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sham, I have for some time past considered it wiser and better, and even more dutiful, to deny myself that which, under any other circumstances, would be my greatest pleasure—a constant intercourse with my nearest -and if they would let me so feel them—my dearest relations.”

Amersham, who, although he had spoken much and frequently with Francis Grindle on the subject of the peculiarity of his position regarding his family during the illness of his uncle Mr. Leeson, at Broadstairs, had never brought him to particulars, saw at once the delicacy of his situation ; but at the same moment coupled in his mind with that delicacy a suspicion that, however gently he touched, or rather however scrupulously he avoided the point, he was not entirely unconscious of a preference in his favour exhibited by Jane Bruff upon the three or four occasions of their meeting. What Mrs. Amersham suspected as to that feeling, we need not repeat; nor perhaps had she even confided her suspicions to her amiable husband : certain however it is, that he left Francis Grindle to return home under the impression that he, Francis Grindle, did feel that he was preferred by her before his half-brother ;-hence the conduct he pursued. He admired—as who would not ?— the sweet, the gentle Jane.—The softness of her manner, the total absence of artificiality, the kind consideration which marked every action of her life, the combination of attractions to which we have long since despaired of doing justice, had, such is the truth, won his heart; the struggle was to be made—he made it, and succeeded—and that, too, while taking much less credit with Amersham for his conduct than it merited..

So then they parted; Amersham returned home, and the next morning Frank proceeded to Brighton on a visit to his father and brother, a proceeding which most unintentionally and inadvertently added considerably to the discomfiture of the gallant and disagreeable Colonel Bruff, who not satisfied by simply availing himself of the news as to where a mare's-nest was to be discovered, communicated to him through the activity of Miss Harris, and the ingenuousness of Mrs. Smylar, had written off to Sir George Grindle all the particulars of Frank's undermining visit to the Amershams, and of his surprising activity in making a forced march to circumvent him.

So when in the course of the evening Mr. Amersham mentioned the line which Frank Grindle had taken, and the course he had adopted, the gallant colonel, generally impenetrable to any thing like a consciousness of his own stupidity, felt exceedingly vexed and much mortified, and wished himself, with all his heart and soul, in the muslin-hung, pink-lighted boudoir of the verdant, yet venerable Lady Gramm.

But more em barrassments awaited the gallant and disagreeable colonel, consequent upon his needless expedition. His departure before breakfast on the following morning was imperatively interdicted by the host and hostess, and their commands were earnestly followed up by the supplications of his daughter, whose depression of spirits was the subject of general-if silent-remark, the cause of which, Mrs. Amersham suspected to be neither more nor less than the defection of Frank Grindle. Perhaps upon this particular occasion Mrs. Amersham was not very far from sympathizing with her volatile husband; no matter : whatever really was the cause, the effect was unquestionable.

During the remainder of the evening it seemed as if the voice of Lady Cramly grated harshly upon Jane's ears; and yet she listened to what she rattled forth with a marked interest -she turned her mild yet radiant eyes upon Seraphine as if appealingly: but what had struck deep into her heart through her ears, was what had been said by the flippant, Aighty dowager, which had passed away from the gay old body's recollection, and in the midst of the whirl and rattle of her untiring tongue, she never for a moment imagined that one of her off-hand diary dashes had completely beaten down poor

Jane. From the moment that the well gotten-up fibber, the lady tourist, spoke of the Mrs. Grindle whom she had seen in Paris, Jane's spirits sank. As we have already said, she coupled the fact-for she was too well-bred to doubt Lady Cramly, whatever her intimate friends might do—with one of Smylar's hints as to some sort of connexion of George Grindle's; and she determined, as her father had come to visit them, that before he quitted the house she would endeavour to comprehend, if possible, the meaning of the lady's history, because, true or not true, she had stated that there was a Mrs. Grindle, a beautiful person, the daughter-in-law of a baronet. It was true at all events, that there was but one baronet of that name—and if Lady Cramly's history was not the truth, what was ?

