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and letting things take their course, his next
absurd proceeding, on his own showing, was to
pester me, by writing to inquire if I knew
anything about it. What the deuce should I know
about it? Why alarm me as well as himself?
I wrote back to that effect. It was one of my
keenest letters. I have produced nothing with
a sharper epistolary edge to it, since I tendered
his dismissal in writing to that extremely
troublesome person, Mr. Walter Hartright.

My letter produced its effect. I heard
nothing more from the lawyer. This, perhaps,
was not altogether surprising. But it was
certainly a remarkable circumstance that no second
letter reached me from Marian, and that no
warning signs appeared of her arrival. Her
unexpected absence did me amazing good. It was
so very soothing and pleasant to infer (as I
did of course) that my married connexions
had made it up again. Five days of undisturbed
tranquillity, of delicious single blessedness,
quite restored me. On the sixth day
either the fifteenth or sixteenth of July, as I
imagineI felt strong enough to send for my
photographer, and to set him at work again on
the presentation copies of my art-treasures, with
a view, as I have already mentioned, to the
improvement of taste in this barbarous neighbourhood.
I had just dismissed him to his workshop,
and had just begun coquetting with my
coins, when Louis suddenly made his appearance
with a card in his hand.

"Another Young Person?" I said. " I won't
see her. In my state of health, Young Persons
disagree with me. Not at home."

"It is a gentleman this time, sir."

A gentleman of course made a difference. I
looked at the card.

Gracious Heaven! my tiresome sister's
foreign husband. Count Fosco.


ABOUT fifteen years ago, when the writer held
a commission as lieutenant in a regiment of the
line then stationed in India, two young men fresh
from the military academy of Sandhurst joined the
same corps as ensigns. These ladswho shall
here bear the names of Smith and Johnstone
had lately passed their examination at the
institution aforesaid, and had obtained their
commissions gratis. It was by no means a common
thing to appoint two Sandhurst cadets of the
same season to one regiment, but our corps had
been in very unhealthy stations of late, and
several deaths having happened amongst our
officers, there were an unusual number of vacancies
in the junior ranks, which had to be filled
up without purchase. Moreover, Smith and
Johnstone, being great friends at college, had
begged to be nominated ensigns in the same
battalion, and their request was complied with
by the military secretary of the day. Smith
having passed a somewhat better examination
than his friend, joined as sixth ensign, while
Johnstone joined as seventh of the same rank.
They were both remarkably fine and amiable
young men, and before long became very general
favourites in the regiment, in which all the
officers were on very friendly terms with
one another. In their private circumstances,
however, there was a considerable difference
between these two young men. The senior,
Smith, was the orphan of an old officer, who,
having to provide for a widow and several
daughters, could only leave his son a few
hundred poundsbarely sufficient to pay for his
outfit and start him in his profession. The
junior, Johnstone, although very far from being
wealthy, had at his command some six or seven
thousand pounds, which had been left him by
an uncle.

Some six or eight months after these young
men joined, the regiment was ordered on field
service towards the north-west frontier. With
the single exception of the old colonelwho
had received what the French call his baptism
of fire at Waterloo when a very young ensign,
some thirty years beforethere was not an officer
or soldier in the corps who had ever seen a shot
fired in anger. We soon, however, learnt the
rough realities of our profession, and played our
part in some of the severest battles ever known
in the East, as became men wearing the English
uniform. Our losses in killed and wounded were
severe in more than one engagement, and at
the very outset of the campaign our two newly-
joined ensigns were both included in the list of
casualties, though their hurts were not of a
nature to cause them more inconvenience than
a couple of months' absence on sick certificate.
But if soldiering in earnest brings death and
wounds, it also brings advancement in the service
to the survivors, and so, in due course, these two
young men obtainedwithout purchase, as they
succeeded to death vacanciestheir next step
of promotionthat of lieutenant. Mr. Smith
was, as a matter of course, still the senior to
Mr. Johnstone.

A second campaign, about three years later,
followed the first, and more casualties were
added to our list, so that the seniors of each
rank soon began to find themselves getting
promoted into the grade abovea major
becoming a lieutenant-colonel, captains
obtaining majors' rank, lieutenants that of captains,
and ensigns getting their lieutenancies. As a
matter of course, the two young lieutenants
advanced with the rest, and when the regiment
was ordered home to England, as it was shortly
after the second campaign, they found
themselves at the top of the list in their rank
Smith being the senior, and Johnstone the
second, lieutenant of the battalion.

In due time the corps reached home, and, as
is generally the case when a regiment returns
from foreign service, several officers prepared
to retire from the army, by the sale of their
commissions, amongst whom was an officer
who held the rank of captain, whose retirement
would have promoted Mr. Smith. But,
Mr. Smith was without money, and except
under peculiar circumstancessuch as deaths.