“You’re more to be relied upon than silver and gold.” As she said it, Miss Wren suddenly broke off, screwed up her eyes and her chin, and looked prodigiously knowing. “Aha!

‘Who comes here?
 A Grenadier.
 What does he want?
 A pot of beer.’

And nothing else in the world, my dear!”

A man’s figure paused on the pavement at the outer door. “Mr Eugene Wrayburn, ain’t it?” said Miss Wren.

“So I am told,” was the answer.

“You may come in, if you’re good.”

“I am not good,” said Eugene, “but I’ll come in.”

He gave his hand to Jenny Wren, and he gave his hand to Lizzie, and he stood leaning by the door at Lizzie’s side. He had been strolling with his cigar, he said, (it was smoked out and gone by this time,) and he had strolled round to return in that direction that he might look in as he passed. Had she not seen her brother to- night?

“Yes,” said Lizzie, whose manner was a little troubled.

Gracious condescension on our brother’s part! Mr Eugene Wrayburn thought he had passed my young gentleman on the bridge yonder. Who was his friend with him?

“The schoolmaster.”

“To be sure. Looked like it.”

Lizzie sat so still, that one could not have said wherein the fact of her manner being troubled was expressed; and yet one could not have doubted it. Eugene was as easy as ever; but perhaps, as she sat with her eyes cast down, it might have been rather more perceptible that his attention was concentrated upon her for certain moments, than its concentration upon any subject for any short time ever was, elsewhere.

“I have nothing to report, Lizzie,” said Eugene. “But, having promised you that an eye should be always kept on Mr Riderhood through my friend Lightwood, I like occasionally to renew my assurance that I keep my promise, and keep my friend up to the mark.”

“I should not have doubted it, sir.”

“Generally, I confess myself a man to be doubted,” returned Eugene, coolly, “for all that.”

“Why are you?” asked the sharp Miss Wren.

“Because, my dear,” said the airy Eugene, “I am a bad idle dog.”

“Then why don’t you reform and be a good dog?” inquired Miss Wren.

“Because, my dear,” returned Eugene, “there’s nobody who makes it worth my while. Have you considered my suggestion, Lizzie?” This in a lower voice, but only as if it were a graver matter; not at all to the exclusion of the person of the house.

“I have thought of it, Mr Wrayburn, but I have not been able to make up my mind to accept it.”

“False pride!” said Eugene.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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