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      Captain Hulbert was not selfish enough to plead for his personal happiness in the midst of a household shadowed by the foreboding of a great sorrow. Martin Disney's face, as he looked at his wife in those moments which too plainly marked the progress of decay, was in itself enough to put a check upon a lover's impatience. How could any man plead for his own pleasurefor the roses and sunshine of lifein the presence of that deep despair?

      "Never mind that if the worst people can dance. I am on the committee, so I will answer for the supper and the champagne. You like a dry brand, of course, Miss Crowther?""SAY THE FALSE CHARGE WAS TRUE."

      At night, when the fog had at last cleared off, a column of fire was piled up on the engine; it shone[Pg 154] on the smooth trunks of the "flame of the forest," which looked like the pillars of a cathedral, on the sparkling water-springs all hung about with prayer-strips, on the veronica shrubs covered with flowers and as tall as trees, and the sheaves of bamboo and fern; or it lighted up the hanging screen of creepers, the impenetrable jungle growth that shut in the silence of the sleeping forest.

      Captain Hulbert took his yacht to other waters in November, only to come sailing back again in December, when he finally laid up the Vendetta in winter quarters, and took up his abode at the Mount, where he availed himself of his brother's stud, which had been reduced to two old hunters and a pair of carriage-horses of mediocre quality. And so the shortening days drew on towards Christmas; baby's first Christmas, as that small person's adorers remarkedas if it were a wonderful thing for any young Christian to make a beginning of lifeand all was happiness at the Angler's Nest. All was happiness without a cloud, till one morningAllegra and her brother being alone in the library, where she sometimes painted at her little table-easel, while he readshe put down her palette and went over to him, laying her hand upon his shoulder as he sat in his accustomed place in the old-fashioned bow-window.

      "I would drive you both to Lostwithiel after lunch, and we could do our little bit of shopping and then have a cup of tea at the Talbot while the horses had their mouths washed out, and I'd show you the room where your brother's wife was so much admired last year, Miss Leland, and where I hope you'll have many a good dance next winter. Now the ice is broken we mean to go on with our balls, I can tell you. Indeed, my girls are thinking of trying to get up a tennis-club ball about the end of September.""SO, FULL CONTENT SHALL HENCEFORTH BE MY LOT."


      Et que ferez-vous pour la nation?


      The king was staggered. War seemed the only alternative. But war would empty his money-casks, disfigure his splendid troops, and peril the lives even of his costly giants. One of these men, James Kirkman, picked up in the streets of London, cost the king six thousand dollars before he could be inveigled, shipped, and brought to hand. Nearly all had cost large sums of money. Such men were too valuable to be exposed to danger. Frederick William was in a state of extreme nervous excitement. There was no rest for him night or day. His deep potations did not calm his turbulent spirit. War seemed imminent. Military preparations were in vigorous progress. Ovens were constructed to bake ammunition bread. Artillery was dragged out from the arsenals. It was rumored that the Prussian troops were to march immediately upon the duchy of Mecklenburg, which was then held by George II. as an appendage to Hanover.


      From her earliest childhood Flicit had shown a remarkable talent for music and acting, of which her mother was so proud that she did her best to spoil the child by bringing her forward on every occasion to display her talents. She learned to sing, to play the harp, to recite verses; she was dressed up as an Amour or a Hebe, she acted Iphigenia and Hector and Zaire, and the constant flattery and notice she received evidently and naturally turned her head and laid the foundation of that vanity and self-satisfaction which appears so conspicuously in the records of her life.