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she had hitherto thought nothing but the
acquisition of money could create. Very
tranquilly she thought of the bygone
time, and looked across the landscape at
the well-known places. She had slipped
so easily into her present position, and
settled herself so firmly there, that she
could scarcely believe there had been a
time when she had been poor and
dependent, when she had been unable to
exercise her every whim and fancy, and
when she had been without an elderly grey-
haired gentleman in constant attendance
upon her, and eager to anticipate her very
slightest wish.

One afternoon, about eight months after
her mother's death, Marian was sitting at
the window of her boudoir, gazing vacantly
at the landscape before her. She did not see
the trees, erst so glorious in their russet
garments, now half-stripped and shivering
in the bitter autumnal wind that came
booming over the distant hills, and moaned
wearily over the plain; she did not see the
little stream that lately flashed so merrily in
the summer sunlight, but had now become a
brown and swollen foaming torrent, roaring
where it had softly sung, and bursting
over its broad banks instead of coyly slipping
through its pebbly shallows; she did
not see the birds now skimming over the
surface of the ground, now rising, but with
no lofty flight, the harbingers of coming
storm; she did not see the dun clouds
banking up to windward; nor did she note
any of the outward characteristics of the
scene. She was feeling dull and bored,
and it was a relief when she heard the
handle of the door turned, and, looking
round, saw her husband in the room.

There was nothing of palpable uxoriousness
that most unpleasant of displayed
qualities, especially in elderly peoplein
the manner in which Mr. Creswell
advanced and, bending over his wife, took
her face in his hands and kissed her cheek;
nor in the way in which he sat down
beside her and passed his hands over her
shining hair; nor in the words of tenderness
with which he addressed her. All was
relieved by a touch of dignity, by an
evidence of earnest sincerity, and the
veriest cynic and scoffer at the
domesticity and what Charles Lamb called the
"behaviour of married people," would have
found nothing to ridicule in the
undisguised love and admiration of the old man
for his young wife, so quietly were they

"What made you fly away in that hurry
from the library just now, darling?" said
he. "You just peeped in, and were off
again, never heeding my calling to you to

"I had no notion you were engaged, or
that anybody was here!" said Marian.

"I am never engaged when you want
me, and there is never anybody here whose
business is of equal importance with your

"When did you cultivate the art of saying
pretty things?" asked Marian, smiling.
"Is it a recent acquisition, or one of old
standing, which had only rusted from disuse?"

"I never had occasion to try whether I
possessed the power until you came to me,"
said Mr. Creswell, with an old-fashioned
bow." There, oddly enough, I was talking
about speaking in public, and the trick
of pleasing people by public speaking, to
those two men when you looked into the

"Indeed. Who were your visitors?"

"I thought you would have recognised
old Croke, of Brocksopp; he seemed a little
hurt at your running away without speaking
to him; but I put him right. The
other gentleman has corresponded with
you, but never seen you beforeMr.
Gould, of London. You wrote to him just
after poor Tom's death, you recollect, about
that sale."

"I recollect perfectly," said Marian.
(She remembered in an instant Joyce's
allusion to the man in his first memorable
letter.) "But what brought him here at
this time? There is no question of the sale

"No, dearest; but Mr. Gould has a very
large practice as a parliamentary agent
and lawyer, and he has come down here
about the election."

"The election? I thought that was all
put off!"

"Put off?" repeated Mr. Creswell.
"Indefinitely? For ever?"

"I'm sure you told me so."

"Now that is so like a woman! The
idea of an election being quietly put aside
in that way! No, child, no; it was
postponed merely; it is expected to come off
very shortly."

"And what have these two men to do
with it?"

"These two men, as you call them, have
a great deal to do with it. Mr. Croke is a
leading man amongst the Conservative
partythat is my party, you understand,
childin Brocksopp, and Mr. Gould is to