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The young man thus addressed was a fair type of the country gentleman of the last century. He was strongly built, and although not tall, carried himself so well that he looked taller than he actually was. He bore no resemblance to his father, whose coarse features were inflamed by continual intemperance, and whose face was often distorted by passion and an uncontrolled temper. Cuthbert had a certain refinement inherited from his mother, whose portrait hung over the open fireplace, and seemed always, so Cuthbert thought, to be looking down on much that passed in the hall with sad and melancholy eyes.

Cuthbert could dimly remember his mother-her soft voice, her gentle hand, her tender kisses, falling like showers upon his forehead, in his half-waking moments, when she had laid him in his bed in the large room, still called by Grizel, the only womanservant about the place, “the nursery."

As Cuthbert went to do his father's bidding, he met Grizel in the stone passage leading to the servants' quarters.

“Let supper be served, Grizel," he said ; "he is in a bad mood. I am going to get up two bottles of port, and I dare say I shall be sent for a third before we have done."

“Don't do it, Master Cuthbert; don't do it! he has been drinking hard this forenoon. Giles says the mare came back all of a lather, and the master could scarce stand when he got off her back. Don't you go and let him have two bottles now."

“Well, I'll see about it," Cuthbert said, as he turned a key he took from his deep pocket in a heavy iron door at the end of the passage and groped his way into the cellar.

Cuthbert had views of his own for that evening, and was only anxious to soothe his father, and to shorten the supper-hour as much as possible. He must be careful, he knew, not to provoke any discussion, and he must let him have as much wine as he wanted.

When his father had drunk deep, he was never so difficult to manage as when he had had just enough to upset his equilibrium, and make him furious if anyone contradicted him.

Many a time had Cuthbert resorted to an extra bottle to keep his father quiet. Many a time had he felt a twinge of self-reproach for doing so; but lately these twinges had become more persistent, and Cuthbert was haunted at such moments with a sense of wrong-doing which he had not courage to resist.

The bottles, well crusted with age, were placed on their sides on the floor, beneath a large oak sideboard, beautifully carved, but as dusty as the bottles below it. Birds and flowers, and many strange devices, were all surrounded with a rim of dust—the dust of years; and across the back of the shield which surmounted the wide shelf, spiders had woven a tapestry which remained undisturbed.

Grizel sent up the supper by a stout young man who performed all kinds of duties in the house


hold. He was stolid and good-natured; he had learned, like everyone about the place, to look upon the stormy passions of his master as a condition of things as inevitable as the neglected state of the house, and no idea of resenting the one, or reforming the other, entered his head.

Sam, who was bearing a tray with a huge meat pie, and two large silver tankards full of ale, was followed by Spot, who came in with a leisurely tread, and stretched himself before the smouldering embers on the hearth, giving a low whine as he did so, perhaps to show that he wanted some supper, after his long scamper that afternoon.

The meal proceeded in silence; there was never any conversation between father and son, in the strict meaning of the word, though the Squire generally found occasion to jerk out complaints at his son, or Sam, about the viands, or the weather, or

the cups.

This evening, however, not a word was spoken till Sam had drawn the cloth, put glasses and a caraffe of water on the oak board, which was dull and unpolished, and left the room.

Then Cuthbert brought up the bottles of port from the floor, and laid one before his father, who seized a corkscrew, drew the cork carefully, and poured out a glass with extreme satisfaction.

“Here, push your glass over this way, Cuthbert, and take a sip of the finest wine in the county. Ah !he said, holding a mouthful before swallowing

it with that keen relish which betokens the connoisseur in wine, “ah! they don't beat that at the Pleasaunce. They are finer in their ways than we are, my boy, but they won't beat this port."

Then, after a pause and another glass of wine, Mr. Rollestone said:

“I rode over to the Pleasaunce this forenoon, and I've done a stroke of business there for you, my boy!"

For me, father ?" "Aye, for youyou mean to marry, I suppose, don't ye?”

“Some day—all in good time; there is no hurry.”

“No hurry! Why, you are well over twenty-five. I was married to your mother years before then. Poor soul! I didn't have her long. Well, I've seen the very wife for you to-day, as smart and pretty a lass as you ever set eyes on. Squire Whinfield's only daughter. Says I, 'Look you, Master Whinfield, I

. wish I had such a lass for my daughter-in-law.' * And,' says he, you are welcome to her. She is a thorough-bred, and no mistake; and I'd give her to your son with a pretty portion, as soon as you like.'”

“And the young lady is not to be consulted then ? You strike a bargain, you and her father between you, and expect her to agree?"

Of course we do. Hang it, girls are always ready to catch at a bait. And look you, Cuthbert, you are as pretty a fellow as can be seen any summer's day. Though I say it that shouldn't say it, my boy, I am right down proud of you.”

The first bottle of port had been finished, and the second begun; out of which Cuthbert had only taken a single glass. The Squire was getting into that stage known as “maudlin,” and continued to ramble on about his son's perfections in a low whine.

“ You sit a horse as scarce any man of your age can sit. To see you take a fence is a treat-hang it, that it is. Then what a shot you are! And, lor! a scholar as well. Why, boy, a girl might think herself lucky to get hold of you."

“But, father, I don't want to be forced on any girl.”

“Forced ? I tell you she'll jump at you, and ”. lowering his voice—"she will have three thousand pounds—her mother's fortune-on her marriage-day. Come now-what do say to that, eh ?"

Cuthbert was fondling Spot's head, which came on a level with the arm of his chair; but he did not speak.

Come, now ; don't be a fool. Ride over with me to-morrow—to the Pleasaunce-and-see for yourself.”

Give me a week to think about it," Cuthbert said, pushing back his chair, and rising to leave the


A week! She'll be snapped up by somebody else. She's just home from a boarding-school. And no man has so much as looked at her yet."

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