His will is not his own;
For he himself is subject to his birth:
He may not, as unvalued persons do,
Carve for himself; for on his choice depends
The safety and the health of this whole state,
And therefore must his choice be circumscribed
Unto the voice and yielding of that body,
Whereof he is the head.

Osric.... Believe me, an absolute gentleman, full of most excellent differences, of very soft society and great showing; indeed, to speak feelingly of him, he is the card... of gentry.

Hamlet.... His definement suffers no perdition in you... But, in the verity of extolment I take him to be a soul of great article.—Hamlet.

THE information which Daireen had received on the unimpeachable authority of the special correspondent of the Dominant Trumpeter was somewhat puzzling to her at first; but as she reflected upon the fact hat the position of governor of the newly-acquired Castaway group must be one of importance, she could not help feeling some happiness; only in the midmost heart of her joy her recollection clasped a single grief—-a doubt about her father was still clinging to her heart. The letter her grandfather had received which caused her to make up her mind to set out for the Cape, merely stated that Colonel Gerald had been found too weak to continue the homeward voyage in the vessel that had brought him from India. He had a bad attack of fever, and was not allowed to be moved from where he lay at the Cape. The girl thought over all of this as she reflected upon what Mr. Harwood had told her, and looking over the long restless waters of the Bay of Biscay from her seat far astern, her eyes became very misty; the unhappy author represented by the yellow-covered book which she had been reading lay neglected upon her knee. But soon her brave, hopeful heart took courage, and she began to paint in her imagination the fairest pictures of the future—a future beneath the rich blue sky that was alleged by the Ministers who had brought about the annexation, evermore to overshadow the Castaway group—a future beneath the purple shadow of the giant Slieve Docas when her father would have discharged his duties at the Castaways.

She could not even pretend to herself to be reading the book she had brought up, so that Mrs. Crawford could not have been accused of an interruption when she drew her chair alongside the girl's, saying:

“We must have a little chat together, now that there is a chance for it. It is really terrible how much time one can fritter away aboard ship. I have known people take long voyages for the sake of study, and yet never open a single book but a novel. By the way, what is this the major has been telling me Harwood says about your father?”

Daireen repeated all that Harwood had said regarding the new island colony, and begged Mrs. Crawford to give an opinion as to the trustworthiness of the information.

“My dear child,” said Mrs. Crawford, “you may depend upon its truth if Harwood told it to you. The Dominant Trumpeter sends out as many arms as an octopus, for news, and, like the octopus too, it has the instinct of only making use of what is worth anything. The Government have been very good to George—I mean Colonel Gerald—he was always 'George' with us when he was lieutenant. The Castaway governorship is one of the nice things they sometimes have to dispose of to the deserving. It was thought, you know, that George would sell out and get his brevet long ago, but what he often said to us after your poor mother died convinced me that he would not accept a quiet life. And so it was Mr. Harwood that gave you this welcome news,” she continued, adding in a thoughtful tone, “By the way, what do you think of Mr. Harwood?”

“I really have not thought anything about him,” Daireen replied, wondering if it was indeed a necessity of life aboard ship to be able at a moment's notice to give a summary of her opinion as to the nature of every person she might chance to meet.

“He is a very nice man,” said Mrs. Crawford; “only just inclined to be conceited, don't you think? This is our third voyage with him, so that we know something of him. One knows more of a person at the end of a week at sea than after a month ashore. What can be keeping Mr. Glaston over his pears, I wonder? I meant to have presented him to you before. Ah, here he comes out of the companion. I asked him to return to me.”

But again Mrs. Crawford's expectations were dashed to the ground. Mr. Glaston certainly did appear on deck, and showed some sign in a languid way of walking over to where Mrs. Crawford was sitting, but unfortunately before he had taken half a dozen steps he caught sight of that terrible pink dress and the hat with the jaundiced interior. He stopped short, and a look of martyrdom passed over his face as he turned and made his way to the bridge in the opposite direction to where that horror of pronounced tones sat quite unconscious of the agony her appearance was creating in the aesthetic soul of the young man.

