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in Piccadilly were situate opposite to the Green and beauty-fraught statuettes, and a few Park. They were spacious and lofty, as became pictures (all historical) very warm in colouring, their position in the world, but they were not and mirrors and tall pier-glasses on every side all that seemed desirable to her : they were reflecting all these things. furnished after a grim and heavy fashion that “It was hardly worth while to get them up was repulsive to her, although the furniture in this way for the short time you'll be allowed itself was good. The people to whom the to stay, my dear,” Lady Glaskill observed, house belonged, before letting it for the season when she had marked and approved of her and decamping for economic reasons, had care- niece's renovated web. fully denuded their rooms of everything that “I don't mean it to be for a short time ; I could by any possibility be broken or easily have a plan in my head." carried away; and this precaution had imparted “ You always had, if I remember, my dear, an air of rigidity and general dreariness to the a good many plans in your head, and some of rooms, which it now became Mrs. Galton's task them came to nothing.” to modify.
Lady Glaskill was one of those pleasant old The task was one upon which she entered ladies who never neglect an opportunity of saywith an avidity which only a pretty woman ing a possibly disagreeable thing to another desirous of worthily enshrining herself and
She was a little old lady, slightly rendering the casket deserving of so fair a jewel deformed, but she declared herself to have as she feels herself to be can experience. She been a fairy, a sylph, an ethereal beauty in the resolved upon having a share in the glories days of her youth; and as no one could rememthat were going. She had always sighed for a ber those days, she was never contradicted. fashionable life, and here was an opportunity She was an active, restless little woman even of leading one, for a brief space at any rate. now, agile and kittenish and gushing, and full Old friends should be looked up and new ones of false enthusiasm and sham brilliancy and formed through their means, and a lion or two fearfully high spirits ; a ghastly old coquette caught and persuaded to roar in her rooms- -all who believed in herself and her love-winning for Theo's sake, of course. The utmost triumph properties long after every one who knew her she could attain would be in a small way; but had come to the conclusion that the only things these were better than none at all, she told real about her were her bones : for the skin herself. Indeed her vanity led her to believe, was enamel and the colour was paint, and the that once seen and known and spoken about, teeth and hair were constantly renewed and but a very small effort would be necessary to extremely variable, and the heart and sentiments make her rooms the resort of all that was most were falser than everything else.
She was a brilliant : it would be a second Gore House, nice old lady! a very nice old lady indeed was and she rather an improvement on Lady Bles- Lady Glaskill; and people frequented her house sington by right of her youth.
largely when she was in town, and only specuIf John Galton imagined the rooms in which lated as to whether she had really poisoned he left his wife to be already furnished, it was her husband for threatening to tell that he had a pity he could not have been shown the been forced to marry her at the point of her upholstery bill which was run up the day of papa's sword when she was away. his departure and learnt his mistake.
“There Lady Glaskill's hair was a great joke amougst is no extravagance in it,” Kate said when her her aquaintances ; she was always imagining aunt, Lady Glaskill, reproached her with ex- herself to be like some heroine of romance or travagance in a tone of jocularity. “There is history, and investing in new hair that might no extravagance in it, for all these things will further the illusion. On one hot day in a do for Haversham Grange by-and-by, when I long long past year she had fancied a resemam forced to go back ; at all events you must blance in herself to Cleopatra, and forthwith acknowledge the things are very pretty.” she organized a Richmond party and went up
They were that, undoubtedly. The rooms the river in a boat under a flame-coloured secmed to Theo when she saw them first
canopy with black locks streaming wildly to be such a combination of fragrance and around her, a sandalled foot in full view, and beauty as she had believed existed only in the a fancy Egyptian garment of scanty proportion “ Arabian Nights' Entertainments." There over her skinny little person, to the scandal were hanging baskets of ferns and orchids, and of so much of the world as thronged the creeping things innumerable, and vases of rare banks to look at Lady Glaskill's current folly. roses and pyramids of hot-house flowers of Shortly after this she had costumed as every hue, and sweeping curtains of green vel. “Corinnc," and crowned herself with a wreath vet and filmy musliu dividing one portion of the of bays on the strength of haviny written a apartment from another, and seductive couches, l volume of very immoral and unmetrical poetry,
which she read aloud with passion and emphasis whose name sounded that year, and her audaat several of her evening parties. She had city was well rewarded. been robed to the chin and she had been despe- “ That little girl you have taken up shall rately décolletée in rapid succession for a longer be noticeable, my dear, for I won't have too series of years than one would care to enu- many other women,” Lady Glaskill had said merate. She had gained a name for foolish to her niece Mrs. Galton, with the rarest | vanity beyond every one of her foolishly vain magnanimity, or rather with what would have compeers; her name had been called in question sounded like the rarest magnanimity if her (mainly through her own vainglorious boasts), niece had not been fully aware of the fact that and her stories had been refuted a thousand “too many women,” were not wont to grace ! times. Yet still she kept her place in the her aunt's reunions. So when Miss Leigh and li world, and the denizens of it flocked around her chaperone floated into the crowded rooms her tattered mud-bespattered old standard in Wilton Place, it was through a lane hedged wheresoever she erected it and called attention almost entirely by men that Theo walked unto the fact.
