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sions of the evening. How funny it is,' | Peyton had gained over him, of the comshe thought, if only as a study of human plete mastery which his passion for her had nature. He had, when he came home, al- won, than the resolution which he had most as implicit faith in their unapproach- taken to marry her at the cost of concealable superiority, as these creatures' own ment, falsehood, and inevitable hazard, if harmless belief; and now! It is wonderful not loss, of social consideration. But havhow one gets an ascendancy over a rather ing allowed passion to have its way to a dull mind, with few but strong convictions, certain extent, he was not the man to by contriving to become the strongest of neglect any means for reducing his penalthe number.' ties and embarrassments, which might sug

Julia's fit of musing lasted long, and in-gest themselves to his mind, possessed of a cluded much. The versatility of moods which characterised her bearing towards others, marked her solitary hours also, though her whimsical humour never practically traversed her fixity of purpose. Amid the conflicting mental processes with which she closed that eventful day in her life, was one redeeming compact which this strange woman made with herself; perhaps with some occult, unadmitted reference to that other compact of the morning.

certain kind of acuteness. He was exceedingly well satisfied with the success which had attended Julia's visit to her friend Mr. Eliot Foster, and equally content with the result of his own interview with his mother; and, as he was of a matter-of-fact nature, he did not understand the depression and moodiness which had taken possession of Julia. But if he did not impute it to the right cause, neither did he assign it to a wrong. He knew there was no hesitation, Whatever comes of this,' she said, half no faltering in her mind, no regret for the aloud, to him or to me- whether triumph compact she had made. So satisfied was or disappointment, whether good or evil-he on that point that he dismissed the matI will make it well for his mother. The ter from his mind as completely as if it had good old lady shall not have called me been any ordinary business bargain condaughter" in vain. I am not grateful, as cluded at a cost of a thousand pounds. he agreed this morning; perhaps I can be The whimsical fit of silence, the strange to her if I try; and I will try. Her old age flash of temper she had shown, were as enshall be happy and peaceful, if any effort chanting to him as the most brilliant, the of mine can make it so.' most yielding of her moods:

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CHAPTER IV.

STRATEGIC MOVEMENTS.

Stephen Haviland had made most of the preliminary arrangements for the strictly private marriage which he contemplated in advance of his arrival in London, and the WHEN Julia Peyton replied to Mr. Eliot three days which had elapsed since had Foster's inquiry whether Stephen Haviland brought everything into a state of readiwas clever, that she was happy to say he ness. No difficulties which money could not was, she said not only what she thought, but easily surmount had arisen, and the gentle what really was the case. The obtuseness acquiescence of his mother had removed the which had already annoyed her more than last barrier between him and the realisation once, and was not unlikely to weary her in of the strongest and dearest hope of his life. the future, was of the feelings rather than The future wore a smiling aspect in his of intellect. When anything occupied his fancy as he too indulged in reverie that own mind, when he had succeeded in any night, and congratulated himself on the fewundertaking of his own, he was apt to be ness of the family ties, the superficial naso much engrossed by the subject, so much ture of the social relations which existed for elated by the success, that he had little pow-him, and his freedom to secure his own haper or inclination to speculate upon, or to feel how the same matter might affect others. He was deficient in sympathy, not in brains a deficiency which was characteristic of his sisters as well, and rendered the Havilands in general rather trying persons to be brought into frequent or close contact with, for people who had the misfortune to be sensitive or fastidious. Stephen Haviland had never been placed in any position the duties of which he had not fulfilled creditably, and no more convincing proof could have been given of the power which Julia

piness in his own way, at a smaller sacrifice than must have been made, under the circumstances, by any other man of equal wealth and position. Julia was perfectly right in the view she had taken of his frame of mind. He mused in full contentment upon the prospect of his own happiness, he did not think much about hers; perhaps mainly because it was included, was taken for granted. But there was also a more characteristic cause for the omission. Regret for the deception he had practised on his mother had a very brief and superficial

share in the meditations of Stephen Havi- | dowed with them herself-she understood land. From making up his mind to deceive her to persuading himself that it was much better for her to be deceived, was neither a long nor a difficult step; and with the making it, ended Stephen Haviland's cogitations.

