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papa's' consent,' said Miss Dash- not of the world, Miss Fleming. Food, with emphasis ; 'I am looked You believe that men die, as young upon for the time being as settled, ladies are 'represented to do in and am accorded leave to be at novels, from blighted affection. It peace, sometimes even to refuse a is an exploded belief, I assure you. ball if I like it. Oh, Milly, it gives Nobody dies from any other than the whole house such a strange air of strictly material causes in these repose, this little dream about Mr. days. If Mr. Chichester were here Chichester. Papa actually allowed I should talk in the same way that himself an attack of the gout last I am doing now, and he wouldn't winter. Fancy his succumbing to

mind it in the least.' such a weakness if he had had a 'He must have strange ideas of disengaged daughter upon his honour, then, thought Esther; 'a hands!

strange kind of reverence for the * As he will have now, Jane,' said woman he means to make his wife.' Milly, after some consideration. 'I Then aloud, “You must make albelieve-only I don't like to think lowance for the ignorance of my even you so cruel—that you are questions, Miss Dashwood. I begin letting this engagement go on sim- to see that I belong to a generation ply to mystify papa, and be at rest gone by. I have never lived out of yourself.'

a country village till the last six Jane Dashwood laughed. “It is months. I know nothing of love a good piece of strategy, is it not, matters. I know nothing of the Milly? Peace and freedom for the world.' present, relief for the parental mind, Nor need you wish to do so, and if everything else fails, Paul to Miss Fleming,' said Jane, quickly. fall back upon at the last. I don't Nor, if you were thrown on the believe he has a farthing in the world, would you ever be what world, but as soon as it entered into Milly and I are now. We have had my head to be engaged to him- unusual advantages from our cradles, Mrs. Strangways was trying to take and, with great natural aptitude, him up, and it amused me to assist have improved them to the utterher - I got one or two obedient most. I am twenty-one, Milly is little birds of mine to whisper seventeen, and we are both as eninto papa's ear that he is to have tirely free from all youthful foolish eight hundred a year when some extravagances in the way of sentifabulously old person shall die. ment as though we were middleAnd so, nous voilà !'

aged women. Are we not, Milly ?' ‘And Mr. Chichester?' cried Esther, “I know that I have got a most aghast with horror at hearing things youthful desire for food, at all which she held so sacred desecrated events,' replied Miss Millicent; and in such fashion. 'Mr. Chichester also that I am delighted to look - what of him?'

forward to the prospect of Swindon. ‘Oh, he is not ill-looking,' said What shall we have, Jenny ?-sauJane, calmly, 'and yet not strictly sage-rolls or Bath buns, or both ?' handsome. Dark, slight, rather I never eat in the morning,' said grizzled hair, eyes that see a great Miss Dashwood, languidly. "What deal farther into one's thoughts than a school-girl you are, Milly.' is agreeable, and a by no means But it will be one o'clock when good-tempered mouth. For the we get to Swindon,' remarked Esther, rest, one could wish of course that apologetically. *One o'clock-dinhe had a large prospective income; ner time—and Milly and I have had still, eight hundred a year, with nothing since eight.' management, is not so bad.'

And then only a Bates' breakfast,' 'But his feelings! cried Esther, added Milly. 'It's all very well who could not hide her indignation for you, a come-out young lady, to at such alarming levity. His feel- be so grand, Jenny. Esther and I ings; do they go quite for nothing?' are not at all above being hungry.'

Most entirely and absolutely for Accordingly, when the train nothing,' said Jane. "I see you are stopped at Swindon, these two

young persons got out, and with the an exceedingly gentlemanly intereagerness of veritable school-girls esting-looking person. You shall made their way to the pastry, Miss not put down our adventure in that Dashwood remaining alone in a dig- envious and malignant way.' nified manner in the carriage. She * And what did the interesting was a great deal too blasé to care for gentleman with whom you are not · eating at one o'clock; perhaps the acquainted say to you, Milly ?' admiring looks her pretty face at- . It was to Esther.' tracted from the crowded platfrom 'I was trying to make my way to formed sustenance of a more easily the counter, and the

people pushed assimilated nature than Bath buns. me back,' said Miss Fleming, with a At all events she bore all scrutiny decided accession of colouring in her with the most perfectly unruffled face, and a tall man who stood coolness, leaning her head back so near us asked me if he could help that her brown hair and delicate me.' profile came out in excellent relief * And Esther said "yes," in her against the dark cushions of the simple way, Jenny, and he made carriage, and seemed unusually well room for us. Wasn't it thoughtful satisfied and complacent when the of him ?' two other girls returned.

