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who has asked; it is I who have proposed to come to you, and alone, too. I have left him at the inn. What I do, I do by myself, of my own will. I am not dragged by the hairs of my head, hein? Do you understand?"

"I do, dear Mrs. Cartaret, and I appreciate it."

"I do not forget the past, Mary. If I lived to be a thousand years, I should still regret that we came to know each other as we did. But that does not prevent my seeing what you have done for Lowndes.  It seems that love for you has ranged him at last. He will no longer dissipate his time upon nonsenses. He works steady, and sees no more bad company. Je vous en fais mes compliments. And I honour you for your proper pride. It seems that unless I come and say, 'Mademoiselle, do me the honour to become my son's wife,' you will not marry him? Well, I applaud you. I did the same myselfmoi qui vous parle. I refused the heir to an old title, because his family did not receive me cordially. Therefore, I am come, you see, my dear, en personne, that you may be satisfied."

"And I am satisfied, dear Mrs. Cartaret, if I only know that the doubts you entertained about me are cleared. My conduct fully justified your suspicions, I admit. It was most natural that you should resent your son's attachment to me. I had but to bend my head and submit to your decree, whatever it was."

"Well, up to yesterday, my dear, I was obdurate. I was miserable, for I saw that Lowndes would never be the same to me again, until I gave in. But I was firm; for I thought it was for his future good, and I hated you. Then came one who talked to me for an hour, and to such good purpose, that all my fine resolutions melted away. There, can you guess who that was, petite? The young curé with the coupe rosé face. I could not resist the Church's eloquence; he put things in such a way! He talked such a beautiful religion, my dear. You have to thank him for it all."

"And I deserve so little at his hands!" said Maud, colouring.

"Ah! Que voulez-vous?" cried the old lady, shrugging her shoulders. "C'est toujours comme ça! And now let us make short work of this. I chasséd you from Beckworth as the maid: I invite you to return as its mistress. I am old, and horribly lazy. I lie in bed, and let things goau diable! Vrain'est-ce pas? My good Rouse and Dapper are treasures, petiteyes, treasures, but, somehow, I can't manage them any more. I shall be glad to give it all up, and to cry, 'La reine est mortevive la reine!"

"The queen never will die for me!" exclaimed Maud, throwing her arms round Mrs. Cartaret's neck. As she spoke the door opened, and Lowndes's radiant face beamed joyously upon the group before him.  The next moment there was a sort of triune embrace, in which it was impossible to determine whose arms were round whose neck, and with this tableau it may be as well to let the curtain drop.


READER, one word at parting. Let no young lady follow our Maud's example, anticipating like results. We agree with the county at large in thinking that she was "an uncommonly lucky girl." Starting from a false basis of principle, she had done her best to become an Ishmael, and, lo! Fate willed that the lot and inheritance of Isaac should be hers. Mrs. Cartaret still rules, in outward semblance, at
Beckworth; but the sceptre has really passed, as she desired, into younger and stronger hands. His wife's influence over Lowndes has never waned, and she has found, at last, more peace and contentment than falls to the lot of most human beings, "in the state of life into which it hath pleased God to call" her.



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