Peterson’s Magazine, Volume 90 (Google Books)

CHAPTER II.
Another week 1 Guy’s heart sank within

acter of a respondent, to the advertisement in strange a fashion? for, by the terms bbe offer”,

the ” Figaro.” He had heard, it is true, of the \ she must be wealthy.”

financial catastrophe which had hurled the! “She possesses a fortune of two millions tf

brilliant and accomplished young society-hero • dollars. Ten millions of francs, as we would Mlt

into the outer darkness of poverty and obscurity; j here.”

but he had had no idea of the completeness of j “Then she is an American?”

the disaster; and it was some time before he j “Vcs. Now I have told you all that I Cm

could realize that it was the Count de Noriolis j impart to you, for the present. 1 must take time

himself, and no impostor, that stood before him. ‘ for the necessary inquiry about you; and, whei

But, in a few minutes — that is to say, after a [ we next meet, should you decide to accept Bit

series of questions — M. Durand became quite J client’s offer, I shall go more fully into deuil.

genial and confidential. j Call again this dny week, at three o’clock, and,

“I will not disguise from you, Count,” he j if all that I learn respecting you be satisfactory. remarked in a low tone, drawing his hearer into • we may enter into serious negotiation.” a small inner room and closing the door as he spoke, “that the affair which we have now on hand is ft difficult one to manage. We have had n good many applicants since that advertisement, him, as he thought of another seven days of was inserted, three days ago. One was even a < privation and hunger. Accept the offer T flhy, duke— but then there was a flaw in the title. ‘ what else could he do, poor fellow, but clutch at Also a marquis; but he had once been in prison anything, which was not dishonorable, that would for swindling. There is no condemnation — no > save him from the ooze of the river-bed, the nets legal complication — in your case, I hope?” j of the corpse-hunters, the dripping slabs of tie

“None. I made a fool of myself, and I am ; Morgue? But he merely said, with the high ruined; but my past is spotless.” De Noriolis j courage he had inherited from his Ousadicg flushed scarlet as he spoke. !ancestors:

“No offense meant — none whatever, my dear; “This day week, then — at three o’clock,” and sir. Only, you see, we are bound to protect our > he turned to leave the office.

client’s interest, in every respect, and to make; The little notary had marked the haggard line* our investigation as thorough as possible. And, ; of his countenance, and the despondent look tin;: as there is question of a marriage, every prccan- j crept over his features when told of the week * lion becomes doubly necessary. Now, before I j delay.

enter into further detail, pray answer me one j “Stop a moment, Count,” he said, pleasantly: question: Are yon prepared, in case all the i ” perhaps a litlle loan would be an accommodiiinformation we shall obtain respecting you is :’ tion to you just now; a small advance on your fully satisfactory, to bestow your name and your ; future income — don’t you sec?” hand upon a lady, to whom you shall pledge’ He drew out his pocket-book as he spoke, »nd yourself to remain thereafter a mere acquaint- ‘; laid notes for a hundred francs upon the t.nblc. ance, and nothing more? Also, will you consent \ It was then that the old blood of the pennilesto adopt, as your own, her son, born of a previous j noble showed itself. De Noriolis put aside, with and unfortunate union?” > a wan smile, the money he needed so much.

“These are strange stipulations,” said De j “No,” he said; “for, should your client foil to approve of me, M. Durand, I could never i Roincy uufaslencd her heavy veil mid flung i! repay your loan. I will not run the risk. But j aside. The Count could not resist n slight start. I thank you moat heartily all the same.” J lie had expected to see an ordinary lace, perhaps

As the door closed behind Guy’s retreating even a vulgar^ one. But it was a woman of no figure, M. Durand gave a nod of approval. common type that confronted him. There was

“Ah, Madame Alice de Roiucy,” he said to ; intellect in the broad low brow, the blue earnest himself, while folding and replacing the notes in i eyes, the firm yet delicately-outlined mouth. It his shabby little pocket-book, “you will make a was the face of a young woman, but also that of great mistake if you fail to become the Countess one who had deeply suffered. Despite the bloom de Noriolis. He has principles, has that young of the complexion, the soft azure of the eyes, the man. This is a queer affair altogether—the j golden lustre of the hair, the first impression oddest that has come before my notice in these ; made upon the spectator was not that of beauty, forty years. But I must hurry up my invcstiga- J but of endurance. Though almost a girl in tiou, or else the future bridegroom will die of / years, one felt instinctively that some great sorhunger before the wedding-day.” | row had swept, like a tidal wave, over that

How Guy de Noriulis contrived to exist, during bright young head, submerging it for a time, but the time which elapsed between the day on happily not forever.

which he had his fu>t interview with M. Durand Guy, on his part, though still handsome and and that on which he received his summons to high-bred-looking, also bore on cheek and brow present himself again at the office on the Rue de the traces of the terrible months through which Hollande, must ever remain a mystery. Perhaps ^ he had lately passed. The olive complexion was that noblest of 1’arisian charities, that of “The colorless—-almost livid in line, indeed—the dark Mouthful of Bread,” so called, which consists in j eyes were hollow and encircled with bistre-tinted bestowing upon every applicant half a pound of i shadow, and the whole countenance bore the good bread and a gluss of water tinged with i stamp of a pain endured till despair had wellcommon wine, might have assisted in solving the : nigh replaced endurance.

riddle. Be that as it may, he looked even paler; There they stood, this pair so strangely brought and more haggard, when he again stood before (together by misfortune. On either side, a vast M. Dur.ind, than, on the occasion of his first visit. ; calamity, an abyss of ruin, which the clasping

“Do me the favor of taking a chair, Count,’1 hand of the one could alone enable the other to said the notary, iu something of a more cere- overleap.

monious and deferential manner than that The lady was the first to speak which he had assumed on their previous inter- “We may as well be seated, Count,” she said, view. i for both had risen at first, “and discuss this

The Count s.it down in silence. j matter at our leisure.” She resumed her place

“Our inquiry respecting you,” said the j upon the sofa, as she spoke, and motioned him notary, after a pause, rubbing his fat hands, j to an armchair that stood near. “I have heard “has been perfectly satisfactory. Title, char- your story, arid 1 have perused the record of actcr, pedigree, arc all indisputable. Our client the investigation made by order of my lawyer, is willing to accept you, as fulfilling her coiuli- , You meet niy requirement iu all respects. But, tions, but she desires to have nn interview with .’ before we proceed further in this matter—before you before anything is positively decided. Step ; you consent to give your hand and your name to this way, if you please.” > the person who has sought your alliance in so

As he spoke, ho ushered Guy into the inner j strange a fashion, I desire that yon—gentleman room, of which we have before made mention, j and honorable man as I have learned you to be A lady, deeply veiled, was seated on the little , —should hear from my own lips certain details sofa covered with slippery green leather, which – respecting my past life, and a full explanation of was placed beside the window. She rose as the | my present conduct.” door was thrown open. ] The Count bowed, but did not speak.

“Count Guy de Noriolis—Madame de Roincy,”; “I am, as I believe M. Durand has told you.” said M. Durand, with a wave of his hand. Then, ; she said, “an American by birth. My father— after they had mutually bowed to each other, he [ George Severne—was the inventor of the famous added: “Now I shall go back to my business, ‘ ‘Severne Safety-Valve.’ There is no need for and leave you, monsieur and madame, to settle ; me to describe to you the use and the application yours.” ;of his invention. It was simple and practical,

As the door closed behind the retreating form : and so came at once into general use wherever of the notary, the lady he hud called Madame de ‘ steam was employed in connection with ma

chinery; and he realize’] a large fortune from it. I was an only child, my niolbor having died when I was three days old. My father never married again. His maiden sister, who Whs his Henior by sonic years, took charge of bis housebold for him. As for me, 1 wns sent to Paris to be educated. I was placed in a good school. There were kind friends of our family in Europe. who looked after me. Very often, I passed my vacation in traveling with these friends, or in Tisiting them at their summer country-seats. 1 grew up, therefore, with far fewer ties to home and to my one surviving parent than would otherwise have been the cose.

“But, in truth,” she went on, after a pause, “my father cared comparatively little about me. He had literally idolized my mother. She was a delicate exquisite little creature—a societybeauty, far younger (ban himself, lie had loved her in secret for some years, when his sudden accession to wealth made it possible for him to hope to win her. He did win her; and, after a wedded life of barely a year, he lost her. I do not think that he ever found any real pleasure in life afterward. At all events, he always had a vague feeling of repulsion toward me, since my birth had caused my mother’s death.

“It was arranged that, nftur my education had been completed, my father and my aunt should cime to Paris to join me, and that we should thereafter spend a year in foreign travel. I was somewhat precocious in respect to my study, and I had completed my allotted school-course by the time I was seventeen. My father arrived in Paris in time lo be present at my graduation. A few days later, ho fell ill, though not at first alarmingly so. He was subject to attacks of gout, and his malady was merely a return of this old complaint But he suffered terribly, and all my aunt’s thought and time were absorbed in waiting upon him. Our projected journey was perforce postponed.

“In this emergency,” uhe continued, “a highly-recommended governess—a Hungarian lady of rank, wbo had lost her fortune in some political crisis—was hastily engaged to act as my chaperonc: at least, as long iu> my father’s illness should last. Accordingly, under lier guidance, I studied, practiced my accomplishments, and went out to walk or drive. One day, my governess—Madame d’Elida—proposed that we should go to Versailles, to visit the palace and to take a stroll in the park. I assented gladly; for the weather was lovely, and I was very weary of the dull life that I led at the hotel. While we were walking in the park, my companion was accosted by a handsome young officer,

whom she presented to me as ‘Captain de Koine; the son of one of her moat intimate friends.'” She paused a moment again, and then resumed: “Madame d’Elida’s next proceeding was !• persuade me to obtain permission from my falbe. and aunt to go down to Versailles 10 speti a fortnight, saying that I looked ill, thnt cbinct of air would do me good, and that Versailk*. with its historical associations and its pictor<grilleries, was just the place in which to complete my study. Permission was readily {fronted, an’. we were soon installed in a handsome suite t: rooms in the Hotel des Reservoirs. Jladiru’ d’Elida bad many acquaintances in the old town and we received frequent invitations to aflernopnreccptions, afternoon-teas, soir^es-niusicnles, an! other such mildly-exciting forms of dissipation To me, a girl fresh from the closely -guarded precinct of a Parisian school, it was all delightful And the more so, from the fact thnt. wherever we went, we were sure to meet Captain de Roincv His regiment was stationed in Versailles, and If was a general favorite in society. He cnine very often, too, to the hotel, ostensibly to call upon Madame d’Elida. But it was not very long before, taking advantage of my youth and inexperience, and with the full connivance of tinunprincipled woman who had been engaged to watch over me, he became an avowed suitor for my hand.”

CHAPTER III.

“To understand what followed. Count de Noriolis,” she now said, and with some hesitation, ” I want you to bear in mind my extreme youth, my total ignorance of the usage of French society as regards matrimonial engagement, and. above all, my utter lack of knowledge respecting the formality necessary to constitute a legal marriage in France. I was an infatuated foouV-i child, in the hands of a fascinating unscrupulous adventuress, and of a handsome, heartless, penniless adventurer. Let me pass briefly and quickly over this dark page in niy history. Our stay .11 Versailles was prolonged, from time to time, at my own solicitation, prompted by my ardent wooer and by Madame d’Elida. Permission for my continued absence was readily obtained; for my father’s health did not rally, as we hnJ expected, after the first violent symptom of his malady had subsided; and he continued in so weak and suffering a condition that my presence •would only have annoyed him and added to irv aunt’s cnro and embarrassment. So we remained at Versailles; and, when the final summons for our return to Paris arrived, I had been for nearly a fortnight the wife of Captain dc Roincy.

“1 cannot pretend to describe tha wiles, the’ arguments, (he persuasions, that were used to hurry me into taking this momentous step. I was a mere cbild, as ignorant as a baby of the ways of tlie world, and I was, or fancied myseif to be, very much in love with M. de Roincy. I .’ can comprehend now the nefarious plot of which ‘. I was the victim. The whole affair was managed by Madame d’Elida for a consideration: tbat is < to sny, for a percentage on my fortune when I; xhould receive it; for iny father’s great wealth j and my own prospective heiresship were well j known to the wicked creature who sold the poor; child confided to her care with as little scruple: as she would have felt in disposing of a pet j poodle or a canary-bird.”

All this while, the Count sat listening with ever-increasing interest.

“The marriage-ceremony was performed,” she j said, ” in a little country-church near Versailles;; the priest, a good old sleepy cure, being evidently convinced—if, indeed, he thought anything about; the matter—that there was nothing unusual! about the aft’uir. The witnesses were Madame! d’Elida and the maid she had engaged for me, in ( Versailles, to lake the place of the one provided [ for me by my aunt, and whom she had persuaded • me to dismiss on some trilling pretext. No idea; that there was any possibility of the validity of; my marriage being questioned ever crossed my; brain. I knew nothing of the law of your ‘. country about such matters. The ceremony had ‘, been performed in strict accordance with the ,’ rules of the Catholic Church, and there had been’ the usual accompaniment of witnesses, and a • register, and a certificate—and wlint more could’ be necessary? Nothing, that I knew of; but; the man that I had married, and the woman that’ had furthered his plan, were versed in all the; intricacy of French law, and knew well that; the marriage-ceremony, in the eyes of that law,: was but so much empty breath, and the marriage-; certificate a mere scrap of waste paper, since no; civil marriage, the only one that is recognized iu’ this country as legal, had ever taken place.”

By this time, the face of her hearer was full of; pity. He leaned forward, eagerly, as he listened, j She noticed it, and went on with emotion.

“I shall speak briefly of the events of the; next few days,” she said, with slightly faltering; voice. “I remained at the Hotel des Reservoirs,’ while Madame d’Elida and M. de Roincy went ( to Paris, to avow the fact of my marriage and to’ gain for me my father’s pardon. I little knew! what power they meant to bring to bear, in order j to bend that iron will and sway that resolute nature. But their purpose failed. The inter

Voi. XC.—29.

view took place. My father, in a furious outburst of passion, refused to forgive me, or to make any provision for my maintenance. Then M. de Roincy declared his intention of deserting me, and of disavowing his marriage, unless lie and I were at once received wilh open arms, full pardon, and a handsome settlement: in which case, he declared, he was ready to marry me according to the law. This blow was too n:uch for my father, in his enfeebled state of health. He sank bock insensible, the fatal visitors were dismissed, and he was carried to his bed. From that bed he never again arose. He lived for some days—long enough to execute a will, leaving all his vast fortune unconditionally to my Aunt Susan—and he died, I was told, without ever permitting my name to be mentioned in his presence.

“As for Captain de Roincy,” she said, after another momentary pause, “1 never saw him again. He lingered iu Paris, trying vainly to obtain an interview with my aunt, nnd, on finally ascertaining, with full certainty, the contents of my father’s will, he joined his regiment, then under orders for Algiers. He wrote me a brief letter, staling that he left me free to contract a new matrimonial engagement, sinee the old one was not in any shape binding upon either of us. And that wns the lost,” drawing a deep breath, “that I ever heard of my husband of a fortnight. As for Madame d’Elida, she disappeared without a word or sign, only sending a messenger to Versailles for her trunks. I think she had rendered herself amenable to the law, iu some way, for the part she had taken in bringing about my marriage, and was in a hurry to escape.

“I have tried to speak calmly nnd dispassionately. Count de Noriolis,” said the speaker, now. ‘• 1 have forced myself to confine my narrative to a bare recital of facts. But, as 1 look back to the days that succeeded my father’s death, my heart glows with an indignation and throbs with an anguish that I cannot express. Picture mo to yourself: a girl not yet eighteen, shtunclc.s.sly duped and heartlessly deserted, with a father’s curse weighing upon her soul, penniless, wretched, and abased—I, who had been the courted, pampered, prospective heiress of millions all my diiyi”. I had never been nn idolized child—my dcnd mother’s shadow hnd always interposed between me and my father’s love—but, in all other respects, I had been brought up as befitted George Severne:g only daughter. But Cute wns merciful to me at this juncture, for the typhoid fever had just made its appearance in an epidemic form in Versailles, and I was one of its

if to exclude every ray of liglit from the interior. ( of arrangement had finally completed the work But behind one of the closely-shaded windows ; of fascination. And there he was, dwelling stood Guy himself, gazing down into the court- \ beneath the same roof with her, the woman he yard. At the doorway opposite was a low open • now adored, linked to her by the strongest v! Victoria, with coachman and footman in dark-blue (legal ties, yet sundered from her as effectual!; livery. To the graceful carriage were harnessed \ as though the paved courtyard were nn un fat humtwo magnificent bays, that tossed their heads, i able abyss, or the slender fountain a sword of and champed their bits, and rattled the silver ; fire. Once, he had attempted to call upon her. mounting of their harness, in their impatience to , alter the fashion of an ordinary acquaintance; be off. Presently, there was a stir at the door- | but.the answer was returned, when he sent ia way. The footman descended nimbly from his ; his card, that ” the Countess de Noriolis was not perch, and Madame dc Noriolis, followed by her \ receiving,” and he had never repeated the little son, came slowly forth. She stood for a j experiment. Once a day, however, as on this moment on the doorstep, superintending the j afternoon, he gave himself the scant satisfaction proper disposal of cushions and carriage-rugs, i of seeing her step into her carriage, for her before taking her place in the vehicle. The jet j afternoon-drive; and the chill feeling of disembroidery on her black Ince costume sparkled i appointment that he experienced when the day in the sunlight, and her fair face showed in i proved stormy, or when some trifling childish added loveliness beneath her dainty little bonnet j indisposition of George’s detained her nt borne, of jet and lace, shaded with a cluster of pale- \ taught him but too conclusively how entirely his pink feathers. She took her place, at last, j new passion had taken possession of his being. George sprang in after her. The horses pranced; Since his restoration to wealth, he had led s and caracoled, for a moment, before consenting ; very quiet life. The gay companions of his to go out through the gateway, and then the J younger days looked in vain for the reappearance elegant equipage disappeared down the wide ! of the brilliant young Count de Noriolis amongst avenue, on its way to the Bois de Boulogne. ‘them. He had learned a lesson in those sad days The unseen watcher at the window overhead ‘ in the garret on the Rue de 1’Observatoirc, and drew back, with a knitted brow and sternly- ‘ had come forth from the iron prison of poverty curved lips, sighing deeply as she disappeared. | a graver and a wiser man. He devoted himself For this daily glimpse of his wife was all that had Ho his art, and, with the exception of a daily eyer been vouchsafed to him since she had parted ; ride in tlio Bois, rarely left their hotel. He was from him, on the afternoon of their wedding-day. > content and happy, on those rides, if he could She had done this just inside the iron gates of \ gain a smile and a bow from the fair-haired lady the courtyard, with the brief cold words: “Fare- } who had driven from his own door scarce half well, Count. Your rooms are prepared for you, ! an hour before. Occasionally, he would give » and I hope you will find your new homo pleasant.” i gentleman’s-dinner or a supper-party; but the Pleasant! Yes, it wns pleasant for him to fare < guests at these entertainments were not his daintily, to be lodged sumptuously, to have horse ; former society-friends, but noted artists or and carriage and servant once more at his disposal ; famous authors, prominent journalists or the —to be restored, in short, to all the elegance and i rising statesmen of the day. He was rnpidly luxury that he had once lost, as it then seemed, , gaining the reputation of being one of the forever. Had anyone, in his day of poverty, j seriously-intellectual men of Parisian society, predicted to him such a change, he would have j Yet even this highest and finest form of social faacied that the fulfillment of the prophecy i enjoyment failed, as did likewise his art, to

would bring him perfect happiness. But. there was a bitter ingredient mingled with his cup of daily blessing: a Tantalus longing for the happiness seen just beyond his reach and as unattainable as the stars. With all the strength nnd energy of a peculiarly concentrated and vigorous nature, Guy de Noriolis had come to love his wife. His heart had been deeply touched, nt the very first, by the recital of her woe and wrong. Her beauty had charmed him even then. The wit and brightness of intellect displayed in the few brief interviews she had accorded him whilst the preliminaries of the marriage were in process

wholly satisfy him, or to adequately fill his dnv«. His thoughts dwelt pertinaciously on the blue eyes and soft voice of the woman who bore his name, and whom he loved Ho hopelessly. On (Livery autumn day, he turned from the window, with a steadfast purpose Htirring at his heart.

“I can bear this no longer,” he said to himself, passionately, ns he paced the room. “I will not remain a pensioner on the bounty of the woman I love, while she denies me so much as the poor alms of a word or a look. I will leave Paris. I will go to America—anywhere where j absence and work may bring forgetfulness.”
He flung open the shutter, as he spoke, and the sunlight and sweet breath of the delicious day streamed into the room. The sudden brightness illuminated the armor, the tapestry, the antique carved tables and cabinets, laden with specimens of old Venetian glass, medieval ivory carving, bronze statuettes from Pompeii and Velletri, and other artistic curiosities. But these dainty treasures, the selection and arrangement of which had formed a favorite pastime for his leisure-hour, did not win from him so much as a glance. He turned from them, and sealing himself at his writing-table, began the following letter:

“MY Dear Wife:

Suffer me to call you so for the first time, and also assuredly for the last. When you receive this letter, I shall have left Paris forever.

When I agreed to accept wealth and luxury at your hands, I did not realize how speedily the pain of my position would surpass nil its advantages. An element unforeseen in our calculation has come to make me even more wretched than I was, iu the midst of poverty and privation: for I love you, Alice—fervently, sincerely, and unchangeably. And I am going away, content to know that I lecve with you the only advantage that our marriage could bestow upon you: the prestige of my name. I am proud and happy to think that you will still bear it.

You need feel no anxiety about my future: a small legacy, bequeathed to me within the last few months, will enable me to take the time necessary for the discovery of some position wherein my artistio acquirement will suffice for my support. Farewell. Forget that there exists in this world a man who has the right to call himself your husband. But remember always that, so long as I live, there is one being on this earth who tenderly and passionately loves you. Guy De Nohiolis.”

He placed this brief missive iu an envelope, sealed and directed it, and laid it in the blottingbook. He then passed into his bed room, and began a leisurely review of the articles of clothing contained in the spacious wardrobe.

Whilst still engaged in this occupation, a knock was heard at the door, and, in response to Guy’s call of “Come in,” Martha Ellis entered.

‘• If you please, sir,” she said, “the Countess would like to speak to you, for a moment.”

Considerably surprised, Guy laid aside the overcoat which he had just been considering with a view to its fitness for a sea-voyage: and found himself, in a few minutes, in Alice’s pretty boudoir.

She stood there, still in her out-door dress. A telegram lay open on the table before her. In a tone, broken and hurried by nervous agitation, she began:

“Count, 1 have a great favor to ask of you. I am summoned at once to my aunt. She is very ill—perhaps dying—and it is necessary that 1 should start immediately for the Isle of Wight, where she now is. The aid and companionship of Martha Ellis are indispensably necessary to me, both for the journey and in nursing my aunt, so I shall have no one to whom I can entrust my boy during the period of my absence. I cannot take him with me, as my aunt’s malady is not specified in the telegram, and it may be some contagious fever. Will you take charge of George till my return?”

“Willingly, gladly,” he answered, forcing himself to take, with undemonstrative calmness, the small gloved hand that she extended to him.

“And you will keep careful watch over him, will you not, remembering how anxious a mother I am, and that this is the first time I have ever been parted from him?”

“You forget, madame, that George is my adopted son,” he answered, with a tinge of bitterness iu his tone. ‘• I shall guard him with all a father’s care.”

Alice flushed scarlet, and seemed about to speak; but, at that moment, the door was thrown open, and George himself came racing into the room. He ran up to Guy with a joyful shout, remembering various gifts of toys and bonbons he had received at different times from De Noriolis, who was very fond of children, and who hod likewise a vague longing to win the affection of the noble-looking boy: who was not only Alice’s son, but Alice’s living image as well.

He raised George in his arms; and the little fellow, nothing loth, clung about his neck.

“Will you come with me, George,” he said, “and pay me a long visit, in my rooms across the courtyard?”

“Yes, yes,” cried the boy. “And you will show me pictures, and let me ride on the big dug —won’t you?”

“Of course I will.”

“Then come: let us go, right away.”

“Kiss mamma good-bye first,” said Guy. And, with George still in his arms, he advanced toward Alice.

The boy, with a merry shout, not in the least believing in the reality of the leavetaking, threw one arm about his mother’s neck—whilst, with the other, he mill clasped that of Guy. For one instant, the husband and wife stood thus united in that childish embrace. Alice was visibly

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embarrassed, and it was Guy tbat disentangled > You see, 1 aiu frank with you, Count. Goodthe clinging arms. He took her Laud once more > morniiig.” Aud the great physician hurried in his own. !away, with a shrug of his shoulders us b*

“A pleasant journey to you, Countess,” he ; thought of the youug man’s obstinacy in i: said; ‘• and I hope that you will find the invalid out of danger.”

He raised, with respectful gallantry, the hand, that he still held, to his lips, lu another moment, the door hud closed behind him and his merry romping charge, leaving Alice preoccupied and thoughtful as a mother should naturally be, who parts for the first time with her only child.

