Part 7 out of 8
dissipation. She trusted that their dear young heiress would have a
better fate, owing to her own wisdom, than being chosen to support
the extravagance of a young titled adventurer.
Having worked herself up into enthusiastic admiration of her own
work, Miss Ponsonby was kinder than ever to her niece, and pitied her
for being harassed with Lord Fitzjocelyn's company to Liverpool.
Mary was not as much relieved as she had expected, when her hand had
been released from his pressure, and she had seen the last glimpse of
his returning boat.
Henceforth her imagination was to picture him only with Isabel
And so Viscount Fitzjocelyn was left with more liberty than he knew
what to do with. He was disinclined to begin the pursuit of Miss
Conway, as if this would involve a want of delicacy and feeling, and
he had no other object. The world was before him, but when he drove
to the Liverpool Station, he was unwilling to exert his mind to
decide for what ticket to ask.
The bias was given by the recollection of a message from his father
to Frampton. It would be less trouble to go home than to write, and,
besides, Aunt Catharine was alone. She was his unfailing friend, and
it would be a great treat to have her to himself.
Home then he went, where he spent the long summer days in listless,
desultory, busy idleness, often alone, dreaming over last year, often
passing his evenings with his aunt, or bringing her to see his
designs; dining out whenever he was invited, and returning odd
uncertain answers when Mr. Calcott asked him what he was going to do.
Mr. Holdswolth was going to leave James in charge of his parish, and
take a walking tour in Cornwall, and perversely enough, Louis's fancy
fixed on joining him; and was much disappointed when Mrs. Frost
proved, beyond dispute, that an ankle, which a little over haste or
fatigue always rendered lame, would be an unfair drag upon a
companion, and that if he went at all, it must not be on his own
At last, Lady Conway made a descent upon Northwold. Paris had become
so tranquil that she had no hesitation in taking her two elder
daughters to make their promised visit; and such appeals were made to
Louis to join them, that it became more troublesome to refuse than to
comply, and, at the shortest notice, he prepared to set out as the
escort of the Conway family.
'Now for it!' he thought. 'If she be the woman, I cannot fail to
find it out, between the inns and the sights!'
Short as the notice was, the Lady of Eschalott could have wished it
shorter. No sooner had Mr. Delaford set foot in the House Beautiful,
than Mrs. Martha announced to him that he would be happy to hear that
Charlotte Arnold was going to be married to a very respectable young
man, whom she had known all his life, and to whom Mr. Dynevor and
Miss Ponsonby had given an appointment to the gold mines, out of
respect for Lord Fitzjocelyn. Mr. Delaford gravely declared himself
glad to hear it.
But Delaford's purpose in life was, that no maiden should fail of
being smitten with his charms; and he took Charlotte's defection
seriously to heart. His first free moment was devoted to a call in
Number 5, but Charlotte was scouring in the upper regions, and Mrs.
Beckett only treated him to another edition of the gold mines, in
which, if they became silver, the power and grandeur of Mr. Oliver
were mightily magnified. Mr. Delaford thrummed his most doleful
tunes on the guitar that evening, but though the June sun was sinking
beauteously, Charlotte never put her head out. However, the third
time, he found her, and then she was coy and blushing, reserved and
distant, and so much prettier, and more genuine than all his former
conquests, that something beyond vanity became interested.
He courted the muses, and walked in with a pathetic copy of verses,
which, some day or other, might serve to figure in the county
newspaper, complaining of desertion and cruelty.
Charlotte sat at the little round table; Jane was upstairs, and
without her guardian, she felt that she must guard herself. He laid
the verses down before her with a most piteous countenance.
'Please don't, Mr. Delaford,' she said; 'I asked Mrs. Beckett to tell
'She has transfixed my breast,' was the commencement, and out poured
a speech worthy of any hero of Charlotte's imagination, but it was
not half so pleasant to hear as to dream of, and the utmost she could
say was a reiteration of her 'please don't!'
At last she mustered courage to say, 'I can't listen, sir. I never
ought to have done it. I am promised now, and I can't.'
A melodramatic burst of indignation frightened her nearly out of her
senses, and happily brought Jane down. He was going the next day,
but he returned once more to the charge, very dolorous and ill-used;
but Charlotte had collected herself and taken counsel by that time.
'I never promised you anything, sir,' she said. 'I never knew you
'Ah! Miss Arnold, you cannot interpret the heart!' and he put his
hand upon it.
'Nor I don't believe you meant it, neither!' continued Charlotte,
with spirit. 'They tell me 'tis the way you goes on with all young
women as have the ill-luck to believe you, and that 'tis all along of
your hard-heartedness that poor Miss Marianne looks so dwining.'
'When ladies will throw themselves at a gentleman's head, what can a
poor man do? Courtesy to the sex is my motto; but never, never did I
love as I love you!' said Delaford--'never have I spoken as I do now!
My heart and hand are yours, fairest Charlotte!'
'For shame, Mr. Delaford; don't you know I am promised?'
He went on, disregarding--'My family is above my present situation,
confidential though it be; but I would at once quit my present post-
I would open an extensive establishment for refreshment at some
fashionable watering-place. My connexions could not fail to make it
succeed. You should merely superintend--have a large establishment
under you--and enjoy the society and amusements for which you are
eminently fitted. We would have a library of romance and poetry--
attend the theatre weekly--and,'--(finishing as if to clench the
whole) 'Charlotte, do you know what my property consists of? I have
four hundred pounds and expectations!'
If Charlotte had not been guarded, what would have been the effect of
the library of poetry and romance?
But her own poetry, romance, and honest heart, all went the same way,
and she cried out--'I don't care what you have, not I. I've
promised, and I'll be true--get along with you!'
The village girl, hard pressed, was breaking out.
'You bid me go. Cruel girl! your commands shall be obeyed. I go
abroad! You know the disturbed state of the Continent.--In some
conflict for liberty, where the desperate poniard is uplifted--
'Oh! don't talk so dreadful. Pray--'
'Do you bid me pause? At a word from you. You are the arbitress of
'No; I've nothing to do--do go! Only promise you'll not do nothing
'Reject me, and life is intolerable. Where the maddened crowd rise
upon their tyrants, there in thickest of the fray--'
'You'll be the first to take to your heels, I'll be bound! Ain't you
ashamed of yourself, to be ranting and frightening a poor girl that
fashion?' cried the friendly dragon Martha, descending on them.
'Do you apply that language to me, ma'am?'
'That I do! and richly you deserve it, too, sir! See if your missus
doesn't hear of your tricks, if I find you at this again.'
The 'sex' fairly scolded the courteous Delaford off the field; and
though she turned her wrath on Charlotte for having encouraged him,
and wondered what the poor young man over the seas would think of it,
her interposition had never been so welcome. Charlotte cried herself
into tranquillity, and was only farther disturbed by a dismal
epistle, conveyed by the shoe-boy on the morning of departure,
breathing the language of despair, and yet announcing that she had
better think twice of the four hundred pounds and expectations, for
that it was her destiny that she and no other should be the bride of
'If I could only know he would do nothing rash!' sighed Charlotte.
Jane comforted her; Martha held that he was the last man in the world
who would do anything rash. Miss Conway's Marianne, who was left
behind, treated Charlotte as something ignominious, but looked so
ill, miserable, and pining, that Miss Mercy was persuaded she was
going into a decline, and treated her with greater kindness than she
had met since she was a child.
In the meantime, Fitzjocelyn had begun with a fit of bashfulness.
The knowledge that this was the crisis, and that all his friends
looked to the result of the expedition, made him feel as if he were
committing himself whenever he handed Isabel in or out of a carriage,
and find no comfort except in Virginia's chattering.
This wore off quickly; the new scene took effect on his impressible
mind, and the actual sights and sounds drove out all the rest. His
high spirits came back, he freely hazarded Mrs. Frost's old boarding-
school French, and laughed at the infinite blunders for which
Virginia took him to task, was excessively amused at Delaford's
numerous adventures, and enjoyed everything to the utmost. To Miss
Conway he turned naturally as the person best able to enter into the
countless associations of every scene; and Isabel, becoming aware of
his amount of knowledge, and tone of deep thought, perceived that she
had done Mr. Frost Dynevor injustice in believing his friendship
blind or unmerited.
They were on most comfortable terms. They had walked all over
Versailles together, and talked under their breath of the murdered
Queen; they had been through the Louvre, and Isabel, knowing it well
of old, found all made vivid and new by his enthusiastic delight;
they had marvelled together at the poor withered 'popular trees,'
whose name had conferred on them the fatal distinction of trees of
liberty; they had viewed, like earnest people, the scenes of
republican Paris, and discussed them with the same principles, but
with sufficient difference in detail for amicable argument. They had
thought much of things and people, and not at all of each other.
Only Isabel thought she would make the Viscount into a Vidame, both
as more quaint and less personal, and involving slight erasures, and
Louis was surprised to find what was the true current of his
thoughts. With Isabel propitious, without compunction in addressing
her, with all the novelty and amusement before him, he found himself
always recurring to Mary, trying all things by Mary's judgment,
wondering whether he should need approval of his theories in Mary's
eyes, craving Mary's sympathies, following her on her voyage, and
imagining her arrival. Was it the perverse spirit of longing after
the most unattainable?
He demanded of himself whether it were a fatal sign that he regretted
the loss of Isabel, when she went to spend a few days with her old
governess. Miss Longman had left the Conway family in order to take
care of the motherless children of a good-for-nothing brother, who
had run too deeply into debt to be able to return to England. He was
now dead, but she was teaching English, and obtaining advantages of
education for her nieces, which detained her at Paris; and as she had
a bed to offer her former pupil, Isabel set her heart on spending her
last three days in the unrestrained intercourse afforded by a visit
to her. Louis found that though their party had lost the most
agreeable member, yet it was not the loss of the sun; and that he was
quite as ready to tease his aunt and make Virginia laugh, as if
Isabel had been looking on with a smile of wonder and commiseration
for their nonsense.
