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HARRY SEYMOUR; OR Incidents in the Life of a Cardiff Clerk. I CHAPTER I. "Whi'.t Louie Randell going to be married? You don't say so And who is the very fortunate gentleinan "I don't know what right you have to speak in -neb a tone as that," retorted Lizzie Morton Louie Randell will make Harry Seymour a good v/ife, and in my opinion he is as fortunate as your husband will be, if ever you get one." do you mean! If ever I get one, indeed? Let me tell you. Miss Morton, that your precious bear, Charlie Thornton, was refused hy me a year ago. There I didn't mean to tell you, but you have provoked me to it." I don't, I won't believe you I'll ask him this evening, and I know very well what his answer will be." "Y ou surely wouldn't ask him such a thing But I will though, Blanche and let me tell you your teil-tale face is enough to convince me that what you have said is untrue." il Cune, Blanche, don't quarrel with your old friend Lizzie it is very ungenerous of you to say that Charlie Thornton ever asked you to be his wife you know he never did," said Nellie Bur- bidjre. ivJblanche Aubrey, Lizzie Morton, Nellie Bur- bidge, and T.'viie Randell had been at school tn. ,(: :1: ¡ :I'èir school-girl friendship had out- e i ;ie.r resilience at the finishing academy of Mrs jj. And in order that my readers may the better understand the incidents which I am about to relate, it is necessary that some description of the four friends should be given. Louie ii-iucku! was the orphan daughter of a deceased Baptist minister, her father having died in her infancy, leaving his little daughter Louisa to the care of an aunt. Her mother having shown symptoms of insanity for many years had become a confirmed monomaniac after her last child's birth, and was confined in Bridgend Asylum, where she had been ever since. Louie's aunt was an old maid, with a small competence, and had been a good friend to the motherless giri. A good education had enabled Louie to obtain the position of assistant-mistress to an elementary girls school, and at the time of which we write she had been intending to be examined for a Government certificate, had not Harry Seymour won the prize at which he had aimed for a long time. Louie was a good musi- cian. and her aunt's old piano could still yield sweet music under her touch. When Harry Sey- mour had began to broach the subject of mar- riage, Louie thought of her aunt, and how lonely she wrtuld be, and resolved to leave the dec;si(,ii with iier. The unselfish old lady had refused to be a bar to the union of two loving hearts, and pooh-poohed the notion of their re- siding with her. "No, no, Lo rue,youngmarriedpeopleare best by themselves; I shall pay a long visit to my reiat-ves in Somerset, :1::rJ when I come back shall have got used to your absence." So it was settled that Harry S'Wiuoui- should have his and they would be married at Christinas. Lizzie Morton was a handsome girl, the only daughter out cf a large family, and had been spoiled in consequence. Her father was a fore- man in a grocer's shop, and could have kept Lizzie fit home to assist her mother in household mafters, \I.1t Lizzie was fond of dress, and on that account preferred to be earning- money. So she had procured a idtuation as assistant pt a large draper's shop in St. Mary- streat, and whilst there had captivated a lawyer's cierk, whose office was nearly opposite thedrapsr's shop. Charles Thornton was a rather proud young man, of shallow, .superficial attainments, but withal possessed of a good heart. lie loved Lizzie with as much warmth as his somewhat phlegmatic temperament would admit of, but soon after their engagement gave her to understand that he did not much approve of his future wife being a shop-girl. So she had left the emporium of Howell and Co.. and was again a: home, though as yet she had not informed her family of her engagement with Charlie. Blanche Aubrey was a conceited young lady, proud of her personal attractions, which certainly were enough to have enticed the young men of the town, had not the beauty of her countenance not been marred by a disagreeable expression that rose up and hone luridly out of her handsome dark eyes when any subject displeasing to her was bruited in her hearing. She was not generally liked by her companions, but her father was a well-to-do publican, and as Blanche was his only child, she was supplied with plenty of pocket money. By dint of a skilful use of her abundant pecuniary resources, she was able to keep on good I terms with her i ri, ufi. a new brooch, ribbon, or ear rings serving as a make-peace when she had oifended any of them. But the young men of her acquaintance carefully aostained from betraying the least sign of anything beyond the merest civilities of conventional politeness, for as Harry Seymour had said to Louie, not one of his friends would have Blanche tor a wife if she were worth her weight in gold. "Whoever marries her will catch a Tartar. She thus became envious and spiteful, and even malignant the scornful ex- pression was seen more often oil her face, and she bade fair to become