Imatges de pÓgina

penny-halfpenny magazine will never admit it into its columns.'

It is a sad thing to have to record of any parent that he should actually wish his daughter's mental gifts to escape recognition ; but Mr. Josceline's case was not an unparalleled one. Poverty, like a distorting mirror, often makes what is fair seem foul to us. How often, for example, has a poor man cause to curse his daughter's beauty! But what made Mr. Josceline's case a bad one, rather than a hard one, was that his poverty had been brought about by his own hands, which had squandered his means in all sorts of unworthy ways. Truth to say, for all that was white on his envelope he was indebted to his daughter ; that is to say, his love for her had cleared a space for itself, as it were, in the midst of his selfish recklessness, as though a dove should nestle on a rubbish heap. And, what was worst of all, though to him it did not appear so, the very plans he had in his mind for her benefit were themselves far from what they should be ; he was fixed on making her

comfortable after his own ideas, no matter at what risk of soiling her white wings.

It may be thought that Mr. Josceline ran a great danger in reposing his confidence in a comparative stranger like Mr. Felspar; but the danger was greater than it looked. Short as his acquaintance had been with the young painter, he had gauged his character pretty accurately ; and what he had heard of himand he had made certain inquiries—had corroborated his own view. Moreover, if he were wrong; if Felspar and his friend were like most young men of their class—mere fortune hunters—the knowledge of the fact that Ella was portionless would at least put an end to all peril from that quarter, whatever mischief it might work (by the news getting abroad) in others. And, as Mr. Josceline thought, there was peril from that quarter. He had acknowledged to himself the attractions of Vernon (for he had been attracted, himself, towards him), and noticed the pleasure Ella derived from his society. He had thought the anxiety she had showed in connection with

the adder's bite more significant even than it really was; he had been wont to see young ladies of her position take little services from young gentlemen (if they were ineligible )

' very coolly, and he did not understand how gratitude affects a pure and ingenuous nature. What had, however, alarmed him more than anything was the intelligence, received from Felspar himself, that his daughter's drawing had been directly suggested to her by Vernon. He had observed the pleased alacrity' with

· which she had set to work upon it the previous evening, and the diligence with which she had proceeded with it, and had wondered at the cause. And now he no longer wondered, but feared. It was not easy to alarm a mind so well balanced—in worldly scales—as his was ;

but he had become of late a prey to anxiety upon this subject, and the state of his health increased it. He had come to Wallington Bay as the place best adapted for a certain plan he had vaguely had in view, and this had already taken shape. It was of extreme importancefor his time was growing short--that nothing


should interfere with it; hence his recent measure of precaution. With Vernon brushed aside, the road, though difficult, would at least be clear before him.

On his way back to the hotel, Mr. Josceline met Mrs. and Miss Jennynge 'going out for a promenade, as the elder lady called it, in the grounds, for an appetite for their lunch ; and with much politeness he offered to accompany them.

They accepted his offer with effusion. They congratulated themselves that they had announced their intention of not going far from home, since they had now a good cause for presenting themselves to the envious eyes of the other guests of the Ultramarine (some of whom had already their noses flattened to the windows) in the company of the Hon. George Emilius,' as Mrs. Armytage was wont familiarly to speak of her new aquaintance. To lookers on, the mother on one side, the daughter on the other, were apparently engaging him in earnest conversation, though the elder lady was, in fact, the chief speaker.

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• How. wicked you are, Mr. Josceline,' said she, 'to make poor Mr. Felspar co idle! You should not thus misuse your social attractions ; I saw you talking to him under the elm tree yonder for ever so long.'

"I had no idea that your eye was upon me, Mrs. Jennynge ; but even if I had known it, my conscience would not have pricked me. If I did detain Mr. Felspar for five minutes, it was only from his luncheon.'

· He ought to have been at work upon my picture,' said Mrs. Jennynge, with a pretence at severity.

Ah, that, indeed, would have been a pleasant occupation !' said Mr. Josceline, gaily; then suddenly reflecting that it was not Mrs. Jennynge's portrait, but her husband's on which the artist was engaged, he added, "for it is no doubt a pleasure, though a mournful one, to embalm, as it were, the memory of the dead by one's imperishable pencil.

It was upon the subject of art that we two were talking just now—or rather upon which he was talking and I was listening.'

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