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the reports of his native officers, tired of reading; so it is fortunate and then to spend the time till I am able to draw a little, or else breakfast in pretence of reading time might hang heavily some--really to live the last half-hour times, with these long days spent over again, recalling each look and alone." word.
Ah! thought the young man The little party met together for with admiration, looking down on breakfast at ten o'clock, but were the graceful head that was bending now reinforced by Justine, the over the work—then you too feel French maid or companion, who the want of a companion ! He came in and took her place silently said aloud, “You talk of drawat the table, retiring on the con- ing a little : why, a regular artist clusion of the meal. The Com- could not do better than this." missioner also got up then to go,
“ You would not think much of observing that the Nawab's people this,” she answered, “if you had were ordered to come for the treas- seen any good work ;" then, seeing ure at four o'clock, but that it that the young man looked diswas quite possible they would be tressed at her rebuke, she added, unpunctual after their fashion, and kindly, “but perhaps you draw arrive too late to take it over that yourself also : it must be a very evening, “in which case," he added, useful accomplishment for a military “I must ask you to stay with us man.” till Monday, for the transfer ought "No," answered the young felnot to be made tomorrow, being low, humbly; "my education, such Sunday. You will excuse my as it has been, is devoid of accomrunning away ; but I must leave my plishments of any sort.” daughter to entertain you.” The “But there are better things infatuated young man with difficulty than accomplishments," she conconcealed his delight at this prospect tinued, with earnestness, “and you of his visit being extended, and have been busy mastering the solid went across the grounds to Captain acquirements needed in your proSparrow's house. He could not fession. You have quite a reputawell be at the Residency without tion in that way among your brother paying him a call, so he would get officers." it over as soon as possible, and “Acquirements are comparative. then have the long day alone with Most of our fellows are very lazy his beloved.
about these things, and so they On returning to the big house, exaggerate the smattering of knowYorke found Miss Cunningham in ledge others may pick up." the drawing-room engaged upon a “But Colonel Falkland would water-colour drawing. He hurried not exaggerate, and he does not to her side, and looked over the speak of your knowledge as a smatpaper—a sketch of trees taken in tering.” the garden, that she was finishing. “ Colonel Falkland has a kind
“What do you paint, as well word to say of everybody; but, as play and sing?” cried the young after all, if one does know something man with admiration. “Where is of his profession, what is the good the end to all your accomplish- of it? If there are seven officers ments?"
away from your regiment already, “One can't play and sing for all the education in the world won't ever, you know," said the young get a fellow on to the Staff. I beg lady, laughingly, “and one gets your pardon,” he added; "of course this technical shop is like gibberish determined that the morning should to you. What I mean is, that not pass away with all its unlookedthere is a fixed limit to the number for opportunities, without his asking of absentees from a regiment, and her whether he might venture to my turn has not come. Besides, hope to gain, at some future time, a there is Captain Braddon come back greater and more valued prize than to regimental duty, a splendid fame or fortune, and the young lady officer, who ought by rights to be for her part plied her brush, as he served first. Not that rights have stood by her side, hopeful yet uncermuch to do with it,” he added, tain, hårdly daring yet longing to bitterly; "a little interest is worth speak—when the door leading from any amount of brains in these her apartment opened, and Justine, times.”
the French maid, entering quietly, “* You mustn't say that,” replied her work in hand, took a seat at a his companion ; “Colonel Falkland little distance from the table, and said only the other day that he was began silently to ply her needle. certain that you would rise to some- Here was frustratio of hopes. thing brilliant whenever the oppor. It was evident that Justine was tunity came."
destined to act as duenna, and that That she should have been dis- there would be no more tête-à-tête cussing his character and prospects conversations for that day, unless he with their common friend, and in could contrive some device for getsuch sympathising terms, sent a ting rid of her. A happy thought flush of pride and pleasure to the occurred to him. Looking through young man's face; but he replied, the portfolio which lay on the table, perhaps with a dimly-conceived he observed desire to invite still further praise,
“What a number of drawings “ But when will opportunity come? you have made already—and all The days of opportunity have gone sketches from life apparently! These by. For us young men there is are groups of the different servants, nothing left but to grow old in the I suppose ; and there is your pretty humdrum monotony of a subaltern's Selim, and the Commissioner's horse duties." Then he stopped, feeling too. How industrious you must that he was hardly giving himself a have been to have done so many !” fair chance in thus running down “Yes; but few of them are his own position and prospects. finished. I have been in a hurry to And yet honesty forbade that he collect subjects for working up when should make out his case better than the hot season comes, and when, it really was. But Miss Cunning- they tell me, it will be impossible ham replied
to draw out of doors." “ Colonel Falkland says that “Why not try a sketch of my every man in India gets his oppor- encampment this morning, with tunity, if he only knows how to the tents, and the bullocks and make use of it. He himself says carts, and the sepoys standing about he had never seen a shot fired (isn't in various attitudes ? It is still that the expression ?) till he had quite cool out of doors.” been ever so many years in the “ That is a capital idea ; it would army; so you see there is still a make a charming subject. This is margin of time available for you, a bad time of the day for sketching, before you enter the road to fame when the sun is so high; but the and fortune.”
