which no one broke for some seconds.
The Admiral was engaged in confounding himself
that he had not waited on his new neighbour before.
jMiss Fulton was expecting to be asked again, and
the rest were watching her.
One thing Mr Smith noticed in the course of the
evening. The Tolletons, who were neighbours of
most present, who lived within two miles of Sauffren-
den, and were nice people, living in a nice place,
were never mentioned.
All sorts of scraps of gossip about one thing
and another went the round, for Sauffrenden \^as
emphatically a gossipy house ; there was sympathy
for one friend, smiles for another, interest and
curiosity shown about a third, but one name
was never heard. It was not his business, of
course, but' still he would have been glad if the
subject had been started. He was far from for-
getting the glossy head beside his chair in the
firelight; perhaps he had thought even more of
l6o MR SMITH:
it afterwards than at the time ; and once or twice,
in the midst of Miss Fulton's animation, not to
say flightiness, it rose before him with an odd
incongruity. What connection could there be be-
tween two such opposite people?
The Tolletons, nevertheless, were not ignored
so entirely as Mr Smith supposed.
Philip knew who would not ignore them, and
was quite prepared for Sauffrenden's sly w^hisper
when no one was listening, "Any news of the Ts,
" It's all in training," with a glance at Mr Smith,
who was at that moment engaged in paying his com-
pliment at the end of Miss Fulton's "II Sigretto."
" He is to dine there on Monday ; I'm going too."
"Are you? I wish I were. What fun you'll
have ! What a nuisance it is that thev can't be-
have like other people, and one could go to their
house properly ! Is it to be a dinner-party ? I
wish I were going. I wish they ^vould ask me."
" My dear fellow," said Philip, laughing, " nothing
in the world would give them greater pleasure than
to ask you. If an invitation is all you want, it is
A PART OF HIS LIFE. l6l
" Well, well ; you know what I mean. And so
he is to be there, is he ? I daresay it will be very
pleasant. I daresay Helen will make herself very
" I daresay she will — most certainly she will,
if she does as she did the other day."
" When was that ? Oh, on the drive. But have
they met since? Do you think they have met
since? It strikes me they must have been meet-
ing somewhere between now and then, for it is
nearly a fortnight since then, you know. Let me
see. It was the day he was here — that was a
Monday; was it last Monday? No, it couldn't
have been, for that was the day we went to the far
cover, and you came on Tuesday ; it must have been
the Monday before, and that makes it right, a fort-
night next Monday. What do you think, eh ? "
" Well, the fact is," replied Philip, as indifferently
as he could, but still with something of the inevi-
table guilty Tolleton air, "that I met him going
to call there just after I left you on Tuesday ; so,
as you had given me the cue, I thought I might
as well see what was going on."
" And so you went too ? "
VOL. I. L
l62 MR SMITH:
" Yes, I went with him,"
" Well ? " said Lord Sauffrenden, with the keenest
interest. At this moment his wife was seen ap-
proaching. "Want anything, Milly dear? Don't
tire yourself, my child ; let me get it for you."
"No, don't mind, thank you, dear; it is only
the key of the photograph -book. I am almost
certain I put it on the table by this empty ink-
stand. Some one must have taken it."
"Oh, of course they have. It's in the book,
dear. The book is on the other table, by ^h
Smith; I daresay he has been looking at it."
" No, I want it for him. I put it there. But I
do believe the key is in it. How could I be so
stupid ? "
Off she went.
"We had a grand time," said Philip, "and the
old gentleman enjoyed liimself immensely, no doubt.
As for me, I was nowhere. What a girl that is ! "
" Whew ! " said Sauffrenden, with a little surprise.
''Of course she is, that's nothing new. Besides,
she is not the worst of them. Lily's worse, and
Carry would be, only she can't get the fellows to
A PART OF HIS LIFE. 1 63
take up with her, unless the others won't have
" Lily is odious/' said Philip, shortly.
"And so the fair Helen really and truly — well,
she might do worse. But it's such an absurd idea.
What could have put it into her head ? "
" I never saw anything like the girl ! " exclaimed
Philip, with vehemence; the remembrance of his
visit was not so pleasant as he made out. It is
hard on a man to be thrown aside like an old shoe,
when a new one, however inferior in quality, fits
better, and he had been accustomed for so long to
fit the ladies at Freelands. " I never saw any-
thing like the girl ! She looks up at a man, and
talks to him, and makes eyes at him, and goes on
in such a way — it's no wonder a simple soul like
that is no match for her."
