small private fortune; from that source there remained to him only about a hundred pounds a year. His charities must needs be restricted; his parish outlay must be pinched; domestic life must proceed on a narrower basis. And all this was to Mr. Lashmar supremely distasteful.
Not less so to Mr. Lashmar's wife, a lady ten years his junior, endowed with abundant energies in every direction save that of household order and thrift. Whilst the vicar stood waiting for breakfast, tapping drearily on the window-pane, Mrs. Lashmar entered the room, and her voice sounded the deep, resonant note which announced a familiar morning mood.
"You don't mean to say that breakfast isn't ready! Surely, my dear, you could ring the bell?"
"I have done so," replied the vicar, in a tone of melancholy abstraction.
Mrs. Lashmar rang with emphasis, and for the next five minutes her contralto swelled through the vicarage, rendering inaudible the replies she kept demanding from a half rebellious, half intimidated servant. She