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Is He Popenjoy?
by Anthony Trollope
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"It's very nice, isn't it?" said Lord Giblet, gasping.

"Hadn't we a pleasant time of it with our little parties in Grosvenor Place?"

"Never liked anything so much in life; only I don't think that fellow Jack De Baron, dances so much better than other people, after all?"

"Who says he does? But I'll tell you who dances well. Olivia Green was charming in the Kappa-kappa. Don't you think so?"

"Uncommon pretty." Lord Giblet was quite willing to be understood to admire Miss Patmore Green, though he thought it hard that people should hurry him on into matrimony.

"The most graceful girl I ever saw in my life, certainly," said Mrs. Montacute Jones. "His Royal Highness, when he heard of the engagement, said that you were the happiest man in London."

Lord Giblet could not satisfy himself by declaring that H.R.H. was an old fool, as poor Mary had done on a certain occasion,—but at the present moment he did not feel at all loyal to the Royal Family generally. Nor did he, in the least, know how to answer Mrs. Jones. She had declared the engagement as a fact, and he did not quite dare to deny it altogether. He had, in an unguarded moment, when the weather had been warm and the champagne cool, said a word with so definite a meaning that the lady had been justified in not allowing it to pass by as idle. The lady had accepted him, and on the following morning he had found the lock of hair and the little stud which she had given him, and had feverish reminiscences of a kiss. But surely he was not a bird to be caught with so small a grain of salt as that! He had not as yet seen Mr. Patmore Green, having escaped from London at once. He had answered a note from Olivia, which had called him "dearest Charlie" by a counter note, in which he had called her "dear O," and had signed himself "ever yours, G," promising to meet her up the river. But of course he had not gone up the river! The rest of the season might certainly be done without assistance from him. He knew that he would be pursued. He could not hope not to be pursued. But he had not thought that Mrs. Montacute Jones would be so quick upon him. It was impossible that H.R.H should have heard of any engagement as yet. What a nasty, false, wicked old woman she was! He blushed, red as a rose, and stammered out that he "didn't know." He was only four-and-twenty, and perhaps he didn't know.

"I never saw a girl so much in love in my life," continued Mrs. Jones. "I know her just as well as if she were my own, and she speaks to me as she doesn't dare to speak to you at present. Though she is barely twenty-one, she has been very much sought after already, and the very day she marries she has ten thousand pounds in her own hands. That isn't a large fortune, and of course you don't want a large fortune, but it isn't every girl can pay such a sum straight into her husband's bank the moment she marries!"

"No, indeed," said Lord Giblet. He was still determined that nothing should induce him to marry Miss Green; but nevertheless, behind that resolution there was a feeling, that if anything should bring about the marriage, such a sum of ready money would be a consolation. His father, the Earl of Jopling, though a very rich man, kept him a little close, and ten thousand pounds would be nice. But then, perhaps the old woman was lying.

"Now I'll tell you what I want you to do," said Mrs. Jones, who was resolved that if the game were not landed it should not be her fault. "We go from here to Killancodlem next week. You must come and join us."

"I've got to go and grouse at Stranbracket's," said Lord Giblet, happy in an excuse.

"It couldn't be better. They're both within eight miles of Dunkeld." If so, then ropes shouldn't take him to Stranbracket's that year. "Of course you'll come. It's the prettiest place in Perth, though I say it, as oughtn't. And she will be there. If you really want to know a girl, see her in a country house."

But he didn't really want to know the girl. She was very nice, and he liked her uncommonly, but he didn't want to know anything more about her. By George! Was a man to be persecuted this way, because he had once spooned a girl a little too fiercely? As he thought of this he almost plucked up his courage sufficiently to tell Mrs. Jones that she had better pick out some other young man for deportation to Killancodlem. "I should like it ever so," he said.

"I'll take care that you shall like it, Lord Giblet. I think I may boast that when I put my wits to work I can make my house agreeable. I'm very fond of young people, but there's no one I love as I do Olivia Green. There isn't a young woman in London has so much to be loved for. Of course you'll come. What day shall we name?"

"I don't think I could name a day."

"Let us say the 27th. That will give you nearly a week at the grouse first. Be with us to dinner on the 27th."

"Well,—perhaps I will."

"Of course you will. I shall write to Olivia to-night, and I daresay you will do so also."

Lord Giblet, when he was let to go, tried to suck consolation from the L10,000. Though he was still resolved, he almost believed that Mrs. Montacute Jones would conquer him. Write to Olivia to-night! Lying, false old woman! Of course she knew that there was hardly a lady in England to whom it was so little likely that he should write as to Miss Patmore Green. How could an old woman, with one foot in the grave, be so wicked? And why should she persecute him? What had he done to her? Olivia Green was not her daughter, or even her niece. "So you are going to Killancodlem?" Mrs. Houghton said to him that afternoon.

"She has asked me," said Lord Giblet.

"It's simply the most comfortable house in all Scotland, and they tell me some of the best deer-stalking. Everybody likes to get to Killancodlem. Don't you love old Mrs. Jones?"

"Charming old woman!"

"And such a friend! If she once takes to you she never drops you."

"Sticks like wax, I should say."

"Quite like wax, Lord Giblet. And when she makes up her mind to do a thing she always does it. It's quite wonderful; but she never gets beaten."

"Doesn't she now?"

"Never. She hasn't asked us to Killancodlem yet, but I hope she will." A manly resolution now roused itself in Lord Giblet's bosom that he would be the person to beat Mrs. Jones at last. But yet he doubted. If he were asked the question by anyone having a right to ask he could not deny that he had proposed to marry Miss Patmore Green.

"So you've come down to singe your wings again?" said Mrs. Houghton to her cousin Jack.

"My wings have been burned clean away already, and, in point of fact, I am not half so near to Lady George here as I was in London."

"It's only ten miles."

"If it were five it would be the same. We're not in the same set down in Barsetshire."

"I suppose you can have yourself taken to Brotherton if you please?"

"Yes,—I can call at the deanery; but I shouldn't know what to say when I got there."

"You've become very mealy-mouthed of a sudden."

"Not with you, my sweet cousin. With you I can discuss the devil and all his works as freely as ever; but with Lady George, at her father's house, I think I should be dumb. In truth, I haven't got anything to say to her."

"I thought you had."

"I know you think so; but I haven't. It is quite on the card that I may ride over some day, as I would to see my sister."

"Your sister!"

"And that I shall make eager enquiries after her horse, her pet dog, and her husband."

"You will be wrong there, for she has quarrelled with her husband altogether."

"I hope not."

"They are not living together, and never even see each other. He's at Manor Cross, and she's at the deanery. She's a divinity to you, but Lord George seems to have found her so human that he's tired of her already."

"Then it must be his own fault."

"Or perhaps yours, Jack. You don't suppose a husband goes through a little scene like that at Mrs. Jones' without feeling it?"

"He made an ass of himself, and a man generally feels that afterwards," said Jack.

"The truth is, they're tired of each other. There isn't very much in Lord George, but there is something. He is slow, but there is a certain manliness at the bottom of it. But there isn't very much in her!"

"That's all you know about it."

"Perhaps you may know her better, but I never could find anything. You confess to being in love, and of course a lover is blind. But where you are most wrong is in supposing that she is something so much better than other women. She flirted with you so frankly that she made you think her a goddess."

"She never flirted with me in her life."

"Exactly;—because flirting is bad, and she being a goddess cannot do evil. I wish you'd take her in your arms and kiss her."

"I shouldn't dare."

"No;—and therefore you're not in the way to learn that she's a woman just the same as other women. Will Mrs. Jones succeed with that stupid young man?"

"With Giblet? I hope so. It can't make any difference to him whether it's this one or another, and I do like Mrs. Jones."

"Would they let me have just a little lecture in the dining-room?" asked the Baroness of her friend, Aunt Ju. There had been certain changes among the Disabilities up in London. Lady Selina Protest had taken Dr. Olivia Q. Fleabody altogether by the hand, and had appointed her chief professor at the Institute, perhaps without sufficient authority. Aunt Ju had been cast into the shade, and had consequently been driven to throw herself into the arms of the Baroness. At present there was a terrible feud in which Aunt Ju was being much worsted. For the Baroness was an old Man of the Sea, and having got herself on to Aunt Ju's shoulders could not be shaken off. In the meantime Dr. Fleabody was filling the Institute, reaping a golden harvest, and breaking the heart of the poor Baroness, who had fallen into much trouble and was now altogether penniless.

"I'm afraid not," said Aunt Ju. "I'm afraid we can't do that."

"Perhaps de Marquis would like it?"

"I hardly think so."

"He did say a word to me, and I tink he would like it. He vant to understand."

"My dear Baroness, I'm sure the Marquis of Brotherton does not care about it in the least. He is quite in the dark on such subjects—quite benighted." What was the use, thought the Baroness, of bringing her down to a house in which people were so benighted that she could not be allowed to open her mouth or carry on her profession. Had she not been enticed over from her own country in order that she might open her mouth, and preach her doctrine, and become a great and a wealthy woman? There was a fraud in this enforced silence which cut her to the very quick. "I tink I shall try," she said, separating herself in her wrath from her friend.



CHAPTER LI.

GUSS MILDMAY'S SUCCESS.

