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I cannot take any kind of trouble, or do any one thing that is of any use. Many decent families roast a bit of mutton on a string; but if I displease my father I shall not have as much as will buy the string, to say nothing of the meat; and the bare idea of such cookery gives me the horrors.

By this time, they were near the Castle, and met Miss Crotchet and her companion, who had turned back to meet them. Captain Fitzchrome was shortly after heartily welcomed by Mr. Crotchet, and the party separated to dress for dinner, the Captain being by no means in an enviable state of mind, and full of misgivings as to the extent of belief that he was bound to accord to the words of the lady of his heart.

CHAP. IV.

THE PARTY.

En quoi cognoissez-vous la folie anticque? En quoi cognoissez-vous la sagesse présente ?

RABELAIS.

“If I were sketching a bandit who hạd just shot his last pursuer, having outrun all the rest, that is the very face I would give him," soliloquised the Captain, as he studied the features of his rival in the drawing-room, during the miserable half-hour before dinner, when dullness reigns predominant over the expectant company, especially when they are waiting for some one last comer, whom they all heartily curse in their hearts, and whom, nevertheless, orindeed therefore-the-more, they welcome as a sinner, more heartily than all

the just persons who had been punctual to their engagement. Some new visitors had arrived in the morning, and, as the company dropped in one by one, the Captain anxiously watched the unclosing door for the form of his beloved : but she was the last to make her appearance, and on her entry gave him a malicious glance, which he construed into a telegraphic communication that she had stayed away to torment him. Young Crotchet escorted her with marked attention to the upper end of the drawing-room, where a great portion of the company was congregated around Miss Crotchet. These being the only ladies in the company, it was evident that old Mr. Crotchet would give his arm to Lady Clarinda, an arrangement with which the Captain could not interfere. He therefore, took his station near the door, studying his rival from a distance, and determined to take advantage of his present position, to secure the seat next to his charmer. He was meditating on the best mode of operation for securing this important post with due regard to bienséance, when he was twitched by the button by Mr. Mac Quedy, who said to him: “Lady Clarinda tells me, sir, that you are anxious to talk with me on the subject of exchangeable value, from which I infer that you have studied political economy, and as a great deal depends on the definition of value, I shall be glad to set you right on that point.” “I am much obliged to you, sir,” said the Captain, and was about to express his utter disqualification for the proposed instruction, when Mr. Skionar walked up and said: “Lady Clarinda informs me that you wish to talk over with me the question of subjective reality. I am delighted to fall in with a gentleman who duly

appreciates the transcendental philosophy.” “Lady Clarinda is too good,” said the Captain ; and was about to protest that he had never heard the word transcendental before, when the butler announced dinner. Mr. Crotchet led the way with Lady Clarinda: Lord Bossnowl followed with Miss Crotchet: the economist and transcendentalist pinned in the Captain, and held him, one by each arm, as he impatiently descended the stairs in the rear of several others of the company, whom they had forced him to let pass; but the moment he entered the dining-room he broke loose from them, and at the expense of a little brusquerie, secured his position.

Well, Captain,” said Lady Clarinda, “I perceive you can still manæuvre.”

“What could possess you," said the Captain, “to send two unendurable and inconceivable bores, to intercept me with

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