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"I know you think so, Archer. I know you feel perfectly secure of this sweet girl, and just as easy about her as if she were secured to you by all the chains that Church and State can forge, and that is the reason why you take things so coolly, and listen to your pride; but I tell you that it is not as you think. You are not for ever secure of Catherine. Our moods of mind, and our views of things, change with time; and however the maiden may feel or think now, if you hesitate for years between your pride and love, she will naturally arrive at the conclusion that many a generoushearted woman has come to before her, and say to herself, 'Well, I cannot be happy myself, but my life must not therefore be wasted. I can make some one else happy;' and, being scorned by one she loves, give herself away to one who loves her."

Major Clifton started to his feet, with all the dark side of his character uppermost, exclaiming, "Let her attempt it! I would stop such a marriage at the altar! Catherine is mine, or nobody's. She could not repel my claim."

"Dear Archer, sit down; do not excite yourself or me. Remember, I am in a dying state," said the lady, as the best means of calming him.

"Dear madam, forgive me-forgive me; but why introduce this very embarrassing and highly-exciting subject? I have had conflict enough in my own bosom about it. I love your favourite; I love her jealously, fiercely-I admit it; but there are objections and difficulties which time, or a new set of circumstances, may remove. Meanwhile, I could not bear to see her snatched from me. But there is time enough; even if I should decide upon such a step, there is time enough. Kate is very young yet."

"But you are not very young, Archer."

"I know it, dear madam," he answered. "I have arrived at that age at which men do not make imprudent marriages for love.'

""

"But when they too often make unhappy marriages of convenience. Dear Archer, it is a false and sinful principle that keeps you and Catherine apart. Will you spoil two lives by your pride? Your hesitation between inclination and prejudice weakens you and destroys her."

"C

Prejudices, dear madam! prejudices; but just think of

Well, I suppose they are the horror of having Carl

Kavanagh, the farm-labourer, for a brother-in-law, and being called uncle' by his ragged progeny !"

"O Archer! your inhumanity shocks me They are human creatures after all-this Carl and his family."

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"And don't you see besides, madam, that if I should marry Catherine, and introduce her into society, the first question would be, Who is she?' and the answer by some good-natured friend, "The sister of one of his farm-labourers,' would expose us to contempt, if it did not rule us out of good company."

"Archer! Archer! can it be that you weigh these falsities with the deep realities of life?"

"It is a deplorable thing, indeed, that a girl of such noble nature should come of such ignoble parentage."

"No! it is a congratulatory thing; or would be so, if it were not such a usual thing. Archer, you will find more moral worth, and it may be more mental worth, among the so-called lower classes than among the higher. For instance, among the men, look at some of their brows, of Shaksperian height and breadth; think what they would be with cultivation! And I tell you, with all their disadvantages, the lower classes will give to our Republic the greatest of her future great men.”*

Major Clifton remained in deep thought for a while, and then taking the hand of the lady, said, "My dear mother, the objections that I have advanced are those that have arisen in my mind, from time to time, giving me much pain. I wished to hold them up before myself, as I have just done, in order to see what they really consisted of, and looked like. I have seen the worst of them, and in their ugliest light, and they will not deter me from taking to my heart the girl I love. I have weighed them, and the whole mass is light in the balance with my need of Catherine. I will marry her. I will go and tell her so now. And the ceremony shall be performed whenever you think proper." Whenever Kate thinks proper, my dear Archer," replied the lady, smiling.

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At this moment a servant entered and delivered a note 10 Major Clifton. It was from Mrs. Georgia, announcing her return to White Cliffs, and begging the company of Major Clifton to tea that evening.

*The history of the most prominent men of the day verifies the prediction.

CHAPTER XXX.

BETROTHAL.

MAJOR CLIFTON held the note between his finger and thumb, in a fit of abstraction, while a pleasant, contemplative smile dwelt on his face.

“Well, are you not going to answer it?" asked Mrs. Clifton, adding, "The servant waits.'

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"Oh, answer it? yes! What is it about ?" he exclaimed, starting out of his reverie, and glancing at the note again. Then he arose, penned a hasty excuse, and, delivering it to the messenger, despatched him. Returning from this business, he said, "No, I cannot leave home this evening; since I have come to a decision, I wish to have a good, confidential talk with my little Kate. How much I have to say to her, how much to draw from her, if I can! What a prisondelivery of thought and emotion it must be on both sides, if I can get her to talk! But she is so shy, except when under some strong, disinterested feeling for another. Move her sympathies, and she forgets herself and loses all reserve; otherwise, she is so shy."

