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to have met her here, but apparently without

"Give her this; place it in her own hand,
and, as you are leaving the room, say, in a gentle
voice: 'Is there an answer, mademoiselle? You

"Well, I believe I do," said he, significantly,
as he slyly pocketed the half-Napoleon fee I had
tendered for his acceptance.

Now the fellow had thrown into his countenance
a painfully astute and cunning face it was
one of those expressive looks which actually
made me shudder. It seemed to say, "This is
a conspiracy, and we are both in it."

"You are not for a moment to suppose," said
I, hurriedly, "that there is one syllable in that
letter which could compromise me, or wound the
delicacy of the most susceptible."

"I am convinced that monsieur has written it
with most consummate skill," said he, with a
supercilious grin, and left the room.

How I detest the familiarity of a foreign
waiter! The fellows cannot respond to the most
ordinary question without an affectation of showing
off their immense acuteness and knowledge
of life. It is their eternal boast how they read
people, and with what an instinctive subtlety
they can decipher all the various characters and
temperaments that pass before them. Now this
impertinent lacquey, who is to say what has he
not imputed to me? Utterly incapable as such a
creature must necessarily be of the higher and
nobler motives that sway men of my order, he
will doubtless have ascribed to me the most base
and degenerate motives.

I was wrong in speaking one word to the
fellow. I might have said, "Take that note to
Number Fourteen, and ask if there be an
answer;" or better still if I had never written at
all, but merely sent in my card to ask if the
lady would vouchsafe to accord me an audience
of a few minutes. Yes, such would have been
the discreet course; and then I might have
trusted to my manner, my tact, and a certain
something in my general bearing, to have
brought me matter to a successful issue. While
I thus meditated, the waiter re-entered the room,
and, cautiously closing the door, approached me
with an ostentatious pretence of secrecy and

"I have given her the letter," said he, in a

"Speak up!" said I, severely; "what answer
has the lady given?"

"I think you'll get the answer presently,"
said he, with a sort of grin that actually thrified
through me.

"You may leave the room," said I, with dignity,
for I saw how the fellow was actually
revelling in the enjoyment of my confusion.

"They were reading it over together for the
third time when I came away," said he, with a
most peculiar look.

"Whom, do you mean? who are they that you
speak of?"

"The gentleman that she was expecting. He
came by the 9.40 train from Brussels. Just in
time for your note." As the wretch uttered
these words, a violent ringing of bells resounded
along the corridor, and he rushed out without
waiting for more.

I turned in haste to my note-book; various
copies of my letter were there, and I was eager
to recal the expressions I had employed in
addressing her. Good Heavens! what had I
really written? Here were scraps of all sorts of
absurdity; poetry too! verses to the " Fair Victim
of a recent War," with a number of rhymes
for the last word, such as "low," "snow,"
"mow," &c. all evidences of composition under

While I turned over these rough copies the
door opened, and a large, red-faced, stern-
looking man, in a suit of red-brown tweed and
with a heavy stick in his hand, entered; he
closed the door leisurely after him, and I half
thought that I saw him also turn the key in the
lock. He advanced towards me with a deliberate
step, and, in a voice measured as his gait, said,

"I am Mr. Jopplyn, sirI am Mr. Christopher

"I am charmed to hear it, sir," said I, in some
confusion, for, without the vaguest conception of
wherefore, I suspected lowering weather ahead.

"May I offer you a chair, Mr. Jopplyn? Won't
you be seated? We are going to have a lovely
day, I fancya great change after yesterday."

"Your name, sir," said he, in the same solem-
nity as before—"your name I apprehend to be

"Pottinger, if you permit me; Pottinger, not

"It shall be as you say, sir: I am indifferent
what you call yourself." He heaved something
that sounded like a hoarse sigh, and proceeded:
"I have come to settle a small account that
stands between us. Is that document your
writing?" As he said this, he drew, rather
theatrically, from his breast-pocket the letter I had
just written, and extended it towards me. "I
ask, sir–and I mean you to understand that I
will suffer no prevaricationis that document
in your writing?"

I trembled all over as I took it, and for an
instant I determined to disavow it; but in the
same brief space I bethought me that my denial
would be in vain. I then tried to look boldly,
and brazen it out; I fancied to laugh it off as a
mere pleasantry, and, failing in courage for each
of these, I essayed, as a last resource, the
argumentative and discussional line, and said,

"If you will favour me with an indulgent
hearing for a few minutes, Mr. Jopplyn, I trust
to explain, to your complete satisfaction, the
circumstances of that epistle."

"Take five, sirfive," said he, laying a ponderous
silver watch on the table as he spoke, and
pointing to the minute hand.

"Really, sir," said I, stung by the peremptory
and dictatorial tone he assumed," I have
yet to learn that intercourse between gentlemen
is to be regulated by clockwork, not to say that
I have to inquire by what right you ask me for
this explanation."

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