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I shall sell this place, and go in for something quieter.”
At that moment there came a dreadful diversion. Suddenly, and without the slightest warning, the folding doors at either end of the room opened. Through the one advanced two enormous footmen laden with coffee and cream, &c., and through the other Johnston and another powdered monster bearing cognac and other liqueurs. And there was Augusta with Eustace's arm round her, absolutely too paralysed to stir. Just as the men came up she got away somehow, and stood looking very foolish, while Eustace frowned, and bit his lips. Indeed, the only people who showed no confusion were those magnificent menials, who never turned a single powdered hair, but went through their solemn rites with perfectly unabashed counte
“I can't stand this,” said Augusta feebly, when they had at length departed. “I am going to bed; I feel quite faint.”
“ All right,” said Eustace, “I think that it is the best thing to do in this comfortless shop. Confound that fellow Short, why couldn't he come and dine ? I wonder if there is any place where one could go to smoke a pipe, or rather a cigar - I suppose those fellows would despise me if I smoked a pipe! There
was no smoking allowed here in my uncle's time, so I used to smoke in the housekeeper's room; but I can't do that now."
Why don't you smoke here ?—the room is so big that it would not smell,” said Augusta.
Oh, hang it all, no,” said Eustace; “think of the velvet curtains! I can't sit and smoke by myself in a
I room fifty feet by thirty; I should get the blues. No, I shall come upstairs, too, and smoke there
And he did.
Early, very early in the morning, when Eustace was still fast asleep, Augusta woke, got up, and dressed herself.
The light was streaming through the rich gold cloth curtains, some of which she had drawn. It lit upon the ewers, made of solid silver, on the fine lace hangings of the bed, and the priceless inlaid furniture, and played round the faces of the Cupids on the frescoed ceiling. Augusta stared at it all, and then thought of the late master of this untold magnificence as he lay dying in the miserable hut on Kerguelen Land. What a contrast was here !
“Eustace," she said to her sleeping spouse, “wake up.
I want to say something to you." “Eh! what's the matter ? ” answered Eustace, yawning
Eustace, we are too rich- we ought to do something with all this money."
“ All right,” said Eustace, “I'm agreeable. What do
you want to do?”
“I want to give away a good sum-say, two hundred thousand, that isn't much out of all you have—to found an institution for broken-down authors.”
“Very well,” said Eustace; "only you must see about it, I can't be bothered. By the way,” he added, waking up a little, "you remember what the old boy told you when he was dying? I think that starving authors who have published with Meeson's ought to have the first right of election."
“I think so, too,” said Augusta; and she went to the buhl writing-table to work out that scheme on paper which, as the public is aware, is about to prove such a boon to the world of scribblers.
“I say, Gussie!” suddenly said her husband. “I've just had a dream!”
“ Well!” she said sharply, for she was busy with her scheme; "what is it?"
I dreamt that James Short was a Q.C., and making twenty thousand a year, and that he had married Lady Holmhurst."
“I should not wonder if that came true,” answered Augusta, biting the top of her pen.