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out his soul, and the memory of that long, sweet look is with him yet.
He said no more, nor had she any words; but, somehow, nearer and nearer they drew one to the other, till his arms were around her, and his lips were pressed upon her lips. Happy man and happy girl! they will live to find that life has joys (for those who are good and are well off), but that it has no joy so holy and so complete as that which they were now experiencingthe first kiss of true and honest love.
A little while afterwards the butler entered the room in a horribly sudden manner, and found Augusta and Eustace, the one very red and the other very pale, standing suspiciously close to each other. But he was a well-trained butler and a man of experience, who had seen much and guessed more; and he looked innocent as a babe unborn.
Just then, too, Lady Holmhurst came in again, and glanced at the pair of them with an amused twinkle in her eye. Lady Holmhurst, like her butler, was also a person of experience.
"Won't you come into the drawing-room?" she said. And they did, looking rather sheepish.
And there Eustace made a clean breast of it, announcing that they were engaged to be married. And although this was somewhat of an assumption, seeing that no actual words of troth had passed between them, Augusta stood silent, never offering a word in contradiction.
"Well, Mr. Meeson," said Lady Holmhurst, "I think that you are the luckiest man of my acquaintance, for Augusta is not only one of the sweetest and loveliest girls that I have ever met, she is also the bravest and the cleverest. You will have to look out, Mr. Meeson, or you will be known as the husband of the great Augusta Meeson."
"I will take the risk," he answered humbly. "I know that Augusta has more brains in her little finger than I have in my whole body. I don't know how she can look at a fellow like me."
"Dear me, how humble we are!" said Lady Holmhurst. "Well, that is the way of men before marriage. And now, as Augusta carries both your fortunes on her neck as well as in her face and brain, I venture to suggest that you had better go and see a lawyer about the matter; that is, if you have quite finished your little talk. I suppose that you will come and dine with us, Mr. Meeson, and if you like to come rather early, say half-past six, I daresay that Augusta will arrange to be in, to hear what you have found out about this will, you know. And now-au revoir."
"I think that that is a very nice young man, my dear," said Lady Holmhurst as soon as Eustace had bowed himself out. "It was rather audacious of him to propose to you the fourth time that he set eyes upon you; but I think that audacity is, on the whole, a good quality in the male sex. Another thing is, that if this will is worth anything, he will be one of the wealthiest
men in the whole of England; so, taking it altogether, I think that I may congratulate you, my dear. And now I suppose that you have been in love with this young man all along. I guessed as much when I saw your face as he ran up to the carriage yesterday, and I was sure of it when I heard about the tattooing. No girl would allow herself to be tattooed in the interest of abstract justice. Oh, yes! I know all about it; and now I am going out walking in the park with Dick, and I should advise you to compose yourself, for that artist is coming to draw you at twelve."
And she went, and left Augusta to her reflections, which were-well, not unpleasant ones.
Meanwhile Eustace was marching up towards the Temple. As it happened, in the same lodging-house where he had been living for the last few months, two brothers of the name of Short had rooms, and with these young gentlemen he had become very friendly. The Shorts were twins, and so like one another that it was more than a month before Eustace could be sure
which of them he was speaking to. When they were both at college their father died, leaving his property equally between them; and as this property on realisation was not found to amount to more than four hundred a year, the twins very rightly concluded that they had better do something to supplement their moderate income. Accordingly, by a stroke of genius they determined that one of them should become a solicitor and the other a barrister, and then tossed up
as to who should take to which trade. The idea, of course, was that in this manner they would be able to afford each other mutual comfort and support. John would give James briefs, and James's reflected glory would shine back on John. In short, they were anxious to establish a legal long firm of the most approved pattern.
Accordingly, they passed their respective examinations, and John took rooms with another budding solicitor in the City, while James hired chambers in Pump Court. But there the matter stopped, for as John did not get any work, of course he could not give any to James. And so it came to pass that for the past three years neither of the twins had found the law as profitable as they anticipated. In vain did John sit and sigh in the City. Clients were few and far between: scarcely enough to pay his rent. And in vain did James, artistically robed, wander like the Evil One, from court to court, seeking what he might devour. Occasionally he had the pleasure of "taking a note" for some barrister who was called away, which means doing another man's work for nothing. Once, too, a man with whom he had a nodding acquaintance rushed up to him, and, thrusting a brief into his hands, asked him to hold it for him, telling him that it would be on in a short time, and that there was nothing in it-"nothing at all." Scarcely had poor James struggled through the brief when the case was called on, and it may suffice to say that, at its conclusion, the Judge gazed at him mildly over his his spectacles, and "could not help wondering that any
learned counsel had been found who would consent to waste the time of the Court in such a case as the one to which he had been listening." Clearly James's friend would not so consent, and had passed on the responsibility, minus the fee.
On another occasion, James was in the Probate Court on motion day, and a solicitor—a real live solicitor -came up to him and asked him to make a motion (marked Mr.——, 2 gns.) for leave to dispense with a co-respondent. This motion he made, and the co-respondent was dispensed with in the approved fashion; but when he turned round the solicitor had vanished, and he never saw him more or the two guineas either. However, the brief, his only one, remained, and, after that, he took to hovering about the Probate Court, partly in the hope of once more seeing that solicitor, and partly with a vague idea of drifting into practice in the Division.
Now Eustace had often, when in the Shorts' sittingroom in the lodging-house in the Strand, heard the barrister James hold forth learnedly on the matter of wills, and, therefore, he naturally enough turned towards him. in his dilemma. Knowing the address of his chambers in Pump Court, he hurried thither, and was in due course admitted by a very small child, who apparently filled the responsible office of clerk to Mr. James Short and several other learned gentlemen, whose names appeared upon the door.
This infant regarded Eustace, when he opened the door, with a look of such preternatural sharpness, that