Chapter 63620127

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Chapter NumberV
Chapter TitleSociety and its Guests
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63620127
Full Date1886-05-15
Page Number0
Corrections0
Word Count5396
IllustratedY
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleIllustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1853 - 1872)
Trove TitleSociety, Friendship and Love
article text

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['?'" " -, ''I believe they think it is some metallic preparation/' whispered Mrs. Broadhurst to her niece, whose grave face gave .....,

no sort of clue to her private thoughts.-OHAPTEB V. \ . ¡ ,., .. , -

CHAPTER V.

A YoÜNG MAN, EVIDENTLY OF GOOD FAMILY.

BOTTOM-" Let me play the lion. I will roar that I will do

Anv man's heart good to hear me. I will aggravate my , . Voice so. that I will roar you as gently as any sucking Dove. I will roar j ou as 'twere a nightingale."

QUIXCR-" You can piny no part but Pyramus ; for Pyramus ;

Is a sweet-faced man ; a proper man as one shall see in a

Summer's day ; a most lovely gentleman-like man ; therefore You must needs play Pyramus."

BOTTOM-" Well I will undertake it. What beard were I best

Plavitin?"

-Shakespeare.

Mr. Charles Powell having been removed to the country, the recollection of his unlucky attachment to his cousin faded from the minds of all her friends and acquaintances, and even in her own fancy Mr. Gower soon reigned in his stead. The attention paid by the latter to the lovely Dorothea became so marked that all Castlereagh-that is to say, the upper stratum of Castlereagh, which is alone worth mentioning-was much exercised thereby, and many ladies began seriously to discuss whether or no she would be justified in,marrying a man brought up in a different religion to her own. ' When these rumours reached the Broadhurst family, Dorothea affected a charming unconsciousness, Mrs. Broadhurst looked cheerfully mysterious, and Mr. Broad- hurst shrugged his shoulders with that placid unconcern which seldom deserted him even in the most trying moments. But there was one person to whom these vague surmises caused considerable annoyance, and that was Mr. Powell. The substitution of Mr. Gower for Charley presented itself to his vision as a leap from the frying-pan into the tire, and he resolved to ascertain at once how much truth there was in the report, and, if it proved well-founded, to use all his influence to stop so unsuitable a union. He had resolved upon, this course when he received an invitation to dine at his brother-in-law's house, so he forthwith donned his best clerical coat and went forth prepared to take the bull by the

horns.

But, alas ! for human resolutions. Mr. Powell had not spent an hour under his brother-in-law's roof before his niece, with her love affairs, was entirely driven from his mind, and his whole soul was concentrated in an attempt to refute the monstrous doctrines which assailed his ears.

For this entertainment at Oaklands was no mere vulgar dinner-party-it was an era in the political life of Castle- reagh. Mr. Broadhurst, we need not enquire with what motives, had resolved to secure Mr. Grimleigh co the party which the Trumpeter so ably supported, and with that intention had invited him to meet the great Mr. Dash, the renowned leader of that party. If this were not an idle tale of frivolous people we might here describe at length that wonderful dinner, and the illustrious men who were bidden to eat it. But we could not hope to do justice to the sublime sentiments, the subtle arguments, and the persuasive eloquence which, combined with promises of a directly personal nature, at length overcame Mr Grimleigh's scruples, and sent him home a convert to the new Education Bill. Suffice it to say that that desirable result was attained, and that Mr. Dash and Mr. Broadhurst, before they separated for the night, pledged each other in a full bumper, when the following mysterious dialogue passed between them.

" Pompous old ass !" said Mr. Dash. " However, I sup- pose we must give him the Presidentship if nothing happens

in the meantime. "

"Oh, well," said Mr! Broadhurst, "you are not pledged, of course ; what you said to-night might mean nothing, but it would be as well to let him have it, for the old fogey party can be nasty when it likes, and even when the bill is passed you may want him again."

"To be sure," said Mr. Dash. " Well, one iigure head is as good aB another. By the way, I suppose there is no way of gaining your brother-in-law ?"