THE FANTASTIC VISCOUNT.
Search for a jewel that too casually
Hath left mine arm: it was thy master's. Shrew me
If I would lose it for a revenue
Of any king's in Europe!--Cymbeline.
'My dear Fitzjocelyn, what is to be done? Have you heard? Delaford
says these horrid creatures are rising! There was an attack on the
Hotel de Ville last night! A thousand people killed, at least!--The
National Guard called out!'
'One of the lions of Paris, my dear aunt; Virginia is seeing it in
'Seeing it! We must go at once. They will raise those horrid
barricades;--we shall be closed in. And Isabel gone to that
governess! I wish I had never consented! How could I come here at
all? Fitzjocelyn, what is to be done?'
'Drive round that way, if you are bent on going,' said Louia, coolly.
'Meantime, Virginia, my dear, I will thank you for some coffee.'
'How can you talk of such things?' cried his aunt. 'It is all those
savage wretches, mad because the national workshops are closed.
Delaford declares they will massacre all the English.'
'Poor wretches, I believe they are starving. I think you are making
yourself ill--the most pressing danger. Come, Virginia, persuade
your mamma to sit down to breakfast, while I go to reconnoitre.
Where are the passports?'
Virginia had lost all terror in excitement, but neither she nor her
mother could bear to let him go out, to return they knew not when.
The carriage had already been ordered, but Lady Conway was
exceedingly frightened at the notion of driving anywhere but direct
to the railway station; she was sure that they should encounter
something frightful if they went along the Boulevards.
'Could not Delaford go to fetch Isabel?' suggested Virginia, 'he
might take a carriage belonging to the hotel.'
Delaford was summoned, and desired to go to fetch Miss Conway, but
though he said, 'Yes, my Lady,' he looked yellow and white, and
loitered to suggest whether the young lady would not be alarmed.
'I will go with you,' said Louis. 'Order the carriage, and I shall
Lady Conway, to whom his presence seemed protection, was almost
remonstrating, but he said, 'Delaford is in no state to be of use.
He would take bonjour for a challenge. Let me go with him, or he
will take care the young lady is alarmed. When we are all together,
we can do as may seem best, and I shall be able better to judge
whether we are to fight or fly.'
Outside the door he found Delaford, who begged to suggest to his
lordship that my Lady would be alarmed if she were left without
either of them, he could hardly answer it to himself that she should
remain without any male protector.
'Oh yes, pray remain to defend her,' said Louis, much amused, and
hastening down-stairs he ordered the carriage to drive to Bue ---, off
the Boulevard St. Martin.
He thought there were signs boding tempest. Shops were closed, and
men in blouses were beginning to assemble in knots--here and there
the red-cap loomed ominously in the far end of narrow alleys, and in
the wider streets the only passengers either seemed in haste like
himself, or else were National Guards hurrying to their alarm-post.
He came safely to Miss Longman's apartments, where he found all on
the alert--the governess and her nieces recounting their experiences
of February, which convinced them that there was more danger in
returning than in remaining. Miss Longman was urgent to keep Isabel
and Lord Fitzjocelyn for at least a few hours, which she declared
would probably be the duration of any emeute, but they knew this
would cause dreadful anxiety, and when Fitzjocelyn proposed returning
alone, Isabel insisted on accompanying him, declaring that she had no
fears, and that her mother would be miserable if her absence should
detain them. Perhaps she was somewhat deceived by the cool, almost
ludicrous, light in which he placed the revolution, as a sort of
periodical spasm, and Miss Longman's predictions that the railway
would be closed, only quickened her preparations.
After receiving many entreaties to return in case of alarm, they took
leave, Louis seating himself beside the driver, as well to keep a
look-out, as to free Miss Conway from fears of a tete-a-tete. Except
for such a charge of ladies, he would have been delighted at the
excitement of an emeute; but he was far from guessing how serious a
turn affairs were taking.
The dark blue groups were thickening into crowds; muskets and pikes
were here and there seen, and once he recognised the sinister red
flag. A few distant shots were heard, and the driver would gladly
have hastened his speed, but swarms of haggard-looking men began to
impede their progress, and strains of 'Mourir pour la patrie' now and
then reached their ears.
Close to the Porte St. Denis they were brought to a full stop by a
dense throng, above whose heads were seen a line of carriages, the
red flag planted on the top. Many hands were seizing the horses'
heads, and Louis leapt down, but not before the door had been opened,
and voices were exclaiming, 'Descendez citoyenne; au nom de la
nation, descendez.' The mob were not uncivil, they made way for
Louis, and bade him reassure her that no harm was intended, but the
carriage was required for the service of the nation.
Isabel had retreated as far as she could from their hands, but she
showed no signs of quailing; her eyes were bright, her colour high,
and the hand was firm which she gave to Louis as she stepped out.
There was a murmur of admiration, and more than one bow and muttered
apology about necessity and the nation, as the crowd beheld the
maiden in all her innate nobleness and dignity.
'Which way?' asked Louis, finding that the crowd were willing to let
them choose their course.
'Home,' said Isabel, decidedly, 'there is no use in turning back.'
They pressed on past the barricade for which their carriage had been
required, a structure of confiscated vehicles, the interstices filled
up with earth and paving stones, which men and boys were busily
tearing up from the trottoirs, and others carrying to their
destination. They were a gaunt, hungry, wolfish-looking race, and
the first words that Isabel spoke were words of pity, when they had
passed them, and continued their course along the Boulevards, here in
desolate tranquillity. 'Poor creatures, they look as if misery made
them furious! and yet how civil they were.'
'Were you much alarmed? I wish I could have come to you sooner.'
'Thank you; I knew that you were at hand, and their address was not
very terrific, poor things. I do not imagine there was any real
'I wish I knew whether we are within or without the barricades. If
within, we shall have to cross another. We are actually becoming
He broke off, amazed by Isabel's change of countenance, as she put
her hand to the arm he held, hastily withdrew it, and exclaimed, 'My
bracelet! oh, my bracelet!' turning round to seek it on the pavement.
'The ivory clasp?' asked Louis, perceiving its absence.
'Oh yes!' she cried, in much distress, 'I would not have lost it for
all the world.'
'You may have left it at Miss Longman's.'
'No, no, I was never without it!'
She turned, and made a few retrograde steps, searching on the ground,
as if conscious only of her loss, shaking off his hand when he
touched her arm to detain her.
A discovery broke on, him. Well that he could bear it!
'Hark!' he said, 'there is cannon firing! Miss Conway, you cannot go
back. I will do my utmost to recover your clasp, but we must not
'I had forgotten. I beg your pardon, I did not think!' said Isabel,
with a species of rebuked submission, as if impressed by the calmness
that gave authority to his manner; and she made no remark as he made
her resume his arm, and hurried her on past houses with closed doors
Suddenly there was the sound of a volley of musketry far behind.
'Heaven help the poor wretches,' said Louis; and Isabel's grasp
tightened on his arm.
Again, again--the dropping sound of shot became continual. And now
it was in front as well as in the rear; and the booming of cannon
resounded from the heart of the city. They were again on the
outskirts of a crowd.
'It is as I thought,' said Louis, 'we are between both. There is
nothing for it but to push on, and see whether we can cross the
barricades; are you afraid to encounter it!'
'No,' said Isabel.
'There is a convent not far off, I think. We might find shelter for
you there. Yet they might break in. It might not be easy to meet.
I believe you are safer with me. Will you trust in me?'
'I will not have you endanger yourself for me. Dispose of me as you
will--in a convent, or anywhere. Your life is precious, your safety
is the first thing.'
'You are speaking in irony.'
'I did not mean it: I beg your pardon.' But she coloured and
faltered. 'You must distinctly understand that this is only as
Englishman to Englishwoman.'
'As Englishman to Englishwoman,' repeated Louis, in her own formula.
'Or rather,' he added, lowering his voice, 'trust me, for the sake of
those who gave the clasp.'
He was answered by her involuntary pressure of his arm, and finally,
to set her at ease, he said, hurriedly, 'If it went wrong with me, it
would be to Lima that I should ask you to send my love.'
There was no time for more. They were again on the freshly-torn
ground, whence the pavement had been wrenched. The throng had
thickened behind them, and seemed to be involving them in the vortex.
Above their heads Louis could see in front between the tall houses,
the summit of another barricade complete, surmounted with the red
flag, and guarded by a fierce party of ruffians.
All at once, tremendous yells broke out on all sides. The rattle of
a drum, now and then, might be distinguished, shouts and shrieks
resounded, and there was a sharp fire of musketry from the barricade,
and from the adjoining windows; there was a general rush to the
front, and Louis could only guard Isabel by pressing her into the
recess of the closed doorway of one of the houses, and standing
before her, preventing himself from being swept away only by exerting
all his English strength against the lean, wild beings who struggled
past him, howling and screaming. The defenders sprang upon the
barricade, and thrust back and hurled down the National Guards, whose
heads were now and then seen as they vainly endeavoured to gain the
summit. This desperate struggle lasted for a few minutes, then cries
of victory broke out, and there was sharp firing on both sides,
which, however, soon ceased; the red flag and the blouses remaining
still in possession. Isabel had stood perfectly silent and
motionless through the whole crisis, and though she clung to her
protector's arm, it was not with nervous disabling terror, even in
the frightful tumult of the multitude. There was some other strength
'You are not hurt?' said Louis, as the pressure relaxed.
'Oh no! thank God! You are not?'
'Are you ready? We must make a rush before the next assault.'
A lane opened in the throng to afford passage for the wounded.
Isabel shrank back, but Louis drew her on hastily, till they had
attained the very foot of the barricade, where a space was kept
clear, and there was a cry 'Au large, or we shall fire.'
'Let us pass, citizens,' said Louis, hastily rehearsing the French he
had been composing. 'You make not war on women. Let me take this
young lady to her mother.'
