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the matter were simply one of resolution. But the majority of men, as I take it, make no such resolution, and very many men resolve that they will be unsuccessful. Crosbie, however, had resolved on success, and had done much towards carrying out his purpose. He had made a name for himself, and had acquired a certain fame. That, however, was, as he acknowledged to himself, departing from him. He looked the matter straight in the face, and told himself that his fashion must be abandoned; but the office remained to him. He might still rule over Mr. Optimist, and make a subservient slave of Butterwell. That must be his line in life now, and to that line he would endeavour to be true. As to his wife and his home,he would look to them for his breakfast, and perhaps his dinner. He would have a comfortable arm-chair, and if Alexandrina should become a mother, he would endeavour to love his children; but above all things he would never think of Lily. After that he stood and thought of her for half an hour.

"If you please, sir, my lady wants to know at what time you have ordered dinner.'

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"At seven, Hannah.”

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My lady says she is very tired, and will lie down till dinner

time."

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'Very well, Hannah. I will go into her room when it is time to dress. I hope they are making you comfortable downstairs?"

Then Crosbie strolled out on the pier in the dusk of the cold winter evening."

CHAPTER XLVI

JOHN EAMES AT HIS OFFICE

MR. CROSBIE and his wife went upon their honeymoon tour to Folkestone in the middle of February, and returned to London about the end of March. Nothing of special moment to the interests of our story occurred during those six weeks, unless the proceedings of the young married couple by the sea-side may be thought to have any special interest. With regard to those proceedings I can only say that Crosbie was very glad when they were brought to a close. All holiday-making is hard work, but holiday-making with nothing to do is the hardest work of all. At the end of March they went into their new

house, and we will hope that Lady Alexandrina did not find it very cold.

During this time Lily's recovery from her illness was being completed. She had no relapse, nor did anything occur to create a new fear on her account. But, nevertheless, Dr. Crofts gave it as his opinion that it would be inexpedient to move her into a fresh house at Lady-day. March is not a kindly month for invalids; and therefore with some regret on the part of Mrs. Dale, with much impatience on that of Bell, and with considerable outspoken remonstrance from Lily herself, the squire was requested to let them remain through the month of April. How the squire received this request, and in what way he assented to the doctor's reasoning, will be told in the course of a chapter or two.

In the meantime John Eames had continued his career in London without much immediate satisfaction to himself, or to the lady who boasted to be his heart's chosen queen. Miss Amelia Roper, indeed, was becoming very cross, and in her illtemper was playing a game that was tending to create a frightful amount of hot water in Burton Crescent. She was devoting herself to a flirtation with Mr. Cradell, not only under the immediate eyes of Johnny Eames, but also under those of Mrs. Lupex. John Eames, the blockhead, did not like it. He was above all things anxious to get rid of Amelia and her claims; so anxious, that on certain moody occasions he would threaten himself with diverse tragical terminations to his career in London. He would enlist. He would go to Australia. He would blow out his brains. He would have " an explanation with Amelia, tell her that she was a vixen, and proclaim his hatred. He would rush down to Allington and throw himself in despair at Lily's feet. Amelia was the bugbear of his life. Nevertheless, when she flirted with Cradell, he did not like it, and was ass enough to speak to Cradell about it.

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"Of course I don't care," he said, "only it seems to me that you are making a fool of yourself."

"I thought you wanted to get rid of her."

"She's nothing on earth to me; only it does, you know"Does do what?" asked Cradell.

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Why, if I was to be fal-lalling with that married woman, you wouldn't like it. That's all about it. Do you mean to marry her?"

"What!-Amelia?"

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"Not if I know it."

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Then if I were you I would leave her alone. She's only making a fool of you.'

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Eames's advice may have been good, and the view taken by him of Amelia's proceedings may have been correct; but as regarded his own part in the affair, he was not wise. Miss Roper, no doubt, wished to make him jealous; and she succeeded in the teeth of his aversion to her and of his love elsewhere. He had no desire to say soft things to Miss Roper. Miss Roper, with all her skill, could not extract a word pleasantly soft from him once a week. But, nevertheless, soft words to her and from her in another quarter made him uneasy. Such being the case, must we not acknowledge that John Eames was still floundering in the ignorance of his hobbledehoyhood?

The Lupexes at this time still held their ground in the Crescent, although repeated warnings to go had been given them. Mrs. Roper, though she constantly spoke of sacrificing all that they owed her, still hankered, with a natural hankering, after her money. And as each warning was accompanied by a demand for payment, and usually produced some slight subsidy on account, the thing went on from week to week; and at the beginning of April Mr. and Mrs. Lupex were still boarders at Mrs. Roper's house.