I am uncomfortable about your sisters, Stephen. If they don't take this well-and we must not expect them to be quite pleased

will you promise me to have patience and not quarrel with them, and induce Julia,' (she called her Julia now, quite naturally) to pass it over?'

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the charm they must have for a man like her son. She was so glad, so happy to be able to make excuses for him, that she silenced the cry which her own wounded heart had sent up at the first pang of the knowledge that she had been in a measure Mrs. Haviland had been prepared on deceived, that this courtship had been carleaving Meriton for an absence of three ried on, this plan laid, and she not told weeks or a month, and when, on the follow- of it till now, by the reflection-They did ing day, she was put in possession, in fuller not wilfully deceive me, but I could not see.' detail, of the arrangements her son had The evening before the marriage-day had made, she was infinitely relieved to find arrived, and Mrs. Haviland had, in a few that they would not involve her remaining words full of emotion and motherly love, in London, or her son's being for any length conveyed to her son the change which her of time away from her. The perfect kind-feelings had undergone, and her sense of ness, deference, and gentleness of Julia the delicacy and kindness of Julia's detouched her deeply. The startling intelli- meanour, Stephen Haviland replied affecgence which had been communicated to her tionately and warmly; and, emboldened was not twenty-four hours old before she by his tone and the assurances which he rebegan to feel hopeful, almost happy, in the iterated that her comfort was one of the contemplation of the marriage; before she dearest objects to himself and his bride, his began to have an instinctive consciousness mother said: that she had nothing to dread; that this daughter-in-law, against whom so many objections might be urged, would be on her side. The timidity of age and infirmity made her cling to the idea, the hope of a champion, thus suggested, where she might have found an enemy against whom she must be quite powerless; and she soon began to think that if the good-will or even the inoffensive neutrality of her daughters could be secured in this crisis of affairs, and thus internal tranquillity be permitted to reign, she should have nothing to complain of, nothing to regret. Her son might have chosen a richer, a more distinguished bride, a stranger to her, whose affection she might never have gained, who might have estranged him from her; in how short a time she had ceased to dread that Julia would do so! And then, what would the advantages of such a marriage avail her? Her natural gentleness and a strain of contented humility in Mrs. Haviland's character, made the mental process which led to this result easy and rapid, when Julia's judicious tenderness and unobtrusive manner of conveying unspoken assurance to her, had secured its commencement. Before No communication had yet reached Julia the day arrived which was to witness the Peyton from Mr. Eliot Foster. This did quiet marriage in the city church, Mrs. not disturb or distress her. She had absoHaviland was more than reconciled. She lute faith in his promise, though she had had had no opportunity of perceiving the not forgotten, nor had reflection upon it strength of character and the decision of lessened the impression which she had dejudgment which Julia possessed, while she rived from her interview with him. The only fulfilled with decorous attention and revelation she had made to him, the service scrupulousness the position of her compan- she had required at his hands, had shaken a ion; and now, as she discovered these qual-devotion which had hitherto resisted everyities which she was none the less compe- thing, her own indifference, her careless tent to appreciate because not largely en- ingratitude, an exhibition of her faults so

'I will promise you, mother, that if a quarrel arises between my sisters and me, it shall not be my fault. I mean to make them aware of my marriage in my own time and my own way; don't trouble yourself about that.'

This was not the kind of assurance, nor was it giver in the tone, for which the mother wished; but she was forced to be content with it. Julia Peyton would have recognised the success of the efforts she had made to win the heart and the confidence of Mrs. Haviland, if she could have known that she checked the sense of disappointment which her son's cold reply caused her by saying to herself: I will talk to her about it; it will be safe in her hands.'