It was in vain, later in the evening-indeed, just before they parted for the night—that Emma again endeavoured to persuade Jane to put no . faith in any thing the accomplished tourist said. Jane was resolved to

speak to her father on the subject, inasmuch as although Lady Cramly certainly had flourished off the beautiful creature at the Tuileries, associated with princes, and “all that,” the name was admitted to be correct, even by Seraphine, although the venue was laid by her in a shoemaker's-shop. However, upon further questioning in the morning, Seraphine honestly admitted that not being a tourist, and not keeping a diary, she certainly, as far as she was concerned, knew nothing of her own knowledge of the fact. She remembered an exceedingly pretty young woman, with a companion who appeared like her mother, and that after they left the shop, her mamma, the tourist, took up a small packet of shoes, which was directed for them to be subsequently called for, and read the address; but as for herself, having no ulterior views of astounding the literary world, she took no notice of the parcel, nor did she know what name was on it, nor did she-this was said more cautiously than reverently—believe that her mamma knew any more than she did.

Still, however, the impression had been made upon the mind of Jane, and there it remained, as did equally the determination to communicate that which she had heard to her father in the morning. She was quite aware of the dfficulty of the task she had to perform, and proportionably prepared for the irritation and anger to which her even touching upon the subject would expose her ; but Smylar's words still rang in her ears, and the knowing leer of her eyes yet glared upon her as she recollected—which she could not forget the remark she made as to the cruelty which her young lady's marrying George would inflict upon somebody; and so her young lady's resolution was not to be shaken,

And while all this was passing in her mind, and while-whether she

were dreaming of Frank Grindle or Miles Blackmore, who shall say ? for she and Emma had talked a great deal about them both during the earlier part of the evening-Frank Grindle was being conveyed to the temporary home of his parent and brother-in-law; and in order to render the results of old booby Bruff's manœuvres the more completely absurd, he arrived on his filial visit at Brighton about three-quarters of an hour before Sir George and young Hopeful were about to start for Amersham's, in order to frustrate his underhanded schemes of treachery.

“ Hey!” said Sir George. “What, Master Frank, you here? What, cut across the country from the Amershams’? How are they ?how's your sister-in-law as is to be ?"

“ I should be glad to tell you, my dear father,” said Frank, “ but I have not been there, neither have I had any intention of going there."

“O, come, I say,” said George, “ you are going it, Frank. Well, how are you?"

I merely repeat, my dear George,” said Frank, “that I have not been at Mr. Amerskam's since the funeral of my poor uncle, although he was good enough to press me to go over.”

The father and son exchanged looks, and the son winked. “ Poor uncle!" said the son, “rich you mean.

Well, but I say, we're deuced glad to see you—arn't we, governor ?"

“ I am,” said Sir George. “ Give us your hand, my boy; I wish. you joy of your succession --"

“I assure you,” said Frank, “it is more than counterbalanced by the loss I have sustained.”

Tumty, tumty ti !" said George'; " that won't do. No-an uncle is an uncommon interesting kind of codgering relation—but stumpy is stumpy.”

“I look at it, George,” said Frank,“ with comparative indifference. If it affords me the opportunity of extending my sphere of usefulness, I shall rejoice, but else —”

Else!" interrupted the baronet, "extend your sphere of use. fulness !-hang it, you may do that forth with : charity begins at homeI'm stumped-so is George--nothing but the girl--the-what do you call her, George ? Jenny Jonkanoo—nothing else will; and as we hear she is all over head and ears in love with you, why we were in a considerable stew when we heard you were gone to meet her.”

“ I had no intention of doing so,” said Frank. “ Her father, I hear, is at Amersham's."

“ Yes,” said Sir George, looking at his son.

“ Ye-es," replied the son, drawlingly; "and a pretty sort of a donkey he is.

This was the sort of family conversation, from which poor Frank's feel. ings always revolted; it was carried on in the usual tone. But here was a man, disagreeable and stupid enough, as we have already seen; but standing in a position relating to them, which ought, even in decency, to have secured him from such remarks—what must he have experienced as they proceeded, and Sir George said,

“ Well, how did the funeral go off ?" “ Sir?” said Frank. The funeral,” said Sir George ; “I should have been glad to have

gone to it, and so would George, only it is so like humbug-weeping for a chap one doesn't care for ;-all smart, I suppose, and well got up.”.

“ Indeed,” said Frank, “my feelings were too much and too deeply interested in the _"

-“O dear, dear,” said George, affecting to cry, “ I'm quite upset; ring the bell, governor, let's have some soda-water and brandy to brace us up."

Frank said no more ; his treatment by his father and brother was as it always had been, and he now almost repented that he had been voluntarily subjected to what could only be felt by himself, and considered by others as outrages of the coarsest nature upon his duty and affection.