" Well, no !" said Mr. Broadhurst slowly, as though he were meditating on the subject, "you see you could not promise to get him a bishopric. "

Meanwhile Mr. Powell himself was trudging home in a state of high disgust with all he had seen and heard. The bill itself, to be sure, was monstrous enough, but the motives of its promoters were more monstrous still. Not that Mr. Dash had been otherwise than discreet, or that Mr. Grimleigh's recantation had not been made with a due regard to decency and propriety ; but Mr. Broadhurst seemed to take a malicious pleasure in stripping all remarks of their oratorical drapery and exhibiting them in naked simplicity for the benefit of the company; and even had Mr. Powell been simple enough to accept all that he heard in good faith, his brother-in-law's cynical comments must necessarily have enlightened him. Lest Mr. Broadhurst's conduct should appear indiscreet, we must make haste to explain that he pretty well understood the character and capacities of the men he had to deal with. Mr. Grimleigh's profound self-esteem and wisdom saw nothing amiss ; Mr. Dash was afraid of the Trumpeter, and dared not, for the present, resent anything Mr. Broadhurst chose to do or say ; and the other gentlemen present bad ail their own motives for shutting their eyes and ears and swallowing what was put before them. But Mr. Powell had intelligence enough to understand, and spirit to resent, while at the same time he was quite powerless to injure, and his only means of defence when the entertainment became intolerable to him was to plead duty elsewhere, and to betake himself home.

And so Mr. Gower and Miss Broadhurst were, for the present, allowed to continue their love-making in peace, and Miss Grimleigh, finding herself reduced to the ignominious position of playing second fiddle, wisely sought consolation in the society of Mr. Fitzalan. There seemed a pleasant reciprocity about this arrangement. Dorothea had, in a certain sense, stolen the inmate of their house ; in return she would steal Mrs. Broadhurst's distinguished tutor, whom all the fashionable young ladies in Castlereagh had, by this time,-discovered to be a most accomplished and well-bred young man. In justice to Miss Grimleigh, it must be observed that Mr. Fitzalan met her more than half-way, appeared to derive the greatest pleasure from her society, confided to her certain sentimental circumstances, purport- ing to be the story of his early life, and finally inoculated her with his own master passion for theatricals.

. Many earnest discussions took place on this topic, and it was finally agreed between them that life without amateur dramatic entertainments was intolerable, that a vast amount

of what the Truth-teller- the great rival of the Trumpeter- ; called histrionic talent waa languishing for want of occupa tion, that Mr. Broadhurst's house was admirably adapted

for such a display, and that they were fit and proper . persons to undertake the management of a dramatic com- pany.- It was further agreed between them that on a certain

.afternoon Miss Grimleigh should repair to Mrs. Broadhurst, and broach the subject to her, explaining the many excellent reasons why Oaklands should be preferred to Grim Grange,.

and only omitting the one which there was no gainsaying, videlicet, that Mr. Grimleigh would by no means consent to incur the expense which is entailed by the getting up of a

play.

On. a certain Saturday afternoon, therefore, Miss Mabel went to visit her dear friend Dorothea, whom she found reclining in an easy chair by the tire, for the afternoon was chilly, in company with her mother, who was absorbed in a ponderous looking volume, her cousin Margaret, who was enjoying her holiday on the hearthrug, and Mr. Gower, who was of course absorbed in looking at Dorothea. In addition ' to these, three young gentlemen, ranging from ten to thirteen,

occupied the room-we use the word advisedly, for the whole room seemed full of their presence. One lay stretched on the floor, beating the devil's tattoo with his heels ; another, perched on the back of his mother's sofa, was singing at the top of his musical voice an appropriate adaptation from the "Pirates of Penzance,"--"I am a larrikin;" and the third was practising gymnastics by playing leap-frog over the centre ottoman.

" Dear Mrs. Broadhurst," cried Miss Grimleigh, enthusi- astically, "how comfortable you look !" And after a warm embrace of Dorothea, an affable greeting to Maurice, and a cool bow to Margaret, she sat down by the side of the elder lady, bent on being as affable as her somewhat stiff nature

would allow. «

" Comfortable ! " cried Mrs. Broadhurst, suddenly roused to a sense of the clamour going on round her. "My dear, I am simply driven distracted ; these boys have given me no peace all day. Jack, will you leave off that horrid noise ? Dunstan, get off my chair and hold your tongue ! Regy, if you cannot behave like a gentleman, go Out of the

room 1 "

Apparently Regy felt that his powers were unequal to behaving like a gentleman, for he picked himself up from the floor, and slouched out of the room, muttering some- thing about there never being any fun in this miserable old house when people came into it, and why did they not stay away ? Jack, having cleared the ottoman with one last tremendous bound, gave vent to his pleasure by standing on his head and emitting a triumphant crow, which so enraged his mother that she got up and promptly boxed his

ears. Dunstan, familiarly and appropriately called Dimce, ? profited by the movement to slip into her seat and refused to stir therefrom, so that Mrs. Broadhurst was at last fain to call upon Mr. Gower, who settled the difficulty by turning both boys out of the room, and threatening them with con- dign punishment if they ventured to return.

