in the administration of William Joel Stone, who was the
Meantime Severne was improving his opportunity. "Sorry to disturb Lord Uxmoor's monopoly," said he, sarcastically, "but I could not bear it any longer."
"I do not object to the change," said Zoe, smiling maternally on him; "but you will be good enough to imitate me in one thing--you will always be polite to Lord Uxmoor."
"It is only for a time; and we must learn to be capable of self-denial. I assure you I have exercised quite as much as I ask of you. Edward, he is a gentleman of great worth, universally respected, and my brother has a particular wish to be friends with him. So pray be patient; be considerate. Have a little faith in one who--"
"Well, I will," said he. "But please think of me a little. I am beginning to feel quite thrust aside, and degraded in my own eyes for putting up with it."
"For shame, to talk so," said Zoe; but the tears came into her eyes.
The master of arts saw, and said no more. He had the art of not overdoing: he left the arrow to rankle. He walked by her side in a silence for ever so long. Then, suddenly, as if by a mighty effort of unselfish love, went off into delightful discourse. He cooed and wooed and flattered and fascinated; and by the time they reached the farm had driven Uxmoor out of her head.
Miss Gale was out. The farmer's wife said she had gone into the town--meaning Hillstoke--which was, strictly speaking, a hamlet or tributary village. Hillstoke church was only twelve years old, and the tithes of the place went to the parson of Islip.
When Zoe turned to go, Uxmoor seized the opportunity, and drew up beside her, like a soldier falling into the ranks. Zoe felt hot; but as Severne took no open notice, she could not help smiling at the behavior of the fellows; and Uxmoor got his chance.