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quite correctly furnished; but all was gift
or loannot an honest inch of
independent property was there. Her very
dress, so perfect in its arrangement, had been
given; and the needleful of Berlin wool with
which she caricatured a rose-leaf had been
given also. She had but twenty pounds in her
purse at this moment to pay her man and
her maid, and to feed them all until the next
loan or gift should come, Heaven knew
whence, and this twenty pounds she had
received yesterday from one of her titled
friends. Her whole life, with all its social
circumstances, was mere pauperism; and
while she was cited as the pattern of good
breeding, the recognised critic and exponent
of manners and proprieties, she was liable at
any moment to fall from her honourable
height, and show the world on what sandy
foundations the temple of her fame had
been built.

The Lady Albinia settled the diamond
ring which she had been screwing over
the joint of her marriage finger until that
member was chafed and angry, and opening
her dainty desk, began a note which graciously
accepted Mr. Lamplugh's offerthough still
in a dignified mannerand which promised
all maternal cares to his sweet motherless
children. She had taken two hours to reflect.
A new silk gown would have cost a longer
time to choose.

Mr. Lamplugh called the next morning.
He kissed her hand, and declared that he
was the happiest of men. Not that he looked
so, excepting on the principle that extremes
meet, and that when men are in the height
of rapture it is but logical they should look
in the depths of despair. But Lady Albinia
did not pay much attention to his looks. She
was thinking of the settlements.

They married. Lady Albinia patronised
the service and the clergyman; and Mr.
Lamplugh, in spite of his fine person and
noble carriage, looked inexpressibly humble.
And then they set off for the country house
where the four Lamplugh children lived,
intending to reach it about a week or ten days
after their marriage.

This country house, called Todcroft, was in
the wildest part of the lake district. Ambleside
was Belgravia, and Keswick a very Paris,
compared to the primitive simplicity, the
wild solitude, the unbroken seclusion of
Todcroft. It stood in the midst of a wood,
far away from every other human habitation,
out of the high road, which was on the opposite
side of the lake, and about eight miles from
the nearest townwhich, when reached,
boasted nothing more luxurious than country
clogs soled with wood and shod with iron, and r
ound felt hats. The lake and the bold cliffs,
the mountains and their rugged crags, the
woods, birds, wild flowers, and the eternal
Heavens with the magnificent cloud scenery of
mountainous districts, were all the eye had
to rest on. Of civilised life not a trace,
unless a chance peasant clad in fustian, sheep
dogs barking on the hills, and herds of half-
wild cattle, might rank as evidences of

Lady Albinia was obliged to admire the
glorious scenery as they droned on, this last day
of their wedding journey. But she admired
it under a perpetual protest in favour of the
Alps and the Pyrenees, appealing to her
husband for confirmation of her taste, which, as
Mr. Lamplugh had never made the Grand
Tour, had a wonderfully exhilarating effect
on him, especially when she added, "Oh dear,
how stupid of me! One is so much accustomed
to men of the world who have travelled
through Europe, that one forgets when others
have not had the same advantages."

As they drove on, by the side of the lake
now, beneath the crags and woods overhanging
the byroad that led to Todcroft, they
noticed garlands of wild flowers, heaths, and
ferns, festooned across the road, while large
bunches of foxglove, mixed with the violet-
coloured seeding grass, were gathered into
bouquets by the way-side.

'' What is this? An attempt at rejoicing by
your people?" asked the Lady Albinia,
pointing with her daintily gloved hand, shaded
by the finest lace, and manacled at the wrist
with gold and rubies.

"The children's welcome to their new
mamma," said Mr. Lamplugh with a little
emotion in his voice; for he was not an
unaffectionate father.

"How very primitive! " said Lady Albinia,
with a small laugh. " Quite gipsy art, I
declare! "We must teach them something
better, Mr. Lamplugh; when we get them
out of this dreadful place." And she
shuddered; although the summer sun was shining
bright from the deep blue sky, and the grass
and leaves looked golden in the light.

"Upon my soul that is very pretty!" cried
Mr. Lamplugh, startled out of his thraldom
for a moment, as they passed a pyramid of
which silver bindweed and broad-leaved
fern were the base; the graceful maiden's
hair with blue-bells jingling on the summit.

"I hate wild flowers," said Lady Albinia,

"I am afraid you will not find my children
agree with you in this," said Mr. Lamplugh,
turning his bright blue eyes on
her with a cheery look, that seemed to
ask her to be good-humoured and genial.
But, his full loose lips grew weak and timid,
and their smile faded gradually away beneath
the pinching look of his bride.

"We shall see, Mr. Lamplugh," returned
Lady Albinia, more coldly than before. " I
am quite prepared for the struggle. On more
important points than a love of wild flowers,
too! Your children require teaching and
discipline; and shall have both." And she
looked capable of keeping her word.

While she spoke, they turned in at the gate
leading into the Todcroft grounds, where the