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have seen such signs of discomfort and
nervousness as would have given her some
hint of what was coming. With all his
friendship for the Findlaters, this gentleman
looked to his own prospects from the
great family, and was urgent with Peter not
to think of such a foolish matter. He
thought it unfair to himself personally; as,
though an unwilling instrument, he would
be associated with all the odium of the
proceeding. These extravagant convivial
friendships are built like mud-cabins with
straw or rubbish, such as " My dear boy,"
" Help yourself," " Take it with a heart
and a half," and the like; which are about
as substantial evidence of regard as the
king's coronation robes in a play are of
royalty. However, he was obliged to go
through his office.

At last it came to the moment. The
Findlaters Were present, with the exception
of Katey, whom the Doctor's sense of
decorum kept at home. The Doctor was
in full tenue, shaved again "like a
billiard ball," and sitting up, dignified but
defiant, his arms folded, and looking over
at his enemies. Not much praying, it
was remarked, was done on that day of

At last the clergyman addressed himself
to his duty, and, to the wonder and
consternation of all present, the Reverend
William Webber gave out the official form.
A pin might not have been heard to drop, a
phenomenon which, even under conditions
of supernatural stillness, could never take
place; but certainly, as the Doctor would
have said, you could have heard " a hairpin
jingling on the flags."

The Reverend Mr. Webber was nervous;
his eye shrank from that of the awful lady
in the front pew. As the mystic words were
uttered faces were bent forward; there was
a flutter and a rustle, and actually an audible
murmur, much as what occurs when a
popular speaker makes a point. Was there
ever such a painful situation for a noble
family? Old Dick Lumley often told
the story at the many dinners he attended
officially — (" The queerest and most
dramatic morning service I ever attended
was at a place in the country, where
some new rich people, &c., and a scheming
doctor, but terribly clever, had the banns
actually given out to their face; the
most daring, impudent thing you ever
heard. I declare I wished myself
anywhere.") A really strong-minded person
would have risen and left the church, but
Mr. Leader looked at his wife bewildered,
and she glowed and raged furiously, but
internally. She could not bring herself to
take such a step.

But the mortificationthe omnibus full
of servants, the waggonette! No matter;
she would take prompt action; this should
determine her; and during the rest of the
sacred office she was planning some desperate

When it was over, the whole congregation,
with that absence of delicacy which
characterises genteel breeding, drew up to
look at her, and see how she bore it. As
they came out they had to pass the Doctor
and his family, the former radiant with
triumph, an inch taller, his daughter Polly
on his arm. It was told long afterwards
how he had, with a sort of mock ceremonial,
raised his hat and saluted his enemies.
Then they got into their carriages, and
drove away home.

There an agitated council was held, or
rather Mrs. Leader called in old Dick
Lumley to aid them. She had a vague idea
that the old man was a sort of Machiavel,
and the case seemed so desperate, that any
aid was welcome.

"Outrageous! Scandalous!" said he.
"I never heard of such cool impudence."

"But what are we to do?" she asked.
"This weak, foolish Cecilthey have him
in their power."

"Well. I told you what I thought.
There is only one way with these
adventurersmoney. Buy 'em. It is only a
question of price. Of course they must be
approached with caution."

"Ah, yes," she said; "but who would
go to them? I have no one. Perhaps you
oh, if you would only——"

Mr. Lumley was a little taken back; but
his reputation was at stake, and he really
believed that people of the Doctor's class
were always open to the logic of money.
He agreed to go, getting, of course, a carte
blanche for his offers.


THE Doctor was in the middle of his
family, exulting over the success of his
coup, revelling in his victory. It was an
exciting morning, indeed. " That went
home," he was saying; "that clinched the
business! Now, there can be no going
back on any side. Every one must go on
straight." In the midst of these paeans
word was brought up, and a card with it,
that a gentleman was below. On the
card was inscribed" Mr. Richard Lumley."