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HUGH did not communicate to his mother
the fact of his interview with Mr. Frost
until after his visit to Mr. Lovegrove's
office, and he informed her of both
circumstances at the same time. He could not
refrain from saying a word about her having
kept Mr. Frost's visit to Gower-street a
secret from him.

"I was so surprised, mother," he said.
"It seemed so unlike you. But I suppose
he persuaded you in some way that it would
be right not to mention his having come to
our house."

"Was I bound to speak of it, Hugh
before Maud, too, and Mr. Levincourt?"

"No; of course not bound. But it
would have seemed more natural if you
had mentioned it quietly to me."

Mrs. Lockwood was silent.

"Look here, mother dear," said Hugh,
after a short silence, " I am not good at
hiding what I feel. I was a little hurt and
vexed when Mr. Frost told me that you
and he had privately discussed my feeling
for Maud long before you had ever said a
word to me on that subject. Now the truth
is out!"

"HeMr. Frosttold you that, Hugh?"

"Well, he did not say it verbatim et
literatim as I have said it; but he certainly
gave me to understand that such was the

"I meant for the best, Hugh."

"Meant for the best! Dearest mother,
you don't suppose I doubt that? But
don't let that man come between you and
me, mother dear."

"I thought you liked Mr. Frost, Hugh?"

"So I did. He was my father's friend.
I have known him all my life. But lately
there has been something about him that
revoltsno, that is too strong a word
there has been something about him that
seems to put me on my guard. I hate to
have to be on my guard!"

"It is a very good attitude to face the
world with."

"Ah, mother, you know we might have
some discussion on that soon. But, at all
events, it is not the posture I likeor,
indeed, that I am ableto assume towards
my friends. With mistrust affection

Mrs. Lockwood winced and turned her
pale face from her son.

"But, mother," he proceeded, "I have
another piece of news to adda disagreeable
piece of news; but you must try not
to take it too much to heart."

Then he told her of the disappointing
letter he had received from Herbert Snowe.
This, however, did not seem to grieve her
so much as he had expected. In truth
she could not help faintly hoping that it
might give her anxieties a reprieve, by
putting off yet awhile Hugh's endeavour to
make a start for himself. But he did not
leave her long in this delusion.

"I must try to borrow the money
elsewhere," said he. "The opportunity of
buying that connexion is too good a one to
be lost without an effort."

"Did he not say somethingdid not
Mr. Frost make you an offer of a desirable
position elsewhere?" asked Mrs. Lockwood,

"Oh, I suppose he mentioned that to you
also during his mysterious visit? Well,