequence of this diplomatic movement Lady Bellair effected an entrance. Leaning on the arm of Ferdinand, her ladyship was ushered into the morning-room, where she found Lady Armine and Katherine.

'My dear lady, how do you do? And my sweet miss! Oh! your eyes are so bright, that it quite makes me young to look upon them! I quite love you, that I do. Your grandfather and my poor son were bosom friends. And, my dear lady, where have you been all this time? Here have I been giving parties every night, and all for you; all for my Bath friends; telling everybody about you; talking of nothing else; everybody longing to see you; and you have never been near me. My dinner-parties are over; I shall not give any more dinners until June. But I have three evenings yet; to-night, you must come to me to-night, and Thursday, and Saturday; you must come on all three nights. Oh! why did you not call upon me? I should have asked you to dinner. I would have asked you to meet Lord Colonnade and Lady Ionia! They would have just suited you; they would have tasted you! But I tell you what I will do; I will come and dine with you some day. Now, when will you have me? Let me see, when am I. free?' So saying, her ladyship opened a little red book, which was her inseparable companion in London. 'All this week I am ticketed; Monday, the Derricourts, dull, but then he is a duke. Tuesday I dine with Bonmot; we have made it up; he gives me a dinner. Wednesday, Wednesday, where is Wednesday? General Faneville, my own party. Thursday, the Maxburys, bad dinner, but good company. Friday, Waring Cutts, a famous house for eating; but that is not in my way; however, I must go, for he sends me pines. And Saturday, I dine off a rabbit, by myself, at one o'clock, to go and see my dear darling Lady St. Julians at Richmond. So it cannot be this or next week. I will send you a note; I will tell you to-night. And now I must go, for it is five minutes to two, I am always at home from two till six; I receive my friends; you may come every day, and you must come to see my new squirrel; my darling, funny little grandson gave it me. And, my dear miss, where is that wicked Lady Grandison? Do you ever see her, or are you enemies? She has got the estate, has not she? She never calls upon me. Tell her she is one of my greatest favourites. Oh! why does not she come? I should have asked her to dinner; and now all my dinners are over till June. Tell me where she lives, and I will call upon her to-morrow.'

So saying, and bidding them all farewell very cordially, her ladyship took Ferdinand's arm and retired.

Captain Armine returned to his mother and cousin, and sat an hour with them, until their carriage was announced. Just as he was going away, he observed Lady Bellair's little red book, which she had left behind.

'Poor Lady Bellair, what will she do?' said Miss Grandison; 'we must take it to her immediately.'

'I will leave it,' said Ferdinand, 'I shall pass her house.'

Bellair House was the prettiest mansion in May Fair. It was a long building, in the Italian style, situate in the midst of gardens, which, though not very extensive, were laid out with so much art and taste, that it was very difficult to believe that you were in a great city. The house was furnished and adorned with all that taste for which Lady Bellair was distinguished. All the reception rooms were on the ground floor, and were all connected. Ferdinand, who remembered Lady Bellair's injunctions not to leave cards, attracted by the spot, and not knowing what to do with himself, determined to pay her ladyship a visit, and was ushered into an octagon library, lined with well-laden dwarf cases of brilliant volumes, crowned with no lack of marble busts, bronzes, and Etruscan vases. On each side opened a magnificent saloon, furnished in that classic style which the late accomplished and ingenious Mr. Hope first rendered popular in this country. The wings, projecting far into the gardens, comprised respectively a dining-room and a conservatory of considerable dimensions. Isolated in the midst of the gardens was a long building, called the summer-room, lined with Indian matting, and screened on one side from the air merely by Venetian blinds. The walls of this chamber were almost entirely covered with caricatures, and prints of the country seats of Lady Bellair's friends, all of which she took care to visit. Here also were her parrots, and some birds of a sweeter voice, a monkey, and the famous squirrel.

Lady Bellair was seated in a chair, the back of which was much higher than her head; at her side was a little table with writing materials, on which also was placed a magnificent bell, by Benvenuto Cellini, with which her ladyship summoned her page, who, in the meantime, loitered in the hall.

'You have brought me my book!' she exclaimed, as Ferdinand entered with the mystical volume. 'Give it me, give it me. Here I cannot tell Mrs. Fancourt what day I can dine with her. I am engaged all this week and all next, and I am to dine with your dear family when I like. But Mrs. Fancourt must choose her day, because they will keep. You do not know this gentleman,' she said, turning to Mrs. Fan-court. 'Well, I shall not introduce you; he will not suit you; he is a fine gentleman, and only dines, with dukes.'

Mrs. Fancourt consequently looked very anxious for an introduction.

'General Faneville,' Lady Bellair continued, to a gentleman on her left, 'what day do I dine with you? Wednesday. Is our party full? You must make room for him; he is my greatest favourite. All the ladies are in love with him.'

General Faneville expressed his deep sense of the high honour; Ferdinand protested he was engaged on Wednesday; Mrs. Fancourt looked very disappointed that she had thus lost another opportunity of learning the name of so distinguished a personage.

There was another knock. Mrs. Fancourt departed. Lady Maxbury, and her daughter, Lady Selina, were announced.

'Have you got him?' asked Lady Bellair, very eagerly, as her new visitors entered.

'He has promised most positively,' answered Lady Maxbury.

'Dear, good creature!' exclaimed Lady Bellair, 'you are the dearest creature that I know. And you are charming,' she continued, addressing herself to Lady Selina; 'if I were a man, I would marry you directly. There now, he (turning to Ferdinand) cannot marry you, because he is married already; but he should, if he were not. And how will he come?' enquired Lady Bellair.

'He will find his way,' said Lady Maxbury.

'And I am not to pay anything?' enquired Lady Bellair.

'Not anything,' said Lady Maxbury.

'I cannot bear paying,' said Lady Bellair. 'But will he dance, and will he bring his bows and arrows? Lord Dorfield protests 'tis nothing without the bows and arrows.'

'What, the New Zealand chief, Lady Bellair?' enquired the general.

'Have you seen him?' enquired Lady Bellair, eagerly.

'Not yet,' replied the gentleman.

'Well, then, you will see him to-night,' said Lady Bellair, with an air of triumph. 'He is coming to me to-night.'

Ferdinand rose, and was about to depart.

'You must not go without seeing my squirrel,' said her ladyship, 'that my dear funny grandson gave me: he is such a funny boy. You must see it, you must see it,' added her ladyship, in a peremptory tone. 'There, go out of that door, and you will find your way to my summer-room, and there you will find my squirrel.'

The restless Ferdinand was content to quit the library, even with the stipulation of first visiting the squirrel. He walked through a saloon, entered the conservatory, emerged into the garden, and at length found himself in the long summer-room. At the end of the room a lady was seated, looking over a book of prints; as she heard a footstep she raised her eyes, and Ferdinand beheld Henrietta Temple.

He was speechless; he felt rooted to the ground; all power of thought and motion alike deserted him.

There he stood, confounded and aghast. Nor indeed was his companion less disturbed. She remained with her eyes fixed on Ferdinand with an expression of fear, astonishment, and distress impressed upon her features. At length Ferdinand in some degree rallied, and he followed the first impulse of his mind, when mind indeed returned to him: he moved to retire.

He had retraced half his steps, when a voice, if human voice indeed it were that sent forth tones so full of choking anguish, pronounced his name.