“ But without joking”-said Sir George. “My dear father,” said Frank, “ I am in no humour for joking. Meaning to go over to France for a week or two, I thought I would take my departure from Brighton, in order to give myself the opportunity of seeing you, and of assuring you and George that the great object of my life will be to prove to you how truly and sincerely I admit, and feel my duty to my parent, and how gladly I shall be at all times throughout my life to prove an affection, which it is the greatest pain of my existence to believe has been doubted.”

“ Well said, parson !" cried Sir George.

“ Amen,” said his son. “ Here comes the soda-water, and I'll tell you what, Frank, if you want to show your affection to me, fork out a bit. You were always a steady goer-five per cent satisfy you, eh ?try eight rather than not please you. Five thousand is all I want till after the girl and I are settled, and I can hand you over a policy on the governor's life for the amount.”

“Indeed, George,” said Frank, “ this is exceedingly painful, and—”

“ Take it easy, young man,” said George, “ you can't lay out your money to better advantage; can he, governor ?"

I think not,” said Sir George.

“ I assure you I know nothing about the property to which I have succeeded,” said Frank, “nor at this moment do I care."

“ Then you'll be smashed by your attorney,” said George. “If you are at all worried with business, i'll take charge of it for you, and—”

“Pray forgive me,” said Frank. “When I came here I did not anticipate the subjects likely to be selected for our conversation ; and I must beg, simply out of respect to the memory of him who is gone, that they may be changed."

" That's it, governor," said George, “the chaps what has it, won't part with it."

“Well,” said Sir George, who with all his recklessness began to think the conversation was not quite what it ought to be, “when do you start for France ?"

“To-day," said Frank; “the steamer, I suspect, is nearly ready to

“I say, governor,” said George, “ have you anything to send to Versailles.”

“No, no,” said the baronet, somewhat more snubbishly than was his wont when speaking to his heir, “nothing, unless you have.”

This alternative was accompanied by a look such as was seldom

get off.”

you fool."

given by him to his favourite ; it evidently meant,“ hold your tongue,

1

suppose now, every body goes to Versailles,” said George, neither subdued by his father's looks, nor restricted in his allusions by what, for many reasons, ought to have been his own prudence and judgment.

"I am not going to France to see sights,” said Frank ;“ I am going to Paris rather on business."

“Ah well, then," said George, “there's a museum at Versailles, dogs with double heads, great creturs moreover that lived before this globe was created, with feet and toes specially shaped out for waiting in the mud till the world was ready for them to get into; and when it was all rolled up in prime order they found out it was no go, and so they were turned into stones: you know the whole history-its uncommon queer, but the more queer the more curious --that's my notiun.”

“And so,” said the baronet, reverting to past topics, and that in a manner implying a doubt as to the fact previously stated by his son, you really have not been at the Amershams' ?”

“I have already said so," replied Frank. “They were exceedingly kind to me in the days of my grief

, and I should have been too happy to pay them a visit at their own house, but circumstances prevented my doing so.”

Sir George and his hopeful heir again exchanged looks, which were not altogether lost upon Frank, who having done what he felt was his duty, and having been received and treated exactly as he expected, expressed his apprehension that if he protracted his stay much longer he should lose his passage; and he made preparations for his immediate departure from his “ paternal roof,” for so it was, although it at the moment covered a Brighton lodging-house, and offered him neither shelter nor solace such as might have cheered and charmed him, or wooed and won him with that hearty welcome, the feeling of which is associated with such a domicile.

In fact, the reception Frank met with was most assuredly not calculated to induce him

to lengthen his stay, even had he not been compelled by the regulations of the steam-boat people to be on board at a particular time. Sir George certainly did exhibit so much of paternal affection as produced the offer of walking down to the pier with his son to “ see him off;" but the heir and future head of the house voted that proceeding a bore, and remained in his slippers and robe de chambre, unwilling, if not incapable, of making so great an exertion as a proof of his fraternal regard and affection.

But now at Amersham's what was doing meanwhile ? Jane Bruff had, after breakfast, as we know, again consulted Emma on the subject so near her heart; and we also know they had made further inquiries of Seraphine: but the results of their consultations were not satisfactory to the kind and ingenuous Jane. She was determined, and when these quiet, placid young ladies are resolved, it requires a superhuman power to turn them.

Colonel Bruff, to begin with, was exceedingly out of sorts, and cross, and irritable. He ate his breakfast with an excellent appetite, because not having sufficient mind or intellect to be annoyed by anything, as sensitive people are, he never failed to demolish his accustomed quane

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