consciously to meet her fate. She was not a good, a worthy, or a respected woman, but she was a popular and very well
THE SHADOW BEGINS TO FALL. known woman ; and she struggled hard to re- THERE was a man at Lady Glaskill's that main this latter thing, and never faded away night who had written a successful novel. from any one's mind through lack of continu- No personality is intended ; hundreds of men ally stirring that mind up with a hint of her wrote novels that were successful or the reverse existence. She had married Sir Archibald in 1851 ; and there was also a political marGlaskill by force, and fought her way into tyr, and an African explorer, and a scientific society like the enterprising woman she was, man who had poisoned his wife by accident, and she had held her place hardly but warily, and found himself the centre of attraction in and won for herself a name with which every the fashionable world ever since the catasone, who was any one at least, was acquainted. trophe. Around these revolved the usual This was something all must allow, even if throng that one meets at such places. In their they do not rate the honour as highly as Lady midst rose the fez of an Oriental ambassador, Glaskill did ; to her it was as the breath of who had been inveigled into gracing the rooms her nostrils; and Kate Galton had been in the for a few minutes. way of this breath passing over her very often The successful novelist and the scientific when she was a girl.
murderer faded into insignificance, and paled But Lady Glaskill was a clever fool only, into nothing before the light of Osmanli and Kate was something a trifle higher in the Effendi, around whom all the women were scale. The former told her eccentric, enthu- | crowding, baskiug unctuously in the oily refulsiastic, purposeless lies only for the sake of gence of the smiles of the child of the sun, being stared at and called “so very peculiar who was gazing calmly at their lovg English you know;" the latter told her better modu- , throats bared for the occasion, and thinking lated ones for an end always. Kate liked to that not one of them was worthy to be combe stared at, but not to be stared at solely on pared with the least lovely of the lights of account of her peculiarities. Her aunt, wiz- his far-off harem, and of how many pounds of ened, ruddled old Lady Glaskill, was happy Rahat La Koum it would take to improve their and content in the assertion that every un- appearance. married man she had ever met had loved and The rooms were very full ; people stood proposed to her, and every married one had thick as ears of corn in a well-grown field, and lost his head and heart and honour. Lady Glas- the buzz confused Theo as she advanced up kill was happy and content with the mere asser- that aforesaid lane, hedged in by masculine tion of these things. But Kate was not satis- humanity on either side, in the wake of her fied unless such things were. The shadow chaperone, who made straight, with the rush was enough for the voracious vanity of the old of an adept, towards her hostess. Mrs. Galton woman, but the substance alone sufficed for never faltered when she entered a room or the not less voracious vanity of the younger undulated up and dowu like an elastic female
figure in cork—she just floated on, cool, quiet, It was at Lady Glaskill's house in Wilton erect, and fair, towards her goal. But her Place that Theo Leigh made her entrance into advent always made a sensation. London society. Lady Glaskill had issued She had the art of entering at the right cards for a conversazione, and it promised to moment. I do not know whether she lurked be brilliantly attended, for she audaciously in the doorway until such time as those whose asked, or caused her friends to ask, every one i gaze would guide the rest began to yawp, and
look as if they needed something new. But rule ; only becoming, in fact, to very fair at all events, this was the juncture at which women with little colour." she almost invariably appeared, anıl this night However, Theo inducted herself into both she made no exception to her usual rule. dress and wreath perforce-she had none other
Her heart beat thickly at finding herself once to wear. As she caught a glimpse of herself more amidst scenes from which she had blindly in the pier-glass she felt that if Mrs. John gone at twenty to grace a country Grange. Galton were dissatisfied with her appearance, She was radiant in her white robes—in the then was Mrs. John Galton a difficult woman thick sheeny silk and cloudy tulle that became to please. Theo had yet to learn that it is her fair loveliness so well. She was marked not invariably excess of affection which renas a married woman by the head-dress of downy ders our friends hypercritical about us.