'Captain Armine!' said the voice.

How he trembled, yet mechanically obedient to his first impulse, he still proceeded to the door.

'Ferdinand!' said the voice.

He stopped, he turned, she waved her hand wildly, and then leaning her arm on the table, buried her face in it. Ferdinand walked to the table at which she was sitting; she heard his footstep near her, yet she neither looked up nor spoke. At length he said, in a still yet clear voice, 'I am here.'

'I have seen Mr. Glastonbury,' she muttered.

'I know it,' he replied.

'Your illness has distressed me,' she said, after a slight pause, her face still concealed, and speaking in a hushed tone. Ferdinand made no reply, and there was another pause, which Miss Temple broke.

'I would that we were at least friends,' she said. The tears came into Ferdinand's eyes when she said this, for her tone, though low, was now sweet. It touched his heart.

'Our mutual feelings now are of little consequence,' he replied.

She sighed, but made no reply. At length Ferdinand said, 'Farewell, Miss Temple.'

She started, she looked up, her mournful countenance harrowed his heart. He knew not what to do; what to say. He could not bear her glance; he in his turn averted his eyes.

'Our misery is—has been great,' she said in a firmer tone, 'but was it of my making?'

'The miserable can bear reproaches; do not spare me. My situation, however, proves my sincerity. I have erred certainly,' said Ferdinand; 'I could not believe that you could have doubted me. It was a mistake,' he added, in a tone of great bitterness.

Miss Temple again covered her face as she said, 'I cannot recall the past: I wish not to dwell on it. I desire only to express to you the interest I take in your welfare, my hope that you may yet be happy. Yes! you can be happy, Ferdinand; Ferdinand, for my sake you will be happy.'

'O Henrietta, if Henrietta I indeed may call you, this is worse than that death I curse myself for having escaped.'

'No, Ferdinand, say not that. Exert yourself, only exert yourself, bear up against irresistible fate. Your cousin, everyone says she is so amiable; surely———'

'Farewell, madam, I thank you for your counsel.'

'No, Ferdinand, you shall not go, you shall not go in anger. Pardon me, pity me, I spoke for your sake, I spoke for the best.'

'I, at least, will never be false,' said Ferdinand with energy. 'It shall not be said of me that I broke vows consecrated by the finest emotions of our nature. No, no, I have had my dream; it was but a dream: but while I live, I will live upon its sweet memory.'

'Ah! Ferdinand, why were you not frank; why did you conceal your situation from me?'

'No explanation of mine can change our respective situations,' said Ferdinand; 'I content myself therefore by saying that it was not Miss Temple who had occasion to criticise my conduct.'

'You are bitter.'

'The lady whom I injured, pardoned me. She is the most generous, the most amiable of her sex; if only in gratitude for all her surpassing goodness, I would never affect to offer her a heart which never can be hers. Katherine is indeed more than woman. Amid my many and almost unparalleled sorrows, one of my keenest pangs is the recollection that I should have clouded the life, even for a moment, of that admirable person. Alas! alas! that in all my misery the only woman who sympathises with my wretchedness is the woman I have injured. And so delicate as well as so generous! She would not even enquire the name of the individual who had occasioned our mutual desolation.'

'Would that she knew all,' murmured Henrietta; 'would that I knew her.'

'Your acquaintance could not influence affairs. My very affection for my cousin, the complete appreciation which I now possess of her character, before so little estimated and so feebly comprehended by me, is the very circumstance that, with my feelings, would prevent our union. She may, I am confident she will, yet be happy. I can never make her so. Our engagement in old days was rather the result of family arrangements than of any sympathy. I love her far better now than I did then, and yet she is the very last person in the world that I would marry. I trust, I believe, that my conduct, if it have clouded for a moment her life, will not ultimately, will not long obscure it; and she has every charm and virtue and accident of fortune to attract the admiration and attention of the most favoured. Her feelings towards me at any time could have been but mild and calm. It is a mere abuse of terms to style such sentiments love. But,' added he sarcastically, 'this is too delicate a subject for me to dilate on to Miss Temple.'

'For God's sake, do not be so bitter!' she exclaimed; and then she added, in a voice half of anguish, half of tenderness, 'Let me never be taunted by those lips! O Ferdinand, why cannot we be friends?'

'Because we are more than friends. To me such a word from your lips is mere mockery. Let us never meet. That alone remains for us. Little did I suppose that we ever should have met again. I go nowhere, I enter no single house; my visit here this morning was one of those whimsical vagaries which cannot be counted on. This old lady indeed seems, somehow or other, connected with our destiny. I believe I am greatly indebted to her.'

The page entered the room. 'Miss Temple,' said the lad, 'my lady bid me say the duchess and Lord Montfort were here.'

Ferdinand started, and darting, almost unconsciously, a glance of fierce reproach at the miserable Henrietta, he rushed out of the room and made his escape from Bellair House without re-entering the library.



CHAPTER VI.

Containing an Evening Assembly at Bellair House.

SEATED on an ottoman in the octagon library, occasionally throwing a glance at her illuminated and crowded saloons, or beckoning, with a fan almost as long as herself, to a distant guest, Lady Bellair received the world on the evening of the day that had witnessed the strange rencontre between Henrietta Temple and Ferdinand Armine. Her page, who stood at the library-door in a new fancy dress, received the announcement of the company from the other servants, and himself communicated the information to his mistress.

'Mr. Million de Stockville, my lady,' said the page.

'Hem!' said her ladyship, rather gruffly, as, with no very amiable expression of countenance, she bowed, with her haughtiest dignity, to a rather common-looking personage in a gorgeously-embroidered waistcoat.

'Lady Ionia Colonnade, my lady.' Lady Bellair bestowed a smiling nod on this fair and classic dame, and even indicated, by a movement of her fan, that she might take a seat on her ottoman.

'Sir Ratcliffe and Lady Armine, my lady, and Miss Grandison.'

'Dear, good people!' exclaimed Lady Bellair, 'how late you are! and where is your wicked son? There, go into the next room, go, go, and see the wonderful man. Lady Ionia, you must know Lady Armine; she is like you; she is one of my favourites. Now then, there all of you go together. I will not have anybody stay here except my niece. This is my niece,' Lady Bellair added, pointing to a young lady seated by her side; 'I give this party for her.' 'General Faneville, my lady.' 'You are very late,' said Lady Bellair. 'I dined at Lord Rochfort's,' said the general bowing.

'Rochfort's! Oh! where are they? where are the Rochforts? they ought to be here. I must, I will see them. Do you think Lady Rochfort wants a nursery governess? Because I have a charming person who would just suit her. Go and find her out, General, and enquire; and if she do not want one, find out some one who does. Ask Lady Maxbury. There, go, go.'

'Mr. and Miss Temple, my lady.'

'Oh, my darling!' said Lady Bellair, 'my real darling! sit by me. I sent Lady Ionia away, because I determined to keep this place for you. I give this party entirely in your honour, so you ought to sit here. You are a good man,' she continued, addressing Mr. Temple; 'but I can't love you so well as your daughter.'

'I should be too fortunate,' said Mr. Temple, smiling.

'I knew you when you ate pap,' said Lady Bellair, laughing.

'Mrs. Montgomery Floyd, my lady.'