The treatment which the Marquis received at Rudham did not certainly imply any feeling that he had disgraced himself by what he had done either at Manor Cross or up in London. Perhaps the ladies there did not know as much of his habits as did Mrs. Walker at Scumberg's. Perhaps the feeling was strong that Popenjoy was Popenjoy, and that therefore the Marquis had been injured. If a child be born in British purple,—true purple, though it may have been stained by circumstances,—that purple is very sacred. Perhaps it was thought that under no circumstances should a Marquis be knocked into the fireplace by a clergyman. There was still a good deal of mystery, both as to Popenjoy and as to the fireplace, and the Marquis was the hero of these mysteries. Everyone at Rudham was anxious to sit by his side and to be allowed to talk to him. When he abused the Dean, which he did freely, those who heard him assented to all he said. The Baroness Banmann held up her hands in horror when she heard the tale, and declared the Church to be one grand betise. Mrs. Houghton, who was very attentive to the Marquis and whom the Marquis liked, was pertinacious in her enquiries after Popenjoy, and cruelly sarcastic upon the Dean. "Think what was his bringing up," said Mrs. Houghton.

"In a stable," said the Marquis.

"I always felt it to be a great pity that Lord George should have made that match;—not but what she is a good creature in her way."

"She is no better than she should be," said the Marquis. Then Mrs. Houghton found herself able to insinuate that perhaps, after all, Mary was not a good creature, even in her own way. But the Marquis's chief friend was Jack De Baron. He talked to Jack about races and billiards, and women; but though he did not refrain from abusing the Dean, he said no word to Jack against Mary. If it might be that the Dean should receive his punishment in that direction he would do nothing to prevent it. "They tell me she's a beautiful woman. I have never seen her myself," said the Marquis.

"She is very beautiful," said Jack.

"Why the devil she should have married George, I can't think. She doesn't care for him the least."

"Don't you think she does?"

"I'm sure she don't. I suppose her pestilent father thought it was the nearest way to a coronet. I don't know why men should marry at all. They always get into trouble by it."

"Somebody must have children," suggested Jack.

"I don't see the necessity. It's nothing to me what comes of the property after I'm gone. What is it, Madam?" They were sitting out on the lawn after lunch and Jack and the Marquis were both smoking. As they were talking the Baroness had come up to them and made her little proposition. "What! a lecture! If Mr. De Baron pleases, of course. I never listen to lectures myself,—except from my wife."

"Ah! dat is vat I vant to prevent."

"I have prevented it already by sending her to Italy. Oh, rights of women! Very interesting; but I don't think I'm well enough myself. Here is Captain De Baron, a young man as strong as a horse, and very fond of women. He'll sit it out."

"I beg your pardon; what is it?" Then the Baroness, with rapid words, told her own sad story. She had been deluded, defrauded, and ruined by those wicked females, Lady Selina Protest and Dr. Fleabody. The Marquis was a nobleman whom all England, nay, all Europe, delighted to honour. Could not the Marquis do something for her? She was rapid and eloquent, but not always intelligible. "What is it she wants?" asked the Marquis, turning to Jack.

"Pecuniary assistance, I think, my Lord."

"Yah, yah. I have been bamboozled of everything, my Lord Marquis."

"Oh, my G—, De Baron shouldn't have let me in for this. Would you mind telling my fellow to give her a ten-pound note?" Jack said that he would not mind; and the Baroness stuck to him pertinaciously, not leaving his side a moment till she had got the money. Of course there was no lecture. The Baroness was made to understand that visitors at a country house in England could not be made to endure such an infliction; but she succeeded in levying a contribution from Mrs. Montacute Jones, and there were rumours afloat that she got a sovereign out of Mr. Houghton.

Lord Giblet had come with the intention of staying a week, but, the day after the attack made upon him by Mrs. Montacute Jones, news arrived which made it absolutely necessary that he should go to Castle Gossling at once. "We shall be so sorry to miss you," said Mrs. Montacute Jones, whom he tried to avoid in making his general adieux, but who was a great deal too clever not to catch him.

"My father wants to see me about the property, you know."

"Of course. There must be a great deal to do between you." Everybody who knew the affairs of the family was aware that the old Earl never thought of consulting his son; and Mrs. Montacute Jones knew everything.

"Ever so much; therefore I must be off at once. My fellow is packing my things now; and there is a train in an hour's time."

"Did you hear from Olivia this morning?"

"Not to-day."

"I hope you are as proud as you ought to be of having such a sweet girl belonging to you." Nasty old woman! What right had she to say these things? "I told Mrs. Green that you were here, and that you were coming to meet Olivia on the 27th."

"What did she say?"

"She thinks you ought to see Mr. Green as you go through London. He is the easiest, most good-natured man in the world. Don't you think you might as well speak to him?" Who was Mrs. Montacute Jones that she should talk to him in this way? "I would send a telegram if I were you, to say I would be there to-night."

"Perhaps it would be best," said Lord Giblet.

"Oh, certainly. Now mind, we expect you to dinner on the 27th. Is there anybody else you'd specially like me to ask?"

"Nobody in particular, thank ye."

"Isn't Jack De Baron a friend of yours?"

"Yes,—I like Jack pretty well. He thinks a great deal of himself, you know."

"All the young men do that now. At any rate I'll ask Jack to meet you." Unfortunately for Lord Giblet Jack appeared in sight at this very moment. "Captain De Baron, Lord Giblet has been good enough to say that he'll come to my little place at Killancodlem on the 27th. Can you meet him there?"

"Delighted, Mrs. Jones. Who ever refuses to go to Killancodlem?"

"It isn't Killancodlem and its little comforts that are bringing his lordship. We shall be delighted to see him; but he is coming to see——. Well I suppose it's no secret now, Lord Giblet?" Jack bowed his congratulations, and Lord Giblet again blushed as red as a rose.

Detestable old woman! Whither should he take himself? In what furthest part of the Rocky Mountains should he spend the coming autumn? If neither Mr. nor Mrs. Green called upon him for an explanation, what possible right could this abominable old harpy have to prey upon him? Just at the end of a cotillon he had said one word! He knew men who had done ten times as much and had not been as severely handled. And he was sure that Jack De Baron had had something to do with it. Jack had been hand in hand with Mrs. Jones at the making up of the Kappa-kappa. But as he went to the station he reflected that Olivia Green was a very nice girl. If those ten thousand pounds were true they would be a great comfort to him. His mother was always bothering him to get married. If he could bring himself to accept this as his fate he would be saved a deal of trouble. Spooning at Killancodlem, after all, would not be bad fun. He almost told himself that he would marry Miss Green, were it not that he was determined not to be dictated to by that old harridan.

Many people came and went at Rudham Park, but among those who did not go was Guss Mildmay. Aunt Julia, who had become thoroughly ashamed of the Baroness, had wished to take her departure on the third day; but Guss had managed to stop her. "What's the good of coming to a house for three days? You said you meant to stay a week. They know what she is now, and the harm's done. It was your own fault for bringing her. I don't see why I'm to be thrown over because you've made a mistake about a vulgar old woman. We've nowhere to go to till November, and now we are out of town for heaven's sake let us stay as long as we can." In this way Guss carried her point, watching her opportunity for a little conversation with her former lover.

At last the opportunity came. It was not that Jack had avoided her, but that it was necessary that she should be sure of having half-an-hour alone with him. At last she made the opportunity, calling upon him to walk with her one Sunday morning when all other folk were in church—or, perhaps, in bed. "No; I won't go to church," she had said to Aunt Ju. "What is the use of your asking 'why not?' I won't go. They are quite accustomed at Rudham to people not going to church. I always go in a stiff house, but I won't go here. When you are at Rome you should do as the Romans do. I don't suppose there'll be half-a-dozen there out of the whole party." Aunt Ju went to church as a matter of course, and the opportunity of walking in the grounds with Jack was accomplished. "Are you going to Killancodlem?" she said.

"I suppose I shall, for a few days."

"Have you got anything to say before you go?"

"Nothing particular."

"Of course I don't mean to me."

"I've nothing particular to say to anybody just at present. Since I've been here that wretched old Marquis has been my chief fate. It's quite a pleasure to hear him abuse the Dean."

"And the Dean's daughter?"

"He has not much good to say about her either."

"I'm not surprised at that, Jack. And what do you say to him about the Dean's daughter?"

"Very little, Guss."

"And what are you going to say to me about her?"

"Nothing at all, Guss."

"She's all the world to you, I suppose?"

"What's the use of your saying that? In one sense she's nothing to me. My belief is that the only man she'll ever care a pin about is her husband. At any rate she does not care a straw for me."

"Nor you for her?"

"Well;—Yes I do. She's one of my pet friends. There's nobody I like being with better."

"And if she were not married?"

"God knows what might have happened. I might have asked her to have me, because she has got money of her own. What's the use of coming back to the old thing, Guss?"

"Money, money, money!"

"Nothing more unfair was ever said to anyone. Have I given any signs of selling myself for money? Have I been a fortune hunter? No one has ever found me guilty of so much prudence. All I say is that having found out the way to go to the devil myself, I won't take any young woman I like with me there by marrying her. Heavens and earth! I can fancy myself returned from a wedding tour with some charmer, like you, without a shilling at my banker's, and beginning life at lodgings, somewhere down at Chelsea. Have you no imagination? Can't you see what it would be? Can't you fancy the stuffy sitting room with the horsehair chairs, and the hashed mutton, and the cradle in the corner before long?"

"No I can't," said Guss.

"I can;—two cradles, and very little of the hashed mutton; and my lady wife with no one to pin her dress for her but the maid of all work with black fingers."

"It wouldn't be like that."

"It very soon would, if I were to marry a girl without a fortune. And I know myself. I'm a very good fellow while the sun shines, but I couldn't stand hardship. I shouldn't come home to the hashed mutton. I should dine at the club, even though I had to borrow the money. I should come to hate the cradle and its occupant, and the mother of its occupant. I should take to drink, and should blow my brains out just as the second cradle came. I can see it all as plain as a pikestaff. I often lay awake the whole night and look at it. You and I, Guss, have made a mistake from the beginning. Being poor people we have lived as though we were rich."

