“Nonsense!” said Mr. Gibson. “I do assure you, no slight whatever was intended. He does not wish to speak about the engagement to any one—not even to Osborne— that’s your wish too, isn’t it, Cynthia? Nor does he intend to mention it to any of you when you go there; but, naturally enough, he wants to make acquaintance with his future daughter-in-law. If he deviated so much from his usual course as to come calling here”——

“I am sure I don’t want him to come calling here,” said Mrs. Gibson, interrupting. “He was not so very agreeable, the only time he did come. But I am that sort of a character that I cannot put up with any neglect of persons I love, just because they are not smiled upon by fortune.” She sighed a little ostentatiously as she ended her sentence.

“Well, then, you won’t go?” said Mr. Gibson, provoked, but not wishing to have a long discussion, especially as he felt his temper going.

“Do you wish it, Cynthia?” said Mrs. Gibson, anxious for an excuse to yield.

But her daughter was quite aware of this motive for the question, and replied quietly—“Not particularly, mamma. I am quite willing to refuse the invitation.”

“It’s already accepted,” said Mr. Gibson, almost ready to vow that he would never again meddle in any affair in which women were concerned, which would effectually shut him out from all love-affairs for the future. He had been touched by the Squire’s relenting, pleased with what he had thought would give others pleasure—and this was the end of it!

“Oh, do go, Cynthia!” said Molly, pleading with her eyes as well as her words. “Do; I am sure you will like the Squire; and it is such a pretty place, and he’ll be so much disappointed.”

“I should not like to give up my dignity,” said Cynthia demurely. “And you heard what mamma said!”

It was very malicious of her. She fully intended to go, and was equally sure that her mother was already planning her dress for the occasion in her own mind. Mr. Gibson, however, who, surgeon though he was, had never learnt to anatomise a woman’s heart, took it all literally, and was excessively angry both with Cynthia and her mother; so angry that he durst not trust himself to speak. He went quickly to the door, intending to leave the room; but his wife’s voice arrested him; she said—

“My dear, do you wish me to go? if you do, I will put my own feelings on one side.”

“Of course I do!” he said, short and stern, and left the room.

“Then I’ll go!” said she, in the voice of a victim—those words were meant for him, but he hardly heard them. “And we’ll have a fly from the George, and get a livery-coat for Thomas, which I’ve long been wanting; only dear Mr. Gibson did not like it, but on an occasion like this I’m sure he won’t mind; and Thomas shall go on the box, and”——

“But, mamma, I’ve my feelings too,” said Cynthia.

“Nonsense, child! when all is so nicely arranged, too.”

So they went on the day appointed. Mr. Gibson was aware of the change of plans, and that they were going after all; but he was so much annoyed by the manner in which his wife had received an invitation that appeared to him so much kinder than he had expected from his previous knowledge of the Squire and his wishes on the subject of his son’s marriage, that Mrs. Gibson heard neither interest nor curiosity expressed by her husband as to the visit itself, or the reception they met with. Cynthia’s indifference as to whether the invitation was accepted or not had displeased Mr. Gibson. He was not up to her ways with her mother, and did not understand how much of this said indifference had been assumed in order to countervent Mrs. Gibson’s affectation and false sentiment. But for all his annoyance on the subject,

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