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MEANWHILE the Dieppe colony went on in
its old course, and was very busy watching
the Guernsey Beauforts and their doings.
Wilkinson, or Beaufort, was the name most
frequently on people's lips. The latter gave
little dinners, ordered with exquisite taste from
Chabot's. Many of the English used to get in
a joint or so, on a man's head, from "Shabow
the Restywrong's;" but the Beaufort dinners
were the subject of envy and desire. The limit
was rigidly fixed at ten persons, one of which
select band Mr. Blacker usually contrived to be.
They were charming little feasts, and the air of
mystery and selection lent a fresh attraction to
them. It was known that Mr. Blacker had full
powers to stop and retain any flying person of
distinctiona Sir Thomas, and even an Honourable
Charles. His air of importance increased
daily. He was always seen hurrying by
express on business.

"My good sir," he would say to a friend
inquiring for admission, "I can't get you to a
dinner. We can't do that sort of thing, you
know. I dare say, now, we could manage you
in the evening."

Who would have now known the charming
Edith Wilkinson, née Edith M'Gregor, the
simple parson's daughter? Certainly not one of
her six gauche sisters, still unmarried, at home.
She had begun already to "take airs." She wrote
homeand not very oftenthe most brilliant
accounts of "the society here." "We are thinking
of staying altogether, instead of going on;"
in which, too, the simple rustic sisters seemed
to read with wonder that Edith was admired
and followed by every one. They could not
understand, or make it out. They marvelled
much at the Mr. Beaufort whose name figured so
often. The Wilkinson, as Captain Filby called
her, was at all the select dinners; so was the
pink gentleman, her husband, whose importance
had vastly increased from the attentions paid
to his wife. The foolish lady seemed to grow
proud of her conquest, and was seen everywhere
on the arm of Mr. Ernest Beaufort. In these
places, and in our more modern watering-places,
where gambling establishments prevail, it is
almost comic to see how quickly the simple and
innocent fall into the lax tone of the place,
and, so to speak, out-Herod their neighbours.
They are fascinated by the novelty and
brilliancy, and by the contrast to their own home
manners, having a confidence in their excellent

Our Lucy, who indeed at this time was living
within a golden cloud that hung before her eyes
and encompassed her about, beheld all her
friend's behaviour through the same dreamy
medium. She admired Mr. Beaufort, and saw
everything that was generous and chivalrous
in him, admiring him the more "because
he had shown himself above the vile whispers of
the mean creatures about." On this principle,
too, she was always with her friend in public
places, and the fiveMiss Lucy and Vivian, Mrs.
Wilkinson and Mr. Beaufort, and "Harco"—
made up a little party at public placesat
the port, for instance, where the town gathered.
Our Lucy delighted in thus bearding the colony,
and, it must be added, "her enemy," as she
now considered Mr. West, whose eyes, she
fancied, followed her proceedings with grave
disapproval. That unhappy gentleman, living
now in a mental feverrestless, disturbed,
miserableseemed to find relief in eagerly
watching that party. From the same reason,
as a sort of bitter defiance to the dear girl, he
had found himself drawn into a disapproval of
the Beaufort party. "She takes them up,"
he morbidly brooded, "on purpose, because she
sees that I know what sort of people they are.
I can read the challenge in her eye. What
folly, what wickedness, to encourage that poor
country lady in her foolishness, all to spite me!
I will frustrate such wickedness. She may do
what she pleases to me; but I will not look
on and see innocence ruined, all for a girl's
freak." It seemed to him that duty was calling
on him to act. Long after, as he looked
back to this season and to the whirl of agitation
in which he lived, he thought with wonder
of his state.

Cousin Constance, infinitely more sensible
than his sister Margaret, tried to soothe
him. But when the three were together, his
sister, excited at the change that was slowly
working in him, unconsciously inflamed his state