Lady Bellair assumed her coldest and haughtiest glance. Mrs. Montgomery appeared more gorgeous than ever. The splendour of her sweeping train almost required a page to support it; she held a bouquet which might have served for the centre-piece of a dinner-table. A slender youth, rather distinguished in appearance, simply dressed, with a rose-bud just twisted into his black coat, but whose person distilled odours whose essence might have exhausted a conservatory, lounged at her side.

'May I have the honour to present to your ladyship Lord Catchimwhocan?' breathed forth Mrs. Montgomery, exulting in her companion, perhaps in her conquest.

Lady Bellair gave a short and ungracious nod. Mrs. Montgomery recognised Mr. and Miss Temple. 'There, go, go,' said Lady Bellair, interrupting her, 'nobody must stop here; go and see the wonderful man in the next room.'

'Lady Bellair is so strange,' whimpered Mrs. Montgomery, in an apologetical whisper to Miss Temple, and she moved away, covering her retreat by the graceful person of Lord Catchimwhocan.

'Some Irish guardsman, I suppose,' said Lady Bellair. 'I never heard of him; I hate guardsmen.'

'Rather a distinguished-looking man, I think,' said Mr. Temple.

'Do you think so?' said Lady Bellair, who was always influenced by the last word. 'I will ask him for Thursday and Saturday. I think I must have known his grandfather. I must tell him not to go about with that horrid woman. She is so very fine, and she uses musk; she puts me in mind of the Queen of Sheba,' said the little lady, laughing, 'all precious stones and frankincense. I quite hate her.'

'I thought she was quite one of your favourites, Lady Bellair?' said Henrietta Temple rather maliciously.

'A Bath favourite, my dear; a Bath favourite. I wear my old bonnets at Bath, and use my new friends; but in town I have old friends and new dresses.'

'Lady Frederick Berrington, my lady.' 'Oh! my dear Lady Frederick, now I will give you a treat. I will introduce you to my sweet, sweet friend, whom I am always talking to you of. You deserve to know her; you will taste her; there, sit down, sit by her, and talk to her, and make love to her.'

'Lady Womandeville, my lady.'

'Ah! she will do for the lord; she loves a lord. My dear lady, you come so late, and yet I am always so glad to see you. I have such a charming friend for you, the handsomest, most fashionable, witty person, quite captivating, and his grandfather was one of my dearest friends. What is his name? what is his name? Lord Catchimwhocan. Mind, I introduce you to him, and ask him to your house very often.'

Lady Womandeville smiled, expressed her delight, and moved on.

Lord Montfort, who had arrived before the Temples, approached the ottoman.

'Is the duchess here?' enquired Henrietta, as she shook hands with him.

'And Isabella,' he replied. Henrietta rose, and taking his arm, bid adieu to Lady Bellair.

'God bless you,' said her ladyship, with great emphasis. 'I will not have you speak to that odious Mrs. Floyd, mind.'

When Lord Montfort and Henrietta succeeded in discovering the duchess, she was in the conservatory, which was gaily illuminated with coloured lamps among the shrubs. Her Grace was conversing with cordiality with a lady of very prepossessing appearance, in whom the traces of a beauty once distinguished were indeed still considerable, and her companion, an extremely pretty person, in the very bloom of girlhood. Lord Montfort and Henrietta were immediately introduced to these ladies, as Lady Armine and Miss Grandison. After the scene of the morning, it was not easy to deprive Miss Temple of her equanimity; after that shock, no incident connected with the Armine family could be surprising; she was even desirous of becoming acquainted with Miss Grandison, and she congratulated herself upon the opportunity which had so speedily offered itself to gratify her wishes. The duchess was perfectly delighted with Lady Armine, whose manners were fascinating; between the families there was some connection of blood, and Lady Armine, too, had always retained a lively sense of the old duke's services to her son. Henrietta had even to listen to enquiries made after Ferdinand, and she learnt that he was slowly recovering from an almost fatal illness, that he could not endure the fatigues of society, and that he was even living at an hotel for the sake of quiet. Henrietta watched the countenance of Katherine, as Lady Armine gave this information. It was serious, but not disturbed. Her Grace did not separate from her new friends the whole of the evening, and they parted with a mutually expressed wish that they might speedily and often meet. The duchess pronounced Lady Armine the most charming person she had ever met; while, on the other hand, Miss Grandison was warm in her admiration of Henrietta Temple and Lord Montfort, whom she thought quite worthy even of so rare a prize.



CHAPTER VII.

Containing a Very Important Communication.

BETWEEN the unexpected meeting with Captain Armine in the morning and the evening assembly at Bellair House, a communication had been made by Miss Temple to Lord Montfort, which ought not to be quite unnoticed. She had returned home with his mother and himself, and her silence and depression had not escaped him. Soon after their arrival they were left alone, and then Henrietta said, 'Digby, I wish to speak to you!'

'My own!' said Lord Montfort, as he seated himself by her on the sofa, and took her hand.

Miss Temple was calm; but he would have been a light observer who had not detected her suppressed agitation.

'Dearest Digby,' she continued, 'you are so generous and so kind, that I ought to feel no reluctance in speaking to you upon this subject; and yet it pains me very much.' She hesitated.

'I can only express my sympathy with any sorrow of yours, Henrietta,' said Lord Montfort. 'Speak to me as you always do, with that frankness which so much delights me.'

'Let your thoughts recur to the most painful incident of my life, then,' said Henrietta.

'If you require it,' said Lord Montfort, in a serious tone.

'It is not my fault, dearest Digby, that a single circumstance connected with that unhappy event should be unknown to you. I wished originally that you should know all. I have a thousand times since regretted that your consideration for my feelings should ever have occasioned an imperfect confidence between us; and something has occurred to-day which makes me lament it bitterly.'

'No, no, dearest Henrietta; you feel too keenly,' said Lord Montfort.

'Indeed, Digby, it is so,' said Henrietta very mournfully.

'Speak, then, dearest Henrietta.'

'It is necessary that you should know the name of that person who once exercised an influence over my feelings, which I never affected to disguise to you.'

'Is it indeed necessary?' enquired Lord Montfort.

'It is for my happiness,' replied Henrietta.

'Then, indeed, I am anxious to learn it.'

'He is in this country,' said Henrietta, 'he is in this town; he may be in the same room with you to-morrow; he has been in the same room with me even this day.'

'Indeed!' said Lord Montfort.

'He bears a name not unknown to you,' said Henrietta, 'a name, too, that I must teach myself to mention, and yet———'

Lord Montfort rose and took a pencil and a sheet of paper from the table, 'Write it,' he said in a kind tone.

Henrietta took the pencil, and wrote,

'Armine.'

'The son of Sir Ratcliffe?' said Lord Montfort.

'The same,' replied Henrietta.

'You heard then of him last night?' enquired her companion.

'Even so; of that, too, I was about to speak.'

'I am aware of the connection of Mr. Glastonbury with the Armine family,' said Lord Montfort, quietly.



There was a dead pause. At length Lord Montfort said, 'Is there anything you wish me to do?'

'Much,' said Henrietta. 'Dearest Digby,' she continued, after a moment's hesitation, 'do not misinterpret me; my heart, if such a heart be worth possessing, is yours. I can never forget who solaced me in my misery; I can never forget all your delicate tenderness, Digby. Would that I could make a return to you more worthy of all your goodness; but if the grateful devotion of my life can repay you, you shall be satisfied.'

