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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 460 pages of information about Fated to Be Free.

“I can have a tour now, can’t I, old fellow,” he said after a time to his brother; “take my wife”—­here a joyous laugh—­“my WIFE on the Continent; we shall go dashing about from place to place, you know, staying at hotels, and all that!

“To be sure,” said Brandon, “staying at hotels, of course, and ordering wonderful things for breakfast.  I think I see you now—­

     “’Happy married lovers,
     Phillis trifling with a plover’s
     Egg, while Corydon uncovers
     With a grace the Sally Lun.’”

“That’s the way this fellow is always making game of me,” exclaimed Valentine; “why I’m older than you were, John, when you married.”

“And wild horses shall never drag the words out of me that I was too young,” said John Mortimer, “whatever I may think,” he continued.

“John was a great deal graver than you are,” said Brandon; “besides, he knew the multiplication table.”

“So do I, of course,” exclaimed Valentine.

“Well,” answered Brandon, “I never said you did not.”

CHAPTER X.

CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES.

    “Now I am at a loss to know whether it be my hare’s foot that is my
    preservation; for I never had a fit of the collique since I wore it;
    or whether it be my taking of a pill of turpentine every morning.”

    Diary of Mr. Samuel Pepys.

“John, the Melcombes have stayed on the Continent so much longer than I expected that I hardly remember whether I told you I had invited them to come round this way, and remain here a few days on their return.”  Old Augustus Mortimer said this to his son, who was dining with him a few days after the conversation concerning the wedding present.  “I supposed,” he added, “that you would not invite that child or his mother again?”

John Mortimer replied, in clear and vigorous English, that he never should—­never!

The manner in which he was looked after by the ladies had become quite a joke in the family, though one of his chief tormentors had lately been moved out of his way, Louisa Grant was married.  Captain Walker had at first, after Mr. Mortimer’s death, agreed to wait for her till Brandon’s return; but his regiment being ordered abroad, he had induced her to hasten the wedding, which took place about three months before Brandon reached England.  And as Louisa did not, out of respect to her step-father, like to be married from his house so soon after his death, old Grand had received and entertained all the wedding guests, and John Mortimer had given away the bride.

On that occasion it was confidently asserted by the remaining Miss Grant and Valentine, that there were four ladies present who would at any time with pleasure undertake to act the loving mother to dear John’s seven children.

John was becoming rather sensitive; he remembered how sweetly Mrs. Melcombe Had smiled on him, and he remembered the ghost story too.

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