more remarkabK; for ugliness of expression than for beauty of feature, Nellie Burbidge was a sweet girl, not remark- ably handsome, but with a countenance betoken- ing a good disposition, a sweet temper, and amiable manners. She was only a dress- maker, assisting a widowed mother at home, and was invariably very plain yet neatly dressed. She was a quiet thoughtful girl, and might have had suitors in abundance but her mother was somewhat of an invalid, and she would not leave her. So she went quietly on in her useful life, never once giving a thought to the subject which was uppermost in the minds of her companions—a husband and a settlement in life. Having thus lightly sketched the few compan- ions, let us return to two of them. Blanche had scornfully taken her departure, and as Nellie was taking a dress home when she had encountered the others, Louie and Lizzie were left to them- selves. Lizzie seemed somewhat troubled, and Louie, perceiving this, said, "Surely Lizzie, you are not going to allow that mischief making Blanche to interfere with your good opinions of Charlie. I am sure it is not true." I don't know what to think, Louie, dear. I have before heard something of the sort; but I will tax him with it this evening, and whatever may be his faults Charlie will tell me the truth &boat it.' The two friends then parted, Lizzie to go home with a mind perturbed and ill at ease, counting the minutes that would intervene until she should see Charlie and satisfy herself whether he had indeed been rejected by Blanche Aubrey or not. But her noisy brothers coming home from school and work, soon gave her other duties to perform, which effectually banished her gloomy thoughts. Louie Randell went home, and sat down to her old piano. I wonder whether Harry is as fond of music as I am let me see. I have heard him sing, but although we have been to the theatre, and other places of amuse- ment, he has never asked me to go to a concert. I must ask him; I could not live without a piano. It is so easy to procure one now-a-days that he will not refuse me one, I think. With an income of JE150 a year, we can surely afford to pay for a piano, now they can be obtained on the easy mode of pavment." "What is my dear niece talking so much about ?" said Aunt Ann, who had come in unper- ceived. I was wondering whether Harry is musical, for, unless he buys me a piano, I shall never be happy." "Nonsense, my dear, you must subordinate your likings and inclinations to those of your hus- band. But most men are fond of music, and when he bears you play, he will find you a piano, I have no doubt." That evening witnessed the interrogation of Harry Seymour and Charlie Thornton by their fair inamorati. When Lizzie Morton asked Charlie if it was true that he had offered mar- riage to Blanche Aubrey, and had been refused, he indignantly denied it. The boot was on the other leg, Lizzie, for last year, which you know was leap year, she as good as asked me to have her. But I know better, althoug-h her father is reputed to be rich. Her prospective fortune is totally insufficient, in my estimation, to make up for her disagreeable, ill-tempered disposion. Now, Lizzie dear, Blanche has not only told you a deliberate untruth, but seeing that it was done to, if possible, separate us, I shall be very glad to learn that you have dropped her acquaintance. She is totally devoid of principle." Lizzie promised to cut her friend "Blanche, and I had barely made the promise when they met that young lady coming out of her father's pub." Not that she lived there, for Mr Aubrey was one of those who could afford to keep a private house in Roath, but Blanche's handsome face was a great attraction to the would-be fashionable young men, who frequented her father's bar, and her inordinate vanity induced her, rather oftener than her father wished, to serve behind the bar in the evening. She looked confused on meeting Charlie and Lizzie, but the expression of her countenance changed to one of fierce hatred when they passed without noticing her in any way. So Lizzie has asked him, and of course he has I .'# ;q. denied it. Well, if she believes him now, the suspicion will always be there. He could not surely have told her of my asking him No I Charlie Thornton would not be so ungenerous as that!" Ah Blanche, you forget how much more un- generous was your aunt to Lizzie. Well," pursued Blanche reflectingly, "Lizzie perhaps thinks I can't get a husband. Let me see, there's Tom Graham, Will Aylwin, and that widower, Mr Stephens-he's well off, but he's too old. Will Aylwin is too religious, but he'd make a good husband. Tom Graham wants me for my money, for he's poor-only a clerk with 20s a week. Yes, Will Aylwin must be the one. Let me see, it's church aight at St John's,i'ie s sure to be there—I'll go." And so the handsome, gaudily-attired spider went to church, certain that the fly would be there. She was right. Will Aylwin had Iong been enchanted by Blanche's beauty, but had striven hard against the infatuation, believ- ing Blanche to be thoughtless, worldly, and vain, destitute of true religion, if not of good principles. Hence