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could only esteem and worship and Lodge to make his betrothed bride's
here she blushed furiously — acquaintance. “ love any one who was quite my ideal Now, it must be confessed, the young in every single way."
man did not altogether like the part he Mr. Nevill put on his spectacles and was playing in this affair, for he felt stared. “ Jessica, are you thinking of himself turned into an object of com-Mr. Hobson ? "
passion, the rôle least suited to an En(Mr. Hobson, the curate, had made a glishman; and, moreover, the male sudden proposal for Jessica two months animal relinquishes witir a bad grace: ago, and had been declined with a few his privilege of wooing. Still, he tears.)
hoped for the best, having heard that “Papa, you know I hate Mr. Hob- Jessica was pretty ; and he was enam
ored of getting his position restored “I know nothing of the sort,” said and his few debts paid ; besides which, her father testily. “ Are you thinking he wanted to please his mother and to of Sir Edgar Lee ?”
make her comfortable. For John was Papa, Sir Edgar has never so much romantically devoted to his mother, and as asked me, and I hate him worse she was in ill health, and altogether even than Mr. Hobson."
unfit to cope with poverty and disap“Of whom are you thinking ?” pointment. “I am not thinking of any one." The wedding was fixed for the au
“Excuse me, my dear. You called tumn, and the cousins were to be introhim your ideal,' I think.”
duced in the summer. Just now it was “ He isn't any one,'' murmured Jes- spring. And, alas !-sica.
Oh, a figment of fancy? Then I In the spring a young man's fancy lightly can't allow him to be a rival to John.
turns to thoughts of love. A fancy is of no importance.”'
John Farquhar, the engaged man, was “Oh, papa, it is ! it is ! And, be- not sufficiently alive to this springtime sides, you want to upset my whole life. danger in which he stood. I am not one of those girls who are always talking and imagining about falling in love.' I think all that is
THAT MISS WILLIAMS. such nonsense. I want to go to Girton JESSICA bewailed her fate greatly to as Flora Williams - did, and learn a her confidante, Flora Williams, the great, great deal, and — and be sensible. “ woman” four years her senior, who Oh, I can't explain,” ended poor Jes- had been to Girton, and whom Jessica sica, in despair.
exalted to a throne in her little mind. “My dear,” said Mr. Nevill,“ falling Flora was handsome, with masses of in love is not nonsense. It is very golden hair. She wore tailor's dresses, serious ; especially to women, who are talked a little slang, smoked an judged chiefly by the way they do it.casional cigarette, and spoke of her They teach nothing about it at Girton, college friends by their surnames unI think? That is my chief reason for prefixed. She affected eyeglasses, too, not sending you there. But all this is and kept a number of heavy lomes in irrelevant. You need not study the a locked bookcase. Otherwise there question in the abstract. You are to was nothing very learned about her, marry your cousin John, and the sooner nor was she half so keen for culture you fall in love with him the better. and superiority as was Jessica Nevill. Write your letter, my love.”
I admire old maids less than I did Jessica could not make her father five years ago," she confessed to her understand that he was trampling on friend ; and Jessica, hardly grasping the finest sprouts of her delicate soul. the profound bearing of this remark, She submitted ; and in the summer replied frivolously (for even Jupiter John Farquhar was to come to Nevill' pods sometimes):
"I suppose, Flora, at Girton. you Next month Mr. Nevill had to go sometimes saw too many women ? I away to Wales on business, and he was admit I like men best. All I object to exercised in his mind about leaving is the supposition that we must want to Jessica, the betrothed heiress, so near
Mr. Hobson ; for the good curate being “ But we do," said Flora ruthlessly ; of a vervous temperament, and apt to “you yourself, Jess, you wanted to be precipitate, might easily stumble marry Mr. Hobson."
into love-making again, and Mr. Nevill, “Oh no. Only just while he was unable to distinguish among girlish asking ine. And I shouldn't feel like caprices and fancies, had always conthat again. It was only that I was so sidered his daughter a little sentimental unaccustomed to the kind of thing. about her rejected suitor. So this perNext time when a man makes love to son and that of her aunts and elderly me I shall dislike it."
cousins did her father suggest as a vis“Are you sure?"