Grim looks were levelled at them by the fierce black-bearded men, and
their mutterings of belle made her cling the closer to her guardian.
'Let her pass, the poor child!' said more than one voice.
'Hein!--they are English, who take the bread out of our mouths.'
'If you were a political economist,' said Louis, gravely, fixing his
eyes on the shrewd-looking, sallow speaker, I would prove to you your
mistake; but I have no time, and you are too good fellows to wish to
keep this lady here, a mark for the Garde Nationale.'
'He is right there,' said several of the council of chiefs, and a
poissarde, with brawny arms and a tall white cap, thrusting forward,
cried out, 'Let them go, the poor children. What are they doing
here? They look fit fo be set up in the church for waxen images!'
'Take care you do not break us,' exclaimed Louis, whose fair cheek
had won this tribute; and his smile, and the readiness of his reply,
won his admission to the first of the steps up the barricade.
'Halte la!' cried a large-limbed, formidable-looking ruffian on the
summit, pointing his musket towards them; 'none passes here who does
not bring a stone to raise our barricade for the rights of the Red
Republic, and cry, La liberte, l'egalite, et la, fraternite, let it
fit his perfidious tongue as it may.'
'There's my answer,' said Louis, raising his right arm, which was
dripping; with blood, 'you have made me mount the red flag!'
'Ha!' cried the friendly fishwife, 'Wounded in the cause of the
nation! Let him go.'
'He has not uttered the cry!' shouted the rest.
Louis looked round with his cool, pensive smile.
'Liberty!' he said, 'what _we_ mean by liberty is freedom to go where
we will, and say what we will. I wish you had it, my poor fellows.
Fraternity--it is not shooting our brother. Egalite--I preach that
too, but in my own fashion, not yours. Let me pass--si cela vou est
His nonchalant intrepidity--a quality never lost on the French--
raised an acclamation of le brave Anglais. No one stirred a hand to
hinder their mounting to the banquette, and several hands were held
out to assist in surmounting the parapet of this extempore
fortification. Isabel bowed her thanks, and Louis spoke them with
gestures of courtesy; and shouts of high applause followed them as
they sped along the blood-stained street.
The troops were re-forming after the repulse, and the point was to
pass before the attack could be renewed, as well as not to be
mistaken for the insurgents.
They were at once challenged, but a short explanation to the officer
was sufficient, and they were suffered to turn into the Rue
Richelieu, where they were only pursued by the distant sounds of
'Oh, Lord Fitzjocelyn!' cried Isabel, as he slackened his pace, and
gasped for breath.
'You are sure you are not hurt?' he said.
'Oh no, no; but you--'
'It is very little,' he said--'a stray shot--only enough to work on
their feelings. What good-natured rogues they were. I will only
twist my handkerchief round to stop the blood. Thank you.'
Isabel tried to help him, but she was too much afraid of hurting him
to draw the bandage tight.
They dashed on, finding people on the watch for tidings, and meeting
bodies of the National Guard, and when at length they reached the
Place Vendome, they found the whole establishment watching for them,
and Virginia flew to meet them on the stairs, throwing her arms round
her sister, while Lady Conway started forward with the agitated joy,
and almost anger, of one who felt injured by the fright they had made
'There you are! What has kept you! Delaford said they were
slaughtering every one on the Boulevards!'
'I warned you of the consequences of taking me,' said Louis, dropping
into a chair.
'Mamma! he is all over blood!' screamed Virginia.
Lady Conway recoiled, with a slight shriek.
'It is a trifle,' said Louis;' Isabel is safe. There is all cause
for thankfulness. We could never have got through if she had not
been every inch a heroine.'
'Oh, Lord Fitzjocelyn, if I could thank you!'
'Don't,' said Louis, with so exactly his peculiar droll look and
smile, that all were reassured.
Isabel began to recount their adventure.
'In the midst of those horrid wretches! and the firing!' cried Lady
Conway. 'My dear, how could you bear it? I should have died of
'There was no time for fear,' said Isabel, with a sort of scorn; 'I
should have been ashamed to be frightened when Lord Fitzjocelyn took
it so quietly. I was only afraid lest you should repeat their horrid
war-cry. I honour your refusal.'
'Of course one would not in their sense, poor things, and on
compulsion,' said Louis, his words coming the slower from the
exhaustion which made him philosophize, rather than exert himself.
'In a true sense, it is the war-cry of our life.'
'How can you talk so!' cried Lady Conway. 'Delaford says the
ruffians are certain to overpower the Guard. We must go directly.
Very likely this delay of yours may prevent us from getting off at
'I will find out whether the way be open,' said Louis, 'when I have-'
His words failed him, for as he rose, the handkerchief slipped off, a
gush of blood came with it, and he was so faint that he could hardly
reach the sofa.
Lady Conway screamed, Virginia rang the bells, Isabel gave orders
that a surgeon should be called.
'Spirits from the vasty deep,' muttered Louis, in the midst of his
faintness, 'the surgeons have graver work on hand.'
'For heaven's sake, don't talk so!' cried his aunt, without daring to
look at him; 'I know your arm is broken!'
'Broken bones are a very different matter, experto crede. This will
be all right when I can stop the bleeding,' and steadying himself
with difficulty, he reached the door, and slowly repaired to his own
room, while the girls sent Fanshawe and Delaford to his assistance.
Lady Conway, unable to bear the sight of blood, was in a state of
nervous sobbing, which Virginia's excited restlessness did not tend
to compose; and Isabel walked up and down the room, wishing that she
could do anything, looking reproachfully at her mother, and exalting
to the skies the courage, presence of mind, and fortitude of the
Presently, Delaford came down with a message from Lord Fitzjocelyn
that it was of no use to wait for him, for as the butler expressed
it, 'the haemorrhage was pertinacious,' and he begged that the ladies
would depart without regard to him. 'In fact,' said Delaford, 'it
was a serious crisis, and there was no time to be lost; an English
gentleman, Captain Lonsdale, who had already offered his services,
would take care of his lordship, and my Lady had better secure
herself and the young ladies.'
'Leave Fitzjocelyn!' cried Virginia.
'Is it very dangerous, Delaford?' asked Lady Conway.
'I would not be responsible for the consequences of remaining, my
Lady,' was the answer. 'Shall I order the horses to be brought out?'
'I don't know. Is the street full of people? Oh! there is firing!
What shall I do? Isabel, what do you say!'
Isabel was sitting still and upright; she hardly raised her eyelids,
as she tranquilly said, 'Nothing shall induce me to go till he is
'Isabel! this is most extraordinary! Do you know what you are
Isabel did not weaken her words by repetition, but signed to Delaford
to leave them, and he never ventured to disregard Miss Conway.
Virginia hung about her, and declared that she was quite right; and
Lady Conway, in restless despair, predicted that they would all be
massacred, and that her nephew would bleed to death, and appealed to
every one on the iniquity of all the doctors in Paris for not coming
Poor Louis himself was finding it very forlorn to be left to
Fanshawe, whose one idea was essences, and Delaford, who suggested
nothing but brandy. Some aunts and cousins he had, who would not
have left him to their tender mercies. He was growing confused and
feeble, speculating upon arteries, and then starting from a delusion
of Mary's voice to realize his condition, and try to waken his
At last, a decided step was heard, and he saw standing by him a
vigorous, practical-looking Englishman, and a black-eyed, white-
hooded little Soeur de Charite. Captain Lonsdale, on hearing the
calls for surgical aid, had without a word, hurried out and secured
the brisk little Sister, who, with much gesticulation, took
possession of the arm, and pronounced it a mere trifle, which would
have been nothing but for the loss of blood, the ball having simply
passed through the fleshy part of the arm, avoiding the bone. Louis,
pleased with this encounter as a result of the adventure, was soon in
condition to rise, though with white cheeks and tottering step, and
to present to Lady Conway her new defender.
The sight of a bold, lively English soldier was a grand consolation,
even though he entirely destroyed all plans of escape by assuring her
that there was a tremendous disturbance in the direction of the
Northern Railway, and that the only safe place for ladies was just
where she was. He made various expeditions to procure intelligence,
and his tidings were cheerful enough to counteract the horrible
stories that Delaford was constantly bringing in, throughout that
Saturday, the dreadful 24th of June, 1848.
It was late before any one ventured to go to bed; and Louis, weak and
weary, had wakened many times from dreamy perceptions that some
wonderful discovery had been made, always fixing it upon Mary, and
then finding himself infinitely relieved by recollecting that it did
not regard her. He was in the full discomfort of the earlier stage
of this oft-repeated vision, when his door was pushed open, and
Delaford's trembling voice exclaimed, 'My Lord, I beg your pardon,
the massacre is beginning.'
'Let me know when it is over,' said Louis, nearly in his sleep.
Delaford reiterated that the city was bombarded, thousands of armed
men were marching on the hotel, and my Lady ought to be informed. A
distant cannonade, the trampling of many feet, and terrified voices
on the stairs, finally roused Louis, and hastily rising, he quitted
his room, and found all the ladies on the alert. Lady Conway was
holding back Virginia from the window, and by turns summoning Isabel
to leave it, and volubly entreating the master of the hotel to secure
it with feather-beds to defend them from the shot.
'Oh, Fitzjocelyn!' she screamed, 'tell him so--tell him to take us to
the cellars. Why will he not put the mattresses against the windows
before they fire?'
'I should prefer a different relative position for ourselves and the
beds,' said Louis, in his leisurely manner, as he advanced to look
out. 'These are the friends of order, my dear aunt; you should
welcome your protectors. Their beards and their bayonets by gaslight
are a grand military spectacle.'
'They will fire! There will be fighting here! They will force their
way in. Don't, Virginia--I desire you will not go near the window.'
'We are all right. You are as safe as if you were in your own
drawing-room,' said Captain Lonsdale, walking in, and with his loud
voice drowning the panic, that Louis's cool, gentle tones only
Isabel looked up and smiled, as Louis stood by her, leaving his aunt
and Virginia to the martial tones of their consoler.