6 I will plumes, fastened by a diamond aigrette, which consult her beforehand another time, and get she wore.
her to order my dress for me,” the unsoThe girl, following in her wake, led the eye phisticated Miss Leigh thought, as she stepped off from this beautiful woman very pleasingly, into the carriage after her chaperone. for Theo Leigh was all alight with excitement,- It was very exciting to her and very brilliant, excitement that was partly due to the novelty, she thought, this new scene in which she found but still more to the fact of Mrs. Galtou's herself, but it had not the power to absorb having imparted to her the probability “ of her sufficiently to make her forget the hope their meeting Harold there.” Now this pro- that had brightened her journey thither. bability had been alluded to by Mrs. Galton Even as her hostess was introducing her to in what Mr. Leigh would have termed a His Excellency, Theo's eyes wandered away in “mincing manner,” for she had spoken of it search of Harold Ffrench. softly, and with one of the blushes she could “ Aunt Glaskill is making a terrible goose call up at will. But Theo had marked neither of herself to-night,” Mrs. Galton whispered manner nor blush in the joy consequent on contemptuously to Theo after the expiration this announcement. She was going to see him of a few minutes, during which Lady Glaskill again !—to see him once more, and that was had succeeded in attracting all attention to enough.
herself by being ecstatic about “the Orient,” The hour of dressing had not been one of to the neglect and partial oblivion of her niece. unmixed satisfaction to Theo, for Mrs. Galton When Lady Glaskill's follies led attention was one of those sweet women who are specially away from Kate, Kate was as intolerant to skilful in the sticking in of small mental pins them as the wisest could desire. to another woman. She had left it till the ! boring that poor man insufferably,” Mrs. day of the party to question Theo as to what Galton continued ; "any one can see that he she meant to wear. When Theo told her wants to talk to me ; but Lady Glaskill does what, and “hoped it would do," Mrs. Galton hold on so pertinaciously when she once gains did not exactly say that it was not fitting and a man's ear." proper, but she damned it with the faintest The fact was that the majority of those who praise, and Theo felt uncomfortable.
stood within speaking range of Mrs. Galton Not that Mrs. Galton in reality disapproved were strangers to her ; she would, therefore, of her young friend's choice of toilette, but it have been condemned to a silence which it is was a point of conscience with her never to | always painful to maintain perforce in a gay let an opportunity pass of putting a sister out throng of talkers and laughers. No wonder of conceit with her appearance, and she was that she thought Lady Glaskill in a turban ! rigorous in attending to the demands of her and ecstacies was making a goose of herself by conscience on this point.
engrossing that which Kate herself sighed for “ It's very nice, but do you think it's be- -the attention of the mightiest in the room. coming ?” she had asked when Theo told her The crowd broke up into portions and rethat she was going to wear pale blue net over adjusted itself presently, when
ices were white muslin skirts. When Theo said she brought in and handed round, and then Mrs. “thought blue generally suited her,” Mrs. Galton Galton found herself draughted on into the replied,
immediate circle of which the ineffably bored "Oh, if you think it does, it's all right," in Oriental was the centre. The opportunity a tone which implied that she (Mrs. Galton) was one which she would not suffer to pass ; did not think that it did become Theo by mental molestation from her would, she rightly any means. Kate they went on to inquire judged, be preferable to the same from her about the wreath Theo designed to wear, and aunt, therefore she smiled and spoke with all to opine that “forget-me-nots were pretty, the fascination of which she was mistress. To but affectedly simple, didn't Theo think, as a this his Mightiness listened with calm courtesy,
and replied with solemn stupidity; but that a statement of what he considered to be the he did listen and reply was enough for Mrs. finest passages, and then spoke with great feeiGalton.
