HILDEBRAND Spencer Poynt de Burgh John Hannasyde Coombe-Crombie, twelfth Earl of Dreever, was feeling like a toad under the harrow. He read the letter again, but a second perusal made it no better. Very briefly and clearly, Molly had broken off the engagement. She "thought it best." She was "afraid it could make neither of us happy." All very true, thought his lordship miserably. His sentiments to a T. At the proper time, he would have liked nothing better. But why seize for this declaration the precise moment when he was intending, on the strength of the engagement, to separate his uncle from twenty pounds? That was what rankled. That Molly could have no knowledge of his sad condition did not occur to him. He had a sort of feeling that she ought to have known by instinct. Nature, as has been pointed out, had equipped Hildebrand Spencer Poynt de Burgh with one of those cheap-substitute minds. What passed for brain in him was to genuine gray matter as just-as-good imitation coffee is to real Mocha. In moments of emotion and mental stress, consequently, his reasoning, like Spike's, was apt to be in a class of its own.
He read the letter for the third time, and a gentle