itor during his absence, but Jessica “It is just what I dread about John. would none of them, and Mr. Nevill's He will think it proper to make love to alarm about Mr. Hobson increased. me, and then I shall hate him. If I “Go to town to your grandmother, could only see him without his knowing Jessica, and buy some new gowns.” me, Flora !"
you, papa ; I have just laid • But, judging from Mr. Hobson's in a stock." experience when he made love to " Then begin your trousseau.' you
“I will wait, papa, till I see how I Oh, do stop about Mr. Hobson ! like Cousin John." And you know, Flora, this talking of “Tut, my dear, tut !” lovers makes me sick."
Papa !” exclaimed Jessica sud“Yes, dear,” said Flora ; "you denly, “it has just struck me! Do blushed when mamma read us those you remember that John belongs to love scenes from the novel. I saw you. your generation, not to mine ?” Don't you like reading them to yourself “ But he is your age, Jessica. Near even, Jessica ? "
enough." - That's different."
“Papa, people always belong to their • No, you goose, it's all of a piece. generation. I am sure John is quite You don't, publicly and in the abstract, old in his mind and in his ways. I approve of love - making, Jess; but have heard you say, papa, you don't when Mr. Hobson got down on his approve of marriages between persons knees before you
of different generations." « Flora, how can you ?”
“ Tut, my dear !" " It is only that I ani older than you, “ But, indeed, papa, I can't begin my dear. If I were you, I shouldn't dis- trousseau till I have seen him." like the idea of your John so much. " Then go to Aunt Lucy at BourneEngaged ! And with a man coming in mouth."? three months to make love to you! I " She has not invited me." dare say he'll do it better than Mr. * Or to Miss Snow at Bankside." Hobson ; so cheer up, Jessica, and “Her spare rooms are full, papa.' come and see my new dress."
“Well, where will you go? " You do yourself the greatest injus- Mr. Nevill, in despair. tice,” said Miss Jessica, “talking in Jessica answered that question a few that silly way. But oh, Flora, what a days later. She came running to her very beautiful dress 1"
father one morning with sparkling eyes Considering how strong-minded these and a pretty, pleading look on her face. two young women were, their interest He knew that look ; she wore it when in mere clothes was perhaps excessive. she had set her heart on some innocent Books and lovers were quite secondary pleasure which it would be his delight to-day, and every day.
to grant. He smiled encouragingly,
and held out his hand ; for Jessica had | frock. She wore round blue spectacles,
! asked nothing of him since her be- a gown of her mother's, a long mantle, trothal, nor been like his merry, sweet a bonnet, and a thick veil. She talked little coax at all.
gravely on serious subjects ; and Mr. "Oh, papa ! dear papa ! do say yes ! Nevill was delighted with her, and Do. Just while you are away! Think began to reconsider his opinion of Girhow stupid for me all alone here. Do tonians. Jessica was flying about in a say yes ! Do let me go ! ”
white serge frock, rather too short for Why, to be sure I will. It's what her, and wore a broad hat with streanıI've been looking for: a place to send ing ribbons. She looked a.child, and you to while I'm away. Where do you Miss Williams surveyed her benevowant to go ?”.
lently, like a mother. Mr. Nevill with" It's a letter from Flora, papa.” drew all objection to the proposed trip,
“Oh! That Miss Williams? Well, and promised his daughter as much I suppose you must go if you wish it." money as she requested. “They are going abroad, papa, and " And where, Miss Williams, do
you want me to go with them."
propose to go ?” he inquired of the “ Bless me! Who are they?" chaperon.
• Flora and her friend Miss Talbot, “Oh, to Rome. Tal — Miss Talbot papa."
is there already with her mother. “Who is Miss Talbot, and how old Lady Monastereven has to return soon, is she ?"
and then Jessica and I will stay on “ A little younger than Flora. She with Miss Talbot at the same hotel. is still at Girton. And her mother is After about a month, we three will the Dowager Viscountess of Monaster- travel home together.”
“ It sounds suitable,” said Mr. Ne"Dear me ! But who is the chape- vill; and egan looking up routes in ron of this party ?"
the Continental Bradshaw. Flora, papa.”
