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upon their wedding-day. They say afterwards that they have no time, but I often think that it is because they do not choose to make time.”
Yes," answered Augusta, "but then that is because they do not really love their work, whatever it may be. Those who really love their art as I love mine, with heart and soul and strength, will not be so easily checked. Of course distractions and cares come with marriage; but, on the other hand, if one marries happily, there comes quiet of mind and cessation from that ceaseless restlessness that is so fatal to good work. You need not fear, Eustace; if I can, I will show the world that you have not married a dúllard; and if I can't, why, my dear, it will be because I am one."
"That comes very nicely from the author of 'Jemima's Vow,'" said Eustace, with sarcasm. "Really, my dear, what between your fame as a writer and as the heroine of the shipwreck and of the great will case, I think that I had better take a back seat at once, for I shall certainly be known as the husband of the beautiful and gifted Mrs. Meeson."
"Oh, no," answered Augusta; "don't be afraid, nobody would dream of speaking slightingly of the owner of two millions of money."
"Well; never mind chaffing about the money," said Eustace; "we haven't got it yet, for one thing. I have got something to ask you."
"I must be going to bed," said Augusta, firmly. "No-nonsense!" said Eustace. "You are not going;" and he caught her by the arm.
"Unhand me, sir!" said Augusta, with majesty. "Now, what do you want, you silly boy?"
"I want to know if you will marry me next week?" "Next week? Good gracious! No," said Augusta. "Why, I have not got my things, and, for the matter of that, I am sure I don't know where the money is coming from to pay for them with."
'Things!" said Eustace, with fine contempt. "You managed to live on Kerguelen Land without things, so I don't see why you can't get married without themthough, for the matter of that, I will get anything you want in six hours. I never did hear such bosh as women talk about 'things.' Listen, dear. For Heaven's sake let's get married and have a little quiet. I can assure you that, if you don't, your life won't be worth having after this. You will be hunted like a wild. thing, and interviewed, and painted, and worried to death; whereas, if you get married-well, it will be better for us in a quiet way, you know."
"Well, there is something in that," said Augusta. "But supposing that there should be an appeal, and the decision should be reversed, what would happen then ?"
"Well, then we should have to work for our living -that's all. I have got my billet, and you could write for the press until your five-years' agreement with Meeson & Co. has run out. I would put you in the way of that. I see lots of writing-people at my shop." "Well," said Augusta, "I will speak to Bessie about it."
“ Oh, of course, Lady Holmhurst will say no," said Eustace, gloomily. "She will think about the 'things;' and, besides, she won't want to lose you before she is obliged."
"That is all that I can do for you, sir,” said Augusta, with decision. "There-come-that's enough! Good-night." And, breaking away from him, she made a pretty little courtesy and vanished.
"Now, I wonder what she means to do," meditated Eustace, as the butler brought him his hat. "I really should not wonder if she came round to it. But then one never knows how a woman will take a thing. If she will, she will, etc., etc."
And now it may strike the reader as very strange, but, as a matter of fact, ten days from the date of the above conversation there was a small-and-early gathering at St. George's, Hanover Square, close by. I say "small," for the marriage had been kept quite secret, in order to prevent curiosity-mongers from marching down upon it in their thousands, as they would certainly have done had it been announced that the heroine of the great will case was going to be married. Therefore the party was very select. Augusta had no relations of her own, and so she had asked Dr. Probate, with whom she had struck up a great friendship, to come and give her away; and, though the old gentleman's previous career had had more connection with the undoing of the nuptial tie than with its contraction, he could not find it in his heart to refuse.
"I shall be neglecting my duties, you know, my dear young lady," he said, shaking his head. "It's very wrong-very wrong, for I ought to be at the registry; but-well, perhaps I can manage to come— very wrong, though—very wrong, and quite out of my line of business! I expect that I shall begin to address the court-I mean the clergyman-for the petitioner."
And so it came to pass that on this auspicious day the registering was left to look after itself; and, as a matter of history, it may be stated that no question was asked in Parliament about it.
Then there was Lady Holmhurst, looking very pretty in her widow's dress; and her boy Dick, who was in the highest spirits, and bursting with health and wonder at these strange proceedings on the part of his "auntie;" and, of course, the legal twins brought up the rear.
And there in the vestry stood Augusta in her bridal dress, as sweet a woman as ever the sun shone on; and, looking at her beautiful face, Dr. Probate nearly fell in love with her himself. And yet it was a sad face just then. She was happy-very, as a loving woman who is about to be made a wife should be; but when a great joy draws near to us it comes companioned by the shadows of our old griefs.
The highest sort of happiness has a peculiar faculty of recalling to our minds that which has troubled them in the past, the truth being that extremes in this, as in other matters, will sometimes touch, which would
seem to suggest that sorrow and happiness-however varied in their bloom-yet have a common root. Thus it was with Augusta now. As she stood in the vestry there came to her mind a recollection of her dear little sister, and of how she had prophesied happy greatness and success for her. Now the happiness and the success were at hand, and there in the aisle stood her own true love; but the recollection of that dear face, and of the little mound that covered it, rested on them like a shadow. It passed with a sigh, and in its place there came the memory of poor Mr. Tombey, but for whom she would not have been standing there a bride, and of his last words as he put her into the boat. He was food for fishes now, poor fellow, and she was left alone with a great and happy career opening out before her a career in which her talents would have free space to work. And yet how odd to think it, two or three score of years and it would all be one, and she would be as Mr. Tombey was. Poor Mr. Tombey! perhaps it was as well that he was not there to see her happiness; and let us hope that wherever it is we go after the last event we lose sight of the world and those we knew therein. Otherwise there must be more hearts broken in heaven above than in earth beneath.
"Now then, Miss Smithers," broke in Dr. Probate, "for the very last time-nobody will call you that again, you know—take my arm; his lordship—I mean the parson-is there."