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Peppercorne, suddenly, as if the idea had occurred to him that he had never before heard of them.

“ The Pendergrasts are—the Pendergrasts, and Sir Paul is a baronet; so don't ask questions," answered Chesterton, with a laugh. “He is a very good fellow, let me assure you; his daughters are everything that can be desired, and he gives each of them from thirty to forty thousand pounds, with more in prospect.”

"A most satisfactory account of the family, and I shall have no objection to find my feet under his mahogany to-day," said Peppercorne, giving a finishing twist to his moustache.

As it was not far off the hour of dinner, the friends went on shore, prepared to stay. There were signs of movement in the place. Three or four yachts already lay at anchor in the roads, and several were fitting out up the harbour. As they walked up to the house, Peppercorne tried to pump his friend to ascertain more about the Pendergrasts, but not a word of further information could he get.

“You shall see-you shall see,” was all Charley would say. They were shown into the drawing-room. In it were three fair blooming young ladies, all pretty, who received Charley most cordially, but the captain of dragoons could not discover by his friend's manner if Fanny was among them.

“ If they have a fault, it is being somewhat fat, and yet it is a fault on the right side,” he said to himself, as he surveyed them for a few seconds, before being duly presented.

They were lively and evidently good natured, at all events, by the friendly, unaffected greeting they gave him. He had not an opportunity of saying much before Sir Paul himself came in—a stout, florid-complexioned old gentleman, with white hair.

“Glad to see you, Captain Peppercorne," said the baronet, as soon as he had been introduced. “You'll stop to dinner, of course. A knife and fork for you every day while you remain here—no formality -come in your yachting rig, if it suits you.”

While Sir Paul was speaking the door opened, and a fourth young lady entered the room. She was slighter than the rest, and a little shorter. Ned thought her much prettier, and was quite prepared to find that she was the Fanny spoken of by his friend.

“My daughter Emily—my youngest daughter," said Sir Paul, introducing him.

Emily smiled very sweetly, and Ned felt that he might as well knock under at once.

He then and there resolved to follow his friend's advice; wbether or not the reported thirty thousand pounds had anything to do with it, he could not tell. While talking to her, he came to the conclusion that the youngest of the three graces they had found in the room was Fanny-by the way, Charley contrived to draw her up to the window to look at the Cleopatra, which was to be seen from it. She came fully under the description of a jolly girl, yet she was far from unrefined-Ned, of course, thought her in point of beauty inferior to Emily. The eldest of Sir Paul's fair daughters, Jane, was the last to enter

She was a fine-looking girl-assumed the character of a strong-minded woman, by which she claimed authority to say and do

exactly what she pleased ; and very funny things she did say and do. The other two young ladies were, Ned discovered, called respectively Polly and Carry. Dinner was announced-no other gentlemen appeared, but several were spoken of, especially a certain Mr. Dan O'Dowdy, the owner of a lugger, the Fair Imogene, and with no very great respect. When, disparaging remarks were made about him, Polly always bristled up and undertook his defence. Another gentleman was mentioned, Mr. Gilbert Halliday, who was expected round from London in his steam yacht the Aspasia. Peppercorne thought that Jane, the eldest daughter, seemed to take more interest in him than did the rest of the family, who spoke of him as a slow coach, an old fogo, an antiquated beau. The jolly Jane took the remarks with perfect good nature.

“ You may say what you like of Mr. Halliday,” she answered, intending to turn the tables on her sisters, but, in my opinion, a staid, middle-aged husband is much more desirable than a harum-scarum lover, 'who laughs and rides away;' and I am sure that Mr. Halliday is a man who would never pay attentions to a lady unless he purposed to follow them up.”

It was evident that three of the sisters had admirers. Emily and Carry might or might not have them, though he thought them the two prettiest of the set, and of those two, the longer he was in their society, he considered Emnily the most attractive. He could not help seeing that the baronet was not first chop; but then he was hospitable and good natured, and those qualities would cover a number of deficiencies in manners and breeding.

“He is a baronet, at all events, whatever he may have been, and each daughter has thirty thousand pounds," thought Ned to himself, each time that his aristocratic predilections began to assert their

usual way:

Sir Paul announced that the yacht would be ready for launching the next afternoon at about three o'clock, when the tide was suitable for the purpose.

Well, Ned, what do you think of them?” asked Chesterton, as the two friends walked down to their boat.

