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him as if he was going to eat me. A good,
sober, sensible man, no doubt, and I am sure
will pick up a widow, of a suitable age, one
of these days, who'll make him very comfortable."
Lucy smiled. Alas! that smile showed
how the old image had gone. "I think," went
on Mr. Dacres, in great spirits, "he has been
reading that old novel of Miss What's-her-
name's, where the tutor thinks he has inspired
the sweet girl, his pupil, with a tender and
reverential interest. My poor Lulu! fancy her
being handed over to a professor of this sort, to
be lectured every morning, and have her mind

Again Lucy laughed. When laughter comes
in at the door, love has flown out of the
window. Vivian, with his eyes on her, talked
about himself; and presently Mr. Dacres,
finding love-making monotonous to an uninterested
bystander, slipped out quietly for a few
minutes to get a breath of fresh air. The
fresh air that invigorated Mr. Dacres was
that of the café at the corner, so fatally
near his residence. Then Vivian and Lucy
began the old, old duet. Long since, as the
reader will have guessed, they had settled
everything. To Lucy Vivian had been more
explicit than to her father; she understood
how he was situated perfectly. He had not
many friends in the world: one brother, also
in the armyno father nor mothera pair of
wandering men, like many soldiers that we meet,
whose family is the regiment. For that case
we may have sympathy. There was just one
relation, then very ill and lingering near death,
on whom much depended; and Lucy understood
that any further steps were not to
be taken until this matter had come to an
issue. She had formed her own ideal of this
awful lady; for she saw that Vivian shrank
from her very name, and would not speak of
her. A terrible relation, who had much in
her power. Mr. Dacres, having looked after
Vivian's affairs through the agency of his own
solicitor in England, found everything satisfactory;
so much money in the funds to his
creditall plain sailing, as he said. There
was no hurry. Let matters shake themselves
free. At Vivian's, or rather Lucy's earnest
request, no official intimation of an engagement
was given. But it was guessed at,
and all but known; Mr. Dacres always
rubbing his hands gleefully, and saying he
supposed the young people would knock out
something of the kind one of these days. It wasn't
his affair.

Dacres had scarcely departed, when Madame
Jaques came tripping over, in great delight,
with a packet in her hand. As we have
mentioned, she took an unbounded interest in
the progress of his affairs, and thought Vivian
as handsome and as noble a gentleman as ever
bore a sword. A hero, too, who saved gallant
men for their wives and families.

"I was passing the post, monsieur," she said,
"and I thought I would ask if there was a letter.
The bon Dieu, I think, inspired me, for they gave
me this. There must be wonderful news in
itit is so large."

Vivian opened it hurriedly. It was a long
despatch, and labelled "On his Majesty's
Service." When the pretty Madame Jaques' had
gone, Lucy saw his troubled air. He rose

"No bad news, dear?" she said, anxiously.

"My sweet Lucy," he said, "the worst.
There is some trouble expected in one of the
islands, and here is the fatal order to join the
regiment by the first ship that sails. What
shall we do?"

Lucy was very pale.

"It is not so bad as I thought; but it is very
bad. And you must go?"

"Yes," he said, "if I was ill or dying, I
dared not hesitate. Alas! what shall we

"And when," said she, anxiously, "does the
vessel sail?"

"In five weeks," he said.

"Ah," said Lucy, cheerfully, "that is a long
reprieve. I was afraid it was to-morrow, or
next day."

"Yes," he said; " to be sure. And there
are to be further orders; so something to occasion
delay may turn up in the mean time. We
shall make the most of the reprieve, and not
think of what is coming."

Now entered Mr. Dacres from taking the
fresh airand smelling strongly of it. He was
told the news. He was moody, as, somehow,
he always was when coming in from the fresh

"Most unlucky," he said, dryly; "and you'll
have to go, of course?"

"He must, papa," said Lucy, eagerly. "The
colonel must be with his men!"

"No selling out, nor exchanging, of course?"
said Mr. Dacres.

"It would be disgraceful, papa," said Lucy,
answering for Vivian. Then, with assumed
cheerfulness and alacrity, "After all, it will
make littje differencea couple of years at the
outside, if even eighteen months."

"Perhaps a year even, if it be a short
business," said Vivian.

"And you will be back with us here! And
by that time all these obstacles will have
passed away."

Mr. Dacres was swinging on what he called,
"the hind legs" of his chair, with his eyes on
the ceiling, "crooning," very low, a dismal
ditty. He made no further remark. When
Vivian rose to go away, and that rather mournful
interview ended, Mr. Dacres rose too, and,
with apparent cordiality, followed him out;
then slipped an arm inside his, and drew him
away with, "ord in your ear, Vivian, my
boy." They went up the street together.

"You see this news alters matters entirely.
After what has taken place between you and
my Lulu, something must be settled as to
time, place, and date. Once a man goes off
to Gibraltar, the post takes rather too long
coming to be depended on. So, as my