He took her hand and pressed it to his lips. 'It is of you, and of your happiness that I can alone think,' he murmured.

'Now let me tell you all,' said Henrietta, with desperate firmness. 'I have done this person great injustice.'

'Hah!' said Lord Montfort.

'It cuts me to the heart,' said Henrietta.

'You have then misconceived his conduct?' enquired Lord Montfort.

'Utterly.'

'It is indeed a terrible situation for you,' said Lord Montfort; 'for all of us,' he added, in a lower tone.

'No, Digby; not for all of us; not even for myself; for if you are happy I will be. But for him, yes! I will not conceal it from you, I feel for him.'

'Your destiny is in your own hands, Henrietta.'

'No, no, Digby; do not say so,' exclaimed Miss Temple, very earnestly; 'do not speak in that tone of sacrifice. There is no need of sacrifice; there shall be none. I will not, I do not falter. Be you firm. Do not desert me in this moment of trial. It is for support I speak; it is for consolation. We are bound together by ties the purest, the holiest. Who shall sever them? No! Digby, we will be happy; but I am interested in the destiny of this unhappy person. You, you can assist me in rendering it more serene; in making him, perhaps, not less happy than ourselves.'

'I would spare no labour,' said Lord Montfort.

'Oh, that you would not!' exclaimed Miss Temple. 'You are so good, so noble! You would sympathise even with him. What other man in your situation would?'

'What can be done?'

'Listen: he was engaged to his cousin even on that fatal day when we first met; a lady with every charm and advantage that one would think could make a man happy; young, noble, and beautiful; of a most amiable and generous disposition, as her subsequent conduct has proved; and of great wealth.'

'Miss Grandison?' said Lord Montfort.

'Yes: his parents looked forward to their union with delight, not altogether unmixed with anxiety.

The Armines, with all their princely possessions, are greatly embarrassed from the conduct of the last head of their house. Ferdinand himself has, I grieve to say, inherited too much of his grandfather's imprudent spirit; his affairs, I fear, are terribly involved. When I knew him, papa was, as you are aware, a poor man. This marriage would have cured all; my Digby, I wish it to take place.'

'How can we effect it?' asked Lord Montfort.

'Become his friend, dear Digby. I always think you can do anything. Yes! my only trust is in you. Oh! my Digby, make us all happy.'

Lord Montfort rose and walked up and down the room, apparently in profound meditation. At length he said, 'Rest assured, Henrietta, that to secure your happiness nothing shall ever be wanting on my part. I will see Mr. Glastonbury on this subject. At present, dearest, let us think of lighter things.'



CHAPTER VIII.

Which Is Rather Strange.

IT WAS on the morning after the assembly at Bellair House that Ferdinand was roused from his welcome slumbers, for he had passed an almost sleepless night, by his servant bringing him a note, and telling him that it had been left by a lady in a carriage. He opened it, and read as follows:—

'Silly, silly Captain Armine! why did you not come to my Vauxhall last night? I wanted to present you to the fairest damsel in the world, who has a great fortune too; but that you don't care about. When are you going to be married? Miss Grandison looked charming, but disconsolate without her knight. Your mother is an angel, and the Duchess of——-is quite in love with her. Your father, too, is a worthy man. I love your family very much. Come and call upon poor old doting bedridden H. B., who is at home every day from two to six to receive her friends. Has charming Lady Armine got a page? I have one that would just suit her. He teases my poor squirrel so that I am obliged to turn him away; but he is a real treasure. That fine lady, Mrs. Montgomery Floyd, would give her ears for him; but I love your mother much more, and so she shall have him. He shall come to her to-night. All the world takes tea with H. B. on Thursday and Saturday.'

'One o'clock!' said Ferdinand. 'I may as well get up and call in Brook-street, and save my mother from this threatened infliction. Heigho! Day after day, and each more miserable than the other. How will this end?'

When Ferdinand arrived in Brook-street, he went up stairs without being announced, and found in the drawing-room, besides his mother and Katherine, the duchess, Lord Montfort, and Henrietta Temple.

The young ladies were in their riding-habits. Henrietta appeared before him, the same Henrietta whom he had met, for the first time, in the pleasaunce at Armine. Retreat was impossible. Her Grace received Ferdinand cordially, and reminded him of old days. Henrietta bowed, but she was sitting at some distance with Miss Grandison, looking at some work. Her occupation covered her confusion. Lord Montfort came forward with extended hand.

'I have the pleasure of meeting an old friend,' said his lordship.

Ferdinand just touched his lordship's finger, and bowed rather stiffly; then, turning to his mother, he gave her Lady Bellair's note. 'It concerns you more than myself,' he observed.

'You were not at Lady Bellair's last night, Captain Armine,' said her Grace.

'I never go anywhere,' was the answer.

'He has been a great invalid,' said Lady Armine.

'Where is Glastonbury, Ferdinand?' said Lady Armine. 'He never comes near us.'

'He goes every day to the British Museum.'

'I wish he would take me,' said Katherine. 'I have never been there. Have you?' she enquired, turning to Henrietta.

'I am ashamed to say never,' replied Henrietta. 'It seems to me that London is the only city of which I know nothing.'

'Ferdinand,' said Katherine, 'I wish you would go with us to the Museum some day. Miss Temple would like to go. You know Miss Temple,' she added, as if she of course supposed he had not that pleasure.

Ferdinand bowed; Lord Montfort came forward, and turned the conversation to Egyptian antiquities. When a quarter of an hour had passed, Ferdinand thought that he might now withdraw.

'Do you dine at home, Katherine, to-day?' he enquired.

Miss Grandison looked at Miss Temple; the young ladies whispered.

'Ferdinand,' said Katherine, 'what are you going to do?'

'Nothing particular.'

'We are going to ride, and Miss Temple wishes you would come with us.'

'I should be very happy, but I have some business to attend to.'

'Dear Ferdinand, that is what you always say. You really appear to me to be the most busy person in the world.'

'Pray come, Captain Armine,' said Lord Montfort.

'Thank you; it is really not in my power.' His hat was in his hand; he was begging her Grace to bear his compliments to the duke, when Henrietta rose from her seat, and, coming up to him, said, 'Do, Captain Armine, come with us; I ask you as a favour.'

That voice! Oh! it came o'er his ear 'like the sweet south;' it unmanned him quite. He scarcely knew where he was. He trembled from head to foot. His colour deserted him, and the unlucky hat fell to the floor; and yet she stood before him, awaiting his reply, calm, quite calm, serious, apparently a little anxious. The duchess was in earnest conversation with his mother. Lord Montfort had walked up to Miss Grandison, and was engaged in arranging a pattern for her. Ferdinand and Henrietta were quite unobserved. He looked up; he caught her eye; and then he whispered, 'This is hardly fair.'

She stretched forth her hand, took his hat, and laid it on the table; then, turning to Katherine, she said, in a tone which seemed to admit no doubt, 'Captain Armine will ride with us;' and she seated herself by Lady Armine.

