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“Pardon me," said the handsome secretary; “if I fall into the fault of St. Thomas and withold my belief until my eyes convince me, that any one exists, endowed with such shining qualities as to inspire another with this degree of confidence."

“Ah! you are really mistaken,” answered she; “. my own personal experience proves that you are so. I am sure that my dear friend Lucy Warnerston would tell me anything in the universe."

“That she would tell you anything in the universe ?” repeated D'Amarrs so loudly, that several ladies and gentlemen around heard him, and became in a manner witnesses of the coming answer.

“Most certainly,” replied she, with a sort of gasconading warmth.

“And would you not consider it excessively curious then," pursued D'Amarrs, gradually nearing his purpose, “if she has told others something very interesting about herself, which she would not on any account tell you, Miss Crake ?”

“Absurd !” replied the lady, pettish even at the idea of any one's knowing more about her dear friend's affairs than herself.

“What,” asked the secretary, smiling, “ if Miss Warnerston be too cautious for you, and that she really would not tell you half the things, which she induces you to tell her ?"

“ That is an insinuation which I really do not like," exclaimed Miss Crake; naturally enough taking fire at being thought a silly dupe, in lieu of the superior, and attractive, and trust-inspiring being, whom D'Amarrs had a minute before so temptingly described.

“And what,” pursued he, with a peculiar and alarming smile, “if Miss Warnerston be foolish enough, and ill-natured enough, to resent before all present, your having chosen to say that you had such an ascendancy over her, and such a share in her confidence. Alas! my dear Miss Crake, you would then unjustly look like those who boast they can do a great deal with others while absent, but afterwards become falsified before their faces.”

He said these words with an expression which excited a certain nameless anxiety in Miss Crake.

A pause followed, during which the young Machiavel remained meditating, with a sort of frown upon his forehead.

“How very handsome Miss Warnerston looks to-night?" said he at length.

“Dear creature !" ejaculated Miss Crake. “She is the handsomest girl in the room," pursued he, carelessly. Miss Crake was silent.

It is a strong natural tendency which prompts us to keep our pace, in all things as fast and as high as the pace of those with whom we have been a long time associating together. It is a sort of instinct.

“She is certainly the handsomest,” pursued the now ungallant D'Amarrs, here smiling, as he caught a casual but vigilant glance of the premier and the other cabinet minister, who were in the midst of a group of ladies and gentlemen, “ certainly the handsomest; and I do not at all wonder at her receiving that proposal.”

“What proposal ?” exclaimed Miss Crake, in downright alarm.

" Aha !" cried D'Amarrs, in a very loud and slow voice,“ does that look like the confidence, which you say she reposes in you?"

This was a home-thrust; but'she might have borne it, had it not been that the loudness of his tones had drawn a number of eyes to witness her ludicrous dilemma.

“ I have not merited from Lucy,” thought she, “ that she should be the occasion of derision to me."

Anger is not very logical; it lays hold of the nearest person, at all accusable, to charge with its censures. And now, of course, in the instance of Miss Crake (who was of the silly, romantic class of young ladies), the suspicion of having been fooled into a confidence that was not reciprocated, intruded itself on her hasty meditation. We may here observe, that the more one person likes another, the more vindictive is he supposed to be in requiting his offences; for they appear trebly unmerited, and a hundredfold ungrateful on account of the quarter from which they proceed.

Meantime D'Amarrs had been 'in what is vulgarly termed a brown study.

He now said, watching carefully the countenance of his companion, “I scarcely agree with my friend Lord Yewby, about the way in which Miss Warnerston wears her hair; I think it unbecoming. However, that is his reason for admiring her so much--there is no accounting for tastes.”

Now Lord Yewby was the handsomest, wealthiest, most fashionable, and most lady-killing dandy in town. Miss Crake, as the secretary knew, was greatly taken with the gallant peer; she now nierely asked, “Ah! he likes that style of head-dress?"

“Yes," replied D'Amarrs;" but I do not at all admire his capricious taste in this one point.”

“ Nor I," returned she with decision;" I think her head-dress is the least becoming thing about dear Lucy."

" It is perfectly shocking-it quite disfigures her,” said the secretary, with the air of a connoisseur; “ so much so, that it would be a kind. ness both to Miss Warnerston and to her general admirers, if some one who possessed sufficient influence with her, would make her alter it.”

