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THE church was thronged, though,
indeed, no one quite believed in the truth
of the rumoured treat. Mr. Ridley was
specially contemptuous. " Some of his
low Irish swagger," said that gentleman,
disdainfully. " You can't believe half he
says. He's been trying to carry all
before him with brag and swagger, but
has broken down. I'm going to bring
a motion before the hospital to have these
stories examined into, and get him
dismissed." Such an exciting business had,
of course, the usual effect of a war or a
scandal, of forming two parties, who ranged
themselves on the Leader and Findlater
sides respectively. And Mr. Ridley was
almost scurrilous in directing public opinion
after one view. He would soon know how
to put down that sort of thing; a scheming
adventurer of this kind to dare to offer an
affront to people of the sort the Leaders
were! If his disreputable boon-companion
Webber dared to do such a thing, he would
walk straight up the aisle and pull the
fellow from his pulpit.

The Leader family refused to believe in
the possibility of the Doctor's carrying his
threat into execution. The only person
on whose information they could rely, Mr.
Morrison, had gone away for a day or
two, and Mrs. Leader and her husband
did not entertain the thought a moment,
but repaired to the church on Sunday
in full state, and with all their train of
guests, as their delight was to do. This
scenethree or four carriages with
servants proceeding in glorious train, drawing
up before the gaping villagers- ministered
to Mrs. Leader's pride more than any
other incident of her state. This Sunday
was too precious to be lost; as before
the next many of the guests would have
departed. This scene was certainly
almost royal. The Countess of Seaman, the
Ladies Mariner; Lord Hartup, who had
arrived the night before; Honourable Mr.
Peto-  such a distinguished gathering- and
even what brought up the rear, the family
omnibus and a large waggonette crowded
with London menials, genteel ladies'-maids,
languid valets, and two superior officers,
housekeeper and steward, sergeants, as it
were, of the party, afforded in reality a
more dazzling proof of magnificence than
the more simple appearance of the persons
of honour to whom they ministered. In
the church there was as great a flutter as
on that original day when the family
made their first glorious appearance. It
was crowded; even backsliding sluggard
church-goers had all mustered, and all faces
were turned with a profane eagerness
towards the august pews.

It was a glorious moment for Mrs.
Leader, as she sat on her throne, and
looked round on her subjects. Behind her
was old Dick Lumley, who was in truth
the person who had dissipated her alarms
and doubts. "God bless you," he had said;
"this is merely a trick, and a very common
one, to frighten you. The man wants to
be bought offhe and his girls; and
though it is a shame to gratify such
creatures, it might be the best course after all."
This way of looking at it quite reassured
Mrs. Leader, and she really began to think
that she might later tell some of her people
to go with a cheque and arrange the matter
as suggested.

But, had she looked narrowly at the face
of the Reverend W. Webber, she would