'I could get no one to believe me when I said it was only the
soldiers,' she observed, with some secret amusement.
'The feather-bed fortress was the leading idea,' said Louis. 'Some
ladies have a curious pseudo presence of mind.'
'Generally, I believe,' said Isabel, 'a woman's presence of mind
should be to do as she is told, and not to think for herself, unless
she be obliged.'
'Thinking for themselves has been fatal to a good many,' said Louis,
relapsing into meditation--'this poor Paris among the rest, I fancy.
What a dawn for a Sunday morning! How cold the lights look, and how
yellow the gas burns. We may think of home, and be thankful!' and
kneeling with one knee on a chair, he leant against the shutter,
gazing out and musing aloud.
'Thankful, indeed !' said Isabel, thoughtfully.
'Yes--first it was thinking not at all, and then thinking not in the
Isabel readily fell into the same strain. 'They turned from daylight
and followed the glare of their own gas,' said she.
So they began a backward tracing of the calamities of France; and, as
Louis's words came with more than usual slowness and deliberation,
they had only come to Cardinal de Richelieu, when Captain Lonsdale
exclaimed, 'I am sorry to interrupt you, Lord Fitzjocelyn, but may I
ask whether you can afford to lose any more blood?'
'Thank you; yes, the bandage is loosened, but I was too comfortable
to move,' said Louis, sleepily, and he reeled as he made the attempt,
so that he could not have reached his room without support.
The Captain had profited sufficiently by the Sister's example to be
able to staunch the blood, but not till the effusion had exhausted
Louis so much that all the next day it mattered little to him that
the city was in a state of siege, and no one allowed to go out or
come in. Even a constant traveller like Captain Lonsdale, fertile in
resource, and undaunted in search of all that was to be seen, was
obliged to submit, the more willingly that Fitzjocelyn needed his
care, and the ladies' terror was only kept at bay by his protection.
He sat beside the bed where lay Louis in a torpid state, greatly
disinclined to be roused to attend when his aunt would hasten into
the room, full of some horrible rumour brought in by Delaford, and
almost petulant because he would not be alarmed. All he asked of the
Tricolor or of the Drapeau Rouge for the present was to let him
alone, and he would drop into a doze again, while the Captain was
still arguing away her terror.
More was true than he would allow her to credit and when the little
Soeur de Charite found a few minutes for visiting her patient's
wound, her bright face was pale with horror and her eyes red with
'Our good Archbishop!' she sobbed, when she allowed herself to speak,
and to give way to a burst of tears. 'Ah, the martyr! Ah, the good
pastor! The miserable--But no--my poor people, they knew not what
And as Louis, completely awakened, questioned her, she told how the
good Archbishop Affre had begun that Sunday of strife and bloodshed
by offering his intercessions at the altar for the unhappy people,
and then offering his own life. 'The good shepherd giveth his life
for the sheep,' were his words, as he went forth to stand between the
hostile parties, and endeavour to check their fury against one
another. She herself had seen him, followed by a few priests, and
preceded by a brave and faithful ouvrier, who insisted on carrying
before him a green branch, as an emblem of his peaceful mission. She
described how, at the sight of his violet robes, and the white cross
on his breast, the brave boy gardes mobiles came crowding round him,
all black with powder, begging for his blessing, some reminding him
that he had confirmed them, while others cried, 'Your blessing on our
muskets, and we shall be invincible,' while some of the women asked
him to carry the bandages and lint which they wished to send to the
On he went, comforting the wounded, absolving the dying, and
exhorting the living, and at more than one scene of conflict the
combatants paused, and yielded to his persuasions; but at the
barricade at the Faubourg St. Antoine, while he was signing to the
mob to give him a moment to speak, a ball struck him, and followed by
the weeping and horror-struck insurgents, he was borne into the
curate's house, severely wounded, while the populace laid down their
weapons, to sign a declaration that they knew not who had fired the
'No, no, it was none of our people!' repeated the little nun. 'Not
one of them, poor lost creatures as too many are, would have
committed the act--so sacrilegious, so ungrateful! Ah! you must not
believe them wicked. It is misery that drove them to rise. Hold! I
met a young man--alas! I knew him well when he was a child--I said to
him, 'Ah! my son, you are on the bad train.' 'Bread, mother--it is
bread we must have,' he answered. 'Why, would you speak to one who
has not eaten for twenty-four hours?' I told him he knew the way to
our kitchen. 'No, mother,' he said, 'I shall not eat; I shall get
Many a lamentable detail of this description did she narrate, as she
busied herself with the wound; and Louis listened, as he had listened
to nothing else that day, and nearly emptied his travelling purse for
the sufferers. Isabel and Virginia waylaid her on the stairs to
admire and ask questions, but she firmly, though politely, put them
aside, unable to waste any time away from her children--her poor
On Monday forenoon tranquillity was restored, the rabble had been
crushed, and the organized force was triumphant. Still the state of
siege continued, and no one was allowed free egress or ingress, but
the Captain pronounced this all nonsense, and resolutely set out for
a walk, taking the passports with him, and promising Lady Conway to
arrange for her departure.
By-and-by he came in, subdued and affected by the procession which he
had encountered--the dying Archbishop borne home to his palace on a
litter, carried by workmen and soldiers, while the troops, who lined
the streets, paid him their military salutes, and the people crowded
to their doors and windows--one voice of weeping and mourning running
along Paris--as the good prelate lay before their eyes, pale,
suffering, peaceful, and ever and anon lifting his feeble hand for a
last blessing to the flock for whom he had devoted himself.
The Captain was so much impressed that, as he said, he could not get
over it, and stayed for some time talking over the scene with the
young ladies, before starting up, as if wondering at his own emotion,
he declared that he must go and see what they would do next.
Presently afterwards, Fitzjocelyn came down stairs. His aunt was
judiciously lying down in her own apartment to recruit her nerves
after her agitation, and had called Virginia to read to her, and
Isabel was writing her journal, alone, in the sitting-room. Lady
Conway would have been gratified at her eager reception of him, but,
as he seemed very languid, and indisposed for conversation, she
continued her occupation, while he rested in an arm-chair.
Presently he said, 'Is it possible that you could have left that
bracelet at Miss Longman's ?'
'Pray do not think about it,' exclaimed Isabel; 'I am ashamed of my
ohildishness! Perhaps, but for that delay, you would not have been
hurt,' and her eyes filled with tears, as her fingers encircled the
place where the bracelet should have been.
'Perhaps, but for that delay, we might both have been shot,' said
Louis. 'No, indeed; I could not wonder at your prizing it so much.'
'I little thought that would be the end of it,' said Isabel. 'I am
glad you know its history, so that I may have some excuse;' and she
tried to smile, but she blushed deeply as she dried her eyes.
'Excuse? more than excuse!' said Louis, remembering his fears that it
would be thrown away upon her. 'I know--'
'He has told you!' cried Isabel, starting with bashful eagerness.
'He has told me what I understand now,' said Louis, coming near in a
glow of grateful delight. 'Oh, I am so glad you appreciate him.
'You are inferring too much,' said Isabel, turning away in confusion.
'Don't you mean it!' exclaimed Louis. 'I thought--'
'We must not mistake each other,' said Isabel, recovering her self-
possession. 'Nothing amounting to what you mean ever passed, except
a few words the last evening, and I may have dwelt on them more than
I ought,' faltered she, with averted head.
'Not more than he has done, I feel certain,' said Louis; 'I see it
all! Dear old Jem! There's no such fellow in existence.' But here
perceiving that he was going too far, he added, almost timidly, 'I
beg your pardon.'
'You have no occasion,' she said, smiling in the midst of her
blushes. 'I feared I had said what I ought not. I little expected
such kind sympathy.'
She hastily left him, and Lady Conway soon after found him so full of
bright, half-veiled satisfaction, that she held herself in readiness
for a confession from one or both every minute, and, now that the
panic was over, gave great credit to the Red Republicans for having
served her so effectually, and forgave the young people for having
been so provoking in their coolness in the time of danger, since it
proved how well they were suited to each other. She greatly enjoyed
the universally-implied conviction with regard to the handsome young
pair. Nor did they struggle against it; neither of them made any
secret of their admiration for the conduct of the other, and the
scrupulous appellations of Miss Conway and Lord Fitzjocelyn were
discarded for more cousinly titles.
The young hero fell somewhat in his aunt's favour when he was missing
at the traveller's early breakfast, although Delaford reported him
much better and gone out. 'What if he should be late for the train?-
-what if he should be taken up by the police?' Virginia scolded her
sister for not being equally restless, and had almost hunted the
Captain into going in search of him; when at last, ten minutes before
the moment of departure, in he came, white, lame, and breathless, but
his eyes dancing with glee, and his lips archly grave, as he dropped
something into Isabel's lap.
'Her bracelet!' exclaimed Virginia, as Isabel looked up with swimming
eyes, unable to speak. 'Where did you find it?'
'In the carriage, in the heart of the barricade at the Porte St.
'It is too much!' cried Isabel, recovering her utterance, and rising
with her hands locked together in her emotion. 'You make me repent
my having lamented for it!'
'I had an old respect for Clara's clasp.'
'I never saw a prettier attention,' said his aunt.
'It is only a pity that you cannot fasten it on for her.'
'That could only be done by the right hand,' muttered Louia, under
his breath, enjoying her blush.
'You have not told us how you got it!' said Virginia.
'It struck me that there was a chance, and I had promised to lose
none. I found the soldiers in the act of pulling down the barricade.
What an astonishing construction it is! I spoke to the officer, who
was very civil, and caused me to depose that I had hired the
carriage, and belonged to the young lady. I believe my sling had a
great effect; for they set up a shout of acclamation when the
bracelet appeared, lying on the cushion as quietly as if it were in
its own drawer.'
