was. He knew that Carry was stupid, and that
Lily was clever ; that Lily drew like an artist, and
that Helen sang only rather well.
He knew that Lily was the one who chiefly
brought the family into disrepute, and that Helen
could behave herself as well as anybody when she
How he knew what he knew, it would have been
difficult to guess. All he needed to know was â€”
themselves ; and that knowledge was unattainable.
It was Lady Sauffrenden, as we have said, who
made it so ; and it was the only point on which she
and Philip differed. He wondered if Mr Smith were
to be another. He saw nothing in Mr Smith but a
little stout man turning grey, whose having ten
thousand a-year was rather an offence to him. If
he were to be set up as anything else, it would
be simply ridiculous.
92 MR SMITH:
" Nice fellow that Smith, isn't he ? " began Lord
SauJBTrenden, soon after his friend appeared at the
Castle. " Milly told me you called â€” thanks. I think
we shall find him an acquisition."
" I called, as Lady Sauffrenden asked me," with
a touch of significance.
" Yes, well, I asked her. The fact is, the Lorrimers
spoke to me to get him well introduced."
" Is he a friend of the Lorrimers ? "
"Oh, by George! yes. The greatest friend they
have. Stayed with them, travelled with them, lived
with them, in fact, for years. They think there's
nobody like him."
This, of course, had all to be sifted ; but even after
that process, there remained a good deal of extra-
" Milly was delighted with him too," Lord Sauf-
frenden ran on. "Were you not, Milly? Wliat
was that you said about him? She hit him off
exactly, Philip, but I forget what it was."
" So do I," said Milly, smiling. " It is too much
to expect me both to say wonderful things, and to
remember them afterwards."
" Well, I don't know. At any rate you liked him."
A PART OF HIS LIFE. 93
" I did like him, very much."
" The Lorrimers have put her up to it," reflected
" Seen the house, PhH ? "
"When I went to call."
" Splendid rooms, I'm told."
" There ought to be. It's a large building. What
will he do with it ? "
" Do ! Marry and settle. That's what he ought
to do, at all events. I have been racking my brains
to find a wife for him."
" My dear SaufFrenden 1 " exclaimed his wife,
laughing. " Was that why you were going over all
the daughters of the land the other day ? I had no
idea you had this in your head. AVhy, he is quite an
" All the more reason why he should look sharp.
Elderly? He's nothing of the sort. Nobody is
elderly till he's sixty or seventy nowadays. Of
course that was what I was thinking of, and if he
does not help himself soon, I shall make bold to
" He is not thinking of helping himself, I should
94 MR SMITH:
" That shows how little you know about it, Milly.
You don't keep your ears open, as I do. I say, if he
does not find a wife quickly, you and I must find
one for him."
" And where am I to find one ?"
" Ah, that's your business. He would be a good
match for anybody. But wait a little ; perhaps he
will do without our assistance. Come along and
take a turn, Philip."
So saying, and nodding sagaciously. Lord Sauf-
frenden closed the door.
" I'll tell you more about that, now we are by our-
selves," said he, when they had taken down caps and
sticks. " I have my own reasons for what I said
just now. Wait a minute. Don't go that way ; I
want you to come and see the new dog. He's here,
and I think promises well."
" Where have you kennelled him ? "
"Next door to Gyp. Look now, what do you
think of his head? First-rate, isn't it? Well
marked, too. I think he'll do, eh ? "
" If he does as well as he looks, I should say he
would. It's the same you bespoke in September,
A PART OF HIS LIFE. 95
"Yes, from Bushe. But he only came on Thurs-
day. Well done, old boy, well done ! Knows me,
you see. Yes, I think he'll do, on the whole. Then
here are the pups."
The pups were duly seen and handled, and no
more was said about Mr Smith.
They were at some distance from the house, and
Philip, to whom the subject was indifferent, had
forgotten it altogether, when his companion suddenly
began â€” '' But I was to tell you about Mr Smith.
Oh, and first, have you seen the ToUetons since you
came back ? "
Yes, he had. The truth was, that he had met Mr
ToUeton the day before, who, as a matter of course,
invited him in to dinner. With the choice between
good cheer and good company, and poor fare with
none to share it, the temptation had been irresistible.
He had gone to Freelands, not intending to mention
it at Sauffrenden.
Gone, however, he had, and Lord Sauffrenden's
Why could he not go? Why should his friend
go where he did not? Why should the Tolletons
be considered a sort of forbidden fruit, of which
g6 MR SMITH:
Philip miglit eat and not be harmed, whereas it
would be unwholesome for him ?