The expedition was a little delayed by Ferdinand having to send for his horse; the others had, in the meantime, arrived. Yet this half-hour, by some contrivance, did at length disappear. Lord Montfort continued talking to Miss Grandison. Henrietta remained seated by Lady Armine. Ferdinand revolved a great question in, his mind, and it was this: Was Lord Montfort aware of the intimate acquaintance between himself and Miss Temple? And what was the moving principle of her present conduct? He conjured up a thousand reasons, but none satisfied him. His curiosity was excited, and, instead of regretting his extracted promise to join the cavalcade, he rejoiced that an opportunity was thus afforded him of perhaps solving a problem in the secret of which he now began to feel extremely interested.

And yet in truth when Ferdinand found himself really mounted, and riding by the side of Henrietta Temple once more, for Lord Montfort was very impartial in his attentions to his fair companions, and Ferdinand continually found himself next to Henrietta, he really began to think the world was bewitched, and was almost sceptical whether he was or was not Ferdinand Armine. The identity of his companion too was so complete: Henrietta Temple in her riding-habit was the very image most keenly impressed upon his memory. He looked at her and stared at her with a face of curious perplexity. She did not, indeed, speak much; the conversation was always general, and chiefly maintained by Lord Montfort, who, though usually silent and reserved, made on this occasion successful efforts to be amusing. His attention to Ferdinand too was remarkable; it was impossible to resist such genuine and unaffected kindness. It smote Ferdinand's heart that he had received his lordship's first advances so ungraciously. Compunction rendered him now doubly courteous; he was even once or twice almost gay.

The day was as fine as a clear sky, a warm sun, and a western breeze could render it. Tempted by so much enjoyment, their ride was long. It was late, much later than they expected, when they returned home by the green lanes of pretty Willesden, and the Park was quite empty when they emerged from the Edgware-road into Oxford-street.

'Now the best thing we can all do is to dine in St. James'-square,' said Lord Montfort. 'It is ten minutes past eight. We shall just be in time, and then we can send messages to Grosvenor-square and Brook-street. What say you, Armine? You will come, of course?'

'Thank you, if you would excuse me.'

'No, no; why excuse you?' said Lord Montfort: 'I think it shabby to desert us now, after all our adventures.'

'Really you are very kind, but I never dine out.'

'Dine out! What a phrase! You will not meet a human being; perhaps not even my father. If you will not come, it will spoil everything.'

'I cannot dine in a frock,' said Ferdinand.

'I shall,' said Lord Montfort, 'and these ladies must dine in their habits, I suspect.'

'Oh! certainly, certainly,' said the ladies.

'Do come, Ferdinand,' said Katherine.

'I ask you as a favour,' said Henrietta, turning to him and speaking in a low voice.

'Well,' said Ferdinand, with a sigh.

'That is well,' said Montfort; 'now let us trot through the Park, and the groom can call in Grosvenor-square and Brook-street, and gallop after us. This is amusing, is it not?'



CHAPTER IX.

Which Is on the Whole Almost as Perplexing as the Preceding One.

WHEN Ferdinand found himself dining in St. James'-square, in the very same room where he had passed so many gay hours during that boyish month of glee which preceded his first joining his regiment, and then looked opposite him and saw Henrietta Temple, it seemed to him that, by some magical process or other, his life was acting over again, and the order of the scenes and characters had, by some strange mismanagement, got confused. Yet he yielded himself up to the excitement which had so unexpectedly influenced him; he was inflamed by a species of wild delight which he could not understand, nor stop to analyse; and when the duchess retired with the young ladies to their secret conclave in the drawing-room, she said, 'I like Captain Armine very much; he is so full of spirit and imagination. When we met him this morning, do you know, I thought him rather stiff and fine. I regretted the bright boyish flow that I so well recollected, but I see I was mistaken.'

'Ferdinand is much changed,' said Miss Grandison. 'He was once the most brilliant person, I think, that ever lived: almost too brilliant; everybody by him seemed so tame. But since his illness he has quite changed. I have scarcely heard him speak or seen him smile these six months. There is not in the whole world a person so wretchedly altered. He is quite a wreck. I do not know what is the matter with him to-day. He seemed once almost himself.'

'He indulged his feelings too much, perhaps,' said Henrietta; 'he lived, perhaps, too much alone, after so severe an illness.'

'Oh, no! it is not that,' said Miss Grandison, 'it is not exactly that. Poor Ferdinand! he is to be pitied. I fear he will never be happy again.'

'Miss Grandison should hardly say that,' said the duchess, 'if report speaks truly.'

Katherine was about to reply, but checked herself.

Henrietta rose from her seat rather suddenly, and asked Katherine to touch the piano.

The duchess took up the 'Morning Post.'

'Poor Ferdinand! he used to sing once so beautifully, too!' said Katherine to Miss Temple, in a hushed voice. 'He never sings now.'

'You must make him,' said Henrietta.

Miss Grandison shook her head.

'You have influence with him; you should exert it,' said Henrietta.

'I neither have, nor desire to have, influence with him,' said Miss Grandison. 'Dearest Miss Temple, the world is in error with respect to myself and my cousin; and yet I ought not to say to you what I have not thought proper to confess even to my aunt.'

Henrietta leant over and kissed her forehead. 'Say what you like, dearest Miss Grandison; you speak to a friend, who loves you, and will respect your secret.'

The gentlemen at this moment entered the room, and interrupted this interesting conversation.

'You must not quit the instrument, Miss Grandison,' said Lord Montfort, seating himself by her side. Ferdinand fell into conversation with the duchess; and Miss Temple was the amiable victim of his Grace's passion for ecarte.

'Captain Armine is a most agreeable person,' said Lord Montfort.

Miss Grandison rather stared. 'We were just speaking of Ferdinand,' she replied, 'and I was lamenting his sad change.'

'Severe illness, illness so severe as his, must for the moment change anyone; we shall soon see him himself again.'

'Never,' said Miss Grandison mournfully.

'You must inspire him,' said Lord Montfort. 'I perceive you have great influence with him.'

'I give Lord Montfort credit for much acuter perception than that,' said Miss Grandison.

Their eyes met: even Lord Montfort's dark vision shrank before the searching glance of Miss Grandison. It conveyed to him that his purpose was not undiscovered.

'But you can exert influence, if you please,' said Lord Montfort.

'But it may not please me,' said Miss Grandison.

At this moment Mr. Glastonbury was announced. He had a general invitation, and was frequently in the habit of paying an evening visit when the family were disengaged. When he found Ferdinand, Henrietta, and Katherine, all assembled together, and in so strange a garb, his perplexity was wondrous. The tone of comparative ease, too, with which Miss Temple addressed him, completed his confusion. He began to suspect that some critical explanation had taken place. He looked around for information.

'We have all been riding,' said Lord Montfort.

'So I perceive,' said Glastonbury.

'And as we were too late for dinner, took refuge here,' continued his lordship.

'I observe it,' said Glastonbury.

'Miss Grandison is an admirable musician, sir.'

'She is an admirable lady in every respect,' said Glastonbury.

'Perhaps you will join her in some canzonette; I am so stupid as not to be able to sing. I wish I could induce Captain Armine.'

'He has left off singing,' said Glastonbury, mournfully. 'But Miss Temple?' added Glastonbury, bowing to that lady.

'Miss Temple has left off singing, too,' said Lord Montfort, quietly.

'Come, Mr. Glastonbury,' said the duchess, 'time was when you and I have sung together. Let us try to shame these young folks.' So saying, her Grace seated herself at the piano, and the gratified Glastonbury summoned all his energies to accompany her.

