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point of my saying that I told him a fib, when I said she was? Evident ly, too, he is afraid of my power to harass and annoy him; or why make it a point that I shall only nibble his cheese in a trap at the world's end, stared at by bushmen, and wombats, and rattlesnakes, and alligators, and other American citizens or British settlers? L.200 ayear, and my own wife's father a millionaire! The offer is an insult. Ponder this; put on the screw; make them come to terms which I can do them the honour to accept; meanwhile, I will trouble you for my four sovereigns."

Poole had the chagrin to report to the Colonel, Jasper's refusal of the terms proposed, and to state the counter-proposition he was commissioned to make. Alban was at first surprised, not conjecturing the means of supply, in his native land, which Jasper had secured in the coffers of Poole himself. On sounding the unhappy negotiator as to Jasper's reasons, he surmised, however, one part of the truth-viz. that Jasper built hopes of better terms precisely on the fact that terms had been offered to him at all; and this induced Alban almost to regret that he had made any such overtures, and to believe that Darrell's repugnance to open the door of conciliation a single inch to so sturdy a mendicant, was more worldly-wise than Alban had originally supposed. Yet partly, even for Darrell's own security and peace, from that persuasion of his own powers of management which a consummate man of the world is apt to entertain, and partly from a strong curiosity to see the audacious son of that poor dear rascal Willy, and examine himself into the facts he asserted, and the objects he aimed at, Alban bade Poole inform Jasper that Colonel Morley would be quite willing to convince him, in a personal interview, of the impossibility of acceding to the propositions Jasper had made; and that he should be still more willing to see the young person whom Jasper as serted to be the child of his marriage.

Jasper, after a moment's moody deliberation, declined to meet Colonel Morley-partly, indeed, from the

sensitive vanity which once had given him delight, and now only gave him pain. Meet thus altered, fallen, imbruted-the fine gentleman whose calm eye had quelled him in the widow's drawing-room in his day of comparative splendour-that in itself was distasteful to the degenerated bravo. But he felt as if he should be at more disadvantage in point of argument with a cool and wary representative of Darrell's interests, than he should be even with Darrell himself. And unable to produce the child whom he ascribed the right to obtrude, he should be but exposed to a fire of cross questions without a shot in his own locker. Accordingly, he declined, point-blank, to see Colonel Morley; and declared that the terms he himself had proposed were the lowest he would accept. "Tell Colonel Morley, however, that if negotiations fail, I shall not fail, sooner or later, to argue my view of the points in dispute with my kind father-inlaw, and in person.

"Yes, hang it !" cried Poole, exasperated; "go and see Darrell yourself. He is easily found.”

"Ay," answered Jasper, with the hardest look of his downcast sidelong eye-" Ay; some day or other it may come to that. I would rather not, if possible. I might not keep my temper. It is not merely a matter of money between us, if we two meet. There are affronts to efface. Banished his house like a mangy dog-treated by a jackanapes lawyer like the dirt in the kennel! The Loselys, I suspect, would have looked down on the Darrells fifty years ago; and what if my father was born out of wedlock, is the blood not the same? Does the breed dwindle down for want of a gold ring and priest? Look at me. No; not what I now am; not even as you saw me five years ago; but as I leapt into youth! Was I born to cast sums and nib pens as a City clerk? Aha, my poor father, you were wrong there! Blood will out! Mad devil, indeed, is a racer in a citizen's gig! Spavined, and windgalled, and foundered-let the brute go at last to the knackers; but by his eye, and his pluck, and his bone, the brute shows the stock that he came from!"

Dolly opened his eyes and blinked. Never in his gaudy days had Jasper half so openly revealed what, perhaps, had been always a sore in his pride; and his outburst now may possibly aid the reader to a subtler comprehension of the arrogance, and levity, and egotism, which accompanied his insensibility to honour, and had converted his very claim to the blood of a gentleman into an excuse for a cynic's disdain of the very virtues for which a gentleman is most desirous of obtaining credit. But by a very ordinary process in the human mind, as Jasper had fallen lower and lower into the lees and dregs of fortune, his pride had more prominently emerged from the groupe of the other and more flaunting vices by which, in health and high spirits, it had been pushed aside and outshone.