* And is that all ?' One sausage-roll, two Bath buns, ‘All! why, would you have a a raspberry-tart, and a pint of stranger do more, Jane? I say it strawberries,' Milly enumerated, was most attentive. And then he taking these little refreshments one was so thoroughly gentlemanly in by one out of her bag, 'that is my his manner.' lunch. Esther the same; but sand- 'So interesting !' cried Miss Dashwiches instead of saucissons. Oh, wood, with her little mocking laugh. Jenny, how dreadful it must be to 'How angry I am with myself for be a used-up victim of society like having missed this Swindon Bayard.' you, or a heroine in a novel, in * Interesting is a dreadful word to neither of which capacities is hearty apply to any man,' Esther remarked eating allowed. Then we have had an with deliberation. It makes one adventure, too; haven't we, Esther? think of white hands, and hair Jenny missed more than Bath buns parted like a girl's, and a lisp.' by insisting on being grand.'

*None of which our stranger pos'An adventure at Swindon must sessed,' cried Millicent. He was a be so thrilling,' remarked Miss Dash- great broad-shouldered man, with a wood. The accessories are all of sunburnt face and hands. Much such a romantic nature; fat old too manly-looking for your style, gentlemen swearing at their boiling Jenny; you like soup, fast young Oxonians calling 'Eat another of those saffron for their morning beer, nurses wildly lumps of indigestion, Milly dear, entreating the port waiting-girls for interrupted Miss Dashwood, 'and bottles of milk, frenzied single wo- don't chatter. I shall have to chamen imploring the guard to listen peron you with more care if you to them, or choking themselves on take up these sudden fancies for bad pastry in their fear of being left attentive strangers.' behind.'

'Don't be frightened, Jane; he *To neither of which class did ho never thought of me at all-never belong,' interrupted Milly. 'Did he looked at me, I believe. The whole Esther?'

of the attention was to Esther, who Miss Fleming thought he'might received it just as coolly as she is have been an Oxonian; but he cer- now eating her strawberries. I tainly was not drinking beer, at least never saw any one with undeniable not then.

teeth smile so rarely as Esther does.' * And pray who is “he?” asked ‘Smile! why, Milly, you would Jane, with sovereign contempt. not have had me smile at a strange *Which of your numerous acquaint- young man for an act of common ance have you met with, Milly?' civility! I thanked him sufficiently,

No acquaintance at all, Jane, but I believe.'

Quite sufficiently, I am sure, silent. I do not choose these jests— remarked Miss Dashwood, looking they are in bad taste.' And moving closely at Esther.

He was, no

abruptly to the other side of the cardoubt, some excellent young Wilt- riage, she leaned her hot face toshire farmer going down to a pig- wards the open window and quito fair, if there are such things, and away from her two companions'

No, interrupted Miss Fleming, scrutiny. quite firmly, although she smiled. Millicent went on silently with

The stranger was a gentleman, her luncheon: Esther mused. Miss Dashwood.'

'It is good fun to laugh at the ‘With black hands and high man to whom one is engaged,' sho shoulders.'

thought; but bad taste even to * With brown hands and broad speak of some love affair that is "all shoulders. A manly-looking young off,” and about which one blushes Englishınan.'

crimson. How glad I am that I "A true descendant of the Vi. know nothing of the world! kings,' interrupted Milly.

