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Lady Ludlow fixed her eyes on Mr. Smithson
as he spoke, and never took them off his
face until he had ended. She was silent a
minute before she spoke.

"You are very good, Mr. Smithson, but I
need not trouble you with any such arrangements.
I am going to write this afternoon
to Captain James, a friend of one of my sons,
who has, I hear, been severely wounded at
Trafalgar, to request him to honour me by
accepting Mr. Horner's situation."

"A Captain James! A captain in the
navy! going to manage your ladyship's
estate!"

"If he will be so kind. I shall esteem it
a condescension on his part; but I hear that
he will have to resign his profession, his state
of health is so bad, and a country life is
especially prescribed for him. I am in some
hopes of tempting him here, as I learn he has
but little to depend on if he gives up his
profession."

"A Captain James! an invalid captain!"

"You think I am asking too great a
favour," continued my lady. (I never could
tell how far it was simplicity, or how far a
kind of innocent malice, that made her
misinterpret Mr. Smithson's words and looks as
she did.) "But he is not a post-captain,
only a commander, and his pension will be
but small. I may be able, by offering him
country air and a healthy occupation, to
restore him to health."

"Occupation! My lady, may I ask how
a sailor is to manage land? Why, your
tenants will laugh him to scorn."

"My tenants, I trust, will not behave so ill
as to laugh at any one I choose to set over
them. Captain James has had experience in
managing men. He has remarkable practical
talents, and great common sense, as I
hear from everyone. But, whatever he may
be, the affair rests between him and myself.
I can only say I shall esteem myself fortunate
if he comes."

There was no more to be said, after my
lady spoke in this manner. I had heard her
mention Captain James before, as a middy
who had been very kind to her son Urian.
I thought I remembered then, that she had
mentioned that his family circumstances
were not very prosperous. But, I confess,
that little as I knew of the management of
land, I quite sided with Mr. Smithson. He,
silently prohibited from again speaking to my
lady on the subject, opened his mind to Miss
Galindo, from whom I was pretty sure to
hear all the opinions and news of the household
and village. She had taken a great
fancy to me, because she said I talked so
agreeably. I believe it was because I listened
so well.

"Well, have you heard the news," she
began, "about this Captain James? A
sailor,—with a wooden leg, I have no doubt.
What would the poor, dear, deceased master
have said to it, if he had known who was to
be his successor? My dear, I have often
thought of the postman's bringing me a
letter as one of the pleasures I shall miss in
heaven. But, really, I think Mr. Horner may
be thankful he has got out of the reach of
news; or else he would hear of Mr. Smithson's
having made up to the Birmingham
baker, and of this one-legged Captain, coming
to dot-and-go-one over the estate. I suppose
he will look after the labourers through
a spy-glass. I only hope he won't stick in
the mud with his wooden leg; for I, for one,
won't help him out. Yes, I would," said
she, correcting herself; "I would, for my
lady's sake."

"But are you sure he has a wooden leg?"
asked I. "I heard Lady Ludlow tell Mr.
Smithson about him, and she only spoke of
him as wounded."

"Well, sailors are almost always wounded
in the leg. Look at Greenwich Hospital!
I should say there were twenty one-legged
pensioners to one without an arm there.
But say he has got half-a-dozen legs, what is
he to do with managing land? I shall think
him very impudent if he comes, taking
advantage of my lady's kind heart."

However, come he did. In a month from
that time the carriage was sent to meet
Captain James; just as three years before it had
been sent to meet me. His coming had been
so much talked about that we were all as
curious as possible to see him, and to know
how so unusual an experiment, as it seemed
to us, would answer. But, before I tell you
anything about our new agent, I must speak
of something quite as interesting, and I really
think quite as important. And this was my
lady's making friends with Harry Gregson.
I do believe she did it for Mr. Horner's sake;
but of course I can only conjecture why my
lady did anything. But I heard one day
from Mary Legard that my lady had sent
for Harry to come and see her, if he was
well enough to walk so far; and the next
day he was shown into the room he had been
in once before under such unlucky circumstances.

The lad looked pale enough, as he stood
propping himself up on his crutch, and the
instant my lady saw him, she bade John
Footman place a stool for him to sit down
upon while she spoke to him. It might be
his paleness that gave his whole face a more
refined and gentle look; but I suspect it was
that the boy was apt to take impressions, and
that Mr. Horner's grave, dignified ways, and
Mr. Gray's tender and quiet manners, had
altered him; and then the thoughts of
illness and death seem to turn many of us
into gentlemen and gentlewomen, as long as
such thoughts are in our minds. We cannot
speak loudly or angrily at such times; we
are not apt to be eager about mere worldly
things, for our very awe at our quickened
sense of the nearness of the invisible world,
makes us calm and serene about the petty

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