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VERY HARD CASH.

BY THE AUTHOR OF "IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO MEND."

CHAPTER XXXII

THE spirit of dissension in Musgrove Cottage
penetrated to the very kitchen. Old Betty
sided with Alfred, and combated in her place
the creed of the parlour; "Why, according to
Miss, the young sparrows are bound never to fly
out of the nest; or else have the Bible flung at
'em. She do go on about God's will: seems to
me 'tis His will the world should be peopled by
body and beastwhich they are both his
creaturesand, by the same toaken, if they don't
marry they does wus. Certainly whilst a young
man bides at home, it behoves him to be dutiful;
but that ain't to say he is to bide at home for
ever. Master Alfred's time is come to leave we,
and be master in a house of his own, as his father
done before him, which he forgets that now;
he is grown to man's estate, and got his mother's
money, and no more bound to our master than
I be." She said too, that " parting blights more
quarrels than it breeds:" and she constantly
invited Peggy to speak up, and gainsay her.
But Peggy was a young woman with white
eyelashes, and given to looking down, and not to
speaking up; she was always watching Mr.
Hardie in company, like a cat cream; and hovering
about him when alone. Betty went so far
as to accuse her of colloguing with him against
Alfred, and of " setting her cap at master,"
which accusation elicited no direct reply, but
stinging inuendoes hours after.

Now, if one looks into the thing, the elements
of discord had attacked Albion Villa quite as
powerfully as Musgrove Cottage; but had
hitherto failed signally: the mutual affection of
the Dodds was so complete, and no unprincipled
person among them to split the good.

And, now that the wedding drew near, there
was but one joyful heart within the walls, though
the others were too kind and unselfish to throw
cold water. Mrs. Dodd's own wedding had
ended in a piteous separation, and now to part
with her darling child and launch her on the
uncertain waves of matrimony! She heaved
many a sigh when alone: but, as there were no
bounds to her maternal love, so there were no
exceptions to her politeness: over her aching
heart she forced on a wedding face, subdued, but
hopeful, for her daughter, as she would for any
other young lady about to be married beneath
her roof.

It wanted but six days, when one morning
after breakfast the bereaved wife, and mother
about to be deserted, addressed her son and
Viceroy thus: " Edward, we must borrow
fifty pounds."

"Fifty pounds? what for? who wants that?"

"Why I want it," said Mrs. Dodd, stoutly.

"Oh, if you want itwhat to do, please?"

"Why to buy her wedding clothes, dear."

"I thought what her 'I' would come to,"
said Julia, reproachfully.

Edward shook his head, and said, "He who
goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing."

"But she is not a he," objected Mrs. Dodd
with the subtlety of a schoolman: " and who
ever heard of a young lady being married without
some things to be married in?"

"Well, I've heard Nudity is not the cheese,
on public occasions: but why not go dressed
like a lady as she always does, only with white
gloves; and be married without any bother and
nonsense."

"You talk like a boy," said Mrs. Dodd. "I
could not bear it. My poor child!" and she
cast a look of tenderest pity on the proposed
victim. " Well, suppose we make the poor
child the judge," suggested Edward. He then
put it to Julia whether, under the circumstances,
she would wish them to run in debt, buying her
finery to wear for a day. " It was not fair to
ask her," said Mrs. Dodd with a sigh.

Julia blushed and hesitated, and said she
would be candid; and then stopped.

"Ugh!" ejaculated Edward. "This is a
bad beginning. Girls' candour! now for a
masterpiece of duplicity."

Julia inquired how he dared; and Mrs. Dodd
said warmly that Julia was not like other people,
she could be candid; had actually done it, more
than once, within her recollection. The young
lady justified the exception as follows: "If I
was going to be married to myself, or to some
gentleman I did not care for, I would not spend
a shilling. But I am going to marry him; and
sooh, Edward, think of them saying ' what has
he married? a dowdy: why she hadn't new
things on to go to church with him: no bonnet,
no wreath, no new white dress!' To mortify
him the very first day of our——" The
sentence remained unfinished, but two lovely
eyes filled to the very brim without running

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