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as you ever heard in your whole life,"
and left him. He went up to the Leader
Arms to disseminate the news, which, it
must be said, he had kept very secret.
But the time had come now for a complete
"change of front, or back, or both,"
as the Doctor said; and he had resolved to
let the matter ooze out. He would thus
acquire solid public support. What he
called letting it ooze out, was going up to
the Leader Arms, announcing that he was
so glad the Leaders were coming back, as
it would bring matters to a head; and
before the night was over everybody in the
place had the newsthe most astounding
news that had been heard in the town for
years. Well, the Doctor beats all, as he
himself would say. How cleverly done!
What a rise for her! There would be no
standing them now. Some said it was a
scandal, taking in a poor sickly lad when
his family was away from him: it was a
disgrace to the town. But to hear Mr.
Ridley, the Doctor's old enemy, on it, in
a group consisting of Lord Shipton, Mr.
Ridley, Colonel Bouchier, and some other
gentlemen, all discussing it in the club-room
at the Leader Arms, was, indeed, somewhat

"A low intriguer and adventurer that
ought to be handed over to the police.
I declare if I had a cheque for fifty pounds,
I wouldn't leave it on my desk, with that
man in the next room."

"What, Findlater!" barked the colonel.
"Nonsense! as good a fellow as ever
walked: so far from that, he's just the man
would let me have a fifty to-morrow, if I
wanted it."

"He would, if you didn't want it," said
Lord Shipton with a laugh. "I'd lend any
amount that I had to spare, which of course
I haven't, to any one that didn't want it."

"He'll be exposed yet. That fellow
has some dirty history that will be hunted
up yet. Remember, I prophesy it here,
standing in this room. You've all taken
him up, and I tell you foolishly and
ridiculously; you've let yourselves be talked
round with his blarney, and soft sawder,
and his whisky."

"Talked round with, whisky: not so
bad," said Lord Shipton.

"Well, come, Shipton," said the colonel,
roughly, "I have seen you admiring that
whisky pretty well, and, for that matter, a
stone jar or two put into that queer coach
you drive about in. It's not handsome of
you to run down poor Fin in this way."

The colonel was a really honest good
fellow, who was heartily liked. He stood
by poor Fin; really liked that physician,
and was heartily glad that the foolish lad
Leader had picked up so fine a girl as Miss
Katey. Any little co-operation that he
could give, he was determined should not
be wanting.

At last here were the Leaders arrived at
Leadersfort: with their carriages, new
servants, French cook; and, in a day or two,
a perfect band of distinguished guests was
expected down. The lifeless body had now
got back its soul: the jewels were once
more in the casket. So Lord A. was kind
enough to recommend a discarded chef, who
had been impudent; and Lady B. was good
enough to insist that a superannuated
housekeeper, past her work, should be
taken in; and other noble people were
indulgent enough to patronise the Leader
family, and force on them grooms, footmen,
dairymaids, clerks, until the
establishment was full to bursting. Then
came the upholsterers, with that valuable
countersign, carte blanche; and a number
of genteel, black-coated, and very gentlemanly
fellows were seen fluttering about
Leadersfort. "Carte blanche, indeed!" as
the Doctor might have said. "No, but it's
the carts that blanched, and well they
might, from the loads they had to carry."
They fitted up their decorations with an
indecorous latitude, daubing in gold and
gilding, tumbling in furniture, mirrors,
carpets everywhere. It was presently quite

In two days it was known that the
Countess of Seaman and her daughters
had arrived, with old Dick Lumley, a
drawing-room veteran, whose social campaign
had almost begun with Waterloo, and a
useful skirmishing party of young men,
who were virtually recommended for these
duties by the countess; much as Mr. Gunter
would send down half a dozen trained
waiters who could be depended upon.
Of course it was not done in this rude,
calling-a-spade-a-spade fashion; for these
young gentlemen were duly presented,
and made Mrs. Leader's acquaintance in
the regular way; but it was all the time
privately understood that a residence at
Leadersfort was to follow. The house was
now fullthe stables were also full: the
whole festival was in "grand swing": and
invitations to a ball and supper had gone
forth, in obedience to the wishes of Lady
Seaman, who wished to see what the people
of the district were like.

Now the reader will probably wonder