He felt, like every one else from Eve downwards,
that there was something inexpressibly alluring in
the forbiddenness, and it did seem hard that others
should partake of what he was debarred from, even
if it had to be done under the rose.
This complaint, however, could not be uttered
Philip made his confession with the guilty air
which inevitably accompanied it, and Sauffrenden
did his best to receive it with a look of absolution.
"Ah, indeed! Yoa have seen them? Then
perhaps you know all about it already? Perhaps
you can guess how they have been amusing them-
selves since you went away ? "
'' No, indeed ; they did not tell me. Anything in
particular ? "
''Why, yes. It's too good a joke not to be some-
thing in particular. They have been setting their
caps at Smith ! That was what I meant in the
" Nonsense ! "
"It's a fact. I can tell you all about it. But
A PART OF HIS LIFE. 97
don't make mention up there, you know," pointing
to the house. "There's no need for her to know
anything about it. She likes Smith, and it might
put her against him. I don't want that done."
Philip was laughing loudly.
"But listen â€” you haven't heard the half," proceeded
the narrator, with the keenest relish. "I can tell
you all that took place. He was up here one day,
and drove. Well, he was on his way home, when he
overtook the three walking, and the upshot was that
Helen got into the carriage, and drove off alone with
him ! "
" You don't say so ! "
" I tell you it's a fact.'*
"But who told you?"
''The best person in the world, Dr Hunt. His
girls were there too, or one of them was, and she
went straight to her parents with the story. Of
course one can't tell how much to believe, but the
fact remains that she did it. That I can swear to,
for Hislop met them."
" And what did he say ? "
"I asked him if he had seen Mr Smith yet. I
knew he had, you know, for I went down the road
VOL. I. G
98 MR SMITH:
to meet him soon after Smith left, so he must have
passed the carriage somewhere. He said ' Yes/ with
a broad grin, and that he must be a kind-hearted
gentleman, for he was giving a young lady a lift.
However, he couldn't tell me which of them it was,
or anything more, so I went off next day and met
the doctor, who spontaneously gave me the whole
history. Helen was the one."
''I daresay she asked him."
"I daresay she did. But the doctor's tale was
that they were all invited, but none of the others
would accept. His girl, at any rate, declined."
"What a thumper!"
" Of course. Smith knows better than to ask her
â€” a spotty-faced thing, like a ferret ! "
<'Well done, Helen!" ejaculated Philip. "WeU
done, fair Helen ! brave Helen ! I couldn't have be-
lieved it, even of Helen ! "
" But mind you don't let it out to Milly."
" Who ? I ? What should I let it out for ? How-
ever, if it comes to anything, she will hear of it fast
" Yes, I suppose so. But then it may not come to
anything, and there would be no harm done."
A PART OF HIS LIFE. 99
" Do you think it will ? "
" How can I tell ? You know them ; I don't."
Philip winced. ''You would know them too,
Sauffrenden, if it were not for your wife."
" Of course I should, my dear fellow ; I'm not say-
ing anything as to that. Bachelors know lots of
girls they couldn't if they had wives."
" But after all, you know, it is but fair to say they
are not worse than numbers of others. They don't
manage to keep it dark, as some do ; but in reality
they are not half as bad as they're made out. I must
say I think it's rather a shame of some people "
Here he stopped suddenly, remembering that Lady
Sauffrenden was one of the people he was refer-
" Well, I think it is. But, you see, Milly's at the
bottom of it," said her husband, frankly. "She's
rather sharp on girls ; and, of course, she would not
like that about Smith."
Philip was silent. He did know, and he could not
deny it: it chafed him. Sauffrenden, who would
know people in spite of everybody, who had intro-
duced him to many an acquaintance he would fain
have avoided, had one elevation on which he took
100 MR SMITH:
his stand superior â€” and that ground was the Tol-
He knew that Sauffrenden longed after the ToUe-
tons. He knew that all the time he plumed himself
on abstaining from intercourse with them, it was be-
cause he felt this to be the only compensation for
their loss. And when he had called on Mr Smith,
on purpose to please his friend, he did feel it to
be rather hard that it was through Mr Smith the
naughty girls were now in fresh disgrace.
Therefore he was silent.
By the time they had come under the drawing-
room windows again, however, he had thought of
something to say.