Now, for two potent reasons Miss Crake was inclined to undertake this office : first, she would gladly remove the cause of Lord Yewby's admiration for her dear friend; and secondly, she burned to show the secretary what influence she possessed over Miss Warnerston, and therefore what a superior and imperial character she must herself be.

While she was thus ruminating, D'Amarts 'asked her rather loudly,

“Would a word from you; Miss Crake, have any sort of weight with Miss Warnerston ?"

The doubt was gall and humiliation, and she answered poutingly " that she fancied she could make her dear Lucy do anything whatever that was for her good.”

“Then," pursued the bland secretary, "between you and me, my dear Miss Crake, you should really speak to your friend about this manner in which she wears her hair: it is perfectly disfiguring, and so all the world thinks, in spite of my Lord Yewby:

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I shall speak to her," returned Miss Crake, half irritably. “ There is nothing like advising people as they like."

“But are you sure she will be persuaded by you ?" subjoined D'Amarrs, with a polite but perceptibly incredulouss mile, which goaded the young lady's vanity to the quick.

“Oh! if that be all,” returned Miss Crake, tossing her head with an expression of confidence," you shall see.”

D'Amarrs arose and strolling over towards where Miss Warnerston had been conducted on the conclusion of the set, by her partner, he seated himself on the side opposite to the one occupied by the officer, and bending towards the lady's ear,“ Miss Warnerston,” said he, you keep a secret ?" She started with curiosity and surprise.

Why not?–indeed l can-try me;" were exclamations that quickly followed one another.

“If-ehem,” continued the secretary, "you were--were proposed for—would you divulge it to any one?”

“Not to mortal.”
“This you say seriously, and on your word of honour?"
Yes; on my word of honour.”

D'Amarrs now leant back in his chair with a quiet and satisfied look. But the lady, on her part, was far from being, as yet, satisfied.

“Come, what of all this, Mr. D'Amarrs?” asked she.
The secretary shook his head and laughed.
“Now, pray, no mystery-do tell me?"

“All I can say is,” returned he, in a low half whispering tone, “ that a certain noble friend of minema peerless dandy-likes the-theamong other things (for I must not break trust), the way you wear your hair-though I do not admire it—that is all." And he walked hastily away, and again sat down by Miss Crake.

Presently, as he had well guessed, Miss Warnerston approached and sat down on the other side of him. He instantly whispered to her, “ It is Lord Yewby who admires so much that mode of the hair—now keep

The lady replied by a quick glance of intelligence and (as the keen secretary perceived) of delight.

He turned towards his other neighbour and,

“Miss Crake," asked he,“ don't you think Lord Yewby an extremely graceful gentleman ?"

“ He is more than graceful," replied she, with the coquettish wish of vexing D'Amarrs. But it was Miss Warnerston, not the secretary, who appeared moved by the answer, and she gave her friend an uneasy and scrutinising glance.

The diplomatist had meantime leant back again on the lounger, and his quick eye did not fail to remark the symptom.

A smile—with difficulty repressed, and struggling for a second on his pale lip—was noticed by the two ministers, who now hovered near to discover how matters were proceeding. D'Amarrs immediately said in a low voice to Miss Crake,

“ Would it be now too hazardous that is--would there be too great July.-VOL. LXII. NO. CCXLVII.

2 F

trust.”

a hazard of a repulse, if you spoke to your friend about her hair? It strikes me, my dear Miss Crake, that she regards you with great confidence and deference; you have at least promised me an opportunity of judging."

* Oh, certainly,” replied she with exemplary sang froid. “ Lucy, I cannot endure the manner in which you wear your hair; you must alter it. I shall show you a much prettier mode."

“ Thank you—but it must do,” answered Miss Warnerston coldly; for she of course had in her mind what D'Amarrs had just told her of Lord Yewby, and she suspected some sinister motive in her friend.

The secretary honoured Miss Crake with a provokingly triumphant look, and she returned to the charge with a sort of ricochet from his taunting eye.

“ But really, Lucy, you must-you must indeed, my dear.”

Before Miss Warnerston could answer, D'Amarrs interposed, in a manner which strikingly fixed her attention.

