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The sufferer rose and approached her. "Just you feel how hot it is!" said he, catching her hand and laying it willy-nilly on the part affected. "You wouldn't be so beastly sarcastic if you had a red-hot finger."

"It is a little hot," owned she.

"Your cool hand draws out the heat; do leave it there a moment," said Reggie anxiously, and with his own disengaged member he held on hers. "How delightfully cool yours is!" "Perhaps I am cool altogether on the subject." "You are cool on any subject that affects me."

Iva nodded.

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"Go away! You have only just come. "I am going to India in the spring." "The spring? That's all right. I was afraid you were going before the balls. We can't spare you till the winter balls are over."

"That's all I'm good for, is it? O Lady Tilbury, how awfully good of you!"-as the door opened" I am so sorry to be a nuisance. And Iva has been saying nasty things to me the whole time you were away."

Lady Tilbury looked sharply from one to the other. "If I don't take care, those two will be falling in love," thought she.

50

CHAPTER VII.

"THEY'RE QUEER THINGS, THE BOYS!"

It was easy to say, "If I don't take care," but how on earth was Lady Tilbury to take care?

She could not shut Reggie Goffe out of the house, or Iva up in her room. She could not begin now to put a stop to his looking in at all hours, and searching round in all places. He had been accustomed to have the run of Tilbury Court from his youth up, and the roots of long habit were too deeply struck by this time to be torn up without a wrench altogether disproportionate to the occasion.

As she had herself said to Iva, any change of manner on her own part would be provocative of an outcry on that of all the rest; even Maud and the younger ones would have stared and looked at each other; yet to have the usual easy intimacy continue unabated would certainly seem like courting peril.

On the other hand was Iva's have this sort of thing now!" so far, when she could say that.

"We can't Iva was safe

Her tongue

would have been tied had there been any secret misgivings, any lurking consciousness; for Iva was a truthful girl, and would have scorned by dissimulation to throw her mother off the scent.

Still, that was no criterion for the future. "Didn't I say to my own foolish heart over and over again that I cared no more for Jack Kildare than the post by the garden gate, and didn't I just jump at him the moment he said the word?" reflected the widow, with a smile and a sigh; "and didn't I think Sir Thomas Tilbury a mighty fine man, and Tilbury Court a beautiful place, and wasn't it all I could do to bring myself to say 'Yes' when he proposed? How is a poor girl to know what she will feel like when the time comes? Maybe, just the very other way to what she felt before!" cogitated she, smiling and murmuring, as the profundity of her wisdom set her up in her own eyes. "Oh, they're queer things, the boys! A boy may talk and talk, and pay you fine compliments, spend his breath and his money upon you; and another just gives a lift of his Then Lady Tilbury paused, and the Irish girl stiffened into the baronet's lady and county dowager. "It would be a wretched marriage for Iva. Sir Thomas always told me that Iva ought to marry well, and predicted that a single season in town would be all that

eye

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she required.
nothing of it.
seen everywhere. She looked her best. But
what was her 'best' was other girls' 'best'
as well. Florence, Ethel, Evelyn," running
over in her mind a list of débutantes, "their
mothers thought the same of them as I did of
Iva. Oh, I'm not a fool!" (Lady Tilbury
was right. She was by no
She was by no means a fool.)
"Sure enough, I think no one can touch my
Iva-my pretty Iva-with the blue mist in her
eyes and the red paint on her lips; but though
she is there before them, and they need to be
stone-blind not to see the difference, they don't
see it. Say they to me-to me-Iva's mother,
'Have you heard how immensely dear Florrie
was admired at the Embassy ball?'"-mimick-
ing-" or, "I suppose I ought not to refuse that
invitation of the Duke's for darling Ethel.
They make such a point of her going. They
say the whole party is got up for her.' I'm
very fond of Lady Christopher Bell-I am
indeed; but when she goes raving on about
that affected, airified daughter of hers, gazing
at her as if she were a goddess, and whispering
where she gets her dresses, as if we were all
just dying to hear, I do feel inclined to say:
'Sure, we don't care if Evelyn pulls her clothes
out of the rag-bag!' They don't catch me

She had her season, and made
She went everywhere, and was

66

thrusting Iva down their throats. Her mother isn't going to be her trumpeter. I just sat still as a mouse, thinking to myself: 'Silly sheep! I see through you all.' It's something for a girl to have a clever mother like me. But I couldn't make Iva go, cleverness and all,” reflected Lady Tilbury, her complacency dying out. Anyhow, she didn't go off. To be sure, we made fun of some of them that might have come after her; there was that fat Jemmy Tong -but I never could abide a fat man, no more can Iva; and then there was the red-headed Vernon; Vernon's a good name, and he was a good-natured, decent creature-but red hair, and freckles, and a mouth that met at the back! Iva is like myself; we do fairly turn at ugly men. Well, now, Reggie Goffe is not particularly good-looking," continued the lady, turning to more practical reflections. "I wonder if I'm not making a mountain out of Reggie. A mole-hill he may not exactly be, but there are degrees. I shall just have to take care," she concluded, as she had begun. This reverie took place on the afternoon of the day when the young gentleman brought up his broken finger-nail to be nursed. He had appeared at noon, stayed luncheon, and hung about the doors till three o'clock, when he had formed a fishing party, and swept off

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