• It came to grief about money, * Say it out, Esther. One of your and papa would not hear of it,' whisfavourite muscular heroes, all sinews pered Milly; "and Jane liked him and high principles.'

awfully—that's all. Don't look so Of which I could form such ad- solemn, Esther.' mirable judgment while I waited for 'Milly, I am sorry for your sister.' my change,' said Esther, with a 'Sorry for her ? sorry for our hearty laugh. “I think we had proud, handsome Jane? She would better give up our adventure, hero not thank you for pitying her.' and all, Milly. Your sister is only But Millicent was mistaken. Miss drawing us out in order to make Dashwood caught the meaning of us feel how thoroughly ridiculous Esther's low, kind words, and she We have been afterwards.'

turned round quickly with an altered No,' said Jane, quite gravely, 'I and a softened expression on her was thinking-thinking how oddly flushed face. such chance meetings do sometimes You pity me, Miss Fleming,' she turn out. You may meet this said. 'You are right-I need it. stranger some day, and know him, How glad I should be to meet you Miss Fleming'

again !' she went on, after waiting a 'As you met Arthur Peel,' in- minute or two, during which Esther terrupted Milly. “It was in a rail- made no response. 'I am sure we way carriage you first saw each should get on together in time. other, wasn't it? And then you You don't think so, Miss Fleming : stayed with him in the same house, your face speaks for you. You don't and then it all came on

think you would care for any furMilly!'

ther acquaintance with such an unMillicent Dashwood was never principled heartless character as conspicuously watchful of any feel- mine?' ings or sufferings save her own; but 'I never thought anything like the moment she caught sight of her that,' said Esther shyly, for the girl, sister's face now, she became sen- in truth, was quite unused to any sible that her last light words had sudden demonstrations of violent attaken effect too deep. Miss Dash- tachment. “I think it is impossible wood's cheeks were burning red, for pople who have only just met her lips quivering.

to say whether they will get on toDo think of what you say, Milly,' gether or not on further acquaintshe remarked, very low. • You are

ance.' so heedless.'

* So like our dear, wise, old 'But Esther knows nothing about Esther! cried Milly. "You see you Arthur Peel, Jenny. I never men- can't steal her from me, Jane. She tioned it before; and besides, it's all is my own particular friend, and off now.'

means to continue so. We shall 'Milly, cried Miss Dashwood, write each other two long, crossed passionately, 'I beg you will be letters a week all the summer, and

in the winter moet in Bath, and be woods was, for the most part, uninDamon and Pythias again, as we telligible to her; and what she did were at school.'

understand of it was little to her *Young ladies' friendships being taste. Nearly all the eighteen years famed for their powers of endur- of her life had been passed in a reance,' remarked Miss Dashwood, mote village in one of the wildest who had quickly rallied from her parts of North Devonshire; and, passing touch of sentiment, 'I pro- until the last six months, she had phesy that in six weeks the letters been profoundly ignorant even of will have died a natural death, and the rudiments of ordinary youngthat by the winter you will have for- lady knowledge. I don't by this gotten cach other.'

mean that she was uneducated: she 'Not so bad as that, I think,' said had, on the contrary, read fewer, Esther; ‘I never forget any one.' and understood more, books than

• What a disagreeable faculty,' re- ninety-nine 'finished’ young women marked Jane, carelessly. The great out of a hundred. She was thoroughly secret of happiness in life is to for- competent in household work; she get everybody, except those who could use her needle; she had learnt happen to be amusing one for the facts, at first hand, concerning all moment. Milly, dear, it is time to the common things of nature. She begin hunting out our thousand and was well-educated, if by education one parcels. That wretched Bates

one means the process that is to fit, stuffed them with her own hands not unfit, young persons for the life into every impossible place she could that lies before them. But in showy, think of.

superficial accomplishments -- in “And nothing makes papa so cross knowledge, so called, of the worldas to see heaps of things being she was, as Milly Dashwood often showered upon him out of a railway declared, deplorably, heathenishly carriage,' said Milly. It spoils the deficient. She had never been to a tableau of re-union. Esther, by the ball; she did not know the financial way, I predict that you will fall difference between elder and younger desperately in love with Colonel

sons; she had honest, romantic, oldDashwood the moment you see him: fashioned notions (poor Esther!) all young ladies do.'

about people always being in love And Milly was right. When Co- with the people they married ; she lonel Dashwood came up to meet his had never read any French book but daughters at the Bath Station, Miss * Telamache;' she held that old perFleming thought him the most per- sons ought to be respected; she fectly charming old man she had could blush-sho could feel shy. ever seen in her life. It was quite Her six months' incarceration in a impossible that a père noble with Kensington boarding-school had, of such a benevolent, silvery head, and course, shown her what a great who exclaimed, ‘My children!' in a number of prejudices there were for voice of such honest, heartfelt emo- her to overcome, how much intion, could have a single mean, formation to be acquired, if she ever false, or worldly attribute in his hoped to come up at all to the stanwhole composition.

