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TYLNEY HALL. 211

" Aye," said the woman, " to carry the colours throughout

the prime of your life, and be a captain at fifty, if

not earlier slain in battle, or carried off by a duel : for

your complexion will be apt to excite the raillery of the

officers. They may some day think of tracing your pedi-

gree to the black cymbal-player in the band of the regiment,

aye there's a scowl, and your hand seeks for a

sword ! But to be serious. Your main hope is your uncle :

but fox- hunters sometimes die suddenly, a neck is broken

in an instant, and after the death of Sir Mark, how

would your prospects look if gilded with no more sunshine

than would be shed on them by the new Baronet, Sir

"

Ringwood ?

' '

"

Cloudy enough, heaven knows ! answered the Creole.

"But again," said the woman, "if Sir Ringwood also

should break his neck, for he too is a follower of Nimrod,

and that pale-faced youth, his brother, should succeed to the

title and the estates, would your hopes be brighter then ? "

" Not a whit," said the Creole. " If the first of

November were foggy and gloomy, I should hardly look

for better weather on the second. My two cousins, with "

respect to their love for me, are equal shareholders in a

very small capital/'

" And if Raby should die too," said the woman, " what

would happen then ? "

"The estates would go to the heir-at-law," said the

l(

Creole ; and Tylney Hall would have a new master."

"

Yourself, Walter Tyrrel ; your own self ;

" said the

woman. " Has it never entered your mind to inquire into

the order of the succession ? "

" Never," said the Creole. " As a natural son, the subject

did not concern me ; nor does it much interest me

now, when I am declared legitimate. It is such a remote

chance as I would sell, this minute, for Esau's mess of

pottage."

"Nevertheless," said the woman, "it is such a chance

as may happen.

out a war. In

I have known as rapid promotions with-

the West Indies, the cassava-worm and a

long thumbnail would make it certain j but to you that is

a riddle. As I said before, hard riders get hard falls ; and

p 2

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