Order was scarcely restored when the tutor made his appearance, ealm and collected, and apparently quite uncon- scious that Mr. Gower had been obliged to usurp his functions. Neither did Mrs. Broadhurst seem to resent his. neglect, but welcomed him to the little circle by making way for him on the sofa between herself and Mabel Grimleigh. Then she shut up her book with a little sigh,

between regret and relief, which prompted Mr. Fitzalan to1 ask what she was reading.

" ' The Confessions of a Sceptic,' " she answered, " it is one of the most interesting books that I have seen for a long time. The author is anonymous, but he is evidently a man who has seen and thought a great deal."

' ' Oh ! I have heard of it and wanted to read it, only mama would not let me," cried Miss Grimleigh, with a charming little air of being just emancipated from the schoolroom. "IB not the hero made a sceptic, because someone asks him why he believes ?"

"Yes; it is a most touching story," said Mrs. Broad- hurst, " aud one that requires deep thought. Do you know it, Mr. Gower ?"

"Yes, I remember it perfectly," said. Maurice. " The unfortunate man runs the gauntlett of all creeds known and unknown, and we finally leave him undecided whether to turn Parseè or to retire on his doubts. For my part, I hope he was not reduced to the latter melancholy alterna- tive; such perseverance deserved to be crowned with success. Do you not think so, Miss Bioadhurst ?"

"T think it is very wrong of you to laugh at the poor man," said Dorothea, smiling, however, sweetly at him. " It must be a terrible thing to be tossed about in doubts."

"Yes," said Miss Grimleigh, " my mother says " (Miss Grimleigh was much given to quoting her mother, and did so in an impressive manner, as though she were advancing the opinions of the irrefragable- Doctor at least) " that the book is a terrible example of the power of pure reason to lead men astray. When once the child-like faith is aban- doned there seems a terrible uncertainty whether it can ever be recovered, and reason lures its victim on to catch at successive straws until he is overwhelmed in a slough of despond. I am sure it is very true," added Miss Grimleigh,

on her own account. ~

"It seems peculiarly hard on the sceptic," said Maurice, demurely!; " because if his friends had not asked him indis- creet questions, he. might have continued in his child-like faith to the end. of the volume. Though then, to be sure, the book would not have been written, which would be a pity."

Margaret looked at him with a little amazement ; this speech sounded very unlike the enthusiastic young penitent on the church-roof, but then Mr. Gower had been a con- stant source of surprise tb her from the first day she met him. " I do not see why sceptics need give their lucubra . tions to the public at all," she said, "most people can

manage to doubt for themselves, the difficulty is to teach them how to believe." At which speech, Maurice laughed, Miss Grimleigh looked shocked, Dorothea murmured in a gentle tone of remonstrance, " Margaret Dear ! " and Mrs. Broadhurst answered rather sharply " You had better read the book, my dear, before you criticise it . it might do you good. To be able to sympathise thoroughly with the religious difficulties of others requires certain qualities which are not too common-clear intellect, warm charity, strong sympathy, and perfect toleration. It is not your . one-sided, narrow-minded, sneering people, who refuse to

recognise anything outside their own particular shibboleth, and who pride themselves on never allowing their minds to be disturbed, who have a right to sit in judgment on the passionate struggles that are utterly beyond the grasp of their minds. People with no strong religious feeling of their own should be the last to give their opinion on the religious feeling of others. Is it not so, Mr. Gower ? "

"Not altogether, I think," said Maurice. "Do you not fancy that Gal lio would make a more impartial and tolerant judge than Demetrius of Ephesus ? "

"Oh ! Maurice, you dp not .want.us to believe that you are intolerant?" said Miss Grimleighi who was not very clear in her mind about either of the persons mentioned.

"Oh! certainly not," he answered. "Pray do not let us make it a personal matter ; but I agree with Mise Latimer that it would be more decent if sceptics were tc

make up their minds one way or another before rushing into print to disturb their neighbours. No one wants to thread his way along a labyinth which leads nowhere ; a little downright dogmatism is most refreshing after much of that sort of stuff. Do you not think so?" he said, as he caught Margaret's eye fixed curiously on him.

