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our backs than on our arms if we had stopped
that cull, you whackhead."

As the Lady Earnest Gabion sat trembling in
the great oak parlour alone, her guests having
left her about half an hour, the ticking of the
clock, sharp and distinct as it was, was
suddenly rendered partially inaudible by the
clattering of distant hoofs. The lady stood
up in the middle of the chamber, so that
when she heard the hoofs come nearer, nearer,
nearer still; when she heard the lodge-gate
open, a man dismount, the door-bell ring, the
portal open, and the voice of Bridget the old
housekeeper cry out below in joyful recognition,
"My mastermy young master!" she
went down on her knees for joy and

"He is here! He is here, dear mistress!"
cried the housekeeper, rushing into the room.

"Who is here?" asked a harsh voice, as a
gaunt figure stepped from behind the tapestry
on the landing and laid its knotty hand on
Lady Gabion's arm. "Who is here?" asked
Captain Seagreest.

"Let me go to my son!"  screamed the

"Hush, for Heaven's sake! hush, my dear
mistress," said the housekeeper. "My lady is
well-nigh distraught, your honour. The gentleman
is one of King George's soldiers quartered
here for the night, and here is his paper, sir."

So saying, she held forth to the brutal
trooper the BILLET, which the supposed
corporal had put into her hand as he

"Bah!" the captain replied with sublime
contempt. "Go and see your baby, my lady.
Make your most of him for five minutes.
After that he belongs to me."

He loosened his hold of the lady, who
sprang from his grasp like a bird. She rushed
into the wide entrance hall, and folded in her
arms the tall young man standing there.

"My own boy!" she cried, sobbing and
kissing him passionately. Till, looking up in
his face, she gave one loud and awful scream,
saying, "This is NOT my son!" and fell down

"Goodness forgie us and save us if it is!"
cried Bridget in an agony, "and yet how like!
The very hair, the very blue een, and wavy
hair, and all. Holy mother! the very mark
on his hand."

"Not her son!" said Captain Seagreest,
stepping unconcernedly over the prostrate
form of Lady Gabion, and staring the
astonished soldier in the face, "Who are
you, in the devil's name?"

"Corporal Harris, Captain Butt's troop,
Hawley's dragoons," answered the young
soldier drawing himself up, and saluting the
uniform of his officer. "On my way to
Lancaster with a dispatch to Colonel Tarleton.
Here is my pass and papers, there is my billet
for the night. God save the King, and
confound the Pope, the Devil, and the

"Confound you, you mean," said Captain
Seagreest. "You are Corporal What's-his-name!
What business have you to be so
confoundedly like the young Gabion? Go into
the kitchen and get your supper."


WHEN I first became acquainted with my
pretty brisk hostess, she and her husband
were just established, after several years of
hard struggle, in a rather important looking
house in the principal street of the French
town where I occasionally take up my abode.
We formed a strict friendship when she had
received me as her lodger; for the little
woman, who liked to talk, found in me a
ready listener to all her stories of success
and difficulty. Both she and her husband
were so industrious and persevering, that
I felt sure they would get on, and I was
scarcely surprised, after an absence of two
years, to find that Madame Obé no longer
let her lodgings, as she required more
rooms herself and moreover was so much
richer that she did not look to that mode of
increasing her income: nevertheless, in spite
of my apologies, she would not hear of my
seeking another domicile, and insisted on
giving up the rooms I formerly occupied for
my behoof. As this arrangement entirely
suited me, and evidently gave the little pair
pleasure, I yielded to their wish and became
once more their inmate.

Madame Obé's toilet is much changed since
I first saw her, in her smart cap, with gold-coloured
satin ribbons, which set off her bright
silken black hair and rosy round cheeks to
admiration: this cap was worn when she
went out with Monsieur on fête days and
Sundays, for the class to which she then
belonged do not wear bonnets in France.
The first thing that struck me this year was
Madame Obé's new white bonnet, adorned
with crimson and saffron-coloured flowers
intermixed, which tints suit her brunette
complexion as well as those of the former
cap: she wears, when dressed, a black velvet
mantilla, and pale yellow kid gloves, with
finely worked sleeves and chemisette, and, in
case of cold weather, she has an ermine muff.
All this, because she is very careful and
economical still, proved to me that my
industrious friends were making rapid strides
towards fortune, and the smiling faces of both
their lively air and bustling demeanour
convinced me that all was going well with
them. We have now two bonnes instead of
one, and Madame Obé's cook, Elvire, is so
clever, that it is by no means necessary now
for her mistress to make herself hot in the
kitchen, and descend to the dinner-table
burnt and flustered, as she used to do two
years ago. Madame Obé tells me that she
has a particular dislike to the coarser part of
housekeeping, and I never allude to the
dishes that she formerly took pride in