A Waysule Waif. 3
Lucille must take lier proper place in the world, must be
seen and admired and talked about, and even written about
in the newspapers, before she can be properly and credit¬
ably married; and he is prepared to submit to the inevit¬
able. He would rather his girl should be wooed by the
interchange of a miniature and a few formal letters, and
wedded by proxy, like a i^rincess of the seventeenth century.
Anything would be better than the turmoil and dissipation
of fashionable society, the rubbing shoulders with doubtful
beauty and tarnished rank, the inevitable brushing away of
youth's tenderest bloom, sinless Eve's primitive innocence.
One little year yet remains to the fond father. Lucille is
not to be presented till next season. The Earl has begged
hard for this extension of his happiness.
' She will be horridly old by that time,' says Lady Carlyon,
in her hard business-like way, staring at the unconscious
Lucille, who is playing a dreamy gondolied of Mendelssohn's
at the other end of the long low parlour. ' I'm afraid she is
one of those girls whose looks will go off early. Half the
beauty of her eyes depends upon that cabbage-rose bloom
of hers. Nothing tells so well as youthful freshness just
now. It is the only attraction with which we cau counter
those horrid professional beauties. If Lucie's complexion
goes off you can keep her at Ingleshaw all your life, for she
will not secure an eligible parti.'
'My heart's desire is to keej) her here for ever,' answers
the Earl; ' you talk of her as if she were a Circassian slave,
waiting for thenext market.'
' That's stuff and nonsense,' exclaimed Lady Carlyon ; ' I
suppose you would like your daughter to make a good mar¬
riage ? '
' I should like her to marry a good man.'
' Well, we'll try to combine the two, though it isn't the
easiest thing in the world.'
This conversation took place in the Easter holidays, which
Lady Carlyon spent with her brother and her niece, trying
her hardest to inspire Lucille with a thirst for the amuse¬
ments and delights of that privileged circle she was soon to
enter, and making only a very faint impression upon the
girl's mind. A cup which is already full can hold no more ;
and Lucie's life at Ingleshaw was completely happy. She
adored her father—the father who had been all the world of
kindred and affection to the motherless girl; she loved her
good-natured old governess, Miss iMiirjorum, who had taught
and trained her from her fifth year until now. She loved