Peterson’s Magazine, Volume 90 (Google Books)

CHAPTER II.
Another week 1 Guy’s heart sank within

acter of a respondent, to the advertisement in strange a fashion? for, by the terms bbe offer”,

the ” Figaro.” He had heard, it is true, of the \ she must be wealthy.”

financial catastrophe which had hurled the! “She possesses a fortune of two millions tf

brilliant and accomplished young society-hero • dollars. Ten millions of francs, as we would Mlt

into the outer darkness of poverty and obscurity; j here.”

but he had had no idea of the completeness of j “Then she is an American?”

the disaster; and it was some time before he j “Vcs. Now I have told you all that I Cm

could realize that it was the Count de Noriolis j impart to you, for the present. 1 must take time

himself, and no impostor, that stood before him. ‘ for the necessary inquiry about you; and, whei

But, in a few minutes — that is to say, after a [ we next meet, should you decide to accept Bit

series of questions — M. Durand became quite J client’s offer, I shall go more fully into deuil.

genial and confidential. j Call again this dny week, at three o’clock, and,

“I will not disguise from you, Count,” he j if all that I learn respecting you be satisfactory. remarked in a low tone, drawing his hearer into • we may enter into serious negotiation.” a small inner room and closing the door as he spoke, “that the affair which we have now on hand is ft difficult one to manage. We have had n good many applicants since that advertisement, him, as he thought of another seven days of was inserted, three days ago. One was even a < privation and hunger. Accept the offer T flhy, duke— but then there was a flaw in the title. ‘ what else could he do, poor fellow, but clutch at Also a marquis; but he had once been in prison anything, which was not dishonorable, that would for swindling. There is no condemnation — no > save him from the ooze of the river-bed, the nets legal complication — in your case, I hope?” j of the corpse-hunters, the dripping slabs of tie

“None. I made a fool of myself, and I am ; Morgue? But he merely said, with the high ruined; but my past is spotless.” De Noriolis j courage he had inherited from his Ousadicg flushed scarlet as he spoke. !ancestors:

“No offense meant — none whatever, my dear; “This day week, then — at three o’clock,” and sir. Only, you see, we are bound to protect our > he turned to leave the office.

client’s interest, in every respect, and to make; The little notary had marked the haggard line* our investigation as thorough as possible. And, ; of his countenance, and the despondent look tin;: as there is question of a marriage, every prccan- j crept over his features when told of the week * lion becomes doubly necessary. Now, before I j delay.

enter into further detail, pray answer me one j “Stop a moment, Count,” he said, pleasantly: question: Are yon prepared, in case all the i ” perhaps a litlle loan would be an accommodiiinformation we shall obtain respecting you is :’ tion to you just now; a small advance on your fully satisfactory, to bestow your name and your ; future income — don’t you sec?” hand upon a lady, to whom you shall pledge’ He drew out his pocket-book as he spoke, »nd yourself to remain thereafter a mere acquaint- ‘; laid notes for a hundred francs upon the t.nblc. ance, and nothing more? Also, will you consent \ It was then that the old blood of the pennilesto adopt, as your own, her son, born of a previous j noble showed itself. De Noriolis put aside, with and unfortunate union?” > a wan smile, the money he needed so much.

“These are strange stipulations,” said De j “No,” he said; “for, should your client foil to approve of me, M. Durand, I could never i Roincy uufaslencd her heavy veil mid flung i! repay your loan. I will not run the risk. But j aside. The Count could not resist n slight start. I thank you moat heartily all the same.” J lie had expected to see an ordinary lace, perhaps

As the door closed behind Guy’s retreating even a vulgar^ one. But it was a woman of no figure, M. Durand gave a nod of approval. common type that confronted him. There was

“Ah, Madame Alice de Roiucy,” he said to ; intellect in the broad low brow, the blue earnest himself, while folding and replacing the notes in i eyes, the firm yet delicately-outlined mouth. It his shabby little pocket-book, “you will make a was the face of a young woman, but also that of great mistake if you fail to become the Countess one who had deeply suffered. Despite the bloom de Noriolis. He has principles, has that young of the complexion, the soft azure of the eyes, the man. This is a queer affair altogether—the j golden lustre of the hair, the first impression oddest that has come before my notice in these ; made upon the spectator was not that of beauty, forty years. But I must hurry up my invcstiga- J but of endurance. Though almost a girl in tiou, or else the future bridegroom will die of / years, one felt instinctively that some great sorhunger before the wedding-day.” | row had swept, like a tidal wave, over that

How Guy de Noriulis contrived to exist, during bright young head, submerging it for a time, but the time which elapsed between the day on happily not forever.

which he had his fu>t interview with M. Durand Guy, on his part, though still handsome and and that on which he received his summons to high-bred-looking, also bore on cheek and brow present himself again at the office on the Rue de the traces of the terrible months through which Hollande, must ever remain a mystery. Perhaps ^ he had lately passed. The olive complexion was that noblest of 1’arisian charities, that of “The colorless—-almost livid in line, indeed—the dark Mouthful of Bread,” so called, which consists in j eyes were hollow and encircled with bistre-tinted bestowing upon every applicant half a pound of i shadow, and the whole countenance bore the good bread and a gluss of water tinged with i stamp of a pain endured till despair had wellcommon wine, might have assisted in solving the : nigh replaced endurance.

riddle. Be that as it may, he looked even paler; There they stood, this pair so strangely brought and more haggard, when he again stood before (together by misfortune. On either side, a vast M. Dur.ind, than, on the occasion of his first visit. ; calamity, an abyss of ruin, which the clasping

“Do me the favor of taking a chair, Count,’1 hand of the one could alone enable the other to said the notary, iu something of a more cere- overleap.

monious and deferential manner than that The lady was the first to speak which he had assumed on their previous inter- “We may as well be seated, Count,” she said, view. i for both had risen at first, “and discuss this

The Count s.it down in silence. j matter at our leisure.” She resumed her place

“Our inquiry respecting you,” said the j upon the sofa, as she spoke, and motioned him notary, after a pause, rubbing his fat hands, j to an armchair that stood near. “I have heard “has been perfectly satisfactory. Title, char- your story, arid 1 have perused the record of actcr, pedigree, arc all indisputable. Our client the investigation made by order of my lawyer, is willing to accept you, as fulfilling her coiuli- , You meet niy requirement iu all respects. But, tions, but she desires to have nn interview with .’ before we proceed further in this matter—before you before anything is positively decided. Step ; you consent to give your hand and your name to this way, if you please.” > the person who has sought your alliance in so

As he spoke, ho ushered Guy into the inner j strange a fashion, I desire that yon—gentleman room, of which we have before made mention, j and honorable man as I have learned you to be A lady, deeply veiled, was seated on the little , —should hear from my own lips certain details sofa covered with slippery green leather, which – respecting my past life, and a full explanation of was placed beside the window. She rose as the | my present conduct.” door was thrown open. ] The Count bowed, but did not speak.

“Count Guy de Noriolis—Madame de Roincy,”; “I am, as I believe M. Durand has told you.” said M. Durand, with a wave of his hand. Then, ; she said, “an American by birth. My father— after they had mutually bowed to each other, he [ George Severne—was the inventor of the famous added: “Now I shall go back to my business, ‘ ‘Severne Safety-Valve.’ There is no need for and leave you, monsieur and madame, to settle ; me to describe to you the use and the application yours.” ;of his invention. It was simple and practical,

As the door closed behind the retreating form : and so came at once into general use wherever of the notary, the lady he hud called Madame de ‘ steam was employed in connection with ma

chinery; and he realize’] a large fortune from it. I was an only child, my niolbor having died when I was three days old. My father never married again. His maiden sister, who Whs his Henior by sonic years, took charge of bis housebold for him. As for me, 1 wns sent to Paris to be educated. I was placed in a good school. There were kind friends of our family in Europe. who looked after me. Very often, I passed my vacation in traveling with these friends, or in Tisiting them at their summer country-seats. 1 grew up, therefore, with far fewer ties to home and to my one surviving parent than would otherwise have been the cose.

“But, in truth,” she went on, after a pause, “my father cared comparatively little about me. He had literally idolized my mother. She was a delicate exquisite little creature—a societybeauty, far younger (ban himself, lie had loved her in secret for some years, when his sudden accession to wealth made it possible for him to hope to win her. He did win her; and, after a wedded life of barely a year, he lost her. I do not think that he ever found any real pleasure in life afterward. At all events, he always had a vague feeling of repulsion toward me, since my birth had caused my mother’s death.

“It was arranged that, nftur my education had been completed, my father and my aunt should cime to Paris to join me, and that we should thereafter spend a year in foreign travel. I was somewhat precocious in respect to my study, and I had completed my allotted school-course by the time I was seventeen. My father arrived in Paris in time lo be present at my graduation. A few days later, ho fell ill, though not at first alarmingly so. He was subject to attacks of gout, and his malady was merely a return of this old complaint But he suffered terribly, and all my aunt’s thought and time were absorbed in waiting upon him. Our projected journey was perforce postponed.

“In this emergency,” uhe continued, “a highly-recommended governess—a Hungarian lady of rank, wbo had lost her fortune in some political crisis—was hastily engaged to act as my chaperonc: at least, as long iu> my father’s illness should last. Accordingly, under lier guidance, I studied, practiced my accomplishments, and went out to walk or drive. One day, my governess—Madame d’Elida—proposed that we should go to Versailles, to visit the palace and to take a stroll in the park. I assented gladly; for the weather was lovely, and I was very weary of the dull life that I led at the hotel. While we were walking in the park, my companion was accosted by a handsome young officer,

whom she presented to me as ‘Captain de Koine; the son of one of her moat intimate friends.'” She paused a moment again, and then resumed: “Madame d’Elida’s next proceeding was !• persuade me to obtain permission from my falbe. and aunt to go down to Versailles 10 speti a fortnight, saying that I looked ill, thnt cbinct of air would do me good, and that Versailk*. with its historical associations and its pictor<grilleries, was just the place in which to complete my study. Permission was readily {fronted, an’. we were soon installed in a handsome suite t: rooms in the Hotel des Reservoirs. Jladiru’ d’Elida bad many acquaintances in the old town and we received frequent invitations to aflernopnreccptions, afternoon-teas, soir^es-niusicnles, an! other such mildly-exciting forms of dissipation To me, a girl fresh from the closely -guarded precinct of a Parisian school, it was all delightful And the more so, from the fact thnt. wherever we went, we were sure to meet Captain de Roincv His regiment was stationed in Versailles, and If was a general favorite in society. He cnine very often, too, to the hotel, ostensibly to call upon Madame d’Elida. But it was not very long before, taking advantage of my youth and inexperience, and with the full connivance of tinunprincipled woman who had been engaged to watch over me, he became an avowed suitor for my hand.”

CHAPTER III.

“To understand what followed. Count de Noriolis,” she now said, and with some hesitation, ” I want you to bear in mind my extreme youth, my total ignorance of the usage of French society as regards matrimonial engagement, and. above all, my utter lack of knowledge respecting the formality necessary to constitute a legal marriage in France. I was an infatuated foouV-i child, in the hands of a fascinating unscrupulous adventuress, and of a handsome, heartless, penniless adventurer. Let me pass briefly and quickly over this dark page in niy history. Our stay .11 Versailles was prolonged, from time to time, at my own solicitation, prompted by my ardent wooer and by Madame d’Elida. Permission for my continued absence was readily obtained; for my father’s health did not rally, as we hnJ expected, after the first violent symptom of his malady had subsided; and he continued in so weak and suffering a condition that my presence •would only have annoyed him and added to irv aunt’s cnro and embarrassment. So we remained at Versailles; and, when the final summons for our return to Paris arrived, I had been for nearly a fortnight the wife of Captain dc Roincy.

“1 cannot pretend to describe tha wiles, the’ arguments, (he persuasions, that were used to hurry me into taking this momentous step. I was a mere cbild, as ignorant as a baby of the ways of tlie world, and I was, or fancied myseif to be, very much in love with M. de Roincy. I .’ can comprehend now the nefarious plot of which ‘. I was the victim. The whole affair was managed by Madame d’Elida for a consideration: tbat is < to sny, for a percentage on my fortune when I; xhould receive it; for iny father’s great wealth j and my own prospective heiresship were well j known to the wicked creature who sold the poor; child confided to her care with as little scruple: as she would have felt in disposing of a pet j poodle or a canary-bird.”

All this while, the Count sat listening with ever-increasing interest.

“The marriage-ceremony was performed,” she j said, ” in a little country-church near Versailles;; the priest, a good old sleepy cure, being evidently convinced—if, indeed, he thought anything about; the matter—that there was nothing unusual! about the aft’uir. The witnesses were Madame! d’Elida and the maid she had engaged for me, in ( Versailles, to lake the place of the one provided [ for me by my aunt, and whom she had persuaded • me to dismiss on some trilling pretext. No idea; that there was any possibility of the validity of; my marriage being questioned ever crossed my; brain. I knew nothing of the law of your ‘. country about such matters. The ceremony had ‘, been performed in strict accordance with the ,’ rules of the Catholic Church, and there had been’ the usual accompaniment of witnesses, and a • register, and a certificate—and wlint more could’ be necessary? Nothing, that I knew of; but; the man that I had married, and the woman that’ had furthered his plan, were versed in all the; intricacy of French law, and knew well that; the marriage-ceremony, in the eyes of that law,: was but so much empty breath, and the marriage-; certificate a mere scrap of waste paper, since no; civil marriage, the only one that is recognized iu’ this country as legal, had ever taken place.”

By this time, the face of her hearer was full of; pity. He leaned forward, eagerly, as he listened, j She noticed it, and went on with emotion.

“I shall speak briefly of the events of the; next few days,” she said, with slightly faltering; voice. “I remained at the Hotel des Reservoirs,’ while Madame d’Elida and M. de Roincy went ( to Paris, to avow the fact of my marriage and to’ gain for me my father’s pardon. I little knew! what power they meant to bring to bear, in order j to bend that iron will and sway that resolute nature. But their purpose failed. The inter

Voi. XC.—29.

view took place. My father, in a furious outburst of passion, refused to forgive me, or to make any provision for my maintenance. Then M. de Roincy declared his intention of deserting me, and of disavowing his marriage, unless lie and I were at once received wilh open arms, full pardon, and a handsome settlement: in which case, he declared, he was ready to marry me according to the law. This blow was too n:uch for my father, in his enfeebled state of health. He sank bock insensible, the fatal visitors were dismissed, and he was carried to his bed. From that bed he never again arose. He lived for some days—long enough to execute a will, leaving all his vast fortune unconditionally to my Aunt Susan—and he died, I was told, without ever permitting my name to be mentioned in his presence.

“As for Captain de Roincy,” she said, after another momentary pause, “1 never saw him again. He lingered iu Paris, trying vainly to obtain an interview with my aunt, nnd, on finally ascertaining, with full certainty, the contents of my father’s will, he joined his regiment, then under orders for Algiers. He wrote me a brief letter, staling that he left me free to contract a new matrimonial engagement, sinee the old one was not in any shape binding upon either of us. And that wns the lost,” drawing a deep breath, “that I ever heard of my husband of a fortnight. As for Madame d’Elida, she disappeared without a word or sign, only sending a messenger to Versailles for her trunks. I think she had rendered herself amenable to the law, iu some way, for the part she had taken in bringing about my marriage, and was in a hurry to escape.

“I have tried to speak calmly nnd dispassionately. Count de Noriolis,” said the speaker, now. ‘• 1 have forced myself to confine my narrative to a bare recital of facts. But, as 1 look back to the days that succeeded my father’s death, my heart glows with an indignation and throbs with an anguish that I cannot express. Picture mo to yourself: a girl not yet eighteen, shtunclc.s.sly duped and heartlessly deserted, with a father’s curse weighing upon her soul, penniless, wretched, and abased—I, who had been the courted, pampered, prospective heiress of millions all my diiyi”. I had never been nn idolized child—my dcnd mother’s shadow hnd always interposed between me and my father’s love—but, in all other respects, I had been brought up as befitted George Severne:g only daughter. But Cute wns merciful to me at this juncture, for the typhoid fever had just made its appearance in an epidemic form in Versailles, and I was one of its

if to exclude every ray of liglit from the interior. ( of arrangement had finally completed the work But behind one of the closely-shaded windows ; of fascination. And there he was, dwelling stood Guy himself, gazing down into the court- \ beneath the same roof with her, the woman he yard. At the doorway opposite was a low open • now adored, linked to her by the strongest v! Victoria, with coachman and footman in dark-blue (legal ties, yet sundered from her as effectual!; livery. To the graceful carriage were harnessed \ as though the paved courtyard were nn un fat humtwo magnificent bays, that tossed their heads, i able abyss, or the slender fountain a sword of and champed their bits, and rattled the silver ; fire. Once, he had attempted to call upon her. mounting of their harness, in their impatience to , alter the fashion of an ordinary acquaintance; be off. Presently, there was a stir at the door- | but.the answer was returned, when he sent ia way. The footman descended nimbly from his ; his card, that ” the Countess de Noriolis was not perch, and Madame dc Noriolis, followed by her \ receiving,” and he had never repeated the little son, came slowly forth. She stood for a j experiment. Once a day, however, as on this moment on the doorstep, superintending the j afternoon, he gave himself the scant satisfaction proper disposal of cushions and carriage-rugs, i of seeing her step into her carriage, for her before taking her place in the vehicle. The jet j afternoon-drive; and the chill feeling of disembroidery on her black Ince costume sparkled i appointment that he experienced when the day in the sunlight, and her fair face showed in i proved stormy, or when some trifling childish added loveliness beneath her dainty little bonnet j indisposition of George’s detained her nt borne, of jet and lace, shaded with a cluster of pale- \ taught him but too conclusively how entirely his pink feathers. She took her place, at last, j new passion had taken possession of his being. George sprang in after her. The horses pranced; Since his restoration to wealth, he had led s and caracoled, for a moment, before consenting ; very quiet life. The gay companions of his to go out through the gateway, and then the J younger days looked in vain for the reappearance elegant equipage disappeared down the wide ! of the brilliant young Count de Noriolis amongst avenue, on its way to the Bois de Boulogne. ‘them. He had learned a lesson in those sad days The unseen watcher at the window overhead ‘ in the garret on the Rue de 1’Observatoirc, and drew back, with a knitted brow and sternly- ‘ had come forth from the iron prison of poverty curved lips, sighing deeply as she disappeared. | a graver and a wiser man. He devoted himself For this daily glimpse of his wife was all that had Ho his art, and, with the exception of a daily eyer been vouchsafed to him since she had parted ; ride in tlio Bois, rarely left their hotel. He was from him, on the afternoon of their wedding-day. > content and happy, on those rides, if he could She had done this just inside the iron gates of \ gain a smile and a bow from the fair-haired lady the courtyard, with the brief cold words: “Fare- } who had driven from his own door scarce half well, Count. Your rooms are prepared for you, ! an hour before. Occasionally, he would give » and I hope you will find your new homo pleasant.” i gentleman’s-dinner or a supper-party; but the Pleasant! Yes, it wns pleasant for him to fare < guests at these entertainments were not his daintily, to be lodged sumptuously, to have horse ; former society-friends, but noted artists or and carriage and servant once more at his disposal ; famous authors, prominent journalists or the —to be restored, in short, to all the elegance and i rising statesmen of the day. He was rnpidly luxury that he had once lost, as it then seemed, , gaining the reputation of being one of the forever. Had anyone, in his day of poverty, j seriously-intellectual men of Parisian society, predicted to him such a change, he would have j Yet even this highest and finest form of social faacied that the fulfillment of the prophecy i enjoyment failed, as did likewise his art, to

would bring him perfect happiness. But. there was a bitter ingredient mingled with his cup of daily blessing: a Tantalus longing for the happiness seen just beyond his reach and as unattainable as the stars. With all the strength nnd energy of a peculiarly concentrated and vigorous nature, Guy de Noriolis had come to love his wife. His heart had been deeply touched, nt the very first, by the recital of her woe and wrong. Her beauty had charmed him even then. The wit and brightness of intellect displayed in the few brief interviews she had accorded him whilst the preliminaries of the marriage were in process

wholly satisfy him, or to adequately fill his dnv«. His thoughts dwelt pertinaciously on the blue eyes and soft voice of the woman who bore his name, and whom he loved Ho hopelessly. On (Livery autumn day, he turned from the window, with a steadfast purpose Htirring at his heart.

“I can bear this no longer,” he said to himself, passionately, ns he paced the room. “I will not remain a pensioner on the bounty of the woman I love, while she denies me so much as the poor alms of a word or a look. I will leave Paris. I will go to America—anywhere where j absence and work may bring forgetfulness.”
He flung open the shutter, as he spoke, and the sunlight and sweet breath of the delicious day streamed into the room. The sudden brightness illuminated the armor, the tapestry, the antique carved tables and cabinets, laden with specimens of old Venetian glass, medieval ivory carving, bronze statuettes from Pompeii and Velletri, and other artistic curiosities. But these dainty treasures, the selection and arrangement of which had formed a favorite pastime for his leisure-hour, did not win from him so much as a glance. He turned from them, and sealing himself at his writing-table, began the following letter:

“MY Dear Wife:

Suffer me to call you so for the first time, and also assuredly for the last. When you receive this letter, I shall have left Paris forever.

When I agreed to accept wealth and luxury at your hands, I did not realize how speedily the pain of my position would surpass nil its advantages. An element unforeseen in our calculation has come to make me even more wretched than I was, iu the midst of poverty and privation: for I love you, Alice—fervently, sincerely, and unchangeably. And I am going away, content to know that I lecve with you the only advantage that our marriage could bestow upon you: the prestige of my name. I am proud and happy to think that you will still bear it.

You need feel no anxiety about my future: a small legacy, bequeathed to me within the last few months, will enable me to take the time necessary for the discovery of some position wherein my artistio acquirement will suffice for my support. Farewell. Forget that there exists in this world a man who has the right to call himself your husband. But remember always that, so long as I live, there is one being on this earth who tenderly and passionately loves you. Guy De Nohiolis.”

He placed this brief missive iu an envelope, sealed and directed it, and laid it in the blottingbook. He then passed into his bed room, and began a leisurely review of the articles of clothing contained in the spacious wardrobe.

Whilst still engaged in this occupation, a knock was heard at the door, and, in response to Guy’s call of “Come in,” Martha Ellis entered.

‘• If you please, sir,” she said, “the Countess would like to speak to you, for a moment.”

Considerably surprised, Guy laid aside the overcoat which he had just been considering with a view to its fitness for a sea-voyage: and found himself, in a few minutes, in Alice’s pretty boudoir.

She stood there, still in her out-door dress. A telegram lay open on the table before her. In a tone, broken and hurried by nervous agitation, she began:

“Count, 1 have a great favor to ask of you. I am summoned at once to my aunt. She is very ill—perhaps dying—and it is necessary that 1 should start immediately for the Isle of Wight, where she now is. The aid and companionship of Martha Ellis are indispensably necessary to me, both for the journey and in nursing my aunt, so I shall have no one to whom I can entrust my boy during the period of my absence. I cannot take him with me, as my aunt’s malady is not specified in the telegram, and it may be some contagious fever. Will you take charge of George till my return?”

“Willingly, gladly,” he answered, forcing himself to take, with undemonstrative calmness, the small gloved hand that she extended to him.

“And you will keep careful watch over him, will you not, remembering how anxious a mother I am, and that this is the first time I have ever been parted from him?”

“You forget, madame, that George is my adopted son,” he answered, with a tinge of bitterness iu his tone. ‘• I shall guard him with all a father’s care.”

Alice flushed scarlet, and seemed about to speak; but, at that moment, the door was thrown open, and George himself came racing into the room. He ran up to Guy with a joyful shout, remembering various gifts of toys and bonbons he had received at different times from De Noriolis, who was very fond of children, and who hod likewise a vague longing to win the affection of the noble-looking boy: who was not only Alice’s son, but Alice’s living image as well.

He raised George in his arms; and the little fellow, nothing loth, clung about his neck.

“Will you come with me, George,” he said, “and pay me a long visit, in my rooms across the courtyard?”

“Yes, yes,” cried the boy. “And you will show me pictures, and let me ride on the big dug —won’t you?”

“Of course I will.”

“Then come: let us go, right away.”

“Kiss mamma good-bye first,” said Guy. And, with George still in his arms, he advanced toward Alice.

The boy, with a merry shout, not in the least believing in the reality of the leavetaking, threw one arm about his mother’s neck—whilst, with the other, he mill clasped that of Guy. For one instant, the husband and wife stood thus united in that childish embrace. Alice was visibly

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embarrassed, and it was Guy tbat disentangled > You see, 1 aiu frank with you, Count. Goodthe clinging arms. He took her Laud once more > morniiig.” Aud the great physician hurried in his own. !away, with a shrug of his shoulders us b*

“A pleasant journey to you, Countess,” he ; thought of the youug man’s obstinacy in i: said; ‘• and I hope that you will find the invalid out of danger.”

He raised, with respectful gallantry, the hand, that he still held, to his lips, lu another moment, the door hud closed behind him and his merry romping charge, leaving Alice preoccupied and thoughtful as a mother should naturally be, who parts for the first time with her only child.

Peterson’s Magazine, Volume 90 (Google Books)

CHAPTER II.
Another week 1 Guy’s heart sank within

acter of a respondent, to the advertisement in strange a fashion? for, by the terms bbe offer”,

the ” Figaro.” He had heard, it is true, of the \ she must be wealthy.”

financial catastrophe which had hurled the! “She possesses a fortune of two millions tf

brilliant and accomplished young society-hero • dollars. Ten millions of francs, as we would Mlt

into the outer darkness of poverty and obscurity; j here.”

but he had had no idea of the completeness of j “Then she is an American?”

the disaster; and it was some time before he j “Vcs. Now I have told you all that I Cm

could realize that it was the Count de Noriolis j impart to you, for the present. 1 must take time

himself, and no impostor, that stood before him. ‘ for the necessary inquiry about you; and, whei

But, in a few minutes — that is to say, after a [ we next meet, should you decide to accept Bit

series of questions — M. Durand became quite J client’s offer, I shall go more fully into deuil.

genial and confidential. j Call again this dny week, at three o’clock, and,

“I will not disguise from you, Count,” he j if all that I learn respecting you be satisfactory. remarked in a low tone, drawing his hearer into • we may enter into serious negotiation.” a small inner room and closing the door as he spoke, “that the affair which we have now on hand is ft difficult one to manage. We have had n good many applicants since that advertisement, him, as he thought of another seven days of was inserted, three days ago. One was even a < privation and hunger. Accept the offer T flhy, duke— but then there was a flaw in the title. ‘ what else could he do, poor fellow, but clutch at Also a marquis; but he had once been in prison anything, which was not dishonorable, that would for swindling. There is no condemnation — no > save him from the ooze of the river-bed, the nets legal complication — in your case, I hope?” j of the corpse-hunters, the dripping slabs of tie

“None. I made a fool of myself, and I am ; Morgue? But he merely said, with the high ruined; but my past is spotless.” De Noriolis j courage he had inherited from his Ousadicg flushed scarlet as he spoke. !ancestors:

“No offense meant — none whatever, my dear; “This day week, then — at three o’clock,” and sir. Only, you see, we are bound to protect our > he turned to leave the office.

client’s interest, in every respect, and to make; The little notary had marked the haggard line* our investigation as thorough as possible. And, ; of his countenance, and the despondent look tin;: as there is question of a marriage, every prccan- j crept over his features when told of the week * lion becomes doubly necessary. Now, before I j delay.

enter into further detail, pray answer me one j “Stop a moment, Count,” he said, pleasantly: question: Are yon prepared, in case all the i ” perhaps a litlle loan would be an accommodiiinformation we shall obtain respecting you is :’ tion to you just now; a small advance on your fully satisfactory, to bestow your name and your ; future income — don’t you sec?” hand upon a lady, to whom you shall pledge’ He drew out his pocket-book as he spoke, »nd yourself to remain thereafter a mere acquaint- ‘; laid notes for a hundred francs upon the t.nblc. ance, and nothing more? Also, will you consent \ It was then that the old blood of the pennilesto adopt, as your own, her son, born of a previous j noble showed itself. De Noriolis put aside, with and unfortunate union?” > a wan smile, the money he needed so much.