"I have never done so."

"Oh yes, you have. Instead of dining out in Fitzroy Square and drinking tea in Tavistock Place, you have gone to balls in Grosvenor Square and been presented at Court."

"It wasn't my fault."

"It has been so, and therefore you should have made up your mind to marry a rich man."

"Who was it asked me to love him?"

"Say that I did if you please. Upon my word I forget how it began, but say that it was my fault. Of course it was my fault. Are you going to blow me up for that? I see a girl, and first I like her, and then I love her, and then I tell her so;—or else she finds it out without my telling. Was that a sin you can't forgive?"

"I never said it was a sin."

"I don't mind being a worm, but I won't be trodden upon overmuch. Was there ever a moment in which you thought that I thought of marrying you?"

"A great many, Jack."

"Did I ever say so?"

"Never. I'll do you justice there. You have been very cautious."

"Of course you can be severe, and of course I am bound to bear it. I have been cautious,—for your sake!"

"Oh, Jack!"

"For your sake. When I first saw how it was going to be,—how it might be between you and me,—I took care to say outright that I couldn't marry unless a girl had money."

"There will be something—when papa dies."

"The most healthy middle-aged gentleman in London! There might be half a dozen cradles, Guss, before that day. If it will do you good, you shall say I'm the greatest rascal walking."

"That will do me no good."

"But I don't know that I can give you any other privilege."

Then there was a long pause during which they were sauntering together under an old oak tree in the park. "Do you love me, Jack?" she then asked, standing close up to him.

"God bless my soul! That's going back to the beginning."

"You are heartless,—absolutely heartless. It has come to that with you that any real idea of love is out of the question."

"I can't afford it, my dear."

"But is there no such thing as love that you can't help? Can you drop a girl out of your heart altogether simply because she has got no money? I suppose you did love me once?" Here Jack scratched his head. "You did love me once?" she said, persevering with her question.

"Of course I did," said Jack, who had no objection to making assurances of the past.

"And you don't now?"

"Whoever said so? What's the good of talking about it?"

"Do you think you owe me nothing?"

"What's the good of owing, if a man can't pay his debts?"

"You will own nothing then?"

"Yes, I will. If anyone left me twenty thousand pounds to-morrow, then I should owe you something."

"What would you owe me?"

"Half of it."

"And how would you pay me?" He thought a while before he made his answer. He knew that in that case he would not wish to pay the debt in the only way in which it would be payable. "You mean then that you would—marry me?"

"I shouldn't be afraid of the hashed mutton and cradles."

"In that case you—would marry me?"

"A man has no right to take so much on himself as to say that."

"Psha!"

"I suppose I should. I should make a devilish bad husband even then."

"Why should you be worse than others?"

"I don't know. Perhaps I was made worse. I can't fancy myself doing any duty well. If I had a wife of my own I should be sure to fall in love with somebody else's."

"Lady George for instance."

"No;—not Lady George. It would not be with somebody whom I had learned to think the very best woman in all the world. I am very bad, but I'm just not bad enough to make love to her. Or rather I am very foolish, but just not foolish enough to think that I could win her."

"I suppose she's just the same as others, Jack."

"She's not just the same to me. But I'd rather not talk about her, Guss. I'm going to Killancodlem in a day or two, and I shall leave this to-morrow!"

"To-morrow!"

"Well; yes; to-morrow. I must be a day or two in town, and there is not much doing here. I'm tired of the old Marquis who is the most illnatured brute I ever came across in my life, and there's no more fun to be made of the Baroness. I'm not sure but that she has the best of the fun. I didn't think there was an old woman in the world could get a five pound note out of me; but she had."

"How could you be so foolish?"

"How indeed! You'll go back to London?"

"I suppose so;—unless I drown myself."

"Don't do that, Guss?"

"I often think it will be best. You don't know what my life is,—how wretched. And you made it so."

"Is that fair, Guss?"

"Quite fair! Quite true! You have made it miserable. You know you have. Of course you know it."

"Can I help it now?"

"Yes you can. I can be patient if you will say that it shall be some day. I could put up with anything if you would let me hope. When you have got that twenty thousand pounds——?"

"But I shall never have it."

"If you do,—will you marry me then? Will you promise me that you will never marry anybody else?"

"I never shall."

"But will you promise me? If you will not say so much as that to me you must be false indeed. When you have the twenty thousand pounds will you marry me?"

"Oh, certainly."

"And you can laugh about such a matter when I am pouring out my very soul to you? You can make a joke of it when it is all my life to me! Jack, if you will say that it shall happen some day,—some day,—I will be happy. If you won't,—I can only die. It may be play to you, but it's death to me." He looked at her, and saw that she was quite in earnest. She was not weeping, but there was a drawn, heavy look about her face which, in truth, touched his heart. Whatever might be his faults he was not a cruel man. He had defended himself without any scruples of conscience when she had seemed to attack him, but now he did not know how to refuse her request. It amounted to so little! "I don't suppose it will ever take place, but I think I ought to allow myself to consider myself as engaged to you," she said.

"As it is you are free to marry anyone else," he replied.

"I don't care for such freedom. I don't want it. I couldn't marry a man whom I didn't love."

"Nobody knows what that they can do till they're tried."

"Do you suppose, sir, I've never been tried? But I can't bring myself to laugh now, Jack. Don't joke now. Heaven knows when we may see each other again. You will promise me that, Jack?"

"Yes;—if you wish it." And so at last she had got a promise from him! She said nothing more to fix it, fearing that in doing so she might lose it; but she threw herself into his arms and buried her face upon his bosom.

Afterwards, when she was leaving him, she was very solemn in her manner to him. "I will say good-bye now, Jack, for I shall hardly see you again to speak to. You do love me?"

"You know I do."

"I am so true to you! I have always been true to you. God bless you, Jack. Write me a line sometimes." Then he escaped, having brought her back to the garden among the flowers, and he wandered away by himself across the park. At last he had engaged himself. He knew that it was so, and he knew that she would tell all her friends. Adelaide Houghton would know, and would, of course, congratulate him. There never could be a marriage. That would, of course, be out of the question. But, instead of being the Jack De Baron of old, at any rate free as air, he would be the young man engaged to marry Augusta Mildmay. And then he could hardly now refuse to answer the letters which she would be sure to write to him, at least twice a week. There had been a previous period of letter-writing, but that had died a natural death through utter neglect on his part. But now——. It might be as well that he should take advantage of the new law and exchange into an Indian regiment.

But, even in his present condition, his mind was not wholly occupied with Augusta Mildmay. The evil words which had been spoken to him of Mary had not been altogether fruitless. His cousin Adelaide had told him over and over again that Lady George was as other women,—by which his cousin had intended to say that Lady George was the same as herself. Augusta Mildmay had spoken of his Phoenix in the same strain. The Marquis had declared her to be utterly worthless. It was not that he wished to think of her as they thought, or that he could be brought so to think; but these suggestions, coming as they did from those who knew how much he liked the woman, amounted to ridicule aimed against the purity of his worship. They told him,—almost told him,—that he was afraid to speak of love to Lady George. Indeed he was afraid, and within his own breast he was in some sort proud of his fear. But, nevertheless, he was touched by their ridicule. He and Mary had certainly been dear friends. Certainly that friendship had given great umbrage to her husband. Was he bound to keep away from her because of her husband's anger? He knew that they two were not living together. He knew that the Dean would at any rate welcome him. And he knew, too, that there was no human being he wished to see again so much as Lady George. He had no purpose as to anything that he would say to her, but he was resolved that he would see her. If then some word warmer than any he had yet spoken should fall from him, he would gather from her answer what her feelings were towards him. In going back to London on the morrow he must pass by Brotherton, and he would make his arrangements so as to remain there for an hour or two.



CHAPTER LII.

ANOTHER LOVER.

The party at Rudham Park had hardly been a success,—nor was it much improved in wit or gaiety when Mrs. Montacute Jones, Lord Giblet, and Jack de Baron had gone away, and Canon Holdenough and his wife, with Mr. Groschut, had come in their places. This black influx, as Lord Brotherton called it, had all been due to consideration for his Lordship. Mr. De Baron thought that his guest would like to see, at any rate, one of his own family, and Lady Alice Holdenough was the only one whom he could meet. As to Mr. Groschut, he was the Dean's bitterest enemy, and would, therefore, it was thought, be welcome. The Bishop had been asked, as Mr. De Baron was one who found it expedient to make sacrifices to respectability; but, as was well known, the Bishop never went anywhere except to clerical houses. Mr. Groschut, who was a younger man, knew that it behoved him to be all things to all men, and that he could not be efficacious among sinners unless he would allow himself to be seen in their paths. Care was, of course, taken that Lady Alice should find herself alone with her brother. It was probably expected that the Marquis would be regarded as less of an ogre in the country if it were known that he had had communication with one of the family without quarrelling with her. "So you're come here," he said.

"I didn't know that people so pious would enter De Baron's doors."

"Mr. De Baron is a very old friend of the Canon's. I hope he isn't very wicked, and I'm afraid we are not very pious."

"If you don't object, of course I don't. So they've all gone back to the old house?"

"Mamma is there."

"And George?" he asked in a sharp tone.

"And George,—at present."

"George is, I think, the biggest fool I ever came across in my life. He is so cowed by that man whose daughter he has married that he doesn't know how to call his soul his own."

"I don't think that, Brotherton. He never goes to the deanery to stay there."

"Then what makes him quarrel with me? He ought to know which side his bread is buttered."

"He had a great deal of money with her, you know."

