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BELGRAVIA.

MARCH 1884.

The Lover's Creed.

A NOVEL.

BY MRS. CASHEL HOEY.

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One, and one only, is the Lover's Creed.' --OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES.

CHAPTER VI.

JACK.

JACK

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ACK BASSETT had been two days at home, but he was still

ignorant of the heavy change that had passed upon the Squire's fortunes. There was just so much similarity between the state of mind of both father and son that each felt reluctant to enter upon the matter which was foremost in his thoughts. The letter of reproof and remonstrance that the Squire had been planning and putting off when Mr. Dexter brought the bad news to Bassett had never got itself written. What the Squire really did write to his son was: • Come home at once, and let us talk things over.' Jack Bassett came home, and was received by his father without the smallest symptom of a disposition to blame or call him to account for anything. How was he to break in upon this blissful state of things with a penitent narrative of his foolish expenditure, and the manner in which he had been . let in’ by a couple of fellows who were in holes,' out of which their respective governors' would not help them, as Jack knew his "governor' would have helped him had be been so green as either of them. Of course the truth was that Jack Bassett was considerably the greenest of the three, and now he knew it; but this correction of his impressions rendered it more difficult for him to speak to. bis father. All the way down in the train he had been wondering what he should say, and had hoped the Squire would begin that talking over of things which Jack dreaded and disliked as much as most young people, likewise the middle-aged and old, dislike and dread the facing of a difficulty.

VOL. LIII.

NO. CCIX,

B

It was not the money, Jack thought, that the Squire would mind so much ; it was his having made a fool of himself in more than one way. And yet, his second day at home was wearing on to evening, and not a word had been said by his father about those peccadilloes which Jack was conscious he had considerably extenuated in his written communications.

The Squire was undoubtedly looking worn and grave-Jack had sufficient grace to feel an accusing twinge as he noted the deepened lines in his father's face and the absent expression of his eyes—the bad quarter of an hour was going to be a really bad, though plainly not an angry, one. Anger on his father's part was completely out of his experience; the Squire had always been gentle to a fault with the boy; 'father and mother both,' people said, when Jack was a child. The bad quarter of an hour seemed to be hanging off, however, and Jack, to whom it never occurred that his father had any trouble of his own on which he, too, was reluctant to enter, allowed his high spirits to have their way, and presented a remarkably cheerful aspect to everybody about the place.

• My besetting sin, procrastination, the Squire had said to Mr. Dexter; and, if it was not the gravest, it certainly was an important defect of his character. In the present instance, most people would have been disposed to regard it leniently, for the Squire had a hard thing to do. The sight of his son was like summer sunshine to his eyes : he allowed them to enjoy it for a little while. The disappointment, anxiety, and apprehension that he had been full of when he pondered over and put off his letter to Jack were reduced to trifling proportions now; the greater trouble had swallowed up the less; nothing of what Jack was thinking about was in his father's mind.

A third day might have elapsed without recording Jack Bassett's bad quarter of an hour among its incidents, but for certain occurrences which combined to oblige the Squire to take his courage in his two hands. The post brought to Bassett on the third morning a letter for Mr. Bassett from Mr. Dexter, and one for Jack from Sir Henry Trescoe, a neighbour and friend. The Squire put Mr. Dexter's letter in his pocket and said nothing about it, but Jack with great satisfaction imparted to him the contents of Sir Henry's missive.

“There's a lot of people staying at Trescoe, and Sir Henry invites me for three days. He says he knows of old it's no good asking you. How jolly it was there at Christmas! '

"Is it for this week or next?'
• For Thursday,' said Jack, pushing the note across the break-

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