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and I was naturally desirous that have heard of me—therefore there neither of the gentlemen who have could be no recognition. You may, now dissolved themselves into thin however, be aware that a person of air, should have an opportunity of my name, a merchant who died in eavesdropping."
Mexico, made your father his exe“Thank you, Mr Lumley; you are cutor always kind and considerate.
“O yes! I know all about that. A cold compliment, Miss Beaton, It has often made me sad to think of since you will not admit me to the the old men dying alone, heart-broroll of your adorers."
ken and bereaved, in a distant land. “I am not aware, Mr Lumley, that But we understood he had no relayou ever offered yourself for enlist- tions beyond ourselves. There was ment."
indeed a Captain Sinclair, but he “It is my usual fate!” replied died when young, falling gallantly in Lumley. “In these unromantic days action.” no man receives credit for an undi- “Most true; and it is his son who vulged passion. So I shall content now claims the honour of addressing myself with acting the inferior part Miss Beaton as a kinsman.” of corporal of the guard.” And he "I am sincerely glad to know that, moved towards Sholto, who appeared Mr Sinclair; for you have a very atto be mightily pleased by being ad- tached and enthusiastic friend in the dressed by a humau being.
person of Mr Carlton, who used to It is curious how much more con- entertain Amy and me with stories fident a man feels after the ice bas of your rambles abroad. So, you see, once been broken. An hour before, you are not quite a stranger. But I durst not have accosted Miss Bea- you will see my father soon, will you ton; but now the persiflage to which not? I know he will be most happy I had listened, and the easy tone of to receive you.” her conversation with Mr Lumley, so “I shall certainly wait upon him, unembarrassed yet so purely friendly, Miss Beaton, withont loss of time. gave me courage.
Indeed I should have done so before "Miss Beaton,” I said, “the merest now, but until recently the history chance has given me the opportunity of the Mexican merchant was quite of approaching you this evening, not unknown to me. One thing, howin the character of a casual acquaint- ever, let me request : do not say to ance, whieh I scarcely should have Mr Beaton that I have told you this, ventured to do, but as a kineman, until he bas acknowledged my claim." and not one very far removed.” “Miss Beaton,” said Lumley, “I “ Mr Sinclair !"
grieve to interrupt you, but Mr Link“Pardon my abruptness. I knew later craves an audience.” nothing of this when we met at Wil- “Tiresome man! However, I sball bury; and since then it has been use him as an escort to Mrs Deladivulged to me in an extraordinary mere, who was kind enough to bring manner. Nevertheless, I have the me here, and whose forbearance I undoubted right to call you cousin, must not abuse. Good-night, Mr though perhaps you may feel indig. Lumley- farewell, Mr Sinclair."' And nant at the claim."
giving me her hand, which I would "Surely not indignant-say rather fain have carried to my lips, Mary gratified, Mr Sinclair; for though the Beaton withdrew. name I bear is an old, and, I beliere, "Upon my honour, Mr Sinclair," was once a proud one, it is now nearly said Lumley, “I think you must posextinct, and there are very few in- sess a recipe for making yourself deed related to us by a family tie. agrceable, which would be well worth But it is strange! My father, who is knowing. A few minutes ago I was sensitive on such subjects, though he presumptuous enough to imagine that rarely alludes to them, never men- you stood rather in awe of the charmtioned this.”
ing heiress, and, in the simplicity of “I have not the honour of know- my heart, I offered to take you up ing Mr Beaton," I replied; "and it is under cover of the ægis of my effronvery improbable that he should ever tery. In requital I am desired to
watch the somewhat ungainly move- I had no inclination, after this inments of Mr Linklater, leaving you terview, to remain longer in the to a tête-à-tête in the course of which crowded rooms ; indeed I felt as if I it would seem that you have made had need of solitude to calm down decided progress. But take care, my the tumult of my thoughts. So I young friend, or you may chance to made my escape into the streets, and have a smart attack of heart-ache." went homewards in a most excited
Surely, Mr Lumley," said I, with mood. I had seen her, I had spoken as indifferent an air as I could assume, with her, I had felt the pressure of though I felt my cheek burning her hand, and she had welcomed me “there is nothing very unusual in a cordially and graciously as a kinsman. few words of conversation being in. That was much. Much! I should terchanged by cousins?'