" After all, you know, the Tolletons "
"Take care," interrupted Sauffrenden quickly,
and glancing up at the windows ; " don't say the
name so loud. Can't you say tlie Ts, and then no
one will know who it is ? "
" What does it signify ? "
"Why, you see," with a little of the guilty air
himself, " she's always catching me at it. I don't
know how it is, but as surely as I happen to say a
word about them â€” the â€” the Ts, you know â€” a bird in
A PART OF HIS LIFE. lOI
the air carries it all over the place. So, of course,
she thinks I'm always at it. There now, you see."
For at this moment out stepped Lady Sauffrenden
from the conservatory â€” a bunch of flowers in one
hand, and a pair of garden scissors in the other.
" Well, dear," said her husband, accosting her
rather anxiously, "who are these for? Not me, I
know ; you never give me bouquets now."
" You get one nearly every day," retorted the little
lady, good-humouredly. " And you don't deserve
them for telling such stories. These are for the
drawing-room." Then to Captain Well wood â€” " Have
you any engagement for Friday ? "
No, he had none for any day.
" What's Friday, Milly ? " Her husband arrested
" Mr Smith is coming to dinner, and the Fultons,
and one or two others. I hope Captain Wellwood
will come too ? "
" Will you come, Philip ? "
" Certainly I will come ; I always come when
Lady Sauffrenden asks me."
" And bring Jumper ? "
" Jumper will be very happy." â™¦
102 MR SMITH:
" I daresay Smith would drive you over if he
" Oh, why should he ? "
"Save the Buck. But, of course, four miles is
nothing to him."
" I like the walk, if it's fine. I shan't take the
Lady Sauffrenden pressed her husband's arm, and
no more was said.
" He did not like your suggestion of Mr Smith's
driving him," said she, as soon as they were alone.
'( Why should he dislike it ? I would do it myself."
" Yes, you ; but Philip is different." She always
called him " Philip " when they were by themselves.
" How is he different ? I don't see the difference.
I thought it would be a convenience to him, as he
has only one horse at present."
" That's it ; if he had half our horses he wouldn't;
" My dear child, what nonsense you talk ! If he
had half our horses, why should he care to save
them? If he had even his usual two, it wouldn't
matter so much ; but he is saving Buck up till after
Christmas. I know that is why he won't go out
A PART OF HIS LIFE. IO3
with the hounds now. He'll have his other one
then ; but he doesn't want the old fellow knocked
up. I knew he would be glad to save him ; that
was why I thought of Smith."
" You silly boy/' began she, laughing ; " that was
just why he didn't like it. He didn't like the idea
of saving himself at Mr Smith's expense. Poor
men are a great deal more particular about such
matters than rich ones. I quite agree with him."
" Oh, don't you teach me. Mill. I know fellows who
would sponge on anybody for the sake of saving
their pockets a shilling."
" It is not because they are poor, then, but because
they are mean."
" They are poor too. Being poor makes them mean."
" No, no, it isn't so, Sauffrenden," cried she, warmly ;
" that isn't the reason at all. It has nothing to do
with their being poor. Mean people will be mean,
if they were as rich as Croesus ; but if they are not
mean-minded, they will take more care about not
appearing so when they are poor, than they would
if they were rich. I should, I am sure."
"Lady Sauffrenden's decision," said her husband,
waving his hands gracefully, " will always be mine.
104 MR SMITH:
The pattern husband, Eobert Frederick, Baron Sauf-
The lady coloured, and withdrew her hand.
"Now don't be cross, you stupid darling," cried
he, catching her round the waist. "I'll kiss you
before all the windows, if you don't behave your-
" Oh, Sauffrenden, do take care ! How can you ?
You don't know who may be looking out. How can
you go on so ? "
" I didn't do it," said Sauffrenden, making a grim-
ace at the windows ; " but I will, unless she's good.
Is she good now ? "
" Perfectly good ; good as gold. But just one thing,
dear, do listen for a moment ; I wish you would be
a little more particular in what you say to Philip
sometimes. I think you hurt him without know-
" Hurt Philip ! "
. '* You see he is terribly proud."
"Philip proud? Tliat he is not, I am sure. I
never found him so. I should say there wasn't a
bit of pride about him. He is as good a fellow as
A PART OF HIS LIFE. I05
" That's the way a man judges. As if he would be
proud with you ! He's too fond of you."
" But he isn't proud to anybody. I see him with
the grooms and people."
