"Yes, I will. I do remember it. Mind you, aunt, I am not glad that I belong to it. I think I do understand about it all, and will do my best. But Jack would have made a better Earl than I shall do. That's the truth."

"The Lord God has placed you,--and you must pray to Him that He will enable you to do your duty in that state of life to which it has pleased Him to call you. You are here and must bear his decree; and whether it be a privilege to enjoy, you must enjoy it, or a burden to bear, you must endure it."

"It is so of course."

"Knowing that, you must know also how incumbent it is upon you not to defile the stock from which you are sprung."

"I suppose it has been defiled," said Fred, who had been looking into the history of the family. "The ninth Earl seems to have married nobody knows whom. And his son was my uncle's grandfather."

This was a blow to Lady Scroope, but she bore it with dignity and courage. "You would hardly wish it to be said that you had copied the only one of your ancestors who did amiss. The world was rougher then than it is now, and he of whom you speak was a soldier."

"I'm a soldier too," said the Earl.

"Oh, Fred, is it thus you answer me! He was a soldier in rough times, when there were wars. I think he married when he was with the army under Marlborough."

"I have not seen anything of that kind, certainly."

"Your country is at peace, and your place is here, among your tenantry, at Scroope. You will promise me, Fred, that you will not marry this girl in Ireland?"


"If I do, the fault will be all with that old maid at Castle Quin."

"Do not say that, Fred. It is impossible. Let her conduct have been what it may, it cannot make that right in you which would have been wrong, or that wrong which would have been right."

"She's a nasty meddlesome cat."

"I will not talk about her. What good would it do? You cannot at any rate be surprised at my extreme anxiety. You did promise your uncle most solemnly that you would never marry this young lady."

"If I did, that ought to be enough." He was now waxing angry and his face was becoming red. He would bear a good deal from his uncle's widow, but he felt his own power and was not prepared to bear much more.

Most Popular