"If he thinks his bread is buttered on that side, let him stick to that side and say so. I will regard none of my family as on friendly terms with me who associate with the Dean of Brotherton or his daughter after what took place up in London." Lady Alice felt this to be a distinct threat to herself, but she allowed it to pass by without notice. She was quite sure that the Canon would not quarrel with the Dean out of deference to his brother-in-law. "The fact is they should all have gone away as I told them, and especially when George had married the girl and got her money. It don't make much difference to me, but it will make a deal to him."

"How is Popenjoy, Brotherton?" asked Lady Alice, anxious to change the conversation.

"I don't know anything about him."

"What!"

"He has gone back to Italy with his mother. How can I tell? Ask the Dean. I don't doubt that he knows all about him. He has people following them about, and watching every mouthful they eat."

"I think he has given all that up."

"Not he. He'll have to, unless he means to spend more money than I think he has got."

"George is quite satisfied about Popenjoy now," said Lady Alice.

"I fancy George didn't like the expense. But he began it, and I'll never forgive him. I fancy it was he and Sarah between them. They'll find that they will have had the worst of it. The poor little beggar hadn't much life in him. Why couldn't they wait?"

"Is it so bad as that, Brotherton?"

"They tell me he is not a young Hercules. Oh yes;—you can give my love to my mother. Tell her that if I don't see her it is all George's fault. I am not going to the house while he's there." To the Canon he hardly spoke a word, nor was the Canon very anxious to talk to him. But it became known throughout the country that the Marquis had met his sister at Rudham Park, and the general effect was supposed to be good.

"I shall go back to-morrow, De Baron," he said to his host that same afternoon. This was the day on which Jack had gone to Brotherton.

"We shall be sorry to lose you. I'm afraid it has been rather dull."

"Not more dull than usual. Everything is dull after a certain time of life unless a man has made some fixed line for himself. Some men can eat and drink a great deal, but I haven't got stomach for that. Some men play cards; but I didn't begin early enough to win money, and I don't like losing it. The sort of things that a man does care for die away from him, and of course it becomes dull."

"I wonder you don't have a few horses in training."

"I hate horses, and I hate being cheated."

"They don't cheat me," said Mr. De Baron.

"Ah;—very likely. They would me. I think I made a mistake, De Baron, in not staying at home and looking after the property."

"It's not too late, now."

"Yes, it is. I could not do it. I could not remember the tenants' names, and I don't care about game. I can't throw myself into a litter of young foxes, or get into a fury of passion about pheasants' eggs. It's all beastly nonsense, but if a fellow could only bring himself to care about it that wouldn't matter. I don't care about anything."

"You read."

"No, I don't. I pretend to read—a little. If they had left me alone I think I should have had myself bled to death in a warm bath. But I won't now. That man's daughter shan't be Lady Brotherton if I can help it. I have rather liked being here on the whole, though why the d—— you should have a Germain impostor in your house, and a poor clergyman, I can't make out."

"He's the Deputy Bishop of the diocese."

"But why have the Bishop himself unless he happen to be a friend? Does your daughter like her marriage?"

"I hope so. She does not complain."

"He's an awful ass,—and always was. I remember when you used always to finish up your books by making him bet as you pleased."

"He always won."

"And now you've made him marry your daughter. Perhaps he has won there. I like her. If my wife would die and he would die, we might get up another match and cut out Lord George after all." This speculation was too deep even for Mr. De Baron, who laughed and shuffled himself about, and got out of the room.

"Wouldn't you have liked to be a marchioness," he said, some hours afterwards, to Mrs. Houghton. She was in the habit of sitting by him and talking to him late in the evening, while he was sipping his curacoa and soda water, and had become accustomed to hear odd things from him. He liked her because he could say what he pleased to her, and she would laugh and listen, and show no offence. But this last question was very odd. Of course she thought that it referred to the old overtures made to her by Lord George; but in that case, had she married Lord George, she could only have been made a marchioness by his own death,—by that and by the death of the little Popenjoy of whom she had heard so much.

"If it had come in my way fairly," she said with an arch smile.

"I don't mean that you should have murdered anybody. Suppose you had married me?"

"You never asked me, my lord."

"You were only eight or nine years old when I saw you last."

"Isn't it a pity you didn't get yourself engaged to me then? Such things have been done."

"If the coast were clear I wonder whether you'd take me now."

"The coast isn't clear, Lord Brotherton."

"No, by George. I wish it were, and so do you too, if you'd dare to say so."

"You think I should be sure to take you."

"I think you would. I should ask you at any rate. I'm not so old by ten years as Houghton."

"Your age would not be the stumbling block."

"What then?"

"I didn't say there would be any. I don't say that there would not. It's a kind of thing that a woman doesn't think of."

"It's just the kind of thing that women do think of."

"Then they don't talk about it, Lord Brotherton. Your brother you know did want me to marry him."

"What, George? Before Houghton?"

"Certainly;—before I had thought of Mr. Houghton."

"Why the deuce did you refuse him? Why did you let him take that little——" He did not fill up the blank, but Mrs. Houghton quite understood that she was to suppose everything that was bad. "I never heard of this before."

"It wasn't for me to tell you."

"What an ass you were."

"Perhaps so. What should we have lived upon? Papa would not have given us an income."

"I could."

"But you wouldn't. You didn't know me then."

"Perhaps you'd have been just as keen as she is to rob my boy of his name. And so George wanted to marry you! Was he very much in love?"

"I was bound to suppose so, my lord."

"And you didn't care for him!"

"I didn't say that. But I certainly did not care to set up housekeeping without a house or without the money to get one. Was I wrong?"

"I suppose a fellow ought to have money when he wants to marry. Well, my dear, there is no knowing what may come yet. Won't it be odd, if after all, you should be Marchioness of Brotherton some day? After that won't you give me a kiss before you say good-night."

"I would have done if you had been my brother-in-law,—or, perhaps, if the people were not all moving about in the next room. Good-night, Marquis."

"Good-night. Perhaps you'll regret some day that you haven't done what I asked."

"I might regret it more if I did." Then she took herself off, enquiring in her own mind whether it might still be possible that she should ever preside in the drawing-room at Manor Cross. Had he not been very much in love with her, surely he would not have talked to her like that.

"I think I'll say good-bye to you, De Baron," the Marquis said to his host, that night.

"You won't be going early."

"No;—I never do anything early. But I don't like a fuss just as I am going. I'll get down and drive away to catch some train. My man will manage it all."

"You go to London?"

"I shall be in Italy within a week. I hate Italy, but I think I hate England worse. If I believed in heaven and thought I were going there, what a hurry I should be in to die."

"Let us know how Popenjoy is."

"You'll be sure to know whether he is dead or alive. There's nothing else to tell. I never write letters except to Knox, and very few to him. Good-night."

When the Marquis was in his room, his courier, or the man so called, came to undress him. "Have you heard anything to-day?" he asked in Italian. The man said that he had heard. A letter had reached him that afternoon from London. The letter had declared that little Popenjoy was sinking. "That will do Bonni," he said. "I will get into bed by myself." Then he sat down and thought of himself, and his life, and his prospects,—and of the prospects of his enemies.



CHAPTER LIII.

POOR POPENJOY!

On the following morning the party at Rudham Park were assembled at breakfast between ten and eleven. It was understood that the Marquis was gone,—or going. The Mildmays were still there with the Baroness, and the Houghtons, and the black influx from the cathedral town. A few other new comers had arrived on the previous day. Mr. Groschut, who was sitting next to the Canon, had declared his opinion that, after all, the Marquis of Brotherton was a very affable nobleman. "He's civil enough," said the Canon, "when people do just what he wants."

"A man of his rank and position of course expects to have some deference paid to him."

"A man of his rank and position should be very careful of the rights of others, Mr. Groschut."

"I'm afraid his brother did make himself troublesome. You're one of the family, Canon, and therefore, of course, know all about it."

"I know nothing at all about it, Mr. Groschut."

"But it must be acknowledged that the Dean behaved very badly. Violence!—personal violence! And from a clergyman,—to a man of his rank!"

"You probably don't know what took place in that room. I'm sure I don't. But I'd rather trust the Dean than the Marquis any day. The Dean's a man!"

"But is he a clergyman?"

"Of course he is; and a father. If he had been very much in the wrong we should have heard more about it through the police."

"I cannot absolve a clergyman for using personal violence," said Mr. Groschut, very grandly. "He should have borne anything sooner than degrade his sacred calling." Mr. Groschut had hoped to extract from the Canon some expression adverse to the Dean, and to be able to assure himself that he had enrolled a new ally.

"Poor dear little fellow!" aunt Ju was saying to Mrs. Holdenough. Of course she was talking of Popenjoy. "And you never saw him?"

"No; I never saw him."

"I am told he was a lovely child."

"Very dark, I fancy."

"And all those—those doubts? They're all over now?"

"I never knew much about it, Miss Mildmay. I never inquired into it. For myself, I always took it for granted that he was Popenjoy. I think one always does take things for granted till somebody proves that it is not so."

"The Dean, I take it, has given it up altogether," said Mrs. Houghton to old Lady Brabazon, who had come down especially to meet her nephew, the Marquis, but who had hardly dared to speak a word to him on the previous evening, and was now told that he was gone. Lady Brabazon for a week or two had been quite sure that Popenjoy was not Popenjoy, being at that time under the influence of a very strong letter from Lady Sarah. But, since that, a general idea had come to prevail that the Dean was wrong-headed, and Lady Brabazon had given in her adhesion to Popenjoy. She had gone so far as to call at Scumberg's, and to leave a box of bonbons.