" Certainly ;" she answered, " in religious literature one likes such a work as the tract old Mrs. Guise was reading the other day-'This is the way ; walk ye in it '-now that is intelligible to the meanest capacity."

"Who is Mrs. Guise?" asked Maurice, while Miss Grimleigh cast a disapproving glance at Margaret1; but whether the disapproval was directed at the levity of her remark, or at her impertinence in making a remark at all, we are unable to say. .

"Mrs. Guise is an old protege and parishioner of my brother, Mr, Powell," said Mrs. Broadhurst, " but she is a very obstinate and disagreeable old woman, in my humble opinion, and has not, I believe, a spark of gratitude in her whole composition. I wonder my brother was not disgusted with her long ago."

" She is not a very nice old woman," said Dorothea, " but I think she is really religious in her own peculiar way ; and I am sure Bhe admires uncle Dunstan above all the men on earth, though she is sometimes rude to him, and pretends to be a dissenter."

" Her name is an odd one," said Maurice, amiably anxious to keep the conversation from taking a fresh polemical turn. " How does she spell it ? It is more suggestive of St.

Bartholomew than of Dissenters."

"Yes, she spells her name like the Lorraine family, though I do not suppose she ever heard of them. Her husband was a Presbyterian, and a very sour, drunken old man into the bargain ; how he came to be called Guise is a mystery to every one.

"I was very intimate a few years ago with a young fellow, named Lorraine, who was a descendent of Claude Lorraine, though I never heard of his being connected with any Guises, certainly not with Mrs. Guise," said Mr.

Fitzalan, with a smile.

Ma»rice Gower looked curiously at the tutor, while Mrs. Broadhurst, whose ear had been struck by the euphonious name of Lorraine, instantly demanded further particulars concerning its bearer.

"Oh! I did not know him for long," explained Mr. Fitzalan, "he had led rather a romantic life, and married against the wish of his father and family, who left him to make his own way in the world. Then he went out as a volunteer to fight with the Turks, and when I knew him he had been suddenly seized with a fancy for the stage. By the way, MÍBS Grimleigh, he was a first rate actor-a splendid

tragedian."

" Was Lorraine his real name, or one that he took when he went on the stage ? " asked Margaret.

The tutor seemed unnecessarily offended by the question ; he looked angry, changed colour a little, and answered with some haughtiness, *' I do not know what you mean Miss Latimer. He was quite the . gentleman ; and of a first-rate family-quite an aristocratic young fellow, and he only took to acting for the love of the art, he did not do it for a

living."

"I beg your pardon," said Margaret, I thought Lorraine sounded like a good name for the stage, but I did not mean to insult your friend. " . '

" And what did Mr. Lorraine do with his wife while he was'fighting with the Turks and acting plays for amusement 1 She must have been rather neglected, " remarked Maurice.

" She left him and went into a convent, said Mr. Fitzalan, shortly, as if he did not wish to continue the subject.

" What a curious story ! " said Mrs. Broadhurst, " I am afraid there is more than you care to tell us. It seems a strange thing that a young man of good family to take to the stage

"There you are wrong," eagerly interrupted the tutor. " There is no slur on the stage now-a-days. Gentlemen and ladies may act without losing caste ; and I have known more "than one member of the nobility who has made acting a profession and was not the less received at court in consequence."

Again Mr. Gower and Miss Latimer glanced involuntarily at each other, but the glance was intercepted by Dorothea, whose face suddenly flushed crimson, and by Miss Grimleigh, who remarked, in her usual impressive manner " Well, aftei all, it is only right. Acting is one of the fine arts, and actors and actresses are artists who contribute to the pleasure of their neighbours ; as Mr. Fitzalan says, they are often of good family, and it seems cruel and uncharitable tc make Pariahs of them. And, by the way, Mrs. Broadhurst, while we are talking of the stage, do you not think we mighl get up some theatricals ? I know that Mr. Fitzalan has had a great deal of experience in acting, and it is such a chance

to have him to direct us."

" Oh ! yes," said the tutor, " I ham, had plenty ol experience in that sort of thing ; in î&ctÊÈ friend Lorraine persuaded meto try the real stage for a Eaonth or two, bul at the end of that time, I had a quarrel with the managei and threw it up. Since then I have confined myself tc private theatricals ; I am.a very good hand at those."

"Do let us have some," persisted Miss Grimleigh anc Dorothea, still with a very bright colour in her cheeks repeated " yes mother, dear, would it not be charming?'

