2 MOLLY BAWN.
' Do they ?' says Mr. Massereene, with an irrepressible
glance at Molly. ' Then you must only put me down as an
exception to the general rule. I thought it only civil to
ask him, but I certainly never believed he woidd be rash
enough to go in for voluntary exile. I should have re¬
membered how unthinking he always was.'
' But who is he ?' asks Molly impatiently, full of keen
and pleasurable excitement. ' I die of vulgar curiosity.
What is he like 1 Is he young, handsome 1 Oh, John, do
Ray he is young and good-looking.'
' He was at school with me,'
' Oh !' groans Molly.
' Does that groan proceed from a conviction that I am in
the last stage of decay 1' demands Mr. IMassereene. ' Any¬
thing so rude as you, Molly, has not as yet been rivalled.
However, I am at a disadvantage; so I forgive, and will
proceed. Though at school with me, he is at least nine
years my junior, and can't be more than twenty-seven.'
' All!' says Molly. To an Irish girl alone is given the
power to express these two exclamations with proper eflfect.
' He is an hussar, of a good family, sufficiently good
looks, and, I think, no fortune,' says Mr. Massereene, as
though reading from a doubtful guide-book.
' How delightful!' says Molly.
' How terrific !' sighs Letitia. ' Fancy an hussar finding
amusement in lambs, and cows, and fat pigs, and green
' " Green fields and pastures new," ' quotes Mr. Masse¬
reene. ' He will have them in abundance. He ought to be
happy, as they say there is a charm in variety.'
' Perhaps he will find some amusement in me,' suggests
Molly modcslly. ' Can it be possible that he is really
coming 1 Oh, the gloiy of having a young man to talk to,
and that young man a soldier! Letitia'—to her sister-in-
law—' I warn you it will be no use for you to look shocked,
because I have finally made up my mind to flirt every day,
and all day long, with Tedcastle George Luttrell.'
' Shocked !' says Letitia gravely. ' I would be a great
deal more shocked if you had said you wouldn't; for what
I should do with him, if you refused to take him in hand, i.'j
IX thing on which I shudder to speculate. John is for ever
doing questionable things, and repenting when it is too lata