"I hope so, Mrs. Houghton; I do hope so. Quarrels are such dreadful things in families. Brotherton isn't, perhaps, all that he might have been."

"Not a bad fellow, though, after all."

"By no means, Mrs. Houghton, and quite what he ought to be in appearance. I always thought that George was very foolish."

"Lord George is foolish—sometimes."

"Very stubborn, you know, and pigheaded. And as for the Dean,—is was great interference on his part, very great interference. I won't say that I like foreigners myself. I should be very sorry if Brabazon were to marry a foreigner. But if he chooses to do so I don't see why he is to be told that his heir isn't his heir. They say she is a very worthy woman, and devoted to him." At this moment the butler came in and whispered a word to Mr. De Baron, who immediately got up from his chair. "So my nephew hasn't gone," said Lady Brabazon. "That was a message from him. I heard his name."

Her ears had been correct. The summons which Mr. De Baron obeyed had come from the Marquis. He went upstairs at once, and found Lord Brotherton sitting in his dressing-gown, with a cup of chocolate before him, and a bit of paper in his hand. He did not say a word, but handed the paper, which was a telegram, to Mr. De Baron. As the message was in Italian, and as Mr. De Baron did not read the language, he was at a loss. "Ah! you don't understand it," said the Marquis. "Give it me. It's all over with little Popenjoy."

"Dead!" said Mr. De Baron.

"Yes. He has got away from all his troubles,—lucky dog! He'll never have to think what he'll do with himself. They'd almost told me that it must be so, before he went."

"I grieve for you greatly, Brotherton."

"There's no use in that, old fellow. I'm sorry to be a bother to you, but I thought it best to tell you. I don't understand much about what people call grief. I can't say that I was particularly fond of him, or that I shall personally miss him. They hardly ever brought him to me, and when they did, it bothered me. And yet, somehow it pinches me;—it pinches me."

"Of course it does."

"It will be such a triumph to the Dean, and George. That's about the worst of it. But they haven't got it yet. Though I should be the most miserable dog on earth I'll go on living as long as I can keep my body and soul together. I'll have another son yet, if one is to be had for love or money. They shall have trouble enough before they find themselves at Manor Cross."

"The Dean'll be dead before that time;—and so shall I," said Mr. De Baron.

"Poor little boy! You never saw him. They didn't bring him in when you were over at Manor Cross?"

"No;—I didn't see him."

"They weren't very proud of showing him. He wasn't much to look at. Upon my soul I don't know whether he was legitimate or not, according to English fashions." Mr. De Baron stared. "They had something to stand upon, but,—damn it,—they went about it in such a dirty way! It don't matter now, you know, but you needn't repeat all this."

"Not a word," said Mr. De Baron, wondering why such a communication should have been made to him.

"And there was plenty of ground for a good fight. I hardly know whether she had been married or not. I never could quite find out." Again Mr. De Baron stared. "It's all over now."

"But if you were to have another son?"

"Oh! we're married now! There were two ceremonies. I believe the Dean knows quite as much about it as I do;—very likely more. What a rumpus there has been about a rickety brat who was bound to die."

"Am I to tell them downstairs?"

"Yes;—you might as well tell them. Wait till I'm gone. They'd say I'd concealed it if I didn't let them know, and I certainly shan't write. There's no Popenjoy now. If that young woman has a son he can't be Popenjoy as long as I live. I'll take care of myself. By George I will. Fancy, if the Dean had killed me. He'd have made his own daughter a Marchioness."

"But he'd have been hung."

"Then I wish he'd done it. I wonder how it would have gone. There was nobody there to see, nor to hear. Well;—I believe I'll think of going. There's a train at two. You'll let me have a carriage; won't you?"

"Certainly."

"Let me get out some back way, and don't say a word about this till I'm off. I wouldn't have them condoling with me, and rejoicing in their sleeves, for a thousand pounds. Tell Holdenough, or my sister;—that'll be enough. Good-bye. If you want ever to see me again, you must come to Como." Then Mr. De Baron took his leave, and the Marquis prepared for his departure.

As he was stepping into the carriage at a side door he was greeted by Mr. Groschut. "So your Lordship is leaving us," said the Chaplain. The Marquis looked at him, muttered something, and snarled as he hurried up the step of the carriage. "I'm sorry that we are to lose your Lordship so soon." Then there was another snarl. "I had one word I wanted to say."

"To me! What can you have to say to me?"

"If at any time I can do anything for your Lordship at Brotherton——"

"You can't do anything. Go on." The last direction was given to the coachman, and the carriage was driven off, leaving Mr. Groschut on the path.

Before lunch everybody in the house knew that poor little Popenjoy was dead, and that the Dean had, in fact, won the battle,—though not in the way that he had sought to win it. Lord Brotherton had, after a fashion, been popular at Rudham, but, nevertheless, it was felt by them all that Lady George was a much greater woman to-day than she had been yesterday. It was felt also that the Dean was in the ascendant. The Marquis had been quite agreeable, making love to the ladies, and fairly civil to the gentlemen,—excepting Mr. Groschut; but he certainly was not a man likely to live to eighty. He was married, and, as was generally understood, separated from his wife. They might all live to see Lady George Marchioness of Brotherton and a son of hers Lord Popenjoy.

"Dead!" said Lady Brabazon, when Lady Alice, with sad face, whispered to her the fatal news.

"He got a telegram this morning from Italy. Poor little boy."

"And what'll he do now;—the Marquis I mean?"

"I suppose he'll follow his wife," said Lady Alice.

"Was he much cut up?"

"I didn't see him. He merely sent me word by Mr. De Baron." Mr. De Baron afterwards assured Lady Brabazon that the poor father had been very much cut up. Great pity was expressed throughout the party, but there was not one there who would not now have been civil to poor Mary.

The Marquis had his flowers, and his fruit, and his French novels on his way up to town, and kept his sorrow, if he felt it, very much to himself. Soon after his arrival at Scumberg's, at which place they were obliged to take him in as he was still paying for his rooms, he made it known that he should start for Italy in a day or two. On that night and on the next he did not go out in his brougham, nor did he give any offence to Mrs. Walker. London was as empty as London ever is, and nobody came to see him. For two days he did not leave his room, the same room in which the Dean had nearly killed him, and received nobody but his tailor and his hair-dresser. I think that, in his way, he did grieve for the child who was gone, and who, had he lived, would have been the intended heir of his title and property. They must now all go from him to his enemies! And the things themselves were to himself of so very little value! Living alone at Scumberg's was not a pleasant life. Even going out in his brougham at nights was not very pleasant to him. He could do as he liked at Como, and people wouldn't grumble;—but what was there even at Como that he really liked to do? He had a half worn out taste for scenery which he had no longer energy to gratify by variation. It had been the resolution of his life to live without control, and now, at four and forty, he found that the life he had chosen was utterly without attraction. He had been quite in earnest in those regrets as to shooting, hunting, and the duties of an English country life. Though he was free from remorse, not believing in anything good, still he was open to a conviction that had he done what other people call good, he would have done better for himself. Something of envy stirred him as he read the records of a nobleman whose political life had left him no moment of leisure for his private affairs;—something of envy when he heard of another whose cattle were the fattest in the land. He was connected with Lord Grassangrains, and had always despised that well-known breeder of bullocks;—but he could understand now that Lord Grassangrains should wish to live, whereas life to him was almost unbearable. Lord Grassangrains probably had a good appetite.

On the last morning of his sojourn at Scumberg's he received two or three letters which he would willingly have avoided by running away had it been possible. The first he opened was from his old mother, who had not herself troubled him much with letters for some years past. It was as follows:—

"DEAREST BROTHERTON,—I have heard about poor Popenjoy, and I am so unhappy. Darling little fellow. We are all very wretched here, and I have nearly cried my eyes out. I hope you won't go away without seeing me. If you'll let me, I'll go up to London, though I haven't been there for I don't know how long. But perhaps you will come here to your own house. I do so wish you would.

"Your most affectionate mother,

"H. BROTHERTON.

"P.S.—Pray don't turn George out at the end of the month."

This he accepted without anger as being natural, but threw aside as being useless. Of course he would not answer it. They all knew that he never answered their letters. As to the final petition he had nothing to say to it.

The next was from Lord George, and shall also be given:—

"MY DEAR BROTHERTON,—I cannot let the tidings which I have just heard pass by without expressing my sympathy. I am very sorry indeed that you should have lost your son. I trust you will credit me for saying so much with absolute truth.

"Yours always,

"GEORGE GERMAIN."

"I don't believe a word of it," he said almost out loud. To his thinking it was almost impossible that what his brother said should be true. Why should he be sorry,—he that had done his utmost to prove that Popenjoy was not Popenjoy? He crunched the letter up and cast it on one side. Of course he would not answer that.

The third was from a new correspondent; and that also the reader shall see;—

"MY DEAR LORD MARQUIS,—Pray believe that had I known under what great affliction you were labouring when you left Rudham Park I should have been the last man in the world to intrude myself upon you. Pray believe me also when I say that I have heard of your great bereavement with sincere sympathy, and that I condole with you from the bottom of my heart. Pray remember, my dear Lord, that if you will turn aright for consolation you certainly will not turn in vain.

"Let me add, though this is hardly the proper moment for such allusion, that both his lordship the Bishop and myself were most indignant when we heard of the outrage committed upon you at your hotel. I make no secret of my opinion that the present Dean of Brotherton ought to be called upon by the great Council of the Nation to vacate his promotion. I wish that the bench of bishops had the power to take from him his frock.

"I have the honour to be,

"My Lord Marquis,

"With sentiments of most unfeigned respect,

"Your Lordship's most humble servant,

"JOSEPH GROSCHUT."

