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The curious telegraphing which went on after this impassioned speech convinced me that nobody present was out of the secret of what had passed between the young lady and the dancing-master, not even excepting Jane, as I fancied. The roulade of eyes was curious; mine, however, were principally fixed on Harriet's: I wanted to see how she bore this last coup of Miss Kitty’s. “But business,” said I. “What business,” said Kate, in the most animated tone, “can be of sufficient importance to prevent his doing what we wished? I always thought he was a spooney.” This burst of unrequited love nearly set us all into what would have been a most unseemly roar of laughter on the eve of a family funeral, but upon me, I admit, it had the most ridiculous effect possible. The gradual transition from the deepest grief to the moderated sorrow, the considerate feeling as to the attendance on the following morning, the defection of Kittington, his plea of business, and thence the violent conclusion at which she arrived, couched in the strongest terms, culled doubtless from the vocabulary of Montpelier, were very nearly too much for me: however, we all contrived not to take any particular notice of the climax of her speech, till Wells, with the most perfect gravity, and as if making no reference whatever to what had passed, said, “I am glad, my dear Kitty, that you see the matter in its proper light, and give up attending the ceremony in the morni .” “I would not go,” said Kate, “if you were to give me a hundred pounds: after Pappy's civilities, and kindness, and after—but I don't care—and I won't talk about it. Jane may go if she likes, but I won't.” And having burst into a flood of tears, in the production of which grief bore no part, the amiable girl literally rushed out of the room. “Hadn't I better go to her " said Jane, rising from the little footstool on which she was sitting. “As you please, Jane,” said Harriet. And so Jane pleased to go; but as great things invariably turn upon little ones, except, perhaps, in mechanics, I saw in a moment, by the use of the word “her” with a sort of peculiar but undefinable emphasis, that the sisters were “two.” Jane had thought over the difference of treatment she experienced with us when she shared—at least—the affection of the family with Kitty, from that which she was destined to, at Montpelier, where Kitty was every thing, and she nothing; but what made both Harriet and myself uncomfortable upon this point—for we had talked it over tete-à-téte—was, the certainty of giving the direst offence to Cuthbert if we acceded to that which had become something more than an implied desire on the part of Jenny to remain at Ashmead when Kate returned to Bath. - I have often said, when I have passed through a country town which I never had seen before—and many other people, I suppose, have said and thought the same—Here is a place unknown to me, and to millions besides—a mere straggling row of houses, with two or three villas dotted round it—paltry, insignificant, and obscure; but in this speck—this spot—this dot— rage all the passions, the turmoils, the jealousies, envies, and hatreds, by which the largest communities are agitated: but I confess {. even in my most romantic musings upon the subject, calculated that I, an humble individual, placed—as, alas, I was—in quiet independence in the large village or small town, to which I was attracted and attached by my af. fection to Harriet, should have found the retired, unassuming Ashmead an arena for all the contentions which now characterised it. Cuthbert repelling me—Mrs. Brandyball intriguing against me—Kitty undermining me—Sniggs abandoning me —Nubley involving me in difficulties—Wells importuning me—Merman insulting him and outraging his daughter— Thompson threatening me—and Tom dead. Why now, who upon earth that had not thought that such things might be, would, in driving past a modest white-fronted “Cottage of Gentility,” as Southey says in his “Devil's Walk,” with little more than two bow-windows and a door between, looking like a pair of lady's stays stuck up for sale in a Bond-street shop window, fancy the turmoil and trouble that were in full fermentation within All interests are comparative, and all minds, as I have already said, ought to stretch to the objects which present themselves. A prime minister by habit thinks no more, probably, of ceding a great national question, declaring a war, or concluding a peace, than I thought of soothing Cuthbert, getting over the funeral of an unlicked cub, or coming to terms with Captain Thompson, the uncle of two elegant ladies and cousin of a third. But the same thing is going on every where; and, in many instances—I mean no reflections —the energies and talents which are exercised and exhibited in the contrivances of paltry provincial intrigues, would, upon my favourite expanding principle, be found fully adequate to the conduct of matters which are considered of the highest importance. I believe—I am yet young—but I believe that to make

