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to manage this scandal gourmand. I feel a cold shiver at the bare idea of her mentioning the stage-coach to papa. If I had nothing to do in the business, I should find his amazement highly amusing; but it comes rather too near home at present to indulge myself even in a smile. Is there no possibility of making the old lady believe that we were not the persons ?”

“Certainly,” said Catherine, " there is great possibility; but then you must purchase her belief at rather too high a price ; to wit, a falsehood.”

“Oh! you are such a strange girl! I wonder where you picked up all these oldfashioned notions. I assure you they are quite exploded in fashionable life; and really, I don't see what harm there can be in disappointing the curiosity of a prying old maid."

“ None in the world in disappointing her curiosity; but certainly, my dear Ellinor, you must allow there is a little harm in saying what is not true.”

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"Well, well, Catherine, have it your

way; get me out of this scrape ; say me ; for I know, were it to come to light, all blame would rest on my shoulders.”

" I think, Ellinor, it will be prudent to take Charles into our councils. I suspect he knows more than he chooses to tell; and it will just be as well to pay him the compliment of making him our confidant; for 1 plainly see if we do not, nothing will delight him more than to embroil us with Sir Thomas. I shall take care to keep Sir Thomas and my aunt in play till the disclosure is over ; and when once we have got Charles on our side, we need not fear, as he has the art of warding off an unpleasant subject.”


Catherine; but if you wish us to succeed, you must tell Charles yourself ; for you know as well as I do, he never pays the least attention to my requests. You can easily ask him to take a walk on the sands with you, which will be the best opportunity to make the disclosure. So now it is settled quite to my satisfac

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tion.-You don't speak, Catherine,” conti- dyes anderen I

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nued she, surprised at her silence. “ What are you thinking of ?"

“ Thinking of ?” replied Catherine, with hesitation. “Oh! nothing."

“ But I,” rejoined Ellinor, “say, Oh, something, which, from your silence, it seems I am not to know. Well, I suppose, since I have just been abusing prying people, I must not even guess what train of thought has made you so grave. Nay, Catherine, you need not look so frightened. I don't mean to confess you. But make Charles our friend, and I shall allow you to be mistress of your own secret without farther molestation."

This was said with an archness which would have turned any but Catherine from. her purpose.

Ellinor,” she at length said, with what she thought a careless air, but which was, in fact, ridiculously sombre, “ I must beg you will be the bearer of your own request to Charles, for upon this occasion you must excuse me, I shall most willingly manage

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my uncle and aunt, and even Miss Kenne-
dy; should that be necessary; but Charles.

I make over to you.

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** I can't believe you are serious,” said Elfinor

, with surprise." If you won't speak to Charles, I must think that you

wish we should be found out. But no, you are only saying so to tease me?"

“I am perfectly serious, and I again repeat that I mean to turn Charles over to you."

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“What can all this mean, Catherine? ed in an agony to be left one moment alone with him; and generally contrived to follow what it was about. I suppose my gentleman has been rather free and easy with your yradish ladyship. But this I can say, if he finds fault with you to your face, he is steady friend in your absence,


your as I know to



I can't understand you ;-you, who were

so frank to Charles-but I have observed for several mornings, that you seem

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""Tis so like you, Ellinor,” said Catherine, I besedo existence, save only in that most fertile brain is said Ellino entirely without foundation. Charles and I či something,

best friends in the world; but ita not singular in I think you ought to begin to accustom lent deceit wher yourself to transact your own matters, and 44: and who will by frequently using your influence with your transplanter

But Catherine intercepted her, saying on the whole 272 THE BUSY-BODIES. my cost. But I am dying to hear how the battle commenced.” " to fancy a hundred things that have no

brother, you will soon find it as great as you
suppose mine to be.”

My brother, and I supposem! Car
therine, there is something rotten in the
state of Denmark;' and since you are so
close, I shall, as you have just advised me,
try my influence with Charles; and depend
upon it, I shan't be at rest till I this
mighty secret from him. So adieu for a lit-
tle;" and she prepared to quit the room.


Smar, since you

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with emotion, “ Not for worlds, my dear El-
linor. I assure you we have had no quarrel;

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