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YOUNG Mr. Leader was fast recovering,
and it now began to be noticed in the place
what a strong influence Doctor Findlater
was beginning to have over him. This
was naturally set down to "scheming," to
designs for entrapping the ladwhispers
which he met by anticipation, boldly saying:
"I know well what's said behind my back,
because I have the young fellow to dinner
now and then. Little I care. If I was to
go into the market, I could have my pick
of the dukes and lords for my two sweets
at home. Just let me finish curing off the
lad, and then they'll all see."

Colonel Bouchier, in his blunt, off-hand
way, declared that "Findlater was an
uncommon good fellow," and that if he took
charge of "Baby Leader" altogether, it
would be an uncommon good thing for
the boy. Indeed, he had Doctor Findlater
to dinner at mess every second or third
day, and that gentleman, by his spirits, his
unflagging good humour, his stories, and
even his wit, of which article the united
contributions of the regiment could hardly
supply even a grain, became so popular
and even indispensable, that he might be
considered almost a commissioned officer
out of uniform. This popularity of the
Doctor had a curious effect on the young
man: who did, indeed, look to the possessor
of this charm with a sort of awe and
reverenceas a being of power, that could
do almost anything. He felt a kind of
pride in that power, especially as the
Doctor always came to his rescue when
there was any "chaffing" going on, of
which he was the object, and routed the
assailants with a good-humoured forbearance
that showed a strength in greater

Young Leader was one of that class
which delights in being surrounded by
inferiors in rank, and whose real comfort and
only satisfaction are the homage and
submission they receive from that quarter. In
the regiment he never was at ease, but
in a circle like that of the Doctor's, where
he was not only king, but emperor, he
found himself in his element. He really
delighted in the two girls, and the strange
prohibition laid on him by the Doctor
irritated him. Yet he stood in such awe
of the Doctor, that he dared not disobey his
injunctions, and the family were yet not
able clearly to understand which of the
two he preferred. Popular enthusiasm and
partiality at once set down that it must
be the all-captivating Polly. His
devotion to Katey, by a strange domestic
blindness, was assumed to refer indirectly
to Polly; and, through the same feeling,
Katey seemed to herself to be acting
entirely as deputy for her sistera sort
of confidant whom the reverence, and
perhaps shyness, of the young man
required. It is wonderful in a family, when
some such theory is assumed, how
everything is insensibly forced to support it
even matters which seem to level the
whole fabric to the very ground. It was
further assumed that the whole was a mere
question of time, that Polly's triumph was
assured: while that young creature, with
much fluttering, and even blushing, would
pass by the great gate of Leadersfort, and
think nervously that the time was at hand
when she might "sweep in," lying back
in her own carriage. How many nights
did the mother and the two sisters ring
exquisitely melodious changes on this key!