Thus Julia had proposed to herself to make two conquests in the Haviland family, and had effected them both.

full, so free, so entirely undisguised, as to be almost exaggerated. If she had real occasion, time, and opportunity, she could, she supposed, resume her empire; but nothing seemed so improbable at present as that she should ever require or wish to do But he would keep his word; she need not fear any failure there. She had been absent from the drawing-room awhile, leaving the mother and son alone, and was returning to them when, as she passed the top of a staircase, a waiter accosted her.

So.

'Here is a letter for you, ma'am,' he said; 'just come by hand.' Julia took the letter, and turned back to her own room again; then she broke the seal, and read the brief contents. Her colour deepened, and her brow was knit, as she read, and she crushed the letter angrily in her tightly-shut hand, as she stood for a few minutes in thought after she had read it. Then she smoothed out the crumpled paper again, and put it away in a desk which was packed ready for the journey of the morrow, and rejoined Mrs. Haviland and her son.

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What a fool I should be,' she thought, if I listened to Eliot. To lose all life can give me - and it owes me a good deal, as even he would acknowledge- and harm the child too. How little he knows me after all, with his fears of what may come when I look back. I shall never look back. After this day there shall be no past for me. It is dead at last; and I don't believe in ghosts.'

With whatever quietude the preparations had been made for the event of the morrow, however scrupulously their counsel had been kept by those concerned, they had not concealed from the servants of the hotel, and from their own, that something unusual was in contemplation. When Julia Peyton had taken leave of Mrs. Haviland for the night, after an affectionate and significant parting, in the presence of the maid, the blind old lady told her attendant she should be going out early on the following day. This announcement was sufficiently unusual and surprising to have justified an inquiry; but Mrs. Monks did not avail herself of the opportunity. She knew a good deal of the vicissitudes of service, and esteemed caution and the art of silence highly, besides being of a reticent disposition naturally.

fortable place and I mean to keep it; she won't interfere with me, and I shan't interfere with her.'

The quiet wedding took place as arranged, and no accident marred the success of the design. That the bride was remarkably handsome, and unusually self-possessed, and that the wedding-party was a very small one for people of their class, were the only reflections which occurred to the officiating clergyman; while the clerk thought if every pair who came there to be married made so little fuss about it, and remunerated him so handsomsly, his berth would be one by no means to be despised. Mrs. Haviland was to leave London at noon, and after her departure Stephen Haviland and his bride proposed to change their quarters, but only for another hotel. They intended to return to Meriton in a fortnight. The postchaise which was to convey Mrs. Haviland and her maid into Hampshire was at the door, and Stephen was superintending the arrangements for his mother's comfort, while Mrs. Monks stood by with an unconcerned countenance, as if a wedding in the morning and a journey in the afternoon were quite matters of course, and, provided they were regulated with due regard to meals, of no particular import, — while Julia and her husband's mother were exchanging farewells alone. The last words the old lady said to her daughter-in-law were these:

Make my son happy, my dear; be a good wife to him, and you will be all I ask to me. I don't want anything in this world beyond his welfare. Some day, I hope, you will know what a mother's love is, and then you will understand what the marriage of my only son means to me. Good-bye, my dear. Call Stephen-I will go now, and I am not afraid for him.'

Julia obeyed her. Stephen Haviland led his mother to the carriage, and when she was gone returned to his wife. She was standing still on the spot where he had left her, and her face was troubled. 'There was a prophet once,' she was thinking, who meant to bless, whose heart was full of benediction, but the words of his lips were curses, because a blessing was not to be where he invoked it. Fate? My life is in my own hands. fate; she is not afraid for him, nor need she be, and I am not afraid for myself.'