“ We will do exactly what you ad“But she's only a young girl like vise, Mr. Nevill,” said Flora meekly. you."
Aud Jessica jumped into her father's “Papa! Why, she's years older arms and kissed him. She had not than I. And so sensible. She and been so gay for weeks. She was going Talbot - I mean Miss Talbot — went on a frolic, and a first frolic is highly to Vienna last year alone. Girton exciting to a young person. girls, papa, don't require chaperons. At the eleventh hour, however, the Oh, please, let me go. You forget plans for the journey of the two ladies what a dull lise I am going to have was all overturned. Mr. Nevill was with only that elderly cousin of yours ! packing, and rather in a fuss preparing Do give me one little month of fun for his departure, when Jessica burst first."
into his room, crying out that a most Mr. Nevill hadn't the heart to say no shocking thing had occurred. Miss straight off. “Ask Miss Williams to Talbot bad got Roman fever, and all lunch," he said, “and let me see if she Rome was full of fever, and Mrs. is a proper person to take charge of Williams positively refused to let her you.” For Flora lived at a place three daughter go there on any account. Mr. stations down the line, and Mr. Nevill Nevill was in disınay, remembering the (being inclined to despise her) had not inflammable Mr. Hobson. made her acquaintance.
“But Flora and I might go someJessica wrote to Miss Williams that where else, papa,” suggested Jessica. when she came to be inspected she “Yes, yes, of course," assented Mr. must try to look like a chaperon. Nevill readily. “Keep away from the Consequently Flora was hardly recog- fever. Go somewhere else. And he nizable. She had left her smart spy- proposed Florence, where was Jessica's glasses at home with her tailor-made' uncle with vine daughters ; 'or Cannes,
where one Mrs. White and her grand- “ I have a scheme in my head,” reniece would befriend the lovely trav- plied Jessica. ellers.
But neither on that night nor the Jessica pouted. “.We can make up next could the maiden lady (so Mr. our mind as we go along,” she said. Nevill had described Miss Williams to * Paris is the first stage to either his mother-in-law) extract from her place.”
charge what manner of scheme it was. “Very well, my love (fold my dress- They travelled straight to Madrid, ing-gown, please, dear child), and you and from thence each wrote home. had better keep your money as much This duty accomplished, Jessica pulled as possible in English gold (that box of a wise face and addressed her comcollars, please, Jessica). It passes panion in the following manner :everywhere (don't tumble over my "Flora, it is getting late in the seaboots). And write to me very often, sou, and Madrid is farther north than
Seville and Granada. Let 'us go to “Papa,” said Jessica, packing busily; those places while the weather is still
you know you never get my letters cool. And, Flora, let us steadily set when you are in Wales. I shan't write our face against bull-fights, for, in my often."
opinion, English people should always
set a good example. And, Flora, don't III.
you thivk we ought to see the Rock, WILLIAMS AND TALBOT.
which is such a remarkable place in So Mr. Nevill went to Wales, and on English history?" the same day the two young ladies “And where Captain Farquhar is ? " crossed to Calais. Flora declared her said Flora, with a cough. opinion that to be "at a loose end “John Farquhar is not at the Rock,' was the pleasantest way of travelling, said his betrothed ; "he is at Tangier and that Abraham was the wise man, on leave, I suppose. That kind of who went out not knowing whither he man is always on leave. went. It is needless to remark that heard much of Tangier, Flora ?” Miss Williams had restored the flop- “Not much." ping mantle and the poke bonnet to " I have read it up in Murray. It is her mother's wardrobe. She and her about three hours from Gibraltar, and friend were dressed alike in dark blue, is a very old-world place, which rewith smart little felt hats and Eton minds one of the Arabian Nights.' jackets. Their fellow
passengers But there is a French hotel. Would looked admiringly at the two pretty you like, Flora, to see Tangier ?” young creatures, and wondered who “ Jessica,” said Flora, can you be they were.