'The value will be greater than ever _now_, Isabel,' said Lady
Conway. 'You will never lose it again!'
Isabel did not gainsay her.
The Captain shrugged his shoulders, and looked sagacious at his
patient's preparation for the journey before him.
Louis gravely looked into his face as he took leave of him, and said,
'You are wrong.'
The Captain raised his eyebrows incredulously. As they left the
city, the bells of all the churches were tolling for the martyred
Archbishop. And not for him alone was there mourning and lamentation
through the city: death and agony were everywhere; in some of the
streets, each house was a hospital, and many a groan and cry of
mortal pain was uttered through that fair summer-day. Louis, in a
low voice, reminded Isabel that, on this same day, the English
primate was consecrating the abbey newly restored for a missionary
college; and his eyes glistened as he dwelt with thanksgiving upon
the contrast, and thought of the 'peace within our walls, and
plenteousness within our palaces.'
He lay back in his corner of the carriage, too much tired to talk;
though, by-and-by, he began to smile over his own musings, or to make
some lazily ludicrous remark to amuse Virginia. His aunt caressed
her wounded hero, and promoted his intercourse with Isabel, to his
exquisite amusement, in his passive, debonnaire condition, especially
as Isabel was perfectly insensible to all these manuoevres.
There she sat, gazing out of window, musing first on the meeting with
the live Sir Roland, secondly on the amends to be made in the 'Chapel
in the valley.' The Cloten of the piece must not even be a Vidame
nothing distantly connected with a V; even though this prototype was
comporting himself much more like the nonchalant, fantastic Viscount,
than like her resolute, high-minded Knight at the Porte St. Denis.
THE HERO OF THE BARRICADES.
The page slew the boar,
The peer had the gloire.
Great uneasiness was excited at Dynevor Terrace by the tidings of the
insurrection at Paris. After extracting all possible alarm from her
third-hand newspaper, Mrs. Frost put on her bonnet to set off on a
quest for a sight of the last day's Times. James had offered to go,
but she was too restless to remain at home; and when he had
demonstrated that the rumour must be exaggerated, and that there was
no need for alarm, he let her depart, and as soon as she was out of
sight, caught up the paper to recur to the terrible reports of the
first day's warfare. He paced about the little parlour, reviling
himself for not having joined the party, to infuse a little common
sense; Fitzjocelyn, no more fit to take care of himself than a baby,
probably running into the fray from mere rash indifference! Isabel
exposed to every peril and terror! Why had he refused to join them?
The answer was maddening. He hated himself, as he found his love for
his cousin melting under the influence of jealousy, and of
indignation that his own vehement passion must be sacrificed to the
tardy, uncertain love which seemed almost an insult to such charms.
'What needs dwelling on it?' he muttered; 'doubtless they are engaged
by this time! I shall surely do something desperate if they come
here, under my very eye. Would that I could go to the Antipodes, ere
I forfeit Louis's love! But my grandmother, Clara! Was ever man so
A hand was on the door; and he strove to compose his face lest he
should shock his grandmother.
It was not Mrs. Frost.
'Louis! for Heaven's sake, where are they!'
'In the House Beautiful.'
James breathed--'And you! what makes you so pale? What have you done
to your arm?
'A little affair of the barricades. I have been watering the French
Republic with my blood.'
'Rushing into the thickest of the row, of course.'
'Only escorting Miss Conway through an assault of the Garde Nationale
said Louis, in a tone as if he had been saying 'walking up the High
Street.' How could he help teasing, when he could make such amends?
James began to pace up and down again, muttering something about
madness and frenzy.
'It was not voluntary,' said Louis. 'When the carriage was
confiscated for the service of the nation, what could we do?--I can
tell you, Jem,' he added, fervently, 'what a gallant being she is!
It was the glorious perfection of gentle, lofty feminine courage,
walking through the raging multitude--through shots, through dreadful
sights, like Una through the forest, in Christian maidenly
James had flung himself into a chair, hiding his face, and steadying
his whole person, by resting his elbow on his knee and his brow on
his hand, as he put a strong force on himself that he might hear
Louis out without betraying himself. Louis paused in ardent
contemplation of the image he had called up, and poor James gruffly
whispered, 'Go on: you were happy.'
'Very happy, in knowing what cause I have to rejoice for you.'
James gave a great start, and trembled visibly.
'I did not tell you,' pursued Louis, 'that the single moment when she
lost her firmness, was when she thought she had lost a certain ivory
James could endure no more: 'Louis,' he said, 'you must try me no
longer. What do you mean?'
Louis affectionately put his hand on his shoulder: 'I mean, dear Jem,
that I understand it now; and it is a noble heart that you have won,
and that can value you as you deserve.'
James wrung his hand, and looked bewildered, inquiring, and happy;
but his quivering lips could form no words.
'It was a time to reveal the depths of the heart,' said Louis. 'A
few words and the loss of the bracelet betrayed much: and afterwards,
as far as a lady could, she confessed that something which passed
between you the last evening--'
'Louis!' cried James, 'I could not help it! I had been striving
against it all along; but if you could imagine how I was tried! You
never would come to plead your own cause, and I thought to work for
you, but my words are too near the surface. I cut myself short. I
have bitterly reproached myself ever since, but I did not know the
harm I had done you. Can you forgive me? Can you--No, it is vain
to ask; you never can be happy.'
'My dear Jem, you go on at such a pace, there is no answering you.
There is no forgiveness in the case. Further acquaintance had
already convinced me that she was lovely and perfect, but that 'she
is na mine ain lassie.' Yes, she caught my imagination; and you and
my father would have it that I was in love, and I supposed you knew
best: but when I was let alone to a rational consideration, I found
that to me she is rather the embodied Isabel of romance, a beauteous
vision, than the--the--in short, that there is another who has all
that I am wanting in. No, no, dear Jem; it was you who made the
generous sacrifice. Have no scruples about me; I am content with the
part of Una's Lion, only thankful that Sans-Loy and Sans-Foy had not
quite demolished him before he had seen her restored to the Red Cross
It was too much for James; he hid his face in his hands, and burst
into tears. Such joy dawning on him, without having either offended
or injured his cousin, produced a revulsion of feeling which he could
not control, and hearing the street-door opened, he ran out of the
room, just before his grandmother came hurrying in, on the wings of
the intelligence heard below.
'Yes! I knew my own boy would come to me!' she cried. 'Even Miss
Conway has not begun to keep him from me yet.'
'Nor ever will, Aunt Kitty. There are obstacles in the way. You
must be granny, and mother, and sister and wife, and all my
womankind, a little longer, if you please.' And he sat down fondly
at her feet, on a footstool which had been his childish perch.
'Not distressed, you insensible boy?'
'Very happy about Isabel,' said he, turning to look at her with eyes
dancing with merry mystification.
'A foolish girl not to like my Louis! I thought better of her; but I
suppose my Lady has taught her to aim higher!'
'So she does,' said Louis, earnestly.
'Ungrateful girl! Why, Charlotte tells me you led her straight over
the barricades, with cannon firing on you all the time!'
'But not Cupid.'
'Then, it is true! and you have really hurt yourself! And so pale!
My poor boy--what is it? I must nurse you.'
'I had so little blood left, that a gnat of tolerable appetite could
have made an end of me on Sunday, without more ado. But, instead of
that, I had a good little Sister of Charity; and wasn't that alone
worth getting a bullet through one's arm?'
Aunt Catharine was shuddering thankfully through the narration, when
James came down, his brow unclouded, but his manner still agitated,
as if a burthen had been taken away, and he hardly knew how to
realize his freedom from the weight.
Mrs. Frost could not part with her boy, and Jane Beckett evidently
had a spite against 'they French bandages;' so that Louis only talked
of going home enough to get himself flattered and coaxed into
remaining at No. 5, as their patient.
The two young men went in the afternoon to inquire after the Conway
party, when they found that her ladyship was lying down, but Isabel,
who had been summoned from a wholesale conflagration of all the MS.
relating to the fantastic Viscount, brought down Miss King,
apparently to converse for her; for she did little except blush, and
seemed unable to look at either of the friends.
As they took leave, Louisa came into the room with a message that
mamma hoped to see Mr. Frost Dynevor to-morrow, and trusted that he
had made no engagements for the holidays.
James murmured something inaudible, and ran down stairs, snarling at
Louis as he turned to the Miss Faithfulls' door, and telling him he
wanted to obtain a little more petting and commiseration.
'I could not waste such an opportunity of looking interesting!' said
Louis, laughing, as he tapped at the door.
Delaford marshalled out the poor tutor with a sense of triumph. 'His
hopes, at least, were destroyed!' thought the butler; and he
proceeded to regale Marianne with the romance of the Barricades,--how
he had himself offered to be Miss Conway's escort, but Lord
Fitzjocelyn had declared that not a living soul but himself should be
the young lady's champion; and, seeing the young nobleman so bent on
it, Mr. Delaford knew that the force of true affection was not to be
stayed, no more than the current of the limpid stream, and had
yielded the point; and, though, perhaps, his experience might have
spared her the contaminating propinquity of the low rabble, yet,
considering the circumstances, he did not regret his absence, since
he was required for my lady's protection, and, no doubt, two fond
hearts had been made happy. Then, in the midnight alarm, when the
young nobleman had been disabled, Delaford had been the grand
champion:--he had roused the establishment; he had calmed every one's
fears; he had suggested arming all the waiters, and fortifying the
windows; he had been the only undaunted representative of the British
Lion, when the environs swarmed with deadly foes, with pikes and
muskets flashing in the darkness.
Fanshawe had been much too busy with her ladyship's nerves, and too
ignorant of French, to gather enough for his refutation, had she
wished for it; and, in fact, she had regarded him as the only
safeguard of the party, devoutly believing all his reports, and now
she was equally willing to magnify her own adventures. What a hero
Delaford was all over the terrace and its vicinity! People looked
out to see the defender of the British name; and Charlotte Arnold
mended stockings, and wondered whether her cruelty had made him so
She could almost have been sorry that the various arrivals kept the
domestic establishments of both houses so fully occupied! Poor Tom!
she had been a long time without hearing of him! and a hero was
turning up on her hands!
