Part 3 out of 7
tears, to have been a happy, peaceful refuge for her widowhood and
poverty; she grieved over each parting, clung to the Faithfulls,
reiterated fond counsels to Isabel, and could hardly bear to detach
herself from the great-grandchild. But still it was her own son, and
her own home, and Oliver and Cheveleigh were more to her than even
James and Dynevor Terrace; so that, though she was sorry, it was not
with a melancholy sorrow, and she could still hope against hope, that
uncle and nephew might be brought together at last, and that a son of
James would yet reign in the dear old place.
Besides, she had not time to be unhappy. She was fully employed
nursing Isabel, doing honour to the little one, answering Oliver's
letters, superintending Clara's wardrobe; choosing parting gifts for
innumerable friends, high and low; and making arrangements for the
Jane's place was to be--not exactly supplied, but occupied by a cook.
Miss Dynevor was to have 'a personal attendant;' and Mrs. Beckett
begged that Marianne might be chosen, since she could not bear to see
the poor thing sent away, when in so much need of care. The
diamonds, the French millinery, and Jane's motherly care, came in
strong contrast to the miserable lodging, or the consumptive
hospital, which poor Marianne had begun to anticipate; and weeping
with gratitude, she declared that she had never seen nor thought of
such kindness since her mother died.
Isabel seldom roused herself to understand anything about her
servants; but she liked Marianne, and was glad Clara should have her,
since she was not strong enough to undertake nursery cares. She
believed it had not agreed with her to sit up late. Compunction for
having been the cause had never dawned on Isabel's mind.
Charlotte was to remain at Dynevor Terrace; James and Isabel wished
to keep her, and Mrs. Beckett thought her sufficiently indoctrinated
with her ways to have some chance of going on well. 'Besides,' as
Jane said, 'I can't be accountable for taking her into that large
family, until I see what company there may be. She's a well-behaved
girl enough, but she's too pretty and too simple-like for me to have
her among the common run of servants. I'll see what I can do for
her, when I see what sort of a housekeeper it is.'
And Jane gave Charlotte infinite injunctions, varying from due care
of the 'chaney images' to reserve with mankind. 'Because you see,
Charlotte' she said, 'you'll be terribly forsaken. Mrs. James, poor
dear!--she would not know if the furniture weren't rubbed once in ten
years; but you must make it a pride to yourself to be faithful.'
'I am faithful!' cried Charlotte. 'I never cared for that traitor,
Delaford, and his guitar; but I could not get rid of him. And I'll
tell you what--I'll seal up his fine red book, and all his verses;
and you shall leave them in London as you go through, with my
compliments. I think that will be proper and scornful.'
'Hoity-toity! That's what she's at! The best thing you can do too,
Charlotte; and I'm glad that you've too much spirit to pine like poor
Marianne. I'd take my affidavit that if the crowner could sit upon
her when she dies--and die she will--that there fine gentleman and
his guitar will be found at the bottom of her chest. But don't go
off about that now--though 'tis the reason I won't part from the poor
thing till I can help--the better luck for you that you'd got more in
your head than vanities and furbelows. What I meant was not being
faithful to him out in Peru--that's your own affair, but the being
faithful to your duty to your mistress, whether she's after you or
not. You know what a good servant is, and you've got to show it
ain't all eye-service.'
Charlotte cried heartily. No one else was allowed that privilege
when the 13th came, excepting Mrs. Frost herself. James, afraid that
a scene would hurt his wife, severely forbade Clara to give way; and
the poor girl, mute and white, did as she was told, and ventured not
a word of farewell, though her embraces were convulsive, and when she
went down stairs she could not help kissing Charlotte.
James handed his grandmother to her seat in the carriage which was to
take her to the station.
'Good-bye, my dear,' she said; 'I know the day will come when all
this will be made up. You know how I have loved you both.'
'I wish my uncle all good.'
'I see it now,' she said, holding his hand between both of hers. 'It
is my fault. I fostered our family pride. May God take away the sin
from us both!'
The words were hardly articulate through tears, and perhaps James did
not hear. He hurried Clara down the garden and into the carriage,
and she had her last nod from Miss Faithfull at the open window.
Miss Mercy was at the station, whither school-hours had hindered
James from accompanying them, but where they found Lord Ormersfield
The warm-hearted little woman was all tears and smiles. 'Oh! dear
Mrs. Frost, I am so sorry, and yet it is selfish. I am so happy! but
where shall we find such another neighbour?'
'Come and see us. You know you are to persuade your sister.'
'Ah!' She shook her head. 'Salome is hard to move. But you--you
are such a traveller--you will come to see Mr. James?'
'I'm eighty to-morrow: I little expect to make any more journeys
except one, Mercy. I never look to see poor Northwold more; but it
has been a place of blessings to me, and you have been one of them.