" As if he would show it to them, either ! "
" Then who on earth is he to show it to ? "
" He doesn't show it, as you say, to anybody,
Sauffrenden, but he feels it. I should say he was
the proudest man I had ever met."
" My dear child ! " In his amazement he dropped
her hand from his arm. " Why, Milly, he goes to the
ToUetons' ! "
" That says nothing."
"You know it says a great deal. Hardly any-
body goes to them now, and you won't hear of
having them here. I'm sure I should have no
objection, poor things, but I always thought you
made such a point of it."
" So I do," replied the lady, calmly. " I don't wish
to know the Miss ToUetons at all, and I don't fancy
Philip would either, if "
" If what ? "
" If he did not admire Helen."
"There, Milly, now you are wrong. He no more
I06 MR SMITH:
admires Helen than I do. That shows how little
you know about it. I could prove it to you, if I
chose " (thinking of Mr Smith). " He only goes be-
cause he has nothing else to do with himself. He
must have company of some sort, and he can't be
always here. I should do the same in his place."
There was no doubt of this, and Sauffrenden might
feel that he had defended his absent friend with both
truth and spirit.
A PART OF HIS LIFE. 107
Feom the foregoing chapter it will be seen that Lady
Sauffrenden was perhaps possessed of rather more
insight into character than her husband. Captain
Wellwood had not been exactly hurt, but he had
been rather amazed by Sauffrenden's suggestion.
Mr Smith seemed to be always coming in his way.
He had not gone half a mile, before he saw him on
the road in front.
" He is going to the Tolletons' ! " was the instan-
taneous conviction. Thereupon Philip quickened his
pace, and Mr Smith, being rather a steady than a
swift walker, was soon overtakeii.
It needed but a few preliminaries on the part of
each gentleman to discover that Mr Smith was going
to the Tolletons', upon which Captain Wellwood
immediately found out that such was his own
I08 MR SMITH:
destination likewise. Having dined there the
night before, he believed he ought to call. Mr
Smith was all complaisance, and they walked for-
Mr Smith had made himself very nice to go to the
ToUetons'. He wore a dark coat over light grey
trousers, a half-high grey hat, grey tie, and gloves,
all good of their kind, and admirably suited to the
When his hat was on, nobody saw he was grey at
the temples, and his ruddy cheeks and thick whis-
kers looked very well out of doors. His conversation
was sensible, and his voice singularly soft and well
modulated. In spite of himself, Philip was taken
with his companion. There was an open unaffected-
ness, and a geniality of manner, which could not but
please. He did not wish to like Mr Smith, he saw
no reason why he should like him ; but had he been
asked, he could not, with truth, have replied that he
The ladies were at home, as Captain Wellwood
shrewdly supposed they would be.
There were fresh flowers in the drawing-room, and
a blazing fire supplied the warmth which the autum-
A PART OF HIS LIFE. IO9
nal sunshine, now beginning to wane, could not
Two of the sisters were busy. One had ensconced
herself in the window, with her head bent over an
illuminated page ; the other was engaged in needle-
work. Helen, who had apparently just come in-
doors, stood by the table taking off her gloves.
They were much surprised to see Mr Smith, not
expecting any one that dreary afternoon. It
was such a raw dull day, and the roads were so
unpleasant, and it was so kind in him to come.
Captain Wellwood obtained a polite welcome, but
all the enthusiasm, all the emjpressement, were for
Mr Smith must take the easy-chair, papa's chair,
and have it wheeled round, and the glass screen
between him and the fire. They must be very good
to him, because it was so kind in him to come, and it
would teach him to do the same again. Tea would
be up directly, and they had sent to let papa know ;
he did not always care for tea, but would be sure
to come when he heard who was there.
When the first bustle was over, nevertheless, it
appeared to a spectator that the sisters were not
no MR SMITH:
working quite so much in harmony as usual.
Carry, for instance, took up her position on the
sofa close to Mr Smith's left hand, Helen having
playfully settled down upon a footstool on his right ;
and took no notice of several hints thrown out for
Helen was sure papa must have come in, and the
servant have missed him ; he was probably in his
own room. Carry, on the other hand, was equally
sure that had he done so, they must have heard
him put his stick into the stand in the hall ; a
thing he never failed to do with a great noise.
Next, Helen wanted the blind pulled down. The
sun was in Mr Smith's eyes, and Carry was the
only one who knew how to manage the blinds.
Mr Smith protested that the sun was not in his
eyes, and Carry let the blinds alone.