The world was not tranquil above-stairs. The removal of the one
great obstacle to James's attachment had only made a thousand others
visible; and he relapsed into ill-suppressed irritability, to the
disappointment of Louis, who did not perceive the cause. At night,
however, when Mrs. Frost had gone up, after receiving a promise,
meant sincerely, however it might be kept, that 'poor Louis' should
not be kept up late, James began with a groan:
'Now that you are here to attend to my grandmother, I am going to
answer this advertisement for a curate near the Land's End.'
'It is beyond human endurance to see her daily and not to speak!
I should run wild! It would be using Lady Conway shamefully.'
'And some one else. What should hinder you from speaking?'
'You talk as if every one was heir to a peerage.'
'I know what I am saying. I do not see the way to your marriage just
yet, but it would be mere trifling with her feelings, after what has
passed already, not to give her the option of engaging herself.'
'I'm sure I don't know what I said! I was out of myself. I was
ashamed to remember that I had betrayed myself, and dared not guess
what construction she put on it.'
'Such a construction as could only come from her own heart!'
After some raptures, James added, attempting to be cool, 'You
candidly think I have gone so far, that I am bound in honour to make
'I am sure it would make her very unhappy if you went off in
magnanimous silence to the Land's End; and remaining as the boy's
tutor, without confession, would be a mere delusion and treachery
towards my aunt.'
'She is not her mother.'
'Who knows how far she will think herself bound to obedience? With
that sort of relationship, nobody knows what to be at.'
'I don't think Isabel wishes to make her duty to Lady Conway more
stringent than necessary. They live in utterly different spheres;
and, at least, you can be no worse off than you are already.'
'I may be exposing her to annoyance. Women have ten million ways of
persecuting each other.'
'Had you seen Isabel's eye when she looked on the wild crowd, you
would know how little she would heed worse persecution than my poor
aunt could practise. It will soon be my turn to say you don't
James was arguing against his own impulse, and his scruples only
desired to be talked down; Louis's generous and inconsiderate ardour
prevailed, and, after interminable discussion, it was agreed that,
after some communication with the young lady herself, an interview
should be sought with Lady Conway, for which James was already
bristling, prepared to resent scorn with scorn.
In the morning, he was savage with shamefacedness, could not endure
any spectator, and fairly hunted his cousin home to Ormersfield,
where Louis prowled about in suspense--gave contradictory orders to
Frampton, talked as if he was asleep, made Frampton conclude that he
had left his heart behind him, and was ever roaming towards the
At about four o'clock, a black figure was seen posting along the
centre of the road, and, heated, panting, and glowing, James came up-
-made a decided and vehement nod with his head, but did not speak
till they had turned into the park, when he threw himself flat on the
grass under an old thorn, and Louis followed his example, while
Farmer Morris's respectable cows stared at the invasion of their
'Tout va bien?' asked Louis.
'As well as a man in my position can expect! She is the most noble
of created beings, Louis!'
'And what is her mother?'
'Don't call her mother! You shall hear. I could not stay at home!
I went to the Faithfulls' room: I found Miss Mercy waiting for her,
to join in a walk to some poor person. I went with them. I checked
her when she was going into the cottage. We have been walking round
'And poor Miss Mercy?'
'Never remembered her till this moment!'
'She will forgive! And her ladyship?'
'That's the worst of it. She was nearly as bad as you could have
been!--so intensely civil and amiable, that I began to think her all
on my side. I really could be taken in to suppose she felt for us!'
'I have no doubt she did. My good aunt is very sincerely loth to
hurt people's feelings.'
'She talked of her duty! She sympathized! It was not till I was out
of the house that I saw it was all by way of letting me down easy-
trapping me into binding myself on honour not to correspond.'
'Not correspond!' cried Louis, in consternation. 'Are you not
'As far as understanding each other goes. But who knows what may be
her machinations, or Isabel's sense of obedience?'
'Does she forbid it?'
'No. She went to speak to Isabel. I fancy she found it unwise to
test her power too far; so she came down and palavered me,--assured
me that I was personally all that heart could wish--she loved her
dear child the better for valuing solid merit. Faugh! how could I
stand such gammon? But I must perceive that she was peculiarly
circumstanced with regard to Isabel's family, she must not seem to
sanction an engagement till I could offer a home suited to her
expectations. She said something of my Uncle Oliver; but I disposed
of that. However, I dare say it made her less willing to throw me
overboard! Anyway, she smoothed me and nattered me, till I ended by
agreeing that she has no choice but to remove instanter from the
Terrace, and forbid me her abode! And, as I said, she wormed a
promise from me not to correspond.'
'You have no great loss there. Depend upon it that Isabel would
neither brave her openly by receiving your letters, nor submit to do
'Nor would I ask her!--but it is intolerable to have been tricked
into complacent consent.'
'I am glad your belle-mere knows how to manage you.'
'I told you she was only less unbearable than yourself. You have it
from the same stock.'
'The better for your future peace. I honour her. If she had let the
Welsh dragon show his teeth in style, he would only have had to make
unpleasant apologies when the good time comes.'
'When!' sighed James.
'If Isabel be the woman I take her for, she will be easily content.'
'She is sick of parade; she has tried how little it can do for a mind
like hers: she desires nothing but a home like our own--but what
prospect have I of any such thing? Even if the loss of my fellowship
were compensated, how could I marry and let Clara be a governess?
Clara must be my first consideration. But, I say, we ought to be
'I thought I was at home.'
'My grandmother and Jane won't be pacified till they see you. They
think you are not fit to be in a house by yourself. They both fell
on me for having let you go. You must come back, or my grandmother
will think you gone off in despair, as you ought to be, and I shall
never dare to speak to her.'
'At your service,' said the duteous Fitzjocelyn. 'I'll leave word at
'By-the-bye, are you up to walking?'
'Candidly, now I think of it, I doubt whether I am. Come, and let us
order the carriage.'
'No--no;--I can't stand waiting--I'll go home and get over the first
with granny--you come after. Yes; that's right.'
So the hunted Louis waited, contentedly, while James marched back,
chary of his precious secret, and unwilling to reveal it even to her,
and yet wanting her sympathy.
The disclosure was a greater shock than he had expected from her keen
and playful interest in matters of love and matrimony. It was a
revival of the mournful past, and she shed tears as she besought him
not to be imprudent, to remember his poor father, and not rush into a
hasty marriage. He and his sister had been used to poverty, but it
was different with Miss Conway.
He bitterly replied, that Lady Conway would take care they were not
imprudent; and that instant the granny's heart melted at the thought
of his uncertain prospect, and at hearing of the struggles and
sufferings that he had undergone. They had not talked half an hour,
before she had taken home Isabel Conway to her heart as a daughter,
and flown in the face of all her wisdom, but assuring him that she
well knew that riches had little to do with happiness, auguring an
excellent living, and, with great sagacity, promising to settle the
Terrace on his wife, and repeating, in perfect good faith, all the
wonderful probabilities which her husband had seen in it forty years
When Louis arrived, he found her alone, and divided between pride in
her grandson's conquest, and some anxiety on his own account, which
took the form of asking him what he meant by saying that Isabel aimed
higher than himself.
'Did she not?' said Louis; and with a sort of compunction for a
playful allusion to the sacred calling, he turned it off with, 'Why,
what do you think of Roland ap Dynasvawr ap Roland ap Gruffydd ap
Rhys ap Morgan ap Llywellwyn ap Roderic ap Caradoc ap Arthur ap Uther
ap Pendragon?' running this off with calm, slow, impressive
'Certify me, Louis dear, before I can quite rejoice, that this fun is
not put on.'
'Did you think me an arrant dissembler? No, indeed: before I guessed
how it was with them, I had found out--Oh! Aunt Kitty, shall I ever
get Mary to believe in me, after the ridiculous way in which I have
behaved to her?'
'Is this what you really mean?'
'Indeed it is. The very presence of Isabel could not keep me from
recurring to her; and at home, not a room, not a scene, but is
replete with recollections of all that she was to me last year! And
that I should only understand it when half the world is between us!
How mad I was! How shall I ever persuade her to forget my past
folly? Past! Nay, folly and inconsistency are blended in all I do,
and now they have lost me the only person who could help me to
conquer them! And now she is beyond my reach, and I shall never be
worthy of her.'
He was much agitated. The sight of James's success, and the return
to his solitary home, had stirred up his feelings very strongly; and
he needed his aunt's fond soothing and sympathy--but it was not
difficult to comfort and cheer him. His disposition was formed more
for affection than passion, and his attachment to Mary was of a
calmer nature than his fiery cousin would have allowed to be love.
It took a good deal of working-up to make it outwardly affect his
spirits or demeanour, in general, it served only as an ingredient in
the pensiveness that pervaded all his moods, even his most arrant
The building of castles for James, and the narration of the pleasing
delusion in which he had brought home his aunt, were sufficient to
enliven him. He was to go the next morning to call upon Lady Conway,
and see whether he could persuade her into any concessions: James was
very anxious that Isabel and his grandmother should meet, and was
beginning to propose that Louis should arrange an interview for them
in Miss Faithfull's room, before the departure, which was fixed for
'I intend to call upon Lady Conway,' said Mrs. Frost, with dignity
that made him feel as if he had been proposing something contraband.
Louis went first, and was highly entertained by the air of apology
and condolence with which his aunt received him. She told him how
excessively concerned she was, and how guilty she felt towards him--a
score on which, he assured her, she had no need to reproach herself.