Don't think I'm too glad to go away, but I cannot but be thankful
that my dear boy is bringing me home to lay me down where my father
and his father lie.'
It was said with that peculiar cheerfulness with which happy old age
can contemplate the end of the pilgrimage, and she looked at Louis
with a sunny smile.
When silent time, wi' lightly foot,
Had trod on thirty years,
I sought again my native land
Wi' mony hopes and fears.
As I drew near my ancient pile,
My heart beat a' the way;
The place I passed seemed yet to speak
Of some dear former day.
Some pensy chiels, a new-sprung race,
Wad next their welcome pay;
* * * * * * * *
But sair on ilka well-kenned face
I missed the youthful bloom.
Oliver had sent orders to his mother to sleep in London, and proceed
the next morning by a train which would arrive at about two o'clock.
On that eventful morning, Clara was the prey of Mrs. Beckett,
Marianne, and the French milliner, and in such a flounced glace silk,
such a lace mantle, and such a flowery bonnet was she arrayed, that
Lord Ormersfield bowed to her as a stranger, and Louis talked of the
transformations of the Giraffe. 'Is it not humiliating,' she said,
'to be so altered by finery? You might dress Isabel for ever, and
her nobleness would surmount it all.'
'If you are not the rose, at least you have lived near the rose,'
said Louis. 'You don't fall quite short of the character of Miss
'I wish I were going to school,' said Clara, as they passed along
familiar streets; 'then, at least, some one would pity me.'
After two hours spent on the railroad, the train entered a district
with the bleakness, but not the beauty, of the neighbourhood of
mountains; the fresh September breeze was laden with smoke, and
stations stood thick upon the line. As the train dashed up to one of
these, a flag was seen waving, and the shout of 'Cheveleigh,
Cheveleigh road!' greeted them.
On the platform stood a tall footman, in the most crimson of coats,
powdered hair, and a stupendous crimson and white shoulder-knot, auch
as Clara had only seen going to St. James's. She would never have
imagined that she had any concern with such splendour; but her
grandmother asked him if the carriage were there, as a mere matter of
course, and Jane devolved on him all luggage cares, as coolly as if
she had been ruling over him all his life.
As they issued from the station, a thin, uncertain, boyish cheer rang
out, and before them stood a handsome open carriage and four chestnut
horses, with crimson postillions, and huge crimson-and-white satin
'Wont they all turn to rats and pumpkins?' whispered Clara to Louis.
'Bless the poor boy!' cried Mrs. Frost, between laughing and crying,
'what has he been about? Does he think I am the Sheriff's lady
The party entered the carriage, and the crowd of little boys and
girls, flymen and porters, got up another 'hurrah!' as the four
horses went thundering off, with Mrs. Frost apologizing--'Poor
Oliver's notions were on such a grand scale!--He had been so long
absent, that he did not know how much these things had been disused.'
But no one could look at her bright tearful eyes, and quivering
mouth, without seeing that she exulted in her son's affection and his
victory; and after all it was natural to her, and a resumption of old
They drove through two miles of brown flat heath, with far-away
mountain outlines, which she greeted as dear friends. Here and there
the engine-house of a mine rose up among shabby buildings, and by-
and-by was seen a square church-tower, with lofty pinnacles, among
which floated forth a flag. The old lady caught hold convulsively of
Clara's hand--'The old church!--My old church!--See, Clara, that is
where your dear grandfather lies!--My last home!'
With brimming eyes Mrs. Frost gazed on it as it came forth more
distinctly, and Clara looked with a sense of awe; but rending her
away from grave thoughts, shouts burst upon her ears, and above them
the pealing crash of all the bells, as they dashed under a splendid
triumphal arch, all evergreens and dahlias, forming the word
'Welcome!' and were met by a party on horseback waving their hats,
while a great hurrah burst out from the numbers who lined the street.
Mrs. Frost bowed her thanks and waved her hand. 'But oh!' she said,
almost sobbing, 'where am I? This is not Cheveleigh.'
Lord Ormersfield showed her a few old houses that they both
recognised, looking antiquated in the midst of a modern growth of
narrow, conceited new tenements. The shouting crowd had, to
Fitzjocelyn's eyes, more the aspect of a rabble than of a genuine
rejoicing peasantry. What men there were looked beer-attracted
rather than reputable, and the main body were whooping boys, women,
nurse-girls, and babies. The suspicion crossed him that it was a new
generation, without memories of forty years since, wondering rather
than welcoming, in spite of arches, bells, and shouts.
