"It would be very bad if we were to hear that he was married to a girl of whom we only know that she is a Roman Catholic and friendless."

The Earl's brow became very black. "I don't think that he would treat me in that way."

"Not meaning it, perhaps;--but if he should become entangled and make a promise!"

Then the Earl did speak to his nephew. "Fred," he said, "I have been thinking a great deal about you. I have little else to think of now. I should take it as a mark of affection from you if you would give up the army--at once."

"And not join my regiment again at all?"

"It is absurd that you should do so in your present position. You should be here, and learn the circumstances of the property before it becomes your own. There can hardly be more than a year or two left for the lesson."

The Earl's manner was very impressive. He looked into his nephew's face as he spoke, and stood with his hand upon the young man's shoulder. But Fred Neville was a Neville all over,--and the Nevilles had always chosen to have their own way. He had not the power of intellect nor the finished manliness which his brother possessed; but he could be as obstinate as any Neville,--as obstinate as his father had been, or his uncle. And in this matter he had arguments which his uncle could hardly answer on the spur of the moment. No doubt he could sell out in proper course, but at the present moment he was as much bound by military law to return as would be any common soldier at the expiration of his furlough. He must go back. That at any rate was certain. And if his uncle did not much mind it, he would prefer to remain with his regiment till October.

Lord Scroope could not condescend to repeat his request, or even again to allude to it. His whole manner altered as he took his hand away from his nephew's shoulder. But still he was determined that there should be no quarrel. As yet there was no ground for quarrelling,--and by any quarrel the injury to him would be much greater than any that could befall the heir. He stood for a moment and then he spoke again in a tone very different from that he had used before. "I hope," he said,--and then he paused again; "I hope you know how very much depends on your marrying in a manner suitable to your position."

"Quite so;--I think."

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