Lord Montfort seated himself by Ferdinand. 'You have been severely ill, I am sorry to hear.'

'Yes; I have been rather shaken.'

'This spring will bring you round.'

'So everyone tells me. I cannot say I feel its beneficial influence.'

'You should,' said Lord Montfort. 'At our age we ought to rally quickly.'

'Yes! Time is the great physician. I cannot say I have much more faith in him than in the spring.'

'Well, then, there is Hope; what think you of that?'

'I have no great faith,' said Ferdinand, affecting to smile.

'Believe, then, in optimism,' said Henrietta Temple, without taking her eyes off the cards. 'Whatever is, is best.'

'That is not my creed, Miss Temple,' said Ferdinand, and he rose and was about to retire.

'Must you go? Let us all do something to-morrow!' said Lord Montfort, interchanging a glance with Henrietta. 'The British Museum; Miss Grandison wishes to go to the British Museum. Pray come with us.'

'You are very good, but———'

'Well! I will write you a little note in the morning and tell you our plans,' said Lord Montfort. 'I hope you will not desert us.'

Ferdinand bowed and retired: he avoided catching the eye of Henrietta.

The carriages of Miss Temple and Miss Grandison were soon announced, and, fatigued with their riding-dresses, these ladies did not long remain.

'To-day has been a day of trial,' said Henrietta, as she was about to bid Lord Montfort farewell. 'What do you think of affairs? I saw you speaking to Katherine. What do you think?'

'I think Ferdinand Armine is a formidable rival. Do you know, I am rather jealous?'

'Digby! can you be ungenerous?'

'My sweet Henrietta, pardon my levity. I spoke in the merest playfulness. Nay,' he continued, for she seemed really hurt, 'say good night very sweetly.'

'Is there any hope?' said Henrietta.

'All's well that ends well,' said Lord Montfort, smiling; 'God bless you.'

Glastonbury was about to retire, when Lord Montfort returned and asked him to come up to his lordship's own apartments, as he wished to show him a curious antique carving.

'You seemed rather surprised at the guests you found here to-night,' said Lord Montfort when they were alone.

Glastonbury looked a little confused. 'It was certainly a curious meeting, all things considered,' continued Lord Montfort: 'Henrietta has never concealed anything of the past from me, but I have always wished to spare her details. I told her this morning I should speak to you upon the subject, and that is the reason why I have asked you here.'

'It is a painful history,' said Glastonbury.

'As painful to me as anyone,' said his lordship; 'nevertheless, it must be told. When did you first meet Miss Temple?'

'I shall never forget it,' said Glastonbury, sighing and moving very uneasily in his chair. 'I took her for Miss Grandison.' And Glastonbury now entered into a complete history of everything that had occurred.

'It is a strange, a wonderful story,' said Lord Montfort, 'and you communicated everything to Miss Grandison?'

'Everything but the name of her rival. To that she would not listen. It was not just, she said, to one so unfortunate and so unhappy.'

'She seems an admirable person, that Miss Grandison,' said Lord Montfort.

'She is indeed as near an angel as anything earthly can be,' said Glastonbury.

'Then it is still a secret to the parents?'

'Thus she would have it,' said Glastonbury. 'She clings to them, who love her indeed as a daughter; and she shrank from the desolation that was preparing for them.'

'Poor girl!' said Lord Montfort, 'and poor Armine! By heavens, I pity him from the bottom of my heart.'

'If you had seen him as I have,' said Glastonbury, 'wilder than the wildest Bedlamite! It was an awful sight.'

'Ah! the heart, the heart,' said Lord Montfort: 'it is a delicate organ, Mr. Glastonbury. And think you his father and mother suspect nothing?'

'I know not what they think,' said Glastonbury, 'but they must soon know all.' And he seemed to shudder at the thought.

'Why must they?' asked Lord Montfort.

Glastonbury stared.

'Is there no hope of softening and subduing all their sorrows?' said Lord Montfort; 'cannot we again bring together these young and parted spirits?'

'It is my only hope,' said Glastonbury, 'and yet I sometimes deem it a forlorn one.'

'It is the sole desire of Henrietta,' said Lord Montfort; 'cannot you assist us? Will you enter into this conspiracy of affection with us?'

'I want no spur to such a righteous work,' said Glastonbury, 'but I cannot conceal from myself the extreme difficulty. Ferdinand is the most impetuous of human beings. His passions are a whirlwind; his volition more violent than becomes a suffering mortal.'

'You think, then, there is no difficulty but with him?'

'I know not what to say,' said Glastonbury; 'calm as appears the temperament of Miss Grandison, she has heroic qualities. Oh! what have I not seen that admirable young lady endure! Alas! my Digby, my dear lord, few passages of this terrible story are engraven on my memory more deeply than the day when I revealed to her the fatal secret. Yet, and chiefly for her sake, it was my duty.'

'It was at Armine?'

'At Armine. I seized an opportunity when we were alone together, and without fear of being disturbed. We had gone to view an old abbey in the neighbourhood. We were seated among its ruins, when I took her hand and endeavoured to prepare her for the fatal intelligence, "All is not right with Ferdinand," she immediately said; "there is some mystery. I have long suspected it." She listened to my recital, softened as much as I could for her sake, in silence. Yet her paleness I never can forget. She looked like a saint in a niche. When I had finished, she whispered me to leave her for some short time, and I walked away, out of sight indeed, but so near that she might easily summon me. I stood alone until it was twilight, in a state of mournful suspense that I recall even now with anguish. At last I heard my name sounded, in a low yet distinct voice, and I looked round and she was there. She had been weeping. I took her hand and pressed it, and led her to the carriage. When I approached our unhappy home, she begged me to make her excuses to the family, and for two or three days we saw her no more. At length she sent for me, and told me she had been revolving all these sad circumstances in her mind, and she felt for others more even than for herself; that she forgave Ferdinand, and pitied him, and would act towards him as a sister; that her heart was distracted with the thoughts of the unhappy young lady, whose name she would never know, but that if by her assistance I could effect their union, means should not be wanting, though their source must be concealed; that for the sake of her aunt, to whom she is indeed passionately attached, she would keep the secret, until it could no longer be maintained; and that in the meantime it was to be hoped that health might be restored to her cousin, and Providence in some way interfere in favour of this unhappy family.'

'Angelic creature!' said Lord Montfort. 'So young, too; I think so beautiful. Good God! with such a heart what could Armine desire?'

'Alas!' said Glastonbury, and he shook his head. 'You know not the love of Ferdinand Armine for Henrietta Temple. It is a wild and fearful thing; it passeth human comprehension.'

Lord Montfort leant back in his chair, and covered his face with his hands. After some minutes he looked up, and said in his usual placid tone, and with an' unruffled brow, 'Will you take anything before you go, Mr. Glastonbury?'



CHAPTER X.

In Which Captain Armine Increases His Knowledge of the Value of Money, and Also Becomes Aware of the Advantage of an Acquaintance Who Burns Coals.

