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Whereupon had ensued rather an extraordinary dialogue. People who knew the harshvoiced, domineering Master of the Vale would have opened their eyes had they heard him in persuasive accents, softened as they only were at Tilbury Court and a very few other favoured houses, laying before Mr. Jabez Druitt the inestimable advantages to body and mind accruing from the sport he loved.

At first Mr. Druitt had merely listened; but he had listened with respect. This was sufficient; the speaker had warmed with his theme. In the end he had penetrated every root and fibre of the humble mind, laid bare as it had never been before, on such a subject.

"I'll take care they don't laugh at ye!" Puddington had cried with an oath at last. "Why, sir-Mr. Druitt-you have it in you, man! Excuse my rough speech"-a strange apology from those lips-"but it cheers my old bones to meet with an outsider-hum-ha-I mean a non-hunting man-(you see, that's how we get to look upon the world, we Masters)— to meet, I say, with a new man who, instead of thinking he knows everything, or pretending he cares nothing-'pon my soul, I don't know which is worst—they are both lies, that's what they are to meet, I say, with any one who owns up as you do. Of course you want to

hunt; and "--a hailstorm of expletives" you shall do it!"

Under such auspices Mr. Druitt's hunting had begun.

Every horse in his stud had been chosen for him and every detail of his stables arranged by his indefatigable sponsor in the field; no point had been too trivial for Puddington to pounce upon and set in order. The minutest perplexity was hearkened to with unbated interest and patience.

And his delicacy was marvellous; he never allowed himself so much as a smile, though at another time he would have roared with laughter at some of Mr. Druitt's interrogations.

He never repeated them; never let another into the secret.

a young child.

He was as a tender father with

Then the pride and pleasure he took in his

child's progress! His delight when a fence had been neatly cleared! His triumph when at length the happy day arrived that our friend (favoured by luck, it is true, but having done his own part well, nevertheless) was in at the death! Puddington's voice was heard all over the field, bellowing the news.

And he looked in at Tilbury Court as he went by, on purpose to tell Lady Tilbury.

Lady Tilbury had driven to the meet; and

Druitt was Lady Tilbury's protégé; she ought to hear how Druitt had distinguished himself.

So that by the time we find the master of Old Cary Hall standing on his front-door steps awaiting his horse, and tapping his smart boottops with an equally smart hunting-crop as he sniffed the morning air, he was no longer a doubtful, anxious, heart-fluttering follower of the chase, but sat well and confidently in his seat; and by rigorously adhering to rule, by abstaining from every species of bravado, and by studying in secret and practising openly the line laid down by his mentor, he not only kept the favour of the loutish squire, but became his favourite boast.

D'ye see Druitt? Didn't know a horse from a pig when I took him in hand. Not a better man now goes with the Vale-in a quiet way. You can't expect the riding of a jock from a cotton-broker turned squire. Dash it all! when I heard we were going to have one of that cattle for a member of my hunt, I was nearly sick ; but Lady Tilbury asked me to call-deuced fine woman, Lady Tilbury-and I wouldn't refuse her. So I had the first of the new man, and Look at him

you see the use I made of it.

now! Goes as pluckily as if he had been born to it; and yet sticks to rules-that was what I was more afraid of than anything that once

he got excited he would forget-hum-hathey do, you know-they forget everything, greenhorns do, once their blood gets up. But I have never had to swear at Druitt onceno, I haven't," and being well away on his favourite theme, we need not follow the speaker further.

It will be seen, however, why Mr. Druitt looked so cheerfully about him on the morning in question, and why, instead of running out hastily and mounting shamefacedly when told all was in readiness, he sunned himself on the doorstep, and hummed a tune as he cast his eye over the glittering landscape, in glad anticipation of what the day might bring forth.

"If Amos could see me now!" he said to himself.

203

CHAPTER XXII.

“DELIGHTFUL-BUT NOT PERFECT, SOPHIA."

BUT he had nearly forgotten Amos-as Amos. It came upon him with the force of a shock at times to find how entirely he had severed himself from his old life and early connections.

Had there been any of them alive, with the solitary exception of his half-brother, matters would doubtless have been different; but as it was the outside he could bring himself to feel on the occasion of a perfunctory visit to the suburban villa, wherein nephews and nieces were now growing up into men and women, was anxiety lest he should betray by word or look how little he was in sympathy with all he found there.

And they cared no more for him than he for them. The young men would express aloud their surprise at finding him in the house on the night of his arrival, and argue the point before his face, if their father, with a show of annoyance-possibly real-would maintain that the

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