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AT the Crown Inn in Shipley Magna
there was intense excitement. Nothing
like it had been known there within the
memory of man: for, although the house
boasted a tradition that a royal and gallant
son of England had once passed a night
beneath its roof, no one living in the
old inn at the period of our story could
remember that glorious occasion. Now
there occupied the best rooms a foreign
prince and princess! And there was
the princess's maid, and the prince's
valet, who were extremely superior, and
troublesome, and discontented. And there
had arrived a pair of horses, and a
gorgeous carriage, and a London coachman,
who was not quite so discontented as the
maid and the valet, but fully as imposing
and aristocratic in his own line. And as if
these circumstances were not sufficiently
interesting and stirring, there was added to
them the crowning fact that the "princess"
was a Daneshire lady, born and bred in
the neighbourhood, and that the scandal
of her elopementand she a clergyman's
daughter!—was yet fresh and green in
the chronicles of Shipley Magna. What
had they come for? The hunting season
was over; and the hunting was the
only rational and legitimate reason why
a stranger should ever come to Shipley
Magna at all. At least, so opined the
united conclaves of stable-yard and kitchen
who sat in permanent judgment on the
actions of their social superiors.

"Mayhap she have come to see her
father," hazarded an apple-cheeked young
scullery-maid, timidly. But this suggestion
was scouted as highly improbable. Father,
indeed! What did such as her care for
fathers? She wouldn't ha' gone off and
left him the way she did if so be she'd ha'
had much feeling for her father. She'd a
pretty good cheek to come back there at all
after the way she'd disgraced herself. And
this here princeif so be he were a prince
must feel pretty uncomfortable when he
thought about it. But to be sure he was
a I-talian, and so, much in the way of
moral indignation couldn't be expected
from him. And then, you know, her mother
was a foreigner. Certainly Mrs. Levincourt
had never done nothing amiss, so far
as the united conclaves could tell. But,
you see, it come out in the daughter. Once
a foreigner always a foreigner, you might
depend upon that!

Nevertheless, in spite of the opinion of
that critical and fallible pit audience that
contemplates the performance of the more
or less gilt heroes and heroines who strut
and fret their hour on the stage of high
life, a messenger was despatched in a fly to
Shipley-in-the-Wold, on the first morning
after the arrival of the Prince and Princess
de' Barletti, and the messenger was the
bearer of a note addressed to the Reverend
Charles Levincourt, Shipley Vicarage. The
motives which had induced Veronica to
revisit Daneshire were not entirely clear to
herself. It was a caprice, she said. And
then she supposed that she ought to try to
see her father. Unless she made the first
advance, he probably would never see her
more. Well, she would make the advance.
That she felt the advance easier to make
from her present vantage-ground of
prosperity she did not utter aloud.

Then there was in Veronica's heart an