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"Ah, sir," said he, with a sigh, "you will be
well weary of us before half the journey is
over; but you shall be obeyed."


MISS DULCY DIGBY had, at last, won what
she had been begging and praying for all the
days of her lifethat is to say, all the days of
her life since she was wise enough to realise her
mother's theory, that it is the first duty of a
poor, well-born, highly-educated young lady to
many a man of good family, of good fortune,
and of any other good which nature might have
made incidental to the bargain.

Sir John Seamer had proposed to her, and she
had accepted him.

It was in the drawing-room, after a state
dinner party; and, when the momentous transaction
was accomplished, the gentleman went over
and talked to her mother. Dulcy stood leaning
against the piano, turning over her music. Mr.
George Milner approached her and spoke; she
answered him confusedly, and with the tears in
her eyes. Dulcy was not a lachrymose person,
and what had occurred flashed upon him

Dulcy Digby and he had been great friends
once upon a time (once upon a time was about
four years ago), but George was even poorer
then than now, and she was ambitious and did
not use him well. He remembered the
miserable pain she had made him suffer, and though
he was radically cured of that wound, which had
not even left a cicatrice, he had not forgiven
her. He did not address her a second time, but
turned away with a remorseful generosity. He
had first loved and then hated her. When she
would have amused her leisure with him again,
he mortified her. Now he was indifferent; she
had lost her power of fascinating him. If he
had seen the man in the moon courting her he
would not have cared;

The same cannot be said for Dulcy. George
was a generous, sensible, affectionate, lovable
manif he only could have gratified her grand
desire. More's the pity, George could not. He
could only give her a genuine love and admiration,
a share of his younger son's moderate
allowance, and a venture in his Bank of Hope.
Dulcy preferred certainties and securities, and
she refused him at her perilrefused him with
much misgiving and reluctance, and a pain, the
permanence of which she had yet to learn. She
had a certain tenderness for George which his
persistence might have blown up into a flame of
devotion; but her suitor lacked patience and
humility, and withdrew altogether. So her chance
was losther best chance, as I view it. And
now, season after season had slipped away, until
she was turned of four-and-twenty, until,
possibly in the just fulfilment of her destiny, Sir
John Seamer, whom she neither loved nor
respected, was talking confidentially to mamma,
and Dulcy was answering George Milner with the
tears in her eyes. There was no plea for those
tearsshe had got what she craved most. It
behoved her to look triumphant and to feel triumphant,
but somehow the mood would not come.
Perhaps, in the moment of fruition, her heart was sorer
than it had ever been since she refused George,
and by-and-by found out that he had quite
ceased to love her. As he turned away from
her, she perceived that he had understood her
dignified position, and that he despised her for
having attained to it. But it was too late to
care for that nowSir John finished his brief
colloquy with her mother, and returned to her
side with the assured, jubilant air of an accepted
lover. Then George was tempted to watch her.
He saw her smooth her brow and summon
reluctant smiles; but finding the pastime, after
all, rather dismal, he took leave of his hostess
and walked away home, smoking a cigar. All
sentimental reminiscences of Dulcy disappeared
with the vapour, and when he reached his
chambers he was his own man again completely.

After the great event of the evening Mrs.
Digby could not be sorry to see her guests
depart; and, by eleven o'clock, the house in
Curzon-street was cleared of them alleven of
Sir John Seamer himselfand Dulcy was shut
up with her mamma in that pretty retirement
called the boudoir. With a softness quite
unusual to her, Dulcy had stolen one arm round
her mother's waist, and was resting her brow
against her shoulder. The confession had been
made, the successful daughter had been kissed
and blessed abundantly, yet still Dulcy kept that
firm yet caressing hold upon her mother, as if
she had yet more to say. Presently it came.

"Mamma, I do not want it to be talked about
until quite the time; I am not proud of it, you

"My love, half the world will envy you."

"Let them! But remember, mamma, I will
not hear it talked about. You are not even to
tell Lady Milner."

"But, sweetest, it must be known. Sir John
will speak of it himself. Lady Milner is one of
the oldest friends of his family."

"I told him to say nothing, and he promised
me he would not not, at least, until we got
down home again, and then I shall not care.
There is nobody at Avenham to make a fuss
and worry."

"You look at it in a very strange light,
Dulcy. There is nothing to be ashamed of in
Sir John, or in being mistress of Netherloup
such a beautiful romantic place! I am sure it
will be one of the proudest days of my life when
I give you to him."

Dulcy shuddered from head to foot. " I was
sure you would wish it," said she, faintly.

"My dearest, I have always your good at
heart. But come, you are feverish and excited;
I shall see you into bed to-night myself, and
to-morrow all will look gay and promising."

So Mrs. Digby led her daughter to her room,
and performed for her tender motherly offices
such as she had never put her hand to since
poor Dulcy was ill of the scarlet fever, and
would let no one else touch her. She understood,

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