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the whole four girls and the governess to the river.

Of course, they caught nothing; it was very seldom they ever did catch anything; but it was useless to try and stop their going. Useless, that is to say, from the wisdom point. Lady Tilbury could have pronounced an arbitrary "I won't have it!" She would have

done so promptly enough on another occasion, but she knew better than to risk the "Why not?" which would have burst from all alike, had she ventured on the prohibition now.

Iva had said that her mother was to be "formal and serious," which was all very fine. What good would formality and seriousness do if shared by nobody? Iva herself was in a gay, ironical mood, not at all adapted to check the spirits of the rest; while the younger sisters, instead of eating their dinners phlegmatically, as was their wont-the while they kept their ears open for any scraps of information over which to gloat in private-were all on the giggle. Lady Tilbury, who, with all her partiality for her first-born, was still the mother of them all, looked from one to another benignantly, and could not find it in her heart to restrain the mirth so seldom evinced. "They are all stupid. They are not like Iva and me, she would say to herself. "Poor things! it

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is not their fault; Sir Thomas's daughtersalthough Sir Thomas was a fine man-but still, how can they be anything else?" And if one of the three by a mere chance was smart or shrewd, the saying was applauded, and the speaker patted on the shoulder, with an amount of approval never accorded to Iva.

"Pooh! You can't help having an Irish tongue in your head!"

Iva had once taken her mother to task for commending a small jest of Maud's as though it were a fine original aphorism, and Lady Tilbury had tossed her head, and retorted as above.

What was instinctive in a Kildare was creditable and to be encouraged in a Tilbury. "Sir Thomas, poor man, never knew when I was laughing and when not," cried she. "I can see his face; Iva, you know how he used to look-so puzzled and bewildered; and then he would say in his slow, solemn way: 'Of course, if you are joking-but why did you not tell me you were joking?' As if one needed to tell! It is the English way, my dear; I soon grew accustomed to it, and liked Sir Thomas none the less. Indeed, he was a very fine man; Iva, always remember that your stepfather was a fine, generous, highminded gentleman-ah, but he was different

from my poor Jack, who, if he had lived-he wasn't as good a man as Sir Thomas, Iva

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Here Iva would break in with a stormy remonstrance, which would sometimes be listened to, sometimes not.

Either way, her mother would adhere obstinately to what she had said, for, albeit the girl's passionate partisanship for the father whom her infantile eyes alone had beheld was music in her ears, recollection was too keen, and frankness of disposition too ineradicable.

In moments of confidence, truth would out. "He was just a wild scamp, that's what he was! Indeed, 'twas well he was taken." Lady Tilbury would wipe her eyes and shake her head. "He would have broken my heart if he had lived, Iva, my darling;" and by that time, having heard all she had heard, and hung her head for shame during the recital, Iva would listen in silence; and, the past being very real and vivid before her when thus depicted, would wonder a little to see her mother as merry and cheerful as ever an hour afterwards.

57

CHAPTER VIII.

"THE IRISHWOMAN."

"THERE go those Irishwomen and their adorer!" exclaimed Miss Sophia Lossett, one autumn afternoon shortly after this.

The light was waning, but Miss Sophy's eyes were sharp, and she had time ere Lady Tilbury's open landau rolled past over the cobbles, to see that it contained not only her ladyship and her eldest daughter, but Reginald Goffe, the latter leaning forward comfortably to address them from the front

seat.

"One would think that, having done so well for herself, my lady would know better than to have that poor penniless Reggie hanging on to Iva," continued the spinster, gazing after the carriage, while addressing herself to some one within. "He is never away from them; and of course he can't go there as he does without being encouraged. It's not as if there were any man or boy at Tilbury Court for him to go about with; he must be with the girls the whole

time; and Lady Tilbury will only have herself to thank if anything comes of it."

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"I don't suppose Lady Tilbury will ask your advice in the management of her affairs.' Major-General Lossett, V.C., who was seated napping in his arm-chair by the fire, and who had received his daughter's opening comments with a solitary grunt, here so far woke up to the occasion as to make a testy response. He had no greater affection for Lady Tilbury than Sophia had. Shall we tell our readers why?

On Sir Thomas Tilbury's demise, three years before, the old general, who had taken up his abode in the village-in one of the respectable dwelling-houses embowered in shrubs of which previous mention has been made-was observed to hold his head higher and step out more briskly than was his wont. New suits came down for him from London, and certain threats of growing a beard to save the trouble of shaving, which had for some time off and on distracted Miss Sophy (who had a horror of beards), were heard of no more.

Sophy may have guessed what this meant, or she may not. Probably she had her suspicions; but if so, like a dutiful daughter, she kept them to herself, being tolerably sure that she need not trouble her head as to anything coming of it all.

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