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was very dutiful to the old lady when she arrived, rendering to her all those little attentions which it had been Lady Bertram's part to pay in former days.
. Mrs. Grey candidly admitted that her forebodings so far were not realised. Thomasina was certainly very much improved; she was gentler, less self-reliant, and, instead of throwing off reproof with the saucy self-will by which she had so often offended her Aunt Thomasina in earlier days, there was a softness in her manner which deprecated, rather than defied, criticism and lent a new charm to her beauty. By-and-by the shrewd old lady began to suspect that the great passion which sways the hearts of men stirring the depths of her godchild's nature, and she was not slow to impart her suspicions to Sir Richard, who never, as she felt assured, would find out anything for himself.
'Is it true that Sir Harry Camden admires Thomasina ?' she asked one day.
'A good many people do admire her more or less,' replied Sir Richard.
· Sir Harry admires her more, no doubt.
He is always hovering about her, and might make her an offer if he thought he had any chance; but the child is too young to think of marriage.'
* Just as much too young as Anthony was too old, Sir Richard.'
'Do not talk to me of Anthony's marriage,' rejoined the old man irritably; 'I have not got over it at all.
How should I, when I see his fat, stupid children, and think that they have come between Thomasina and her inheritance ?'
Mrs. Grey could have replied that the inheritance was Anthony's, but she respected her brother's prejudices and did not always utter the disagreeable truths which occurred to her. She only observed that she supposed that Thomasina would be well portioned.
Pretty well for that,' replied Sir Richard ; ' I have been laying by for her every year since this confounded second marriage, and there was something settled on her already.'
' I wonder that you do not do more for Anthony, Sir Richard. I should like to see him live more as befits the only son of the property.'
• If he has sunk in the scale it is by his own act and choice, since he was determined to marry beneath him. And he will have his turn by-and-by.'
• If he were my son, Sir Richard, I should not stint him until he is driven to look forward to my death as a deliverance.'
* Anthony is too meek-spirited to do that, whatever his wife may do.'
· You are unjust to Mrs. Bertram,' rejoined Aunt Thomasina. “She is quite a lady in manners and appearance, and I doubt whether Anthony could have chosen more wisely for his own happiness. What did you think of the young Windsors, who were staying here the other day?'
They are much like other lads of their age. Robin, the sailor, is rather a smart young fellow, and spent a good deal of his time here, riding with us nearly every day. I did not hear the other one open his lips.'
Mrs. Grey pricked up her ears, believing that she had found the clue she sought. * That is why Thomasina is so eager to read the naval intelligence in the “ Times.” I told her the other day that she seemed to know all the ships afloat. How old is this sailor brother?'
• How should I know? He is Windsor's
eldest boy, who used to ride through the park here to school. He is a rattle-brained boy still, and thinks of nothing but his profession. He got Anthony to make interest for him to go out to China, and I believe that he sailed last week.'
Baffled at this point, Mrs. Grey fell back on Sir Harry Camden. “If Lady Camden is keeping house for her son, I shall go and call upon her this week.'
Sir Richard began dimly to see the drift of what had appeared to him very disjointed talk. 'I can tell you one thing, Thomasina, that you may spare yourself the trouble of match-making for
my little girl; I do not want to part with her just yet awhile, and she does not want to go.'
' Probably not, Sir Richard, but that can be no reason why I should not call on my old friend Lady Camden. You live so much out of the world that she is not likely to hear that I am staying with you.'
Accordingly Mrs. Grey proposed to her niece that they should drive together to pay some visits, and, although it was not a social duty in which Thomasina took delight, she complied with a good grace. She was seated