“These are strange stipulations,” said De j “No,” he said; “for, should your client foil to approve of me, M. Durand, I could never i Roincy uufaslencd her heavy veil mid flung i! repay your loan. I will not run the risk. But j aside. The Count could not resist n slight start. I thank you moat heartily all the same.” J lie had expected to see an ordinary lace, perhaps

As the door closed behind Guy’s retreating even a vulgar^ one. But it was a woman of no figure, M. Durand gave a nod of approval. common type that confronted him. There was

“Ah, Madame Alice de Roiucy,” he said to ; intellect in the broad low brow, the blue earnest himself, while folding and replacing the notes in i eyes, the firm yet delicately-outlined mouth. It his shabby little pocket-book, “you will make a was the face of a young woman, but also that of great mistake if you fail to become the Countess one who had deeply suffered. Despite the bloom de Noriolis. He has principles, has that young of the complexion, the soft azure of the eyes, the man. This is a queer affair altogether—the j golden lustre of the hair, the first impression oddest that has come before my notice in these ; made upon the spectator was not that of beauty, forty years. But I must hurry up my invcstiga- J but of endurance. Though almost a girl in tiou, or else the future bridegroom will die of / years, one felt instinctively that some great sorhunger before the wedding-day.” | row had swept, like a tidal wave, over that

How Guy de Noriulis contrived to exist, during bright young head, submerging it for a time, but the time which elapsed between the day on happily not forever.

which he had his fu>t interview with M. Durand Guy, on his part, though still handsome and and that on which he received his summons to high-bred-looking, also bore on cheek and brow present himself again at the office on the Rue de the traces of the terrible months through which Hollande, must ever remain a mystery. Perhaps ^ he had lately passed. The olive complexion was that noblest of 1’arisian charities, that of “The colorless—-almost livid in line, indeed—the dark Mouthful of Bread,” so called, which consists in j eyes were hollow and encircled with bistre-tinted bestowing upon every applicant half a pound of i shadow, and the whole countenance bore the good bread and a gluss of water tinged with i stamp of a pain endured till despair had wellcommon wine, might have assisted in solving the : nigh replaced endurance.

riddle. Be that as it may, he looked even paler; There they stood, this pair so strangely brought and more haggard, when he again stood before (together by misfortune. On either side, a vast M. Dur.ind, than, on the occasion of his first visit. ; calamity, an abyss of ruin, which the clasping

“Do me the favor of taking a chair, Count,’1 hand of the one could alone enable the other to said the notary, iu something of a more cere- overleap.

monious and deferential manner than that The lady was the first to speak which he had assumed on their previous inter- “We may as well be seated, Count,” she said, view. i for both had risen at first, “and discuss this

The Count s.it down in silence. j matter at our leisure.” She resumed her place

“Our inquiry respecting you,” said the j upon the sofa, as she spoke, and motioned him notary, after a pause, rubbing his fat hands, j to an armchair that stood near. “I have heard “has been perfectly satisfactory. Title, char- your story, arid 1 have perused the record of actcr, pedigree, arc all indisputable. Our client the investigation made by order of my lawyer, is willing to accept you, as fulfilling her coiuli- , You meet niy requirement iu all respects. But, tions, but she desires to have nn interview with .’ before we proceed further in this matter—before you before anything is positively decided. Step ; you consent to give your hand and your name to this way, if you please.” > the person who has sought your alliance in so

As he spoke, ho ushered Guy into the inner j strange a fashion, I desire that yon—gentleman room, of which we have before made mention, j and honorable man as I have learned you to be A lady, deeply veiled, was seated on the little , —should hear from my own lips certain details sofa covered with slippery green leather, which – respecting my past life, and a full explanation of was placed beside the window. She rose as the | my present conduct.” door was thrown open. ] The Count bowed, but did not speak.

“Count Guy de Noriolis—Madame de Roincy,”; “I am, as I believe M. Durand has told you.” said M. Durand, with a wave of his hand. Then, ; she said, “an American by birth. My father— after they had mutually bowed to each other, he [ George Severne—was the inventor of the famous added: “Now I shall go back to my business, ‘ ‘Severne Safety-Valve.’ There is no need for and leave you, monsieur and madame, to settle ; me to describe to you the use and the application yours.” ;of his invention. It was simple and practical,

As the door closed behind the retreating form : and so came at once into general use wherever of the notary, the lady he hud called Madame de ‘ steam was employed in connection with ma

chinery; and he realize’] a large fortune from it. I was an only child, my niolbor having died when I was three days old. My father never married again. His maiden sister, who Whs his Henior by sonic years, took charge of bis housebold for him. As for me, 1 wns sent to Paris to be educated. I was placed in a good school. There were kind friends of our family in Europe. who looked after me. Very often, I passed my vacation in traveling with these friends, or in Tisiting them at their summer country-seats. 1 grew up, therefore, with far fewer ties to home and to my one surviving parent than would otherwise have been the cose.

“But, in truth,” she went on, after a pause, “my father cared comparatively little about me. He had literally idolized my mother. She was a delicate exquisite little creature—a societybeauty, far younger (ban himself, lie had loved her in secret for some years, when his sudden accession to wealth made it possible for him to hope to win her. He did win her; and, after a wedded life of barely a year, he lost her. I do not think that he ever found any real pleasure in life afterward. At all events, he always had a vague feeling of repulsion toward me, since my birth had caused my mother’s death.

“It was arranged that, nftur my education had been completed, my father and my aunt should cime to Paris to join me, and that we should thereafter spend a year in foreign travel. I was somewhat precocious in respect to my study, and I had completed my allotted school-course by the time I was seventeen. My father arrived in Paris in time lo be present at my graduation. A few days later, ho fell ill, though not at first alarmingly so. He was subject to attacks of gout, and his malady was merely a return of this old complaint But he suffered terribly, and all my aunt’s thought and time were absorbed in waiting upon him. Our projected journey was perforce postponed.

“In this emergency,” uhe continued, “a highly-recommended governess—a Hungarian lady of rank, wbo had lost her fortune in some political crisis—was hastily engaged to act as my chaperonc: at least, as long iu> my father’s illness should last. Accordingly, under lier guidance, I studied, practiced my accomplishments, and went out to walk or drive. One day, my governess—Madame d’Elida—proposed that we should go to Versailles, to visit the palace and to take a stroll in the park. I assented gladly; for the weather was lovely, and I was very weary of the dull life that I led at the hotel. While we were walking in the park, my companion was accosted by a handsome young officer,

whom she presented to me as ‘Captain de Koine; the son of one of her moat intimate friends.'” She paused a moment again, and then resumed: “Madame d’Elida’s next proceeding was !• persuade me to obtain permission from my falbe. and aunt to go down to Versailles 10 speti a fortnight, saying that I looked ill, thnt cbinct of air would do me good, and that Versailk*. with its historical associations and its pictor<grilleries, was just the place in which to complete my study. Permission was readily {fronted, an’. we were soon installed in a handsome suite t: rooms in the Hotel des Reservoirs. Jladiru’ d’Elida bad many acquaintances in the old town and we received frequent invitations to aflernopnreccptions, afternoon-teas, soir^es-niusicnles, an! other such mildly-exciting forms of dissipation To me, a girl fresh from the closely -guarded precinct of a Parisian school, it was all delightful And the more so, from the fact thnt. wherever we went, we were sure to meet Captain de Roincv His regiment was stationed in Versailles, and If was a general favorite in society. He cnine very often, too, to the hotel, ostensibly to call upon Madame d’Elida. But it was not very long before, taking advantage of my youth and inexperience, and with the full connivance of tinunprincipled woman who had been engaged to watch over me, he became an avowed suitor for my hand.”

CHAPTER III.

“To understand what followed. Count de Noriolis,” she now said, and with some hesitation, ” I want you to bear in mind my extreme youth, my total ignorance of the usage of French society as regards matrimonial engagement, and. above all, my utter lack of knowledge respecting the formality necessary to constitute a legal marriage in France. I was an infatuated foouV-i child, in the hands of a fascinating unscrupulous adventuress, and of a handsome, heartless, penniless adventurer. Let me pass briefly and quickly over this dark page in niy history. Our stay .11 Versailles was prolonged, from time to time, at my own solicitation, prompted by my ardent wooer and by Madame d’Elida. Permission for my continued absence was readily obtained; for my father’s health did not rally, as we hnJ expected, after the first violent symptom of his malady had subsided; and he continued in so weak and suffering a condition that my presence •would only have annoyed him and added to irv aunt’s cnro and embarrassment. So we remained at Versailles; and, when the final summons for our return to Paris arrived, I had been for nearly a fortnight the wife of Captain dc Roincy.

“1 cannot pretend to describe tha wiles, the’ arguments, (he persuasions, that were used to hurry me into taking this momentous step. I was a mere cbild, as ignorant as a baby of the ways of tlie world, and I was, or fancied myseif to be, very much in love with M. de Roincy. I .’ can comprehend now the nefarious plot of which ‘. I was the victim. The whole affair was managed by Madame d’Elida for a consideration: tbat is < to sny, for a percentage on my fortune when I; xhould receive it; for iny father’s great wealth j and my own prospective heiresship were well j known to the wicked creature who sold the poor; child confided to her care with as little scruple: as she would have felt in disposing of a pet j poodle or a canary-bird.”

All this while, the Count sat listening with ever-increasing interest.

“The marriage-ceremony was performed,” she j said, ” in a little country-church near Versailles;; the priest, a good old sleepy cure, being evidently convinced—if, indeed, he thought anything about; the matter—that there was nothing unusual! about the aft’uir. The witnesses were Madame! d’Elida and the maid she had engaged for me, in ( Versailles, to lake the place of the one provided [ for me by my aunt, and whom she had persuaded • me to dismiss on some trilling pretext. No idea; that there was any possibility of the validity of; my marriage being questioned ever crossed my; brain. I knew nothing of the law of your ‘. country about such matters. The ceremony had ‘, been performed in strict accordance with the ,’ rules of the Catholic Church, and there had been’ the usual accompaniment of witnesses, and a • register, and a certificate—and wlint more could’ be necessary? Nothing, that I knew of; but; the man that I had married, and the woman that’ had furthered his plan, were versed in all the; intricacy of French law, and knew well that; the marriage-ceremony, in the eyes of that law,: was but so much empty breath, and the marriage-; certificate a mere scrap of waste paper, since no; civil marriage, the only one that is recognized iu’ this country as legal, had ever taken place.”

By this time, the face of her hearer was full of; pity. He leaned forward, eagerly, as he listened, j She noticed it, and went on with emotion.

“I shall speak briefly of the events of the; next few days,” she said, with slightly faltering; voice. “I remained at the Hotel des Reservoirs,’ while Madame d’Elida and M. de Roincy went ( to Paris, to avow the fact of my marriage and to’ gain for me my father’s pardon. I little knew! what power they meant to bring to bear, in order j to bend that iron will and sway that resolute nature. But their purpose failed. The inter

Voi. XC.—29.

view took place. My father, in a furious outburst of passion, refused to forgive me, or to make any provision for my maintenance. Then M. de Roincy declared his intention of deserting me, and of disavowing his marriage, unless lie and I were at once received wilh open arms, full pardon, and a handsome settlement: in which case, he declared, he was ready to marry me according to the law. This blow was too n:uch for my father, in his enfeebled state of health. He sank bock insensible, the fatal visitors were dismissed, and he was carried to his bed. From that bed he never again arose. He lived for some days—long enough to execute a will, leaving all his vast fortune unconditionally to my Aunt Susan—and he died, I was told, without ever permitting my name to be mentioned in his presence.

“As for Captain de Roincy,” she said, after another momentary pause, “1 never saw him again. He lingered iu Paris, trying vainly to obtain an interview with my aunt, nnd, on finally ascertaining, with full certainty, the contents of my father’s will, he joined his regiment, then under orders for Algiers. He wrote me a brief letter, staling that he left me free to contract a new matrimonial engagement, sinee the old one was not in any shape binding upon either of us. And that wns the lost,” drawing a deep breath, “that I ever heard of my husband of a fortnight. As for Madame d’Elida, she disappeared without a word or sign, only sending a messenger to Versailles for her trunks. I think she had rendered herself amenable to the law, iu some way, for the part she had taken in bringing about my marriage, and was in a hurry to escape.

“I have tried to speak calmly nnd dispassionately. Count de Noriolis,” said the speaker, now. ‘• 1 have forced myself to confine my narrative to a bare recital of facts. But, as 1 look back to the days that succeeded my father’s death, my heart glows with an indignation and throbs with an anguish that I cannot express. Picture mo to yourself: a girl not yet eighteen, shtunclc.s.sly duped and heartlessly deserted, with a father’s curse weighing upon her soul, penniless, wretched, and abased—I, who had been the courted, pampered, prospective heiress of millions all my diiyi”. I had never been nn idolized child—my dcnd mother’s shadow hnd always interposed between me and my father’s love—but, in all other respects, I had been brought up as befitted George Severne:g only daughter. But Cute wns merciful to me at this juncture, for the typhoid fever had just made its appearance in an epidemic form in Versailles, and I was one of its

if to exclude every ray of liglit from the interior. ( of arrangement had finally completed the work But behind one of the closely-shaded windows ; of fascination. And there he was, dwelling stood Guy himself, gazing down into the court- \ beneath the same roof with her, the woman he yard. At the doorway opposite was a low open • now adored, linked to her by the strongest v! Victoria, with coachman and footman in dark-blue (legal ties, yet sundered from her as effectual!; livery. To the graceful carriage were harnessed \ as though the paved courtyard were nn un fat humtwo magnificent bays, that tossed their heads, i able abyss, or the slender fountain a sword of and champed their bits, and rattled the silver ; fire. Once, he had attempted to call upon her. mounting of their harness, in their impatience to , alter the fashion of an ordinary acquaintance; be off. Presently, there was a stir at the door- | but.the answer was returned, when he sent ia way. The footman descended nimbly from his ; his card, that ” the Countess de Noriolis was not perch, and Madame dc Noriolis, followed by her \ receiving,” and he had never repeated the little son, came slowly forth. She stood for a j experiment. Once a day, however, as on this moment on the doorstep, superintending the j afternoon, he gave himself the scant satisfaction proper disposal of cushions and carriage-rugs, i of seeing her step into her carriage, for her before taking her place in the vehicle. The jet j afternoon-drive; and the chill feeling of disembroidery on her black Ince costume sparkled i appointment that he experienced when the day in the sunlight, and her fair face showed in i proved stormy, or when some trifling childish added loveliness beneath her dainty little bonnet j indisposition of George’s detained her nt borne, of jet and lace, shaded with a cluster of pale- \ taught him but too conclusively how entirely his pink feathers. She took her place, at last, j new passion had taken possession of his being. George sprang in after her. The horses pranced; Since his restoration to wealth, he had led s and caracoled, for a moment, before consenting ; very quiet life. The gay companions of his to go out through the gateway, and then the J younger days looked in vain for the reappearance elegant equipage disappeared down the wide ! of the brilliant young Count de Noriolis amongst avenue, on its way to the Bois de Boulogne. ‘them. He had learned a lesson in those sad days The unseen watcher at the window overhead ‘ in the garret on the Rue de 1’Observatoirc, and drew back, with a knitted brow and sternly- ‘ had come forth from the iron prison of poverty curved lips, sighing deeply as she disappeared. | a graver and a wiser man. He devoted himself For this daily glimpse of his wife was all that had Ho his art, and, with the exception of a daily eyer been vouchsafed to him since she had parted ; ride in tlio Bois, rarely left their hotel. He was from him, on the afternoon of their wedding-day. > content and happy, on those rides, if he could She had done this just inside the iron gates of \ gain a smile and a bow from the fair-haired lady the courtyard, with the brief cold words: “Fare- } who had driven from his own door scarce half well, Count. Your rooms are prepared for you, ! an hour before. Occasionally, he would give » and I hope you will find your new homo pleasant.” i gentleman’s-dinner or a supper-party; but the Pleasant! Yes, it wns pleasant for him to fare < guests at these entertainments were not his daintily, to be lodged sumptuously, to have horse ; former society-friends, but noted artists or and carriage and servant once more at his disposal ; famous authors, prominent journalists or the —to be restored, in short, to all the elegance and i rising statesmen of the day. He was rnpidly luxury that he had once lost, as it then seemed, , gaining the reputation of being one of the forever. Had anyone, in his day of poverty, j seriously-intellectual men of Parisian society, predicted to him such a change, he would have j Yet even this highest and finest form of social faacied that the fulfillment of the prophecy i enjoyment failed, as did likewise his art, to

would bring him perfect happiness. But. there was a bitter ingredient mingled with his cup of daily blessing: a Tantalus longing for the happiness seen just beyond his reach and as unattainable as the stars. With all the strength nnd energy of a peculiarly concentrated and vigorous nature, Guy de Noriolis had come to love his wife. His heart had been deeply touched, nt the very first, by the recital of her woe and wrong. Her beauty had charmed him even then. The wit and brightness of intellect displayed in the few brief interviews she had accorded him whilst the preliminaries of the marriage were in process

wholly satisfy him, or to adequately fill his dnv«. His thoughts dwelt pertinaciously on the blue eyes and soft voice of the woman who bore his name, and whom he loved Ho hopelessly. On (Livery autumn day, he turned from the window, with a steadfast purpose Htirring at his heart.

“I can bear this no longer,” he said to himself, passionately, ns he paced the room. “I will not remain a pensioner on the bounty of the woman I love, while she denies me so much as the poor alms of a word or a look. I will leave Paris. I will go to America—anywhere where j absence and work may bring forgetfulness.”
He flung open the shutter, as he spoke, and the sunlight and sweet breath of the delicious day streamed into the room. The sudden brightness illuminated the armor, the tapestry, the antique carved tables and cabinets, laden with specimens of old Venetian glass, medieval ivory carving, bronze statuettes from Pompeii and Velletri, and other artistic curiosities. But these dainty treasures, the selection and arrangement of which had formed a favorite pastime for his leisure-hour, did not win from him so much as a glance. He turned from them, and sealing himself at his writing-table, began the following letter:

“MY Dear Wife:

Suffer me to call you so for the first time, and also assuredly for the last. When you receive this letter, I shall have left Paris forever.

When I agreed to accept wealth and luxury at your hands, I did not realize how speedily the pain of my position would surpass nil its advantages. An element unforeseen in our calculation has come to make me even more wretched than I was, iu the midst of poverty and privation: for I love you, Alice—fervently, sincerely, and unchangeably. And I am going away, content to know that I lecve with you the only advantage that our marriage could bestow upon you: the prestige of my name. I am proud and happy to think that you will still bear it.

You need feel no anxiety about my future: a small legacy, bequeathed to me within the last few months, will enable me to take the time necessary for the discovery of some position wherein my artistio acquirement will suffice for my support. Farewell. Forget that there exists in this world a man who has the right to call himself your husband. But remember always that, so long as I live, there is one being on this earth who tenderly and passionately loves you. Guy De Nohiolis.”

He placed this brief missive iu an envelope, sealed and directed it, and laid it in the blottingbook. He then passed into his bed room, and began a leisurely review of the articles of clothing contained in the spacious wardrobe.

Whilst still engaged in this occupation, a knock was heard at the door, and, in response to Guy’s call of “Come in,” Martha Ellis entered.

‘• If you please, sir,” she said, “the Countess would like to speak to you, for a moment.”

Considerably surprised, Guy laid aside the overcoat which he had just been considering with a view to its fitness for a sea-voyage: and found himself, in a few minutes, in Alice’s pretty boudoir.

She stood there, still in her out-door dress. A telegram lay open on the table before her. In a tone, broken and hurried by nervous agitation, she began:

“Count, 1 have a great favor to ask of you. I am summoned at once to my aunt. She is very ill—perhaps dying—and it is necessary that 1 should start immediately for the Isle of Wight, where she now is. The aid and companionship of Martha Ellis are indispensably necessary to me, both for the journey and in nursing my aunt, so I shall have no one to whom I can entrust my boy during the period of my absence. I cannot take him with me, as my aunt’s malady is not specified in the telegram, and it may be some contagious fever. Will you take charge of George till my return?”

“Willingly, gladly,” he answered, forcing himself to take, with undemonstrative calmness, the small gloved hand that she extended to him.

“And you will keep careful watch over him, will you not, remembering how anxious a mother I am, and that this is the first time I have ever been parted from him?”

“You forget, madame, that George is my adopted son,” he answered, with a tinge of bitterness iu his tone. ‘• I shall guard him with all a father’s care.”

Alice flushed scarlet, and seemed about to speak; but, at that moment, the door was thrown open, and George himself came racing into the room. He ran up to Guy with a joyful shout, remembering various gifts of toys and bonbons he had received at different times from De Noriolis, who was very fond of children, and who hod likewise a vague longing to win the affection of the noble-looking boy: who was not only Alice’s son, but Alice’s living image as well.

He raised George in his arms; and the little fellow, nothing loth, clung about his neck.

“Will you come with me, George,” he said, “and pay me a long visit, in my rooms across the courtyard?”

“Yes, yes,” cried the boy. “And you will show me pictures, and let me ride on the big dug —won’t you?”

“Of course I will.”

“Then come: let us go, right away.”

“Kiss mamma good-bye first,” said Guy. And, with George still in his arms, he advanced toward Alice.

The boy, with a merry shout, not in the least believing in the reality of the leavetaking, threw one arm about his mother’s neck—whilst, with the other, he mill clasped that of Guy. For one instant, the husband and wife stood thus united in that childish embrace. Alice was visibly

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embarrassed, and it was Guy tbat disentangled > You see, 1 aiu frank with you, Count. Goodthe clinging arms. He took her Laud once more > morniiig.” Aud the great physician hurried in his own. !away, with a shrug of his shoulders us b*

“A pleasant journey to you, Countess,” he ; thought of the youug man’s obstinacy in i: said; ‘• and I hope that you will find the invalid out of danger.”

He raised, with respectful gallantry, the hand, that he still held, to his lips, lu another moment, the door hud closed behind him and his merry romping charge, leaving Alice preoccupied and thoughtful as a mother should naturally be, who parts for the first time with her only child.

Blackwood’s Magazine, Volume 55 (Google Books)

Mb Editor!—You have a great name with our sex! Christopher North is, in our flowing cups—of Bohea—” freshly remembered.” To you, therefore, as to the Sir Philip Sidney of modern Arcadia, do I address the voice of my bewailment. Not from any miserable coveting after the publicities of printing. All I implore of you is, a punch of your crutch into the very heart of a matter involving the best interests of my sex!

You, dear Mr Editor, who have your eyes garnished with Solomon’s spectacles about yon, cannot but have perceived on the parlour-tables and book-shelves of your fair friends—by whose firesides you are courted even as the good knight, and the Spectator, by the Lady Lizards of the days of Anne —a sudden inundation of tabby-bound volumes, addressed, in supergilt letters, to the ” Wives of England”— the “Daughters of England”—the “Grandmothers of England.” A few, arrayed in modest calf or embossed linen, address themselves to the sober latitudes of the manse or parsonagehouse. Some treat, without permission, of ” Woman’s Mission”—some, m defiance of custom, of her ” Duties.” From exuberant 4to, down to the fid-fad concentration of 12mo—from crown demy to diamond editions— • no end to these chartered documentations of the sex! The women of this favoured kingdom of Queen Victoria, appear to have been unexpectedly weighed in the balance, and found wanting in morals and manners; or why this sudden emission of codes of morality?

No one denies, indeed, that woman has, of late, ris’ wonderfully in the market; or that the weaker sex is coming it amazingly strong. The sceptres of three of the first kingdoms in Europe are swayed by female hands. The first writer of young France is a woman. The first astronomer of young England, idem. Mrs Trollope played the Chesterfield and the deuce with the Yankees. Miss

Martmean turned the head of the mighty Brougham. Mademoiselle d’Angeville ascended Mont Blaric, and Mademoiselle Rachel has replaced Corneille and Racine on their crumbling pedestals. I might waste hours of your precious time, sir, in perusing a list of the eminent women now competing with the rougher sex for the laurels of renown. But you know it all better than I can tell you. You have done honour due, in your time, to Joanna Baillie and Mrs Jamieson, to Caroline Southey and Miss Ferrier. You praised Mrs Butler when she deserved it; and probably esteem Mary Howitt, and Mary Mitford, and all the other Maries, at their just value—• to say nothing of the Maria of Edgworthstown, so fairly worth them all. I make no doubt that yon were even one of the first to do homage to the Swedish Richardson, Frederika Bremer; though, having sown your wild oats, you keep your own counsel anent novel reading.

You will, therefore, probably sympathize in the general amazement, that, at a moment when the sex is signalizing itself from pole to pole—• when a Grace Darling obtains the palm for intrepidity—when the Honourable Miss Grimston’s Prayer-Book is read in churches—when Mrs Fry, like hunger, eats through stone walls to call felons to repentance—when a king has descended from his throne, and a prince from royal highnrsshood, to reward the virtues of the fair partners to whom they were unable to impart the rights of the blood-royal—when the fairest specimen of modern sculpture has been supplied by a female hand, and woman, in short, is at a preminm throughout the universe, all this waste of sermonizing should have been thrown, like a wet blanket, over her shoulders!