Daireen having glanced up and seen the look of dismay upon his face, and the flight of Mr. Glaston, could not avoid laughing outright so soon as he had disappeared. But Mrs. Crawford did not laugh. On the contrary she looked very grave.

“This is terrible—terrible, Daireen,” she said. “That vile hat has driven him away. I knew it must.”

“Matters are getting serious indeed,” said the girl, with only the least touch of mockery in her voice. “If he is not allowed to eat anything at breakfast in sight of the dress, and he is driven up to the bridge by a glimpse of the hat, I am afraid that his life will not be quite happy here.”

“Happy! my dear, you cannot conceive the agonies he endures through his sensitiveness. I must make the acquaintance of that young person and try to bring her to see the error of her ways. Oh, how fortunate you had this chocolate-gray!”

“I must have thought of it in a moment of inspiration,” said Daireen.

“Come, you really mustn't laugh,” said the elder lady reprovingly. “It was a happy thought, at any rate, and I only hope that you will be able to sustain its effect by something good at dinner. I must look over your trunks and tell you what tone is most artistic.”

Daireen began to feel rebellious.

“My dear Mrs. Crawford, it is very kind of you to offer to take so much trouble; but, you see, I do not feel it to be a necessity to choose the shade of my dress solely to please the taste of a gentleman who may not be absolutely perfect in his ideas.”

Mrs. Crawford laughed. “Do not get angry, my dear,” she said. “I admire your spirit, and I will not attempt to control your own good taste; you will never, I am sure, sink to such a depth of depravity as is manifested by that hat.”

“Well, I think you may depend on me so far,” said Daireen.

Shortly afterwards Mrs. Crawford descended to arrange some matters in her cabin, and Daireen had consequently an opportunity of returning to her neglected author.

But before she had made much progress in her study she was again interrupted, and this time by Doctor Campion, who had been smoking with Mr. Harwood on the ship's bridge. Doctor Campion was a small man, with a reddish face upon which a perpetual frown was resting. He had a jerky way of turning his head as if it was set upon a ratchet wheel only capable of shifting a tooth at a time. He had been in the army for a good many years, and had only accepted the post aboard the Cardwell Castle for the sake of his health.

“Young cub!” he muttered, as he came up to Daireen. “Infernal young cub!—I beg your pardon, Miss Gerald, but I really must say it. That fellow Glaston is getting out of all bounds. Ah, it's his father's fault—his father's fault. Keeps him dawdling about England without any employment. Why, it would have been better for him to have taken to the Church, as they call it, at once, idle though the business is.”

“Surely you have not been wearing an inartistic tie, Doctor Campion?”

“Inartistic indeed! The puppy has got so much cant on his finger-ends that weak-minded people think him a genius. Don't you believe it, my dear; he's a dam puppy—excuse me, but there's really no drawing it mild here.”

Daireen was amused at the doctor's vehemence, however shocked she may have been at his manner of getting rid of it.

“What on earth has happened with Mr. Glaston now?” she asked. “It is impossible that there could be another obnoxious dress aboard.”

“He hasn't given himself any airs in that direction since,” said the doctor. “But he came up to the bridge where we were smoking, and after he had talked for a minute with Harwood, he started when he saw a boy who had been sent up to clean out one of the hencoops—asked if we didn't think his head marvellously like Carlyle's—was amazed at our want of judgment—went up to the boy and cross-questioned him—found out that his father sells vegetables to the Victoria Docks—asked if it had ever been remarked before that his head was like Carlyle's—boy says quickly that if the man he means is the tailor in Wapping, anybody that says his head is like that man's is a liar, and then boy goes quietly down. 'Wonderful!' says our genius, as he comes over to us; 'wonderful head—exactly the same as Carlyle's, and language marvellously similar—brief—earnest—emphatic—full of powah!' Then he goes on to say he'll take notes of the boy's peculiarities and send them to a magazine. I couldn't stand any more of that sort of thing, so I left him with Harwood. Harwood can sift him.”

