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So she sat to him dutifully enough for a model of his fairy queen, and if she wearied at times, as I think she must, comforted herself with the remembrance, that in this way she helped the family who gave her bread.

For the convenience of sitters, Simon Perkins had his paintingroom in Berners Street: thither it was his custom to resort in the morning, by penny steamer or threepenny omnibus, and there he spent many happy hours working hard with palette and brush. Not the least golden seemed those in which Nina accompanied him to sit patiently while he studied, and drew her, line by line, feature by feature. The expeditions to and fro were delightful, the labour was pleasure, the day was gone far too soon.

A morning could not but be fine, when, emerging from an omnibus at Albert Gate, Simon walked by the side of his model through Hyde Park on their way to Berners Street; but about this period. one morning seemed even finer than common, because that Nina, taking his arm as they crossed Rotten Row, thought fit to confide to him an interview of the day before with Aunt Jemima, in which she had extorted from that dear old lady with some difficulty

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'What, even stern Aunt Jemima?' said this blundering young man, clumsily beating about the bush, and thus scaring the bird quite as much as if he had thrust his hand boldly into the nest.

'Aunt Jemima best of all,' replied Nina, saucily, because she's the eldest, and tries to keep me in order, but she can't.'

And which of us next best, Nina?' continued he, turning away with extraordinary interest in a mowing machine.

'Aunt Susannah, of course.' This very demurely while tightening her pretty lips to keep back a laugh.

Then I come last,' he observed, gently; but there was something in the tone that made her glance sharply in his face.

She pressed his arm. You dear old simple Simon,' said she, kindly.

the fact of her own friendless po-Surely you must know me by this sition in the world.

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'And I don't mind it a bit,' continued the girl, catching her voice like a child, as was her habit when excited, for I'm sure you're all so kind to me that I'd much rather not have any other friends. And I don't want to be independent, and I'll never leave you, so long as you'll keep me. And oh! Simon, isn't it good of your aunts, and you too, to have taken care of me ever since I was quite a little thing? For I'm no relation, you know-and how can I ever do enough for you? I can't. It's impossible. And you don't want me to, if I could!'

Notwithstanding the playful manner which was part of Nina's self, there were tears of real feeling in her eyes, and I doubt if Simon's were quite dry while he answered

'You belong to us just as much as if you were a relation, Nina. My

time. I love you very dearly, just as if you were my brother. Brother, indeed! I don't think if I'd a father I could be much fonder of him than I am of you.'

What a bright morning it had been five minutes ago, and now the sky seemed clouded all at once. Simon even thought the statue of Achilles looked more grim and ghostly than usual, lowering there

in his naked bronze.

She had wounded him very deeply, that pretty unconscious archer. These random shafts for which no interposing shield makes ready are sure to find the joints in our harness. A tough hard nature such as constitutes the true fighter only presses more doggedly to the front, but gentler spirits are fain to turn aside out of the battle, and go home to die. There came a dimness before Simon's eyes, and a ringing

in his ears. He scarcely heard his companion, while she asked

Who are those men bowing? Do you know them? They must take me for somebody else.'

'Those men bowing' were two no less important characters than Lord Bearwarden and Tom Ryfe, the latter in the act of selling the former a horse. Such transactions, for some mysterious reason, always take place in the morning, and whatever arguments may be adduced against a too enthusiastic worship of the noble animal, at least it promotes early rising.

Tom Ryfe was one of those men rarely seen in the saddle or on the box, but who, nevertheless, always seem to have a horse to dispose of, whatever be the kind required. Hack, hunter, pony, phaeton-horse, he was either possessor of the very animal you wanted, or could suit you with it at twenty-four hours' notice; yet if you met him by accident riding in the Park he was sure to tell you he had been mounted by a friend; if you saw him driving a team-and few could handle four horses in a crowded thoroughfare with more neatness and precisionyou might safely wager it was from the box of another man's coach.

He was supposed to be a very fine rider over a country, and there were vague traditions of his having gone exceedingly well through great runs on special occasions; but these exploits had obviously lost nothing of their interest in the process of narration, and were indeed enhanced by that obscurity which increases the magnitude of most things, in the moral as in the material world.

Mr. Ryfe knew all the sporting men about London, but not their wives. He was at home on the Downs and the Heath, in the pavilion at Lord's and behind the traps of the Red House. He dined pretty frequently at the barracks of the household troops, welcome to the genial spirits of his entertainers, chiefly for those qualities with which they themselves credited him; and he called Bearwarden 'My lord,' wherefore that nobleman thought him a snob, and would

perhaps have considered him a still greater if he had not.

The horse in question showed good points and fine action. Mr. Ryfe walked, trotted, cantered, and finally reined him up at the rails on which Lord Bearwarden was leaning.