But this is not enough, dear Mr Editor. I wish to direct your attention towards an exclusive branch of the grievance. I have no doubt that, in your earlier years, instead of courting your fair friends, as Burns appears to have done, with copies of your own works, you used to present unto them the “Legacy of Dr Gregory to his Daughters” — or “Mrs Chapone’s Letters,” or Miss Bowdler’s, or Mrs Trimmer’s, appropriately bound and gilt; and thus apprized of the superabundance of prose provided for their edification, are prepared to feel, with me, that if they have not Mrs Barbauld and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded by the frippery tomes which load the counters of our bazars. This perception has come of itself. If I could only be fortunate enough to enlarge your scope of comprehension!

My dear Mr Editor, I am what is called a lone woman. Shakspeare, through whose recklessness originate half the commonplaces of our land’s language, thought proper to define such a condition as “single BlessedNess”—though he aptly enough engrafts it on a thorn! For my part, I cannot enough admire the theory of certain modern poets, that an angel is an ethereal being, composed by the interunion in heaven, of two mortals who have been faithfully attached on earth—and as to ” blessedness ” being ever ” single,” either in this world or the next, I do not believe a word about the matter !” Happiness,” Lord Byron assures us, ” was born a twin!”

I do not mean to complain of my condition—far from it. But I wish to say, that since, from the small care taken by English parents to double the condition of their daughters, it is clear the state of ” single blessedness” is of higher account in our own ” favoured country” than in any other in Europe; it certainly behoves the guardians of the public weal to afford due protection and encouragement to spinsters.

Every body knows that Great Britain is the very fatherland of old maids. In Catholic countries, the superfluous daughters of a family are disposed of in convents and beguinages, just as in Turkey and China they are, still more humanely, drowned. In certain provinces of the east, pigs are expressly kept, to be turned into the streets at daybreak, for the purpose of devouring the female infants exposed during

the night—thus benevolently securing them from the after torments of single “blessedness.” ,

But a far nobler arrangement was made by that greatest of modern legislators, Napoleon—whose code entitles the daughters of a house to share, equally with sons, in its property and bequeathmeuts; and in France, a woman with a dowery is as sure of courtship and marriage, as of death and burial. Nay, so much is marriage regarded among the French as the indispensable condition of the human species, that parents proceed as openly to the task of procuring a proper husband for their daughter, as of providing her with shoes and stockings. No false delicacy—no pitiful manoeuvres! The affair is treated like any other negotiation. It is a mere question of two and two making four, which enables two to make one. How far more honest than the angling and trickery of English match-making— which, by keeping men constantly on the defensive, predisposes them against attractions to which they might otherwise give way! However, as I said before, I do not wish to complain of my condition.

I only consider it hard that the interests of the wives of England are to be exclusively studied, when the unfortunate females who lack the consolations of matronhood are in so far greater want of sustainment; and that all the theories of the perfectionizement of the fair sex now issuing from the press, should purport to instruct young ladies how to qualify themselves for wives, and wives how to qualify themselves for heaven; and not a word addressed, either in the way of exhortation, remonstrance, or applause, to the highly respectable order of the female community whose cause I have taken on myself to advocate. Have not the wives of England husbands to whisper wisdom into their ears? Why, then, are they to be coaxed or lectured by tabby-bound volumes, while we are left neglected in a corner? Our earthly career, the Lord he knows, is far more trying—our temptations as much greater, as our pleasures are less; and it is mortifying indeed to find our behaviour a thing so little worth interference. We may conduct ourselves, it seems, as indecorously as we think proper, for any thing the united booksellers of the United Kingdom care to the contrary!

Not that I very much wonder at literary men regarding the education of wives as *& matter of moment. The worse halves of Socrates, Milton, Hooker, have been thorns in their sides, urging them into blasphemy against the sex. But is this a reason, I only ask you, for leaving, like an uncultivated waste, that holy army of martyrs, the spinsterhood of Great Britain?

Mr Editor, act like a man! Speak up for us! Write up for us! Tell these little writers of little books, that however they may think to secure dinners and suppers to themselves, by currying favour with the rulers of the roast, the greatest of all women have been Singl’e! Tell them of our Virgin Queen, Elizabeth—• the patroness of their calling, the protectress of learning and learned men. Tell them of Joan of Arc, the conqueror of even English chivalry. Tell them of all the tender mercies of the Seeurs de Charite! Tell them that, from the throne to the hospital, the spinster, unharassed by the cares of private life, has been found most fruitful in public virtue.

Then, perhaps, yon will persuade them that we are worth our schooling; and the “Old Maids of England” may look forward to receive a tabbybound manual of their duties, as well as its “Wives.” I have really no patience with the selfish conceit of these manned women, who fancy their well-doing of such importance. See how they were held by the ancients! —treated like beasts of burden, and denied the privilege of all mental accomplishment. When the Grecian matrons affected to weep over the slain, after some victory of Themistocles, the Athenian general bade them “dry their tears, and practise a single virtue in atonement of all their weaknesses.” It was to their single wo

men the philosophers of the portico addressed their lessons; not to the domestic drudges, whom they considered only worthy to inspect the distaffs of their slaves, and produce sons for the service of the country.

In Bath, Brighton, and other spinster colonies of this island, the demand for such a work would be prodigious. The sale of canary-birds and poodles might suffer a temporary depression in consequence; but this is comparatively unimportant. Perhaps—who knows—so positive a recognition of our estate as a definite class of the community, might lead to the long desiderated establishment of a lay convent, somewhat similar to the beguinages of Flanders, though less ostensibly subject to religious law—a convent where single gentlewomen might unite together in their meals and devotions, under the government of a code of laws set forth in their tabbybound Koran.

Methinks I see it—a modern temple of Vesta, without its tell-tale fires— square, rectangular, simple, airy, isolated—chaste as Diana and quiet as the grave—the frescoed walls commemorating the legend of Saint Ursula and her eleven thousand—the sacrifice of Jephtha’s daughter—Elizabeth Carter translating Epictetus— Harriet Martineau revising the criminal code. In the hall, dear Editor, should hang the portrait of Christopher North—in that locality, appropriately, a Kit-cat!

Ponder upon this! The distinction is worthy consideration. As the newspapers say, it is an “unprecedented opportunity for investment!” For the sole Helicon of the institution shall be “Blackwood’s Entire”—its lady abbess

Your humble servant to command, (for the old maids of England,)

The Leisure Hour, Volume 31 (Google Books)

LEONARD was breathless when he reached his goal. He had literally scampered over the Mall, through the New Village, and up the hill. Fontainebleau was the name given by M. d’Angere to the cottage in which he lived, in memory of the place of his birth. For some time this word had greatly puzzled the postman and tradesmen, but they had finally anglicised both it and his own patronymic by calling them Fountainbluc and Anger, which distressed madamc, ■who considered it hard that “the most amiable man in the world” should have so fierce a misnomer. Indeed the villagers were wont to affirm that he was the meekest of Frenchmen, and was never known to be angry with any one.

The cottage was scarcely visible from the road, owing to the shrubs that surrounded it, but a small swing gate and a short path led at once to its verandah. It was built chiefly of wood, and covered with smooth thatch, which some people affirmed to be more picturesque than waterproof, but which its tenants greatly admired. Its frontage faced a lawny field backed by high and umbrageous trees, which, although no appendage to Fontainebleau, M. d’Angere was pleased to call his Plaisance.

Leonard was greeted by the words, uttered in the shrillest of voices, “Trop tard. Le diner est servi,” and the still shriller barkings of the three small dogs. This, while he was yet in the miniature hall.

“I am so sorry to be late, but I could not help it,” he apologised as he entered the pretty drawing-room at the back.

M. d’Angere was standing before a cage, gesticulating and exclaiming, “Silence, Jacquot. Hold your tongue, Polly;” while a grey parrot was screeching out all sorts of sentences, half French half English, in which the word- diner predominated. His wife sat on a couch beating her foot impatiently, and contemplating her small Geneva watch.

“Ha! here you are, mon ami, Ldonard. Now we shall all be content. My wife, she like the punctuality. And I—why, I care not much provide I satisfy my hunger at the end.”

“You know he is the most punctual of men, Leonard; he likes his meals to the minute,” said Madame d’Angere, kissing her hand to her husband and leading the way to the small diningroom below.

“I know quite well, Aunt Amicia. I am so sorry to have kept you,” said Leonard, hastening to perform a little ceremonial that was expected of him, that of offering his arm to Madame d’Angere.

“Excuse me, mon cher, but we have proceeded together so many years,” cried monsieur, passing before him, and presenting his arm, which was taken with inimitable grace.

Leonard smiled as he followed them down a staircase that could onlyconvenientlyaccommodate one at a time, for though he really loved them next to his uncle, he could but be amused with them. Pat, pat, pat, came twelve little paws at his back, while, ” Bonapp£tit. Make haste, Lilyvite,” from the parrot, wound up the procession. Lilywhite was the maid-of-all-work, once a Blue School girl, who was being trained by Madame d’Angere for “higher wages, and bettering herself.” The small table was laid with precision, and the room was bright and cheerful. It looked out upon the Plaisance, and Leonard delighted in it, for in the bookshelves was a store of good French literature, which M. d’Angere was always pleased to help him to appreciate.

The dogs took their places near their master and mistress, but not for greed, as they were not allowed to be fed during meals. Nevertheless, they watched them with a patient endurance, which M. d’Angere was wont to call their “daily ordeal.” But for his polite obedience to his wife’s wishes, and a regard for an already well-worn carpet, he would probably have given them occasional tit-bits himself. As it was, when the meal was concluded, he was permitted to administer “just one mouthful” to each, and Leonard, who knew the exact moment at which this was to be performed, always watched for it eagerly. He had so watched ever since he was a child, and never remembered any variation in the proceeding.

“Hein! Loulou first, because she is of the softer sex,” said monsieur, glancing at his wife, who smiled modestly; and Loulou, the pretty Blenheim, sat up, and sniffed a little, to discover if it were meat or biscuit that her master placed on her nose. “Now—shut your eyes. Wan, two, tree, four, deux, quatre, un, cinq, six,” continued monsieur, and Loulou opened her eyes, and with a shake of her ears and toss of her pretty head, cast off and caught the prize. “It matter not if I say six in French or English, Loulou understands. Is it not intelligent, Leonard, mon ami?”

“Very. But look at Frou Frou, monsieur,” replied Leonard. Frou Frou was dancing on his hind legs in artistic fashion, and making the tour of the table.

“Thou hast thy bonne bouche. Thou hast performed well,” cried monsieur, casting the biscuit to the ceiling, which was duly caught by Frou Frou. “Douxdoux is madame’s pupil,” he added. “You remember his curious history?”

“Oh, yes! It certainly was strange,” replied Leonard, hoping to avoid its repetition.

“I never shall forget it,” began Madame d’Angere. “We were in London, on our return from Paris, and I saw a man with the loveliest and smallest of white poodles under his arm. We asked the price. It was five pounds, but it was

sold. ‘Too much, Alphonse,’ I whispered, longing for the sweet creature. But the man followed us to our lodgings, and the next day brought another poodle, whiter and lovelier far. He said he would make a sacrifice and we should have it a bargain at four pound ten, because I was —you remember Alphonse?”

“But, yes, ma mie. Entre nous, Leonard, the man said, because she was so pretty and so amiable. Ha, ha!” put in monsieur when madame hesitated and blushed. “We like the compliment so much, that we purchase the lapdog, and the man assure us we have a bargain. We are in London a few days, and the dog he is so hungry that he grows quite fat—so fat, that we fear the apoplexy, because he pant and wheeze. We are in despair, lest we lose our four pounds and ten shillings, and we procure a dog doctor. He come! examine the patient, and ask for a pair of scissors.”

“Imagine my feelings, Leonard!” interrupted Madame* d’Angere, shuddering as she covered her face.

“I do, Aunt Amicia. I have a hundred times,” said Leonard.

“It was, indeed, horrible!” continued Madame d’Angere.

“But the doctor had no feelings. He proceed to cut open the poor lapdog, while my dear wife shriek and hold his arms. ‘Vivisector!’ I cry, but crack goes Douxdoux’ skin, and he neither bark nor—what you call it ?—whine. In a moment, out jump a black puppy, a quarter so big again as the white, and that is our Douxdoux. I crdve with laughter as I remember to see the soft white fur upon the table, and Douxdoux, the mongrel, as you call it, jumping about the apartment. Ha, ha, ha!”

“He must have cost money enough to maintain a child,” remarked Leonard, reflectively, while Madame d’Angere put Douxdoux through his facings.

His principal accomplishment consisted in jumping through a hoop, held aloof by his mistress. Mongrel though he undoubtedly was, he was the most vivacious and intelligent of the canine favourites.

“A child 1” echoed M. d’Angere, pensively. “I have sometimes said so to madame. But then, we have no children. Apropos of them, who was the little angel that carried you off?”

Madame d’Angere interrupted Leonard’s reply by bending elegantly to some invisible female, and rising to leave the dinner-table. The gentlemen, old and young, rushed to open the door, but the elder reached it first. Madame passed out, followed by the dogs, and Leonard, to his infinite satisfaction, had a tete-a-tete with his friend. He replied to M. d’Angere’s previous question, by relating Aveline’s touching story. He was himself so much interested in the child and her mother, that he had been imagining all sorts of impossibilities while the dogs were performing. He had even been suggesting to himself the cruel alternative of putting an end to Loulou, Frou Frou, and Douxdoux, and introducing Aveline in their place.

“The children are more numerous than the blackberries,” remarked M. d’Angere, reflectively. “This one will be well brought up. Lilyvite is famous; so was Polly. When Lilyvite docs ‘better herself,’ as did Polly, perhaps madame may select your little protegee.”

“She is only eight. She would have six years to remain at school,” returned Leonard, dejectedly.

“Hein! Six years, they pass like six months in this delightful climate. Let us take our walk while madame take her siesta! Ma foi, you English you do make the Sunday a day of rest. It is good. I no longer can hear dimanche as a jour de fete. I honour the fourth commandment, and would desire to see both man and beast repose on the Sabbath day.”

Before going out, M. d’Angere peeped into the drawing-room, and had the pleasure of a wave of the hand from madame, already recumbent on the couch, surrounded by her dogs. They followed him and Leonard to the old castle. While strolling over the smooth turf that surmounts the deep ditch which surrounds the castle, the friends discoursed of many things, but chiefly of the squire’s will. M. d’Angere was much astonished at the legacy left to his wife, and asked Leonard concerning the contents of the davenport, who told him that he was not yet in possession of that antiquated article. M. d’Angere was of opinion that Leonard would discover a fortune in some secret drawer, but the lad knew the late squire too well to expect it.

“If you find nothing, Ictus know, and I am sure my dear wife will let you share our legacy,” said the Frenchman. “A tousand pound 1 It is so large a sum, we know not what to do with it. I say always, the money bring the care.”

“Thank you, monsieur. The squire advises me to fight my way to independence, and so I will,” replied Leonard, sturdily.

“He was a. queer fowl—fish, I mean. He and I were friends till I marry myAmicia, then, whew! I see him no more. It is always the marriage that offend the relations. If Miss Lisle had not married the poor lieutenant and gone to India, she would, perhaps, have lived, and I should have no legacy, you no davenport, and poor little Lisle no manor.”

“Life seemscomposed of ifs,” reflected Leonard. —” If Charles the First had acted differently, he would not have been imprisoned in this castle, and if Oliver Cromwell had been the hero Carlyle makes of him, the king would never have been beheaded.”

“Ah, my friend, if Napoleon—but, bah! I dare not return to Fontainebleau and its memories. You have your castle in ruins; I have mine still in vigour, but desolate. Every stone of each could tell its story. But of what good to moralise? That is for the young—the old know better. Let us extend our walk.”

They did so, through pleasant lanes and fields, bright in their first delicate greenery. When they returned to the cottage they found Isabella Dallimore and her sister Quiz there. They had come ostensibly to see their aunt, but really to make inquiries concerning Leonard’s adventure with

Aveline. This led, naturally, to a discussion in which all joined, not excepting the parrot. In a country place, every new thing, whether it be in morals or dress, is welcome.

“I think it a great shame to put a stranger into a school intended for natives, and I shall tell Uncle Churchhouse so,” said Isabella, indignantly.

“Lilyvite, bring the tea,” shrieked the parrot.

“If you have only natives in your island, what would become of me ?” asked M. d’Angere.

“Pauvre Alphonse! Kiss, kiss, kiss,” cried Polly, which caused monsieur to perform many antics towards the cage.

“Are you very fond of that little girl, Leonard?” asked Quiz, half jealously.

“I am very sorry for her. Quiz, because she is so unhappy about her mother. I wish you would go and see her, and make friends with her.”

“Friends!” repeated Isabella. “What will you ask next, Leonard? A beggar off the roads! Pray don’t put such low notions into her head. Class is class. I thought you were a Conservative.”

“That doesn’t hinder one being a Christian,” replied Leonard, who seldom met Isabella without being irritated into a dispute.

“I suppose I am as much of a Christian as you,” returned the girl, offended.

“Snob! Does your mother know you’re out.-‘” shrieked Polly.

“I wish you would teach that bird manners, Aunt Amicia,” said Isabella, shaking her fist at Polly, who at once began to flutter and scream, while her master held out his finger, and the offender hopped upon it.

“What would it cost to keep a second servant, Isabella? Another Blue School girl, for instance?” asked Madame d’Angere, protruding a pretty little velvet-slippered foot.

“I couldn’t say, aunt. You know well enough that those girls eat their heads off. At the rate that our maids gourmandise, I should think thirty pounds a year.”

“And Uncle Lisle’s legacy, mon Alphonse? What will it add to our income?”

“Ah! ma mie, but I understand not your English regulations. My friend, the major, he tell me it is in what you call the Tree per Cents, and will bring us about thirty pound the year, and the Government he have a slice in his income tax. But we have it not at all for twelve months.”

“The squire used to advise me to put my money in the Three per Cents,” said Leonard. “He thought it the only safe investment; and I promised him to place my first savings there. He was very ironical, but I didn’t mind.”

“My friend Lisle has the land, and he cannot put that in the Tree per Cents. How is the young hdritier?” asked monsieur.

“In a fair way to be ruined. Indulged in every whim,” replied the oracular Isabella.

“The only sons and the heirs always are. I was till the poverty taught me to know myself,” said M. d’xVngere.

“Pauvre Alphonse! Malheureux Alphonse! Kiss, kiss, kiss,” chuckled Polly, still perched on her master’s finger.

“He must understand, uncle,” whispered Quiz,

stealing up to the bird. “Pretty Pollv. Scratch’ee pole, Polly.”

“Va-t-en coquine,” shrieked the parrot, who would not be cajoled into civility.

“He understand,” laughed monsieur, ruffling the feathers at will.

Tea was announced, and all the party, Polly inclusive, proceeded downstairs. The ceremonial of offering arms was repeated, and when the host and hostess took the initiative, Leonard presented his to Isabella with mock gravity, and the words “Will the Countess Isabella De Fortibus do a humble knight the honour?”

“She would very much like to box his ears,” replied that damsel, pushing before him.

“Let me! let mel” cried Quiz, catching the offered arm. “This is how auntie walks. Now, Loulou, don’t tread on my train,” she added, holding up her frock daintily with the disengaged hand.

And so they went to tea, or, more properly, coffee, a»d made mirth out of every little incident, as young people will. Afterwards they all went to church—the ancient church of Carisbrooke, built, it is supposed, in Saxon days, before the Norman conquered the conquerors. Here Leonard’s thoughts reverted, in spite of himself, to the poor little charity girl who was, he felt sure, sobbing herself to sleep in the old schoolhouse.

Little women, and Good wives, by the author of ‘An old-fashioned girl’. (Google Books)

And so he was; for, as she laughed and talked, Jo had whisked things into place, and given quite a different air to the room. Laurie watched her in respectful silence; and, when she beckoned him to his sofa, he sat down witn a sigh of satisfaction, saying, gratefully,—

“How kind you are! Yes, that’s what it wanted. Now please take the big chair, and let me do something to amuse my company.”

“No; I came to amuse you. Shall I read aloud?” and Jo looked affectionately towards some inviting books near by.

“Thank you; I have read all those, and if you don’t mind, I’d rather talk,” answered Laurie.

“Not a bit; I’ll talk all day if you’ll only set me going. Beth says I never know when to stop.”

“Is Beth the rosy one, who stays at home a good deal, and sometimes goes out with a little basket?” asked Laurie, with interest.

“Yes, that’s Beth; she’s my girl, and a regular good one she is, too.’\

“The pretty one is Meg, and the curly-haired one is Amy, I believe?”

“How did you find that out?”

Laurie coloured up, but answered, frankly, “Why, you see, I often hear you calling to one another, and when I’m alone up here, I can’t help looking over at your house, you always seem to be having such good times. I beg your pardon for being so rude, but sometimes you forget to put down the curtain at the window where the flowers are; and, when the lamps are lighted, it’s like looking at a picture to see the fire, and you all round the table with your mother; her face is right opposite, and it looks so sweet behind the flowers, I can’t help watching it. I haven’t got any mother, you know; ” and Laurie poked the fire to hide a little twitching of the lips that he could not control.

The solitary, hungry look in his eyes went straight to Jo’s warm heart. She had been so simply taught that there was no nonsense in her head, and at fifteen she was as innocent and frank as any child. Laurie was sick and lonely; and, feeling how rich she was in home-love and happiness, she gladly tried to share it with him. Her brown face was very friendly, and her sharp voice unusually gentle, as she said,—

“We’ll never draw that curtain any more, and I give you leave to look as much as you like. I just wish, though, instead of peeping, you’d come over and see us. Mother is so splendid, she’d do you heaps of good, and Beth would sing to you if 1 begged her to, and Amy would dance; Meg and I would make you laugh over our funny stage properties, and we’d have jolly times. Wouldn’t youi grandpa let you?”

“I think he would, if your mother asked him. He’s very kind, though he don’t look it; and he lets me do what I like, pretty much, only he’s afraid I might be a bother to strangers,” began Laurie, brightening more and more.

“We ain’t strangers, we are neighbours, and you needn’t think you’d be a bother. We want to know you, and I’ve been trying to do it this ever so long. We haven’t been here a great while, you know, but we have got acquainted with all our neighbours but you.”

“You see grandpa lives among his books, and don t mind ranch what happens outside. Mr. Brooke, mv tutor, don’t stay here, you know, and I have no .one to go round with me, so I just stop at home and get on as I can.”

“That’s bad; you ought to make a dive, and go visiting everywhere you are asked; then you’ll have lots of friends, and pleasant places to go to. Never mind being bashful, it won’t last long if you keep going.”

Laurie turned red again, but wasn’t offended at being accused of bashfulness; for there was so much good-will in Jo, it was impossible not to take her blunt speeches as kindly as they were meant.

“Do you like your school?” asked the boy, changing the subject, after a little pause, during which he stared at the fire, and Jo looked about her well pleased.

“Don’t go to school; I’m a business man—girl, I mean. I go to wait on my aunt, and a dear, cross old soul she is, too,” answered Jo.

Laurie opened his mouth to ask another question; but remembering just in time that it wasn’t manners to make too many inquiries into people’s affairs, he shut it again, and looked uncomfortable. Jo liked his good breeding, and didn’t mind having a laugh at Aunt March, so she gave him a lively description of the fidgety old lady, her fat poodle, the parrot that talked Spanish, and the library where she revelled. Laurie enjoyed that immensely; and when she told about the prim old gentleman who came once to woo Aunt March, and, in the middle of a fine speech, how Poll had tweaked his wig off to his great dismay, the boy lay back and laughed till the tears ran down his cheeks, and a maid popped her head in to see what was the matter.

“Oh! that does me lots of good; tell on, please,'” he said, taking his face out of the sofa-cushion, red and shining with merriment.

Much elated with her success, Jo did “tell on,” all about their plays and plans, their hopes and fears for father, and the most interesting events of the little world in which the sisters lived. Then they got to talking about books; and to Jo’s delight she found that Laurie loved them as well as she did, and had read even moic than herself.

“If you like them so much, come down and see ours. Grandpa is out, so you needn’t be afraid,” said Laurie, getting up.

“I’m not afraid of anything,” returned Jo, with a toss of the head.

“I don’t believe you are !” exclaimed the boy, looking at her with much admiration, though he privately thought she would have good reason to be a trifle afraid of the old gentleman, if she met him in some of his moods.

The atmosphere of the whole house being summerlike, Laurie led the way from room to room, letting Jo stop to examine whatever struck her fancy; and so at last they came to the library, where she clapped her hands and pranced, as she always did whe* especially delighted. It was lined with books, and there were pictures and statues, and distracting little cabinets full of coins and curiosities, and SleepyHollow chairs, and queer tables and bronzes; and, best of all, a great, open fireplace, with quaint tiles all round it.

“What richness!” sighed Jo, sinking into the depths of a velvet chair, and gazing about her with an air of intense satisfaction. “Theodore Laurence, you ought to be the happiest boy in the world,” she added, impressively.

“A fellow can’t live on books,” said Laurie, shaking his head, as he perched on a table opposite.

Before he could say more, a bell rung, and Jo flew up, exclaiming with alarm, “Mercy me! irs your grandpa 1”

“Well, what if it is?” You are not afraid of anything, you know,” returned the boy, looking wicked.

“I think I am a little bit afraid of him, but I don’t know why I should be. Marmee said I might come, and I don’t think you’re any the worse for it,” said Jo, composing herself, though she kept her eyes on the door.

“I’m a great deal better for it, and ever so much obliged. I’m only afraid you are very tired talking to me; it was so pleasant, I couldn’t bear to stop,” said Laurie, gratefully.

“The doctor to see you, sir,” and the maid beckoned as she spoke.

“Would you mind if I left you for a minute? I suppose I must see him,” said Laurie.

“Don’t mind me. I’m as happy as a cricket here,” answered Jo.

Laurie went away, and his guest amused herself in her own way. She was standing before a fine portrait of the old gentleman, when the door opened again, and without turning, she said decidedly, “I’m sure now that I shouldn’t be afraid of him, for he’s got kind eyes, though his mouth is grim, and he looks as if he had a tremendous will of his own. He isn’t as handsome as my grandfather, but I like him.”

“Thank you, ma’am,” said a gruff voice behind her; and there, to her great dismay, stood old Mr. Laurence.