trees will make light and shade. There was a pause, while Yorke Suppose we start at once. But then we may be interrupted by obtained of the little encampment, callers ?”
and where the fair artist would, “Cannot you be 'not at home,' while enjoying the light genial air, just for this one day?”
be protected from the bright sun “But is it not a shame to give overhead, and also be concealed from people the trouble of coming all the sight of any visitors driving up to way out along that hot dusty road the portico, he thought with an unfrom the cantonment, merely to go wonted exaltation of feeling that in back again without stopping to rest? this long morning passed together I am sure I never drive into can- the opportunity must surely arise, tonments myself in the day-time in some encouragement let fall
, or without bringing a headache back.” some understanding expressed, for
“But this amount of heat and the avowal of his love. Alas! on dust is like the Arctic regions com- returning from the encampment, , pared with what we are going to where he had been grouping the have by-and-by. Besides, are you men according to the artist's inalways so considerate ? I have structions, he saw a servant in the heard of people coming out along act of placing a third chair by side that hot dusty road to find the Re- of the other two, to be occupied a sidency doors closed, and that not so few moments later by the inevitable very long ago."
Justine, armed with enough em“Ah, I deserve your reproaches, broidery to last through the day and, will you believe me, I felt very
I felt very -silent herself, and the cause of penitent when I saw your card. silence in others. The opportunity, But we really did not expect any- then, was gone, although there still body that day, and papa was unwell, remained the long morning to be and I was keeping him company in passed in this sweet companionship, his room. However, I owe you becoming each moment, as he felt, amends ; so will you please give the more friendly. “And I should be order about our not being at home, an ungrateful brute to find fault with and we will have chairs taken out my lot,” thought Yorke to himself. under the trees.”
“I might have lived for a dozen The young man, enraptured at years in the cantonment and not have the success of his scheme, gave the become so intimate with her as the needful order; and but that, with luck of this treasure-party, following a dozen servants at hand, it would the steeplechase, has made me alhave been a perfectly useless excess ready. And if she seemed charming of zeal, he would have carried out and gracious before, when I had the chairs and camp-table himself. scarcely spoken to her, how much As it was, he was fain to content more admirable and perfect does she himself with taking charge of the not appear to my better knowledge young lady's sketching-block and now! With all her beauty and colour-box, while she went to get accomplishments, how modest and her garden-hat. The day was one humble-minded she is! and yet of those towards the end of an there is no want of humorous appreIndian winter when the climate is ciation of character. She is shrewd perfect; the chill air of the cold enough to see through people, yet weather had passed away, but the without any ill-nature in her reseason for high winds, heat, and marks. Can she have failed,” he dust had not arrived ; and as Yorke added, “ to have seen through me arranged the chairs under a tree and my secret ?” from which a good view could be Thus thought the lover to himself, as the Commissioner, who had you must--"
_” What she was come over for a few minutes from going to say he could not tell, for the court-house, led the way to the something in the expression of his house for a late luncheon. The earnest gaze caused her to drop her meal ended, they were again about eyes, and with a slight blush withto resume the morning's occupation, draw her hand. when a messenger announced the On the following Monday Yorke arrival of the Nawab's guard to take would have ridden out to the Resover the treasure, thus shattering idency, notwithstanding the shortthe hope which Yorke had cherished ness of the interval since he had last of spending Sunday at the Resi- been there ; a call after a dinner dency. Putting on his uniform, being proper, much more he argued he repaired to the spot where the should one be proper after a day's detachment was encamped. The visit; but an order reached him in transfer of the money was a tedious the morning to proceed on courtaffair ; and when finished it was martial duty to a neighbouring statime for the detachment to set off tion some fifty miles off, where on its march back to cantonments, officers were scarce, and he was fain and Yorke despatched them accord- to express his thanks in a note, ingly, returning to the house to pay which it is needless to say consumed his adieus.
