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N AN C Y.
HEAVY foot along the passage, a hand upon the door, a hatted
head looking in. Roger," says father, in that laboriously amiable voice in which he always addresses his son-in-law, sorry to interrupt you, but could you come here for a minute ?—will not keep you long.”
“ All right! cries Sir Roger, promptly.
(How can he speak in that flippantly cheerful voice, with the prospect of seventeen days' sea before him ?)
“Now, where did I put my hat, Nancy? did you happen to notice ?"
“It is here,” say I, picking it up from the window-seat, and handing it to him with lugubrious solemnity.
As he reaches the door, following father, he turns and nods to me with a half humorous smile.
“Cheer up,” he says, “it shall not be a sailing-vessel.”
He is gone, and I return to my former position, and my former occupation, only that now—the check of Sir Roger's presence being removed—I indulge in two or three good hearty groans.
To think how the look of all things is changed since this morning.
As we came home through the fields singing, if any one had given me three wishes, I should have been puzzled what to ask—and now ! All the good things I am going to lose march in gloomy procession before my mind. No Housewarming! It will have to be put off till we come back, and by the time that we come back, Bobby will almost certainly have been sent to some foreign station for three or four years,
And who knows what may happen before he returns ? Perhaps—for I am in the mood when all adversities seem antecedently probablehe will never come back. Perhaps never again shall I be the willing victim of his buffets, never again shall I buffet him in return.
And the Sea !! It is all very fine for Sir Roger to take it so easily, to laugh and make unfeeling jokes at my expense! He does not lie on the flat of his back, surrounded by the horrid paraphernalia of sea-sickness. He walks
and down, with his hands in his pockets, smoking a cigar, and talking to the captain. He cares nothing for the heaving planks. The taste of