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the expression of her eyes suddenly changed,
from a look of attention to a look of inquiry.
Magdalen quietly said a few words
more; and then waited again for results. The
change spread gradually all over Mrs. Lecount's
face; the motherly smile died away; and the
amiable manner betrayed a slight touch of restraint.
Still, no signs of positive recognition
appeared; the housekeeper's expression remained
what it had been from the firstan expression
of inquiry, and nothing more.

"You complained of fatigue, sir, a few minutes
since," she said, dropping all further conversation
with Magdalen, and addressing her master. " Will
you go in-doors and rest?"

The proprietor of Sea-View Cottage had hitherto
confined himself to bowing, simpering, and admiring
Magdalen through his half-closed eyelids.
There was no mistaking the sudden flutter and
agitation in his manner, and the heightened colour
in his wizen little face. Even the reptile temperament
of Mr. Noel Vanstone warmed under
the influence of the sex: he had an undeniably
appreciative eye for a handsome woman, and
Magdalen's grace and beauty were not thrown
away on him.

"Will you go in-doors, sir, and rest?" asked
the housekeeper, repeating her question.

"Not yet, Lecount," said her master. "I fancy
I feel stronger; I fancy I can go on a little." He
turned simpering to Magdalen, and added in a
lower tone, "I have found a new interest in my
walk, Miss Bygrave. Don't desert us, or you
will take the interest away with you."

He smiled and smirked in the highest approval
of the ingenuity of his own compliment from
which Captain Wragge dexterously diverted the
housekeeper's attention, by ranging himself on her
side of the path and speaking to her at the same
moment. They all four walked on slowly. Mrs.
Lecount said nothing more. She kept fast hold
of her master's arm, and looked. across him at
Magdalen with the dangerous expression of inquiry
more marked than ever in her handsome
black eyes. That look was not lost on the wary
Wragge. He shifted his indicative camp-stool
from the left hand to the right, and opened his
scientific batteries on the spot.

"A busy scene, Mrs. Lecount," said the captain,
politely waving his camp-stool over the
sea and the passing ships. "The greatness of
England, ma'amthe true greatness of England.
Pray observe how heavily some of those
vessels are laden! I am often inclined to wonder
whether the British sailor is at all aware, when
he has got his cargo on board, of the Hydrostatic
importance of the operation that he has
performed. If I were suddenly transported to
the deck of one of those vessels (which Heaven
forbid, for I suffer at sea); and if I said to a
member of the crew, 'Jack! you have done
wonders; you have grasped the theory of floating
vessels' how the gallant fellow would stare!
And yet, on that theory Jack's life depends. If he
loads his vessel one-thirtieth part more than he
ought, what happens? He sails past Aldborough,
I grant you, in safety. He enters the Thames,
I grant you again, in safety. He gets on into
the fresh water, as far, let us say, as Greenwich;
and down he goes! Down, ma'am, to the
bottom of the river, as a matter of scientific

Here he paused; and left Mrs. Lecount no
polite alternative but to request an

"With infinite pleasure, ma'am," said the
captain, drowning in the deepest notes of his
voice the feeble treble in which Mr. Noel
Vanstone paid his compliments to Magdalen.
"We will start, if you please, with a first
principle. All bodies whatever that float on
the surface of the water, displace as much
fluid as is equal in weight to the weight of the
bodies. Good! We have got our first principle.
What do we deduce from it? Manifestly this:
That in order to keep a vessel above water, it is
necessary to take care that the vessel and its
cargo should be of less weight than the weight
of a quantity of waterpray follow me here!—
of a quantity of water equal in bulk to that
part of the vessel which it will be safe to
immerse in the water. Now, ma'am, salt water
is specifically thirty times heavier than fresh or
river water; and a vessel in the German Ocean
will not sink so deep as a vessel in the Thames.
Consequently, when we load our ship with a view
to the London market, we have (Hydrostatically
speaking) three alternatives. Either we load
with one-thirtieth part less than we can carry at
sea; or we take one-thirtieth part out at the
mouth of the river; or we do neither the one
nor the other, and, as I have already had the
honour of remarking- down we go! Such," said
the captain, shifting the camp-stool back again
from his right hand to his left, in token that
Joyce was done with for the time being; " such,
my dear madam, is the theory of floating vessels.
Permit me to add, in conclusionyou are
heartily welcome to it."

"Thank you, sir," said Mrs. Lecount. " You
have unintentionally saddened me, but the information
I have received is not the less precious
on that account. It is long, long ago, Mr.
Bygrave, since I have heard myself addressed in
the language of science. My dear husband made
me his companionmy dear husband improved
my mind as you have been trying to improve it.
Nobody has taken pains with my intellect since.
Many thanks, sir. Your kind consideration for
me is not thrown away."

She sighed with a plaintive humility; and privately
opened her ears to the conversation on the
other side of her.

A minute earlier, she would have heard her
master expressing himself in the most flattering
terms on the subject of Miss Bygrave's appearance
in her sea-side costume. But Magdalen
bad seen Captain Wragge's signal with the camp-
stool, and had at once diverted Mr. Noel Vanstone
to the topic of himself and his possessions,