a quantity of best paper before it He found the Commissioner in got itself written to his satisfaction; his study smoking a cigar, and his the expression that the Friday and daughter sitting by him, reading Saturday spent at the Residency a book; while the open carriage had been the happiest moments of drawn up outside announced that his life being eventually toned they were about to take their down to the effect that this had evening drive. Already, thought been the pleasantest visit he had Yorke with bitter heart, and yet ever paid. ashamed of himself for harbouring The court-martial lasted for sevsuch a feeling, they have their eral days. When it was ended, occupations and plans in which I Yorke determined to return by easy hold no share.
marches, stopping for a few days to “Good-bye!" said the Commis- shoot on the road, the plains round sioner, holding out his hand, but Mustaphabad being fairly supwithout rising; "it was unfortunate plied with game. In this way he the Nawab was so punctual — we would kill time till the month's should have been glad if you could absence of the Commissioner and have stayed till Monday. But his daughter should be completed, cannot we drive you down to can- every day of which had been ticked tonments? we may as well go that off as it passed, for he felt that life way as anywhere else.”
in cantonments would be insupportYorke would fain have clutched able till their return. Thus spinning at even this brief respite, but he out the time allowed for his own had to explain that his horse was return, he pitched his camp for the waiting, and he must overtake his last day at a village about eight detachment presently and accom- miles from Mustaphabad, and walkpany it on foot into cantonments. ing off his impatience by a long
“Good-bye!” said Miss Cunning- morning and evening tramp with ham, who had risen, holding out his gun through the surrounding her hand ; “it is so provoking of country, slept the sound sleep of the Nawab to cut short your visit, fatigue in his little tent, and rode into cantonments early the next the big official in tremendous style morning
- bachelor parties, ladies' parties, Spragge was away in the lines at handing in mother Polwheedle the orderly room when he reached to dinner, and all the rest of it; the bungalow ; so, calling for tea, hermetically-sealed soups and claretand throwing off his coat, for the cup poured out like water. Ted's days were now getting hot, he sat been going it, and no mistake. Pity down in the veranda till his chum he's got such a short tether of the should return.
office!” That gentleman soon came into “Yes, indeed," said Yorke, tryview cantering into the compound, ing to assume an air of indifference; his long legs upheld at a short dis- “ the Commissioner is to be back tance from the ground by his dim- again this week, isn't he?" inutive pony; and after bestowing “ Comes back to-morrow, but a few cuffs and blessings on that only for a few days, you know; animal's patient attendant for some and I think they might have given faults of omission and commission, Ted the acting appointment.” greeted his friend in his usual hearty “Acting appointment !" said manner.
Yorke, starting up, and at once The first topic of conversation thrown off his guard, “what do was, of course, the amount of you mean?” Yorke's bag; next followed Yorke's Why, bless me !" replied inquiry what the news was.
Spragge, “you don't mean to say News? there never is any news you haven't heard the news? Why, in this blessed place, except that it's been in all the papers a week it's getting infernally hot already, ago. I thought, of course, you which you can find out for yourself. must have seen it. The CommisA lot of fellows have gone off to the sioner has been very unwell—liver hills for six months' leave, and gone wrong, I believe—and has almost all the ladies have started; been ordered home sharp, and I should like to have gone off my- Colonel Falkland is appointed to self, but can't afford it; and now we succeed him.” are in for the regular hot-weather “Colonel Falkland !" cried Yorke, dulness. Nothing but billiards and feeling suddenly as if something rackets left for a fellow to do. But more remained to be told. I say, you ought to have been here, “Yes, of course," answered his my boy, to come in for the goings-on friend; "he is engaged to Miss Cunof my cousin Ted while officiating ningham, you know. They are to commissioner. He has been doing be married in a fortnight."
When Mr Cunningham lost his of a brother civilian, who was preyoung wife, which event happened sent on the occasion, proposed to just twenty-one years before the carry off the infant to her house time at which this history begins, and bring it up for the time with and within a year of his marriage, her own children; but the young he was left with a little daughter on widower was
to parting whom the poor mother had scarcely with the charge, and the lady was time to bestow a parting kiss be- fain to be content with coming over fore she died. The friendly wife daily to bestow an occasional super