“Pardon me, Miss Crake,” he said ; “but-merely for the satisfaction of my thoughts—did you not just now say~" and while he spoke to Miss Crake he looked at Miss Warnerston--" did you not just now say that you rather admired Lord Yewby? He, you know, (for I told you some minutes ago,) very much relishes this fashion of the hair, which you wish your friend to alter-did you not say you admired him?"

A dead pause ensued on all sides, and the two ladies gazed at one another as if a new light had broken upon the matter. In Miss Crake's face there was cruel perplexity, as she saw the pit into which she had unwarily plunged : in Miss Warnerston's countenance there was a mixed expression of intelligence and indignation.

Meantime the secretary had relapsed into a certain languor of de. portment, which they who knew him well were wont to consider as the sure forerunner of victory in a game of chess, triumph in an argument, and success in any other matter that he chanced at the moment to be engaged in.

* Miss Crake," he at length blandly said, " although I do not myself admire the manner in which your dear friend's hair is arranged, yet I do not advise her to take the trouble of altering it ; and on second thoughts, I am surprised that you should; for you know, I just now told you how much it is admired by another."

Miss Crake could not believe her ears, but she remained silent; she did not, for she could not, contradict the latter part of the secrea tary's sentence.

“And now,” added he, with consummate audacity, “I will even take the freedom, my dear Miss Warnerston, to advise you not to place much confidence in Miss Crake.”

Both were thunderstruck.

Now again was there for a moment to be seen in D'Amarrs face that pale quivering lip and restless eye, that characterized the machiavelian secretary. Miss Crake could bear matters no longer.

“Really, Mr. D'Amarrs," she said in amazement, “ your interference between friends is most uncalled for; and I know well that Lucy will not prefer you to me, nor mind what you say before what I recommend.'

Miss Warneston, however, preserved silence; for she was perfectly convinced-quite satisfied in her own mind, that jealousy and nothing else must have prompted her friend's aversion to the present conquering style of head-dress.

On the other hand, Miss Crake secretly burned with equal rage, nor could she endure the thought of having been foiled in the presence of so many, after all her previous confident gasconades. In a word, she could have torn her dear Lucy's eyes out, for having at this moment, of all others, refused to alter the fashion of her hair. But the worst was to come.

“You say, Miss Crake," pursued D'Amarrs, “that my friend, Miss Warnerston, will mind you before me. I am not sure of this.

Miss Warnerston,” added he, turning to that lady, “ you will not believe it, but your friend has told me, and all around us have heard her say, that she could induce you by one way or another to tell her anything that she liked. Now is that surely the case? I fancy you too well know, my dear Miss Warnerston, how to keep a secret.'

The last words most adroitly chimed in with the young lady's actual meditation concerning Lord Yewby--the jealousy of Miss Crake, what D'Amarrs had told her, and in fact, a hundred matters of the kind, and she replied with more warmth than good breeding, “ that no one was able or had any right to wrest a secret from her.”

“Ah!” instantly said D'Amarrs, “ I did fancy that your boast, Miss Crake, of possessing so arbitrary an ascendancy over my intelligent and talented friend was slightly tinged with the usual fiction of a gasconade.”

And as he spoke, Miss Crake perceived to her infinite and most ineffable vexation, that the careless loudness of his tones, had attracted the eyes and ears of at least a dozen witnesses to her discomfiture. She vowed a deep revenge against “her perfidious Lucy," whom she now saw following D'Amarrs with her eyes, as the latter arose, and sauntered from the ottoman, with an air of gay and arrogant nonchalance.

As for Miss Warnerston, the mere elegance of his well-turned periods, and the composure with which he spoke them, had inspired her with a very decided prepossession in his favour.

Meantime, the premier and his colleague, having observed D'Amarrs leave his post, approached carelessly together, with opinions different as to the secretary's success, but with a mutual curiosity to know which of them was right. They immediately overheard the following dialogue.

" I know," said Miss Crake at Miss Warnerston, but not to her, “ I know that I do not want any one's confidence, when it is not voluntary," here she vehemently fanned her face with her handkerchief, “and I should not care much, in any case, for that of some people.”

“ If that be at me," said Miss Warnerston,“ I return the compliment with interest."

So saying, she rose and left the ottoman.

By my honour,” said the sub-minister to his premier, in an aside, "you were right. This D'Amarrs has done for the opposition.”

That night the premier danced with Miss Warnerston ; the next night but one, her father's name and those of his four adherents figured in the ministerial majority,

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