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HALF A MILLION OF MONEY

BY THE AUTHOR OF "BARBARA'S HISTORY."

CHAPTER XXXI. ABOUT SWITZERLAND.

YOUR English match-maker is, for the most
part, a comfortable matron, plump, good natured,
kindly, with a turn for sentiment and diplomacy.
She has, "The Etiquette of Courtship and
Marriage" at her fingers' ends; and gives copies of
that invaluable little manual to her young
friends, as soon as they are engaged. When
the sermon is dull, she amuses herself by reading
the Solemnization of Matrimony. She delights
in novels that have a great deal of love in them,
and thinks Miss Bremer a finer writer than Mr.
Thackeray. To patch up lovers' quarrels, to
pave the way for a proposal, to propitiate
reluctant guardians, are offices in which her very
soul rejoices; and, like the death-bed hag in the
Bride of Lammermoor who surveyed all her
fellow-creatures from a professional point of
view, seeing "a bonny corpse" in every fine
young man about that country-side, she beholds
only bridegrooms and brides elect in the very
children of her friends, when they come home
for the holidays.

Lady Arabella Walkingshaw was an
enthusiastic match-maker. She had married off her
own daughters with brilliant success, and, being
a real lover of the art of matrimony, delighted
"to keep her hand in" among the young people
of her acquaintance. What whist was to Mrs.
Battle, match-making was to Lady Arabella
Walkingshaw. "It was her business, her duty,
what she came into the world to do." She
went about it scientifically. She had abstruse
theories with respect to eyes, complexions, ages,
and Christian names; and even plunged into
unknown physiological depths on the subject of
races, genealogies, ties of consanguinity, and
hereditary characteristics. In short, she
constructed her model matches after a private ideal
of her own. But hers was not altogether a
sentimental, nor even a physiological, ideal. She
was essentially a woman of the world; and took
an interest quite as deep, if not deeper, in the
pairing of fortunes as of faces. To introduce an
income of ten thousand a year to a dowry of
fifty thousand pounds, and unite the two sums
in the bonds (and settlements) of wedlock, was
to Lady Arabella an enterprise of surpassing
interest. She would play for such a result as
eagerly and passionately as if her own happiness
depended on the cards, and the stakes were for
her own winning.

With such a hobby kept perpetually saddled
in the chambers of her imagination, it was not
surprising that the sight of Saxon Trefalden
leading Miss Hatherton down to dance, should
have sufficed to send Lady Arabella off at a
canter.

"What a charming match that would be!"
said she to Mrs. Bunyon. Mrs. Bunyon was
the wife of the handsome Bishop, tall,
aristocratic-looking, and many years his junior. Both
ladies were standing near their hostess, and she
was still welcoming the coming guest.

"Do you think so?" said Mrs. Bunyon,
doubtfully. "I don't see why."

"My dear Mrs. Bunyontwo such splendid
fortunes!"

"The less reason that either should marry for
money," replied the Bishop's wife. "Besides,
look at the difference of age!"

"Not more than five years," said Lady
Arabella.

"But it would be five years on the wrong
side. What do you say, Lady Castletowers
would they make a desirable couple?"

"I did not hear the names," replied Lady
Castletowers, with one of her most gracious
smiles.

"We were speaking," said the match-maker,
"of Miss Hatherton and Mr. Trefalden."

The smile vanished from Lady Castletowers'
lip.

"I should think it a most injudicious
connexion," she said, coldly. " Mr. Trefalden is a
mere boy, and has no prestige beyond that of
wealth."

"But fortune is position," said Lady Arabella,
defending her ground inch by inch, and thinking,
perhaps, of her own marriage.

"Miss Hatherton has fortune, and may
therefore aspire to more than fortune in her
matrimonial choice," replied the Countess, with
a slightly heightened colour, and dropped the
conversation.

Mrs. Bunyon and Lady Arabella exchanged
glances, and a covert smile. Moving on
presently with the stream, they passed out of Lady
Castletowers' hearing, and returned to the
subject.

"Their united fortunes," pursued Lady

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