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sary, putting your shoulder to the wheel when the coach gets into the mud. That's what I've been doing all my life. They've known what I am very well They've always kept me for the heavy roads. If they paid, in the Civil Service, by the hour, I believe I should have drawn a larger income than any man in it. you take the vacant chair in the next room you'll find it's no joke. It's only fair that I should tell you that."

If

"I can work as hard as any man," said Eames.

"That's right. That's right. Stick to that and I'll stick to you. It will be a great gratification to me to have by me a friend of my old friend De Guest. Tell him I say so. And now you may as well get into harness at once. FitzHoward is there. You can go in to him, and at half-past four exactly I'll see you both. I'm very exact, mind,-very;-and therefore you must be exact.' Then Sir Raffle looked as though he desired to be

left alone.

"Sir Raffle, there's one favour I want to ask of you," said Johnny.

And what's that?"

"I am most anxious to be absent for a fortnight or three weeks, just at Easter. I shall want to go in about ten days."

Absent for three weeks at Easter, when the parliamentary work is beginning! That won't do for a private secretary." "But it's very important, Sir Raffle."

"Out of the question, Eames; quite out of the question.” "It's almost life and death to me."

"Almost life and death. Why, what are you going to do?” With all his grandeur and national importance, Sir Raffle would be very curious as to little people.

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Well, I can't exactly tell you, and I'm not quite sure myself."

"Then don't talk nonsense. It's impossible that I should spare my private secretary just at that time of the year. I couldn't do it. The service won't admit of it. You're not entitled to leave at that season. Private secretaries always take their leave in the autumn."

I should like to be absent in the autumn too, but"It's out of the question, Mr. Eames."

Then John Eames reflected that it behoved him in such an emergency to fire off his big gun. He had a great dislike to firing this big gun, but, as he said to himself, there are occasions which make a big gun very necessary. "I got a letter from Lord de Guest this morning, pressing me very much to go to

him at Easter. It's about business," added Johnny. “If there was any difficulty, he said, he should write to you.'

"Write to me," said Sir Raffle, who did not like to be approached too familiarly in his office, even by an earl.

"Of course I shouldn't tell him to do that. But, Sir Raffle, if I remained out there, in the office," and Johnny pointed towards the big room with his head, "I could choose April for my month. And as the matter is so important to me, and to the earl-"

"What can it be?" said Sir Raffle.

"It's quite private," said John Eames.

Hereupon Sir Raffle became very petulant, feeling that a bargain was being made with him. This young man would only consent to become his private secretary upon certain terms! Well; go in to FitzHoward now. I can't lose all my day in this way. ""

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"But I shall be able to get away at Easter?"

"I don't know. We shall see about it. But don't stand talking there now." Then John Eames went into Fitz Howard's room, and received that gentleman's congratulations on his appointment. "I hope you like being rung for, like a servant, every minute, for he's always ringing that bell. And he'll roar at you till you're deaf. You must give up all dinner engagements, for though there is not much to do, he'll never let you go. I don't think anybody ever asks him out to dinner, for he likes being here till seven. And you'll have to write all manner of lies about big people. And, sometimes, when he has sent Rafferty out about his private business, he'll ask you to bring V him his shoes." Now Rafferty was the First Commissioner's

messenger.

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It must be remembered, however, that this little account was given by an outgoing and discomfited private secretary. A man is not asked to bring another man his shoes," said Eames to himself," until he shows himself fit for that sort of business. Then he made within his own breast a little resolution about Sir Raffle's shoes.

CHAPTER XLVII

THE NEW PRIVATE SECRETARY

INCOME-TAX OFFICE, April 8, 18—.

MY DEAR LORD DE GUEST,-I hardly know how to answer your letter, it is so very kind-more than kind. And about not writing before,-I must explain that I have not liked to trouble you with letters. I should have seemed to be encroaching if I had written much. Indeed it didn't come from not thinking about you. And first of all, about the money,as to your offer, I mean. I really feel that I do not know what I ought to say to you about it, without appearing to be a simpleton. The truth is, I don't know what I ought to do, and can only trust to you not to put me wrong. I have an idea that a man ought not to accept a present of money, unless from his father, or somebody like that. And the sum you mention is so very large that it makes me wish you had not named it. If you choose to be so generous, would it not be better that you should leave it me in your will?

"So that he might always want me to be dying," said Lord de Guest, as he read the letter out loud to his sister. "I'm sure he wouldn't want that," said Lady Julia.

you may live for twenty-five years, you know."

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"But

Say fifty," said the earl. And then he continued the reading of his letter.

