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full of hope: there was a chance that one of those fair young creatures might some day be mistress of that proud mansion: the young heir must have a heart, and there all men are vulnerable. So argued the mothers; but whether the young maidens shared the ambitious hope, we venture not to guess. Perhaps—but yet—no matter.

CHAPTER IX.

There is a festival where knights and dames,
And ought that wealth or lofty lineage claims,
Appear.

The long carousal shakes the illumined hall,
Well speeds alike the banquet and the ball;
And the gay dance of bounding beauty's train,
Links grace and harmony in happiest chain.

LARA.

WHEN Arbridge first entered the charmed circle, he looked around with eagerness, hoping again to meet with the fair face that haunted his imagination. She was not there. Many were beautiful, but none could equal her; save the fair ideal of his dreams.

He was delighted to find Lord Hewiston there; yet he was not surprised. The young Lord was generally to be found in the gayest circles; and, as usual, he was the centre of all amusement. Arbridge thought his friend more brilliant and

more animated than ever. He was surprised at the ready flow of his wit; his dashing eloquence on each and every subject. His gaiety was evidently not assumed his vivacity, his lively fancy, his animation, were all real and earnest. He now surpassed himself. And Arbridge, anxious to know the reason, looked around for the fair object who had inspired

him thus.

The great election day was near at hand : all things betokened the important solemnity. Charles was half amused to see the trophies of victory, without the trouble of conquest. The winning colours were suspended in garlands; and most of the guests had rosettes of blue and orange. And some of the loveliest ladies arrayed in white, wore no other ornaments but these favoured ribbons.

In the evening, while the music was sounding, and various groups engaged in eager discussion, Charles at length found an opportunity of conversing with his friend; but he could not long enjoy the pleasure. Lord Hewiston had scarcely answered his first question, when their hostess approached them, exclaiming :

"Why, Mr. Arbridge, are you come here as an enemy? You do not wear our colours! Seraphina, you have forgotten Mr. Arbridge.”

The young lady, anxious to repair her neglect, hastily presented one of the famous blue and orange bows, which Arbridge, of course, accepted, with much apparent gratitude, though with inward repugnance, which he could hardly conceal. Raising his eyes, he encountered the glance of Lord Norford, attentively observing him, and seeming to read his thoughts.

Lady Seraphina, turning to his companion, exclaimed:

"What is it possible, Lord Hewiston, you are not decorated either! I had no idea I had forgotten you. I will get one directly."

She was hastening away, when the young Lord, addressing her with mock gravity, exclaimed:

"Stay, gentle lady, give yourself no trouble. I cannot wear your colours, as I am not yet quite decided on my conduct. I am not sure that I can support Lord Norford."

"Then, of course, you cannot wear his colours. Lord Hetherford, do you hear this?-Lord Hewiston has come here to oppose my cousin ; what must we do?"

"Only some of his folly," said the Duke, smiling; "do you not know Lord Hewiston

yet?"

"Doubtless, your Grace is well acquainted with that respectable individual," observed the young Lord; " and in that case do you suppose he can consider an affair like this an election? Without a contest, a sorry triumph, indeed! I'm sure Lord Norford is indignant at the idea. A vaincre sans péril on triomphe sans gloire, you know. That is your opinion," he added, turning to the young Marquis. "I do hope, for your sake, if not for our amusement, there will be a rival candidate."

"As many candidates as you please," said the young member elect, "but no contest-there can be no contest: it's settled."

"Do you dare me? Now I'll bet that I find a candidate will carry off all your votes: my support will be worth a hundred. Oh, we must have a contest. Lord Hetherford, I wonder you could invite all these ladies here, without providing something for their amusement, and there is nothing like an election."

"I shall be very happy to amuse my guests; and if you think that the best way, pray bring forward a rival: we are not afraid."

"Now what would I give to beat you, so confident as you are. Here, Arbridge, will you stand?"

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