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clear, both to the husband and to the wife, that he was preparing himself for rebellion against authority.

For some ten minutes there was nothing said. Crosbie amused himself by playing with the boy whom he called Dicksey, by way of a nickname for De Courcy.

"Mamma, he calls me Dicksey. Am I Dicksey? I'll call 'oo old Cross, and then Aunt Dina on't like 'oo."

"I wish you would not call the child nicknames, Adolphus. It seems as though you would wish to cast a slur upon the one which he bears.'

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"I should hardly think that he would feel disposed to do that," said Mr. Gazebee.

"Hardly, indeed," said Crosbie.

"It has never yet been disgraced in the annals of our country by being made into a nickname," said the proud daughter of the house. She was probably unaware that among many of his associates her father had been called Lord de Curse'ye, from the occasional energy of his language. "And any such attempt is painful in my ears. I think something of my family, I can assure you, Adolphus, and so does my husband."

"A very great deal," said Mr. Gazebee.

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So do I of mine," said Crosbie. "That's natural to all of us. One of my ancestors came over with William the Conqueror. I think he was one of the assistant cooks in the king's tent." "A cook!" said young De Courcy.

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Yes, my boy, a cook.

That was the way most of our old families were made noble. They were cooks, or butlers to the kings or sometimes something worse.' "But your family isn't noble?

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"No-I'll tell you how that was. The king wanted this cook to poison half-a-dozen of his officers who wished to have a way of their own; but the cook said, 'No, my Lord King; I am a cook, not an executioner.' So they sent him into the scullery, and when they called all the other servants barons and lords, they only called him Cookey. They've changed the name to Crosbie since that, by degrees."

Mr. Gazebee was awestruck, and the face of the Lady Amelia became very dark. Was it not evident that this snake, when taken into their innermost bosoms that they might there warm him, was becoming an adder, and preparing to sting them? There was very little more conversation that evening, and soon after the story of the cook, Crosbie got up and went away to his own home.

CHAPTER XXXVI

cc SEE, THE CONQUERING HERO COMES

JOHN EAMES had reached his office precisely at twelve o'clock, but when he did so he hardly knew whether he was standing on his heels or his head. The whole morning had been to him one of intense excitement, and latterly, to a certain extent, one of triumph. But he did not at all know what might be the results. Would he be taken before a magistrate and locked up? Would there be a row at the office? Would Crosbie call him out, and, if so, would it be incumbent on him to fight a duel with pistols? What would Lord de Guest say-Lord de Guest, who had specially warned him not to take upon himself the duty of avenging Lily's wrongs? What would all the Dale family say of his conduct? And, above all, what would Lily say and think? Nevertheless, the feeling of triumph was predominant; and now, at this interval of time, he was beginning to remember with pleasure the sensation of his fist as it went into Crosbie's eye.

During his first day at the office he heard nothing about the affair, nor did he say a word of it to any one. It was known in his room that he had gone down to spend his Christmas holiday with Lord de Guest, and he was treated with some increased consideration accordingly. And, moreover, I must explain, in order that I may give Johnny Eames his due, he was gradually acquiring for himself a good footing among the income-tax officials. He knew his work, and did it with some manly confidence in his own powers, and also with some manly indifference to the occasional frowns of the mighty men of the department. He was, moreover, popular-being somewhat of a radical in his official demeanour, and holding by his own rights, even though mighty men should frown. In truth, he was emerging from his hobbledehoyhood and entering upon his young manhood, having probably to go through much folly and some false sentiment in that period of his existence, but still with fair promise of true manliness beyond, to those who were able to read the signs of his character.

Many questions on that first day were asked him about the glories of his Christmas, but he had very little to say on the subject. Indeed nothing could have been much more commonplace than his Christmas visit, had it not been for the one great

object which had taken him down to that part of the country, and for the circumstance with which his holiday had been ended. On neither of these subjects was he disposed to speak openly; but as he walked home to burton Crescent with Cradell, he did tell him of the affair with Crosbie.

66 And you went in at him on the station?" asked Cradell, with admiring doubt.

"Yes, I did. If I didn't do it there, where was I to do it? I'd said I would, and therefore when I saw him I did it." Then the whole affair was told as to the black eye, the police, and the superintendent. "And what's to come next?" asked our hero. Well, he'll put it in the hands of a friend, of course; as I did with Fisher in that affair with Lupex. And, upon my word, Johnny, I shall have to do something of the kind again. His conduct last night was outrageous; would you believe

it

66

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I absolutely had to sit up in Mother Roper told me that if she would feel herself obliged What could I do, you know?

66 He's a fool you wouldn't like to meet when he's in one of his mad fits, I can tell you that. my own bedroom all last night. I remained in the drawing-room to have a policeman in the house. I made her have a fire for me, of course.' And then you went to bed."