Eames had heard nothing from Allington since the time of his Christmas visit, and his subsequent correspondence with Lord de Guest. In his letters from his mother he was told that game came frequently from Guestwick Manor, and in this way he knew that he was not forgotten by the earl. But of Lily he had heard not a word, except, indeed, the rumour, which had now become general, that the Dales from the Small House were about to move themselves into Guestwick. When first he learned this he construed the tidings as favourable to himself, thinking that Lily, removed from the grandeur of Allington, might possibly be more easily within his reach; but, latterly, he had given up any such hope as that, and was telling himself that his friend at the Manor had abandoned all idea of making up the marriage. Three months had already elapsed since his visit. Five months had passed since Crosbie had surrendered his claim. Surely such a knave as Crosbie might be forgotten in five months! If any steps could have been taken through the squire, surely three months would have sufficed for them! It was very manifest to him that there was no ground of hope for him at Allington, and it would

certainly be well for him to go off to Australia. He would go to Australia, but he would thrash Cradell first for having dared to interfere with Amelia Roper. That, generally, was the state of his mind during the first week in April.

Then there came to him a letter from the earl which instantly effected a great change in all his feelings; which taught him to regard Australia as a dream, and almost put him into a good humour with Cradell. The earl had by no means lost sight of his friend's interests at Allington; and, moreover, those interests were now backed by an ally who in this matter must be regarded as much more powerful than the earl. The squire had given in his consent to the Eames alliance.

The earl's letter was as follows:

GUESTWICK MANOR, April 7, 18—.

MY DEAR JOHN,-I told you to write to me again, and you haven't done it. I saw your mother the other day, or else you might have been dead for anything I knew. A young man always ought to write letters when he is told to do so. [Eames, when he had got so far, felt himself rather aggrieved by this rebuke, knowing that he had abstained from writing to his patron simply from an unwillingness to intrude upon him with his letters. By Jove, I'll write to him every week of his life, till he's sick of me," Johnny said to himself when he found himself thus instructed as to a young man's duties.]

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And now I have got to tell you a long story, and I should like it much better if you were down here, so that I might save myself the trouble; but you would think me ill-natured if I were to keep you waiting. I happened to meet Mr. Dale the other day, and he said that he should be very glad if a certain young lady would make up her mind to listen to a certain young friend of mine. So I asked him what he meant to do about the young lady's fortune, and he declared himself willing to give her a hundred a year during his life, and to settle four thousand pounds upon her after his death. I said that I would do as much on my part by the young man; but as two hundred a year, with your salary, would hardly give you enough to begin with, I'll make mine a hundred and fifty. You'll be getting up in your office soon, and with five hundred a year you ought to be able to get along; especially as you need not insure your life. I should live somewhere near Bloomsbury Square at first, because I'm told you can get a house for nothing. After all, what's fashion worth? You can bring your wife down here in the autumn, and have some shooting. She won't let you go to sleep under the trees, I'll be bound.

But you must look after the young lady. You will understand that no one has said a word to her about it; or, if they have, I don't know it. You'll find the squire on your side, that's all. Couldn't you manage to come down this Easter? Tell old Buffle, with my compliments, that I want you. I'll write to him if you like it. I did know him at one time, though I can't say I was ever fond of him. It stands to reason that you can't get on with Miss Lily without seeing her; unless, indeed, you like better to write to her, which always seems to me to be very poor sort of fun. You'd much better come down, and go a-wooing in the regular oldfashioned way. I need not tell you that Lady Julia will be delighted to see you. You are a prime favourite with her since that affair at the rail.

way station. She thinks a great deal more about that than she does about the bull.

Now, my dear fellow, you know all about it, and I shall take it very much amiss of you if you don't answer my letter soon. Your very sincere friend,

DE GUEST.

When Eames had finished this letter, sitting at his officedesk, his surprise and elation were so great that he hardly knew where he was or what he ought to do. Could it be the truth that Lily's uncle had not only consented that the match should be made, but that he had also promised to give his niece a considerable fortune? For a few minutes it seemed to Johnny as though all obstacles to his happiness were removed, and that there was no impediment between him and an amount of bliss of which he had hitherto hardly dared to dream. Then, when he considered the earl's munificence, he almost cried. He found that he could not compose his mind to think, or even his hand to write. He did not know whether it would be right in him to accept such pecuniary liberality from any living man, and almost thought that he should feel himself bound to reject the earl's offer. As to the squire's money, that he knew he might accept. All that comes in the shape of a young woman's fortune may be taken by any man.

He would certainly answer the earl's letter, and that at once. He would not leave the office till he had done so. His friend should have cause to bring no further charge against him of that kind. And then again he reverted to the injustice which had been done to him in the matter of letter-writingas if that consideration were of moment in such a state of circumstances as was now existing. But at last his thoughts brought themselves to the real question at issue. Would Lily Dale accept him? After all, the realisation of his good fortune depended altogether upon her feelings; and, as he remembered this, his mind misgave him sorely. It was filled not only with a young lover's ordinary doubts, with the fear and trembling incidental to the bashfulness of hobbledehoyhood-but with an idea that that affair with Crosbie would still stand in his way. He did not, perhaps, rightly understand all that Lily had suffered, but he conceived it to be probable that there had been wounds which even the last five months might not yet have cured. Could it be that she would allow him to cure these wounds? As he thought of this he felt almost crushed to the earth by an indomitable bashfulness and conviction of his own

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