Poor Jo blushed till she couldn’t blush any redder, and her heart began to beat uncomfortably fast as she thought what she had said. For a minute a wild desire to run away possessed her; but that was cowardly, and the girls would laugh at her; so she resolved to stay, and get out of the scrape as she could. A second look showed her that the living eyes, under the bushy gray eyebrows, were kinder even than the painted ones; snd there was a sly

twinkle in them, which lessened her fear a good deal. The gruff voice was gruffer than ever, as the old gentleman said abruptly, after that dreadful pause, “So, you’re not afraid of me, hey?”

“Not much, sir.”

“And you don’t think me as handsome as your grandfather?”

“Not quite, sir.”

“And I’ve got a tremendous will, have I?”

“I only said I thought so.”

“But you like me, in spite of it?”

“Yes, I do, sir.”

That answer pleased the old gentleman; he gave a short laugh, shook hands with her, and putting his finger under her chin, turned up her face, examined it gravely, and let it go, saying, with a nod, “You’ve got your grandfather’s spirit, if you haven’t his face. He was a fine man, my dear; but, what is better, he was a brave and an honest one, and I was proud to be his friend.”

“Thank you, sir ;” and Jo was quite comfortable after that, for it suited her exactly.

“What have you been doing to this boy of mine, hey ?” was the next question, sharply put.

“Only trying to be neighbourly, sir; ” and Jo told how her visit came about.

“You think he needs cheering up a bit, do you?”

“Yes, sir; he seems a little lonely, and young folks would do him good, perhaps. We are only girls, but we should be glad to help if we could, for we don’t forget the splendid Christmas present you sent us,” said Jo, eagerly.

“Tut, tut, tut; that was the boy’s affair. How is the poor woman?”

“Doing nicely, sir;” and off went Jo, talking very fast, as she told all about the Hummels, in whom her mother had interested richer friends than they were.

“Just her father’s way of doing good. I shall come and see your mother some fine day. Tell her so. There’s the tea-bell; we have it early, on the boy’s account. Come down, and go on being neighbourly.”

“If you’d like to have me, sir.”

“Shouldn’t ask you, if I didn’t;” and Mr. Laurence offered her his arm with old-fashioned courtesy.

“What would Meg say to this?” thought Jo, as she was marched away, while her eyes danced with fun as she imagined herself telling the story at home.

“Hey! why what the dickens has come to the fellow?” said the old gentleman, as Laurie came running down stairs, and brought up with a start of surprise at the astonishing sight of Jo arm-in-arm with his redoubtable grandfather.

“I didn’t know you’d come, sir,” he began, as Jo gave him a triumphant little glance.

“That’s evident, by the way you racket down stairs. Come to your tea, sir, and behave like a gentleman ;” and having pulled the boy’s hair by way of a caress, Mr. Laurence walked on, while Laurie went through a series of comic evolutions behind their backs, which nearly produced an explosion of laughter from Jo.

The old gentleman did not say much as he drank his four cups of tea, but he watched the young people, who soon chatted away like old friends, and the change in his grandson did not escape him. There was colour, light and life in the boy’s face new, vivacity in his manner, and genuine merriment in his laugh.

“She’s right; the lad is lonely. I’ll see what these little girls can do for him,” thought Mr. Laurence, as he looked and listened. He liked Jo, for her odd, blunt ways suited him; and she seemed to understand the boy almost as well as if she had been one herself.

If the Laurences had been what Jo called “prim and poky,” she would not have got on at all, for such people always made her shy and awkward; but finding them free and easy, she was so herself, and made a good impression. When they rose, she proposed to go, but Laurie said he had something more to show her, and took her away to the conservatory, which had been lighted for her benefit. It seemed quite fairy-like to Jo, as she went up and down the walks, enjoying the blooming walls on either side,—the soft light, the damp, sweet air, and the wonderful vines and trees that hung above her,—while her new friend cut the finest flowers till his hands were full; then he tied them up, saying, with the happy look Jo liked to see, “Please give these to your mother, and tell her I like the medicine she sent me very much.”

They found Mr. Laurence standing before the fire in the great drawing-room, but Jo’s attention was entirely absorbed by a grand piano which stood open.

“Do you play?” she asked, turning to Laurie with a respectful expression.

“Sometimes,” he answered, modestly.

“Please do now; I want to hear it, so I can tell Beth.”

“Won’t you first?”

“Don’t know how; too stupid to learn, but I love music dearly.”

So Laurie played, and Jo listened, with her nose luxuriously buried in heliotrope and tea roses. Her respect and regard for the “Laurence boy” increased very much, for he played remarkably well, and didn’t put on any airs. She wished Beth could hear him, but she did not say so; only praised him till he was quite abashed, and his grandfather came to the rescue. “That will do, that will do, young lady; too many sugar-plums are not good for him. His music isn’t bad, but I hope he will do as well in more important things. Going? Well, I’m much obliged to you, and I hope you’ll come again. My respects to your mother; good-night, Doctor Jo.”

He shook hands kindly, but looked as if something did not please him. When they got into the hall, Jo asked Laurie if she had said anything amiss; he shook his head.

“No, it was me; he don’t like to hear me play.”

“Why not?”

“I’ll tell you some day. John is going home with you, as I can’t.”

“No need of that; I ain’t a young lady, and it’s only a step. Take care of yourself, won’t you?”

“Yes, but you will come again, I hope?”

“If you promise to come and see us after you are well.”

“I will.”

“Good-night, Laurie l”

“Good-night, Jo, good-night!”

When all the afternoon’s adventures had been told, She family felt inclined to go visiting in a body, for each found something very attractive in the big house on the other side of the hedge. Mrs. March wanted .So talk of her father with the old man who had not forgotten him; Meg longed to walk in the conservatory; Beth sighed for the grand piano, and Amy was eager to see the fine pictures and statues.

“Mother, why didn’t Mr. Laurence like to have Laurie play?” asked Jo, who was of an inquiring disposition.

“lam not sure, but I think it was because his son, Laurie’s father, married an Italian lady, a musician, which displeased the old man, who is very proud. The lady was good and lovely and accomplished, but he did not like her, and never saw his son after he married. They both died when Laurie was a little child, and then his grandfather took him home. I fancy the boy, who was bom in Italy, is not very strong, and the old man is afraid of losing him, which makes him so careful. Laurie comes naturally by his love of music, for he is like his mother, and I dare say his grandfather fears that he may want to be a musician; at any rate, his skill reminds him of the woman he did not like, and so he ‘glowered,’ as Jo said.”

“Dear me, how romantic !” exclaimed Meg.

“How silly,” said Jo; “let him be a musician, if he wants to, and not plague his life out sending him to college, when he hates to go.”

“That’s why he has such handsome black eyes and pretty manners, I suppose; Italians are always nice,” said Meg, who was a little sentimental

“What do you know about his eyes and his manners? you never spoke to him, hardly;” cried Jo, who was not sentimental.

“I saw him at the party, and what you tell shows that he knows how to behave. That was a nice little speech about the medicine mother sent him.”

“He meant the blanc-mange, I suppose.”

“How stupid you are, child; he meant you, of course.”

“Did he?” and Jo opened her eyes as if it had never occurred to her before.

“I never saw such a girl! You don’t know a compliment when you get it,” said Meg, with the air of a young lady who knew all about the matter.

“I think they are great nonsense, and I’ll thank you not to be silly, and spoil my fun. Laurie’s a nice boy, and I like him, and I won’t have any sentimental stuff about compliments and such rubbish. We’ll all be good to him, because he hasn’t got any mother, and he may come over and see us, mayn’t he, Marmee?”

“Yes, Jo, your little friend is very welcome, and I hope Meg will remember that children should be children as long as they can.”

Two wives, tr. from the Fr. [version of Ett år] by F.E.D. (Google Books)

CHAPTER V.

A PEEP INTO THE PAST.

Lavinia was only seventeen when she lost her mother, whom she had loved devotedly. Grief at her loss made a deep impression upon the girl’s mind; her father had died some years before, and she was now left alone with a brother whose studies for the bar kept him away from her and thus deprived her of the solace she would have found in his presence. Lavinia was, therefore, at the time of her mother’s death, obliged to accept the invitation of an old aunt, who offered her a home, and whose quiet and retiring mode of living suggested peace to the poor girl’s saddened spirit. No existence could have been better suited to

her sore heart than that led by Madame Schonberg, who, with the exception of a few elderly spinsters who came for tea and gossip, and two or three old bachelors who played picquet with her in the evening, saw scarcely anyone.

Friends were not wanting to receive Lavinia in her trouble; for, though without money, she was beautiful, well bred an<| accomplished, and many hands were outstretched to take her to their homes. Therefore it was ironically whispered, when she refused all offers and retired into her aunt’s large but gloomy house, that Lavinia had a great deal more cunning and foresight than they had given her credit for, that she knew quite well what she was about, and that ifc was not difficult to guess why solitude wag so essential to her well-being. In the richly appointed home to which she had come all

was nevertheless cold and sombre as a vault. Madame Schonberg lived surrounded by her favourites, namely, an elderly parrot, an elderly waiting-maid, an elderly cat, and an elderly poodle. Lavinia was the only young being in this vast museum of antiquities, and to prevent loneliness from getting too great a hold upon her, her kind aunt presented her, during the first week, with a beautiful white pomeranian, a couple of canaries, and half-adozen gold fish. With these, thought the old lady, it was impossible her niece could be quite miserable, and indeed her little companions gave her at least enough occupation to keep regret a trifle in the background. Lavinia was very grateful for these evidences of her aunt’s interest, and, finding herself suddenly deprived of her home ties of affection, soon formed a strong attachment for the kind-hearted old lady. But the distractionsfurnished by the well meaning dame to turn her from her grief filled but little of her time, and many hours dragged wearily by, terrible in their slowness. Grief cannot entirely fill a life, and however profound may be one’s sorrow there is always plenty of room left for ennui. Lavinia found this.

“I am afraid, mon enfant, that time passes but slowly for you,” said her aunt regularly every evening after her habitues had left, when she looked up to see Lavinia sitting in the window, her work resting on her knee and her eyes gazing vacantly into space.

“Perhaps, dear aunt,” Lavinia hazarded one day, “I should be happier if I had a few friends of my own age.”

“Then invite some, ma petite, if you feel inclined. Hold a reception in your room as I do in mine, but mind, no noise; shouts of laughter, singing, and dancing, are my mortal enemies.”

Feebly encouraged by this sanction, Lavinia made an effort to draw some young girls round her, but what interest could possibly exist for them where their sex reigned alone? The scheme fell to the ground, and Lavinia was left again in solitude.

“I must shake off this depression,” she said to herself; “it will have a weakening effect on my mind presently. When grief passes into melancholy it loses its elevated character; it is too noble a sentiment to be allowed to slide into that idle languor which eats up one’s vivacity.”

The next day, as she was about to speak of these thoughts to her aunt, the old lady met her with the startling announcement of her intention to pass a few weeks at a fashionable town where she had heard the waters were very beneficial, and in less than a week she started with Lavinia and the pets.

It was fully ten years since Madame Schonberg had left her home, even for a night, and she would never have made the sacrifice had it not been for the silent sadness in Lavinia’s eyes. And the change did Lavinia good. For the first time she realized what it was to be beautiful; wherever she went admiring looks followed her and homage was lavishly rendered by all. She received several offers of marriage, which she courteously but firmly refused, for, among the brilliant advantages presented to her. notice, she found none after her own heart.

“I have done my duty by her, all that I could conscientiously do,” said her aunt resignedly the evening of her return home, when her old friends gathered round her, M but it seems impossible to satisfy her; advienne que pourra, she may marry or remain single now, I wash my hands of her love affairs.”

Lavinia did not marry, neither did she resume her old habits; she had obtained over Madame Schonberg an influence which she never used but with tender respect, but which gave her the opportunity of arranging her life according to her own wishes. She went out frequently, and even persuaded the old lady to receive at home; so, little by little, to the astonishment of all, the ” Schonberg vault,” as the silent house had long been called, was thrown open to the world, The next winter fresh suitors appeared for Lavinia’s hand—the aunt’s fortune doubtless throwing into bolder relief the young girl’s beauty—but she seemed resolved not to marry, and fresh proposals elicited but fresh rejectionsThings were at this pass when one day, during the usual morning visit of her doctor —who, for the ample fees paid him by the

wealthy dame, kept her informed of all the news in the town and a great deal out of it— Madame Schonberg learnt that a young Baron, seriously ill, was coming to Vienna in search of rest and pure air; the doctor, whose patient he was, had received a letter begging him to find a home private and tranquil enough for his shattered nerves and for the whims of his misanthropic mind.

“Doubtless many offers will be made,” observed Madame Schonberg, far from imagining that the cunning doctor meant her to take his patient.

“Doubtless,” agreed he, ” offers will not be wanting, but few people would be capable of leaving him to himself to enjoy the rest which is so necessary to both mind and body. And indeed I know of no place I could recommend, unless you, madame, would Consent to share your home with him out of pure charity and commiseration. He would be a most unobtrusive addition to your household, he and his domestic would live more like shadows than men; moreover, the left wing is so far removed from the part you inhabit that I really do not think it would inconvenience you in the least to take my invalid.”

“And I don’t see any reason either why he should not come,” said Madame Scho-aberg, who had rather a weakness for her physician. “Since my house seems to be the only suitable one, I will receive him; we will try and agree not to incommode each other.”

“A thousand thanks, my dear madame,” exclaimed the little doctor, rubbing his hands with satisfaction at having so easily gained his point; “then the matter may be considered settled.”

A fortnight later, a young traveller in*stalled himself in the left wing of the hospitable mansion, and save the first bustle Of his arrival, no alteration in their usual life* was noticed by the inhabitants; the invalid’ lived as the doctor had predicted, like a1 shadow; a week passed without his evefr being seen. However, one afternoon, a message came from the Baron to know if he could be received, and this was followed a few moments later by his entrance. He was a good-looking, well made young man, but the expression of his delicate features was sad and melancholy. His manners, reserved but pleasing, seemed full of an almost childlike fear of offending or intruding, and he explained, with constrained gracefulness, how his wish for solitude was not altogether because of his health—which, though weak, did not require absolute seclusion—but from an excessive desire for liberty, especially the liberty of choosing his own relations with people, and not to introduce himself at once as a society man from whom so much was always expected.

After his first short visit some time elapsed before he came again; then he arrived regularly three times a week, then more frequently, and at last every day. At three o’clock he was sure to be announced. Lavinia and her aunt began by expecting him, then, insensibly, by hoping for him, and they smiled consciously when they caught each other looking at the clock just about to strike the hour which always brought him.

The Baron never went out in the evening, consequently Lavinia did not meet him at the gay houses she was in the habit of visiting, but she saw him every afternoon, and just for one moment in the morning as he came downstairs to take his daily ride.

The pure air of the town, or the doctor’s prescriptions, or perhaps some more efficacious remedy, had a very satisfactory effect upon the young stranger’s enfeebled constitution, and soon his health permitted him to visit his friends in the morning as well as in the afternoon, and as Madame Schonberg’s attachment for the new comer did not prevent her from retaining her old habit of breakfasting at balf-past eleven and not appearing downstairs before that time, Lavinia and the Baron had the mornings tete-a-tete. But as their engagement is no secret to our readers, we will not enlarge upon the more and more intimate relations which brought it to pass. The Baron was young, but by no means inexperienced in love affairs. He possessed a susceptible heart, easily inflamed by Lavi

nia’s beauty. His handsome face, his reserve, his soft caressing voice and delicate looks were difficult to resist, especially by a girl like Lavinia, stranger till now to those profound impressions awakened in woman’s heart by the first appeal of romantic and poetic love. Lavinia’s love, then, was the object aimed at by the Baron, and soon his attachment became no longer a secret for the eyes around. Lavinia was not a woman to give in to her own heart without a struggle; she tried to calm the tempest of a first passion in order to make quite sure of the feelings of him she loved so well. She was resolute in keeping in check the battle going on in her heart, but Louis possessed one of those natures in which the mad longing for conquest is so intense that it takes away from those it commands all reflection and self-examination.

The Philosopher in Slippers: Zigzag Views of Life and Society (Google Books)

hall find the topmost crags of duty scaled—

Are close upon the shining table lands

In which our God Himself is moon and sun.

FURNISHED HOUSES

[graphic]
JT has so happened that a considerable part of my mundane existence has been passed in the somewhat unique way of a series of occupations of furnished houses. My list of them would considerably surpass even il catalogo of Leporello. My maiden aunt was prescribed, or rather upon due consideration she thought fit to prescribe to herself, a constant change of scene and climate. There were only two limitations to our choice of residence, first that the scenery should be pretty, and next that it should be in the South of England. It was accordingly my duty to superintend three maids, a man-servant, fourteen boxes, nine portmanteaus, a quantity of heavy luggage, a parrot and a poodle, and the old lady herself, who gave as much trouble as all the rest put together. I was called her nephew, but I myself keenly felt that I was nothing better than a major-domo. My chains were, however, gilded, and I had always that consideration which is generally given to the solitary gentleman of a large party. My aunt did not much care whether we resided at the top of a mountain or underneath a cliff, if only the air was good and the situation picturesque. If there was any association of it with poet or painter of renown, she was quite ready to consider the circumstance when she came to the consideration of the question of rent. In these years existence was to me a kaleidoscope of revolving pleasing scenes. Many curious incidents happened to us on our travels, and I moreover accumulated a large amount of business experience, which, if that precious quality of experience were susceptible of being imparted, would be of the greatest possible importance to the British public in their annual exodus to the coast.

Some of these houses, in the watering-places at least, were hired from agents who had frequently built, furnished, and were letting them, as a matter of speculation. Others we hired from gentry who were very willing to let their houses while they went away themselves on visits or tours. We experienced in our time both very liberal and very illiberal treatment, but we found that no particular kind of treatment was identified with either class. There was one pretty watering-place to which we used to resort a great deal, partly because it suited the health of my literary aunt, and partly because she discovered that a celebrated poet had an allusion to it in one of his sonnets. I need hardly warn the public too much that we should endeavour to learn something of the character of the person whose furnished house one may be occupying. There is a sentiment in the human breast which may be called a taste for “extras.” We see this passion strongly developed in lawyers’ bills, school bills, and most official accounts. If you hire a house at a stipulated amount, it might be thought that there would be little scope for this original faculty of human nature. But naturam expcllas fared, tamen usque recurret. There is a little document called an inventory, which is frequently slurred over very rapidly when you enter, and dwelt on with minute particularity when you depart. The ordinary furniture of a furnished house is often scanty to the point of indecency, hard to the touch, and angular to the eye. I know a fellow who in a very clever way makes an addition of one-half to his rent by claims of this sort, and thus gratifies his thirst for extras. I have watched the rise and progress of this man with considerable interest. He had a shop next to one of his houses, over which, in gilded letters, we read the humble, unassuming name of “Rag.” In the course of a few years an additional letter humbly crept to join the others, and we now read ” Ragg.” As time crept on, the bold idea occurred to the owner of the name that a single letter more might, without altering the euphony, considerably add to the respectability of his appellation. Accordingly the outside world dwelt admiringly on the name of “Wragg.” But even this did not exhaust the series of improvements, for on my last visit I saw that the name had been prolonged to “Wragge.” He proceeded in other things as systematically as in his nomenclature. From the plunder of successive tenants he gradually renovated each item of furniture, and his house was always getting gayer and gayer, of course with

increasing prices. Mr. Wragge (Wragg, Ragg, Rag) certainly put his business on a sound commercial basis. There was another house in the same place where we used to go whose “extras” were to those of the other house as shillings to pounds. I am afraid, though his friends are numerous, that his place is getting shabby; but I know that my aunt has had him down in her will for a comfortable legacy.

It used to be dreary work at first, the taking of a furnished house at a watering-place, before you knew anything of the place or the people. Constant campaigning, however, has brought us even in this difficult matter to a considerable degree of perfection. As a rule the local gentry will not call unless they clearly understand that you are going to be a permanent resident. Even then they will sniff about you for an immense time before they make your acquaintance. The parson will call, but then the parson has the notion, generally speaking, that you ought to ask him to dinner rather than he you. My aunt’s notions of religion are not inconsistent with a rubber of whist and a carpet dance, and with many divines it requires a great expenditure on schools and charities before this defect can be obviated. The gentry, though too grand to call, were not too grand to watch our expenditure, or even our letters, and to make inquiries from the tradespeople. The tradesmen seem to have carefully studied a single text in reference to their duties to strangers, for we were strangers, and they “took us in.” The plan should be to get a few good introductions to country families—a box ticket takes you all over the house—and until you have time to cement these acquaintanceships to fill your own house with agreeable visitants. On two occasions we had suddenly to decamp; once when a lively brigade of insects crowded us out, and once when we made the startling discovery that scarlatina had been raging among the last inmates of the place.

But it is very different if you take a country house, hire for a season a manor-house or rectory. The hospitable country people soon come around you. You suddenly become admitted into very agreeable intimacies. You go to lunch with people or they come to you, and the lunch ends in a long afternoon stroll or a drive, and you part at twilight with a sincere feeling that the hours have been pleasant, and that you soon hope to meet again. Nice people perhaps pronounce you nice, and even the Countess’s low pony-carriage will pass up the avenue, and you will get an invitation to the Castle. My dear aunt had never been at a castle before, and she was a little confused at being thrown among the lords and ladies. The owner of Downton Lodge was a man of ancient pedigree, and an immense favourite in the neighbourhood, and when, on account of the health of one of his children, he took all his family to Nice and let the Lodge, all the neighbourhood, who liked him so very much, showed their respect by coming to call upon his temporary successors. My aunt came out very well, and her return party was long the theme of admiration. She spared no expense, getting down waiters and everything she wanted from the best houses in London. The winters were most brilliant, although we had to go sometimes twenty miles to a dinner-party, and on one occasion were snowed up for three days at a remote place. This was rather too much for my aunt. I believe there was something in her constitution that could not stand too much of this sort of thing; and so there is, I suppose, in most persons’. When the owner of Downton Lodge returned, we resolved that we would certainly maintain more quiet for the future; but we have still good friends, and make frequent visits into that most pleasant and hospitable of English shires.

Generally speaking, the plan was that we looked out in The Times or The Field for some sort of place which took my aunt’s fancy. Originally she used to insist that there should be a right of shooting over a thousand acres. I represented to the Matertera, which I classically used to call her, being the aunt on the mother’s side, that I was not in the habit of shooting, and she certainly was not. She allowed the argument, but asserted that there was something seignorial and respectable in having land to shoot over, and it was with great difficulty that I broke her of the practice. My aunt was also particular, if possible, in procuring a house that had a ghost belonging to it. She conceived that there was something feudal and baronial in the quasi-possession of a ghost. I remember being in one where a deceased owner with nearly all his family had been drowned in his carriage while attempting to ford a brook that had been swollen by recent rains. Every night at eight o’clock the servants said they heard the

rapid drive of the wheels as they neared the fatal brook. My aunt heard the narrative with great complacency, but that was an hour of dread to the maidens. Our man-servant possessed a considerable gift in the fabrication of ghost stories, and he gained an absolute dominion over their feelings in the way of shocking or soothing them. Once, however, she was thoroughly frightened, which I did not regret, perhaps, so deeply as I ought to have done. I was away one day when a set of sturdy vagrants entered the place. They were a set of rough, able-bodied fellows with bludgeons, a scythe. and a reaping-hook. They asked for alms, and the cook, trembling in her shoes, put a bold face on it and ordered them to be gone. The men evidently did not dare to commit a felony, but they determined to try the effect of moral force. They swore and muttered, declared that it was too bad that there should be plenty in the house and eight Christians starving, and even made a slight physical demonstration. My aunt, hearing a hubbub, came down, and nearly fainted when she saw a troop of strong fellows downstairs. She told me, however, that she soon recovered her composure, and determined on being deadly polite. She formally invited them all into the dining-room, and told the cook to put wine and beer on the table, and whatever she had fit to eat. She actually gave them half-a-crown apiece, and when one of the ruffians, with a threatening motion of his bludgeon, asked her what time it was, she begged him to accept her watch as a present. They made so merry over their meal that I came back with the man

before they had finished, and succeeded in clearing, pistol in hand, the premises of them, and also in getting back that old family chronometer.

When we had settled, after a correspondence, that there was a likelihood of our taking the house, I was sent down to survey the ground and make all necessary inquiries. Once and once only did we take a place and actually go down to it without having given it any inspection beforehand. The proprietor was in a great hurry and had another offer; we might take his proposal or leave it. We considered that the circumstances of the matter were quite satisfactory, and took the place. We got down to a remote railway station on the loopline, and through the fast waning twilight into night we drove through those unknown paths and that strange landscape until we reached the place which we had taken, called the Grange. There was nobody about, and I dismounted from the box, where I had been seated, nominally for the air and prospect, but in reality to get rid of my aunt. It was a long, low range of buildings, apparently of the Elizabethan era, with porch, gables, and mullioned windows. We knocked gently, rang gently, and there being no answer, went on crescendo until we thundered against the oak. The maid-servants began to be alarmed; my aunt’s maid actually screamed. To add to our difficulties, the driver put out our luggage, and drove off, saying that he had another job. We •waited for half an hour in the cold of the autumn night. Then I went steadily round the house, and climbed over a wall that separated the offices. I then found several

doors in a sort of court-yard, and I tried all, and one of them yielded. I obtained a light from a fusee, and went along a long passage, burning up a “Bradshaw” as I proceeded. When I got into the kitchen, I found a candle on the dresser, and going into the hall unbarred and unlocked the door. We got into the empty house, and lighted up a fire in the kitchen. Than we set out on our researches to try and explore the mystery. There were helmets, armour, and huge antlers in the halls, that looked absolutely portentous amid the flickering shadows overhead. We got into the dining-room. It looked as if it had only been quitted a few hours ago. A lamp was still burning low, though the embers had burnt out in the grate. There was a decanter half-full on the table, a plate of biscuits, and the major part of a cold fowl. Does the reader remember the feelings of Robinson Crusoe when he got on board the wreck and found it full of all sorts of jolly things, which he forthwith stowed away in his cave? I made treasure trove of the bird and wine—and stowed them away in my cave. A book was lying opened, a letter unopened, on the table. Then we went into the drawing-room. There was a quantity of silver in a plate-basket, collected, but not put away. Proceeding upstairs, we found the front bedroom in a state of extraordinary confusion. Drawers were lying loose, and a portion of the contents—evidently the worst portion—were lying about the room. There were abundance of blankets about, but no linen. We called and shouted, but there was no answer, only mysterious echoes from the dim, queer corners. With

some difficulty we contrived to bivouac for the night, double-locking the doors; and I am given to understand that my aunt and the maids refused to take off their clothes. In the middle of the night the poodle created the deepest consternation by barking most ferociously; and we were ready to believe that villains who had begun to plunder the house, perhaps disturbed by our knocking, were returning to complete their nefarious operations.