'Humph!" said Poole, after a pause. "If Darrell was as uncivil to you as he was to me, I don't wonder that you owe him a grudge. But even if you do lose temper in seeing him, it might rather do good than not. You can make yourself cursedly unpleasant if you choose it; and perhaps you will have a better chance of getting your own terms if they see you can bite as well as bark! Set at Darrell, and worry

him; it is not fair to worry nobody but me!"

"Dolly, don't bluster! If I could stand at his door, or stop him in the streets, with the girl in my hand, your advice would be judicious. The world would not care for a row between a rich man and a penniless son-in-law. But an interesting young lady, who calls him grandfather, and falls at his knees, he could not send her to hard labour; and if he does not believe in her birth, let the thing but just get into the newspapers, and there are plenty who will and I should be in a very different position for treating. 'Tis just because, if I meet Darrell again, I don't wish that again it should be all bark and no bite, that I postpone the interview. All your own laziness - exert yourself and find the girl."

"But I can't find the girl, and you know it! And I tell you what, Mr Losely, Colonel Morley, who is a very shrewd man, does not believe in the girl's existence."

"Does not he! I begin to doubt it myself. But, at all events, you can't doubt of mine, and I am grateful for yours; and since you have given me the trouble of coming here to no purpose, I may as well take the next week's pay in advance-four sovereigns, if you please, Dolly Poole."

CHAPTER XII.

Another halt-Change of Horses-and a turn on the road.

Colonel Morley, on learning that Jasper declined a personal conference with himself, and that the proposal of an interview with Jasper's alleged daughter was equally scouted or put aside, became still more confirmed in his belief that Jasper had not yet been blest with a daughter sufficiently artful to produce. And pleased to think that the sharper was thus unprovided with a means of annoyance, which, skilfully managed, might have been seriously harassing; and convinced that when Jasper found no farther notice taken of him, he himself would be compelled to petition for the terms he now rejected, the Colonel dryly in

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formed Poole "that his interference was at an end; that if Mr Losely, either through himself, or through Mr Poole, or any one else, presumed to address Mr Darrell direct, the offer previously made would be peremptorily and irrevocably withdrawn. I myself," added the Colonel, shall be going abroad very shortly for the rest of the summer; and should Mr Losely, in the meanwhile, think better of a proposal which secures him from want, I refer him to Mr Darrell's solicitor. To that proposal, according to your account of his destitution, he must come sooner or later; and I am glad to see that he has in yourself so judi

cious an adviser" a compliment which by no means consoled the miserable Poole.

In the briefest words, Alban informed Darrell of his persuasion that Jasper was not only without evidence to support a daughter's claim, but that the daughter herself was still in that part of Virgil's Hades appropriated to souls that have not yet appeared upon the upper earth, and that Jasper himself, although holding back, as might be naturally expected, in the hope of conditions more to his taste, had only to be left quietly to his own meditations in

order to recognise the advantages of emigration. Another £100 a-year or so, it is true, he might bargain for, and such a demand might be worth conceding. But, on the whole, Alban congratulated Darrell upon the probability of hearing very little more of the son-in-law, and no more at all of the son-in-law's daughter.

Darrell made no comment nor reply. A grateful look, a warm pressure of the hand, and, when the subject was changed, a clearer brow and livelier smile, thanked the English Alban better than all words,

CHAPTER XIII.

Colonel Morley shows that it is not without reason that he enjoys his reputation of knowing something about everybody.

"Well met," said Darrell, the day after Alban had conveyed to him the comforting assurances which had taken one thorn from his side-dispersed one cloud in his evening sky. Well met," said Darrell, encountering the Colonel a few paces from his own door. "Pray walk with me as far as the New Road. I have promised Lionel to visit the studio of an artist friend of his, in whom he chooses to find a Raffaelle, and in whom I suppose, at the price of truth, I shall be urbanely compelled to compliment a dauber."

"Do you speak of Frank Vance ?" "The same!"

