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THE small town of Tilston, since we last
departed from it, had gone on in its old
course. The crimson tide of soldiery had
been pulsating through its arteries, giving
it a healthful vigour; though, as regards
the young ladies of the place, there was
what might have been called over-excitation.
The warriors were now domesticated
in the place: they had grown
accustomed to the little town, and had made
friends there. Mr. Hickey still remained
in the regiment, in a sort of mitigated
Coventry; Colonel Bouchier dined about the
country, and grew more popular; Lord
Shipton still kept what he called "open
house" at the place his friend the Doctor
had rechristened Hungry Hall, with his
meagre daughters still on hand; while
Mr. Ridley was as insanely furious as
ever against his enemy, Doctor Findlater.
The excitement of the grand episode, or
scandal as some called it, of the Leader
marriage had somewhat abated, and public
attention was now settling on the remaining
daughter of the DoctorPollywho
was now the undisputed belle of the place.
Her attractions had latterly very much
increased, and the hail of compliments and
sweet speeches which were showered on
her, had contributed to raise her opinion
of her own charms. To say that she had
become a flirt was only what could be said
of almost every girl exposed to such
temptations; that is to say, she now lived upon
admiration, looked forward to fresh doses of
it every day; and found the entertainment
so fascinating, that it made her disregard
her own positive interests. This is the
rock on which the coquette makes shipwreck.
But flirt or coquette soon becomes
too indulgent a title for the young lady
who directs her operations against a whole
regiment: in spite of herself, she is driven
gradually to become a sort of Franc-tireur,
for flirting entails what is called jilting or
being jilted, which leads to the unfeeling
barbarities of a guerilla warfare. Where
there has been slaughter, reprisals follow as
a matter of course, and the flirt is speedily
converted into what is known in military
slang as a garrison hack. It was hard to
think that the fresh, natural, blooming
Polly, who spoke her very thoughts, and
showed her delight or dislike by the coming
or departing colour in her cheek, should be
unconsciously hurrying to secure a
commission in this unenviable troop. Yet it
seemed too probable, now that the
judicious and watchful sister was gone, with
whom every night she was, as it were,
obliged to give her conscience a searching

The Doctor, with his hand shading his
eyes, was anxiously scanning the horizon,
to make out objects of far more importance.
He had not time to think of Polly's little
pranks; he looked on her, too, as a sort of
child. So, when this little cheerful bird of
the woods and bushes began to furnish
serious gossip for the place, and her pretty
name was coupled with Mr. Molyneux's-
But we must go back a little to see how
this gentleman came upon the scene.

When one of the obscurer officers
exchanged to go to India, there came in his
place, from an hussar regiment ordered
there, Captain Molyneux, one of the showiest,
handsomest men that had been seen in the
place for years. In his face was a sort of
insolent, critical inquiry as to everything
that was said or was looked; or, as a