“ You did not overpraise them. I shall certainly go in for Emily," was the answer.

"Do, that is a good fellow, and keep me in countenance," said Chesterton.

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A LARGE and gay party were assembled in White's Yard at Cowes to witness the launch of the Diana. She was a fine-looking brig, fit to go round the world, or to accommodate a stout elderly gentleman accustomed to the luxuries of a good house, and his five by no means slight daughters.

Chesterton's schooner, the Maid of Saragossa, had been brought up close to the yard, and a handsome luncheon had been provided by him on board, to which the guests did ample justice. The new brig her

“ His brogue

self presented a gay appearance, with flags flying from every part of her. She bad been advanced as much as she could be on shore, 80 that she might be got ready for sea in a few days. The young ladies drew lots who should name her. A good deal seemed to be depending on the result. The lot fell to Fanny.

" Then you'll be the first -" whispered one of her sisters to ber. The rest of the sentence was not heard.

While the preparations were going on, a lugger, with an Irish Yacht Club burgee Aying at her masthead, was seen gliding up the harbour with the tide. Exclamations, demonstrative of annoyance, broke from the sweet lips of several of the Miss Pendergrasts.

"Oh, it is the O'Dowdy, to a certainty !” exclaimed Jane. "He spoils everything."

“ Horrid !” said Emily. “If he comes here, we must get rid of bim.”

"Detestable with his brogue, and his boasting, and his blarney!" cried Carry. “Cannot papa tell him to go awayı?"

“No, I don't see that he is detestable at all !” exclaimed Polly, coming to the rescue of the much-abused Hibernian. is natural to him, and it is very pretty. I believe that he has done everything he talks of; and as to his blarney, he only just pays a few more compliments than do stupid Englishmen, and he is just as sincere. I for one won't have him ill spoken of; he doesn't deserve it."

This was a little side play, which the rest of the guests were not intended to hear, though some of them probably did.

The O'Dowdy must have known what was going on, for he brought up close to the Maid of Saragossa, and was very soon on board her. He was a broad-shouldered man, with a dash of red in his hair and a freckled countenance, a twinkle in his eye and a slight turn upward of the tip of his nose-not, however, an ill-looking or illbuilt man by any means ; indeed, many dowagers considered him a perfect Adonis. Chesterton, who guessed who he was as he pulled alongside, though he had never before seen him, was on the point of going to the gangway to welcome him, but Fanny begged him to keep back.

“He'll take care of himself, and we don't want to encourage him," she whispered.

The O'Dowdy soon made his way up to the baronet, whose hand he cordially shook.

“Delighted to see you, my dear Sir Paul. Looking as hale and hearty as ever. Pleasant occasion—a yacht of your own-very superior to a hired vessel--a fine brig she is, too--you are a happy man with such a craft and such daughters. I must go and pay my respects to the young ladies. They don't seem to recognise me."

Although her sisters would not look up, or kept their heads turned away when O'Dowdy approached, Polly immediately put out her hand with a smile to welcome him. Whatever had been his thoughts before, Dan O'Dowdy knew enough of women-kind to feel sure that of the Miss Pendergrasts Polly was the one he was most likely to win. He therefore troubled himself very little about her sisters, got her to point out Chesterton to him, asked Sir Paul to introduce him, and soon

made himself as perfectly at home as if he had been one of the invited guests.

Luncheon took place before the launch. It was a very merry one, and of course success was drunk to the new yacht Diana. Everybody got into the highest spirits, and the other Miss Pendergrasts began to look with more complacency than heretofore on even the O'Dowdy. Sir Paul was in his glory; the wine got into his head, and he talked big of his nautical knowledge and nautical achievements. He had been in bis younger days a voyage as supercargo of a trader to the South Seas, and had picked up a knowledge of navigation and seamanship sufficient to enable him to command

a British fleet. "Gentlemen and ladies,” he exclaimed, as he stood up to return thanks, when success to the Diana was drunk, “I am grateful for the honour you have done me and my craft, and for the interest you take in her. I honour and love a sailor if he is honest and true, and I honour and love a yachtsman; and young ladies who haven't yet got husbands, I would advise you, if you find yachtsmen to suit your taste who wish to marry you, not to refuse them, provided you can get the consent of your fathers and mothers, and grandmothers, and uncles and aunts, if it's necessary, or the Lord Chancellor, if you are wards in Chancery, which latter is a pleasant thing in one respect, because it shows that you have money, but unpleasant in another, because you have no power over it. However, as I was saying, I stick up for yachtsmen, and here's success to all you who have yachts, and may you soon find fair companions to share the command with you!"

