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"of all this accessorial grandeur, and bear in
mind that you'll not find him dressed in ermine,
or surrounded with a collar and badge. Not
very like his daughter, I'm sure," whispered she
in my ear, as I continued to gaze steadfastly at
the portrait. " Can you trace any likeness?"

"Not the very faintest; she is beautiful,"
said I, " and her whole expression is gentleness
and delicacy."

"Well, certainly," said Crofton, shutting up
the miniature, " these are not the distinguishing
traits of our friend here, whom I should call a
hard-natured, stern, obstinate fellow, with great
self-reliance, and no great trust of others."

"I was just thinking," said I, "that were I
to come up with such a man as this, what
chance would my poor, frail, yielding temperament
have in influencing the rugged granite of
his nature? He'd terrify me at once."

"Not when your object was a good and
generous one," said Miss Crofton. "You might
well enough be afraid to confront such a man as
this if your aim was to overreach and deceive
him; but bear in mind the fable of the man who
had the courage to take the thorn out of the
lion's paw. The operation, we are told, was a
painful one, and there might have been an
instant in which the patient felt disposed to eat
his doctor; but, with all these perils, strong in
a good purpose, the surgeon persevered, and by
his skill and his courage made the king of the
beasts his fast friend for life. The lesson is
worth remembering."

I was still pondering over this apophthegm,
when Crofton aroused me by pushing across the
table a great heap of gold. " This is all yours,
Potts," said he; " and remember, that as you
are now my agent, travelling for the house of
Crofton and Co., that you journey at my cost."

Of course I would not listen to this proposal,
and although urged by Miss Crofton with all a
woman's tact and delicacy, I persisted so firmly
in my refusal, that they were obliged to yield.
I now had a hundred pounds all my own, and
though the sum be not a very splendid one, I
remember some French writerI'm not sure it
is not Jules Janinsaying, " Any man who can
put his hand into his pocket and find five Napo-
leons there, is rich;" and he certainly supports
his theory with considerable sophistry and
cleverness, mainly depending on the assumption,
that any of the reasonable daily necessities of
life, even in a luxurious point of view, are
attainable with such means. Now, although a
hundred pounds would not very long supply
resources for such a life, yet, as I am not a
Frenchman, nor living in Paris, still less had I
habits or tastes of a costly kind, I might very
well eke out three months pleasantly on this
sum, and in these three months what might
not happen? In a "hundred days," the great
Napoleon crashed the whole might of the
Austrian empire, and secured an emperor's daughter
for his bride; and in another " hundred days"
he made the tour of France, from Cannes to
Rochefort, and lost an empire by the way!
Wonderful things might then be compassed
within three months.

"What are you saying about three months,
Potts?" asked Crofton, for unwittingly I had
uttered these words aloud.

"I was observing," said I, "that in three
months from this day, we should arrange to
meet somewhere. Where shall we say?"

"Geneva is very central; shall we name

"Oh, on no account. Let our rendezvous be
in Italy. Let us say Rome.

"Rome be it, then," cried Crofton. " Now
for another point: let us have a wager as to who
first discovers the object of our search. I'll
bet you twenty Napoleons, Potts, to tenfor,
as we are two to one, so should the wager be."

"I take you," cried I, entering into his
humour, " and I feel as certain of success as if
I had your money in my hand."

"Will you have another wager with me?"
whispered Mary Crofton, as she came behind my
chair. " It is, that you'll not persuade Miss
Herbert to wear this ring for my sake."

"I'll bet my life on it," said I, taking the
opal ring she drew from her finger, as she spoke;
"I'm in that mood of confidence now, I feel
there is nothing I could not promise."

"If so then, Potts, let me have the benefit
of this fortunate interval, and ask you to
promise me one thing, which is, not to change your
mind more than twice a day; don't be angry with
me, but hear me out. You are a good-hearted
fellow, and have excellent intentions; I don't
think I know one less really selfish, but at the same
time you are so fickle of purpose, so undecided in
action, that I'd not be the least astonished to
hear, when we asked for you to-morrow at
breakfast-time, that you had started for a tour in
Norway, or on a voyage to the Southern Pacific."

"And is this your judgment of me also, Miss
Crofton?" said I, rising from my seat.

"Oh, no, Mr. Potts. I would only suspect
you of going off into the Tyrol, or the Styrian
Alps, and forgetting all about us, amidst the
glaciers and the cataracts."

"I wish you a good night, and a better
opinion of your humble servant," said I, bowing.

"Don't go, Pottswait a minutecome
back. I have something to tell you."

I closed the door behind me, and hastened off,
not, however, perfectly clear whether I was the
injured man, or one who had just achieved a
great outrage.

Now ready, price Six Shillings, the Second Edition
London: 26, Wellington-street, Strand, W.C.;
and CHAPMAN and HALL, 193, Piccadilly, W.