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JANUARY, 1867.

The Claverings.


HEN Harry Clavering left
London he was not well,
though he did not care to tell
himself that he was ill. But
he had been so harassed by
his position, was so ashamed
of himself, and as yet so un-
able to see any escape from his
misery, that he was sore with
fatigue and almost worn out
with trouble. On his arrival
at the parsonage, his mother
at once asked him if he was
ill, and received his petulant
denial with ill-satisfied
countenance. That there was
something wrong between him
and Florence she suspected,
but at the present moment she
was not disposed to inquire
into that matter. Harry's love-
affairs had for her a great

interest, but Fanny's loveaffairs at the present moment were paramount in her bosom. Fanny, indeed, had become very troublesome since Mr. Saul's visit to her father. On the evening of her conversation with her mother, and on the following VOL, XV.—NO. 85.




" But

morning, Fanny had carried herself with bravery, and Mrs. Clavering had been disposed to think that her daughter's heart was not wounded deeply. She had admitted the impossibility of her marriage with Mr. Saul, and had never insisted on the strength of her attachment. But no sooner was she told that Mr. Saul had been banished from the house, than she took upon herself to mope in the most love-lorn fashion, and behaved herself as though she were the victim of an all-absorbing passion. Between her and her father no word on the subject had been spoken, and even to her mother she was silent, respectful, and subdued, as it becomes daughters to be who are hardly used when they are in love. Now, Mrs. Clavering felt that in this her daughter was not treating her well.

don't mean to

say that she cares for him ? " Harry said to his mother, when they were alone on the evening of his arrival.

Yes, she cares for him, certainly. As far as I can tell, she cares for him very

much." It is the oddest thing I ever knew in my life. I should have said he was the last man in the world for success of that kind."

“ One never can tell, Harry. You see he is a very good young man.” “ But girls don't fall in love with men because they're good, mother." “I hope they do,-for that and other things together."

“But he has got none of the other things. What a pity it was that he was let to stay here after he first made a fool of himself.”

“It's too late to think of that now, Harry. Of course she can't marry him. They would have nothing to live on. I should say that he has no prospect of a living.”

“I can't conceive how a man can do such a wicked thing,” said Harry, moralizing, and forgetting for a moment his own sins. " Coming into a house like this, and in such a position, and then undermining a girl's affections, when he must know that it is quite out of the question that he should marry her! I call it downright wicked. It is treachery of the worst sort, and coming from a clergyman is of course the more to be condemned. I shan't be slow to tell him my mind.”

You will gain nothing by quarrelling with him.”
“ But how can I help it, if I am to see him at all ? "

“I mean that I would not be rough with him. The great thing is to make him feel that he should go away as soon as possible, and renounce all idea of seeing Fanny again. You see, your father will have no conversation with him at all, and it is so disagreeable about the services. They'll have to meet in the vestry-room on Sunday, and they won't speak. Will not that be terrible ? Anything will be better than that he should remain here."

And what will my father do for a curate ? "

“He can't do anything till he knows when Mr. Saul will go. He talks of taking all the services himself."

“ He couldn't do it, mother. He must not think of it. However, I'll see Saul the first thing to-morrow.”

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The next day was Tuesday, and Harry proposed to leave the rectory at ten o'clock for Mr. Saul's lodgings. Before he did so, he had a few words with his father, who professed even deeper animosity against Mr. Saul than his son. “ After that,” he said, “I'll believe that a girl may fall in love with any man! People say all manner of things about the folly of girls; but nothing but this,—nothing short of this,—would have convinced me that it was possible that Fanny should have been such a fool. An ape of a fellow,--not made like a man,—with a thin hatchet face, and unwholesome stubbly chin. Good heavens !”

“ He has talked her into it."

“ But he is such an ass. As far as I know him, he can't say Bo! to a goose."

* There I think you are perhaps wrong."

“ Upon my word, I've never been able to get a word from him except about the parish. He is the most uncompanionable fellow. There's Edward Fielding is as active a clergyman as Saul; but Edward Fielding has something to say for himself.”

“ Saul is a cleverer man than Edward is ; but his cleverness is of a different sort.”

“ It is of a sort that is very invisible to me. But what does all that matter? He hasn't got a shilling. When I was a curate, we didn't think of doing such things as that.” Mr. Clavering had only been a curate for twelve months, and during that time had become engaged to his present wife with the consent of every one concerned. men were gentlemen then. I don't know what the Church will come to ; I don't indeed.”

After this Harry went away upon his mission. What a farce it was that he should be engaged to make straight the affairs of other people, when his own affairs were so very crooked! As he walked up to the old farmhouse in which Mr. Saul was living, he thought of this, and acknowledged to himself that he could hardly make himself in earnest about his sister's affairs, because of his own troubles. He tried to fill himself with a proper feeling of dignified wrath and high paternal indignation against the poor curate ; but under it all, and at the back of it all, and in front of it all, there was ever present to him his own position. Did he wish to escape from Lady Ongar; and if so, how was he to do it? And if he did not escape from Lady Ongar, how was he ever to hold up his head again?

He had sent a note to Mr. Saul on the previous evening giving notice of his intended visit, and had received an answer, in which the curate had promised that he would be at home. He had never before been in Mr. Saul's room, and as he entered it, felt more strongly than ever how incongruous was the idea of Mr. Saul as a suitor to his sister. The Claverings had always had things comfortable around them. They were a people who had ever lived on Brussels carpets, and had seated themselves in capacious chairs. Ormolu, damask hangings, and Sévres china were

“ But clergy

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