"You could not visit a worthier man, nor compliment a more promising artist. Vance is one of the few who unite gusto and patience, fancy and brush work. His female heads, in especial, are exquisite, though they are all, I confess, too much like one another. The man himself is a thoroughly fine fellow. He has been much made of in good society, and remains unspoiled, You will find his manner rather off-hand, the reverse of shy; partly, perhaps, because he has in himself the racy freshness and boldness which he gives to his colours; partly, perhaps, also, because he has in his art the self-esteem that patricians take from their pedigree, and shakes a duke by the hand to prevent the duke holding out to him a finger."

"Good," said Darrell, with his rare, manly laugh. "Being shy myself, I like men who meet one half-way. I see that we shall be at our ease with each other."

"And perhaps still more when I tell you that he is connected with an old Eton friend of ours, and deriving great benefit from that connection; you remember poor Sidney Branthwaite?"

"To be sure. He and I were great friends at Eton-somewhat in the same position of pride and poverty. Of all the boys in the school we two had the least pocket-money. Poor Branthwaite! I lost sight of him afterwards. He went into the Church, got only a curacy, and died young.'

"And left a son, poorer than himself, who married Frank Vance's sister."

"You don't say so. The Branthwaites were of good old family; what is Mr Vance's?"

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Respectable enough. Vance's father was one of those clever men who have too many strings to their bow. He, too, was a painter; but he was also a man of letters, in a sort of a way-had a share in a journal, in which he wrote Criticisms on the Fine Arts. A musical composer, too. Rather a fine gentleman, I suspect, with a wife who was rather a fine lady. Their house was much frequented by artists and literary

men old Vance, in short, was hospitable his wife extravagant. Believing that posterity would do that justice to his pictures which his contemporaries refused, Vance left to his family no other provision. After selling his pictures and paying his debts, there was just enough left to bury him. Fortunately, Sir the great painter of that day, had already conceived a liking to Frank Vance then a mere boy-who had shown genius from an infant, as all true artists do. Sir took him

into his studio, and gave him lessons. It would have been unlike Sir, who was open-hearted but close-fisted, to give anything else. But the boy contrived to support his mother and sister. That fellow, who is now as arrogant a stickler for the dignity of art as you or my Lord Chancellor may be for that of the bar, stooped then to deal clandestinely with fancy-shops, and imitate Watteau on fans. I have now two hand-screens that he painted for a shop in Rathbone Place. I suppose he may have got 10s. for them, and now any admirer of Frank's would give £100 a-piece for them."

"That is the true soul in which genius lodges, and out of which fire springs," cried Darrell, cordially. "Give me the fire that lurks in the flint, and answers by light the stroke of the hard steel. I'm glad Lionel has won a friend in such a man. Sidney Branthwaite's son married Vance's sister-after Vance had won reputation?'

"No; while Vance was still a boy. Young Arthur Branthwaite was an orphan. If he had any living relations, they were too poor to assist him. He wrote poetry much praised by the critics (they deserve to be hanged, those critics!)-scribbled, I suppose, in old Vance's journal; saw Mary Vance a little before her father died; fell in love with her; and on the strength of a volume of verse, in

which the critics all solemnly deposed to his surpassing riches-of imagination, rushed to the altar, and sacrificed a wife to the Muses! Those villanous critics will have a dark account to render in the next world! Poor Arthur Branthwaite ! For the sake of our old friend his father, I bought a copy of his little volume. Little as the volume was, I could not read it through."

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"What !-below contempt?"

"On the contrary, above comprehension. All poetry praised by critics nowadays is as hard to understand as a hieroglyphic. I own a weakness for Pope and common sense. I could keep up with our age as far as Byron ; after him I was thrown out. However, Arthur was declared by the critics to be a great improvement on Byron-more poetical in form'-more 'æsthetically artistic'-more 'objective' or 'subjective' (I am sure I forget which, but it was one or the other, nonsensical, and not English) in his views of man and nature. Very possibly. All I know is-I bought the poems, but could not read them; the critics read them, but did not buy. All that Frank Vance could make by painting hand-screens and fans and album scraps, he sent, I believe, to the poor poet; but I fear it did not suffice. Arthur, I suspect, must have been publishing another volume on his own account. I saw a Monody on something or other, by Arthur Branthwaite, advertised, and no doubt Frank's fans and hand-screens must have melted into the printer's bill. But the Monody never appeared: the poet died, his young wife too. Frank Vance remains a bachelor, and sneers at gentilityabhors poets-is insulted if you promise posthumous fame-gets the best price he can for his picturesand is proud to be thought a miser. Here we are at his door."