I am sorry to be obliged to give a prosaic explanation of these picturesque and thrilling circumstances. The unopened letter was from myself, announcing the day of our intended arrival. Owing to a misdirection, the letter had been long upon its travels. We found out that the people of the house were very careless, and had departed in a great hurry, having deferred their preparations till very late. They had left one servant—the cook—to make things tidy, and prepare for our reception. The cook got nervous at being left alone in a big house, and went off to her mother in the town. This cook afterwards gave us a good deal of trouble. It is usual to have an inventory of furniture; but if you only take a house for a short time, and a servant is left in charge, the inventory is frequently omitted. I found, however, that our careless friends had left so many places unlocked, so many valuables lying about, and the servant seemed so careless and indifferent, that I insisted on sending for the parish schoolmaster, and on his making out, in my company, a complete inventory. The cook was on board wages—generally a bad arrange

H

ment in such cases—and of course subsisted upon us. This we did not mind, the circumstance being usual; but upon penetrating to the kitchen one night, after our own servants had gone to rest, I found the cook, with three or four followers, carousing on our sirloin and a variety of bottled claret and Bass. I was at a loss what measures it was best to take. I had occasionally noticed that at times the cook unaccountably disappeared, and if she heard the bell would utter strange noises from a subterranean region. One day, when she was exceedingly long in reappearing, I took a light and proceeded in search of these abysmal utterances. We discovered that they proceeded from the wine cellar, which we understood had been securely fastened up by the outgoing people. The cook, however, evidently possessed a key —the real key or a counterfeit—for we found her in a helpless state of intoxication, and nearly drowned in the contents of a cask of sherry, which she had set running but was unable to stop.

While staying in one of these furnished houses, I heard one of the most remarkable stories which ever came to my ears, and which I would not venture to put down if it had not come to me with great particularity of detail. We had taken for the summer a vicarage house in a remote sea-bound parish. There are various clergymen in pretty localities who look on letting their houses as a regular source of income, occasionally the best part of their income. Let me also say that, as a rule, we found these houses exceedingly comfortable, modest, and without any pretence, yet full of elegancies and conveniences. Even in summer the house was very lonely; the population did not exceed fifty, although the parish was five miles long. The sea, as a boundary, practically robs you of half of your neighbourhood. It divides everything. The land side was peculiarly bare, uncultivated, rough, and remote; but the great scenic beauty of the position reconciled us to our loneliness and obscurity. Many years ago, two clergymen, brothers, used to live there, by all accounts very singular beings. The one was the rector, and the other brother officiated as curate. As a matter-of-fact, however, both together did exceedingly little duty, and created much scandal even in those easy days and that limited neighbourhood. It frequently happened that nobody came to church, and the service was left unperformed. On one occasion he found to his great amazement a stranger in the church. He politely offered to go through the service if the stranger wished, but if not, he suggested that they should adjourn to the public. That was very much the style of thing among the mountain clergy once. The rector died, one hard frosty winter, of a chronic illness. The snow was lying deep on the ground; no caller had been near the house, and the church had been tenantless for many Sundays past. The curate was put in a great fix by the loss of his brother. The location at the rectory was very pleasant for him, and that location would, for him, soon be a thing of the past. There would be a new rector appointed and the rectory must be vacated. The value of the living was not great, only some two hundred a year; but the house was pretty and good, and

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there was a very desirable glebe attached to it. Poor curate William’s mouth watered as he thought of his brother’s enviable possession coming to him, and he wondered whether it was possible by any means to contrive that the rectory should come to him as his successor. No one knew that his brother had departed this life. It was wild weather in a wild country. The brothers, in their wild, outlandish sort of life, used to do pretty well for each other, with the occasional help of an old woman. Within the last few days the old woman had taken to bed with the rheumatics and was not likely to show for some time. William locked up the room in which his dead brother lay, found his way, despite the inclemency of the season, to the country town, and went up to London. He called upon the Lord Chancellor and found means of obtaining an audience. He told the Lord Chancellor that his brother the rector was dead, that he had been curate for many years, and trusted that he would receive the vacant appointment. He added that the living was of such small value and in such a remote district that he greatly questioned whether any one would think it worth while to apply for the appointment. The Chancellor told him that he might apply again in a week or ten days, and he would see in the meanwhile what applications were made for the appointment. The brother lingered about town for the specified period and then renewed his call. His lordship said that things had happened as he had foretold; and that, as no one had thought it worth while to ask for the vacant benefice, he had no objection to appoint him. William took care to

get the appointment duly made out by the secretary of presentations, and then started homewards rejoicing. He proceeded publicly to announce the news of his lamented brother’s decease and gave him quite a grand funeral. Applications then came upon the Lord Chancellor in shoals; but it was too late, for the living had been given away.

There were still numerous traditions lingering in the neighbourhood of this curious parson’s very questionable eccentricity. I can give one of his sermons, which has long been quoted as a masterpiece of oratory along the country side. It happened on a fine summer day when there were some friends and neighbours in church, and also two or three tailors. “My brethren,” said Parson William, “I will divide my discourse into three parts. I will, in the first place, tell you something that I know and you do not know. I will, in the second place, tell you something that you know and I do not know. I will, in the third place, tell you something that none of us know. In the first place, then, to tell you something that I know and you don’t, the fact is, that I have got no breeches on. In the second place, to tell you what you know and I don’t know, how much will you contribute towards buying me a pair? And, in the third place, what neither you nor I know is, how much the thief of a tailor will charge for making them.” I have heard very quaint anecdotes of the mountain clergy; Mr. Conybeare has given many such, but this is one of the quaintest.

I hardly need any other incidents worthy of commemoration; for the most part it is a prosaic, business-like matter, attended by the inevitable disagreeables of packing and unpacking. I remember our going into a house, and in the middle of the night there was a tremendous storm, the same storm in which the London was lost. We heard deep moans from the aunt, and found that the rain was penetrating through the roof, turning the four-poster into the resemblance of the Knaresborough dripping well. It appeared that the short-sighted landlord, who had only a life-interest in his property, had cut down some fine trees which had hitherto broken the force of the Atlantic breexe in its most prevalent quarter, and the wind now blows his roof away twice or three times every winter; and people say that it serves him right. In taking a furnished house, it is not enough that everything should look well within, but you should carefully examine the exterior or fixtures, or engage some astute person to do so for you. We had a very pretty house once in a famous part of a lovely county, a house that has been painted, photographed, idealised by a crowd of artists. Our rockery and our waterfalls were known all over the kingdom. My aunt took the place less for its attractions than on the high principle that we were getting the place a great bargain. The terms in the season were twelve or fourteen guineas a week, but the rent was only a hundred and fifty a year. The scenery was really of a romantic kind, the true sub-alpine sort, which is the best one gets in this country. In the summer a crowd of tourists came about us. We kept a visiting book on purpose for them, which mightily pleased the aunt,

who read out th’e names aloud every evening. The man-servant certainly made a good deal of money in the way of tips, and withdrew his account from the postoffice because it would not receive all that he was willing to contribute; but we merely had the expense of putting on an additional gardener. In the winter we were quite able to comprehend the lowness of the rent—the place became inaccessible. The ground rooms were damp, and we had to betake ourselves to the upper rooms, which were fortunately sufficiently numerous and spacious. Some of the shops in the village shut up altogether. The butcher killed once in the week, and would send to tell us that we might have a leg or a loin if we liked, and if we didn’t like, we might go without anything. The postman only came on alternate days, and we had exactly thirteen minutes for the return post. By way of set-off to such desolations and privations we once or twice had houses in London or the suburbs. We found that the servants left in charge levied a kind of black mail on all our dealings with the tradespeople. We charitably take it for granted, however, that this was rather our special misfortune than a general fault of the class.

One fine day, however, my aunt suddenly took it into her head to recollect that all this time she had a very good house of her own, by no means less agreeable in its concomitants than many of the dwellings which she had inhabited. For many years past she had been allowing a man and his wife eight shillings a week, with coals and gas, to look after her property, as she was much too grand to sublet it to any temporary tenant. We found this house in an infinitely worse condition than if she had let it satisfactorily, and the man and his wife, by their constant quarrels and their blackguard acquaintance, had rendered my aunt’s highly respectable abode perfectly disreputable in the eyes of the public and the police. They not unnaturally objected to go, considering that they had established a kind of freehold; and when they were shoved out, I had a most laborious work to inaugurate of moral and material renovation. And thus I linger on, the major-domo of a furnished house, in a delightful state of uncertainty whether my aunt will leave me all her fortune or turn me adrift upon .the world without a shilling.

Bath, Old & New: A Handy Guide & a History (Google Books)

In the ’45 there was a little “flutter” in the city, Carte, the Abbey Curate,1 a fiery Jacobite, having endeavoured to excite a political demonstration in favour of Prince Charles. It was a very contemptible affair, and ended in the arrest of Carte in his own house, or, as the story popularly goes, as he was “jumping out of his own window in full canonicals.” The story is founded on his declaration that he was ready, in full canonicals, to proclaim Charles Stuart King. In four Parliaments Marshal Wade was chosen by the Corporation to represent the city, his colleague on the last occasion, in 1741, being Philip Bennet, whose sister was the wife of Philip Allen. The Marshal and Ralph Allen were on terms of most confidential intimacy, in no small measure founded upon political considerations, a full account of which may some day see the light. /* Professor Seeley reminds us that in a “national history I there are large as well as smaller divisions. Besides chapters 1 there are, as it were, books or parts.” And Bath may claim to \ have been one of these “books or parts.” If there were no revolutions in this century there were internal disturbances, and two abortive Jacobite insurrections. In the former Bath was concerned to the extent of having, through her honoured citizen, Allen, made such discoveries as enabled the Government to deal with it in the West with little or no bloodshed; and hence the Marshal, whose services to the city were afterwards so conspicuous, proceeded to suppress the latter on the more formidable scene of action.

It was something more than a coincidence which brought together the heroic soldier, Wolfe, who, thinking his military career closed, retired to live with his father in Bath, as a simple citizen, and the great orator and statesman, Pitt, who represented the city. Allen, by whose foresight and influence 1 He has often been referred to as the Rector, but it is erroneous.

the latter was chosen to do honour as a legislator to the city he did so much to make, it is believed, was the first to perceive the great qualities of the conqueror of Canada, and to recommend him to the notice of the statesman. That last interview at Dover between Temple, Pitt, and Wolfe, on the eve of his departure to assume his command, by that strange enthusiasm in which he seems to have indulged in a moment of mental abstraction, must have stunned the man by whom he was chosen; but the soul of the hero was stirred within him, and forgetting that he was not alone he seemed in spirit to be contemplating the greatness of his future achievements. In disposition and simplicity perhaps no man bore so strong a resemblance to Nelson as Wolfe. “We have forgotten,” as Seeley says, “how through all that remained of the eighteenth century the nation looked back upon those two or three splendid years as upon a happiness that could never return, and how long it continued to be the unique boast of the Englishmen,

That Chatham’s language was his mother tongue,

And Wolfe’s great heart compatriot with his own.”

We may, without arrogance, therefore, claim to have had a

“book or a part ” in the national history of the last century of

which we have no reason to be ashamed.

The Reign Of Nash. We have been criticised severely by some persons because we are unable to recognize the claim so often made on the part played by Nash in the development of our city. What we have said we here repeat : that so far as Nash was concerned, ai/d the power, or rather influence, he exercised upon the social life, habits, and character of the city, it tended to evil rather than to good. Gambling, immorality, and every species of blacklegism, are not rendered respectable because they may be concealed under a veil of pretence and hypocrisy. Nash was the great protoplasm of evil, if we may use the phrase.

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/• We would say it was our own blindness and perversity which lead us to look back with complacency upon the age and doings of Nash, whilst we overlook the phase in our history which is honourable and brilliant. If the axiom of Sir T. More in Utopia be true, that the road to Heaven is the same from all places, so we conceive the converse is equally true that the road to Hades in all ages is pretty much the same. If it be urged that dancing and pleasures, innocent in themselves, are surely not to be condemned, we say certainly not: but what we affirm is, that if those, or any other amusements, are to be made, as they were in Nash’s time, the pretext for the grossest vices (not necessarily in all who engaged in those amusements), they would bring condemnation upon the system as fraught with danger and degradation. It was a system involving the worst characteristics of the age—not the least objectionable part of which was its association with piety and benevolence. When the old women had exhausted the founts of pleasure, they relapsed into piety, parrots, poodle dogs, / and lamentations over the loss of capacity for enjoyment. / What resources were left to the old men it is difficult to say, except it were the quickening their inventiveness in dyes, wigmaking, and all the despicable arts that tended to add contempt to senility, and mockery instead of honour and veneration to old age. Some of the more venturous but unfortunate beaux retired to their native wilds in the mountains of Wales and the bogs of Ireland, which was suggestive, perhaps, of Anstey’s lines :—

“I’m griev’d to the heart

Without cash to depart,
And quit this adorable scene!

Where gaming and grace

Each other embrace,
Dissipation and piety meet—

May all, who’ve a notion

Of cards or devotion,
Make Bath their delightful retreat I”

The women—i.e., the women of society, the women of the “inner circle”1—the recesses or grand penetralia of the temple of chance—were the most inveterate gamblers. If they could only “stand the racket” they came out of the

1 The earliest instance is recorded by John Wood, the architect. It is perhaps typical of the inveterate nature of gambling, and illustrates most vividly the worst effect of the vice in a woman whose conscience was tender, and who could not find consolation in simulated pious pretence, parrots, and poodles. “Sylvia,”a woman of great beauty and wealth, came to Bath about 1727. She engaged apartments in Wood’s house, and in 1730, when he removed to Queen Square, she continued to live under his roof. At this period Dame Lindsey was living in a small house in Stall Street, during the time her assembly house on the Walks (the old Walks) was rebuilding. This house was known as Liudsey’s, and then as Wiltshire’s Rooms, and later on as Simpson’s, and must not be confounded with Heaven’s, then for many years as Harrison’s, and after the building of the Assembly Rooms, in 1771, as the Lower Assembly Rooms. The character of Dame Lindsey was very like Humphrey Clinker’s nether garment when the Squire, Matthew Bramble, first beheld him—decidedly the worse for wear. Wood says, ” The Dame’s wit and humour, with the appearance of sanctity in a sister that lived with her, strongly captivated the youth of both sexes; and engaged them in their interest.” Kitty was the familiar name of that pattern of piety, and the two sisters had a maid, whom they called Fanny, and represented as an unfortunate gentlewoman, that acted in a medium character, and joined with either mistress as occasion required ; she was old, thin, and slender ; and she could manage a few bottles of port whenever the Dame wanted a companion to “make out an evening’s amusement.” This unfortunate “Sylvia” got into the hands of this trio of wit and humour, piety, and (‘ medium,” and they fleeced her of her last farthing; but such was the irresistible influence and seductiveness of play, that, in spite of her earnest struggles against the habit, she finally sold all her available property to indulge in it, and then came the end—-she hung herself with a silk girdle. It is a pitiful story, but it is typical of others who were more skilfully robbed in Dame Liudsey’s grand new rooms, which afforded greater scope for genteel and systematic robbery. This singed and damaged Dame married Lord Hawley, a ruined gambler with a title, but nothing elao worth having.

ordeal tainted with the social sewage of the salon, with reputations rather seamy and characters that needed a good deal of patching and piecing, but they never forgot the cynical proverb, “the greater the sinner the greater the saint,” and they fell back upon it as an apostolic maxim. The men who had nothing—not even characters—could lose nothing, but the pigeons,1 who were fairly fledged in character and fortune,

1 Of course we all know the story of the young “giddy youth who had just resigned his fellowship at Oxford,” who lost all he possessed, and of another case in which a foolish fellow lost all he had, which was “generously ” restored to him by Nash himself, but this was a case in which the young man’s mother knew all the facts, and Nash knew the danger of exposure. But the young men were not always under the eye of the mother. The great king was never under legal or moral restraint. He defied imperial laws, and set up Home Rule with a vengeance. He made his own laws and found subjects ready to obey them. He found the victims and the creatures ready to carry out his schemes. A confederacy with the “Executive” enabled him to draw one third of the winnings at the “Hells,” and these dons of devilry were, Goldsmith admits, “frequented with a greater concourse of gamesters than those at Tunbridge. Men of that infamous profession, from every part of the kingdom, and even from other parts of Europe, flocked here to feed on the ruins of each other’s fortune.” Wiltshire repudiated Nash’s claim to a share of the plunder; he brought an action for its recovery, and then came black and revolting revelations. He lost his case, and then Lady Hawley offered to buy his services, but he declined the offer of this immaculate “dame of wit and humour,” not, be it observed, because he experienced the force of Scott’s lines—

“High minds of nature, pride, and force, Most deeply feel thy pangs, Remorse,” but because he had lent himself to a better, that is a more profitable offer

of the enemy, Mrs. W , in other words, the widow of his recent

antagonist—Wiltshire. Some of Nash’s apologists say he had a real regard for religion. Well, like Judas, if he had, it was for the like reasons—he carried the bag. When he was well, he blasphemed; when he was ill, he canted and whined like a whipped hound. “Yon Perebomius, whose emaciate air

And tottering gait his foul disease declare,

generally got plucked of both, as Blunderhead discovered
when he ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil:—
“A sum, my dear mother, far heavier yet,
Captain Cormorant won when I learn’d lansquenet;
Two hundred I paid him, and five am in debt.
For the fun I had nothing to do but to write,
For the Captain was very well bred and polite,
And look, as he saw my expenses were great,
My bond, to be paid on the Clodpole estate,
And asks nothing more, while the money is lent,
Than interest paid him at twenty per cent.”
It was, indeed a strange passion this love of gambling—a
passion which swallowed up every human virtue, and left an
indelible stigma upon the age. And yet, absorbing, vitiating,
and emasculating as it was of every noble quality, it never
extinguished the recognition of religion. It was the tribute,
the homage, still of vice to virtue. The women prated of
God, and piety, and yet longed for the dice box, and sought
after the practical advantages, ” Heads I win, tails you lose.”
If they clung to the sentiment of righteousness it was with
their weakness, and not with their strength. In men the
passion was more brutalising, for the most part. If they won,
they became selfish, cynical, indolent, without ambition,
indifferent to honour, humanity, and duty ; if they lost, they
added to loss of wealth and position loss of self-respect. Never
were there seen such examples of dissipation in the last
century as at Tunbridge Wells and at Bath. Men in this
class of gamesters, if we may use a pedantic word, ingurgitated
to a frightful extent ; they took refuge in the punch-bowl, the
pot, and the pipe—

With patience I can view; he braves disgrace,
Nor skulks behind a sanctimonious face.
But whip me those who virtue’s name abuse,
And, soiled with all the vices of the times,
Thunder damnation on their neighbours’ crimes.”

“When night Darkened the streets, then wandered forth the sons Of Belial, flown with insolence and wine.” It was not a pleasant sight to behold those gentlemen, whose rubicund noses, bloated features, bleared eyes, and faltering gait revealed the ruined gamesters who had taken refuge in the strong waters of Acheron, and who were making palpable preparations for the river of Phlegethon.

There is another side of the picture at which we have just glanced, and of which it will be necessary to take another and a fuller view. The tradition, therefore, which ascribes the development of Bath and all its modern institutions to the reign and influence of King Nash is without any solid foundation. The fume, and pother, and notoriety, and scandal, have been, and will continue to be, put down by writers who know nothing about the facts, as proofs of vitality, and the germs of future prosperity and eminence. We believe we were the first writer on Bath who emphatically disputed this singular but once universally recognized historical dogma. In our edition of the “Rambles about Bath” we endeavoured, much to the indignation of many quidnuncs, to show how little we owe to Nash; and in “Historic Houses of Bath,” we have amplified the evidence then adduced to establish our contention. Mr. Trail, in the Illustrated Magazine of June, 1884, in his interesting article on Bath, distinctly recognizes the force and truth of the deductions we have drawn, which the facts justify. Nash was an accident, and if Bath in the eighteenth century had depended upon such an accident, her annals would have afforded neither satisfaction nor edification. There were other elements at work—personal, moral, and social; and we shall endeavour to trace the effects of these elements to which we owe whatever we have at present worth boasting of. Between the kingdom of Nash and the great movement which slowly but surely was infusing new life and energy into a city that for two centuries had made little or no progress, there were no inter-relations, no interfusion; there was no active antagonism, because as a matter of fact they were distinct and separate as the poles.

There is little need again seriously to discuss the question as to the part played by Nash in this great uprising of Modern Bath. He had no more to do with that work than he had with the building of Carthage or Rome. The real ” making” of Bath was not child’s play—it was a great work. As Mr. Traill puts it, Allen was “developing the resources of Bath . . . during most of the period throughout which Nash was marshalling fiddlers and fribbles in the (Lower) Assembly Rooms, and giving laws to gamesters and demireps at the play-tables.”1

Modern Bath. During the time the building of the Hospital was in progress Wood was engaged upon what he called the Grand Parade, Prior-park mansion, besides many other minor undertakings which have already lapsed into a state of neglect and insignificance. The Grand Parades, which we now call the South Paradej and the North Parade, with Pierrepont and Duke Streets, were the classic ground of the period and long after. An old print shows exactly what the North Parade was like.

1 It is surprising to fiDd, even among people who are kindly inclined towards our city, and who praise its beauty, and instruct us in its history, how little they koow of that phase of Bath life which was peculiar to Nash’s time. They have no conception of what play meant in those days. A recent writer in The Queen evidently thinks play took place in the Pump Room. Open play in the Pump Room would have been a palpable violation of the law, and would have been suppressed summarily. The security of the gambler was in the secrecy of the “hells ” and in the providing of pigeons to be plucked. This was a delicate process. The man who caught the bird was much too genteel to pluck it. Oliver Goldsmith most innocently shows us. in his Life of Nash, who was the chief bird-catcher, and this old bird-catcher observed one, and only one, Biblical maxim, and that was not to “spread his net in the sight of any bird.”

Extending along the front, raised upon arches, was a fine paved terrace, protected by a pierced wall surmounted by a balustrade, with pinnacles at intervals. In front, and extending to the boundary, were Harrison’s Walks, the Bowling Green, or, as Wood proposed to call it, “The St. James’s Triangle,” and Harrison’s Assembly Rooms (afterwards Simpson’s). The South Parade had a similar terrace extending along its front, but with no wall. The open meadows from the river to Orchard Street westward, 500 feet, and in a southward direction almost as far as the present Railway Station, some 700 or 800 feet, were intended to be what Wood called the Royal Forum.1 This was never carried into effect as proposed by Wood, but the land near the terrace, by an easy gradient or slope, was easily and readily approached without danger or inconvenience. These terraces were the great fashionable promenades for many years, the north terrace more especially. They were, until the close of the last century, approachable only through the throngs (very narrow passages) by persons on foot, and by sedan chairs through the paved courts and narrow ways leading from the main road of Stall Street. Smollett found his way to the South Parade, but was driven out of his lodgings, to seek shelter in Milsom Street, by an impecunious Irishman, who occupied the garret above his bedroom. Smollett could not reconcile himself to Sir Ulic Maokilligut, whose impudence and persistent impertinence were past endurance. It is the North Parade which figures conspicuously in Sheridan’s ”Rivals,” nor is this surprising. He is said to have lodged on the Walks (the old), whence he could see the North Parade. In

1 In ancient Rome, any open space in front of buildings, especially before sepulchres. There were fora for merchandise as well as for judicial and civil purposes. A market-place, a court of justice, a place for public speaking, or for money transactions—each of these would formerly be called a forum.

one of its blocks lived, of course at a later period, that most

charming of all charming and beautiful women, Miss Linley,1

for whom he fought, whom he won, whom he loved, and yet

whom he neglected, and whose heart he almost broke.

It is no small testimony to the skill, energy, and genius of

Wood that he should have been able to design, superintend,

and carry out so many great building operations simultaneously,

especially when he was confronted with difficulties which so

often compelled him, as we have shown, to sacrifice the most

cherished parts of his plans. Even in the unity and the

ichnography of Prior Park he was obliged to yield to the

exigencies of necessity or to caprice, in so modifying his plans,

that they never realised the grand conceptions of his mind.2

The primary object of building Prior Park—so at least Wood

states, and the statement was published in Allen’s time and

not denied—was to apply the Bath stone in such a variety of

uses in the construction of a great mansion that its general

adaptability to building purposes should be proved beyond all

cavil or doubt. Wood put forth all his powers, and with

consummate success, and it is not surprising that he should

I have yielded with a bad grace in matters with regard to which

he saw further than those to whom he was unable to offer a

successful resistance. At any rate the character of Bath stone

was established.3 The great difficulty we have always en

\

‘Pierrepont Street.

‘To some extent be was compelled to sacrifice the shape and proportion of the rooms; for it must be admitted that the interior of Prior Park will bear no comparison with the stateliness of the exterior.

a 3 If it has not subsequently always maintained its great repute, it been in consequence of the ignorance or, worse, the cupidity of builders, who cared for nothing but profit. Baldwin, Lightholder, the successors of the Woods, Palmer the builder, and many others, by thjeir skill and workmanship, have fully maintained the character of Bath freestone.

the family treasury of sunday reading (Google Books)

DIARY OF MRS. KITTY TREVYLYAN.

^ Stoxrt of tjj* Cunts of i&UntcfuIb anb iht S&UsIegs

EY THE AUTHOR OF “CHRONICLES OP THE SCIIONDERU-COTTA FAMILY.”

PART III.

[graphic]
Great Onnond Street.

HEY were all so kind to me when I left Hackney, I felt very sorry to go, and should have grieved more, had not the leave-taking been like a halfway house on the journey to my dear home.

Uncle Henderson gave me a purse with five new guineas in it, saying some people lad found a fortune grow from no bigger beginning, and who knew but my guineas might erpand into a “plum 1” (a hundred thousand pounds). I do not very well see how, because I nave spent the whole over ten times in my mind already; but I know it will bring me in pleasures as rich to me as anything Uncle Henderson could ‘fcsire for me, if I can only tell which of the ten plans I have thought of is the best.