The Marquis smiled as he also threw this letter into the waste-paper basket, telling himself that birds of that feather very often did fall out with one another.



CHAPTER LIV.

JACK DE BARON'S VIRTUE.

We must now go back to Jack De Baron, who left Rudham Park the same day as the Marquis,—having started before the news of Lord Popenjoy's death had been brought down stairs by Mr. De Baron. Being only Jack De Baron he had sent to Brotherton for a fly, and in that conveyance had had himself taken to the "Lion," arriving there three or four hours before the time at which he purposed to leave the town. Indeed his arrangements had intentionally been left so open that he might if he liked remain the night,—or if he pleased, remain a week at the "Lion." He thought it not improbable that the Dean might ask him to dinner, and, if so, he certainly would dine with the Dean.

He was very serious,—considering who he was, we may almost say solemn, as he sat in the fly. It was the rule of his life to cast all cares from him, and his grand principle to live from hand to mouth. He was almost a philosopher in his epicureanism, striving always that nothing should trouble him. But now he had two great troubles, which he could not throw off from him. In the first place, after having striven against it for the last four or five years with singular success, he had in a moment of weakness allowed himself to become engaged to Guss Mildmay. She had gone about it so subtlely that he had found himself manacled almost before he knew that the manacles were there. He had fallen into the trap of an hypothesis, and now felt that the preliminary conditions on which he had seemed to depend could never avail him. He did not mean to marry Guss Mildmay. He did not suppose that she thought he meant to marry her. He did not love her, and he did not believe very much in her love for him. But Guss Mildmay, having fought her battle in the world for many years with but indifferent success, now felt that her best chance lay in having a bond upon her old lover. He ought not to have gone to Rudham when he knew that she was to be there. He had told himself that before, but he had not liked to give up the only chance which had come in his way of being near Lady George since she had left London. And now he was an engaged man,—a position which had always been to him full of horrors. He had run his bark on to the rock, which it had been the whole study of his navigation to avoid. He had committed the one sin which he had always declared to himself that he never would commit. This made him unhappy.

And he was uneasy also,—almost unhappy,—respecting Lady George. People whom he knew to be bad had told him things respecting her which he certainly did not believe, but which he did not find it compatible with his usual condition of life altogether to disbelieve. If he had ever loved any woman he loved her. He certainly respected her as he had never respected any other young woman. He had found the pleasure to be derived from her society to be very different from that which had come from his friendship with others. With her he could be perfectly innocent, and at the same time completely happy. To dance with her, to ride with her, to walk with her, to sit with the privilege of looking at her, was joy of itself, and required nothing beyond. It was a delight to him to have any little thing to do for her. When his daily life was in any way joined with hers there was a brightness in it which he thoroughly enjoyed though he did not quite understand. When that affair of the dance came, in which Lord George had declared his jealousy, he had been in truth very unhappy because she was unhappy, and he had been thoroughly angry with the man, not because the man had interfered with his own pleasures, but because of the injury and the injustice done to the wife. He found himself wounded, really hurt, because she had been made subject to calumny. When he tried to analyse the feeling he could not understand it. It was so different from anything that had gone before! He was sure that she liked him, and yet there was a moment in which he thought that he would purposely keep out of her way for the future, lest he might be a trouble to her. He loved her so well that his love for a while almost made him unselfish.

And yet,—yet he might be mistaken about her. It had been the theory of his life that young married women become tired of their husbands, and one of his chief doctrines that no man should ever love in such a way as to believe in the woman he loves. After so many years, was he to give up his philosophy? Was he to allow the ground to be cut from under his feet by a young creature of twenty-one who had been brought up in a county town? Was he to run away because a husband had taken it into his head to be jealous? All the world had given him credit for his behaviour at the Kappa-kappa. He had gathered laurels,—very much because he was supposed to be the lady's lover. He had never boasted to others of the lady's favour; but he knew that she liked him, and he had told himself that he would be poor-spirited if he abandoned her.

He drove up to the "Lion" and ordered a room. He did not know whether he should want it, but he would at any rate bespeak it. And he ordered his dinner. Come what come might, he thought that he would dine and sleep at Brotherton that day. Finding himself so near to Lady George, he would not leave her quite at once. He asked at the inn whether the Dean was in Brotherton. Yes; the Dean was certainly at the deanery. He had been seen about in the city that morning. The inhabitants, when they talked about Brotherton, always called it the city. And were Lord George and Lady George at the deanery? In answer to this question, the landlady with something of a lengthened face declared that Lady George was with her papa, but that Lord George was at Manor Cross. Then Jack De Baron strolled out towards the Close.

It was a little after one when he found himself at the cathedral door, and thinking that the Dean and his daughter might be at lunch, he went into the building, so that he might get rid of half an hour. He had not often been in cathedrals of late years, and now looked about him with something of awe. He could remember that when he was a child he had been brought here to church, and as he stood in the choir with the obsequient verger at his elbow he recollected how he had got through the minutes of a long sermon,—a sermon that had seemed to be very long,—in planning the way in which, if left to himself, he would climb to the pinnacle which culminated over the bishop's seat, and thence make his way along the capitals and vantages of stonework, till he would ascend into the triforium and thus become lord and master of the old building. How much smaller his ambitions had become since then, and how much less manly. "Yes, sir; his Lordship is here every Sunday when he is at the palace," said the verger. "But his Lordship is ailing now."

"And the Dean?"

"The Dean always comes once a day to service when he is here; but the Dean has been much away of late. Since Miss Mary's marriage the Dean isn't in Brotherton as much as formerly."

"I know the Dean. I'm going to his house just now. They like him in Brotherton, I suppose?"

"That's according to their way of thinking, sir. We like him. I suppose you heard, sir, there was something of a row between him and Miss Mary's brother-in-law!" Jack said that he had heard of it. "There's them as say he was wrong."

"I say he was quite right."

"That's what we think, sir. It's got about that his Lordship said some bad word of Miss Mary. A father wasn't to stand that because he's a clergyman, was he, sir?"

"The Dean did just what you or I would do."

"That's just it, sir. That's what we all say. Thank you, sir. You won't see Prince Edward's monument, sir? Gentlemen always do go down to the crypt." Jack wouldn't see the monument to-day, and having paid his half-crown, was left to wander about alone through the aisles.

How would it have been with him if his life had been different; if he had become, perhaps, a clergyman and had married Mary Lovelace?—or if he had become anything but what he was with her for his wife? He knew that his life had been a failure, that the best of it was gone, and that even the best of it had been unsatisfactory. Many people liked him, but was there any one who loved him? In all the world there was but one person that he loved, and she was the wife of another man. Of one thing at this moment he was quite sure,—that he would never wound her ears by speaking of his love. Would it not be better that he should go away and see her no more? The very tone in which the verger had spoken of Miss Mary had thrown to the winds those doubts which had come from the teaching of Adelaide Houghton and Guss Mildmay. If she had been as they said, would even her father have felt for her as he did feel, and been carried away by his indignation at the sound of an evil word?

But he had asked after the Dean at the hotel, and had told the verger of his acquaintance, and had been seen by many in the town. He could not now leave the place without calling. So resolving he knocked at last at the deanery door, and was told that the Dean was at home. He asked for the Dean, and not for Lady George, and was shown into the library. In a minute the Dean was with him. "Come in and have some lunch," said the Dean. "We have this moment sat down. Mary will be delighted to see you,—and so am I." Of course he went in to lunch, and in a moment was shaking hands with Mary, who in truth was delighted to see him.

"You've come from Rudham?" asked the Dean.

"This moment."

"Have they heard the news there?"

"What news?"

"Lord Brotherton is there, is he not?"

"I think he left to-day. He was to do so. I heard no news." He looked across to Mary, and saw that her face was sad and solemn.

"The child that they called Lord Popenjoy is dead," said the Dean. He was neither sad nor solemn. He could not control the triumph of his voice as he told the news.

"Poor little boy!" said Mary.

"Dead!" exclaimed Jack.

"I've just had a telegram from my lawyer in London. Yes; he's out of the way. Poor little fellow! As sure as I sit here he was not Lord Popenjoy."

"I never understood anything about it," said Jack.

"But I did. Of course the matter is at rest now. I'm not the man to grudge any one what belongs to him; but I do not choose that any one belonging to me should be swindled. If she were to have a son now, he would be the heir."

"Oh, papa, do not talk in that way."

"Rights are rights, and the truth is the truth. Can any one wish that such a property and such a title should go to the child of an Italian woman whom no one has seen or knows?"

"Let it take its chance now, papa."

"Of course it must take its chance; but your chances must be protected."

"Papa, he was at any rate my nephew."

"I don't know that. In law, I believe, he was no such thing. But he has gone, and we need think of him no further." He was very triumphant. There was an air about him as though he had already won the great stake for which he had been playing. But in the midst of it all he was very civil to Jack De Baron. "You will stay and dine with us to-day, Captain De Baron?"

"Oh, do," said Mary.

"We can give you a bed if you will sleep here."

"Thanks. My things are at the hotel, and I will not move them. I will come and dine if you'll have me."

"We shall be delighted. We can't make company of you, because no one is coming. I shouldn't wonder if Lord George rode over. He will if he hears of this. Of course he'll know to-morrow; but perhaps they will not have telegraphed to him. I should go out to Manor Cross, only I don't quite like to put my foot in that man's house." Jack could not but feel that the Dean treated him almost as though he were one of the family. "I rather think I shall ride out and risk it. You won't mind my leaving you?" Of course Jack declared that he would not for worlds be in the way. "Mary will play Badminton with you, if you like it. Perhaps you can get hold of Miss Pountner and Grey; and make up a game." Mr. Grey was one of the minor canons, and Miss Pountner was the canon's daughter.