The baronet's speech was received with loud applause, though his hearers couldn't exactly make out what he meant.

He might, possibly, have been a little elevated, and have been talking nonsense ; but still, as he had the character of being a pretty well wide-awake old gentleman, it was much more likely that he intended to hint that his daughters would be wise not to marry without his leave, and that he would show no great favour to fortune-hunters.

The time for the launch was drawing near. Charley Chesterton was in his element, moving here and there, and making all the arrangements. Some of the party remained on board the schooner, others wanted to be on the deck of the brig; and those who escorted Fanny Pendergrast, who was to name her, had to be on shore, grouped in front of her bows. A band of music bad arrived and struck up a lively tune, the sun shone forth brightly, a breeze blew out the numerous gay-coloured flags floating from flagstaffs on shore, from the brig herself, and from the surrounding vessels. The bows and figurehead were wreathed with flowers. The artist bad copied a description rather of the great Goddess Diana of the Ephesians than of the Huntress, and the figure appeared standing on a crescent moon, with the same emblem on her head, and a tulip in her hand. Sir Paul, whose classical knowledge was limited, did not discover that the figure was not what it should have been, and was well content with the skyblue robes and gilt coronet on the figure's head. Chesterton had had a very elegant tent rigged before the bows of the vessel, and, as it was well adorned with flowers, it had somewhat the appearance of a temple of Flora. Fanny, accompanied by Emily and Polly, under the escort

of the baronet, and several other ladies and gentlemen, assembled in the tent. A bottle of wine, also wreathed with flowers, was suspended from the bows.

“ Time and tide wait for no one. All is ready!" exclaimed Chesterton. “Miss Fanny Pendergrast, the brig is to have the honour of being named by you. By letting the bottle swing, you give the signal for the launch, and at the same moment pronounce the name the craft is henceforth to bear."

Fanny stood in a graceful attitude, bolding back by a silken cord the bottle of wine which was to be broken against the bows. The carpenters, with their sledge-hammers in hand, stood ready to knock away the wedges. The gallant lieutenant gave the signal, and a rich blush rose on the brow and cheek of the young lady as their eyes met; it might have been from the excitement of the moment. She let

go

the silken cord, with a crash the bottle struck the bows, the wine was duly poured out, the name of the Diana was pronounced in a clear, sweet voice, some sharp strokes of hammers were heard, and the vessel began to glide along the ways towards the water, every moment increasing her speed; the band struck up a suitable tune, keeping time to the movement of the vessel, which in a few seconds plunged with a loud splash into the element which was to be her home for the future. She would have gone right across the harbour bad she not been brought up by warps, prepared to check her. The people on shore, on her deck, and on board the Maid of Saragossa, and numerous other boats and vessels, cheered loudly and long. The launch was most successful; nothing could have gone off better, and everybody was satisfied. The more favoured of the guests were asked to dinner by the baronet, and the O'Dowdy, finding that he was not included, invited himself.

“It's not often I dine out of my yacht in summer, but as you have some other friends with you to celebrate this pleasant event, I'll break through my rule, Sir Paul, and just put my feet under your mahogany for this once, and I hope that you

and the young

ladies will come and pay me a return visit on board the Fair Imogene. She would be perfect if she had but a fair living lady on board. Ha, ha, ha! the time may come soon, baronet-eh?"

Of course Sir Paul could not well, without a downright cut, avoid including the O'Dowdy among his invited guests. One of the Miss Pendergrasts was, at all events, well pleased at this arrangement, though when her Hibernian admirer entered the room her sisters received him without any of that good-natured warmth of manner which they were accustomed to bestow on those they liked. The O'Dowdy, however, was not a man to be daunted by a far more chilling manner. He joked at and quizzed those who were the coldest to him, redoubled bis attentions to Polly, and soon made it evident that she, at all events, did not regard him with dislike. Yachting was the chief subject of conversation at dinner. The plans for the summer were discussed.

"What do you propose doing, Captain Peppercorne ?” asked the baronet.

"That depends on circumstances, Sir Paul,” answered Ned, looking at Emily. "I may go foreign, or Í may bug the island as lovingly as some of our friends. Sometimes I think of making a trip round Cape

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