" it doeB not seem a bad idea," said Mrs. Broadhurst " but where would you act ? " .

" We meant to ask you-that is-would you mind letting us have your dining room ; we have not a room to b< compared with it as regards size-you must not refuse deai Mrs. Broadhurst," cried Miss Grimleigh, in what was meani for a sweetly pleading tone. But Dorothea interposed " Could we not-" she began, with her great eyes gazing inte vacancy, " could we not-" and then she paused, raising hei eyes suddenly to Maurice's face, met his admiring gaze, anc dropped them again in charming confusion.

" Could we not do what dear? " said Mrs. Broadhurst anc Miss Grimleigh together.

" Could we not do something for a charity ? " Dorothei went on, taking her mother's hand between her own claspec ones, and leaning her head confidingly on Mrs.. Broadhurst' shoulder, " we should all have so much pleasure in acting i we felt we were doing in in some good cause, if it was no all idle amusement-mother dear, you would not disapprove would you ? We should be so happy ourselves, and perhap make a great many other people so."

" A capital idea, my darling child ; I could not possibl; disapprove of. your."undertakiug_a^

charity," said Mrs. Broadhnrst, and Miss Grimleigh ex claimed, "the very thing, Dolly ! How stupid of us not t think of it before ! What do you say, Mr. Fitzalan ? "

"Nothing could be better," said the tutor. "It is quit the thing at home for the aristocracy to act in the theatre

' for the benefit of charitable institutions, and I once stayed

in a country-house, belonging to some rather great people, where they got up a play for the benefit of the small farmers round, who had been nearly ruined by a wet season. Titled people came from all the neighbouring counties, and it was a great success. We had some songs and character dances afterwards, which went down capitally with the audience."

" What are character dances ? " asked Mrs. Broadhurst.

"You dress up," explained the tutor, "as some comic character, old King Cole, or a monk, or a Frenchman and you dance and sing some song appropriate to the dress. On the occasion of which I am speaking, I danced a very good one ; I was dressed as a very fat monk, intoxicated, and I reeled about the stage in a kind of step, and sang a temperance hymn j it told very well, I assure you."

" So I should imagine," said Maurice, drily, and Margaret Latimer bit her lip and stared hard at the fire ; but the other ladies appeared pleased and interested, and the tutor was encouraged to proceed. "One very good plan is generally followed at a theatrical entertainment given in the country ; a number of free tickets are distributed to the poor people, so that they may have a chance of a little intellectual amusement such as they seldom get ; their remarks are sometimes as amusing as the play itself-at least so I am told, for, to tell the truth. I have generally béen one of the leading performers on such occasions, and sp have not had a chance of hearing what the audience think, except when they applaud, until afterwards."

" It seems a nice plan to give some tickets away/' said Miss Grimleigh ; "of course poor people could not afford to pay ; and it is rather hard they should never have a chance of seeing any thing good, to raise their minds a little above the public house. Could we not do something of the kind ? "

"Scarcely in Castlereagh, I should think," said Maurice Gower ; "in all probability the larrikins would be the only creatures* to avail themselves of your free tickets, and though, no doubt, you would greatly elevate their taste by admitting them to see a fat monk, reeling about a stage and singing a hyrrn, I am afraid you would.pay too dearly

for the privilege."

"If the monk offends your prejudices, we can take a Baptist Minister," said the tutor, with a sort of sneer.

" I should derive as much satisfaction from the one a's the other," said Maurice, coolly.

" Or perhaps you object .to the theatre ? " continued the other, in the same offensive tone.

"I should certainly not take on myself to object to anything you thought fit to do," answered Maurice, as quietly as before, but with a certain look about his mouth

and eyes which made Mrs. Broadhurst come hastily to the - rescue. She did not want her two new pets to quarrel openly ; a little rivalry between them was only natural, but she must use her dexterity to prevent this feeling from growing into positive enmity. " Do you hot believe in the improvement of the masses, Mr. Gower? " she asked in her

sweetest voice.

" I have the most profound belief in the improvement of everybody, Mrs. Broadhurst, if it can only, be done," he answered, pleasantly ; " the awkward question seems to be

how to set about it."

" Oh t the only thing, of course, is to set before them constantly good pictures, good music, good plays and so on,

till they become so accustomed to what is good that they . will not understand anything else. That is why I think art exhibitions are such admirable institutions., lt is evident that they answer their purpose, for they are always crowded, and they must raise the minds of the people who visit them

above the sordid cares of life. Now do you. not agree with

me ?"