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"I waited ever so long, because I thought that Maria would want to see me. At last she sent me a note. Maria is so imprudent, you know. If he had found anything in her writing, it would have been terrible, you know,-quite terrible. And who can say whether Jemima mayn't tell?

"And what did she say?"

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"Come; that's tellings, Master Johnny. I took very good care to take it with me to the office this morning, for fear of accidents."

But Eames was not so widely awake to the importance of his friend's adventures as he might have been had he not been weighted with adventures of his own.

"I shouldn't care so much," said he, "about that fellow, Crosbie, going to a friend, as I should about his going to a police magistrate.'

He'll put it in a friend's hands, of course," said Cradell, with the air of a man who from experience was well up in such matters. "And I suppose you'll naturally come to me. It's a deuced bore to a man in a public office, and all that kind of

thing, of course. But I'm not the man to desert my friend. I'll stand by you, Johnny, my boy."

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'Oh, thank you," said Eames, "I don't think that I shall want that."

You must be ready with a friend, you know."

"I should write down to a man I know in the country, and ask his advice," said Eames; "an older sort of friend, you know."

"By Jove, old fellow, take care what you're about. Don't let them say of you that you show the white feather. Upon my honour, I'd sooner have anything said of me than that. I would, indeed, anything."

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I'm not afraid of that," said Eames, with a touch of scorn in his voice. "There isn't much thought about white feathers nowadays, not in the way of fighting duels."

After that, Cradell managed to carry back the conversation to Mrs. Lupex and his own peculiar position, and as Eames did not care to ask from his companion further advice in his own matters, he listened nearly in silence till they reached Burton Crescent.

"I hope you found the noble earl well," said Mrs. Roper to him, as soon as they were all seated at dinner.

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"I found the noble earl pretty well, thank you," said Johnny. It had become plainly understood by all the Roperites that Eames's position was quite altered since he had been honoured with the friendship of Lord de Guest. Mrs. Lupex, next to whom he always sat at dinner, with a view to protecting her as it were from the dangerous neighbourhood of Cradell, treated him with a marked courtesy, Miss Spruce always called him sir." Mrs. Roper helped him the first of the gentlemen, and was mindful about his fat and gravy, and Amelia felt less able than she was before to insist upon the possession of his heart and affections. It must not be supposed that Amelia intended to abandon the fight, and allow the enemy to walk off with his forces; but she felt herself constrained to treat him with a deference that was hardly compatible with the perfect equality which should attend any union of hearts.

It is such a privilege to be on visiting terms with the nobility," said Mrs. Lupex. "When I was a girl, I used to be very intimate

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You ain't a girl any longer, and so you'd better not talk about it," said Lupex. Mr. Lupex had been at that little shop in Drury Lane after he came down from his scene-painting.

"My dear, you needn't be a brute to me before all Mrs. Roper's company. If, led away by feelings which I will not now describe, I left my proper circles in marrying you, you need not before all the world teach me how much I have to regret." And Mrs. Lupex, putting down her knife and fork, applied her handkerchief to her eyes.

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That's pleasant for a man over his meals, isn't it? said Lupex, appealing to Miss Spruce. "I have plenty of that kind of thing, and you can't think how I like it."

Them whom God has joined together, let no man put asunder," said Miss Spruce. "As for me myself, I'm only an old woman.'

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This little ebullition threw a gloom over the dinner-table, and nothing more was said on the occasion as to the glories of Eames's career. But, in the course of the evening, Amelia heard of the encounter which had taken place at the railway station, and at once perceived that she might use the occasion for her own purposes.

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John," she whispered to her victim, finding an opportunity for coming upon him when almost alone, "what is this I hear? I insist upon knowing. Are you going to fight a duel?” "Nonsense," said Johnny.

But it is not nonsense. You don't know what my feelings will be, if I think that such a thing is going to happen. But then you are so hard-hearted!"

"I ain't hard-hearted a bit, and I'm not going to fight a duel." "But is it true that you beat Mr. Crosbie at the station?" "It is true. I did beat him."

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Oh, John! not that I mean to say you were wrong, and indeed I honour you for the feeling. There can be nothing so dreadful as a young man's deceiving a young woman and leaving her after he has won her heart,-particularly when she has had his promise in plain words, or, perhaps, even in black and white." John thought of that horrid, foolish, wretched note which he had written. "And a poor girl, if she can't right herself by a breach of promise, doesn't know what to do. Does she, John? "

"A girl who'd right herself that way wouldn't be worth having.'

"I don't know about that. When a poor girl is in such a position, she has to be said by her friends. I suppose, then, Miss Lily Dale won't bring a breach of promise against him."

This mention of Lily's name in such a place was sacrilege in

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