ing and sympathy of those very passages in a She entirely baffled all Lady Glaskill's inno- way that was more subtly flattering than any cent attempts to win him solely and wholly open praise would have been. Men, even to herself again. The younger prettier woman successful novelists, are but mortal. Mr. had the will to take and the power to hold, Linley was not ill pleased to find that a work and Lady Glaskill retired ronted—ignomi- of his was deemed so profound by a woman niously routed by one of her own allies. She who was “far from shallow,” so he phrased was put out by her defeat for a brief time, but it in his mind. Theo Leigh, standing by, although an insatiably vain, she was a good wondered greatly that Mrs. Galton should so natured woman ; therefore the sole revenge rashly venture upon the discussion of a book she took on her audacious niece was couched which she only knew through the medium of in these words, which she uttered in no very reviews, with its author, and still more whether low tone when the Oriental 'vantage-ground this Linley was the one of whom her father that Kate had gained departed :
had spoken-the man who had been a young “ Well, my dea I'm sorry that you have | Englishman in Greece contemporaneously with so soon lost the opportunity of making your- Harold Ffrench. self conspicuous ; now, perhaps, you will be But speculation on any subject ceased to good enough to come here and let me intro- occupy her mind almost immediately, for a duce some of my particular friends to you. man made his way very quietly to her side I suppose you are disappointed that it isn't a and addressed her, and took her hand in his dance, you're looking so blank,” she continued, as though they had parted on the most orditurning sharply to Theo,“ never allow dancing nary terms. His coolness cooled her, and his in my house, my dear ; wear out your tongues steadiness steadied her, and though she was as much as you like, but not my carpets.” disappointed-wisely as she had resolved at
Which sally was rewarded by a brace of this casual-acquaintance manner which Mr. sycophants observing audibly that “ Lady Ffrench adopted towards her, she still could Glaskill was as astonishingly vivacious as ever,” but feel glad that it so immediately reacted which remark caused Lady Glaskill to suppose upon her own. that they were hoping to be invited to her “I was very glad to hear from Mrs. Galton next entertainment, and to decide that they that you and she are going to enjoy yourselves should be disappointed. Flattery, if she fa
Flattery, if she fa- together ; it was the inost sensible plan I ever thomed it, was wont to receive mild punish- knew her form. Is your father in town still ?— ment from her.
how is he?” Amongst the particular friends whom Lady “Papa is gone home-he is very well." Glaskill specially selected to honour with an “ What is the move ?-oh! going down to introduction to the handsome niece of whom | supper ; my experience of this sort of thing she was slightly jealous, was the successful teaches me that it is well to go down at once novelist, whose light had been put under a if you want to get anything; the hindmost bushel while the Oriental remained. Mrs. are overtaken by evil and hunger ; shall we Galton, whose object it was to make a party go down ?” of her own before she quarrelled with her He held his arm out for her to take as he aunt, which past experience taught she was spoke, and she placed her hand upon it, and liable to do at any moment after a week's would not suffer that hand to tremble. But intercourse-Mrs. Galton, knowing this, made she kept her face partially averted from him, the man of letters her own adroitly in a very and he marked that she did so. short time.
“ Theo !” he exclaimed suddenly, as they Not by praising his new novel ; she was no came to a compulsory pause on the staircase, such bungler as to seek her end by using such “ I am very glad to see you again." clumsy means. She did not open a heavy fire “ And I am glad to see you,” she said of her opinions respecting it upon him, reducing frankly ; and as she said it she made one of him to the verge of imbecility by declaring his the many efforts to be brave and non-emotional book to be "80 delightful,” and herself “ so that women situated in her position are commuch interested in it,” and the heroine to be pelled to make ; she looked him in the face
a dear,” and the end "delicious" or "dread and met his gaze unflinchingly. ful,” as the case might be. But she anato- “Glad to see me? very quietly glad’; mised it ; spoke of it as a whole as no one well, no matter, what can I expect but a very who did not know it thoroughly could speak, sober satisfaction to be yours at sight of me. he told himself ; judiciously extracted from him You see many other people now. I ought to
bave known that I should probably merely “I don't know ; ask Mrs. Galton, she knows bore you, yet I could not resist coming to though she hasn't read it,” Theo said laughmeet you to-night.”