"We shall do very well, papa. I'm not mad after Badminton, and I dare say we shall manage without Miss Pountner."

The Dean went off, and in spite of the feud did ride over to Manor Cross. His mind was so full of the child's death and of the all but certainty of coming glory which now awaited his daughter, that he could not keep himself quiet. It seemed to him that a just Providence had interfered to take that child away. And as the Marquis hated him, so did he hate the Marquis. He had been willing at first to fight the battle fairly without personal animosity. On the Marquis's first arrival he had offered him the right hand of fellowship. He remembered it all accurately,—how the Marquis had on that occasion ill-used and insulted him. No man knew better than the Dean when he was well-treated and when ill-treated. And then this lord had sent for him for the very purpose of injuring and wounding him through his daughter's name. His wrath on that occasion had not all expended itself in the blow. After that word had been spoken he was the man's enemy for ever. There could be no forgiveness. He could not find room in his heart for even a spark of pity because the man had lost an only child. Had not the man tried to do worse than kill his only child—his daughter? Now the pseudo-Popenjoy was dead, and the Dean was in a turmoil of triumph. It was essential to him that he should see his son-in-law. His son-in-law must be made to understand what it would be to be the father of the future Marquis of Brotherton.

"I think I'll just step across to the inn," said Jack, when the Dean had left them.

"And we'll have a game of croquet when you come back. I do like croquet, though papa laughs at me. I think I like all games. It is so nice to be doing something."

Jack sauntered back to the inn, chiefly that he might have a further opportunity of considering what he would say to her. And he did make up his mind. He would play croquet with all his might, and behave to her as though she were his dearest sister.



CHAPTER LV.

HOW COULD HE HELP IT?

When he returned she was out in the garden with her hat on and a mallet in her hand; but she was seated on one of a cluster of garden-chairs under a great cedar tree. "I think it's almost too hot to play," she said. It was an August afternoon, and the sun was very bright in the heavens. Jack was of course quite willing to sit under the cedar-tree instead of playing croquet. He was prepared to do whatever she wished. If he could only know what subjects she would prefer, he would talk about them and nothing else. "How do you think papa is looking?" she asked.

"He always looks well."

"Ah; he was made dreadfully unhappy by that affair up in London. He never would talk about it to me; but he was quite ill while he thought the Marquis was in danger."

"I don't believe the Marquis was much the worse for it."

"They said he was, and papa for some time could not get over it. Now he is elated. I wish he would not be so glad because that poor little boy has died."

"It makes a great difference to him, Lady George;—and to you."

"Of course it makes a difference, and of course I feel it. I am as anxious for my husband as any other woman. If it should come fairly, as it were by God's doing, I am not going to turn up my nose at it."

"Is not this fairly?"

"Oh yes. Papa did not make the little boy die, of course. But I don't think that people should long for things like this. If they can't keep from wishing them, they should keep their wishes to themselves. It is so like coveting other people's goods. Don't you think we ought to keep the commandments, Captain De Baron?"

"Certainly—if we can."

"Then we oughtn't to long for other people's titles."

"If I understand it, the Dean wanted to prevent somebody else from getting a title which wasn't his own. That wouldn't be breaking the commandment."

"Of course I am not finding fault with papa. He would not for worlds try to take anything that wasn't his,—or mine. But it's so sad about the little boy."

"I don't think the Marquis cared for him."

"Oh, he must have cared! His only child! And the poor mother;—think how she must feel."

"In spite of it all, I do think it's a very good thing that he's dead," said Jack, laughing.

"Then you ought to keep it to yourself, sir. It's a very horrid thing to say so. Wouldn't you like to smoke a cigar? You may, you know. Papa always smokes out here, because he says Mr. Groschut can't see him."

"Mr. Groschut is at Rudham," said Jack, as he took a cigar out of his case and lit it.

"At Rudham? What promotion!"

"He didn't seem to me to be a first-class sort of a fellow."

"Quite a last-class sort of fellow, if there is a last class. I'll tell you a secret, Captain De Baron. Mr. Groschut is my pet abomination. If I hate anybody, I hate him. I think I do really hate Mr. Groschut. I almost wish that they would make him bishop of some unhealthy place."

"So that he might go away and die?"

"If the mosquitoes would eat him day and night, that would be enough. Who else was there at Rudham?"

"Mrs. Montacute Jones."

"Dear Mrs. Jones. I do like Mrs. Jones."

"And Adelaide Houghton with her husband." Mary turned up her nose and made a grimace as the Houghtons were named. "You used to be very fond of Adelaide."

"Very fond is a long word. We were by way of being friends; but we are friends no longer."

"Tell me what she did to offend you, Lady George? I know there was something."

"You are her cousin. Of course I am not going to abuse her to you."

"She's not half so much my cousin as you are my friend,—if I may say so. What did she do or what did she say?"

"She painted her face."

"If you're going to quarrel, Lady George, with every woman in London who does that, you'll have a great many enemies."

"And the hair at the back of her head got bigger and bigger every month. Papa always quotes something about Dr. Fell when he's asked why he does not like anybody. She's Dr. Fell to me."

"I don't think she quite knows why you've cut her."

"I'm quite sure she does, Captain De Baron. She knows all about it. And now, if you please, we won't talk of her any more. Who else was there at Rudham?"

"All the old set. Aunt Ju and Guss."

"Then you were happy."

"Quite so. I believe that no one knows all about that better than you do."

"You ought to have been happy."

"Lady George, I thought you always told the truth."

"I try to; and I think you ought to have been happy. You don't mean to tell me that Miss Mildmay is nothing to you?"

"She is a very old friend."

"Ought she not to be more? Though of course I have no right to ask."

"You have a right if any one has. I haven't a friend in the world I would trust as I would you. No; she ought not to be more."

"Have you never given her a right to think that she would be more?"

He paused a moment or two before he answered. Much as he wished to trust her, anxious as he was that she should be his real friend he could hardly bring himself to tell her all that had taken place at Rudham Park during the last day or two. Up to that time he never had given Miss Mildmay any right. So, at least, he still assured himself. But now,—it certainly was different now. He desired of all things to be perfectly honest with Lady George,—to be even innocent in all that he said to her; but—just for this once—he was obliged to deviate into a lie. "Never!" he said.

"Of course it is not for me to enquire further."

"It is very hard to describe the way in which such an intimacy has come about. Guss Mildmay and I have been very much thrown together; but, even had she wished it, we never could have married. We have no means."

"And yet you live like rich people."

"We have no means because we have lived like rich people."

"You have never asked her to marry you?"

"Never."

"Nor made her think that you would ask her? That comes to the same thing, Captain De Baron."

"How am I to answer that? How am I to tell it all without seeming to boast. When it first came to pass that we knew ourselves well enough to admit of such a thing being said between us, I told her that marriage was impossible. Is not that enough?"

"I suppose so," said Lady George, who remembered well every word that Gus Mildmay had said to herself. "I don't know why I should enquire about it, only I thought——"

"I know what you thought."

"What did I think?"

"That I was a heartless scoundrel."

"No, never. If I had, I should not have,—have cared about it. Perhaps it has been unfortunate."

"Most unfortunate!" Then again there was a pause, during which he went on smoking while she played with her mallet. "I wish I could tell you everything about it;—only I can't. Did she ever speak to you?"

"Yes, once."

"And what did she say?"

"I cannot tell you that either."

"I have endeavoured to be honest; but sometimes it is so difficult. One wants sometimes to tell the whole truth, but it won't come out. I am engaged to her now."

"You are engaged to her!"

"And two days since I was as free as ever."

"Then I may congratulate you."

"No, no. It makes me miserable. I do not love her. There is one other person that I care for, and I never can care for any one else. There is one woman that I love, and I never really loved any one else."

"That is very sad, Captain De Baron."

"Is it not? I can never marry Miss Mildmay."

"And yet you have promised?"

"I have promised under certain circumstances which can never, never come about."

"Why did you promise if you do not love her?"

"Cannot you understand without my telling you? I cannot tell you that. I am sure you understand."

"I suppose I do. Poor Miss Mildmay!"

"And poor Jack De Baron!"

"Yes; poor Jack De Baron also! No man should talk to a girl of marrying her unless he loves her. It is different with a girl. She may come to love a man. She may love a man better than all the world, though she hardly knew him when she married him. If he is good to her, she will certainly do so. But if a man marries a woman without loving her, he will soon hate her."

"I shall never marry Miss Mildmay."

"And yet you have said you would?"

"I told you that I wanted to tell you everything. It is so pleasant to have some one to trust, even though I should be blamed as you are blaming me. It simply means that I can marry no one else."

"But you love some one?" She felt when she was asking the question that it was indiscreet. When the assertion was made she had not told herself that she was the woman. She had not thought it. For an instant she had tried to imagine who that other one could be. But yet, when the words were out of her mouth, she knew that they were indiscreet. Was she not indiscreet in holding any such conversation with a man who was not her brother or even her cousin? She wished that he were her cousin, so that she might become the legitimate depository of his secrets. Though she was scolding him for his misdoings, yet she hardly liked him the less for them. She thought that she did understand how it was, and she thought that the girl was more in fault than the man. It was not till the words had passed her mouth and the question had been asked that she felt the indiscretion. "But you love some one else?"

"Certainly I do; but I had not meant to speak about that."

"I will enquire into no secrets."

"Is that a secret? Can it be a secret? Do you not know that ever since I knew you I have had no pleasure but in being with you, and talking to you, and looking at you?"

"Captain De Baron!" As she spoke she rose from her seat as though she would at once leave him and go back into the house.