"She means him to be one, nevertheless," said
" Pshaw ! she means nothing of the kind. That is
to say, I daresay it may come to that, but all she
thinks of now is to bring him to her feet. It's —
it's a shame."
Again his friend felt surprise, but he only ex-
l64 MR SMITH:
pressed confidence. "I think you're wTong there,
Phil. I don't believe this affair will end like the
rest. What fun could there be in bringing down an
old bird like that?"
" A great deal more fun than a haK-fledged one ;
but it may be as you think, after all. I wouldn't
give twopence for Smith's chance of escape if it is so.
If she really wants him, she'll have him in spite of
" Well, he would get a wife that many would en\y
him. I daresay she is good-natured, and would tone
down, and all that sort of thing. He might tliink
himself very well off. I wonder how it will turn
out. IVIilly has been turning the tables on me, you
know. I said she was to find a wife for him, and so
she has fixed on Cornelia. Look, she has settled
them down with the photograph-book, and he had
her at dinner. I daresay she'll tell me to-night it's
quite a thing to be, but she doesn't know what we
know. I would give twenty pounds to be at the
ToUetons' on Monday night."
" Oh, to dare to say that ! "
'' Hang it, I forgot ! But no one was listening.
A PART OF HIS LIFE. 1 65
Well, remember to give me a full account ; and now
I'll go and talk to the Dowager."
The Dowager was a great-aunt of his own, who
every now and then honoured Sauffrenden with her
presence. She was as comely as a fresh skin, blue
velvet, and diamonds could make her, and was in
her way a great addition to the lots of people whose
approach Captain Wellwood had heralded to the
Some of these had arrived, but many more were
coming. Sauffrenden's sister Eosamond was coming,
and his cousin Mary Percy, and " Fitz," who was a
young Fitz- Charles in the Guards, and the Aytouns,
whom nobody wanted, and several entire families of
fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters, with their
valets and waiting-women, so that their Christmas
was going to be a merry one.
Philip was also to stay at the Castle ; but when
that stipulation was made by his friend, it was ac-
companied by a whispered promise that every facil-
ity should' be afforded him during the visit, for
going to the T's as often as he chose. Indeed, it was
plain that so delighted was Sauffrenden with the
l66 MR SMITH:
secrecy, the audacity, and the rivalry attendant on
the Tolletons' new campaign, that however much he
might envy every one who went to their house, he
would no longer repine at their doing so.
Miss Fulton was much pleased with Mr Smith.
He had been perfectly quiescent and passively
polite, therefore she told herself that he had been
agreeable. Then he had praised her singing, and
with discrimination. And he knew people whom
she knew at Naples.
This satisfied her. She was in good looks and
good spiiits, and having once ascertained that her
companion was worthy of it, she bestowed upon him
the full flow of her mind. As usual with her, she
talked so much that she almost forgot whom she was
The Admiral, however, had not forgot. Ten thou-
sand a-year, French cook, billiard-table, and '34 port
— what a fool he had been not to leave his card
Confound the fellow's name ! If he were Brown,
Jones, and Eobinson rolled into one, he didn't care.
If Cornelia could only hook on there, it would be
the snuggest anchorage for him that ever an old
A PART OF HIS LIFE. 167
craft got into. He was already contemplating the
loan of loose occasional hundreds, and considering
how he could best manage to keep a couple of
steady-going hunters at a brother-in-law's expense,
when he was roused by the immediate presence of
the object of his reverie himself. His sister was in
the act of presenting him.
The Admiral made his best bow. He was at the
same time more arrogant and less proud than she.
From the time he had learnt the name of the man
who was building the great house near Eastworld, he
had contemptuously dismissed him, house and all,
from his thoughts. Directly he met the stranger, a
guest at Sauflfrenden, heard of his wealth, and found
him a bachelor, he was his very humble servant.
He knew how to spread his sails to a fair breeze,
whatever Corny did ; and even she obsei'ved with
surprise the lowness of his bow. She did not under-
stand it. Thomas was not always so affable. Had
she known what was in his mind, she would have
bitten her' tongue out with shame. As it was, she
was only a little agreeably astonished, and stood by
for a few minutes, listening.