Nonsense! Conduct is

So he is going to marry the companion to-morrow,' she thought; and his mother is brought round, and is quite agreeable to it, and they're hiding of it until it's done, 'Had you any idea that your brother was out of fear of the ladies' tongues. I see. in London, Selina?' said Mr. Burdett to his Well, it ain't my business; if she is little wife one morning, a week after the marriage better than a servant, she won't try to be of Stephen Haviland and Julia Peyton. my mistress; but I fancy she will hold her Mr. Burdett had been reading letters at his own with the rest of them. I've got a com-end of the breakfast-table, and his wife had

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Perhaps not; but it is true for all that,' replied her husband, whom custom had broken in to the Haviland manner of receiving any suggestion of the possibility of an error on the part of a Haviland. Not only have you not had any information before he came, but he has reserved it until after he left. He has gone to Brighton, and goes from thence to Meriton.'

congratulations of my relations upon my marriage with Miss Peyton, which it is the purport of this letter to announce to you; but I did not require their opinions, and it was in accordance with my own wishes and those of my wife that our marriage was a very quiet affair. My mother accompanied Miss Peyton to town, and was present at our marriage. She was not very strong, and naturally a little nervous, so she acted on our advice, did not make her visit to London known to anybody, and returned to Meriton immediately after our marriage. We are at Brighton for the present, but shall soon return to Meriton, as my wife is anxious to be absent from my mother for as short a time as possible. I am aware that my sisters have not yet had the pleasure of making my wife's acquaintance. When we are settled, and our plans for the autumn are finally arranged, I have no doubt Julia will be very happy to see Selina and yourself at Meriton. I am about to write to Fanshaw and Marsh; the latter is still, I suppose, at Naples. Give my love to Selina

"Yours very sincerely,

Mrs. Burdett was not of a mild temper; mildness was not an attribute of the Havi-and the children. lands, and they despised it. She was very prone to take offence at anything like an infraction of her rights, or an infringement of her dignity. Mr. Burdett fully expected that she would fly into a rage, as he secretly expressed her mode of displaying her feelings, and she did not disappoint him. She rose from her chair in front of the ponderous silver urn, came to his side, and unceremoniously snatched the letter he held from his hand as she angrily exclaimed:

What can Stephen possibly mean by doing such a thing?"

I should have told you, my dear,' said
Mr. Burdett placidly, but you would not
allow me.
You must only see it all for

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It might reasonably have appeared surprising to any one who did not know Mr. Burdett, and who was also unacquainted with the peculiarities of the Haviland temper, and the system for its management which, after much experience and thought and many experimental essays, that remarkably sensible man had finally adopted, that he had taken such a letter so calmly. But he knew thoroughly what he was about: he understood his wife, and he understood Stephen Haviland almost as well as Julia Peyton did. Even the circumstance that yourself now.' the address given by his brother-in-law was She did see it; amid a torrent of pas-only the vague one, Brighton," was not sionate exclamations, with her pink cheeks lost upon him. Haviland would rather assuming a very unbecoming depth of col- not quarrel with Selina,' he thought, and our, and the bright dark Haviland eyes so he does not give her the chance of writing much more expressive than was their wont, to him until her temper has had time to her anger divided between the intelligence cool. He is more obstinate, if not so viowhich excited it, and the monstrous insen-lent as she is, and if they quarrel I fancy sibility which her husband showed to such it would be no easy matter to make it up. 'horrible news;'- Mrs. Burdett read and re-read the following letter:

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'BRIGHTON, Tuesday. 'MY DEAR BURDETT, -I am sure you will agree with me that family discussions are seldom wise, and generally lead to family quarrels. I should deeply regret an instance of the latter arising amongst us, and therefore I have thought it best to avoid the former. I shall be very glad to receive the

