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DOCTOR FINDLATER had been hesitating
how to act. He had been at first inclined
to burst into the enemy's country, carry
his daughter and the young man to town,
and have the marriage performed off-hand.
But he felt things were scarcely ripe for
this bold step: and as he hesitated, the
precious opportunity was snatched from
him. He was startled with the news that
the enemy had advanced in full force, and
that there was to be a regular campaign
and tedious stand-up fight.

He went in to his young friend. "Well,
there's news for you," he cried. "Papa
and mamma coming home to-morrow or
next day!"

The young man looked shy and sheepish.
"Oh, yes," he said, "they are coming

"Oh, then you have heard from them?"
the Doctor said, darting a keen look at
him. "You kept all that to yourself?
My dear lad, do you know I am not sorry.
And, now, what do you mean to do?"

"Oh, I suppose I shall go and stay with
them at Leadersfort."

Again the Doctor looked at him keenly.
"Ah! but my dear son-in-law-to-be, there's
more than that to be thought of. There's
business before us both, and a big bull as
ever you came across to be griped by the
horruns. How will you go about it?"

"I am sure I don't know," said the
young man, pettishly. "We'll see, I
suppose. You said there was no hurry, and
that we could take time."

"Take time sir!" cried the Doctor,
impetuously; "take time with affections
blighted, a heart wasting away, a colour
fading, and then we're to take time! I
don't blame you, my dear Cecil. It's the
cant of the day. But the truth is, we
cannot. We must settle it all in black and
white before a fortnight is over. You know
it is a grave business; it isn't like a flirtation
which fathers and mothers could smile
at. This is a grave, deliberate engagement
th'issue of a life, my dear fellow.
So what shall we do? Shall I see mamma
or papa at once?"

"No, noleave it all to me," said the
young man, greatly scared. "I am sure
there'll be a nice business, and frightful
work. You don't know her when she's

"She's not your mother, I believe?" said
the Doctor, carelessly. "Well, I'm not
behindhand either, when I'm roused. Just
think it over, my dear boy. I must think
of my child, you know: and with the
thousand voices here gabbling trumpet-

The young man started up. "What!
It has been told about?"

"Not at all," said the Doctor; "easy
now; nothing of the kind. These things
will leak out: and why shouldn't they?
There's nothing to be ashamed of, or that
you wouldn't stand by, eh? Just speak
out plainlywhat's in your mind. Out
with it."

There was such a marked change in the
Doctor's manner, something so defiant, so
despotic, that the young man cowered
under his eye. It seemed to him that the
character had changed of a sudden, and
that he himself had suddenly found a
master. The Doctor at once put this
impression to flight by a burst of good spirits,
and an "I'll tell you as good news now