The Admiral entered into conversation at once in
l68 MR SMITH:
a bluff, hearty, ofF-hand way, whose openness seemed
to guarantee, " Here he is ! I'll answer for him !
Simple old sailor, very friendly, true and honest to
the backbone, and as guiltless of machination as a
baby." The Admiral had hoped to have had the
honour of waiting on Mr Smith before, felt quite
ashamed to meet him anywhere but in his own
house for the first time ; but he must look it over,
must consider old fellow's infirmities ; no longer in
his prime as Mr Smith was, and had been fairly
tied at home by the leg.
Gout and rheumatism was his mixture, sometimes
stronger of the one, sometimes of the other.
Capital doctor, Dr Hunt. Mr Smith had not yet
had occasion for his services. Hoped it would be
long before he had. Doctors were like Mother
Carey's chickens, only to be seen in foul weather.
Had a friend who was asked the other day for his
doctor's name, and couldn't tell, for he hadn't con-
sulted one for fifteen years ! That was the sort of
man to live with, and get an appetite for your meals.
However, he must say for Hunt, that whenever he
came to Fulton he stayed to dinner, and took his
port like any other Christian.
A PART OF HIS LIFE. 1 69
Well — all — fine open weather. The meet was at
Fulton on Monday, would Mr Smith join them at
breakfast ? -
He didn't hunt? Ah — but he might ride to the
meet — would be very happy to see him ; and Miss
Fulton and the ladies would show him the old ruins
Mr Smith thought he might ride to the meet ; and,
if he did, would certainly avail himself of the
Admiral's hospitality. Miss Fulton had next to
endorse the invitation, which her brother loudly
informed her of
She did it cordially ; and he felt that he had now,
at least, thrown out one grappling-iron. The ruins
w^ould do for Monday ; and though he had been
rather staggered by the not hunting, he was able pre-
sently to reflect that even that might turn out to
his advantage. Brothers-in-law who don't hunt
can't spend their money on hunters ; and if there
were no expensive taste to run away with the for-
tune, why, it was a thousand times the better. He
would be able thus to indulore the few moderate
desires of his dear Cornelia's brother ; and he could
give Corny the hint whenever he wanted anything.
170 MR SMITH:
Corny was a good soul, and, by George ! it was time
she had a husband ; but he must take care how any-
thing of that sort got to her ears.
He knew better than to start her on her high
horse. No, no ; all he had to do was to get Smith to
Fulton, and manage the business himself.
As they departed, he took care to say, " See you on
Monday, then ? "
And Mr Smith replied, that he certainly hoped so.
When Monday came, however, all had changed.
The weather was no longer soft and gently dull ;
there was heavy rain, and no break in the clouds
gave hope of anything better. It was not the sort of
morning on which one cares to rise betimes, and ride
eight miles to breakfast at another man's house. It
was not a day for ruins, or anything else. Miss
Fulton must wait.
He reilected that he was going out to dinner, and
concluded to take his other meals at home.
A PART OF HIS LIFE. 171
THE WOMAN WHO OUGHT NOT TO BECOME
Although the Tolletons had made a great deal of
their family bereavement as a reason for there being
no dinner-party/ it may be doubted whether, in
any case, they would have been able to give one.
As may have been gathered, they found some dif-
ficulty in collecting their neighbours when they
wished to entertain.
In asking Mr Smith, it is true, they much preferred
having him alone, or with the simple addition of
Philip Wellwood, with whom they stood on no cere-
mony. But when they had wanted to have a dinner-
party — and they had been very desirous indeed of
giving one a few months previously — for reasons
which have no place here, they had had such diffi-
172 MR SMITH:
culty in getting it up, that in the end it had col-
The Fultons had made it clear they would not
come. The Deanes, an easy-going father and mother,
whose two sons cajoled or coerced them into a toler-
able degree of intimacy at Freelands, were away from
home. Mr and Miss Gray had accepted, and drawn
back, offering a very shilly-shally excuse. And Mrs
Kodney had a baby the day the invitation was sent
her. There was nobody left but the Hunts.
But the Hunts had been met so often at Freelands,
by the people who were wanted for the dinner-
party, that Helen had declared it was impossible
they should be the only others present again. It
would have an odd appearance. It could not be
That party, accordingly, had fallen to the ground,
and it would have been perilous to attempt another.
" I really don't know that we could have managed
one," said Helen, "unless we had got the Deanes.
