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AFTER having been introduced to her at
Bayswater, Miss Betsy Boyce called on
Mrs. Lovegrove. The latter was a good
deal flattered by the visit; which might
have been inferred by those who knew her
well, from the loftily patronising tone she
assumed in speaking of Miss Boyce.

"Miss Boyce is a thoroughly well-connected
person," said Mrs. Lovegrove, speaking
across the dinner-table to her husband
with much impressiveness.

"Ah!" said Mr. Lovegrove, who was
engaged in carving beef for the family.

"It is curious how immediately one
recognises blood."

"H'm!" murmured Mr. Lovegrove.
"A little of the brown, Augustus?"

"No meat for me, sir, thank you!
Vigil of Blessed Ranocchius," returned the
son of the house, austerely.

"My papa was wont to say," proceeded
Mrs. Lovegrove, "that his was some of the
best blood in Englandin a genealogical
sense I mean. Not literally, of course,
poor man, for he was a martyr to gout."

"Oh!" exclaimed Mr. Lovegrove, whose
interest in his dinner appeared to be more
intense than that which he felt in his wife's
respected parent.

"And in Miss Boyce," continued Sarah,
in an instructive manner which was one of
her peculiarities, "there is, despite
eccentricity, an air of birth and breeding quite

"She seems a good-natured old soul,"
said Mr. Lovegrove. Whereat his youngest
daughter, Phoebe, began to giggle.

"Levity, Phoebe, is low," said Mrs.
Lovegrove, sententiously. "Miss Boyce
gave me a terrible account of——" Mrs.
Lovegrove broke off in her speech, and
pointed downward with her finger in a
manner that might have seemed to argue a
startling allusion to regions usually ignored
in polite society. But her family understood
very well that she intended to signify
Mr. Frost, whose office was on the floor
beneath the room they were sitting in.

"Eh?" said Mr. Lovegrove. And this
time he raised his eyes from his plate.

"I mean of the wifeof the wife.

"Well, then, she is a less good-natured
old soul than I thought," said Mr. Lovegrove,
gravely. "Mrs. Frost is her friend.
I don't like that in Miss Betsy, my dear."

"Understand me, Augustus!" said Mrs.

This phrase was frequently the preface
to a rather long discourse on her part.

Her husband pushed his plate back, and
began to cut his bread into little dice, which
he afterwards arranged in symmetrical
patterns with much care and exactitude.

"Understand me! I am not implicating
Miss Boyce. Far from it. The deductions
drawn from what she said are mine. I only
am responsible for them. If too severely
logical, I can but regret it. But I conceive
they will be found to be correct when the
facts are stated."

The facts, when arrived at, were not
altogether new to Mr. Lovegrove. Mrs. Frost
was extravagant. Mrs. Frost was selfish
in seeking her own pleasure and society
in a circle which her husband did not
frequent, and of which he disapproved.
Mrs. Frost, who after all was but the