Aunt Henderson gave me a little book with a very long name, which she hoped would prove, at all events, more profitable reading than Bishop Taylor. Cousin Tom had relapsed into something (>f the shy, half-surly manner he had when first I came; and his great eyes were flashing, and his voice was very gruff. But just aa I was getting into the hackney coach, he said abruptly, “Cousin Kitty, forgive me if I spoke roughly to you; you have been very good to me; and some day perhaps I will hear Mr. Wesley.” Aunt Jeanie, to whom I paid a visit early in the morning, gave me nothing—at least nothing gold and silver can buy or pay for; but, like the apostles, such as she had she gave me abundantly. There were tears in her dear kind eyes, and she called me her poor lanibie, and fell very deep into Scotch, and pr.tyed

that the good Lord would keep me through all the perils of the wilderness; “for the world was a wilderness, no doubt, and temptation was strong. The Lord forgive her if it was like murmuring to say so, she had found so many pleasant places on her way; and all the way had been good to her; and every thorn needful; and the waste places as wholesome as the Elims; the water from the rock sweeter even than the fountains under the palms. And how can I dare be so ungrateful as to distrust my God for thee, my bairn?” she added. “If I am old and tough, and able to bear a prick now and then without shrinking, and thou art young and tcndei, and quick to feel, does not He who gathered the lambs in his bosom know that better than 1 V

So we cried together a little while, and then she knelt down with me for the first time by her bedside, and poured out her heart for me in tender, pleading words, that melted all my heart as ice melts in the spring sunshine and rain.

What she said I cannot remember. It was not like words. It was like a heart poured out into a heart—a child-like, dependent human heart into the great, infinite, tender heart of Cod. But when she rose and kissed me, and bade me farewell, all my heart, which had been so touched and melted, seemed to have grown strong and buoyant. It seemed as if every burden became light, and every task easy, and every grief illuminated in the light and heat of that prayer.

When I reached Great Ormond Street, the butler said my lady was still in her chamber, but had directed that I should be shown up to her at once. I thought this very affectionate of Aunt Beauchamp, and stepped very softly, as when Mother his a headache, expecting to enter a sickchamber.

But, to my surprise, Aunt Beauchamp was sitting at her toilette, in a wrapper more magnificent than Aunt Henderson’s Sunday silk And the chamber was much more magnificent than the best parlour at Hackney, with a carpet soft as velvet, and all kinds of china monsters, on gilded brackets, and rich damask chairs and cushions; not stiffly set up, like Aunt Henderson’s, as if it was the business of life to keep them in order, but thrown lavishly about, as if by accident, like the mere overflow of some fairy horn of plenty. Two very elaborately dressed gentlemen were sitting opposite her; what seemed to me a beautifully dressed lady was arranging her hair in countless small curls; while a shapeless white poodle was curled up in her lap; and a black page was standing in the background, feeding a chattering parrot.

It startled me very much; but Aunt Beauchamp, after surveying me rather critically as I made a profound courtesy, held out two fingers for me to kiss, and patting me on the cheek, said, “As rosy as ever, Kitty; the roses in your cheeks must make up for the russet in your gown.—A little country cousin of mine,” she said, introducing me in a kind of parenthetical way to the gentlemen in laced coats.

One of the gentlemen looked at me through an eye-glass, as if I had been a long way off, which made me indignant, and took away my shyness. The other, in a sky-blue coat, who seemed to me rather old, rose, and with an elaborate bow offered me a chair, and hoped it would be long before I withdrew the light of my presence again from the town. “The planets,” he observed, looking at Aunt Eeaucliamp, “naturally gathered around the sun.”

Aunt Beauchamp gave a little girlish laugh, tapped him lightly with her fan, called him a “mad fellow,” and bade me go and seek my Cousin Evelyn.

It seemed to me very strange to see these elderly people amusing themselves in this way, like old-fashioned children. Aunt Beauchamp is much older than Mother. I should think she

must be five-and-forty. And the old gentleman’s face looked so sharp and wrinkled under his flaxen wig. And I could not help noticing how close he kept his lips together when he smiled, as if he did not wish to show his teeth. He must be more than fifty.

I felt so sorry Aunt Beauchamp let her maid put those cherry-coloured ribands in her hair. They made her face look so much older and more lined. And it is a dear, kind old face, too. She looked almost like Father when she patted my cheek. Father says she was very beautiful when she was young. I suppose it must be sad to give up being beautiful. Yet it seems to nw every age has its own beauty. White hairs an; as beautiful at seventy as golden locks at twenty. It is only by trying to prolong the beauty of one stage into another that the beauty of both is lost

I hope I shall know when I am five-and-forty, and not go on forgetting I am growing old, while every one else sees it.

I am resolved that on all my birthdays I will say to myself, “Now, Kitty, remember you arc eighteen, nineteen, twenty.” And in that way I think old age cannot take me by surprise.

I found Cousin Evelyn in dishabille, not elaborate, but real, in her room, one hand holding a novel which she was reading, the other stroking the head of a great stag-hound which stood with his paws on her kuee, while her maid was smoothing out her beautiful long hair.

Her greeting was not very cordial; it was kind, but her large penetrating eyes kept investigating me as they had on our journey from Bath. Having finished her toilette and dismissed her maid, she said, “What made you stay so long at Hackney 1 Did you not find it very dull?”

It had never occurred to me whether it was dull or not, and I had to question myself before I could answer.

“You need not be afraid to tell me what you think,” she said. “Mamma thinks Aunt Henderson a self-satisfied Pharisee; and Aunt Henderson thinks us all publicans and sinners; so there is not much communication between the families. Besides, I suppose you know that the distance between America and England i3 nothing to that between the east and the west of London; so that, if we wished it ever so much, it would be impossible for us to meet often.”

“I am not afraid to tell you anything, Cousin Evelyn,” I said; “but I never thought very much if it was dulL It was of no use. I had to be there; and although, of course, it could not be like home, they were all very kind to me, especially Cousin Tom and Aunt Jeanic.”

“And now you liave to be here,” she replied; ° and I suppose you will not think whether it is doll or not, but still go on enduring your fate like a martyr.”

“I am not a martyr,” I said; “but you know it is impossible to feel anywhere quite as one does at home.” And I had some difficulty in keeping back the tears, her manner seemed to me so abrupt and unjust.

Then suddenly her tone changed. She rose, and seating herself on a footstool at my feet, took one of my hands in both of hers, and said, “You must not mind me. I think I shall like you. And I always say what I like. I am only a child, you see,” she added, with a little curl of lier lip. “Mamma will never be more than thirty; therefore, of course, I can never be more than ten.”

I could not help colouring, to hear her speak ‘o of her mother; and yet I could not tell how to contradict her.

She always saw in a moment what one doe3 not like, and she turned the subject, saying very Kntly, “Tell mo about your home. I should like to hear about it. You seem so fond of it”

At first it seemed as if there were nothing to tell Every one and everything at home are naturally so bound up with my very heart, that to Wk of it seemed like taking up a bit of myself ■>d looking at it.

But Evelyn drew me on, from one thing to Kiuther, until it seemed as if, having onco begun, I could never finish. She listened like a child to * new fairy tale, leaning her face on her hands, tod giang on me with her questioning eye3 quite £eriy, only saying when I paused, “Go on— vhatthent”

When I spoke of Mother, a tender, wistful look Ke over her face, and for the first time I saw •■* beautiful and soft her eyes were. That ex

pression, however, quickly passed, and when at length I came to a long pause, she said, smiling, “I am glad your Trusty is a genuine, uncompromising old sheep-dog. I hate poodles,” and then she added in her old dry tone: “It is as good as a pastoral, and as amusing as a novel When we go back to Beauchamp Manor, I will ask papa to build me a model dairy, and will commence an Arcadian life. It would be charming.”

“But,” I said, bewildered at her seeming to think of me and Mother and Betty as if we were people in a poem, “your dairy would be mere play; and I cannot see any amusement in that, except for children. It is the thought that I ought to do the things—that the comfort of those about me depends on my doing them—that makes me so happy in them.”

“The thought that you ought /” she said ;— “that is a word no one understands here. We do what we like, and what we mutt. If I thought I ought to go to the opera or to Vauxhall, I should dislike it as much as going to church.”

“As going to church !” I said.

“Yes,” she replied. “I mean at Beauchamp Manor, where Dr. Humden reads long sermons some dead bishop wrote centuries ago, in a voice which sounds as dead and stony as if it came from the effigies of all the Beauchamps which preside over the Church. In town it is different. The archdeacon never preaches half an hour, and that in the softest voice and in the most elegant language—very little duller than the dullest papers of the Spectator or the Taller. And then, one sees every one; and the performances of the congregation are as good as a play.”

Evelyn next gave herself, with real interest, to the inspection of my wardrobe.

It seemed almost like sacrilege to see the things which had cost Mother so much thought and pains treated with the imperfectly concealed contempt, which curled my cousin’s lips as she unfolded one carefully packed article after another. My best Sunday bonnet brought a very comical twist into her face; but the worst of all was when I unpinned my very best new dress, which had been constructed with infinite contrivance out of Mother’s wedding-dress. Evelyn’s polite self-restraint gave way, and she laughed. It was very seldom she gave any token of being

amused, beyond a dry, comical smile; and now her rare, ringing laugh, seemed to discompose Dragon, the stag-hound, as much as it did me. He seemed to feci he was being laughed at—a disrespect no dog can ever endure—and came forward and rubbed his nose reproachfully under my cousin’s hand, with a little deprecatory moan, as she held up the dress.

She gave him a parenthetical pat, and then looking up in my face, I suppose saw the foolish tears that would gather in my eyes.

“You and Dragon seem aggrieved,” she said. “I am afraid I have touched on sacred ground, Cousin Kitty. You seem very fond of your things.”

“It is not the things,” I said j “but Mother and all of us thought they were so nice; and Miss Pawsey from Truro does go to London once in every three or four years; and, besides, she lias a Book of Fashions, with coloured illustrations.”

I could not tell her it was Mother’s wedding dress. Rich people, who can buy everything they want immediately they want it, at any shop, and throw it aside when they are tired, can have no idea of the little loving sacrifices, the tender ] Winnings, the self-denials, the willing toils, the tearful pleasures, that are interwoven into the household possessions of the poor. To Evelyn my wardrobe was a bad copy of the fashions ;—to me every bit of it was a bit of home, sacred with Mother’s thoughts, contriving for me night and day, with the touch of her busy fingers working for me, with the quiet delight in her eyes as she surveyed me at last arrayed in them, and smoothed down the folds with her delicate neat hands, and then contemplated me from a distance with a combination of the satisfaction of a mother in her child and an artist in his finished work. I could not say all this with a steady voice, so I fell back on the defence of Miss Pawsey; but she only laughed, and said—

“Do you not know that three years old is worse than three centuries? It is all the difference between antiquated and antique. You would look a great deal more modern in a raff and fardingale of one of our great-great-grandmothers in Queen Elizabeth’s days. Indeed, I have no doubt, if I could see Aunt Trevylyan at this moment, I

should think her quite in fashion compared with those exactly out-of-date productions of your Falmouth oracle. We must send for my milliner.”

“But Mother thought it so nice, Cousin Evelyn,” I said at length; “I could not bear to have what she took such pains with pulled to pieces.’

She looked up at me again with the soft, wistful look in her eyes, folded the precious dress together as reverently as I could have done, and, laying it in the trunk, said very gently—

“Do not think any more about it, Cousin Kitty. I will manage it all”

I have been to the opera and to church, and I cannot wonder so much at Cousin Evelyn comparing the two.

The gloom of the Hackney Sundays seems cheerfulness itself compared to the dreary weekday glare of these. At the opera the music was as beautiful as songs in the woods on a spring morning: it was composed by a young Saxon gentleman—Mr. Handel. It was very strange to me that the people attended so little. Aunt Beanchamp had quite a little court of middle-aged and elderly gentlemen, to whom she dispensed gracious smiles, or frowns, which seemed in their way as welcome, pretty severities with her fan, and laughing rebukes; and whenever I looked aboct between the acts, the same small entertainment* seemed going on in the boxes around me. Whil* the music went on I could see and hear nothing else.

Evelyn laughed at me when we returned. I .actually was so unsophisticated, she said, as to go to the opera to enjoy the music

“What can any one go for else?” I asked. “It is not a duty.”

“For the same reason we go to church, or anywhere else,” she replied,—”to meet our fellow-creatures, to play over our play, or see them act theirsI could have told you of three separate dramas going on in the boxes nearest us, one at least of which is likely to rise into tragedy.—You liked the music then %”

“It was as beautiful as a dream,” I said; “o^J I wished sometimes it was a dream.”

“Whyt”

“I felt sorry for that modest, gentle-looking young woman having to talk so much nonsense in public I think she could hardly hare felt it right”

“Yon bring right and wrong into everything. You must not think of the actors as men and women, but as merely machines.”

At church it seemed to me very much the same. Aunt Beauchamp encountered many of her little court, and distributed her nods and smiles and her deprecatory glances, as at the play.

During the Psalms people made profound courtesies to their neighbours in the next pews; and during the Litany there was a general fluttering of fans and application of smelling-bottles, as if the confessing ourselves miserahle sinners were too much for the nerves of the congregation. But then it occurred to me that I was as careless as any one, or I should have known nothing of what the rest of the congregation were about; and it was a comfort to confess it in the words of the Litany. Afterwards I stood up, and was beginning to join with all my heart in the psalm, when Evelyn tapped me lightly, and said, “No one sings but the professional choir.” Then I saw that several people were looking at me with considerable amusement, and I felt ashamed of my own voice, and then felt ashamed of being ashamed.

The sermon was on the impropriety of being righteous over much; and every one said, as they met and exchanged greetings in the porch that it was a most elegant and able discourse. It was a pity some of the Methodist fanatics could not hear it Afterwards many important arrangements were made as to card-parties and balls for the ensuing week, or for Sunday evening itself.

On our way home Aunt Beauchamp said to me, “My dear child, you really must not say the responses so emphatically, especially those about our being miserable sinners. People will think you have done something really very wrong, instead of being a sinner in a general way, as, of course, we all must expect to be.”

One thing that made me feel strange in Aunt Beanchamp’s church is its looking so different from the church at home. I cannot help liking the great stone pillars and the arched roof, and the fretwork of the high windows, with bits of stained glass still left in them, better than this new church, with its carpeted passages, and

cushioned galleries, and painted wooden pillars, and flat ceiling. The music, and even the common speech in response and prayers, seem in some way mellowed and made sacred as they echo and wind among the old arches and up the roof, which seems more like the sky.

But Cousin Evelyn says my taste would be deemed perfectly monstrous—that these old country churches are remnants of the dark ages, quite Gothic and barbarous, and that in time, it is hoped, they will be replaced throughout England by buildings in the Greek and Roman style, or by that classic adaptation of both which is so elaborately developed in the ornamental pulpit and sounding-board of the church we attended.

And then Aunt Beauchamp says some of the wood-work is of that costly, new, fashionable wood called mahogany, so that it admits of no comparison with the rough attempts of less civilized ages.

I wonder if there are fashions in architecture as well as in dress—only counting their dates by centuries instead of by years. It would be strange if these old churches should ever be admired again, like the costumes of Queen Elizabeth’s time, and these new buildings be ridiculed as antiquated, like Miss Pawsey’s fashions!

I should be glad if this happened! The poor old Gothic builders seem to have delighted in their work, and taken such pains about it, as il they were guided by thoughts about right and wrong in what they did, by love and duty, instead of just by fashion and taste.

There seems such a heavy weight of emptiness about the life here. The rigidity of Aunt Henderson’s laws seems to me liberty compared with the endless drifting of this life without laws. In the morning the toilette, with the levee of visitors, the eager discussions about the colour of head-dresses and the shape of hoops. In the evening a number of beautifully dressed people, paying elaborate compliments to their present acquaintances, or elaborately dissecting the characters of their absent acquaintances—the only groups really in earnest being apparently those around the card-tables, who not unfrequcntly fall into something very like quarrelling.

This kind of living by the day surely cannot be the right kind—this filling up of every day with trifles, from brim to brim, as if every day were a separate life, and every trifle a momentous question.

When our Saviour told us to live by the day, he meant, I think, a day encompassed by Eternity—a day whose yesterday had gone up to God, to add its little record to the long unforgotten history of the past, whose to-morrow may take us up to God ourselves. We are to live by the day, not as butterflies, which are creatures of a day, but as mortal yet immortal beings belonging to eternity, whose mortal life may end to-night, whose longest life is but an ephemeral fragment of our immortality.

Evelyn seems very much aloof from the world about her. In society sometimes she becomes animated, and flashes brilliant sayings on all sides. But her wit is mostly satirical; the point is too often in the sting. She is evidently felt as a power in her circle; and her power arises in a great measure from her absence of ordinary vanity. She does not care for the opinion of those around her; and whilst those around her are in bondage to one another for a morsel of praise or admiration, she sits apart on a tribunal of her own making, and dispenses her judgments.

At present, I believe, she has passed sentence on me as pharisaical, because of something I said of the new oratorio of the Messiah. At first it seemed to me more heavenly than anything I had ever heard; but when they came to those words about our Lord’s sorrows,” He was despised and rejected, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief,” and around us there was, not a hush of shame and penitence, but a little buzz of applause, suppressed whispers, such as “Charming!”—” What tone!”—” No one else can sustain that note in such a way !”—and at the close the audience loudly clapped the singer, and she responded with a deep theatrical courtesy— I thought of ” When I survey the wondrous Gross” wished myself in Dr. Watts’ chapel, and felt I would rather have listened to any poor nasal droning which was worship, than to such mockery. I could not help crying.

When we were in the house again, Evelyn said—

“You enjoyed that music, Kitty.”

“No, Cousin Evelyn,” I said; “I would rather have been at the opera, a hundred times, and far rather in Aunt Henderson’s chapel at Hackney.”

“Your taste is original, at all events,” she replied drily.

“To think,” I said, “of their setting the great shame and agony of our Saviour to music for an evening’s entertainment, and applauding it lite a play! One might as well make a play about the death-bed of a mother. For it is true, it is true! He did suffer all that for us.”

She looked at me earnestly for a few moments, and then she said coldly—

“How do you know, Cousin Kitty, that other people were not feeling it as much as you % What right have we to set down every one as profane and heartless just because the tears do not come at every moment to the surface. The Bible says, ‘Judge not, and ye shall not be judged;’ and tells us not to be in such a hurry to take the motes out of other people’s eyes.”

I was quite silenced It is so difficult to think of the right thing to say at the moment Afterwards I thought of a hundred answers, for I did not mean to judge any one unkindly. I only spoke of my own feelings. But Evelyn has retired into her shell, and evades all attempts to resume the subject.

This morning at breakfast Cousin Harry (of whom we see very little) spoke, quite as an ordinary occurrence, of a duel, in which some one had been killed, in consequence of a quarrel about a lady; and of another little affair of the same kind ending in the flight of a lady of rank to the Continent.

I asked Evelyn afterwards what it meant

“Only that some one ran away with some one else’s wife, and the person to whom the wife belonged did not like it, and so there was a duel, and the husband was killed.”

“But,” I said, ” that is a dreadful sin. Those are things spoken of in the Ten Commandments.

“Sin,” she replied, “my scriptural cousin, is a word not in use in polite circles, except on Sundays, as a quotation from the Prayer Book “e never introduce that kind of phraseology on week davs.”

“Do these terrible things happen often, then 1” I asked.

“Not every day,” she replied drily. “The next thing you will be thinking is, that you hare lighted on a den of thieves. A great many people only play with imitations of hearts in ice. For instance, mamma’s little amusements are as harmless to herself and all concerned as the innocent gambols of a kitten. The only danger in that kind of diversion,” she added bitterly, “is, that it sometimes ends in the real heart and the imitation being scarcely distinguishable from each other.”

The easy and polished world around me no longer seems to me empty and trifling, but terrible. These icicles of pleasure are, then, only the sparkling crust over an abyss of passion, and ■wrong, and sin.

There is excitement and interest enough, certainly, in watching this drama, if one knows anything of what is underneath,—the same kind of excitement as in watching that dreadful ropedancing Cousin Harry took us to see atVauxhalL The people are dancing at the risk of life, and more than life. The least loss of head or heart, the least glancing aside of one of these graceful steps, and the performers fall into depths one shudders to think of.

I tremble when I think of it. Dull and hard as the religion seemed to me at Aunt Henderson’s, it is safety and purity compared with this wretched cruel levity, this dancing on the ice, beneath which your neighbours are sinking and straggling in agony.

Religion is worth something as a safeguard, even when it has ceased to be life and joy.

The sweet hawthorn which makes the air fragrant in spring is still something in winter, although it be only as a prickly prohibitory hedge.

The trees, which were a home of happy singing birds, and a treasure of shade and refreshment in summer, are still a shelter even when their leafless branches toss and crackle in the fierce winds of December. That is, as long as there is any life in the thorns, or the trees, or the religion.

If it were death instead of only winter that made the trees leafless, they would soon cease to

be a shelter as they have before ceased to be a delight

Yesterday I had a letter brought me by Evelyn’s maid, written on perfumed coloured paper.

In it the writer ventured to call me in poetry a goddess, and a star, and a peerless rose. If there had been only that, I should have felt nothing but indignation; for I do believe I have done nothing to deserve such nonsense being said to me.

But at the end there is some prose, in which the writer says he has really formed a devoted attachment to me, and he seems to want me to marry him at once, for he talks of lawyers and settlements. Cousin Evelyn came in as I was sitting perplexing myself what I ought to do. She laughed at my distress, and told me she could show me a drawer full of such compositions.

“It is so trying to have to make any one really unhappy,” I said; “and you see he says in the prose that life will be a blank to him if I cannot give him the answer he wishes.”

“Indeed you need not mind,” she said. “I myself have broken a score of hearts in the same way, and I assure you no one would know it; they do as well without their hearts. They are like the poor gentleman, whom Dante discovered, to his surprise, in the Inferno while he was supposed to be still alive. A devil was walking about in his body while his soul was in torments; and the devil and the soul were so much alike that no one had suspected the change.”

“I had never anything of the kind to do before,” I said, “and I am sorry. The prose really looks as if he would care, and I want to write gently but very firmly. I wish I could see Mother.” But then I thought how Mother had always told me of the one refuge in every difficulty, and I said softly, hardly knowing I said it aloud, “But if I pray, God will help me to do what is right.”

“Pray about a love-letter!” exclaimed my cousin, looking nearly as much shocked as I had felt at her calling the church as good as the play. “Pray about a love-letter, Cousin Kitty! You surely would not do anything so profane.”

“Surely I may pray God to help me to do right,” I said, “about everything. Nothing in winch there seems a question of right and wrong can be out of His care.”

Evelyn looked at mc once more with her wistful soft look, and said very gravely,—

“Kitty, I believe you really do believe in God.”

“You do not think that any wonder,” I said.

“I do,” she said solemnly. “I have been watching you all this time, and I am sure you really do believe in God; and I think you love him. I have never met with any one who did since my old nurse died.”

“Never met with any religious person!” I said.

“I did not say that,” she replied. “I have met with plenty of religious persons. Uncle and Aunt Henderson, and several ladies who almost shed tears over their cards, while talking of Mr. Whitefield’s ‘heavenly sermons,’at Lady Huntingdon’s— numbers of people who would no more give balls in Lent than Aunt Henderson would go to church. I have met all kinds of people who have religious seasons, and religious places, and religious dislikes, who would religiously pull their neighbours to pieces, and thank God they are not as other men. At the oratorio I thought you were going to turn out just a Pharisee like the rest; but I was.wrong. Except you and my old nurse, I never met with any one who believed, not in religion, but in God; not now and then, but always. And I wish I were like either of you.”

“Oh, Cousin Evelyn,” I said, “you must not judge people so severely. How can we know what is really in other people’s hearts? Howcan we know what humility and love there are in the hearts of those you call Pharisees; how they weep in secret over the infirmities you despise; how much they have to overcome; how, perhaps, the severity you dislike is only the irritation of a heart struggling with its own temptations and not quite succeeding? How do you know that they may not be” praying for you even while you are laughing at them?”

“I do not want them to pray for me,” she replied fiercely. “I know exactly how they would pray. They would tell God I was in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity; they would thank him for having, by his distinguishing mercy, made them to differ; and then they would express a hope that I might be made to see the error of my ways. I know they would, for I heard two religious ladies once talking together about me.

One asked if I was a believer; and the other, who had expressed great interest in me and sought my confidence, said she ‘was not without hope of me, for I had expressed great disgust at the world. She had even told Lady Huntingdon she thought I might be won to the truth.’ The woman had actually worked herself into my confidence by pretended sympathy, just to gossip about me at the religious tea-parties.”

I endeavoured to say a word in defence, but she exclaimed,—” Cousin Kitty, if I thought your religion would make you commit a treachery like that, I would not say a word to you. But you have never tried to penetrate into my confidence, nor have you betrayed any one else’s. I feel I can trust you. I feel if you say you care for me you mean it; and you love me as me myself,— not like a doctor, as a kind of interesting religious case. Now,” she continued, in a gentler tone, ” I am not at all happy, and I believe if I loved God as you do I should be. That may seem to you a very poor reason for wishing to be good, but it docs seem as if God meant us to be happy; and I have been trying, but I don’t get on. In deed I feel as if I got worse. I have tried to confess my faults to God. I used to think that must be easy, but the more I try the harder it is. It seems as if one never could get to the bottom of what one has to confess. At the bottom of the faults, censoriousness, idleness, hastiness, I come to silts, pride, selfishness. It is no! the things only that are wrong, it is / that ani wrong,—I myself,—and what can alter me. I may change my words or my actions, but who is to change me 1 Sometimes I feel a longing to fall into a long sleep and wake up somebody else, quite new.”

It occurred to me that the thought of conversion, which to Cousin Tom hao\ in the wrong place, become like a barrier between him and God, would to Evelyn be the very thing she longed for. And I said, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.” It is we that must be converted, changed, and not merely, as you say, our actions,— turned quite round from sin and darkness to God and light.”

