"It is the one hope left to me to see you properly settled in life."

"Marriage is a very serious thing, uncle. Suppose I were not to marry at all! Sometimes I think my brother is much more like marrying than I am."

"You are bound to marry," said the Earl solemnly. "And you are specially bound by every duty to God and man to make no marriage that will be disgraceful to the position which you are called upon to fill."

"At any rate I will not do that," said Fred Neville proudly. From this the Earl took some comfort, and then the interview was over.

On the day appointed by himself Fred left the Manor, and his mother and brother went on the following day. But after he was gone, on that same afternoon, Jack Neville asked Sophie Mellerby to be his wife. She refused him,--with all the courtesy she knew how to use, but also with all the certainty. And as soon as he had left the house she told Lady Scroope what had happened.

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