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"It's very quiet; but you mustn't let it
bore you, as you call it."

"O, that won't matter much, because it
will only be for so short a time."

"So short a time! Are you going to
leave Helmingham?"

"O yes; haven't you heard? George has
got a living, such a jolly place, they say,
in the Isle of Wight, Newmanton they call
it; and we give up here at Midsummer."

"I congratulate you, my dear Gertrude,
as much as I bewail my own misfortune.
I was looking forward with such pleasure
to having you within reachable distance in
this horribly unneighbourly neighbourhood,
and now you dash all my hopes! Whence
did Mr. Benthall get this singular piece of
good fortune?"

"George got the presentation from Lord
Hetherington, who is a friend of Wal
I mean of a great friend of ours. And
Lord Hetherington had seen George in
London, and had taken a fancy to him, as
so many people do; and he begged his
friend to offer this living to George."

"That is very delightful indeed; I must
congratulate you, though I must say I
deserve a medal for my unselfishness in
doing so. It will be charming for your
sister, too; she never liked this part of the
country much, I think; and of course she
will live with you?"

"No, not live with us; we shall see her
whenever she can get away from London,
I hope."

"From London! ah, I forgot. Of course
she will make your friend LadyMan
Lady Mansergh's her head-quarters?"

"No; you are not right yet, Mrs. Creswell,"
said Gertrude, smiling in great
delight, and showing all her teeth. "The
fact is, Maud is going to be married, and
after her marriage she will live the greater
part of the year in London."

"To be married! indeed!" said Marian
she always hated Maud much more than
Gertrude. "May one ask to whom?

"Oh, certainly; every one will know it
now;—to the new member here, Mr.

"Indeed!" said Marian, quite calmly
(trust her for that). "I should think they
would be excellently matched! My dear
Gertrude, how on earth do you get these
flowers to grow in a room? Mine are all
blighted, the merest brown horrors."

"Would he prefer that pale spiritless
girlnot spiritless, but missish, knowing
nothing of the world and its waysto a
woman who could stand by his side in an
emergency, and help him throughout his
life? Am I to be for ever finding one or
other of these doll-children in my way?
Shall I give up this last, greatest hope,
simply because of this preposterous
obstacle? Invention too, perhaps, of the
other girl's, to annoy me. Walter is not
that style of manlast person on earth to
fancy a bread-and-butter miss, who——
We will see who shall win this time. This
is an excitement which I certainly had not

And the ponies never went so fast


"SHE is a poor thing, a bit toy!" said the
skipper of the Lowland trader, regarding the
little yacht Tern from the deck of his big
vessel, while we lay in Canna Harbour: "She's
no' for these seas at all; and the quicker ye
are awa' hame wi' her round the Rhu, ye'll be
the wiser. She should never hae quitted the

Set by the side of the trader's great hull, she
certainly did look a "toy": so tiny, so slight,
with her tapering mast and slender spars. To
all our enumeration of her good qualities, the
skipper merely replied with an incredulous
"oomph," and assured us that, were she as
"good as gold," the waters of the Minch would
drown her like a rat if there was any wind at all.
Few yachts of thrice her tonnage, and twice
her beam, ever cared to show their sails on the
outside of Skye. Why, even the skipper, in his
great vessel, which was like a rock in the water,
had seen such weather out there as had made
his hair stand on end; and he launched into
a series of awful tales, showing how he had
driven from the point of Sleat to Isle Ornsay
up to his neck in the sea, how a squall off
Dunvegan Head had carried away his topmast,
broken his mainsail boom, and swept his decks
clean of boats and rubbish, all at one fell
crash; and numberless other terrific things, all
tending to show that we were likely to get
into trouble. When he heard that we actually
purposed crossing the Minch to Boisdale, and
beating up along the shores of the Long Isle
as far as Stornoway, he set us down as madmen
at once, and condescended to no more
advice. After that, till the moment we sailed, he
regarded us from the side of his vessel in a solemn
sort of way, as if we were people going to
be hanged.

He frightened us a little. The Wanderer,
who had planned the expedition, looked at
the skipperor the Viking, as we got in
the habit of calling him, because he wasn't
like one. The Viking, who had never before
ventured with his yacht beyond the Clyde,
was pale, and only wanted encouragement