dard of her young companions. But here the evil of these six months'

probation ended. Strong, healthy CHAPTER II.

natures do not take infection very

readily from weaker ones. And in ON THE COACH-BOX.

spite of her close friendship with The intelligent reader must clearly Milly Dashwood, and the compasee that Esther Fleming had pos- nionship of a dozen other girls, all sessed few of those educational ad

more or less well up in mundane vantages which, in this generation, experience, Esther Fleming was make most young persons so pro- bringing back just the same honest foundly versed in life long before the simple heart to her Devonshire time that they are eighteen. The home, this bright June day, as she Shibboleth of girls like the Dash- had carried with her when she quitted it last in the month of of this subject, pursued Miss FlemJanuary

ing, in thought, 'if it were only for Be sure yon write to me to-mor- the sake of having a small triumph row,' were Millicent Dashwood's over Milly. What a school-girl I last words to her, after an indefinite have become, though, to care about number of parting kisses ; and such nonsense; as if it can matter in rray give my love to cousin David; the least to me whether that fairand mind you don't think any moro haired, broad - shouldered, young of that fair-haired Viking, Esther, gentleman, whom I shall never see dear. It would be so dreadful if he again, is the son of a farmer or of a was only a Wiltshire farmer after bishop.' all!'

Esther drew herself up in imagiMillicent, like many other very nation at the bare supposition her lively, good-tempered people, had a own brain had hazarded ; and, I knack of saying something not per- have no doubt, would have forgotten fectly agreeable at parting from her the stranger's existence long before friends; something that, childish she reached her own home had fate and unpremeditated though it might and the exigencies of railway traseein, contained a lurking bitterness velling so willed it; but at Exeter at bottom. Jane, on the other hand, she happened to pass and repass him after being far from amiable in her on the platform about twenty-eight manner to Esther during the last times while waiting for the North half-hour of the journey, took leave Devon train; and at Barnstable she of her with a really warm hand- had scarcely taken her place outside pressure, and with a few words

the Lynton coach before the Viking about her having been kind to Milly himself was seated opposite her. If at school, which went straight to these were not inexorable workings Esther's heart.

of fate what else were they ? Esther * Poor Jane Dashwood! I believe took no trouble to contend against a hers is the best character of the destiny so obviously forced upon two,' she thought, when she had her; and answered in a very cheerful seen the last of their two bright and unforbidding manner when the faces on the Bath platform. 'And young stranger began some of those yet, Jane's will be the most ruined meteorological remarks with which by such a life as they seem to lead. all Englishmen find it easiest to get Milly hasn't depth enough to be over the first or inaugural difficulthoroughly spoilt. She will never ties of chance made acquaintancedo anything very good or very bad ship. while she lives. Poor Jane! I should Never having myself had personal like to know more about her and intercourse with a Viking, I am, of this Arthur Peel; and I do hope she course, unablo to say whether the will marry him, and not Mr. Chi- stranger bore, or did not bear, upon chester. That was not a nice allu- bis face that marked hereditary resion of Miss Milly's to Wiltshire semblance which Milly Dashwood farmers. I am quite sure none but had made out for him. He was, at a gentleman could speak as that all events, a fine, handsome-looking, young man spoke.'

English lad-well-grown, sunburnt, From which soliloquy you have, fair-haired, with more perhaps of I hope, gathered, reader, that Esther vigorous strength and health than is not to be a model heroine in spite of intellect upon his face; but with of all the good things I have been an open smile upon his rather large saying of her. What model heroine mouth, and a keen slightly-audawould be annoyed at a little friendly cious hardihood in his blue eyes, playful spite? What model heroino which were not at all displeasing in would have the impropriety to vin- Miss Fleming's sight. dicate, even to herself, a good-look- 'I am sure my fishing-rod is in ing member of the other sex, of your way, he remarked, when as whose name, not to say station in much had been got out of the wealife, she was wholly ignorant? ther and the immediate neighbour

I wish I could find ont the truth hood of Barnstable as was possible. VOL. V.-NO. XXVI.

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