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whereof the surface is carefully oiled, pass through the waters of strife, without contracting moisture; and Lady Brettingham shook the defiling waters from her wings I was going to say like a swan-but I have a partiality for swans, and will not degrade them by the comparison,-shook the defiling waters from her wings, like a Muscovy duck.
As I half anticipated, Frank Walsingham was idling away his evening in Eaton Square; and already I felt the impossibility of accosting him with my usual friendship. If occupying his customary place beside Lady Mitchelston, I should feel it treachery to Jane;-if solitary and out of spirits, as becomes a lover absent from his love, I should feel it treachery to me.
- sat aloof, therefore, devoting to Lady Brettingham the formal attention and deference which constitutes every well-bred man's style of sending to Coventry the woman he has worn long enough on his sleeve; when up came Frank, with his usual sun-shiny face, and abrupt but cordial manner.
" Cecil ?” cried he" Cecil at a soirée, and on a Sunday evening!—My dear fellow, accept my congratulations !—I was afraid you were half married by this time!-Having missed you from your usual haunts, we fancied you crushed under the weight of parchments and wedding favours !—I have not seen you for centuries.”_
“I saw you at the opera last night,” said I, coolly:
“ And I saw you,—as one sees a lion at the 200.—caged in bis den.—But you don't suppose I consider your sitting in Lady Crutchley's box, being at the opera ?” —
“ As much, I suppose, as your sitting in my sister's,” said I, in the same tone.
“I in Mrs. Herries's box?" retorted Frank. “My dear Cecil, only prove your words !—It would have been indeed worth while to exchange the Omnibus for such an alternative.-Why, I no more dare show so much as the shadow of my glasses there, than in the Queen's !"
Lady Brettingham, little interested in our family discussion, now rising and walking away to play the agreeable to the French ambassador, Frank took her place beside me on the sofa.
“ Nay, I only thought so,” said I, “because you took Jane to her carriage, as I ought to have done ;-and"
I snatched a glance at Frank, as I spoke, but saw no shame in his countenance. The villain only looked handsomer, brighter, and happier than usual.—“ Upon his brow, shame was ashamed to sit.”—
“ Thank Heaven, then, you were otherwise employed,” said he, candidly;" for unless when such chances stand my friend, I have no possibility now of approaching her. Thanks to Ro., you know, I have long been banished the bouse; and as I do not dance, and have consequently no pretext for addressing her above a passing minute in a ball-room, I have not even those opportunities for contemplating her sweet
face, which even such a scoff of the earth as a detrimental like myself niight enjoy, if he bore other name than mine!”
There was no holding out against his frankness,--still less against his winning smiles.He was Frank Walsingham again, and already I had almost forgotten poor Chippenham and his afflictions. I could not, however, forget my brother; and if not angrily, determined gravely to interrogate the delinquent.
“ But my dear Frank,” said 1,-as uncleishly as my white cravat and miraculously fitting pantaloons admitted," what on earth can be the use of your indulging in admiration of Jane Danby, or of any other girl ?-You are not a marrying man,--you are not in a position of life to
“ Ay !-iell me I am not in a position of life to enjoy the use of my eyes, ears, and understanding !” interrupted he, bitterly.—“Quite right, Cecil !-quite right!—I am a younger son,-eh?-Say it out, like the rest of them !
a chartered beggar,--a wretch, by the condemnation of providence,-a child of wrath,a victim by predestination.”
I looked quietly round, to ascertain, without allowing my suspicion to be manifest, whether he were mad or drunk; but saw nothing in his face, saving the frantic expression that my own used to wear when progressing every morning to Downing Street, during the period between my visit to the D'Acunhas' empty house in Burton Crescent and the mouth of the Tagus.—He was desperate only because desperately in love.
“ I know all you can urge," resumed he, perceiving my utter amazement. “ I know that I have no more right to indulge in the pleasure of Jane's society, than to form pretensions to a crown !-But I cannot help itCecil,- I swear to you I cannot help it !-If I had the slightest reason to hope or fear that my attentions were noticed by her, and that they might consequently prove prejudicial to