She had heard enough from Isabel to lead to so much admiration of his
generosity, that he was obliged to put a stop to it, without being
skilful enough to render sincerity amiable, but she seemed satisfied,
eagerly assured him of her approval, and declared that she fully
Had she explained, he would have thought her understanding went too
far. She entirely forgave him. After all, he was her own sister's
son, and Isabel only a step-daughter; and though she had done her
duty by putting Isabel in the way of the connexion, she secretly
commended his prudence in withstanding beauty, and repairing the
dilapidated estate with Peruvian gold. She sounded him, as a very
wise man, on the chances of Oliver Dynevor doing something for his
nephew, but did not receive much encouragement; though he prophesied
that James was certain to get on, and uttered a rhapsody that nearly
destroyed his new reputation for judgment. Lady Conway gave him an
affectionate invitation to visit her whenever he could, and summoned
the young ladies to wish him good-bye. The mute, blushing gratitude
of Isabel's look was beautiful beyond description; and Virginia's
countenance was exceedingly arch and keen, though she was supposed to
know nothing of the state of affairs.
Lady Conway was alone when Mrs. Frost was seen approaching the house.
The lady at once prepared to be affably gracious to her apologies and
deprecations of displeasure; but she was quite disconcerted by the
dignified manner of her entrance;--tall, noble-looking, in all the
simple majesty of age, and of a high though gentle spirit, Lady
Conway was surprised into absolute respect, and had to rally her
ideas before, with a slight laugh, she could say, 'I see you are come
to condole with me on the folly of our two young people.'
'I think too highly of them to call it folly,' said the heiress of
'Why, in one way, to be sure,' hesitated Lady Conway, 'we cannot call
it folly to be sensible of each other's merits; and if--if Mr.
Dynevor have any expectations--I think your son is unmarried?'
'He is;' but she added, smiling, 'you will not expect me to allow
that my youngest child is old enough to warrant any calculations on
'It is very unfortunate; I pity them from my heart. An engagement of
this kind is a wretched beginning for life.'
'Oh, do not say so!' cried the old lady, 'it may often be the
greatest blessing, the best incentive to both parties.'
Lady Conway was too much surprised to make a direct answer, but she
continued, 'If my brother could exert his interest--and I know that
he has so high an opinion of dear Mr. Dynevor--and you have so much
influence. That dear, generous Fitzjocelyn, too--'
As soon as Mrs. Frost understood whom Lady Conway designated as her
brother, she drew herself up, and said, coldly, that Lord Ormersfield
had no church patronage, and no interest that he could exert on
behalf of her grandson.
Again, 'it was most unlucky;' and Lady Conway proceeded to say that
she was the more bound to act in opposition to her own feelings,
because Mr. Mansell was resolved against bequeathing Beauchastel to
any of his cousinhood who might marry a clergyman; disliking that the
place should fall to a man who ought not to reside. It was a most
unfortunate scruple; but in order to avoid offending him, and losing
any chance, the engagement must remain a secret.
Mrs. Frost replied, that Mr. Mansell was perfectly right; and seemed
in nowise discomfited or conscious that there was any condescension
on her ladyship's part in winking at an attachment between Miss
Conway and a Dynevor of Cheveleigh. She made neither complaint nor
apology; there was nothing for Lady Conway to be gracious about; and
when the request was made to see Miss Conway, her superiority was so
fully established that there was no demur, and the favour seemed to
be on her side.
The noble old matron had long been a subject of almost timid
veneration to the maiden, and she obeyed the summons with more
bashful awe than she bad ever felt before; and with much fear lest
the two elders might have been combining to make an appeal to her to
give up her betrothal, for James's sake.
As she entered, the old lady came to meet her, held out both arms,
and drew her into her bosom, with the fond words, 'My dear child!'
Isabel rested in her embrace, as if she had found her own mother
'My dear child,' again said Mrs. Frost, 'I am glad you like my Jem,
for he has always been a good boy to his granny.'
The homeliness of the words made them particularly endearing, and
Isabel ventured to put her arm round the slender waist.
'Yes, darling,' continued the grandmother; 'you will make him good
and happy, and you must teach him to be patient, for I am afraid you
will both want a great deal of patience and submission.'
'He will teach me,' whispered Isabel.
Lady Conway was fairly crying.
'I am glad to know that he has you to look to, when his old
grandmother is gone.'
'Oh, don't say--'
'I shall make way for you some day,' said Mrs. Frost, caressing her.
'You are leaving us, my dear. It is quite right, and we will not
murmur; but would not your mamma spare you to us for one evening?
Could you not come and drink tea with us, that we may know each other
a little better?'
The stepmother's affectionate assent, and even emotion, were a great
surprise to Isabel; and James began to imagine that nothing was
beyond Mrs. Frost's power.
Louis saved James the trouble of driving him away by going to dine
with Mr. Calcott, and the evening was happy, even beyond
anticipation; the grandmother all affection, James all restless
bliss, Isabel serene amid her blushes; and yet the conversation would
not thrive, till Mrs. Frost took them out walking, and, when in the
loneliest lane, conceived a wish to inquire the price of poultry at
the nearest farm, and sent the others to walk on. Long did she talk
of the crops, discourse of the French and Bohemian enormities, and
smilingly contradict reports that the young lord was to marry the
young lady, before the lovers reappeared, without the most distant
idea where they had been.
After that, they could not leave off talking; they took granny into
their counsels, and she heard Isabel confess how the day-dream of her
life had been to live among the 'very good.' She smiled with humble
self-conviction of falling far beneath the standard, as she
discovered that the enthusiastic girl had found all her aspirations
for 'goodness' realized by Dynevor Terrace; and regarding it as
peace, joy, and honour, to be linked with it. The newly-found
happiness, and the effort to be worthy of it, were to bear her
through all uncongenial scenes; she had such a secret of joy that she
should never repine again.
'Ah! Isabel, and what am I to do?' said James.
'You ask?' she said, smiling. 'You, who have Northwold for your
home, and live in the atmosphere I only breathe now and then?'
'Your presence is my atmosphere of life.'
'Mrs. Frost, tell him he must not talk so wrongly, so extravagantly,
'It may be wrong; it is not extravagant. It falls only too far short
of my feeling! What will the Terrace be without you?'
'It will not be without my thoughts. How often I shall think I see
the broad road, and the wide field, and the mountain-ash berries,
that were reddening when we came; and the canary in the window! How
little my first glance at the houses took in what they would be to
And then they had to settle the haunts she was to revisit at
Beauchastel. An invitation thither was the ostensible cause of the
rapid break-up from the House Beautiful; but the truth was not so
veiled but that there were many surmises among the uninitiated. Jane
had caught something from my young Lord's demeanour which certified
her, and made her so exceedingly proud and grand, that, though she
was too honourable to breathe a word of her discovery, she walked
with her kind old head three inches higher; and, as a great favour,
showed Charlotte a piece of poor dear Master Henry's bridecake, kept
for luck, and a little roll of treasured real Brussels lace, that she
had saved to adorn her cap whenever Mr. James should marry.
Charlotte was not absolutely as attentive as she might have been to
such interesting curiosities. She had one eye towards the window all
the time; she wanted to be certified how deeply she had wounded the
hero of the barricade, and she had absolutely not seen him since his
return! The little damsel missed homage!
'You are not heeding me!' exclaimed Jane at last.
'Yes; I beg your pardon, ma'am--'
'Charlotte, take care. Mind me, one thing at a time,' said Jane,
oracularly. 'Not one eye here, the other there!'
'I'm sure I don't know what you mean, Mrs. Beckett.'
'Come, don't colour up, and say you don't know nothing! Why did you
water your lemon plant three times over, but that you wanted to be
looking out of window? Why did you never top nor tail the
gooseberries for the pudding, but sent them up fit to choke my poor
missus? If Master Jem hadn't--Bless me! what was I going to say?-
but we should soon have heard of it! No, no, Charlotte; I've been a
mother to you ever since you came here, a little starveling thing,
and I'll speak plain for your good. If you fancy that genteel butler
in there, say so downright; but first sit down, and write away a
letter to give up the other young man!'
Charlotte's cheeks were in a flame, and something vehement at the end
of her tongue, when, with a gentle knock, and 'By your favour,
ladies,' in walked Mr. Delaford.
Jane was very civil, but very stiff at first, till he thawed her by
great praise of Lord Fitzjocelyn, the mere prelude to his own
Charlotte listened like a very Desdemona. He was very pathetic, and
all that was not self-exaltation was aimed at her. Nothing could
have been more welcome than the bullets to penetrate his heart, and
he turned up his eyes in a feeling manner.
Charlotte's heart was exceedingly touched, and she had tears in her
eyes when she moved forward in the attitude of the porcelain
shepherdess in the parlour, to return a little volume of selections
of tender poetry, bound in crimson silk, that he had lent to her some
time since. 'Would she not honour him by accepting a trifling gift?'
She blushed, she accepted; and with needle-like pen, in characters
fine as hair, upon a scroll garlanded with forget-me-nots, and borne
in mid air by two portly doves, was Charlotte Arnold's name inscribed
by the hero of the barricades.
Oh, vanity! vanity! how many garbs dost thou wear!
Delaford went away, satisfied that he had produced an impression such
as he could improve if they should ever be thrown together again.
The Lady of Eschalott remained anything but satisfied. She was
touchy and fretful, found everything a grievance, left cobwebs in the
corners, and finally went into hysterics because the cat jumped at
the canary-bird's cage.
BURGOMASTERS AND GREAT ONE-EYERS.
When full upon his ardent soul
The champion feels the influence roll,
He swims the lake, he leaps the wall,
Heeds not the depth, nor plumbs the fall.
Unshielded, mailless, on he goes,
Singly against a host of foes!
Harold the Dauntless.
'Jem! Jem! have you heard?'
'What should I hear?'
'Mr. Lester is going to retire at Christmas!'
'Does that account for your irrational excitement?'