her appearance at the week-evening service caused him some amount of surprise. He wondered if she was becoming more thoughtful in religious matters, and began to think how happy he might be with Blanche, if only she were converted. He could see her all the service time, and watched her narrowly. When it was over he found that it was raining heavily, and neither lie nor Blanche had any umbrella. He met her in the porch, and at her request called a cab. He also resided in Roath, and gladiy accepted a, seat in the cab. Blanche was elated at her prospects of success. What a beautiful sermon Mr Howell preached this evening," she remarked, as they rolled away towards Roath. Yes. I am sorry he's going away," answered Mr Aylwin. "So am I; .1 have only lately begun to care for such things, and as it was Mr Howell who first put such thoughts within me, I shall be very sorry when he leaves us." "You do not attend to business now, then, Miss Aubrey ?" "No, I have given up going to 'the hotel.' I cannot reconcile it with my duty now. I wish father would give it up, but although he owns to having made a competence, I fear ho will not give it up. He says he wishes to make enough to render me well off, but I don't look upon our business now as being a right and proper one. And, worse than all, he wants me to marry Mr Palmer, who keeps the 'Clarence.' Not long ago I could look upon such a union with in- difference, were there any attachment in the case, but now I think differently. You will, I fear, think me indiscreet in talking thus to you, but! sadly need a friend just now to keep me in the right path." "Then take me for such a friend, dear Miss Aubrey. With you for a life companion, I should be the happiest man alive. You dcyi't answer me, Miss Aubrey—Blanche have I been too pre- sumptuous ?" "No, it is not that but it is so sudden." "Then think of it, dear Blanche, and let me have your decision to-morrow evening. I will come to meet you up the Newport-road." They had now reached Blanche's house, and parted very cordially. Ah -Ali." Lizzie Morton, I shall forestall you now. No one can say but Mr Aylwin is as good o match as Charlie Thornton. I wonder when they are to be married. I should like to be before them." Louie RandeII had also put a question to Harry Seymour when they met that evening, and had re- ceived a very satisfactory answer. A piano, Louie, yes, dear, of course we will have one. We can get one at Thompson and Shackell's for three or four shillings a week, paid once a quarter for three years. It is a good way of obtaining a piano or a harmonium, and has led to many a working man spending his evenings a home instead cf at the pub!ic-hou-c. But is there not trouble connected with the purchase? Will you not have to find .sureties—a thing my father has always bade me specially avoid ?" "No, Louie; lam known in the town, and that is suiffcient. Many a man spgnds weekly more in beer and tobacco than would suffice to buy in this estimable way one of the best pianos in Thompson and Shackell's establishment." But do you like music, Harry?" "Not much people always told me I have no ear for it, and sc I never learnt to sing or play any instnmwnt. lint I should love to listen to you, Louie, for your aunt toils me you can play very well." Just then they met Nellie Burbidge, and asked her to join them in a walk to the Sophia Gardens. Before they had proceeded far; however, it began to rain, and so the evening was spent a.t Louie's in Green-street, and Harry was charmed to hear her play on her aunt's old piano. It is sadly out of tune, Mr Seymour," said the old lady, "but Louie can still play very well on it." Ali But you see I have promised her to purchase her a new one. We can have it in a way by which we shall not feel the expenses. We can procure one at Thompson and Shackell's by paying from two guineas per quarter upwards according to price. I had made up my mind to give Louie this one," said the old lady, thinking it would be too much of a strain upon your resources to pur- chase one just when comrneneing housekeeping. But the plan you propose is indeed a, capital one." Just then a knock came to the door, and Ann announced that Harry was wanted. It proved to be a. friend of his, who was the book-keeper at the same firm where Harry was cashier. He wanted to instruct Harry about some necessary office duties, as he was to be absent the following day. He was introduced to Nellie, having known Louie some time, and a very pleasant evening was spent. When half-past nine arrived, the visitors took their departure, and as Harry lived at Cathays, whilst Nellie and Mr Ellis, the book- keeper, lived somewhat near each other in Roath, he offered to see Nellie safely home, which offer was accepted. I should like to see Ellis and Nellie engaged," soliloquised Harry, after he had left them. Sile will make somebody a good wife." He had turned up North Road, on his way to- wards Cathays, when he was accosted by two rough looking men, who demanded money. Harry said he had none, and the next moment he was struck a tremendous blow under the ear, which laid him prostrate. (Tobe continued.)