have thought myself insane, but two Lumley looked astounded. days gone by, to have dreamed of
“Cousins, did you say, Mr Sin- this. And she so sweet and gentle, clair?"
yet so greatly courted and admired! “I have the honour to stand in Now, at least, I was known to her ; that relation to Miss Beaton. I was and fortune too had come forward in not aware of it, however, when we my aid, so that the great barrier was met at Wilbury, and therefore I was removed. Ah! but Mr Beaton-her a stranger, so you see there is no father -- that worldly, purse-proud, mystery in the matter."
ambitious man-how would he wel "Singular good fortune, though, come me? This was his sole child, I should say,” remarked' Lumley. the heiress of all his wealth, for whom “Cousinhood is a most satisfactory doubtless he had toiled and schemed tie. It is neither too close nor too in anticipation that she might attain wide; and, like india rubber, is elas that rank to which alone does wealth tic. Without meaning to be imper- pay homage. Old men are tenacious tinent, Mr Sinclair, I congratulate of their purpose-was it probable you on the discovery."
that he would lightly forego his, even "Thank you, Mr Lumley,” said I, if I were successful in winning the “ both for your congratulation and affections of his daughter? That for the diversion you effected in my thought staggered me; but then I favour.”
remembered what I had heard that “By my honour,” said Lumley, “I very morning from my foster-brother wish I could do more than that. of the doubtful state of his speculaHark you, Mr Sinclair-I felt inte- tions, of the immense extent of his rested in you when we first met, for engagements, of the precarious nature even a jaded fellow can admire fresh- of credit--and I could not help seeing ness and energy in others; and since that there was more than a possibility I returned to London, Ashford has that Mr Beaton's prosperity might, told me something more. I like you after all, prove fictitions, and that for the manliness and pluck you have the fabric might be tottering to its displayed, which have not been ex- fall. erted in vain, since, without solicita- Then came another thought tion on your part, you are received in Would it be generous in me now such society as this. So I say to you, to press my pecuniary claim-of no in the words of Portia,
trifling amount-upon a man so em'I pray you, know me when we meet again ;'
barrassed, if he should throw himself
on my forbearance for delay ? To and, if you please, fix an early day refuse might be the destruction of for dining with me at my bachelor my hopes—to yield might be the loss quarters."
of my fortune. I protest that in * You are most kind, Mr Lumley. weighing that matter I strove to be A few days hence I shall avail myself as unselfish as a man can be—nay, of your permission to call.”
that I felt more than once inclined And as by that time to let fortune go, rather than be in George Carlton will probably be in any way accessory to the ruin of the town, we shall arrange for a quiet father of Mary Beaton. But there symposium."
was much force in the argument of
Osett, that such a sacrifice on my manding what is my own. Money part would not avert his doom; may be the root of all evil-though whereas, with the means now within I never knew any one who carried my reach, I could, in the very worst that theory into practice — but its event, alleviate the disaster, and per- possession has advantages; and were haps, through it, attain to the dearest I to forego these, the hopes which object of my heart.
this night's adventure have raised Yes !” said I, as I mounted the from the merest spark to a fervid stairs to my bed-room, “Davie was flame might be utterly extinguished.” right. I need have no scruple in de- So I went to dream of Mary Beaton.
CHAPTER XXXIV. -HOW RELATIONS TRANSACT BUSINESS.
Whatever might be Mr Beaton's therefore less favourably situated views as to the expediency of an early even than an agent, who, at the settlement, he showed anything but worst, has a lien over title-deeds. a disposition to postpone our meet- Not that I doubt Mr Beaton's suffiing; for, next day, I received from ciency, though, truth to say, he has him a letter, formal of its kind but ower many irons in the fire ; but it's politely worded, requesting a per- aye best to be regular and exact, sonal interview at his house at an even if you are dealing with your early hour of the following morning. brother." Shearaway, when I informed him of I concluded from this speech that this, urged upon me very strongly Mr Shearaway, notwithstanding his the propriety of bringing matters to habitual caution and professional a speedy conclusion, observing that acuteness, entertained little or no he had never, in the course of his suspicion that Mr Beaton's own aflong experience, known a single case fairs might be in a critical or emin which postponed Count and Rec- barrassed state. Nor was he singular koning had not been attended with in this. When I reflect now on the unhappy consequences.
