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“Has Bob turned hedgehog
I think he's since he succeeded ? I forgot fond of me; but he likes the
- I was sorry, Betty. I saw it idea of Mereworth and that, in the papers. Your father was you know. It's awfully sordid; very good to me.
It's no use
but they all wanted it—and I talking about it ; I'm sorry." don't seem to matter much.” She said nothing, but laid her
- then I haven't a hand for a moment on his arm. rival. Sill, I hate the fellow.
“But about Bob he must Who is he?” have had a
Tell it “ Arthur Fairbrother. His Ah! come and let us sit father's manufacturer on those chairs." They sat in place called Elton, in Yorksilence for
moments Herbert compressing his lips, “ Fairbrother Elton - by Betty scratching in the dust Jove! Did you ever read my with her parasol. Then he dad's pamphlet—The Cost of said quietly, “You're going to our Vulgarians'?
I suppose be married ?”
not. Why, this Fairbrother “ Yes.'
one of the villains of it. “Am I to have back my The dad went down, it seems, ring ?” She met his eyes, per- and talked with his work-people. plexed. He had almost ban- Well, Fairbrother's got back ished appeal from them, but his this time. But I don't like it, lips twitched.
Bet. Do you understand what “Honour, Betty. It pledges your money will come from? you to nothing but a feeling, Well — it's no use to bother and I shall never remind you. you, and I won't talk economics. Am I to have back my ring ?” What's the fellow like?”
“No, Herbert. I shall keep “You saw him last night. your ring."
Bob says he was talking to He gave a slow sigh of relief, him when you went by." and leaned back on the little “That fellow! Yes; I saw green chair. Lady Betty spoke him, and I loathed him. I quickly, digging at the ground. loathe the type. It's all right “ Understand, Herbert. This chopping wood or fighting in man - the man I'm going to the ranks; but I can't stand it marry-is fond of me, I know, carrying its clumsy manners and I don't dislike him. I'm into drawing-rooms and giving going to be — to be a good the tone to all England. Curse wife, you know.”
him! A sleek, confident, stupid, “Yes, yes,” he said, smiling; purse-proud pig! Betty, I can't “I understand. But you care let you go to a creature like for me and you keep my ring. that.” Of course I knew you'd marry Lady Betty laughed for the - you can't help yourself—and first time. “ You'd have said I've not come back with a for- something of that kind whotune at the right poetical mo ever it was, and he's not like ment. Tell me about it. It's that. He's rather a sportsman: money, I suppose ?”
he can fence awfully well, and
decent income, and very likels murmured the bright chorus put me in the way of a fortune. of a song she remembered and he's a gentleman and a man of his word I should
- Si vous vlez venir avec moihate it, but I'd do it for you
Ou la la, oa la la,
Madame, prenez mon bras ! In ten years we might come
Ou la, ou la, on la la." back and live decently, and all my crimes would be forgotten. -- But you don't, do you? Will you marry me?”
So good-bye, good-bye, dear.” She bent down over her They shook hands, and he parasol, and then her little swung quickly away. head and her big hat shook.
As he turned into Piccadilly “No I can't. I can't make at Hyde Park Corner he recogenemies of everybody. I can't nised Fairbrother, looking very give everything up. I'm fond prosperous and content, and of you-but not like that. It's walking westwards. Fairbrono use.”
ther, self-absorbed, did not Herbert stood up. “Well, notice the glance, which, seemgood-bye, my little weak dar- ing to look indifferently over ling- I knew you wouldn't. his head, took in his appearOne can't expect it in our little ance very accurately; but Herweak world." He stood before bert, when he had passed him, her smiling: the place was set his mouth and looked empty where they were, and as savage. he glanced round it, the trim Lady Betty sat on, and grass and trees, shining de- dropped a few tears as women murely in the noon - day sun, use, and presently took her inseemed to hint of comedy. He nocent baby face to lunch with broke into his light laugh, and her family.
They had dined at six-a "Fair ladies, and my dear compromise ; but it was sup- friends, you who have honoured posed that Sir Eustace Flair my poor house and my simple of old may well have postponed feast, and you whose natural his dinner-hour in view of the place is here”—he smiled at business and rejoicings to be Lady Betty and nodded to done when he came to his own: Arthur Fairbrother—"I ask you they had dined at six, and the to drink with me the health of sky was red over the sea with the gentleman behind my chair. the setting sún when Bob Sir Eustace Flair, wherever he Mereworth rose in his place. may be !” His pleasant face was flushed, They all rose, and held their and he raised his glass with a glasses towards the silent, pale jovial gesture, and seemed figure on the canvas. complacent in his knowledge Eustace Flair!" and they of old phrases.
emptied their glasses.
