Presently came some music—the drawing-room music of that period, which was before the days of amateur artists. Maud, thinking of handsome, languid Sir Reginald, warbled a sentimental love ditty; Mrs. Gregory was induced to play an old-fashioned fantasia; and Trixy rattled her last piano piece, making her mother hot and cold by turns as she stumbled over the difficult passages.

The Winters left early. She was enjoying herself so much, 룸보도 Lady Winter said, that she could stay all night; but she was bound not to keep late hours. She was going to have some visitors—one in particular, whom she believed they would like to meet, and she mentioned an early day for tea at their house, begging Lady Elton to come too, and to bring Maud and dear little Trixy with her.

To her son she said as they walked home: 'A little of that kind of thing goes a long way. I wonder if those dear good people will ever learn to be rich?'

'Tom won't. He is a regular muff,' said Sir Reginald. 'I shall take no more trouble about him.'

'Oh! but you will, dear,' said his mother sweetly. 'For Mrs. Gregory's sake. She is such a dear good soul! Not quite—well, you know what I mean; but very nice—' and she added after a pause, for her son had not thought it necessary to answer this appeal, 'I have written to Vivien. I rather think she will be with us to-morrow.'

'I must say, mother,' said Sir Reginald, 'that you don't allow the grass to grow under your feet. I shall be surprised if even Vivien, clever as she is, gets anything out of that moonstruck youth.'

'Well, we shall see,' said Lady Winter.

In the cottage the departure of the Winters brought a certain sense of relief, more especially to two of the party, Tom and Lady Elton.

There was a strong sympathy between these two. Sometimes, indeed, it made Tom's mother jealous to see her son hang about her old friend as he was doing to-night. After she had watched them for some time wistfully, she said, her voice quivering:

'Haven't you appropriated Lady Elton long enough, Tom? Come over here and entertain Maud and Trixy, and let me have her for a few moments.'

'I am afraid I am not in an amusing mood,' said Tom, rising with reluctance.