"You must hear me now. You must not go without hearing me. I will not say a word to offend you."

"You have offended me."

"How could I help it? What was I to do? What ought I to have said? Pray do not go, Lady George."

"I did not think you would have insulted me. I did trust you."

"You may trust me. On my honour as a gentleman, I will never say another word that you can take amiss. I wish I could tell you all my feelings. One cannot help one's love."

"A man may govern his words."

"As I trust in heaven, I had determined that I would never say a syllable to you that I might not have spoken to my sister. Have I asked you to love me? I have not thought it possible that you should do so. I know you to be too good. It has never come within my dreams."

"It is wicked to think of it."

"I have not thought of it. I will never think of it. You are like an angel to me. If I could write poetry, I should write about you. If ever I build castles in the air and think what I might have been if things had gone well with me, I try to fancy then that I might have had you for a wife. That is not wicked. That is not a crime. Can you be angry with me because, having got to know you as I do, I think you better, nicer, jollier, more beautiful than any one else? Have you never really loved a friend?"

"I love my husband with all my heart,—oh, better than all the world."

Jack did not quite understand this. His angel was an angel. He was sure of that. And he wished her to be still an angel. But he could not understand how any angel could passionately love Lord George Germain,—especially this angel who had been so cruelly treated by him. Had she loved him better than all the world when he walked her out of Mrs. Jones' drawing-room, reprimanding her before all the guests for her conduct in dancing the Kappa-kappa? But this was a matter not open to argument. "I may still be your friend?" he said.

"I think you had better not come again."

"Do not say that, Lady George. If I have done wrong, forgive me. I think you must admit that I could hardly help myself."

"Not help yourself!"

"Did I not tell you that I wanted you to know the whole truth? How could I make you understand about Miss Mildmay without telling it all? Say that you will forgive me."

"Say that it is not so, and then I will forgive you."

"No. It is so, and it must be so. It will remain so always, but yet you will surely forgive me, if I never speak of it again. You will forgive me and understand me, and when hereafter you see me as a middle-aged man about town, you will partly know why it is so. Oh dear; I forgot to tell you. We had another old friend of yours at Rudham,—a very particular friend." Of course she had forgiven him and now she was thankful to him for his sudden breach of the subject; but she was not herself strong enough immediately to turn to another matter. "Who do you think was there?"

"How can I tell?"

"The Baroness."

"No?"

"As large as life."

"Baroness Banmann at Mr. De Baron's."

"Yes;—Baroness Banmann. Aunt Julia had contrived to get permission to bring her, and the joke was that she did us all out of our money. She got a five-pound note from me."

"What a goose you were."

"And ten from Lord Brotherton! I think that was the greatest triumph. She was down on him without the slightest compunction. I never saw a man so shot in my life. He sent me to look for the money, and she never left me till I had got it for her."

"I thought Aunt Ju had had enough of her."

"I should think she has now. And we had Lord Giblet. Lord Giblet is to marry Miss Patmore Green after all."

"Poor Lord Giblet!"

"And poor Miss Patmore Green. I don't know which will have the worst of it. They can practice the Kappa-kappa together for consolation. It is all Mrs. Jones' doing, and she is determined that he shan't escape. I'm to go down to Killancodlem and help."

"Why should you have anything to do with it?"

"Very good shooting, and plenty to eat and drink,—and Giblet is a friend of mine; so I'm bound to lend a hand. And now, Lady George, I think I'll go to the hotel and be back to dinner. We are friends."

"Yes; if you promise not to offend me."

"I will never offend you. I will never say a word that all the world might not hear,—except this once,—to thank you." Then he seized her hand and kissed it. "You shall always be a sister to me," he said. "When I am in trouble I will come to you. Say that you will love me as a brother."

"I will always regard you as a friend."

"Regard is a cold word, but I will make the most of it. Here is your father."

At this moment they were coming from a side path on to the lawn, and as they did so the Dean appeared upon the terrace through the deanery room window. With the Dean was Lord George, and Mary, as soon as she saw him, rushed up to him and threw her arms round his neck. "Oh George, dear, dearest George, papa said that perhaps you would come. You are going to stay?"

"He will dine here," said the Dean.

"Only dine!"

"I cannot stay longer to-day," said Lord George, with his eye upon Captain De Baron. The Dean had told him that De Baron was there; but, still, when he saw that the man had been walking with his wife, a renewed uneasiness came upon him. It could not be right that the man from whose arms he had rescued her on the night of the ball should be left alone with her a whole afternoon in the Deanery Garden! She was thoughtless as a child;—but it seemed to him that the Dean was as thoughtless as his daughter. The Dean must know what people had said. The Dean had himself seen that horrid dance, with its results. The awful accusation made by the Marquis had been uttered in the Dean's ears. Because that had been wicked and devilishly false, the Dean's folly was not the less. Lord George embraced his wife, but she knew from the touch of his arm round her waist that there was something wrong with him.

The two men shook hands of course, and then De Baron went out, muttering something to the Dean as to his being back to dinner. "I can't say I like that young man," said Lord George.

"I like him very much," replied the Dean. "He is always good-humoured, and I think he's honest. I own to a predilection for happy people."

Mary was of course soon upstairs with her husband. "I thought you would come," she said, hanging on him.

"I did not like not to see you after the news. It is important. You must feel that."

"Poor little boy! Don't you grieve for them."

"Yes, I do. Brotherton has treated me very badly, but I do feel for him. I shall write to him and say so. But that will not alter the fact. Popenjoy is dead."

"No; it will not alter the fact." He was so solemn with her that she hardly knew how to talk to him.

"Popenjoy is dead,—if he was Popenjoy. I suppose he was; but that does not signify now."

"Not in the least I suppose."

"And if you have a son——"

"Oh, George?"

"He won't be Popenjoy yet."

"Or perhaps ever."

"Or perhaps ever;—but a time will probably come when he will be Popenjoy. We can't help thinking about it, you know."

"Of course not."

"I'm sure I don't want my brother to die."

"I am sure I don't."

"But the family has to be kept up. I do care about the family. They all think at Manor Cross that you should go over at once."

"Are you going to stay there, George. Of course I will go if you are going to stay there."

"They think you should come, though it were only for a few days."

"And then? Of course I will go, George, if you say so. I have had my visit with papa,—as much as I had a right to expect. And, oh George, I do so long to be with you again." Then she hung upon him and kissed him. It must have been impossible that he should be really jealous, though Captain De Baron had been there the whole day. Nor was he jealous, except with that Caesarian jealousy lest she should be unfortunate enough to cause a whisper derogatory to his marital dignity.

The matter had been fully discussed at Manor Cross; and the Manor Cross conclave, meaning of course Lady Sarah, had thought that Mary should be brought to the house, if only for a day or two, if only that people in Brothershire might know that there had been no quarrel between her and her husband. That she should have visited her father might be considered as natural. It need not be accounted as quite unnatural that she should have done so without her husband. But now,—now it was imperative that Brothershire should know that the mother of the future Lord Popenjoy was on good terms with the family. "Of course her position is very much altered," Lady Susanna had said in private to Lady Amelia. The old Marchioness felt a real longing to see "dear Mary," and to ask becoming questions as to her condition. And it was quite understood that she was not to be required to make any cloaks or petticoats. The garments respecting which she must be solicitous for the next six months would, as the Marchioness felt, be of a very august nature. Oh, that the future baby might be born at Manor Cross! The Marchioness did not see why Lord George should leave the house at all. Brotherton couldn't know anything about it in Italy, and if George must go, Mary might surely be left there for the event. The Marchioness declared that she could die happy if she might see another Popenjoy born in the purple of Manor Cross.

"When am I to go?" asked Mary. She was sitting now close to him, and the question was asked with full delight.

"I do not know whether you can be ready to-morrow."

"Of course I can be ready to-morrow. Oh George, to be back with you! Even for ten days it seems to be a great happiness. But if you go, then of course you will take me with you." There was a reality about this which conquered him, even in spite of Captain De Baron, so that he came down to dinner in good-humour with the world.



CHAPTER LVI.

SIR HENRY SAID IT WAS THE ONLY THING.

The dinner at the deanery went off without much excitement. Captain De Baron would of course have preferred that Lord George should have remained at Manor Cross, but under no circumstances could he have had much more to say to the lady. They understood each other now. He was quite certain that any evil thing spoken of her had been sheer slander, and yet he had managed to tell her everything of himself without subjecting himself to her undying anger. When she left the drawing-room, the conversation turned again upon the great Popenjoy question, and from certain words which fell from the Dean, Jack was enabled to surmise that Lord George had reason to hope that an heir might be born to him. "He does not look as though he would live long himself," said the Dean, speaking of the Marquis.

"I trust he may with all my heart," said Lord George.

"That's another question," replied the Dean. "I only say that he doesn't look like it." Lord George went away early, and Jack De Baron thought it prudent to retire at the same time. "So you're going to-morrow, dear," said the Dean.

"Yes, papa. Is it not best?"

"Oh yes. Nothing could be worse than a prolonged separation. He means to be honest and good."

"He is honest and good, papa."

"You have had your triumph."

"I did not want to triumph;—not at least over him."

"After what had occurred it was necessary that you should have your own way in coming here. Otherwise he would have triumphed. He would have taken you away, and you and I would have been separated. Of course you are bound to obey him;—but there must be limits. He would have taken you away as though in disgrace, and that I could not stand. There will be an end of that now. God knows when I shall see you again, Mary."

"Why not, papa?"

"Because he hasn't got over his feeling against me. I don't think he ever gets over any feeling. Having no home of his own why does he not bring you here?"

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