Then Miss Carry must needs show her embroidery-
work to Mr Smith, albeit Helen was sure Mr Smith
would not care for modern tapestry. He would
not, however, himself acknowledge so mucL He
thought the workmanship ingenious and laborious,
and gave great credit to the worker. Carry's spirits
rose. With praise of the workmanship, whatever
A PART OF HIS LIFE. Ill
he thought of the work, the worker ought to be
Statisfied. She returned to her misshapen monks
with renewed zeal. But her end had come.
Lily was not going to sit by and see things going
wrong in that way. She had appropriated Captain
Wellwood herself, and retired to a distance with
him, but she now saw it was high time to interfere.
By her prompt aid to one sister, she soon routed
the other. She wished to show her work likewise,
and having boldly requested Carry to give up her
place, seated herself on the arm of the sofa for half
a minute, then made short work of the illumination,
and returned to Captain Wellwood. It was all done
easily, speedily, and well. Helen was left in full
possession of the field.
Mr Smith appeared to be quite content with the
arrangement. The rest were in the bow -window,
he and she alone by the fire. Helen, now shading
her face with her handkerchief, now letting the
dancing firelight play upon it, now throwing out
the suggestion of a small well-shapen foot, now
drawing her skirts hastily over it, put herself into
a variety of pretty attitudes. Her hat grew too
hot, and she tossed it off upon the rug. Then the
112 MR SMITH:
necktie must come off too, and the brooch be
fastened afresh, and the jacket undone, and a little
business made about the whole, which showed off
those pretty white fingers with the turquoise rings
to perfection. All the time she was prattling to
him, looking up at him, wiling, if she could, his
heart out of his bosom.
There was no doubt that Mr Smith enjoyed it all ;
that he liked very well to sit in the easy -chair,
looking at the firelight through the glass screen,
and every now and then taking a peep down at
the handsome head with its glossy coils of hair
beside him. He would not have been human if he
had not found a certain fascination in this state of
things, and he was very humaa
"Don't you find it sometimes rather dull when
you aren't moving about ? " said she once, when
the conversation in the window was loud and
" Yes, indeed ; but one must get used to it ;
although I don't think one ever does get altogether
used to it, Miss Tolleton. I feel more lonely now
sometimes than when I first began to live by
myself; it may be coming back to England â€” when
A PART OF HIS LIFE. 113
one is abroad, people seem to live more in com-
" You have been a great deal abroad ? "
"The best part of my life. I had no ties at
home, and a great desire to see the world."
" It is sad to have no ties, isn't it ? " said Helen,
" Yes," meditating, " sad, but not so sad as some
things. Friends I am very rich in ; they ought to
make up to me for the want of kith and kin."
" Only they never do."
"You think not?"
" They would not to me, at least."
"Ah, you are well off," glancing at the other
group. " You have a happy home ; you have
nothing to wish for."
"You forget," said she, in the same soft tones,
" I had once a mother."
He felt shocked at himself. The party seemed
so complete â€” the sisters so independent, so self-
reliant â€” that the idea of any blank had never
occurred to him. The gap had so filled up that
even the marks were invisible. He stammered an
VOL. I. H
114 MR SMITH:
" It is a loss/' Helen went on, " which is to be felt,
perhaps, more than understood. We were so young
that it is difficult to realise what it must have been
to us, but I fancy we often feel the effect without
knowing what it is."
This was true and genuine, but it was not sim-
plicity which put it into expression â€” it was rather
a high degree of art. Mr Smith was touched, and
regarded her with more interest than before.
" I, too " he began. Oh, how provoked Helen was
with her father's joyous welcome at that moment ! â€”
that moment which might have been fraught with
results ! They had grown so confidential, so per-
sonal ! Their voices were so low that nobody but he
would ever have dreamed of interrupting. " I, too" â€”
what was he going to say ? Was he going to tell
her anything ? Was he going back to bygone days ?
going to unlift the veil which hung over his past
life ? to confide in her ? to share with her some
memory, some retrospect ? Was there ever anything
so tantalising ? The only comfort was, she fancied
that he was as much provoked as herself.
However, the thing was done. A dialogue broken
oS" at this point could by no means be brought to-
A PART OF HIS LIFE. II5
gether again. A little graceful reluctance she might
show, but rise she must, and ring the bell, and order
in the tea.
Corker knew better than to bring tea without its
being rung for. He had once or twice committed