yearning for the commencement of the Their ultimate destination still un-love-making ?' decided, they stayed two days in Paris, Jessica took a chair, and looked and came to the conclusion that French- graver than ever. men were sometimes rather staring and Flora, how much money have you ? rude. Then one evening Flora wrote | What is your fortune ?" the names of several countries on slips “My fortune ? Oh, a competence. of paper and jumbled them in a' hat, Six hundred a year now, and eventuand Jessica put in her hand and drew ally two or three hundred more.” one out. Spain was written on it, and “ Then aren't you nearly as rich as I the younger girl cried “ Hurrah !” and ain? Flora, it seems to me the greatwaved the piece of paper above her est pity you are not going to marry head, and jumped and danced hilari- John Farquhar, when you can endow ously about the room.
hiin nearly as well as I can." “ Are you so pleased, Jess ?” said “Not quite ; and besides, I couldn't Flora.
restore him his house." LIVING AGE. VOL. LXXXIV. 4346
“I would give you that for a wedding | Flora stared. “The plan is great," ? present. I assure you, Flora, I should she said, “but it staggers me. May I be really glad to make up the trifling ask, Jessica, if you will appear under hundred or two by which you are poorer an assumed name ??? than I, as a reward to you for taking
6. That is what I propose to do, this man off my hands."
Flora." " You are most kind. But why
“ But when Captain Farquhar comes should I do with him any better than to Nevill Lodge, he will recognize you, yourself ?” asked Flora.
Jess ; what will you say then ?" “I see excellent reasons,” replied “ Most likely I shall hate him so Jessica, counting her fingers. much that I will never allow bim to “First, you want to marry, and I come to Nevill Lodge at all. If, by don't. Then you like the accounts we extraordinary good fortune, I find him have had of John, and I don't. You comparatively unobjectionable, why, I think the positiou romantic and pleas- shall explain to him what I did, aud ing. You do not apparently disap- why.” prove of inconstancy, Flora, to the “Well, he may feel flattered ; or he ideal, nor consider it desecration to may not, Jessica. What would Mr. marry an unknown and commonplace Nevill say to your plan, dear ?"
And as you are handsomer and “I dou’t suppose papa would like vicer than I am, John is more likely to it at all. But I do not feel bound to fall in love with you than with me. consult papa's tastes now that he has And if he's incapable of love, why, he become a tyrant, Flora.” will still get money with you, and we
e. The plan is great,” repeated Flora,
" have no reason for supposing he wants “ but are we clever enough to carry it anything else. Pray induce him to out ?' Shall we dress as young men, have you, Flora.”
Jess, to perfect our resemblance to “And do I understand, Jessica, that Rosalind and Imogen ? ” you are taking me to Tangier to intro- "No," said Jessica, laughing ; "I duce me to Captain Farquhar ? "
should not know how to behave as a “ It is one of my reasons for going young man. But I can behave very there."
nicely as Talbot, for instance.” " And the others ? "
Whereupon Flora jumped up and “I expected you to guess, Flora. clapped her hands. Men are so stupid that it is just pos- " The very thing I " she cried ; “ you sible John may still wish to marry me. shall pose as Talbot the Girtonian ! But I altogether object to marrying a For, Jessica, if you tried passivg yourman I do not know. And how, I ask self off as a wholly imaginary person, you, Flora, could I possibly learn to you would say that you had six brothers know a man who was trying to make to-day and to-worrow sixteen ! But love to me? What I want is to see you know exactly how many brothers this John before he arrives at home as Talbot has. Represent her, Jessica.” my fiancé. I want to catch him una- “Miss Talbot might not like it ! ” wares at Tangier, and see what he is said Jessica, breathless with excitelike when he is himself — not disguised ment. in the airs of a pouter-pigeon.”
6. Talbot ? My dear Jess," cried “But, Jessica — will not the airs of Flora, who had now thoroughly entered a cock pigeon be assumed whenever into the jest, “it is the kind of thing to and wherever you appear ?. And does delight Talbot immensely. I never it not occur to you, my dear, that he knew a girl so fond of a naughty joke. might think it a little superfluous, even Oh! I'll undertake to square Talbot. a little bold, your seeking him in this On one condition, though, my love : manner in the ends of the earth ? » that while you are personating her you
“I have thought of that. Flora, do nothing scandalous. Don't for inJohn must not know it is I."
stance, elope witb Captain Jolin. In