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68 TYLNEY HALL.

engaged over a series of silk dresses which covered the

billiard table, to notice the intrusion.

"

Beg pardon, sar, walk dis way," reiterated the dis-

comfited Pompey, wheeling off to the right, " nobody is

in de parlour;" but the door of this Bluebeard chamber

was locked on the inside, and whatever mysterious person-

age was in the room, he or she had evidently some private

reason for remaining incog.

In this dilemma poor Pompey left the Baronet standing

in the middle of the hall, while he popped his puzzled

head in at the door of the library to ask massa if he was

at home, the only answer to which was an audible imprecation

on his black face^ and a command to show every one

into the drawing-room.

" Please, massa, dere is no room at home but de

kitchen," whispered Pompey, cautiously reducing the

aperture of the door to a crack, (f and it's Massa Baronet

Tyrrel :

" an announcement which operated so electrically

on the master of the house that it drew him from his den

like a badger. In fact, he rushed out in his shirt sleeves

and an apron, and, leading Sir Mark with a warm welcome

into the library, offered him the only chair that was va-

cant, in the meantime apologising profusely for the state

of the sanctorum and his own appearance.

" It's very ridiculous for a man of my property to be

found in this pickle, but is every body obliged now and

then to be not at home, though, says you, 1 ought to be

quite at home among so much hardware. To be sure

watering pots, and steel traps, and spades, and scythes,

and other ironworks, isn't quite the works for a bookroom

; but I objected to take the old watering pots and

cetera at the valuation, and good reason why, I could have

them bran new for the money from my warehouse, and

to-day they've come down by the waggon, and I was just

checking them by the invoice."

C(

My good sir," replied the Baronet, " it's no fault of

yours if I've walked you up in moulting time, and you

aie not in full feather. I've been amiss and dead lame

with the gout, or I should have been over before to bid

you welcome to Hollington. I sincerely hope you find

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