FERDINAND returned to his hotel in no very good humour, revolving in his mind Miss Temple's advice about optimism. What could she mean? Was there really a conspiracy to make him marry his cousin, and was Miss Temple one of the conspirators? He could scarcely believe this, and yet it was the most probable, deduction from all that had been said and done. He had lived to witness such strange occurrences, that no event ought now to astonish him. Only to think that he had been sitting quietly in a drawing-room with Henrietta Temple, and she avowedly engaged to be married to another person, who was present; and that he, Ferdinand Armine, should be the selected companion of their morning ride, and be calmly invited to contribute to their daily amusement by his social presence! What next? If this were not an insult, a gross, flagrant, and unendurable outrage, he was totally at a loss to comprehend what was meant by offended pride. Optimism, indeed! He felt far more inclined to embrace the faith of the Manichee! And what a fool was he to have submitted to such a despicable, such a degrading situation! What infinite weakness not to be able to resist her influence, the influence of a woman who had betrayed him! Yes! betrayed him. He had for some period reconciled his mind to entertain the idea of Henrietta's treachery to him. Softened by time, atoned for by long suffering, extenuated by the constant sincerity of his purpose, his original imprudence, to use his own phrase in describing his misconduct, had gradually ceased to figure as a valid and sufficient cause for her behaviour to him. When he recollected how he had loved this woman, what he had sacrificed for her, and what misery he had in consequence entailed upon himself and all those dear to him; when he contrasted his present perilous situation with her triumphant prosperity, and remembered that while he had devoted himself to a love which proved false, she who had deserted him was, by a caprice of fortune, absolutely rewarded for her fickleness; he was enraged, he was disgusted, he despised himself for having been her slave; he began even to hate her. Terrible moment when we first dare to view with feelings of repugnance the being that our soul has long idolised! It is the most awful of revelations. We start back in horror, as if in the act of profanation.

Other annoyances, however, of a less ethereal character, awaited our hero on his return to his hotel. There he found a letter from his lawyer, informing him that he could no longer parry the determination of one of Captain Armine's principal creditors to arrest him instantly for a considerable sum. Poor Ferdinand, mortified and harassed, with his heart and spirit alike broken, could scarcely refrain from a groan. However, some step must be taken. He drove Henrietta from his thoughts, and, endeavouring to rally some of his old energy, revolved in his mind what desperate expedient yet remained.

His sleep was broken by dreams of bailiffs, and a vague idea of Henrietta Temple triumphing in his misery; but he rose early, wrote a diplomatic note to his menacing creditor, which he felt confident must gain him time, and then, making a careful toilet, for when a man is going to try to borrow money it is wise to look prosperous, he took his way to a quarter of the town where lived a gentleman with whose brother he had had some previous dealings at Malta, and whose acquaintance he had made in England in reference to them.

It was in that gloomy quarter called Golden-square, the murky repose of which strikes so mysteriously on the senses after the glittering bustle of the adjoining Regent-street, that Captain Armine stopped before a noble yet now dingy mansion, that in old and happier days might probably have been inhabited by his grandfather, or some of his gay friends. A brass plate on the door informed the world that here resided Messrs. Morris and Levison, following the not very ambitious calling of coal merchants. But if all the pursuers of that somewhat humble trade could manage to deal in coals with the same dexterity as Messrs. Morris and Levison, what very great coal merchants they would be!

The ponderous portal obeyed the signal of the bell, and apparently opened without any human means; and Captain Armine, proceeding down a dark yet capacious passage, opened a door, which invited him by an inscription on ground glass that assured him he was entering the counting-house. Here several clerks, ensconced within lofty walls of the darkest and dullest mahogany, were busily employed; yet one advanced to an aperture in this fortification and accepted the card which the visitor offered him. The clerk surveyed the ticket with a peculiar glance; and then, begging the visitor to be seated, disappeared. He was not long absent, but soon invited Ferdinand to follow him. Captain Armine was ushered up a noble staircase, and into a saloon that once was splendid. The ceiling was richly carved, and there still might be detected the remains of its once gorgeous embellishment in the faint forms of faded deities and the traces of murky gilding. The walls of this apartment were crowded with pictures, arranged, however, with little regard to taste, effect, or style. A sprawling copy of Titian's Venus flanked a somewhat prim peeress by Hoppner; a landscape that smacked of Gainsborough was the companion of a dauby moonlight, that must have figured in the last exhibition; and insipid Roman matrons by Hamilton, and stiff English heroes by Northcote, contrasted with a vast quantity of second-rate delineations of the orgies of Dutch boors and portraits of favourite racers and fancy dogs. The room was crowded with ugly furniture of all kinds, very solid, and chiefly of mahogany; among which were not less than three escritoires, to say nothing of the huge horsehair sofas. A sideboard of Babylonian proportions was crowned by three massive and enormous silver salvers, and immense branch candlesticks of the same precious metal, and a china punch-bowl which might have suited the dwarf in Brobdignag. The floor was covered with a faded Turkey carpet. But amid all this solid splendour there were certain intimations of feminine elegance in the veil of finely-cut pink paper which covered the nakedness of the empty but highly-polished fire-place, and in the hand-screens, which were profusely ornamented with ribbon of the same hue, and one of which afforded a most accurate if not picturesque view of Margate, while the other glowed with a huge wreath of cabbage-roses and jonquils.

Ferdinand was not long alone, and Mr. Levison, the proprietor of all this splendour, entered. He was a short, stout man, with a grave but handsome countenance, a little bald, but nevertheless with an elaborateness of raiment which might better have become a younger man. He wore a plum-colored frock coat of the finest cloth; his green velvet waistcoat was guarded by a gold chain, which would have been the envy of a new town council; an immense opal gleamed on the breast of his embroidered shirt; and his fingers were covered with very fine rings.

'Your sarvant, Captin,' said Mr. Levison, and he placed a chair for his guest.

'How are you, Levison?' responded our hero in an easy voice. 'Any news?'

Mr. Levison shrugged his shoulders, as he murmured, 'Times is very bad, Captin.'

'Oh! I dare say,' said Ferdinand; 'I wish they were as well with me as with you. By Jove, Levison, you must be making an immense fortune.'

Mr. Levison shook his head, as he groaned out, 'I work hard, Captin; but times is terrible.'

'Fiddlededee! Come! I want you to assist me a little, old fellow. No humbug between us.'

'Oh!' groaned Mr. Levison, 'you could not come at a worse time; I don't know what money is.'

'Of course. However, the fact is, money I must have; and so, old fellow, we are old friends, and you must get it.'

'What do you want, Captin?' slowly spoke Mr. Levison, with an expression of misery.

'Oh! I want rather a tolerable sum, and that is the truth; but I only want it for a moment.'

'It is not the time, 'tis the money,' said Mr. Levison. 'You know me and my pardner, Captin, are always anxious to do what we can to sarve you.'

'Well, now you can do me a real service, and, by Jove, you shall never repent it. To the point; I must have 1,500L.'

'One thousand five hundred pounds!' exclaimed Mr. Levison. ''Tayn't in the country.'

'Humbug! It must be found. What is the use of all this stuff with me? I want 1,500L., and you must give it me.'

'I tell you what it is, Captin,' said Mr. Levison, leaning over the back of a chair, and speaking with callous composure; 'I tell you what it is, me and my pardner are very willing always to assist you; but we want to know when the marriage is to come off, and that's the truth.'

'Damn the marriage,' said Captain Armine, rather staggered.

'There it is, though,' said Mr. Levison, very quietly. 'You know, Captin, there is the arrears on that 'ere annuity, three years next Michaelmas. I think it's Michaelmas; let me see.' So saying, Mr. Levison opened an escritoire, and brought forward an awful-looking volume, and, consulting the terrible index, turned to the fatal name of Armine. 'Yes! three years next Michaelmas, Captin.'