If they had come, and had had some people with
them, it might have done ; but there is no one else
just now. After all, poor grandmamma's dying is
not so very inopportune ; it saves so much trouble."
A PART OF HIS LIFE. 1/3
"And will really be far pleasanter," said Lily,
thinking of the dinner-party, though it sounded as if
she meant a disrespectful allusion. " Come and
make preparations now," added she.
When the preparations began, Corker knew at once
that it was Miss Tolleton's party.
Helen never went into the kitchen on ordinary
occasions, leaving the housekeeping department to
Carry, who had a turn for it. On this day, however,
she accompanied her sister, and took an interest in
the bill of fare. She even engaged to find a special
receipt for the cook, and did it. She wished the
wild ducks dressed in a particular way. Men, she
knew, loved wild duck.
The gardener had next a visit. She chose the
plants for the table herself; and then snipped off
every available blossom in the greenhouse, before his
angry eyes. The last bunch of grapes was ordered to
be sent in ; and when the young lady lamented
so feelingly that there was not one of each colour,
Maclaren felt sure there was something in the
The sisters dressed the flow^er-glasses in company
— that they always did themselves ; but Lily was sur-
174 MR SMITH :
prised to see her sister lay aside several small and
" You can't make them bouquets when they aren't
staying in the house," said she.
" They won't find fault with them on that account,
" But they will have them of their own."
" So they will ! I never recollected that. Well,
but a thought strikes me ; I shall make them, all
Helen would not tell her thought. She laughed,
and nodded, and said they must wait for it. The
thought was, however, that if Mr Smith should come
with a flower in his button-hole, she would show him
the way to dispose of it.
Lily stood by and watched her sister, and laughed
Helen was not making the correct old gentleman's
bouquet at all. The correct old gentleman's bouquet
was large and gorgeous — not particularly fragrant,
and quickly strung together. But Helen had taken
the last sprig of verbena, and the one small velvety
geranium, for Mr Smith ; and Philip was to be put
off with the rose.
A PART OF HIS LIFE. 175
"Philip will find it out, you may be sure," said
she. " Here, let me make his. I daresay I could
scrape together something better than that out of the
greenhouse. And you might have given him the helio-
trope, when you know he is so fond of it. It's lost
on the drawing-room table. Give me the scissors."
"It scents the room," said her sister, handing a
thick empty stalk, while her eyes were fixed on the
tiny bunch she held in her left hand.
" Scissors," said Lily, impatiently. " I'll see what
I can do for him ; but I think he might have that."
" Well, if you cannot get anything else, you may
take it. There now, what do you think? That
little bit of white makes it perfect. It's too good
" Give it to Philip, then. He won't appreciate it,
and Philip would. Guardsmen always do. They
know better about these things than any other men."
"Indeed I shan't," said Helen, thinking in her
heart that she had wasted too many bouquets on
Philip already. " I have made it for Mr Smith, and
he shall have it. And you are quite wrong about
his not appreciating, Lily ; I tell you what, I don't
believe anything escapes him."
176 MR SMITH:
" You said it was too good yourself."
" I was only laughing. I wouldn't give him a
poor thing for the world. One has a feeling that
he has been accustomed to the best."
Lily looked at the scissors dubiously. "Xow,
mind," added her sister, with decision, "that you
don't take the heliotrope, unless you really and
truly cannot get anything else. I am sure that
rose would have done very well ; a rose is a great
rarity at this time of year."
" Not one like that," said Lily, contemptuously.
" A poor washed-out China bud ! I should be
ashamed to offer it to him, and I don't believe he
would wear it, either."
" He would have to wear it."
"AYould he? I don't think Philip knows what
it is to 'have.' Certainly, he sometimes treats us
rather cavalierly, don't you tliink ? I daresay he is
the same to every one."
One of Helen's bitter sensations passed through
her as Lily spoke. She felt sure that he was not the
same to every one ; that others too presumed upon
— upon what ? Was it upon their being motherless,
unprotected girls, or upon anything about themselves
A PART OF HIS LIFE. 177
which invited freedom ? It gave her a passing
qualm, and her thoughts turned to Mr Smith with a
new satisfaction. She was resolved that he,, at least,
should never find her too familiar.
When the two guests arrived, the ladies were all
in the drawing-room, and Mr Tolleton received them
in the hall.
