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what the Doctor and Mrs. Leader were
about all this time. For they seemed like
two opposing armies drawn up, and it was
a nice question who was to make the first
advance. It was really a very delicate
business for both sides: though Mrs.
Leader, having a genuine and sincere
contempt for such low people, did not think
them worthy of even formal recognition
as enemies, and would see neither danger
nor importance in the situation. She had
got her step-son under her roof, and there
was Miss Fountain, a good girl, well suited
to him in every way, and who had almost
taken a liking to him already.

The Doctor, on his side, had determined
to wait for a few days; but the step, boldly
and defiantly carried out, of transferring
the prize to Leadersfort, determined him.
So purchasing a pair of yellow "kids," he
walked up to the house, choosing the period
when he knew they were at lunch.

Not one bit fluttered, as cool as
possible, he stood at the door in presence of
a supercilious London menialwith hair
as "if you had dipped him in plaster-of-
paris"—and asking to see Mrs. Leader with
an intimate tone, as if he knew the place
and its ways, was checked haughtily.

"Beg pardon, family at lunch."

"To be sure, to be sure," said the Doctor.
"As if we couldn't see all their backs
through these regiments of windows reaching
to the ground! They'll be glad to see
me at it too."

"What name, then?" said the menial,
haughtily. "I'll take it in and see."

"All right, and I'll follow it in."

"You carn't, you carn't. I must beg——"
But the Doctor was in the dining-room in
a moment, smiling and beaming on the
august company.

The chicken skin that cruel Nature had
furnished to Mrs. Leader, instead of human
material, flushed crimson. Lady Seaman,
a high lean bust, with lovely bands to her
hair, "regular gable ends," the Doctor said,
turned to him with ferocious inquiry: many
an eye-glass went up; the hum and chatter

"How are you, Mrs. Leader? Welcome
back to the castle. Just dropped in to
look after my patient, whom I think I
repaired, and restored, with some effect.
Eh, Mr. Leader?"

"Indeed, I must say," said that gentleman,
"I never saw any one so improved.
Won't you"—(this with hesitation)—"sit
down and have a little lunch?"

"Thanks, I will: the morning has made
me peckish." And he found a place beside
one of the guests, who made room for him.
It was rather a trying scene for the country
Doctor: those strange faces so cold and
perfectly at ease, a whole platoon of them, as
he said. Their language and allusions were
all foreign to him. A new dialect. The
"alderman herself," so he dubbed the lady
with the "gable-shaped front, where the
swallows might build with comfort," spoke
in clear, sharp tones about strange and
wonderful people, dukes and marquises,
and "dear Lady Fowler," and that "nice
Lady Mary," while all the time Mrs.
Leader listened in adoration, murmuring,
"Ah! yes to be sure!" "No, Lady
Seaman?" "Indeed, Lady Seaman." The
young men were so gay, and free, and
chatty; while Dick Lumley, wearing a pink
tie and a morning-coat, was telling a
diverting story, wherein other "dear Lady
Marys," and "Loftus," and such aristocratic
names, sparkled and glittered. Was
it any wonder that our Doctor, looking
about him, and listening, felt downhearted
in presence of the appalling difficulties that
were before him?

The grand subject about him seemed to
be the projected entertainmenta ball,
which was to be preceded by some sort of
show, tableaux vivans, as well as the Doctor
could make out. There was a tall, fair,
bilious-looking young man, dressed to
perfection, who seemed to be the acknowledged
head and mover in these arrangements,
whose name was the Honourable Albert Peto,
Lord Tynladie's son. This young gentleman
was one of the weak souls who flutter
about society, feeble in speech, mind,
everything; a feebleness and susceptibility
combined, and yet who succeeds. His brain,
as the Doctor said, would only fill a pillbox;
yet he talked and was listened to,
and had influence. He spoke about "leading
a cotillon," last winter, and the Doctor
heard him saying: "I was half killed with
leading 'em; I was booked for two every
night. The only thing that got me through
was not getting up till four: then taking a
whole bottle of champagne, at six precisely,
and not a drop of any other wine; only
for that I never could have got through

The Doctor had his eyes fixed on him in

"That was a true inchtinct," he said to
his neighbour, "and inchtinct's better than
science sometimes. I couldn't have
prescribed anything better myself."

Pleased with this indorsement, though