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      Let us be plain with each other, Traff, he said. It is what no other members of the family are. The House of Belfayre is on the brink of ruin. Your father is in his dotage, and does not recognize the fact; in fact, has forgotten it. But you and I know it. Now, the question is, whether we shall bow to Fate, and consent to sink into the mud, or make an effort to extricate ourselves. Personally, the question does[85] not affect me. I am a bachelor, and have enough for my few and simple wants. But with you, dear boy, it is different. You are the next duke, the head of the family. With you it is a duty and tradition to keep up the old name, the old position.

      And did you have a pleasant journey? she asked.

      "Yes."He took a glass of whisky from MacGraths hand and raised it aloft.

      Not even Lilias? she said, with a little smile. But Im content to come second to her. Yeshe had bent his head so that his lips were near her faceyou may kiss me, if you like. I will pass it on to Lilias when we say good-night.Trafford went upstairs, preceded by one of the footmen, who opened the door leading from the corridor to the suite of rooms always set apart and kept in perfect readiness for the marquis. They were among the best and stateliest in the house, as befitted the future duke and master; but, although they were magnificently and perfectly appointed, it may be hazarded that Trafford was quite as comfortable in his much smaller and more modest chambers in the Albany. His valet, who had come down in the same train, and ridden on the box-seat of the barouche, assisted his master to change his clothes; then Trafford went down-stairs, and into the library.

      De squir'l he love' de hick'ry tree,

      Call him in, she said in a whisper. Offer him supper, a drink.And have you not? she said. Tell me who it is, for I see there is some one.



      Between Trafford and Varley a very deep friendship ensued. Love of Esmeralda was common to both, and now Varley understood how passionately Trafford loved her, all traces of Varleys animosity against him disappeared.


      The manager was at the counter, and received him with a smile of fellowship and the air of respect which were always unquestioningly and freely accorded to Mr. Varley Howard.Esmeralda looked at her dreamily.