The sisters were dressed alike, as usual ; but as
usual it was on the eldest chiefly that the dress was
remarkable. She wore a white silk, short and plain
in front, but flowing far behind ; the open square
showing her neck was edged with soft lace ; and over
the left shoulder was passed a black silk scarf, tied
at the waist in a large bow. So far, all three were
alike ; but Miss Tolleton had seen when she was out
several bunches of red arbutus berries, which she
had plucked, and wreathed among her dark coils,
instead of any other ornament. There were only
two bunches ripe, and Helen took them both ; not
meaning to be selfish, but without a thought.
Lily had asked for one, and her sister had replied
that in that case Carry alone must go without, and
besides it needed both sprays to make up an effective
bunch — one without the other would be poor.
VOL. I. M
178 MR SMITH:
Lily saw the force of botli arguments, and was re-
signed. She merely took note that it was a good
idea, and resolved to remember for another time
how becoming it would be to herself.
The moment the gentlemen entered the room,
there was no doubt about their bouquets.
Mr Smith wore on his breast a small and very
perfect pink and white streaked camellia ; Captain
Wellwood, one equally, if not more beautiful, of the
purest white. Helen's first quick desire was that Mr
Smith's should have been the white one. Then she
wondered how it had become Captain Wellwood's.
This was soon explained. Mr Smith had given it
to him — had brought it in the carHage and pinned
it on himself. It was told while Helen was pre-
senting her offerings, or rather saying how she had
meant to present them ; but now — cut short by Mr
Smith's doing the very thing he ought, taking out
his camellia, and begging her to wear it herseK,
while he replaced it by what she had made for him.
If it had only been the white one !
This example of gallantry, however, was not
imitated. Philip observed that, as his blossom was
already a gift, he could not have the pleasure of
A PART OF HIS LIFE. 179
asking any lady to wear it for him, but he should
be most happy to put in both ; and, so saying, crushed
the bouquet into the same button-hole.
The girls began to admire the camellias, and as
both came from one greenhouse, they were at liberty
to compare them.
The white one was clearly the favourite. Even
their father was struck by it. He knew something
of gardening, and his daughters were pleased that he
should shine in such a respectable taste. He had
seldom seen such a blossom, he must confess he
wondered that Mr Smith liked to cut it. Mr Smith
owned that his gardener, at least, had not liked
cutting it. He had grumbled at defrauding a tree
so early in the season, and hinted at rumours of a
camellia show ; but his master had pacified him out-
wardly with promises that if a show really took
place, he should be allowed to contribute. " Pro-
vided," added Mr Smith, " he did not stint me till
the thing was really announced." He believed,
however, that the man was in his heart by no
means satisfied. Gardeners never were.
Then dinner was announced. It was rather a
blow to Lily that, being the youngest, she was
l80 MR SMITH:
obliged to put up with her father's arm, and sit
opposite Captain Wellwood. Now that Helen had
openly discarded him, she felt persuaded that Philip
would turn to her — if, indeed, he had not done so
But, in truth, Philip had never turned to her
Up to the present time he had, perhaps, if he had
thought about it at all, preferred her to Carry. She
was equally well-looking, and more amusing in her
banter. Carry, placed in any other family, would
have been a dull, quiet girl, put down as sensible,
and admired for her reticence ; but as it was, she
imitated her sisters, and chattered and flirted as well
as she was able. She had all their folly, with none
of their wit.
Philip had been accustomed to amuse himself
with Lily in a more easy and familiar manner than
Helen liked, but he had almost ignored Carry.
On the last occasion, however, when he had
been in their company, Lily had been fast going
down in his estimation. There was a satisfaction in
her glances at Helen ; a mounting guard over her
and Mr Smith ; an air of warning off Carry ; and of
A PART OF HIS LIFE. l8l
keeping herself and every one else out of the way,
which was very offensive.
Helen might choose to marry Mr Smith, and, if
she did, nobody need object ; but she was surely able
to carry forward the business herself, and guide him
safely through its various intricacies up to the pro-
posal point, without any need of her sister's acting
spy, scout, and sentinel all at once.
If he spoke to Helen, Helen answered pleasantly
enough, but Lily's eye was upon him. If he moved,
she was at his side. He could not shake her off.
He began positively to hate her.
Carry was now by many degrees the higher of the
two in his estimation. She at least did not sanction
the other arrangements. She ate her dinner almost