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the jaundiced eye1 of suspicion. "He's beginning already," said that ardent lover to himself. "I knew how it would be. Trust my Gus into his custody?-never! I had rather be committed for contempt 2." "The best thing that I can do, sir," went on John Short impatiently, for, to his severe' eye, these interruptions were not seemly 3 "will be to at once offer you inspection of the document, which, I may state, is of an unusual character," and he looked at Augusta, who, poor girl, coloured to the eyes *.

"Quite so, quite so," said the learned Registrar. "Well, has Miss Smithers got the will? Perhaps she will produce it."


"Miss Smithers is the will," said Mr. John Short.

“Oh—I am afraid that I do not quite understand——”

"To be more precise', sir, the will is tattooed on Miss Smithers." "What?" almost shouted the learned Doctor, literally bounding from his chair.

"The will. is tattooed upon Miss Smithers," continued Mr. John Short, in a perfectly unmöved tone; "and it is now my duty to offer you inspection of the document, and to take your instructions as to how you propose' to file it in the Registry——”

"Inspection of the document-inspection of the document!" gasped the astonished Doctor; "how am I to inspect the document ?"

"I must leave that to you, sir," said Mr. John Short, regarding

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1) Jaundice is a disease the symptoms of which are a marked yellowness of the white of the eyes, the roots of the nails, the face, &c. (Dutch: geelzucht). Jaundiced eyes seem to see everything yellow, and, in a fig. sense, false, disordered, distorted. E. suspected the Doctor of beginning to pay his court to A.

2) A person is guilty of contempt of court when he refuses to obey the order or process of the court, or disturbs in any way the proceedings of the court by contemptuous or insolent behaviour or language. The President has the power immediately to commit for contempt any such offender, i. e. to order him to be confined for an indefinite period, sometimes replaced by the payment of a fine.

3) A thing is not seemly when it is not in keeping with the circumstances, the occasion, the nature of the transaction, &c. Mr. Short, who stood so much on etiquette, considered the Doctor's behaviour improper, and not appartaining to the business on which they had come. 4) Her face got all over suffused with blushes.

5) To produce means to take it out (of one's pocket) and hand it over.

the learned Registrar's shrinking form with contempt not unmixed with pity. "The will is on the lady's back, and I, on behalf of the plaintiff, mean to get a grant with the document annexed 1."

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Lady Holmhurst began to laugh; and as for the learned Doctor, anything more absurd than he looked, entrenched 2 as he was behind his office chair, with perplexity written on his face, it would be impossible to imagine

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"Well," he said at length, "I suppose that I must come to a decision. It is a painful matter 4, very, to a person of modest tem. perament. However, I cannot shrink from my duty, and must face it 5. Therefore," he went on, with an air of judicial sternness 6 "therefore, Miss Smithers, I must trouble you to show me this alleged will. There is a cupboard there," and he pointed to the corner of the room, "where you can make—'um —make the necessary preparations.'

"Oh, it isn't quite so bad as that," said Augusta with a sigh, as she began to remove her jacket.

"Dear me!" he said, observing her movement with alarm. “I suppose she is hardened," he continued to himself; "but I dare say that one gets used to this sort of thing upon desert islands 8."


The plaintiff is Eustace.

See p. 163, note 6. 2) To entrench or intrench is to surround with trenches (loopgraven), and in a more extended sense, to fortify, as the enemy entrenched their camp. The meaning is that the Doctor, who had jumped up from his chair, held on to its back, as if he wanted to place it between him and the others, who attacked him with all sorts of absurdities.

3) The constant mixing up of A.'s personality with the document she carried on her neck, must necessarily give rise to all sorts of queer ideas. It is no wonder that they should cause Lady H.'s hilarity and the Doctor's astonishment and perplexity.

4) The inspection of the lady's back.

5) To face one's duty is to meet it in front; boldly to undertake its performance, however difficult or disagreeable it may be. Comp.: to face an enemy on the battle-field.

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8) He thought that she had lost her modesty to such an extent that she was going to undress' before all of them, and that this was owing to her having lived for a time remote from all civilized society.

Meanwhile poor Augusta had got her jacket off. She was dressed in an evening dress, and had a white silk scarf over her shoulders; this she removed.

"Oh," he said, "I see-in evening dress. Well, of course, that is quite a different matter. And so that is the will-well, I have had some experience, but I never saw or heard of anything like it before. Signed and attested, but not dated. Ah! unless," he added, "the date is lower down."

"No," said Augusta, "there is no date; I could not bear any more tattooing. It was all done at one sitting, and I grew faint.”

"I don't wonder at it, I am sure. I think it is the bravest thing I ever heard of," and he bowed with much grace.

"Ah," muttered Eustace, "he's beginning to pay compliments now, insidious old hypocrite."