But all that depends so much upon another person, that it is hardly worth while talking about it. Of course I am very much obliged to Mr. Dale, very much indeed, and I think that he is behaving very handsomely to his niece. But whether it will do me any good, that is quite another thing. However, I shall certainly accept your kind invitation for Easter, and find out whether I have a chance or not. I must tell you that Sir Raffle Buffle has made me his private secretary, by which I get a hundred a year. He says he was a great crony of yours many years ago, and seems to like talking about you very much. You will understand what all that means. He has sent you ever so many messages, but I don't suppose you will care to get them. I am to go to him to-morrow and from all I hear I shall have a hard time of it.

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"Poor fellow!"

By George, he will," said the earl. "But I thought a private secretary never had anything to do," said Lady Julia.

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I shouldn't like to be private secretary to Sir Raffle, myself. But he's young, and a hundred a year is a great thing. How we all of us used to hate that man. His voice sounded like a bell with a crack in it. We always used to be asking for some one to muffle the Buffle. They call him Huffle Scuffle at his office. Poor Johnny!" Then he finished the letter:

I told him that I must have leave of absence at Easter, and he at first declared that it was impossible. But I shall carry my point about that. I would not stay away to be made private secretary to the Prime Minister; and yet I almost feel that I might as well stay away for any good that i

shall do.

But

Give my kind regards to Lady Julia, and tell her how very much obliged to her I am. I cannot express the gratitude which I owe to you. pray believe me, my dear Lord de Guest, always very faithfully yours, JOHN EAMES.

It was late before Eames had finished his letter. He had been making himself ready for his exodus from the big room, and preparing his desk and papers for his successor. About half-past five Cradell came up to him, and suggested that they should walk home together.

What! you here still?" said Eames. "I thought you always went at four." Cradell had remained, hanging about the office, in order that he might walk home with the new private secretary. But Eames did not desire this. He had much of which he desired to think alone, and would fain have been allowed to walk by himself.

"Yes; I had things to do. I say, Johnny, I congratulate you most heartily; I do, indeed."

"Thank you, old fellow!"

"It is such a grand thing, you know. A hundred a year all at once! And then such a snug room to yourself, and that fellow, Kissing, never can come near you. He has been making himself such a beast all day. But, Johnny, I always knew you'd come to something more than common. I always said so."

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"There's nothing uncommon about this; except that Fitz says that old Huffle Scuffle makes himself uncommon nasty." Never mind what Fitz says. It's all jealousy. You'll have it all your own way, if you look sharp. I think you always do have it all your own way. Are you nearly ready?" Well, not quite. Don't wait for me, Caudle."

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Oh, I'll wait. I don't mind waiting. They'll keep dinner for us if we both stay. Besides, what matters? I'd do more than that for you.'

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"I have some idea of working on till eight, and having a chop sent in," said Johnny. "Besides-I've got somewhere to call, by myself."

Then Cradell almost cried. He remained silent for two or three minutes, striving to master his emotion; and at last, when he did speak, had hardly succeeded in doing so. "Oh, Johnny," he said, I know what that means. You are going

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to throw me over because you are getting up in the world. I have always stuck to you, through everything; haven't I?" "Don't make yourself a fool, Caudle."

You'd

Well; so I have. And if they had made me private secretary, I should have been just the same to you as ever. have found no change in me."

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"What a goose you are. Do you say I'm changed, because I want to dine in the city?"

"It's all because you don't want to walk home with me, as we used to do. I'm not such a goose but what I can see. But, Johnny I suppose I mustn't call you Johnny, now."

"" 'Don't be such a-con-foundedThen Eames got up, and walked about the room. "Come along," said he, “I don't care about staying, and don't mind where I dine." And he bustled away with his hat and gloves, hardly giving Cradell time to catch him before he got out into the streets. "I tell you what it is, Caudle," said he, "all that kind of thing is disgusting."

"But how would you feel," whimpered Cradell, who had never succeeded in putting himself quite on a par with his friend, even in his own estimation, since that glorious victory at the railway station. If he could only have thrashed Lupex as Johnny had thrashed Crosbie; then indeed they might have been equal, a pair of heroes. But he had not done so. He had never told himself that he was a coward, but he considered that circumstances had been specially unkind to him. "But how would you feel," he whimpered, "if the friend whom you liked better than anybody else in the world, turned his back upon you?

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"I haven't turned my back upon you; except that I can't get you to walk fast enough. Come along, old fellow, and don't talk confounded nonsense. I hate all that kind of thing. You never ought to suppose that a man will give himself airs, but wait till he does. I don't believe I shall remain with old Scuffles above a month or two. From all that I can hear that's as much as any one can bear."

Then Cradell by degrees became happy and cordial, and during the whole walk flattered Eames with all the flattery of which he was master. And Johnny, though he did profess himself to be averse to "all that kind of thing," was nevertheless open to flattery. When Cradell told him that though FitzHoward could not manage the Tartar knight, he might probably do so; he was inclined to believe what Cradell

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