ing ; "it's a novel, and it's a success." “ You know very well that you could never
- What is his name ?” bore me ; how can you be so unkind as to “Linley-I was wondering” pretend to think it ?" she cried. Then she “Oh! Linley-oh, ah ! I have heard somewas afraid that she had said too much, and thing about his novel ; one of the reviews said said it too warmly, and her hand began to that it was the work of 'a mighty mind accustremble on his arm.
tomed to profound reflections, and another “ Theo, he whispered softly, “ have you that it was 'full of the clearly defined thoughts forgiven me ?”
of a hard thinker,'—it struck me that it must “I have nothing to forgive, Mr. Ffrench,” be rather dull.” she replied proudly, for there was the same “ But it's not dull at all ; I should think, tender inflection in his voice that had been in from what they were saying, that it must be it on that night when he had told his love for very amusing ; but I was going to say I was her, and won her to show hers in return. She wondering whether he could be the same Mr. remembered this, and the remembrance stung Linley who, papa says, was in Greece at the her.
same time you were there ; did you know him ? “Nothing to forgive ! I wish to Heaven do you remember him ?” you had not anything to forgive,” he mut- It happened that as Theo asked this of tered. Then he went to get her a glass of Harold Ffrench that Mrs. Galton and her wine ; and Theo marked him as he walked cavalier were advancing towards them. The away, and thought what a grand gentleman he men were face to face, and were naturally looked amongst them all, and how no young looking directly at one another. man in the room could compete with this one, “I do not know him,” Harold Ffrench why carried his forty years so gracefully. replied to Theo's question in a tone loud
“ You have not been long with Kate ?” he enough, Theo thought, to reach the ears of the askel when he came back to her ; and when man who was spoken about. But the next she had said “ No,” he went on to ask her instant Harold Ffrench did know him, for how long, and where had she been, and whom Mrs. Galton introduced her cousin to her new had she seen ; he was very particular on this friend with effusion. last point.
The supper-room was rather crowded now, “ This is my first party ; I have been to the consequently the drawing-room, to which the Academy several times.”
quadrilateral with whom my story has to do “ With whom ?"
presently returned, was comparatively deserted 6 Mrs. Galton."
and free. When they regained it Kate began “ Without Galton ?-had you no gentleman to tell Harold how that they had had a speciwith you ?”
men of “the land of the east and the clime “Mr. Galton is down at Haversham,” Theo of the sun" there earlier in the evening, aud replied ; she did not know that Harold Ffrench to lament that he had not seen the same. was very indifferent as to John Galton's where- “ And do you know he appeared to be very abouts, and only anxious to learn whether they prosaic, not to say stupid and common-place, had been to the Academy unescorted, in order despite his turban and his wonderful costume,” that he might find out if Kate were fulfilling she continued. her threat of introducing some desirable parti Then the author, who did not appear to like to Theo.
the probability of lapsing into obscurity again, “It's not much use your going to the Aca- said that if she liked he would give them a spo. demy with Mrs. Galton alone ; she knows cimen of eastern story telling, and endeavour to nothing at all about pictures ; when I can bring the Orient more vividly before them than speak to her I will make an appointment to Osmanli Effendi had succeeded in doing. accompany you there to-morrow-she appears “ What? will you sit cross-legged on some to be very deeply interested just now," he cushions and tell us a story ?" Kate asked ; continued with a laugh as Kate sailed into the and Mr. Linley said, “ Yes, if she pleasedsupper-room, on Mr. Linley's arm, and then a story with plenty of tbrill in it,” and forth(it was a supper that people took in a sketchy with deposited bimself in the position she demanner, standing up) posed herself against the scribed and commenced :wall, and continued to converse enthusiastically. 6. It does not matter whether it was one, or
“I think she is very much interested in his ten, or forty years ago that two Franks, two book," Theo replied,
Giaours, two infidels wandering about the " What is his book about ?"
streets of an eastern city, saw a face at the