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off? Not if you'd a hatful of the diamonds
of Golicorondy! It shall be done, and
done inayea dozen days."

"Oh, well, that puts it on a very intelligible
footing," she said, rising. "Now
everything is understood. Then I may
tell you we've taken an opinion on the
matter, and we may have to take a step
you may not like. That shall be done as
sure as that sun is shining up there."

"We'll see about that. But all in good
time. Of course Mr. Leader approves all

"Oh, he will like what I like."

"Ah, to be sure," said the Doctor,
reflectively. "Heirs will be coming
by-and-bye, and one son is as good as another."

She turned "pea-soup colour," the Doctor
said, as he gave her this hit. "Poor
Mr. Leader!" he added, with compassion.

"However, this was what I asked you to
come here forto tell you the truth as
plainly as I can. If you choose to thrust
your daughter on this weak boy, do so at
your own peril. You'll get something
worse than a pauper, for his debts alone
would go far beyond the price of his
commission. Further: I tell you plainlyand
you must excuse me, Doctor Findlater, if
I speak too plainlythat there are passages
about your private history which, for your
children's sake-"

The Doctor smiled pityingly. "Oh no,
dear ma'am, keep that for the nurses and
babies! I am quite too old for that. Take
any scraps you have been picking off the
dust-heaps, and welcome. No man but has
got the bones of an old skeleton rattling in
a tea-caddy, or woman either. Only when
this marriage comes offwhich, by the
pashaw's own pipe, it shallyou mightn't
like it to be said there was any ugly transaction
connected with your family. However,
that's for yourself. Now we see our
way, and we'll feel all the lighter for this
simplification. You won't have it. That's
your ultimatum. I will. There's mine.
We've everything in black and white, you
see. And now I tell you this to begin with.
To-day's Friday. Well, Sunday next my
friend the Reverend William Webber will
give out the banns. First time of asking!
Ah, my dear madam, Peter Findlater was
always an awkward customer to deal with.
I wish you good day, madam."


THE Doctor posted away in great spirits,
rubbing his hands, whistling, and smiling
to himself. Just as he turned out of the
avenue he came full on Mr. Leader, the
owner of the place, who seemed much

"Ah! Good day, my dear sir," said the
Doctor, "after that noble light fantastic
you gave us last night. Noble, sir,
absolutely palatial! By-the-way, Mrs. Leader
and I have been exchanging ultimatums."

"Oh, really, Doctor Findlater," said Mr.
Leader, nervously, "we can't have this at
all. As the head of the family I must
interfere. You know we have ascertained
some stories——"

"Easy, easy now. That won't do from
you; different with Mrs. Leader. I presume
you don't want to fasten a quar'l.
You see it's ticklishexplosivemaking
insinuations about character to a man's

"God bless me," said the other, nervously,
"I never meant you, Doctor Findlater.
Such a thing never crossed my——"

"D'ye think I'd ever suppose such a
thing? But what's the use of you and
me talking this over, as Mrs. Leader has
settled it with meput us at arm's length?
She put you, sir, aside altogether. Two
men could have settled it much better, and
besides it seems more the usual thing. However,
it comes to this, and I'll speak as
plainly to you as I did to her. It's all gone
too far. Their affectionsat least between
you and meare engaged. I'll be no
party to lacerating and tearing my own
flesh and blood up by the roots. It's
unnatural and cruel, and I'll not do it. And
more, no lady of birth or wealth shall ever
bully me into doing it. Had you and I,
Mr. Leader, come together at the beginning,
two men of the world, you the head of your
family, and I the head of mine, we'd have
compared matters readily. But as Mrs. Leader
takes the command——" and the Doctor shrugged
his shoulders.

"Oh, that's not the case," said Mr.
Leader, pettishly. "She and I have settled
it all. But, indeed, I wish it hadn't come
to this."

"Who's brought it to this, then?" said
the Doctor, fiercely. "Not me. Not that
poor angel at home, whom your lady
insulted last night before the whole room."

"Indeed, I was so sorrya nice, charming
girl. And, indeed, I don't see why—"
he added, with hesitation. "But you know
it can't be, Doctor Findlater. Our only
son. We want to get great connexion
and money. And, you see, Mrs. Leader
has heard in London that we may be able
to alter the settlement——"