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some, had arrived at that time of life which is
most politely expressed, in her own words, as of “ no particular age.”
From a certain easy air of unconcern, and
from some characteristic comforts of costume
denoting the familiarity of matrimonial habits, it was easy to perceive, at a glance, that the gentleman and lady stood in the relation of husband and wife.
It was a splendid morning. The snow, crisped by the frosty air, sparkled on the ground, and the enlivening rays of the sun lighted up the landscape with that sharp and dazzling brilliancy peculiar to northern climates.
The gentleman seemed meditative; he sat, with a thoughtful air, balancing the poker in his hand, and peering into the fire with curious eye, as if seeking for some imperfect
condition of the coals to warrant the inter
ference of another poke. The absence of any attempt on the part of the lady to possess herself of that household sceptre of the domestic hearth—unlike the struggle usual on such occasions—betokened a resigned submissiveness which had doubtless been brought about by repeated defeats during a long series
Or it may be, that on this especial occasion, her attention was diverted from the contemplation of the enjoyment of that intense luxury, by the appearance of a handsome boy, between six and seven years of age, who was diligently employed in constructing fortifications from the abundant materials around
him. A smile of proud satisfaction mantled the mother's cheek as she gazed on her child -her only one—in all the exuberance of youthful health and beauty.
“ Look at Frank,” said she to her husband, with the pardonable pride of a mother, “he is the very picture of health. Look at him; he has collected a pile of snow like a heap of cannon-balls. I wonder what he is going to do with them! But he is so very clever! He always says he will be a soldier, like his papa. I do so like that in a boy-it shews such a fine spirit !"
“ I tell you what,” returned the gentleman, who began poking the fire with great energy, as if he had at last formed some desperate resolution; “ I tell you what, my dear, that beautiful boy of yours must go to school. It was only yesterday that he smashed half-adožen panes of glass in the green-house; and, because there's nobody else to fire at, I suppose, he pelted old Peter so dreadfully, that the poor man was obliged to come into the kitchen and get another drink of beer before he could use his broom. But that's nothing—the boy's getting too big, and he's beyond any woman's management; and as for me, I have too many things to look after to allow me to take charge of him.
But something must be done with the poor boy; he wants playfellows. See, he's quite wretchedlooking about for somebody to shy a snowball at. By George, he's at old Peter again! He'll worry that man's life out. But I must stop that sport, or there will be mischief.
“ The long and the short of it is, my dear, your beautiful boy must go to school, and the sooner the better. He shall go at once to a preparatory school for a few years—I have heard of Langley Broome as a good one---and then to Eton, when he has been brushed So saying, Mr. Coverley made a hasty exit; and we will take advantage of his absence to give a brief account of the parents of the boy whose active propensities called for the present prompt interference of his father's authority.
up a bit.”