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to her face, and she rushed to her, throwing
herself on her knees beside the chair; and,
caressing her gently glanced all the time, as
if by stealth, at Mr. Fitzgerald: then, lowering
her eyes suddenly when they saw that his
were fixed broad and wide upon her.

"Poor, dear child!" said Mrs. Chesterton,
smoothing her hair, with a glance and a
gesture that demanded Mr. Fitzgerald's
admiration. It was very pretty hair, glossy
bright and golden, and worthy of the time,
labour and expense bestowed on it; for
Eveline's hair cost her almost as much as her
feet.

"Ah, Mr. Fitzgerald!" continued the
mother, sighing, "what a treasure I am
giving into your hands! May you value it
as you ought, and guard it as carefully as her
mother has done."

"What is the matter, mamma? What do
you mean?" demanded Miss Eveline in an
agitated voice. She raised her eyebrows and
opened her large blue eyes with a look of
wonder that was perfect.

"Dear innocent creature! She at least
has never speculated on this moment! Oh
Mr. FitzgeraldCharles, if I may call you
so," added the lady, with a sudden
expansiveness of manner, such as people have on
the stage when, apropos of nothing, they seize
each other's hands and look into each other's
faces sideways, "what have you not escaped
in those Crawford and Macclesfield girls; and
what have you gained in my sweet Eveline!
Do you think they would have been as
innocent as this dear guileless child?"

"Agnes Crawford is a very good girl,"
Charles said, in a voice that was a strange
mixture of timidity and boldness. " I don't
think she was either a flirt or a schemer."

"Perhaps not," the lady replied hastily;
"Agnes may be an exception to her family."

"But what does all this mean, mamma?"
again inquired Eveline; seeing an angry spot
beginning to burn on her lover's cheek, which
she was half afraid might burn through the
marriage contract.

"It means, my love," answered Mrs.
Chesterton, calling up her broad bland smile
in a moment, " that I have interpreted your
wishes and spoken from your heart. I have
promised your hand where you have given
your love, naughty child!"—tapping her
cheek—" to our dear Charles Fitzgerald
your future husband, and my beloved son."

"CharlesMr. Fitzgerald!" said Eveline.
"O, mamma!" she added, hiding her face.

Charles was intoxicated with joy; and,
encouraged by a sign from Mrs. Chesterton, took
the little hand which lay buried beneath the
ringlets poured out on the mother's lap.
He pressed it nervously. With a strong
grasp, it must be confessed, and awkwardly.
"O! how he hurts methe clumsy man!"
muttered Eveline, disengaging the mangled
member, as if from bashfulness, and plunging
it among her mother's interlaced fingers.

Her rings had made a deep indentation and
a broad red mark on her tender little fingers,
and Mrs. Chesterton saw that she must have
suffered a great deal. However, she gave
her an expressive admonition with her knee,
which said plainly, " Don't mind a little pain
it is well bought." And Eveline abandoned
her small fair hand again to her maladroit
lover, who squeezed it even more unmercifully
while pouring forth a flood of love and
happiness, and childlike security in the bright
promises of the future that made Eveline
yawn behind her handkerchief; driving her
at last to count verses on her fingers.

"If this is love," she thought, " love is
a horrid bore. O, when will he have done!
How tired I am! How I wish that Horace
Graham would come in. This little man would
be obliged to be quiet, then, and go away."

Charles all the time was in the seventh
heaven; believing he had carried up his fiancée
with him, seated on the same golden garment
of love with himself. As he did not suspect,
he understood nothing of the ennui of sated
ambition, which a keener vision would have
read in every word and gesture of the girl,
and tortured the heart which, he believed, he
was enrapturing by the passionate babble of
his unanswered love. It was very late before
he gave the first threat of going away, and
much later before he had gained sufficient
moral courage to fulfil it. And even then he
lingered till the girl was in despair; telling
her in a very doleful voicehalf-sobbing himself
—" Not to weep; he would come very
early to-morrow!"

Eveline did almost cry from weariness.
And, when Mrs. Chesterton said, in dressing-
gown and curl-papers, with the air of a
workman at supper or a cabinet minister
after dinner, with the peculiar satisfaction
inspired by repose after labour—" I give you
joy, my dear! Ten thousand a year, and
only a mother with a mere jointure, charged
on the estate. And I have heard that old
Mrs. Fitzgerald has a heart-disease"—Eveline's
only answer was, "Ten thousand a year dearly
paid for too, mamma. As you would say
yourself if you were going to be married to
half an idiot!" Then, tearful and pouting
she went to bed to dream of waltzes and
polkas with Horace Graham, and to act
imaginary scenes of tempest and storm with
Charles.

Charles Fitzgerald, good and amiable as he
was, did in truth almost justify Eveline's
harsh expression from his excessive weakness
of character and tenuity of intellect. He was
one of those credulous, generous, kind-hearted
beings who are the chartered dupes of the
world. A man who thought it a sin to
believe any kind of evil, no matter of whom
or what; who denied the plainest evidence if
condemnatory, and who interpreted the most
potent fact of guilt into so much conclusive
proof of innocence: a man who could not
receive truth, and who did not require it; but

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