"Yes, very, very shy to you. Kate's heart and brain are sealed volumes to you. It will require the easy intimacy of long, domestic companionship to find out all her excellences. Her husband will love and esteem her far more dearly and highly than ever her lover has done; but, hush, here she

""

comes.

The door opened, and Catherine entered from her morning household duties, with her little basket of keys hanging on her arm.

"Come hither, dear Kate," said Major Clifton, holding out his hand. Catherine put her little basket in its place, and quietly went to his side. He encircled her waist with his arm, and, holding both her hands captive in his own, looked fondly in her face till she dropped her eyes in confusion, and then he said, "Dear Kate, my mother here, who loves you almost as much as I do, if that were possible, wants to know when you will make us both happy, by becoming my wife and her daughter."

He paused for an answer, never removing his eyes from their gaze upon her glowing cheek.

"Yes, I am very anxious to know what day you will give yourself to us entirely, dear child!" said Mrs. Clifton; and she also paused for a reply.

Catherine, in extreme confusion, glanced from one to the other, and finally dropped her eyes again.

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Come, dearest Kate, it is but a word-the name of some day in the week whispered very low," said Major Clifton in her ear.

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Yes, let it be soon; let it be within a week, dear child. My time is short, Kate, and I wish to bless your marriage before I go hence. You know I told you that I could calculate the progress of decay, and the length of life, with some accuracy; and I tell you now that my days are numbered." Come, Kate, if you cannot speak, give me one of your short, quick nods. Come, this is Saturday; shall we be married to-morrow? next day? Tuesday? Wednesday? Thursday?" Catherine, whose heart had been filling all this time, now burst into tears. He drew her head upon his shoulder, where she sobbed a while, until he stooped and whispered, "Dear Catherine, try to calm yourself; do you not see how you excite our mother? There, lift up your head, and go to her; and both of you together arrange all these little matters as mother and daughter should, and she will let me know the result;" and, tenderly withdrawing his arm, he passed her round before him, and placed her beside Mrs. Clifton's easy-chair, and arose and took his hat and left the room, with the same happy, half-contemplative smile upon his lips. Kate sank down by the side of Mrs. Clifton, and, dropping her head upon the lady's lap, wept afresh. The gentle invalid put her hands upon the maiden's shoulders caressingly, but did not seek to arrest the current of her emotion. It was plain that the girl herself sought to stay her tears; for between her sobs she exclaimed, "Forgiveexcuse I know it's weak, wrong-it is only because I'm so grateful!"

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The fit of emotion exhausted itself, and she lifted up her face, wiped her eyes, and said, "Lady-"

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Call me mother, Kate."

"Mother! heart's dearest mother! do you think he mistook me ?"

"How, Kate ?"

"I couldn't speak-indeed, indeed I could not! But I

want you to tell him, mother, how grateful I am, and how happy! Tell him, for I never can, how much and how long I have loved him. My heart has been single to him ever since I first knew him. I will try to make him a good wife -indeed, indeed I will; and where my weakness or my ignorance fails, I will pray to Heaven daily for more strength and light. Oh, I know what a sacrifice of pride and prejudice he has made for love of me! Tell him so, mother; and tell him-'

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No, dear Kate, I will not tell him that. He has made no sacrifice. Nonsense! And if he had, you are worth it all, all—his wealth, rank, position, pride and all! to yourself.'

Be true

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Oh, what am I, that he should indeed prefer me to all the ladies in the great city that he has left? and what can I bring him but my love and my duty-all my love and all my duty ?"

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"And do you undervalue these, Kate? Why, they are the treasures of treasures; and you would judge them so in another's case. But here you are fond and blind. Now, dearest Kate, I am so anxious to see you the wife of Archer, and I wish to enjoy that pleasure as long as I can. When shall it be?"

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Mother, you and he have made me what I am, and given to my life all its worth and value; now, what can I do but give back myself and life to you? Dearest mother, fix it as

you will; I shall be happy, any way." "Thursday, Kate ?”

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Yes, Thursday, dear mother."

The lady then embraced and dismissed her, and settled herself back in her chair to take a necessary nap.

Catherine left the parlour in that half-blissful, half-fearful trance that falls upon one when the great life's desire and hope is about to be realised-happy beyond measure, but somewhat incredulous that this could be really fact-really the "sober certainty of waking bliss," and no dream, and foreboding some stroke of fate that should snatch the too great joy from her. Major Clifton was standing within the open front door, looking out upon the glorious autumn landscape, and the changing foliage of the trees, some of the outer branches of the latter burning so red that they seemed a-fire in the rays of the afternoon sun; but he turned to Cathe

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