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No one was ever angry with Reggie Goffe,

whatever he did

that is to say, seriously, protractedly angry. Seldom a day passed that he did not provoke indignation and protest, that he did not stir up some sleeping dog which any one else would have known to let lie, but whose peaceful pose was irresistible to him. Then who so innocently amazed and guiltless as Reggie? He go about to affront his cousin Julia? He would not vex Julia for the world. He fly in the teeth of his aunt's known wishes and expressed commands? The offender was any one rather than himself.

Or else he was so penitent, so subdued and meek when absolutely brought to book, that the hardest hearts must needs melt before his anxious, pathetic eyes.

When and how Reggie had learnt to look pathetic no one could tell, but the knowledge to him was invaluable. He took it into almost daily use at one period of his life.

At that time he was not very strong—indeed, his constitution was by no means robust, though he treated it, if the truth were told, as though it were of cast-iron-but he would wear a gentle, pained expression when health was spoken of, and had a fashion of appearing to drink in with avidity the admonitions of the sympathetic which was never found to fail.

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Such coddling and fussing as then went on! Such open care as was taken that the dear boy (Reggie was a “dear boy to every woman over thirty) should have the fire side of the dinner-table on cold nights, or the shelter of the snug brougham instead of the draughty omnibus on the long drives to and from the country balls! Reggie took it all with placid gratitude; he liked warm corners and feminine companionship. He said nothing about the wild nights he was out with the fishermen, tossing about from dusk to dawn, when the takes were good, and he the merriest of the crew.

When he came to grief, as he did times without number, riding madly in the hunting-field, or tramping the moors along tracks unknown, he knew when the moment had come to turn his scars to account. They were never disclosed prematurely nor unnecessarily. They were reserved as wares to be traded upon.

As for luck, all the women would tell you that poor dear Reggie Goffe was the most illused person on the face of the earth by Dame Fortune. He was always having to turn his back on the sunny side of life. If all the world were in for a good thing, he was out of it. If the stream were flowing in one direction, he and none other must needs breast it. When the London season was in full swing,

this one hapless mortal was hard and fast in rural quarters; when the string snapped, and set loose the gathered mass, he got his leave. It never seemed as if he had aught but buffets from Fate.

And he pitied himself so tenderly, and asked for the pity of others so confidingly (looking his best and nicest, and making inferior men bite their lips and wonder how the deuce he did it), that no one ever thought of questioning why the grievances which were shared by many others should be so much more appalling to him than to them.

When Reggie was not pathetic he was dangerous. As long as his humour found vent in soft complaints, it was like the harmless sheet lightning dissipating itself all over the sky; but, as when this ceases to play, there is worse in the wind, so, when our young gentleman was silent, was he plotting. He was deadly in mischief.

"But then," murmured old Mrs. Goodenough apologetically, "the poor boy knows no better. He has never had any training. He told me so himself. I remonstrated with him the other day when really he was too bad, inciting my grandchildren to all sorts of mischievous pranks, making even dear little Gwen quite beside herself-my dear, the schoolroom was a perfect

pandemonium! poor Mademoiselle shrieking in vain! I did speak very seriously to Reggie, and then I was quite sorry after it. He was so grieved and ashamed; said he had never had any little sisters and brothers, never any home to be called a home; poor darling"-her wrinkled, benevolent countenance working suspiciously at the bare recollection-" it ended in my begging his forgiveness, and I am sure I shall never be so cruel to him again."

This was Reggie at his simplest. Properly worked up, it was extraordinary what masterpieces he would achieve, the while his gentle, serious, sunburnt face diverted all suspicion. Girls who had never been known to have a will of their own, would on a sudden strike for mastery, and battle for their rights when the Reggie poison began to work in the veins. He had a knack of making the most barefaced requests with an air so natural that it would have baffled an inquisitor-general to find out what he really thought. Those who began by being most angry were the soonest disarmed; the indignant matrons and elder sisters who cried out at his unparalleled impudence, only needed to be themselves its object to soften as though oil had been poured into their wounds.

8

CHAPTER II.

MOTHER AND DAUGHTER.

We now know why Iva Kildare was so bitterly angry with Reggie one day and so indulgent towards him the next.

"What's the use of talking to that boy? Iva addressed her mother, the flame having burnt itself out. "Everything you say rolls like water off a duck's back. He means no harm. And though he really would provoke a saint sometimes, I don't believe he can help it. It's in him. If Reggie were to behave like other mortals, we should not know it was Reggie."

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Precisely. And that would be a terrible loss!" Lady Tilbury, who had all an Irishwoman's quickness of repartee, snorted ironically as she spoke; but Iva was not taken in by the snort. She and her mother were "pals". That peculiarly expressive word which has come into vogue of recent years, applied distinctly to Lady Tilbury and the one daughter who bore the name of her first husband, and

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