WHAT WILL I1E_D0 WITH IT? 461
iant hues, and showing off all its beauty, just before it takes the bird for its breakfast.
When they parted that night their intimacy had made so much progress that arrangements had been made for its contin- uance. Arabella had an instinctive foreboding that her father would be less charmed than herself with Jasper Losely ; that, if Jasper were presented to him, he would possibly forbid her far- ther acquaintance with a young clerk, however superb his out- ward appearance. She took the first false step. She had a maiden aunt by the mother's side, who lived in Bloomsbury, gave and went to small parties, to which Jasper could easily get introduced. She arranged to pay a visit for some weeks to this aunt, who was then very civil to her, accepting with marked kindness seasonable presents of strawberries, pines, spring chickens, and so forth, and offering in turn, whenever it was con- venient, a spare room, and whatever amusement a round of small parties, and the innocent flirtations incidental thereto, could bestow. Arabella said nothing to her father about Jasper Losely, and to her aunt's she went. Arabella saw Jasper very often ; they became engaged to each other, exchanged vows and love-tokens, locks of hair, etc. Jasper, already much trou- bled by duns, became naturally ardent to insure his felicity and Arabella's supposed fortune. Arabella at last summoned cour- age, and spoke to her father. To her delighted surprise, Mr. Fossett, after some moralizing, more on the uncertainty of life in general than her clandestine proceedings in particular, agreed to see Mr. Jasper Losely, and asked him down to dinner. After dinner, over a bottle of Lafitte, in an exceedingly plain but exceedingly weighty silver jug, which made Jasper's mouth water (I mean the jug), Mr. Fossett, commencing with that somewhat coarse though royal saying of William the Conqueror, with which he had before edified his daughter, assured Jasper that he gave his full consent to the young gentleman's nuptials with Arabella, provided Jasper or his relations would maintain her in a plain respectable way, and wait for her fortune till his (Fossett's) will was read. What that fortune would be, Mr. Fos- sett declined even to hint. Jasper went away very much cooled. Still the engagement went on. The nuptials were tacitly de- ferred. Jasper and his relations maintain a wife ! Prej^oster- ous idea ! It would take a Clan of relations and a Zenana of wives to maintain in that state to which he deemed himself en- titled — Jasper himself ! But just as he was meditating the pos- sibility of a compromise with old Fossett, by which he would agree to wait till the will was read for contingent advantages,