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returned Mr. Grey, in a tone of voice that betrayed his vexation.
“I have been very busy for these three months, and forgot all about it,” said Mr. Casement.
“I thought you never were busy, Casement,” remarked Mr. Grey.
“One of your mistakes,” returned Mr. Casement, as if Mr. Grey's mistakes were a synonyme for the dullest of all possible blunders. “Why, you seem to have the luck of it; you are always being made guardian, or executor, or what not.”
“I know I am,” said Mr. Grey, looking more and more cold, and vexed, and peevish; and rubbing his knee with great perseverance, as he drew closer to the fire; “ but never before to a girl.”
“What has become of the two young Trevors ?” i “One of them drowned near Ilfracomb the summer before last-the other in India.”
“Can't you marry her to one of them ?"
“ Which ?” asked Mr. Grey shortly, " they are both equally within my
“I thought there was another-Alfred Trevor ?"
“He is married already."
“ When did you close accounts with young Haveloc ?”
“Last Christmas, didn't you know ?”
“I forgot. Sharp work, Master Grey, upon my word. If you are to have a ward every year, I don't envy you. As well open a boarding-school at once. That is the good,” continued Mr. Casement, turning round and addressing the fire, “ that is the good of being a single man; he is bothered with every body's children. Now, I never was appointed guardian in my life. You had better, my good friend,” said he, turning again to Mr. Grey, “ you had better cajole Master Haveloc to take the young lady off your hands as quickly as possible. There is an arrangement which would please all parties."
“I have a great regard for young Haveloc," said Mr. Grey seriously; " and I don't wish him so ill as to force a wife upon him. I never saw any good come of making matches. Margaret Capel is nearer to me than the Trevors, who are only second cousins. She is my own sister's child. She will inherit my property in all likelihood, and then she will find no difficulty in obtaining a husband without the disgrace of going in search of one.”
“That's a long speech,” remarked Mr. Casement.
Mr. Grey made no reply to this statement.
“ That is to say,” resumed Mr. Casement, “if you don't leave your money to a hospital.”
"I have no intention of leaving a doit to any hospital in the world,” said Mr. Grey.
“But Master Haveloc would make her
a nice husband,” said Mr. Casement maliciously, “ you have heard of the pretty things he has been doing at Florence.”
“Yes,” replied Mr. Grey shortly.
There was no excuse for repeating the “ pretty things," as Mr. Grey professed to recollect them; and Mr. Casement looked a little baffled for a moment.
“Mrs. Maxwell Dorset must be a delightful woman,” said he, at length. “ It is a pity Haveloc could not manage to run off with her.”
“Do you think so ?” retorted Mr. Grey, still more shortly.
“He don't do you much credit,” resumed his provoking companion, “I am afraid you did not bring him up in the way he should go.”
"I did not bring him up at all,” replied Mr. Grey. “I had the direction of him, or his affairs, for a couple of years, from nineteen to twenty-one. There began and there ended my control.”
“And so,” said Mr. Casement, “you expect Miss Peggy here every minute.”
“I expect my niece, Margaret, to arrive before nine o'clock.”
“ Fresh from a boarding-school, good lack !” exclaimed Mr. Casement, “ with her head full of sweethearts. You must go over to S , and call upon the red-coats, only you must get a better cook, let me tell you, or they won't come very often to dine with you. I thought the fondu worse than ever to-day. Miss will never want amusement as long as there is a lazy fellow to be found, with a spangled cap on his head, to go about sketching all the gate-posts, far and near, and keep her guitar in tune.”
Mr. Grey employed himself busily during this harangue in making up the fire; then suddenly dropped the poker and started. A carriage stopped at the door. Now, he had been cross, not because he was expecting his sister's child; but because he did not know what on earth to do with her when she came.