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If Selina can only be made to understand
that it really is no business of hers, and
that she must get the worst of it if she at-
tempts to interfere, all may be right; if
not-
9 And Mr. Burdett left a blank
space in his thoughts, which, if he had been
speaking instead of thinking, would have
been represented by whistling. In the
mean time Selina was pouring out the vials
of her wrath upon her brother and the
wretched minx' who had taken him in ;'

upon her husband's solicitor for having re-ilar occasions that they were a good sign commended the designing wretch' to the a kind of rain that laid the dust and quieted family; upon her husband for having ap- the storm. At all events, his wife could plied to Mr. Eliot Foster for the recom- not cry and talk volubly at the same time, mendation; upon her mother for having al- and he might now have a chance of a hearlowed herself to be cajoled and bullied-ing. So he took up a position on that vanMrs. Burdett was not free from incoherence tage-ground of domestic oratory, the hearthof ideas and of speech when she was what rug, and drawing the obnoxious letter she called ruffled '- and upon herself for gently out of his wife's hands, he said, having had no suspicion of what was going glancing at it occasionally as he went onon, and left Meriton so long unvisited. Her husband privately regarded the latter omission as peculiarly fortunate, and listened in patience until the angry lady declared her intention of immediately letting her brother know what she thought of his atrocious conduct, and how irrevocably he had disgraced himself, and also of giving her mother a piece of her mind." At this point he interposed.

You cannot write to Stephen until he gets back to Meriton, my dear,' he said; he has given you no address. As for writing to your mother, I really think you had better be careful. It is not wise to let servants know more than one can avoid of family affairs, and you must remember your mother cannot read your letter. Whatever you say, her maid must know it.' Mrs. Burdett flashed an angry glance at her troublesome husband. He was so disgustingly sensible, so repulsively right. If she could only have scoffed at his caution; but she was not quite such a fool as to do

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To Meriton? Surely not, my dear. I think you cannot mean it seriously. You cannot go to your brother's house with any intention of hostility to the mistress of it. It is not your mother's, remember; you cannot put yourself into so false a position.' Mrs. Burdett sat suddenly down with an iracund plump, and tears of vehement anger started into her eyes.

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Do you mean to say, then,' she said, that I am to put up with this vile business quietly? Do you mean to say that I am to put up with Stephen's insolent letter and his low wretch of a wife; that I am to acknowledge a creature who comes from nobody knows where, and belongs to nobody knows who, and was no better than my mother's servant? Thank you, Frank; I have a little more self-respect than all that comes to. But perhaps you approve of the disgusting transaction? Here Mrs. Burdett's tears gathered copiously, and she fairly sobbed. The unjustly-accused Frank was rather glad to see the tears. He was in the habit of thinking irreverently on sim

I dislike this unfortunate marriage as much as you do, my dear, but I never expected that Stephen would remain unmarried, as I think you did; and indeed, considering India and all that, I am surprised he was not picked up in a more objectionable manner long ago. But as to your putting up with your brother's marriage, I don't think it's a case for discussion of that kind. You cannot undo it, and you could not have prevented it had you known all about it.'

'I don't know that,' said Mrs. Burdett, with a particularly angry and defiant sob.

'But I think I do,' continued her husband mildly. I am perfectly certain the only effect any interference with Stephen would have produced would have been a quarrel, leaving no hope of reconciliation; and if anything is said or done now which he does not like, it will come to the same thing, and the upshot will be that all his own relatives will be estranged from him, and this lady's power, which must be pretty strong already, more firmly established than ever. surely must see that, Selina ? '

You

Mrs. Burdett continued to sob, and did not answer. But she was listening, which was quite as much as her husband expected.

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It is very unfortunate and very samentable,' he went on, but it is just one of those things which can only be made worse by meddling with them. Believe me, it would be foolish in the extreme to quarrel with Stephen-playing into his wife's hands, in fact, as I daresay she would be quite as well pleased if he saw nothing of us. The thing is done, my dear, and we must make the best of it.'

I should like to know what all our friends will say,' said Mrs. Burdett — and this sudden diversion assured her husband that, though the correctness of his judgment would never be admitted in words, he had succeeded in convincing her- at all events she can never hope to get into society.'

Perhaps. I don't know; that depends on herself, and in a great measure on us.'

'On us! Why, what can you mean?' said Mrs. Burdett, looking very much as if she were about to fly at the speaker, and tear the answer from him by main force.

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