She caught at the words “as little children.” She said, “Cousin Kitty, that is just
the thing I should like,—that would be like waking up quite new. But how can that be 1”

“It seems to me,” I said, ” that it must be like the blind man, who, believing our Lord’s words, and looking up to him sightless, saw. Looking to Him must be turning to him, and turning to liim must be conversion.”

Then we agreed that we both had much to learn, and that we would read the Bible together. Since then we have read the Bible very often together, Evelyn and I. But her anxiety and uneasiness seem to increase. She says the Bible is so full of God, not only as a King whose audience must be attended on Sundays, or a Judge at a distance recording our sins to weigh them at the last day, but as a Father near us always, having a right to our tenderest love as well as our deepest reverence.

“And I,” she says, “am far from loving him best—have scarcely all my life done anything, or given up anything, to please him.”

I comforted her as well as I could. I told her she must not think so much of her loving God as of His loving her,—loving us on through all our ingratitude and foolishness. We read together of the Cross—of Him who bore our sins there in His own body, and bore them away.

I cannot but think this is the true balm for my cousin’s distress; it always restores and cheers me—and yet she is not comforted.

It seems to me sometimes as if while I were trying to pour in consolation, a mightier hand than mine gently put aside the balm, and made the very gracious words I repeated a knife to probe deeper and deeper into the wound.

And then “I can only wait, and wonder, and pray. It does seem as if God were working in her heart. She is so much gentler, and more subdued. And the Bible says not only joy and peace, but gentleness, is a fruit of the Holy Spirit

I often wish Evelyn were only as free as the old woman who sells oranges at Aunt Beauchamp’s door, or the little boy who sweeps the crossings; for they may go where they like and hear the Methodist preachers in Moorfields or in the Foundery ChapeL And I feel as if Mr. Wesley or Mr. Whitefield could help my cousin as I cannot. If she could only hear those mighty,

melting words of conviction and consolation I saw bringing tears down the colliers’ faces, or holding the crowd at Moorfields in awe-stricken, breathless attention.

My wish is accomplished. We are to go and hear Mr. Whitefield speak at Lady Huntingdon’s house in Park Street. It came about in this way: —

A lady who is reported to have lately become very religious called one morning, and after some general conversation began to speak of Mr. Whitefield’s addresses in Lady Huntingdon’s house. She strongly urged my aunt and cousin to go, saying, by way of inducement, that it was quite a select assembly—no people one would not like to meet were invited, or, at all events, if such people came, one was in no way mixed up with them. “And he is such a wonderful orator,” she said; “no common-place fanatic, I assure yon, Evelyn. His discourses are quite such as you would admire, quite suited to people of the highest intellectual powers. My Lord Bolingbroke was quite fascinated, and my Lord Chesterfield himself said to Mr. Whitefield (in his elegant way), ‘He would not say to him what he would say to every one else, how much he approved him.'”

“I did not know that Lord Chesterfield and Lord Bolingbroke were considered good judges of a sermon,” said Evelyn drily.

“Of the doctrine—well, that is another thing, said the religious lady; “but of the oratory and the taste. Garrick, the great actor, says that his tones have such power that he can make his hearers weep and tremble merely by varying his pronunciation of the word Mesopotamia; and many clever men, not at all religious, say they would as soon hear him as the best play.”

“I have heard many services which seemed to me like plays,” said Evelyn, very mischievously; “and I do not see that it can do any one’s soul any good to be made to weep at the word Mesopotamia.”

“Oh, if we speak of doing real good to the soul,” rejoined the visitor—”thatis what I mean;” and in a tone of real earnest feeling she added, “I never heard any one speak of the soul, and of Christ, and of salvation like Mr. Whitefield. While he is preaching I can never think of anything but the great things he is speaking of. It is only afterwards one remembers his oratory and his voice.”

And it was agreed that we should go to Lady Huntingdon’s house the next time Mr. Whitefield was to preach.

“How strange it is,” Evelyn said to me when the lady had left, “what things religious people think will influence us who are still ‘in the world!’ What inducement would it be to me to go and hear a preacher, if Lord Bolingbroke and Lord Chesterfield, or all the clever and sceptical and dissipated noblemen in England liked him, and were no better for it? They try to tempt us to hear what is good, by saying the congregation is fashionable, or that clever people are captivated, or that the preacher is a genius, or an orator, or a man of the world, when I do think the most worldly people care more for the religion in a sermon than for anything else, and would be more attracted if they would say,’ We want you to hear that preacher, because he speaks of sin, and of Christ, and of the forgiveness of sins in a way no one else does.’ I wonder,” she concluded, after a pause, with a little smile, “if I ever should become really religious, if I shall do the same; if I shall one day be saying to Harry,’ You must hear this or that preacher; for he is a better judge of a horse than any jockey you know.”

We have heard Mr. Whitefield.

And what can I remember]

Just a man striving with his whole heart and soul to win lost souls out of a perishing, sorrowful world to Christ, and holiness, and joy.

Just the conviction poured in on the heart by an overwhelming torrent of pleading, warning, tender, fervent eloquence, that Christ Jesus the Lord cares more infinitely to win and save lost wandering souls than man himself—that where the preacher weeps and entreats, the Saviour died and saved.

Yes, it is done. The work of salvation is done. “It is finished.”

I never understood that in the same way before.

It is not only that the Lord Jesus loves us, yearns 8ver us, entreats us not to perish. He has saved us. He has actually taken our sins

and blotted them out, washed them out of sight, white, whiter than snow, in his own blood

It is not only that he pities. He saves. He has died. He has redeemed. The hands stretched out to save are those that paid the terrible ransom. He did not begin to pity us when we began to turn to him. “When we were without strength, he died for us, ungodly.”

“God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.”

“For he hath made him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

I never understood this in this way before; and yet there it is, and always has been, as clear as daylight, in page after page of the Bible.

All the way home Evelyn said nothing. Aunt Beauchamp was the only one who spoke; and she said it was very affecting, certainly; but she did not see there was anything so very original It was all in the Prayer-Book and in the Bible.

And then, after a pause, she added, in rather a self-contradictory way, “But if we are to be what Mr. Whitefield would have us, we might as well all go into convents at once. He really speaks as if people were to do nothing but be religious. He forgets that some of us have other duties.”

Then she took refuge in her vinaigrette, and said in a very languid voice, “My darling Evelyn, you look quite pale. Much more excitement of this kind would make us both quite ill. The man is so terribly vehement, he makes one feel as if one were in peril of life and death. Such preaching may do for people without nerves, but it weald soon kill me. I am only too glad I escaped without an attack of hysterics. And,” she continued, “I was told that a few .dap since Lady Suffolk was there by invitation. 1 really wonder a person of Lady Huntingdon’s character should invite such people to her house My dear,” concluded my aunt,” I do not think the thing is respectable, and I wonder Lady Mary proposed our attending sur”” an assembly. Indeed I wonder at myself for consenting to go. It is not at all a kind of place for sound church people to be seen at. I would not have the archdeacon know it on any account; and I am sure Dr. Humden would think I had been out of iav senses.”

And soothed with so many restoratives, ecclesiastical, social, and medical, Aunt Beauchamp relapsed into her usual state of languor and selfcontentment.

But Evelyn said nothing. Only when I ventured some hours afterwards to knock at her bedroom door, she opened and closed it in silence, and then taking both my hands, said, in a soft trembling voice, ” Cousin Kitty, I am very full of sin! I really think I am worse than any one, because, being myself so wrong, I have so despised every one around me. I have been a Pharisee and a publican all in one.”

And then she burst into tears, and buried her face in her hands. But in a few minutes she looked up again with a face beaming with a soft, childlike, lowly peace, and she said, “But Cousin Kitty, I am happier than I ever thought any one could be. For I do believe our Lord Jesus Christ died for my sins, and has really washed them away. And I do feel sure God loves me, even me; and I think he really will by degrees make me good—I mean humble, and loving, and kind. I do feel so at home, Cousin Kitty,” she added. “I feel as I had come back to the very heart of my Father—and oh, he loves me so tenderly, so infinitely, and has been loving me so long. Yes, at home, and at rest,” she sobbed; ” at home everywltere, and for ever, and for ever.”

The next morning Evelyn came to me early, pale, but with a great calm on her frank expressive face. “Kitty,” she said, “I have had a strange night. I could not sleep at all. It seemed as if the sins of all my past life came up before me unbidden, as they say the whole past sometimes comes vividly back to a drowning man. I saw the good I had left undone, the evil I have said and done, and the pride and- selfishness at the bottom of all. And almost more than anything, I felt how unkind, and even unjust, I had been to mamma; how ungenerous in not veiling any of her little infirmities; for I know she loves papa and Harry and me really better than all else in the world. I felt I must come with the first light and confess this to you. For one night came back to me, Kitty, years and years ago, when I was a little child. Harry and I had the scarlet

fever, and I saw before me, as if it were yesterday, my mother’s pale tender face, as she moved from one little bed to the other. I remember thinking how beautiful and dear she was as she sat by the nursery fire, and the flickering light fell on her face and her dark hair, and how she started at any movement or moan I or Harry made, and came so softly to the bedside, and bent over me with such anxious love in her eyes, and said tender little soothing words, and smoothed the pillow, or kissed my forehead with the soft kiss which was better than any cooling draught. Since then, indeed, we have been much away from her, and left to governesses and tutors; but Kitty, think what a blessing it is to recall all that early affection now, instead of by-and-by, when it would be too late to say a loving word, or do a thing to please her in return! Now I can bear to think of this, and of all my coldness and impatience, with the thought of the Cross and of God’s forgiving love, and with the hope of the days to come. But only think what it would have been to have seen it all too late.”

It seems as if, in coming back to God, Evelyn had come back to all that is tender and true in natural human love.

I suppose this is conversion. The joy of such a waking must be very great. But it is joy enough to be awake, however little we know when and how we awoke,—awake in the light of our Heavenly Father’s love, to do the day’s work he gives us.

To-day she smiled and said to me,—

“I think I should not mind now their talking

o

over my case at Lady Betty’s tea-parties. I had rather not, but if there was kindness at the bottom of it, I need not mind much. But Kitty,” she continued, “I do think still it is not possible to talk truly and much of our deepest feelings of any kind. I think it is a waste of power which we want for action.”

“We certainly need never sit down to talk of our own feelings,” I said. “There are moments when they will come out. And there is so much in the Bible to speak of without talking about ourselves.”

“Yes,” she said; “I think setting ourselves to talk religion is weakening. Think of Harry and me having a meeting to discuss which of us loved our parents best, or whether we loved them better yesterday or to-day! Yet there are sacred times when we must speak of those we love.”

Aunt Beauchamp is rather puzzled at the change in Evelyn. Evelyn has tried to explain it to her. But she says she cannot at all understand it. “Every one believed in Christianity except a few sceptics, like Lord Bolingbroke. Of course^ the work of our redemption was ‘ finished.’ It was finished more than seventeen hundred years since. Mr. Humden preached about it, always, at least, on Good Friday. And why Evelyn should be so particularly anxious about having her sins forgiven, she could not conceive; she had always been charming, if at times a little esptigk. But if she was happy, no one could object.”

There is nothing striking in this change in Evelyn, but it is pervading,—a gentleness in all she says and does; which, with the natural truthfulness and power of her character, are very winning. And this I notice especially with regard to her mother, a deference and tenderness, which, with no peculiar demonstrations of affection, evidently touch Aunt Beauchamp more than she knows. She begins even to venture to consult Evelyn about her wardrobe.

Evelyn does not ask to go again to hear Mr. Whitefield. But she has asked to go with me to see my poor old Methodist orange woman, who has disappeared from our door-steps, and now lies contentedly on her poor bed, coughing and suffering, waiting the Lord’s time, which she says, is sure to be exactly right The dear old soul gets us to read to her chapters from her old Bible and hymns, from Mr. Wesley’s new hymn-book; and repeats to us bits from Mr. “Wesley’s sermons. And perhaps, although sometimes the grammar is very confused and the theology not very clear, the strength of God made perfect in the weakness of a dying-bed may help us both as much as the mighty power of Mr. Whitefield’s eloquence.

To-day Hugh Spencer called on his way from Cornwall to Oxford.

At first he called me Mrs. Kitty and was very ceremonious. But I could scarcely help crying,

I was so glad. It was like a little bit of home. But he did not bring a very good account of Mother, and that made me cry in earnest. And when he saw that he dropped naturally into his old manner,—always so kind and like truth itself.

When he was gone, Evelyn asked me who he was, and why I had not said more about him. “He looks,” she said, “a man one could trust”

But why should I? He is only like one of ourselves.

I am so glad and thankful. Aunt Beauchamp is going again to Bath for the waters. And from Bath, father or Jack is to fetch me home.

I am so happy, I can scarcely help singing all day. I hope it is not ungrateful. They have all been so very kind to me in London.

And even Aunt Beauchamp’s very dignified maid, of whom at first I stood in such awe, seemed quite sorry when she heard I was going, and fell from the highest refinement of English into her native Devonshire dialect, when she took leave of me, to go and prepare the house at Bath, and wished me every blessing with tears in her eyes.

Yet I have done nothing for her, except being very sorry for her, and trying to comfort her one day when she was crying because her only brother had got drunk and gone and taken the king’s money and listed for the wars, and left her widowed mother alone.

To-day Evelyn went with me to wish good-bye to Aunt Henderson. Aunt Henderson was very kind in her hortatory way. She told me she had heard with thankfulness that Evelyn had become serious. But she advised her not to run into extremes. Young people brought out of the world were very apt to run into the other extreme of fanaticism. She hoped Evelyn, if she was indeed sincere, would keep the golden meaa It had always been her endeavour to do so, and she had found it the wisest plan.

Cousin Tom was more shy and awkward than ever. He said, when I asked him, that he had attended Mr. Wesley’s preaching two or three times, but it was like daggers to him. For as to telling everything to his father and mother, he did not see how any human being could. To sit evening after evening at home a distrusted delinquent, the subject of indirect lectures, was more tLan he could bear. If he confessed, he must run away the next morning.

I told him I was sure he had no idea of the true love there was in his mother’s heart—if he would only try it.

“Very little more idea, Tom,” I said, “than you have of the love God has for you—if you would only try that!”

A gleam of light flashed for a moment from under the shaggy eyebrows, and he glanced up at me. But then the old desponding downcast look came back. Aunt Henderson and Evelyn joined us. and he said no more.

Aunt Jcaiiie seemed to me feebler than when I saw her last; but her dear old face lighted up as she talked to us.

And as we were going away, she rose and held our hands in each of hers, and said, in a tender, trembling voice,—

“The world is no easy place for bairns like you to find their way through. And there’s no safe road through it that I know, from first to last, but just the foot-prints of the Lord himself. But you must not look to see even these in any long track before you. You’ll mostly find nothing

plain but the next “step. But your hearts need not sink for that A Saviour’s hand to guide you is better than a map. It upholds while it guides. I have found that the times when I was longing for the map were just those when I was losing hold of the hand; and then more than once the thorns, piercing my feet, drove me back to the foot-prints and the hand I should never have forsaken. But you need not be afraid even of the thorns,” she added, her whole face lighting up with confidence and joy; “the feet in whose prints we tread were pierced for us with worse than thorns. And the hand that guides and upholds is a hand well able to bind up any wounds. It has bound up what none else could—the broken heart.”

Then, as once or twice before, she seemed to forget the thought of our presence in the presence of God. Her whole spirit seemed to rise in prayer.

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HE tribe thus named appears before us in one memorable scene. Their history before and after it lies in some obscurity. We are left to search out and combine some scattered notices, and to get from them

1 W$ffl wnat l’Snt we C;U1^M^1 In 1 Chron. ii. 55, the house of Rechab

is identified with a section of the Kenites,

*ho came into Canaan with the Israelites and retained

their nomadic habits, and the name of Hammath is

mentioned as the patriarch of the whole tribe. It has

been inferred from this passage that the descendants of

Rechab belonged to a branch of the Kenites settled

from the first at Jabez iu Judah. The fact, however,

that Jehonadab took an active part in the revolution

which placed Jehu on the throne, seems to indicate

that he and his tribe belonged to Israel rather than to

Judah, and the late date of 1 Chron., taken together

with other facts, makes it more probable that this passage refers to the locality occupied by the Rechabites after their return from the captivity. Of Rechab himself nothing is known. He may have been the father, he may have been the remote ancestor of Jehonadab. The meaning of the word makes it probable enough that it was an epithet passing into a proper name. It may have pointed, as in the robber chief of 2 Sam. iv. 2, to a conspicuous form of the wild Bedouin life, and Jehonadab, the son of the Rider, may have been, in part at least, for that reason, the companion and friend of the fierce captain of Israel who drives as with the fury of madness (2 Kings ix. 20).

Another conjecture as to the meaning of the name is ingenious enough to merit a disinterment from the forgotten learning of the sixteenth century. Boulduc infers from 2 Kings ii. ]2; xiii. 14, that the two great prophets Elijah and Elisha were known, each of them

in his time, as the chariot of Israel, i.e., its strength and protection. He infers from this that the special disciples of the prophets, who followed them in all their austerity, were known as the “sons of the chariot,” and that afterwards, when the original meaning had been lost sight of, this was taken as a patronymic, and referred to an unknown Rechab. At present, of course, the different vowel-points of the two words are sufficiently distinctive; but the strange reading of the LXX. in Judges i. 19 shows that one word might easily enough be taken for the other. Apart from the evidence of the name, and the obvious probability of the fact, we have the statement of John of Jerusalem that Jehonadab was a disciple of Elisha.

2. As his name, his descent, and the part which he played indicate, Jehonadab and his people had all along been worshippers of Jehovah, circumcised, and so within the covenant of Abraham, though not reckoned as belonging to Israel, and probably therefore not considering themselves bound by the Mosaic law and ritual. The worship of Baal, introduced by Jezebel and Ahab, was accordingly not less offensive to them than to the Israelites. The luxury and license of Phoenician cities threatened the destruction of the simplicity of their nomadic life (Amos ii. 7, 8; vi. 3-6). A protest was needed against both evils, and as in the case of Elijah, and of the Nazarites of Amos ii. 11, it took the form of asceticism. There was to be a more rigid adherence than ever to the old Arab life. What had been a traditional habit was enforced by a solemn command from the sheikh and prophet of the tribe, the destroyer of idolatry, which no one dared to transgress. They were to drink no wine, nor build house, nor sow seed, nor plant vineyard, nor have any. All their days they were to dwell in tents, as remembering that they were strangers in the land (Jer. xxxv. C, 7). This was to be the condition of their retaining a distinct tribal existence. For two centuries and a half they adhered faithfully to this rule, but we have no record of any part taken by them in the history of the period. We may think of them as presenting the same picture which other tribes, uniting the nomade life with religious austerity, have presented in later periods.

The Nabathaeans, of whom Diodorus Siculus speaks as neither sowing seed, nor planting fruit-tree, nor using nor building house, and enforcing these transmitted customs under pain of death, give us one striking instance. Another is found in the prohibition of wine by Mahomet. A yet more interesting parallel is found in the rapid growth of the sect of the Wahabys during the last and present centuries. Abd-ul-Wahab, from whom the sect takes its name, reproduces the old type of character in all its completeness. Anxious to protect his countrymen from the revolting vices of the Turks, as Jehonadab had been to protect the Kenites from the like vices of the Phoenicians, the Bedouin reformer felt the necessity of returning to the old austerity of Arab

life. What wine had been to the earlier preacher of righteousness, the outward sign and incentive of a fatal corruption, opium and tobacco were to the later prophet, and as such were rigidly proscribed. The rapidity with which the Wahabys became a formidable party, the Puritans of Islam, presents a striking analogy to the strong political influence of Jehonadab in 2 Kings x. 15, 23.

3. The invasion of Judah by Nebuchadnezzarin B.c 607, drove the Rechabites from their tents. Possibly some of the previous periods of danger may have led to their settling within the limits of the territory of Judah. Some inferences may be safely drawn from the facts of Jer. xxxv. The names of the Rechabites show that they continued to be worshippers of Jehovah. They are already known to the prophet. One of them (ver. 3) bears the same name. Their rigid Nazarite life gained for them admission into the house of the Lord, into one of the chambers assigned to priests and Levites, within its precincts. They were received by the sons or followers of “a man of God,” a prophet or devotee, of special sanctity (ver. 4). Here they are tempted, and are proof against the temptation, and their steadfastness is turned into a reproof for the unfaithfulness of Judah and Jerusalem. The history of this trial ends with a special blessing, the full import of which has for the most part not been adequately apprehended: “Jonadab, the son of Rechab, shall not want a man to stand before me for ever” (ver. 19). We should hardly expect at this precise point to lose sight altogether of those of whom they were spoken, even if the words pointed only to the perpetuation of the name and tribe. They have, however, a higher meaning. The words “to stand before me” are essentially liturgical. The tribe of Levi is chosen to “stand before” the Lord (Deut x. 8; xviii. 5, 7). In Gen. xviii. 22; Judges xx. 28; Ps. exxxiv. 1; Jer. xv. 19, the liturgical meaning is equally prominent and unmistakeable. The fact that this meaning is given (” ministering before me”) in the Targum of Jonathan, is evidence—(1) as to the received meaning of the phrase; (2) that this rendering did not shock the feelings of studious and devout rabbis in our Lord’s time; (3) that it was at least probable that there existed representatives of the Rechabites connected with the Temple services in the time of Jonathan. This, then, was the extent of the new blessing. The Rechabites were solemnly adopted into the families of Israel, and were recognised as incorporated into the tribe of I*vlTheir purity, their faithfulness, their consecrated life gained for them, as it gained for other Nazarites that honour. In Lam. iv. 7, we may perhaps trace a reference to the Rechabites, who had been the most conspicuous examples of the Nazarite life in the prophets time, and most the object of his admiration.

4. It remains for us to see whether there are any traces

of their after-history in the Biblical or later writers. It is believed that there are such traces, and that they confirm the statements made in the previous paragraph.

We have the singular heading of the Ps. lxxi. in the LXX. version, evidence, of course, of a corresponding Hebrew title in the third century B.c, and indicating that the “sons of Jonadab” shared the captivity of Israel, and took their place among the Levite psalmists who gave expression to the sorrows of the people.

There is the significant mention of a son of Rechah in Keh. ill. 14, as co-operating with the priests, Levites, aod princes in the restoration of the wall of Jerusalem. The mention of the house of Rechab in 1 Chron. ii. 55, though not without difficulty, points, there can be little doubt, to the same conclusion. The Rechabites have become scribes. They give themselves to a calling which, at the time of the return from Babylon, was chiefly if not exclusively in the hands of Levites. The other names (Tirathites, Shimeathites, and Sachathites, in the authorized version) seem to add nothing to our knowledge. The Vulgate rendering, however (evidence of a traditional Jewish interpretation in the time of Jerome), gives a translation based on etymologies, more or less accurate, of the proper names, which strikingly confirms the view now taken,—” Cognationes quoque scribarum habitantium in Jabes, canentes atque resonantes, et in taocmaculis commorantes.” Thus interpreted, the passage points to a resumption of the outward form of their old life and its union with their new functions. It deserves notice also that while in 1 Chron. ii. 54,55, the Rechabites and Netophathites are mentioned in close connection, the “sons of the singers” in Neh. xii. 28 appear as coming in large numbers from the villages of the same Netopbathites. The close juxtaposition of the RechaUtes with the descendants of David in 1 Chron. iii. 1, shows also in how honourable an esteem they were held at the time when that book was compiled.

The account of the martyrdom of James the Just, given by Hegesippus, brings the name of the Rechabites once wore before us, and in a very strange connection. While the Scribes and Pharisees were stoning him, “one of the priests of the sons of Rechab, the son of Rechabim, who are mentioned by Jeremiah the prophet,” cried out, protesting against the crime. Dr. Stanley, struck with the seeming anomaly of a priest, “not only not of Levitical, but not even of Jewish descent,” supposes the name to have been used loosely as indicating the abstemious life of James and other Nazarites, and points to the fact that Epiphanius ascribes to Symeon the brother of James the words which Hegesippus puts into the mouth of the Rechabite as a proof that it denoted merely the Nazarite form of life. Cal

met supposes the man to have been one of the Rechabite Nethinim, whom the informant of Hegesippus took in his ignorance for a priest. The view which has been here taken presents, it is believed, a more satisfactory solution. It was hardly possible that a writer like Hegesippus, living at a time when the details of the Temple-services were fresh in the memories of men, should have thus spoken of the Rechabim unless there had been a body of men to whom the name was commonly applied. He uses it as a man would do to whom it was familiar without being struck by any apparent or real anomaly. The Targum of Jonathan on Jer. xxxv. 19, indicates, as has been noticed, the same fact. We may accept Hegesippus therefore as an additional witness to the existence of the Rechabites as a recognised body up to the destruction of Jerusalem, sharing in the ritual of the Temple, partly descended from the old “sons of Jonadab,” partly recruited by the incorporation into their ranks of men devoting themselves, as did James and Symeon, to the same consecrated life. The form of austere holiness presented in the life of Jonadab, and the blessing pronounced on his descendants, found their highest representatives in the two brothers of the Lord.

Some later notices are not without interest. Benjamin of Tudela, in the twelfth century, mentions that near El Jubar he found Jews who were named Rechabites. They tilled the ground, kept flocks and herds, abstained from wine and flesh, and gave tithes to teachers who devoted themselves to studying the law, and weeping for Jerusalem. They were 100,000 in number, and were governed by a prince, Salomon han-Nasi, who traced his genealogy up to the house of David, and ruled over the city of Thema and Telmas. A later traveller, Dr. Wolff, gives a yet stranger and more detailed report. The Jews of Jerusalem and Yemen told him that he would find the Rechabites of Jer. xxxv. living near Mecca. When he came near Scnaa he came in contact with a tribe, the Beni-Khaibr, who identified themselves with the sons of Jonadab. With one of them, Monsa, Wolff conversed, and reports the dialogue as follows:—” I asked him,’Whose descendants are you?’ Mousa answered, ‘Come and I will showyou,’ and read from an Arabic Bible the words of Jer. xxxv. 5-11. He then went on. ‘Come and you will find us 60,000 in number. You see the words of the prophet have been fulfilled, Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever.'” In a later journal he mentions a second interview with Mousa, describes them as keeping strictly to the old rule, calls them now by the name of the B’nfrArliab, and says that B’n§ Israel of the tribe of Dan live with them.—Smith’s ” Dictionary of the Bible.”