Daireen laughed at this new story of the young man whose movements seemed to be regarded as of so much importance by every one aboard the steamer. She began really to feel interested in this Mr. Glaston; and she thought that perhaps she might as well be particular about the tone of the dress she would select for appearing in before the judicial eyes of this Mr. Glaston. She relinquished the design she had formed in her mind while Mrs. Crawford was urging on her the necessity for discrimination in this respect: she had resolved to show a recklessness in her choice of a dress, but now she felt that she had better take Mrs. Crawford's advice, and give some care to the artistic combinations of her toilette.

The result of her decision was that she appeared in such studious carelessness of attire that Mr. Glaston, sitting opposite to her, was enabled to eat a hearty dinner utterly regardless of the aggressive splendour of the imperial blue dress worn by the other young lady, with a pink ribbon flowing over it from her hair. This young lady's imagination was unequal to suggesting a more diversified arrangement than she had already shown. She thought it gave evidence of considerable strategical resources to wear that pink ribbon over the blue dress: it was very nearly as effective as the blue ribbon over the pink, of the morning. The appreciation of contrast as an important element of effect in art was very strongly developed in this young lady.

Mrs. Crawford did not conceal the satisfaction she felt observing the appetite of Mr. Glaston; and after dinner she took his arm as he went towards the bridge.

“I am so glad you were not offended with that dreadful young person's hideous colours,” she said, as they strolled along.

“I could hardly have believed it possible that such wickedness could survive nowadays,” he replied. “But I was, after the first few minutes, quite unconscious of its enormity. My dear Mrs. Crawford, your young protégée appeared as a spirit of light to charm away that fiend of evil. She sat before me—a poem of tones—a delicate symphony of Schumann's played at twilight on the brink of a mere of long reeds and water-flags, with a single star shining through the well-defined twigs of a solitary alder. That was her idea, don't you think?”

“I have no doubt of it,” the lady replied after a little pause. “But if you allow me to present you to her you will have an opportunity of finding out. Now do let me.”

“Not this evening, Mrs. Crawford; I do not feel equal to it,” he answered. “She has given me too much to think about—too many ideas to work out. That was the most thoughtful and pure-souled toilette I ever recollect; but there are a few points about it I do not fully grasp, though I have an instinct of their meaning. No, I want a quiet hour alone. But you will do me the favour to thank the child for me.”

“I wish you would come and do it yourself,” said the lady. “But I suppose there is no use attempting to force you. If you change your mind, remember that we shall be here.”

She left the young man preparing a cigarette, and joined Daireen and the major, who were sitting far astern: the girl with that fiction of a fiction still in her hand; her companion with a cheroot that was anything but insubstantial in his fingers.

“My dear child,” whispered Mrs. Crawford, “I am so glad you took your own way and would not allow me to choose your dress for you. I could never have dreamt of anything so perfect and——yes, it is far beyond what I could have composed.”

Mrs. Crawford thought it better on the whole not to transfer to Daireen the expression of gratitude Mr. Glaston had begged to be conveyed to her. She had an uneasy consciousness that such a message coming to one who was as yet unacquainted with Mr. Glaston might give her the impression that he was inclined to have some of that unhappy conceit, with the possession of which Mrs. Crawford herself had accredited the race generally.

“Miss Gerald is an angel in whatever dress she may wear,” said the major gallantly. “What is dress, after all?” he asked. “By gad, my dear, the finest women I ever recollect seeing were in Burmah, and all the dress they wore was the merest——”

“Major, you forget yourself,” cried his wife severely.

The major pulled vigorously at the end of his moustache, grinning and bobbing his head towards the doctor.

“By gad, my dear, the recollection of those beauties would make any fellow forget not only himself but his own wife, even if she was as fine a woman as yourself.”

The doctor's face relapsed into its accustomed frown after he had given a responsive grin and a baritone chuckle to the delicate pleasantry of his old comrade.

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