what is called a statesman, very little is required; to make a cabinet, still less. I have already said that I know little, and think little of politics; but it occurs to me, that any thirteen tolerably reasonable gentlemen of moderate understandings, might, with the assistance (each in his separate department) of experienced clerks well versed in details and routine, manage the government of this country as well as any other tolerably reasonable thirteen gentlemen who might be found; and, therefore, when I hear of a difficulty and delicacy on one side, in turning out the thirteen of the other side who happen to be what is called “in,” I wonder. A master spirit will lead the way and command; but, as for the rest—however, I must not dilate upon this;–here we have a Tory ministry in office, and, from all I can judge, are not likely to have any infliction of Whiggery for many years to come. The name of Wellington grows upon us as fast as his titles blossom to the admiration of the country. If the fortune of war spare him, he will save our country; and as I firmly believe in the fostering care of Providence in favour of England, I trust he will be saved for her sake. We had a Duke of Marlborough, who did great things after his fashion; fought in fine weather, and rode about the field of battle, with a pair of kettle-drums at his heels, in a gilded chariot, now, as they say, to be seen in the Tower; and when the weather became bad, walked into quarters for the winter. Lord Wellington takes it rather differently; he beats the French instead of the drums, and the chances are, if he be preserved, that we shall see him a Duke too—the thing is not impossible. Where have I got to—prophesying ! Yes; but vainly, perhaps. All I meant to say was, that every house, every family, is in itself a little monarchy—and mark, what it would be if it were a little republic. #. Blissfold—multiply all the conflicting passions and feelings which now agitate Ashmead by forty—say forty, the number, perhaps, of houses in which the same class of feelings - may be supposed to exist in this parish—multiply those again by all the towns and villages in the British empire, and see what a combination of interests—incalculable, interminable— are at work' . Why, now, I, this very evening, have been to Kittington's. There is an under-current at work, as clear and as pure as the more sparkling tide above. That mother has her mind filled with solicitude for her worthy children. That son is, perhaps, although he laughed it off upon a former occasion, devoted to some amiable girl; there may be difficulties, in the way of their happiness. That auburn-haired sister of his, with one of

the most intelligent countenances I ever beheld, might have
been copying the air which most delighted her when some
favourite voice sang the strain; and yet I, living in the same
place, had never seen that scene before. If I travel along a
road of which I know nothing, I cannot help watching the
smoke which, as Moore says, “gracefully eurls” from the
chimney top of a house which I never have before beheld, and
saying to myself—Round the fire which gives that vapour out,
are now, perhaps, sitting a family whose simple history written
down might interest the whole world.
It is needless to note what Harriet and I said about Kitty
and Jane, and the abrupt refusal of the former to attend the
funeral. I rejoiced in the result, although we knew perfectly
well the cause to which it was attributable; but I certainly
had a difficulty in keeping from my dear domestie wife, espe-
cially now that we were more together in what might be ealled
confidentiality, the history of the Thompsonian visit, which re-
mained to be settled. This was to me of no great moment,
except as I feared that Nubley might, either consciously or
unconsciously, let out the secret. To my great delight—I
ought, I believe, to beg pardon for my want of gallantry and
compassion—Mrs. Nubley was seriously afflicted with tooth-
ache, which kept her hors de combat in her room, as soon as
ever what she called “the evening cold—he he he?”—came
on; a circumstance which reminded me of a letter I had re-
cently seen from a very gallant officer, a son of one of my
earliest friends, who, having been shot through both cheeks
just under the ear, wrote to his father that he had received a
severe wound, which rendered him a living anomaly, inasmuch
as whenever “he wanted to speak, he was obliged to hold his
jaw.”. This term, applied to a lady, might sound coarse; but
I admit the absence of what I called Mrs. Nubley’s “peahen-
ism” afforded me a delightful relief. -
There is, however, a time for all things. Harriet looks tired
-dear girl, it is quite natural she should; I am only too happy
she has borne up so well. -
“Come, dearest,” says I, “lean upon my arm—let me lead
you to your room.”
“Thanks, Gilbert,” says the good, kind-hearted girl.
She leans upon my arm—her father kisses her, and gives
me a look which indicates—“as Fanny is to sleep here—let
us have some brandy and water, clerically weak but comfort-
ably hot, before I start;” for Wells is a man who prefers the
comfort of his servants and his horses to his own, and means

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to walk down to the Rectory to-night. I nod and telegraph him to ring the bell, whereupon Fanny says— “Oh Harriet, I am coming too.” Whereunto I reply—“You have no candle.” I take my Harriet to the door of her room, where Foxcroft is waiting for her, and I give her a kiss—a parting one—for the present. So far so good; then I return to Wells, and, as he will have a glass—or it may be two, as it is “cold exceedingly”—I must join him. The compulsion is not so painful. , It begins to snow; he cannot well go till it holds up,

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