'And it has not occurred to you that the grammar-school would be the
making of you! Endowment, 150 pounds--thirty, forty boys at 10
pounds per annum, 400 pounds at least. That is 550 pounds--say 600
pounds for certain; and it would be doubled under a scholar and a
gentleman--1200 pounds a year! And you might throw it open to
boarders; set up the houses in the Terrace, and let them at--say 40
pounds? Nine houses, nine times forty--'
'Well done, Fitzjocelyn! At this rate one need not go out to Peru.'
'Exactly so; you would be doubling the value of your own property as
a secondary consideration, and doing incalculable good--'
'As if there were any more chance of my getting the school than of
the rest of it!'
'So you really had not thought of standing?'
'I would, most gladly, if there were the least hope of success. I
can't afford to miss any chance; but it is mere folly to talk of it.
One-half of the trustees detest my principles; the others would think
themselves insulted by a young man in deacon's orders offering
'It is evident that you are the only man on whom they can combine who
can save the school, and do any good to all those boys--mind you, the
important middle class, whom I would do anything to train in sound
'So far, it is in my favour that I am one of the few University men
'You are your grandmother's grandson--that is everything! and you
have more experience of teaching than most men twice your age.'
James made a face at his experience; but little stimulus was needed
to make him attempt to avail himself of so fair an opening, coming so
much sooner than he could have dared to expect. It was now
September, and the two months of waiting and separation seemed
already like so many years. By the time Mrs. Frost came in from her
walk, she found the two young gentlemen devising a circular, and
composing applications for testimonials.
After the first start of surprise, and telling James he ought to go
to school himself, Mrs. Frost was easily persuaded to enter heartily
into the project; but she insisted on the first measure being to
consult Mr. Calcott. He was the head of the old sound and
respectable party--the chairman of everything, both in county and
borough--and had the casting vote among the eight trustees of King
Edward's School, who, by old custom, nominated each other from the
landholders within the town. She strongly deprecated attempting
anything without first ascertaining his views; and, as the young men
had lashed themselves into great ardour, the three walked off at once
to lay the proposal before the Squire.
But Mr. Calcott was not at home. He had set off yesterday, with Miss
Calcott and Miss Caroline, for a tour in Wales, and would not return
for a week or ten days.
To the imaginations of Lord Fitzjocelyn and Mr. Frost, this was fatal
delay. Besides, he would be sure to linger!--He would not come home
for a month--nay, six weeks at least!--What candidates might not
start--what pledges might not be given in the meantime!
James, vehement and disappointed, went home to spend the evening on
the concoction of what his grandmother approved as 'a very proper
letter,' to be despatched to meet the Squire at the post-office at
Caernarvon, and resigned himself to grumble away the period of his
absence, secretly relieved at the postponement of the evil day of the
canvass, at which all the Pendragon blood was in a state of revolt,
But Louis, in his solitude at Ormersfield, had nothing to distract
his thoughts, or prevent him from lapsing into one of his most
single-eyed fits of impetuosity. He had come to regard James as the
sole hope for Northwold school, and Northwold school as the sole hope
for James; and had created an indefinite host of dangerous
applicants, only to be forestalled by the most vigorous measures.
Evening, night, and morning, did but increase the conviction, till he
ordered his horse, and galloped to the Terrace as though the speed of
his charger would decide the contest.
Eloquently and piteously did he protest against James's promise to
take no steps until the Squire's opinion should be known. He
convinced his cousin, talked over his aunt, and prevailed to have the
letter re-written, and sent off to the post with the applications for
Then the rough draft of the circular was revised and corrected, till
it appeared so admirable to Louis, that he snatched it up, and ran
away with it to read it to old Mr. Walby, who was one of the
trustees, and very fond of his last year's patient. His promise,
good easy man, was pretty sure to be the prize of the first
applicant; but this did not render it less valuable to his young
lordship, who came back all glorious with an eighth part of the
victory, and highly delighted with the excellent apothecary's most
judicious and gratifying sentiments,--namely, all his own eager
rhetoric, to which the good man had cordially given his meek puzzle-
headed assent. Thenceforth Mr. Walby was to 'think' all
Fitzjocelyn's strongest recommendations of his cousin.
There was no use in holding back now. James was committed, and,
besides, there was a vision looming in the distance of a scholar from
a foreign University with less than half a creed. Thenceforth prompt
measures were a mere duty to the rising generation; and Louis dragged
his Coriolanus into the town, to call upon certain substantial
tradesmen, who had voices among the eight.
Civility was great; but the portly grocer and gentlemanly bookseller
had both learned prudence in many an election; neither would make any
immediate reply--the one because he never did anything but what Mr.
Calcott directed, and the other never pledged himself till all the
candidates were in the field, and he had impartially printed all
Richardson, the solicitor, and man-of-business to the Ormersfield
estate, appeared so sure a card, that James declared that he was
ashamed of the farce of calling on him, but they obtained no decided
reply. Louis was proud that Richardson should display an independent
conscience, and disdained his cousin's sneering comment, that he had
forgotten that there were other clients in the county besides the
No power could drag Mr. Frost a step further. He would not hear of
canvassing that 'very intelligent' Mr. Ramsbotham, of the Factory,
who had been chosen at unawares by the trustees before his principles
had developed themselves; far less on his nominee, the wealthy
butcher, always more demonstratively of the same mind.
James declared, first, that he would have nothing to do with them;
secondly, that he could not answer it to the Earl to let Louis ask a
favour of them; thirdly, that he had rather fail than owe his
election to them; fourthly, that it would be most improper usage of
Mr. Calcott to curry favour with men who systematically opposed him;
and, fifthly, that they could only vote for him on a misunderstanding
of his intentions.
The eighth trustee was a dead letter,--an old gentleman long retired
from business at his bank to a cottage at the Lakes, where he was
written to, but without much hope of his taking the trouble even to
reply. However, if the choice lay only between James and the
representative of the new lights, there could be little reasonable
Much fretting and fuming was expended on the non-arrival of a letter
from Mr. Calcott; but on the appointed tenth day he came home, and
the next morning James was at Ormersfield in an agony of
disappointment. The Squire had sent him a note, kind in expression,
regretting his inability to give his interest to one for whom he had
always so much regard, and whose family he so highly respected, but
that he had already promised his support to a Mr. Powell, the under-
master of a large classical school, whom he thought calculated for
the situation, both by experience and acquirements.
James had been making sure enough of the school to growl at his
intended duties; but he had built so entirely on success, and formed
so many projects, that the disappointment was extreme; it appeared a
cruel injury in so old a friend to have overlooked him. He had been
much vexed with his grandmother for regarding the veto as decisive;
and he viewed all his hopes of happiness with Isabel as overthrown.
Louis partook and exaggerated his sentiments. They railed--the one
fiercely, the other philosophically--against the Squire's
domineering; they proved him narrow and prejudiced--afraid of youth,
afraid of salutary reform, bent on prolonging the dull old system,
and on bringing in a mere usher. They recollected a mauvais sujet
from the said classical school; argued that it never turned out good
scholars, nor good men; and that they should be conferring the
greatest benefit on Northwold burghers yet unborn, by recalling the
old Squire to a better mind, or by bringing in James Frost in spite
Not without hopes of the first, though, as James told him, no one
would have nourished them save himself, Louis set forth for Little
Northwold, with the same valour which had made him the champion of
the Marksedge poacher. He found the old gentleman good-natured and
sympathizing, for he liked the warm friendship of 'the two boys,' and
had not the most remote idea of their disputing his verdict.
'It is very unlucky that I was from home,' he said. 'I am afraid the
disappointment will be the greater from its having gone so far.'
'May I ask whether you are absolutely pledged to Mr. Powell?'
'Why, yes. I may say so. Considering all things, it is best as it
is. I should have been unwilling to vex my good old friend, Mrs.
Frost; and yet,' smiling benignantly on his fretted auditor, 'I have
to look out for the school first of all, you know.'
'Perhaps I shall not allow that Mr. Powell is the best look-out for
the school, sir.'
'Eh? The best under the circumstances. Such a place as this wants
experience and discipline more than scholarship. Powell is the very
man, and has been waiting for it long; and young Frost could do much
better for himself, if he will only have patience.'
'Then his age is all that is against him? The only inferiority to
'Hm! yes, I may say so. Inferior? No, he is superior enough; it is
a mere joke to compare them; but this is not a post for one of your
young unmarried men.'
'If that be all,' cried Louis, 'the objection would be soon removed.
It may be an inducement to hear that you would be making two people
happy instead of one.'
'Now, don't tell me so!' almost angrily exclaimed the Squire. 'Jem
Frost marry! He has no business to think of it these ten years! He
ought to be minding his grandmother and sister. To marry on that
school would be serving poor Mrs. Frost exactly as his poor absurd
father did before him, and she is too old to have all that over
again. I thought he was of a different sort of stamp.'
'My aunt gives her full consent.'
'I've no doubt of it! just like her! But he ought to be ashamed to
ask her, at her age, when she should have every comfort he could give
her. Pray, who is the lady? There was some nonsense afloat about
Miss Conway; but I never believed him so foolish!'
'It is perfectly true, but I must beg you not to mention it; I ought
not to have been betrayed into mentioning it.'
'You need not caution me. It is not news I should be forward to
spread. What does your father say to it?'
'The engagement took place since he left England.'
'I should think so!' Then pausing, he added, with condescending
good-nature, 'Well, Fitzjocelyn, I seem to you a terrible old flint-
stone, but I can't help that. There are considerations besides true
love, you know; and for these young people, they can't have pined out
their hearts yet, as, by your own showing, they have not been engaged
three months. If it were Sydney himself, I should tell him that love
is all the better for keeping--if it is good for anything; and where
there is such a disparity, it ought, above all, to be tested by
waiting. So tell Master Jem, with my best wishes, to take care of
his grandmother. I shall think myself doing him a kindness in
keeping him out of the school, if it is to hinder him from marrying
at four-and-twenty, and a girl brought up as she has been!'
'And, Mr. Calcott,' said Louis, rising, 'you will excuse my viewing
my cousin's engagement as an additional motive for doing my utmost to