CHAPTER XIV.

Romantic Love pathologically regarded by Frank Vance and Alban Morley.

Vance was before his easel, Lionel looking over his shoulder. Never was Darrell more genial than he was

that day to Frank Vance. The two inen took to each other at once, and talked as familiarly as if the retired

lawyer and the rising painter were old fellow-travellers along the same road of life. Darrell was really an exquisite judge of art, and his praise was the more gratifying because discriminating. Of course he gave the due meed of panegyric to the female heads, by which the artist had become so renowned. Lionel took his kinsman aside, and, with a mournful expression of face, showed him the portrait by which all those varying ideals had been suggested-the portrait of Sophy as Titania.

"And that is Lionel," said the artist, pointing to the rough outline of Bottom.

"Pish!" said Lionel, angrily. Then turning to Darrell "This is the Sophy we have failed to find, sir— is it not a lovely face?"

"It is indeed," said Darrell. "But that nameless refinement in expression-that arch yet tender elegance in the simple, watchful attitudethese, Mr Vance, must be your additions to the original."

"No, I assure you, sir," said Lionel; "besides that elegance, that refinement, there was a delicacy in the look and air of that child, to which Vance failed to do justice. Own it, Frank."

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Reassure yourself, Mr Darrell," said Vance, "of any fears which Lionel's enthusiasm might excite. He tells me that Titania is in America; yet, after all, I would rather he saw her again-no cure for love at first sight like a second sight of the beloved object after a long absence."

DARRELL (somewhat gravely).— "A hazardous remedy-it might kill, if it did not cure."

COLONEL MORLEY.-"I suspect, from Vance's manner, that he has tested its efficacy on his own person." LIONEL. "No, mon ColonelI'll answer for Vance. He in love! Never."

Vance coloured-gave a touch to the nose of a Roman senator in the famous classical picture which he was then painting for a merchant at Manchester and made no reply. Darrell looked at the artist with a sharp and searching glance.

COLONEL MORLEY.-"Then all the more credit to Vance for his intuitive perception of philosophical truth.

Suppose, my dear Lionel, that we light, one idle day, on a beautiful novel, a glowing romance-suppose that, by chance, we are torn from the book in the middle of the interest-we remain under the spell of the illusion-we recall the sceneswe try to guess what should have been the sequel-we think that no romance ever was so captivating, simply because we were not allowed to conclude it. Well, if, some years afterwards, the romance fall again in our way, and we open at the page where we left off, we cry, in the maturity of our sober judgment, 'Mawkish stuff!-is this the same thing that I once thought so beautiful?--how one's tastes do alter !""

DARRELL."Does it not depend on the age in which one began the romance?'

LIONEL "Rather, let me think, sir, upon the real depth of the interest-the true beauty of the "

VANCE (interrupting).-"Heroine? -Not at all, Lionel. I once fell in love-incredible as it may seem to you-nine years ago last January. I was too poor then to aspire to any young lady's hand-therefore I did not tell my love, but 'let concealment,' et cetera, et cetera. She went away with her mamma to complete her education on the Continent. I remained 'Patience on a monument.' She was always before my eyesthe slenderest, shyest creature-just eighteen. I never had an idea that she could grow any older, less slender, or less shy. Well, four years afterterwards (just before we made our excursion into Surrey, Lionel), she returned to England, still unmarried. I went to a party at which I knew she was to be-saw her, and was cured."

"Bad case of smallpox, or what?" asked the Colonel, smiling.

VANCE."Nay; everybody said she was extremely improved-that was the mischief-she had improved herself out of my fancy. I had been faithful as wax to one settled impression, and when I saw a fine, fullformed, young Frenchified lady, quite at her ease, armed with eye-glass and bouquet and bustle, away went my dream of the slim blushing maiden. The Colonel is quite right, Lionel;

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