transactions of those memorable years, “Squaring accounts, Norman,” said nothing strikes me more forcibly than the excellent Writer to the Signet, the partial blindness which seemed “is a Christian duty as well as an to affect people, who had nevertheextraordinary comfort and conveni- less discretion enough to doubt the ence. Titus, the Roman Emperor soundness of the movement. They (who, you mind, was son to the man would shake their heads and remonthat first levied a tax upon fulzie), strate with men who were recklessly made a point of balancing the books dealing in scrip, and subscribing conof his conscience every night before tracts for sums infinitely larger than he went to bed, and left no scores to the whole amount of their worldly be settled afterwards, showing himself means. They saw, without obstructthereby to be a God-fearing man and ed vision, that a course so opposed to an upright. If clients in general, and the principles both of prudence and lairds in particular, would take a of fair-dealing must have a wretched lesson from him, and insist upon end; but while they thus lavished having an annual redding-up of their their pity and commiseration on the accounts, say at Whitsunday or Mar- minnows of the shoal, it did not seem tinmas, there would be less com- to occur to them that the larger fish, plaining than there is about the hard- the originators, projectors, and inness of the times, and the exorbitant stigators of the schemes, might be in charges of lawyers, who, it stands to equal, if not greater danger. It was, reason, have no other resource, in I suspect, a common impression, that default of ready money, than to cal- in process of time the big fish would culate interest on arrears. And in turn round upon and swallow the fry your case, Norman, there is especial -a notion, in some instances, not alreason why you should proceed sine together without foundation ; but few mora ; for you hold no kind of secu- were so clear-sighted as to perceive rity whatever for your money, being that around them all, without dis
tinction of size or weight, the net of transact all his private and railway retribution was being drawn.
business at his house rather than in It was remarkable — at least I chambers ; an arrangement which thought so at the time-that on that gave it very much the appearance very day there was a decided rally in of a public office, so great was the the value of all kinds of shares per- throng that resorted thither of a taining to what Davie Osett had morning. In answer to my inquiry tersely denominated “Beaton's lot.” whether Mr Beaton was visible, the There was no apparent cause for this. porter, who seemed duly impressed A parliamentary contest with another with the dignity of his function, great company was still impending, solemnly asked—“By appointment, which, it was thought, would be influ- sir ?” and being certified of that, enced by the decision of the Board of handed my card to a footman, who Trade, or rather the select committee ushered me into the dining room. to which such matters were referred; There were already congregated nearly but that oracle had hitherto been twenty people,-country agents, conmute, and its deliberations were re- tractors, surveyors, and nondescripts, ported to be as fenced and guarded -all waiting eagerly for an audience froin espial as those of the Vehme- of the railway monarch, who cergericht, or of the mysterious conclave tainly appeared to have a quick way of Venice. Fluctuations were by no of getting through business, judging means uncommon ; but this seemed froin the rapid manner in which the to be a steady rise, wbich hardly servant called the roll. Still, howcould have been produced except by ever, there were as many entrances a preponderance of buyers, or some as exits. Several who had arrived gigantie operation on the part of a after me had priority of presentation, great capitalist. For me it was a and I began to think that my card favourable symptom, because it dimi- must certainly have fallen aside. At nished the chances of there being any length the gentleman in the plush extraordinary pressure on the finan- uniform made proclamation for Mr cial arrangements of Mr Beaton. Norman Sinclair, and then intimated
Moreover, in the course of the day, to the remainder of the company Mr I encountered Ewins, who was, he Beaton's regret that he could receive told me, as busy as a gobbler in a no more visitors that morning. field of maize.
"A mighty cool proceeding this," It's go
ahead now, and no mis- thought I, “on the part of a London take !" said the Yankee. “I've got merchant Why, if he were Prince hold of the cypher, and I guess it’s Metternich, transacting the affairs of as good as second-sight.”
the Austrian Empire, he could not Any new discovery, Mr Ewins ?” behave more cavalierly.”