"Well," went on the innocent and eminently respectable object of his suspicions, "of course the absence of a date does not invălidate a will2—it is matter for proof3, that is all. But there, I am not in a position to give any opinion about the case; it is quite beyond me, and besides, that is not my business. But now, Miss Smithers, as you have once put yourself in the custody 5 of the Registry in the capacity of a Will, might I ask if you have any sŭ(g)gest′ion to make as to how you are to be dealt with 6? Obviously, you cannot be locked up with the other wills, and equally obviously it is against the rules to allow a will to go out of the custody of the Court, unless by especial permission of the Court. Also it is clear that I cannot put any restraint upon the liberty of the subject', and order you to remain with me. Indeed, I doubt if it would be possible to do so

1) Insidious is synonymous with crafty, wily, sly, treacherous. 2) To invalidate a will is to make it invălid, worthless.

3) The absence of a date was no insurmountable difficulty; by evidence given it might be possible to show when the will was made.

4) There I must stop; I cannot say any more about it.

5) She had put herself in his hands, under his care, for keeping and security. Comp.: To take one into custody for to arrest.

6) With regard to what is to be done with you.

7) He means to say that he has no right to deprive any one of his liberty.

by any means short of an Act of Parliament 1. Under these circumstances I am, I confess, a little confused as to what course should be taken with reference to this important alleged will."

"What I have to suggest, sir," said Mr. Short, "is that a certified copy 2 of the will should be filed, and that there should be a special păragraph inserted in the affidavit of scripts 3 detailing the circumstances."

"Ah," said the learned Doctor, polishing his eye-glasses 4, "you have given me an idea. With Miss Smithers' consent we will file something better than a certified copy of the will- we will file a photographic copy. The inconvenience to Miss Smithers will be

trifling, and it may prevent questions being raised hereafter." "Have you any objection to that, my dear?" asked Lady Holmhurst. “Oh, no, I suppose not," said Augusta mournfully; "I seem to be public property now."

"Very well, then; excuse me for a moment," said the learned Doctor. "There is a photographer close by, whom I have had occasion to employ officially. I will write and see if he can come round "."

In a few minutes an answer came back from the photographer to the effect that he would be happy to wait upon Doctor Probate at three o'clock, up to which hour he was engaged.

"Well," said the Doctor, "it is clear that I cannot let Miss Smithers out of the custody of the Court till the photograph is taken. Let me see, I think that yours was my last appointment this morning. Now, what do you say to the idea of something to eat? We are not

1) Nothing less than an Act of Parliament would give him a right to do so.

2) A certified copy contains a declaration in writing and properly signed by the parties, that the copy is exactly like the original.

3) See p. 164, note 1.

4) Rubbing his spectacles to clean them.

5) To raise questions is to bring forward, to suggest, doubtful points. for discussion; here more particularly difficulties by the other party, the defendants. Comp.: to raise a point of order, to raise an objection. 6) In my official capacity of registrar.

7) To come round is colloquial for to call, to look in, to visit.

8) He had no more official business that morning.

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five minutes' drive from Simpson's ', and I shall feel delighted if you will make a pleasure of a necessity" 2.


Lady Holmhurst, who was getting very hungry, said that she should be most pleased; and, accordingly, they all-with the exception of Mr. John Short, who departed about some business, saying that he would return at three o'clock-drove off in Lady Holmhurst's carriage to the restaurant, where this delightful specimen of the genus 3 Rě-gistrar stood them a most sumptuous champã(g)ne lunch 5, and made himself so agreeable that both the ladies nearly fell in love with him, and even Eustace was constrained to admit to himself that good things can come out of the Divorce Court. Finally, the Doctor wound up the proceedings 6, which were of a most lively order, and included an account of Augusta's adventures, with a toast.

"I hear from Lady Holmhurst," he said, "that you two young people are going to get married. Now, matrimony is, according to my somewhat extended experience, an undertaking of a venturesome order, though cases occasionally come under one's observation where the results have proved to be in every way satisfac'tory; and I must say that, if I may form an opinion from the facts as they are before me, I never knew an engage'ment entered into under more promising or more romantic auspices. Here the young gentleman quarrels with his uncle in taking the part of the young lady, and thereby is disinherited of vast wealth. Then the young lady, under the most terrible

1) Simpson's is a well-known restaurant after the English fashion in the Strand.

2) To make a pleasure of necessity is a phrase formed in imitation of to make a virtue of necessity. It means to derive as much pleasure as possible from disagreeable circumstances that cannot be avoided.

3) A genus is a class of objects divided into several subordinate species. This word, derived from logic and natural sciences, is sometimes playfully used with reference to a class of men, especially in connection with the word specimen.

4) To stand is familiarly used for to treat to, as to stand one a good dinner, a glass of beer, &c.

5) A champagne lunch is a copious and expensive lunch, finished up with a glass of champagne.

6) The proceedings (of a meeting) are the things done, the subjects discussed in succession, proceeding from one to another. They are said to be wound up when they are brought to a conclusion.

Mr. Meeson's Will.


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