'Well, you will be paid,' said Ferdinand.

'We hope so,' said Mr. Levison; 'but it is a long figure.'

'Well, but you get capital interest?'

'Pish!' said Mr. Levison; 'ten per cent.! Why! it is giving away the money. Why! that's the raw, Captin. With this here new bill annuities is nothink. Me and my pardner don't do no annuities now. It's giving money away; and all this here money locked up; and all to sarve you.'

'Well; you will not help me,' said Ferdinand, rising.

'Do you raly want fifteen hundred?' asked Mr. Levison.

'By Jove, I do.'

'Well now, Captin, when is this marriage to come off?'

'Have I not told you a thousand times, and Morris too, that my cousin is not to marry until one year has passed since my grandfather's death? It is barely a year. But of course, at this moment, of all others, I cannot afford to be short.'

'Very true, Captin; and we are the men to sarve you, if we could. But we cannot. Never was such times for money; there is no seeing it. However, we will do what we can. Things is going very bad at Malta, and that's the truth. There's that young Catchimwhocan, we are in with him wery deep; and now he has left the Fusiliers and got into Parliament, he don't care this for us. If he would only pay us, you should have the money; so help me, you should.'

'But he won't pay you,' said Ferdinand. 'What can you do?'

'Why, I have a friend,' said Mr. Levison, 'who I know has got three hundred pound at his bankers, and he might lend it us; but we shall have to pay for it.'

'I suppose so,' said Ferdinand. 'Well, three hundred.'

'I have not got a shilling myself,' said Mr. Levison. 'Young Touchemup left us in the lurch yesterday for 750L., so help me, and never gave us no notice. Now, you are a gentleman, Captin; you never pay, but you always give us notice.'

Ferdinand could not help smiling at Mr. Levison's idea of a gentleman.

'Well, what else can you do?'

'Why, there is two hundred coming in to-morrow,' said Mr. Levison; 'I can depend on that.'

'Well, that is five.'

'And you want fifteen hundred,' said Mr. Levison. 'Well, me and my pardner always like to sarve you, and it is very awkward certainly for you to want money at this moment. But if you want to buy jewels, I can get you any credit you like, you know.'

'We will talk of that by and by,' said Ferdinand.

'Fifteen hundred pound!' ejaculated Mr. Levison. 'Well, I suppose we must make it 700L. somehow or other, and you must take the rest in coals.'

'Oh, by Jove, Levison, that is too bad.'

'I don't see no other way,' said Mr. Levison, rather doggedly.

'But, damn it, my good fellow, my dear Levison, what the deuce am I to do with 800L. worth of coals?'

'Lord! My dear Captin, 800L. worth of coals is a mere nothink. With your connection, you will get rid of them in a morning. All you have got to do, you know, is to give your friends an order on us, and we will let you have cash at a little discount.'

'Then you can let me have the cash now at a little discount, or even a great; I cannot get rid of 800L. worth of coals.'

'Why, 'tayn't four hundred chaldron, Captin,' rejoined Mr. Levison. 'Three or four friends would do the thing. Why, Baron Squash takes ten thousand chaldron of us every year; but he has such a knack, he gits the Clubs to take them.'

'Baron Squash, indeed! Do you know whom you are talking to, Mr. Levison? Do you think that I am going to turn into a coal merchant? your working partner, by Jove! No, sir; give me the 700L., without the coals, and charge what interest you please.' 'We could not do it, Captin. 'Tayn't our way.' 'I ask you once more, Mr. Levison, will you let me have the money, or will you not?'

'Now, Captin, don't be so high and mighty! 'Tayn't the way to do business. Me and my pardner wish to sarve you; we does indeed. And if a hundred pound will be of any use to you, you shall have it on your acceptance; and we won't be curious about any name that draws; we won't indeed.'

'Well, Mr. Levison,' said Ferdinand, rising, 'I see we can do nothing to-day. The hundred pounds would be of no use to me. I will think over your proposition. Good morning to you.'

'Ah, do!' said Mr. Levison, bowing and opening the door, 'do, Captin; we wish to sarve you, we does indeed. See how we behave about that arrears. Think of the coals; now do. Now for a bargin; come! Come, Captin, I dare say now you could get us the business of the Junior Sarvice Club; and then you shall have the seven hundred on your acceptance for three months, at two shillings in the pound; come!'



CHAPTER XI.

In Which Captain Armine Unexpectedly Resumes His Acquaintance with Lord Catchimwhocan, Who Introduces Him to Mr. Bond Sharpe.

FERDINAND quitted his kind friend Mr. Levison in no very amiable mood; but just as he was leaving the house, a cabriolet, beautifully painted, of a brilliant green colour picked out with a somewhat cream-coloured white, and drawn by a showy Holstein horse of tawny tint, with a flowing and milk-white tail and mane, and caparisoned in harness almost as precious as Mr. Levison's sideboard, dashed up to the door.

'Armine, by Jove!' exclaimed the driver, with great cordiality.

'Ah! Catch, is it you?' said Ferdinand. 'What! have you been here?' said Lord Catchimwhocan. 'At the old work, eh? Is "me and my pardner" troublesome? for your countenance is not very radiant.'

'By Jove, old fellow!' said Ferdinand, in a depressed tone, 'I am in a scrape, and also in a rage. Nothing is to be done here.'

'Never mind,' said his lordship; 'keep up your spirits, jump into my cab, and we will see how we can carry on the war. I am only going to speak one word to "me and my pardner."'

So saying, his lordship skipped into the house as gay as a lark, although he had a bill for a good round sum about to be dishonoured in the course of a few hours.

'Well, my dear Armine,' he resumed, when he reappeared and took the reins; 'now as I drive along, tell me all about it; for if there be a man in the world whom I should like to "sarve," it is thyself, my noble Ferdinand.'

With this encouragement, Captain Armine was not long in pouring his cares into a congenial bosom.

'I know the man to "sarve" you,' said Catchimwhocan.

'The fact is, these fellows here are regular old-fashioned humbugs. The only idea they have is money, money. They have no enlightened notions. I will introduce you to a regular trump; and if he does not do our business, I am much mistaken. Courage, old fellow! How do you like this start?'

'Deuced neat. By-the-bye, Catch, my boy, you are going it rather, I see.'

'To be sure. I have always told you there is a certain system in affairs which ever prevents men being floored. No fellow is ever dished who has any connection. What man that ever had his run was really ever fairly put hors de combat, unless he was some one who ought never to have entered the arena, blazing away without any set, making himself a damned fool and everybody his enemy. So long as a man bustles about and is in a good set, something always turns up. I got into Parliament, you see; and you, you are going to be married.'

All this time the cabriolet was dashing down Regent-street, twisting through the Quadrant, whirling along Pall Mall, until it finally entered Cleveland-row, and stopped before a newly painted, newly pointed, and exceedingly compact mansion, the long brass knocker of whose dark green door sounded beneath the practised touch of his lordship's tiger. Even the tawny Holstein horse, with the white flowing mane, seemed conscious of the locality, and stopped before the accustomed resting-place in the most natural manner imaginable. A tall serving-man, well-powdered, and in a dark and well-appointed livery, immediately appeared.

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