" Certainly art exhibitions are pleasant things, and an amusement to the people who visit them, but I suppose that when you speak of the masses you mean a lower stratum than respectable people, who go to fancy bazaars and picture galleries. And do you not find it a little hard to believe that a man whose idea of perfect bliss is unlimited rum and no work, or a woman whose mind is bent oh securing her " husband's wages before he can take them to the public

house, people to whom it is a necessity to get the utmost value out of sixpénnyworth of coppers, can possess souls, . turned to harmony with semi-allegorical, pre-Raphaelite

pictures, or can appreciate the osthetic value of an empty willow-pattern soup plate ?" ' ~~

" It is too bad, Maurice," said Miss Grimleigh, " besides, the poor people out here are not like these at home. .How- ever, perhaps, free tickets would not do for Castlereagh. But let us return to our point. What play can we have ?"

" Let us first discuss whom we can find to act," said Mr. Broadhurst. You, Mabel, and Dorothea, and Margaret, do you wish for a part ?"

" No thank you, Aunt Dora."

"But Margaret, dear, you must have a part," cried Dorothea, ' ' you act better than any of us. Oh ! I7es, dear, you must have a little part at least. "

"Thank you, Dolly," said Margaret, " but uncle Dunstan might not like it, and besides I have really no

time. " ;

" Uncle Dunstan !" repeated Dorothea, "why he loves a good play, and do you not remember the theatricals we got up in Montrose, when he was living there, and they wanted

funds for an assembly room. He did not disapprove a bit,

and came to see us himself."

" Castlereagh is not quite the same as a little country town, where everyone knows everyone else," said Margaret. . ' But at any rate, I really have no time to learn and rehearse a part, so.please leave me out of the discussion."

" Surely Mr. Powell cannot disapprove," said the tutor. He is considered High Church, and the High Church party at home quite lend itself to the encouragement of the drama."

" Of course," said Mrs. Broadhurst, " and do you not hear that he allowed the young people to get up a play in Montrose and went to it himself ? It is only some nonsense of Margaret's."

Margaret did not trouble herself to make any further answer ; the truth was, that it was not the enormity of acting before the Castlereagh public, nor the fear of her uncle's displeasure that made her draw back, but, in the first place, she Baw the decided reluctance on Miss Grim- leigh's part to admit her into the company, and in the second, she felt an equally decided reluctance to throw herself, without good cause, into the society of Mr. Fitzalan. So to avoid being the subject of futher discussion she slipped out of the room and went to put on her hat.

Half way along the road to Mr. Powell's, she was over . taken by Mr. Gower, who attacked her for walking so fast,

and declared himself to be quite breathless with his exertions to overtake her. " You look wonderfully cool," said Margaret, incredulously. "Have you settled all about the

play ?"

(Continued on page 10.)

.?*.??

(Continued from page 7.) -

"I left Fitzalan arranging it all to his own perfect

satisfaction."

" And what is the play,-and what part are you going to

take?"

"I felt myself so perfectly unable to do justice to a play arranged by Mr. Fitzalan, that, like yourself, I declined any part."

" Miss Latimer, who is Mr. Fitzalan, and where does he come from?"

"He is tutor to my aunt's boys, and comes, I believe, from Mrs. Grimleigh's ; before that, it appears that he moved in the best society in England," said Margaret, calmly.

" Where he picked up some very extraordinary notions about the stage," continued Maurice. I wish he would take his play back to ßundeland Hall and his 'titled' friends. He means to adapt scenes from various writers, suitable to the powers of the company, so he told us. Could you not persuade your cousin not to act ? I wonder that Mrs. Grimleigh allows her daughter to do so. They are going to ask that mysterious Count to take a part also. I suppose Fitzalan will, introduce a spiritual element to suit

him."

"It will be a very wonderful performance, I think," said Margaret, "I am looking forward to its production with great interest. Only-well, perhaps, you are right and

it would be better if Dorothea did not act."

"And you have so much influence with your cousin," began Maurice, eagerly, but he suddenly checked himself. "I beg your pardon, MÍSB Latimer, for boring you about the matter. After all I daresay the play will fall through."

" A consummation devoutly to be wished," said Margaret. " Well, Mr. Gower, if I can do anything to stop the perfor- mance, I will, but I think you overrate my influence, and we must wait and see how things turn out."

And privately she thought that she had an argument to bring forward that would out-balance all the attraction of acting with Mr. Fitzalan.