Wall, I reckon it ain't new neither. I was ushered into a handsome I allers had a kiuder notion that it library, where, at a table covered with
a was possible to screw the cork out of plans and papers, the great man was every bottle ; and it's all crankum to seated. He was tall and portly, with tell me that folks are closer here than an upright carriage, a hawk's eye, they are elsewhere."
compressed lips, and a countenance “Since you are so deeply engaged expressive of determination. Like in speculation, Mr Ewins, I conclude all shrewd negotiators, he kept bis that you do not auticipate a re- back to the light, a position which action ?”
gives the advantage of scrutinising "Not before the fall, Squire, ac- the faces of others, while it partially cording to my thinking; but then let conceals the expression of your own. folks look out for chilblains."
He rose up immediately, but without After this Delphic utterance, which advancing a step, and extended his the Yankee seer enforced by a wink hand. of preternatural sagacity, there was “Before entering upon business, nothing more to be said ; so at the Mr Sinclair,” said he, speaking very appointed time I repaired to the slowly, and honouring me with a fixed mansion of Mr Beaton.
regard, “it is my duty to greet you It was that gentleman's fancy to as a relative, which I do with all sin
cerity. Blood, sir, has its claims; purpose of studying foreign art and and I trust I shall never be found literature.” deficient in consideration towards “A most delightful occupation, those who are scions of my family though I believe rather an expensive tree.”
one ?” This was an unfortunate saluta- “ Not expensive to a man who tion, for it roused that ancestral knows what his means are, and is pride which burns strongly, however determined not to exceed them.” quietly, within the bosom of every “A very just remark,” said Mr genuine Scot.
Beaton. “And have you been long “I thank you for your greeting, Mr in London ?” Beaton, and am proud to be acknow- “For a few months only." ledged as your kinsman; at the same “Do you not feel it dull for want time allow me to remark that your of society i". family tree and mine are quite apart. “I cannot say I do. It seems to I am a cadet, though a remote one, me, on the contrary, that in London of the noble house of St Clair."
one may be easily tempted to sacri"Doubtless you are right, Mr Sin- fice too much time to society." clair-that is, according to strict Society, however, is a word of heraldic rules,” replied Mr Beaton, expansive meaning. Í hope, Mr Sinevidently, however, a little annoyed clair, I may be of service to you in at the rebuff, not being prepared to giving you some introductions ; for receive an answer of the kind. “You I should very much regret if, with most overlook the inaccuracies of a your prospects, you should make acplain London merchant, who is un- quaintances which it might be diffifortunately too much engrossed by cult hereafter to shake off.” the cares of business to give that “I think you would hardly advise attention to pedigree which you seem me, Mr Beaton, to shake off, as you to have had leisure to bestow." term it, the acquaintances that I have
I remembered the adage about the formed, or to forsake the houses to impolicy of shaking a red handker- which I have the honour to be adchief in the face of a bull, so I con- mitted. I need merely mention the tented myself with making a bow, names of the Earl of Windermere, and took a seat without solicitation, Colonel Stanhope of Wilbury, and the rather that Mr Beaton had re- Mr Osborne, to convince you that I sumed his chair.
do not stand in need of your offer“ You have been abroad for some for which, however, I am sincerely time, Mr Sinclair—at least so Poins grateful.” informs me,” resumed Mr Beaton Mr Beaton's face, on this announceafter a pause. “May I ask if you ment, would have been a capital have travelled much ? "
subject for a caricaturist. “A good deal in Europe," I re- “Do you mean to say, Mr Sinclair, plied, " and but little beyond; though that you visit at such houses- Lord I have been in Egypt and the Leba- Windermere's, for example ?” non.”
“Certainly I do, Mr Beaton; and “Indeed! those countries are very I am at a loss to understand why interesting to us in a mercantile that should astonish you. Bating point of view. Have you studied the dignity, we hold, in Scotland at their products and their trade ?" · least, that the poorest gentleman of
I was at no loss to comprehend coat armour is fit to associate with a the drift of this query. Mr Beaton duke. In England, so far as I have wanted to find out in what capacity observed, heraldry is dispensed with I had travelled, whether as a tutor, altogether.” a courier, or a commercial agent; he “Upon my word, my young friend," being utterly in the dark as to my said Mr Beaton, assuming a friendly present position, which I had cau- tone, instead of that of patronisation tioned Mr Shearaway not to disclose. -a transition which he accomplished
“I regret to say I can give you no very creditably, and which would information on such subjects, Mr have been perfect, but for a slight Beaton. I travelled solely for the huskiness which he could not conceal VOL. LXXXVIII.-NO. DXLI.