As they sat down
down Lady pression : on the contrary, in Betty contrived without notice its intimate moments it perto wipe her eyes with her hand. mitted itself much innocent The next moment she was plain-speaking, and the respectchatting to Hugh Sinclair in able Arthur Fairbrother had very tolerably archaic English. been shocked aforetime. On The ringlets she wore became this occasion, the frankness of her small and dainty-featured an earlier period assisting, he face, and she could afford to was most unhappy, and quite wear a dress which trusted to unable to respond. He should natural qualities. So could have reflected that the plainBertha Mostyn, her friend, speaking was a token of inwhose blond ringlets fell prettily timacy to him, since it would over a high complexion. The not have been used before a men were sumptuous in lace stranger not of their society; and velvet ; but their short hair but he did not so reflect, and gave them—and more especially was the victim of an increasFairbrother - something of an ing embarrassment, which the appearance of Roundheads who others, in the jollity of the prohad rifled their enemies' ward- ceedings, did not notice. For robes. But Lord Mereworth even Lady Betty had been wore his strange dress easily, only once distressed, when her as did Hugh Sinclair, a dark brother's little speech reminded youth with rather a Roman her vividly of other times,—or face. Arthur Fairbrother, it perhaps she forced her gaiety was to be confessed, looked to hide her feelings, and was uncomfortable, and palpably too busy in doing so to redressed up, and his smile was member poor Fairbrother's. a trifle rigid.
It was worse when she and Truth to tell, his dinner had Bertha Mostyn, her friend, were not been happy. The habit of gone from the dining-room, and 1660 suited him only in that it the three young men were left showed his sturdy calves, and alone. I should have stated they were hidden by the table. before that these five were the The language bothered him. whole assembly, the two other He had tried conscientiously people invited having made to get it up, but could never good excuses, or having felt think of the phrase he wanted, unequal to the masquerade. whereas the others, who merely Mereworth and Hugh Sinclair guessed at it, were never at å settled down to the telling of loss. Its strange terms gave stories, and the stories were them many opportunities for very frank and free, a pleasure the chaff they loved, which being found in re-dressing old they pushed to a point of rather ones in archaic English — the forcible frankness. Mereworth archaism, of course, being much and his friends were of a set exaggerated, and recruited from which was quite free from any many periods. Fairbrother was vulgarity there may be in quite disgusted. He felt that prudery or mincingness of ex the anticipated romance had
turned out very commonly, not breadth of the big hall, and its remembering that such stories long windows looked on to the were by no means an unknown fields and the sea.
The serelement of the conversation of vants' quarters also, at the back 1660 England, and had been of the house, were distant by its told with remarkable skill by length, and they were celebratits king. He sat rather sul- ing their own especial feast. lenly, and his contribution to So that Fairbrother in the dinrealism was mainly the drink- ing-room, gloomily drinking at ing of a large quantity of claret the table, felt very much alone and port in addition to that he and deserted, and every bumper had drunk at dinner. And of claret intensified his disconwine, I regret to say, had never tent, and when he turned to an amiable effect on Arthur port the effect was the same. Fairbrother, but inclined him The air of content you have to be quarrelsome. Mereworth, seen him wear in London was who for his share had been rather due to physical well attentive to this part of the being and social success than play, forgot to conciliate him, or to a sunny temperament; and took his sympathy for granted. now that he had drunk not
So another hour passed, while wisely and believed himself to the red died out of the sky be despised and neglected, his and the night grew black and mood was extremely irritable. cloudy. Then they went for a Being, however, with such faults dish of tea to the drawing- as he may have had, a genuine
A little later they Yorkshireman, his vague desire decided to play cards; but was to fight somebody rather Fairbrother, his sulkiness still than to sit sulking. on him, was disinclined. He after a while, pushed his chair watched them a while, and then violently back, and began to said he would go back to the pace the room angrily. He dining-room for another cup of stopped opposite the portrait of claret.
Sir Eustace Flair and frowned “Odd's my life, the very at it. This was a nice sort of thing!”
cried Mereworth. person (he reflected) for a family “ And we'll join you anon,
join you anon, to commemorate a drunken, sweet chuffikins. Or come back gambling blackguard. He had drunk, and we'll all love you. read the story in Grammont Lady Betty waved her hand, since his conversation with Mrs and brightly shook her ringlets. Ogilvie, being anxious to know So Fairbrother went back to what was to be known of the the dining-room, feeling dimly Flairs, and had read besides the and quite wrongly that they story of Isabel Flair, Sir Euswere laughing at him.
tace's sister, who made the forThe dining-room at Mere- mal garden round the corner; worth was separated from the and he asked himself rather drawing - room, which looked savagely if all the Flairs ?from the front of the house on He walked away to the long winto the wood, by the length and dow, and opening it drank in