Rather a flat-catcher, Tom,' said that nobleman between the whiffs of a cigar. Too much action for a hunter and too little body. He wouldn't carry my weight if the ground was deep, though he's not a bad goer, I'll admit.'

'Exactly what I said at first, my lord,' answered Tom, slipping the reins through his fingers, and letting the horse reach over the iron bar against his chest, to crop the tufts of grass beneath, an attitude in which his fine shoulders and liberty of frame showed to great advantage. 'I never thought he was a fourteen-stone horse, and I never told you so.'

'And I never told you I rode fourteen stone, did I?' replied Lord Bearwarden, who was a little touchy on that score. 'Thirteen five at the outside, and not so much as that after deer-stalking in Scotland. He's clean thoroughbred, isn't he?'

The purchaser was biting, and Tom understood his business as if he had been brought up to it.

But

'Clean,' he answered, passing his leg over the horse's neck, and sliding to the ground, thus leaving his saddle empty for the other. he's thrown away on a heavy man. His place is carrying thirteen stone over high Leicestershire. Nothing could touch him there amongst the hills. Jumping's a vulgar accomplishment. Plenty of them can jump if one dare ride them, but he's really an extraordinary fencer. Such a mouth too, and such a gentleman! Why he's the pleasantest hack in London. You like a nice hack, my lord. Get up and feel him. It's like riding a bird.'

So Lord Bearwarden jumped on, and altered the stirrups, and crammed his hat down, ere he rode the horse to and fro, trying him in all his paces, and probably falling in love with him forthwith, for he returned with a brightened

eye and higher colour to Tom Ryfe on the footway.

It was at this juncture both gentlemen started and took their hats off to the lady who walked some fifty paces off, arm-in-arm with Simon Perkins, the painter.

Their salute was not returned. The lady, indeed, to whom it was addressed seemed to hurry on all the faster with her companion. It was remarkable, and both remarked it, that neither made any observation on this lack of courtesy, but finished their bargain without apparently half so much interest in sale or purchase as they felt five minutes ago.

'You'll dine with us, Tom, on the 11th?' said Bearwarden, when they parted opposite Knightsbridge Barracks, but he was obviously thinking of something else.

On the 11th,' repeated Tom'delighted, my lord-at eight o'clock, I suppose,' and turned his horse's head soberly towards Piccadilly, proceeding at a walk, as one who revolved certain reflections, not of the most agreeable, in his mind. A dinner at the barracks was usually rather an event with Mr. Ryfe, but on the present occasion he forgot all about it before he had gone a hundred yards.

Lord Bearwarden, rejecting the temptation of luncheon in the messroom, ran upstairs to his own quarters to think: of course he smoked at the same time.

This nobleman was one of the many of his kind who, to their credit be it said, are not spoiled by sailing down the stream with the wind in their favour. He had been 'a good fellow' at Eton, he remained 'a good fellow' in the regiment. With general society he was not perhaps quite so popular. People said he required knowing;' and for those who didn't choose to take the trouble of knowing him he was a little reserved; with men, even a little rough. His manner was of the world, worldly, and gave the idea of complete heartlessness and savoir faire; yet under this seemingly impervious covering lurked a womanly romance of temperament, a womanly tenderness of heart, than

which nothing would have made him so angry as to be accused of possessing. His habits were manly and simple, his chief ambition was to distinguish himself as a soldier, and so far as he could find opportu nity he had seen service with credit on the staff. A keen sportsman, he could ride and shoot as well as his neighbours, and this is saying no little amongst the young officers of the Household Brigade.

Anything but a ladies' man,' there was yet something about Bearwarden, irrespective of his income and his coronet, that seemed to interest women of all temperaments and characters. They would turn away from far handsomer, betterdressed, and more amusing people, to attract his notice when he entered a room, and the more enterprising would even make fierce love to him on further acquaintance, particularly after they discovered what uphill work it was. Do they appreciate a difficulty the greater trouble it requires to surmount, or do they enjoy a scrape the more, that they have to squeeze themselves into it by main force? I wonder if the seanymphs love their Tritons because those zoophytes must necessarily be so cold! It is doubtless against the hard impenetrable rock that the sea-waves dash themselves again and again. Bearwarden responded but faintly to the boldest advances. There must be a reason for it, said the fair assailants. Curiosity grew into interest, and, flavoured with a dash of pique, formed one of those messes with which, in stimulating their vanity, women fancy they satisfy their hunger of the heart.

Bearwarden was a man with a history; of this they were quite sure, and herein they were less mistaken than people generally find themselves who jump to conclusions. Yes, Bearwarden had a history, and a sad one, so far as the principal actor was concerned. Indeed he dared not think much about it even yet, and drove it-for he was no weak, silly sentimentalist-by sheer force of will out of his mind. Indeed, if it had not wholly changed his real self, it had encrusted him with that hardness and roughness

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