After another half-mile, a gate swung wide beneath another arch, all
over C. D., the F. studiously omitted; and the carriage wheeled in
amid a shower of tight little nosegays from a squadron of school-
children. They drove up the long approach, through fir plantations,
which drew from Mrs. Frost a cry of friendly recognition--for her
husband had planted them; but they had not taken kindly to the soil,
and fifty years had produced but a starveling growth. Beyond lay an
expanse of parched brown turf, here and there an enclosure of
unprosperous trees, and full in front stood the wide space of
stuccoed wall, with a great Gothic window full in the midst, and
battlements in the castellated style of the early years of the
No one spoke. After the first glance, Mrs. Frost shut her eyes to
restrain the hot tears that arose at the thought of the wintry
morning, when ice-drops hung hoary on the fir-trees, as she had
driven away from the portal, whence music was now pealing forth a
greeting, and where Oliver was standing on the very spot where, with
clenched hand, he had vowed that all should be restored.
Alas! how much was in his power to restore?
Gaily-dressed people surrounded the entrance, and, amid triumphant
strains from the band, the carriage stopped, and Oliver held out his
hand, saying, 'Welcome home, mother!'
She leant forward, kissed his brow, and suffered him to lead her up
the steps to the hall-door, Lord Ormersfield conducting Clara. At
the door Mrs. Frost paused, to turn, curtsey, and sign her thanks to
the throng who had followed. Her noble aspect and demeanour, so full
of dignity and feeling, obtained a fresh and more genuine
acclamation; but throughout there was a strange sense of unreality;
she seemed like one performing a part to gratify her son. Clara
asked her cousin if it were not like acting a play; and it was plain
to him that the spectators beheld it with more curiosity than
They were a new race. Property had changed hands rapidly in a region
of trade and manufacture, and the old Dynevor name had been forgotten
past recall, amid the very population who were thriving upon the
identical speculations which had swamped Mr. Frost's fortune. If the
crowd without looked like a mob, the assembly within had a parvenu
appearance; and as Oliver handed his mother across the hall, he
muttered something, as if he were disappointed both in the number and
consequence of his guests.
He led her into a magnificent apartment, all gilding, blue brocade,
and mirrors, as far as might be after the model of the days of the
Shrievalty; but the bare splendour could ill recall the grace and
elegance that had then reigned there without effort. Peru had not
taught Oliver taste either of the eye or of the mind, and his
indefatigable introductions--'My mother, Mrs. Dynevor, my niece, Miss
Dynevor, Lord Ormersfield, Lord Fitzjocelyn,' came so repeatedly as
quite to jingle in their ears.
Sir Andrew Britton, a burly cotton lord, with a wife in all the
colours of the rainbow, seemed to be the grand guest. His lady
seated herself beside Mrs. Frost, and began to tell her, with a tone
of patronage, how good a neighbourhood it was, and how much pleasure
she should have in introducing Miss Dynevor.
In vain did Mrs. Frost look for a face she knew, and inquire from her
new acquaintance after familiar old names of places and people. The
places were either become factories, or some charming new family
lived there; and for the people, it seemed as if she might as well
aak for antediluvians; Lady Britton had seldom heard their names, or
if any trace survived, they had never been on her visiting list.
At last Oliver came up to her, saying, 'Here, ma'am, Mr. Henderson
claims an early acquaintance with you.'
'Mr. Henderson!' and she eagerly started up, but looked baffled.
'Little George Henderson,' said the grey-headed gentleman--for once a
real gentleman--'I assure you I have not forgotten the happy days I
have spent here.'
'Little George!' as she took him by both hands--'who would have
thought it! You were little George with the apple cheeks. And are
no more of you here?'
He shook his head sadly. 'They would have been even more glad than I
am to welcome you home; they were older, and knew you better.'
'Ah! I must learn to ask no questions. And yet, that dear sister
Fanny of yours--'
'Gone many years since, ma'am. She died in India. I hope my
daughter Fanny may put you a little mind of her.'
'Is she not here?'
'Why, no. I wished to bring her, but she is but fifteen, and mamma
will not trust her out without herself. We are quiet people, and the
world is growing too gay for us.'
'Clara and I must come to find you out. Can you believe this tall
creature is poor dear Henry's daughter?' as Clara hastened to greet
her father's playfellow, with an alacrity which piqued Lady Britton
into a supercilious aside to Lord Fitzjocelyn that the Hendersons
were in poor circumstances, and no one visited them.
'And is no one here whom I know? Not one of the old set, George?'
asked the old lady, mournfully.
'I fear there is hardly any one,' said Mr. Henderson. 'All seem even
to me new people. Stay, do you recollect old Mrs. Golding?'
After a little confusion, Mr. Henderson's old Mrs. Golding proved to
be Mrs. Frost's young Mrs. Golding; and, on the eager inquiry whether
she were present, ensued the melancholy answer that she was deaf and
infirm, only just able to smile with pleasure at the tidings of her
old friend's restoration; and the daughter, whom she could only just
believe to be grown up, was a worn, elderly woman. Not even the one
heartfelt greeting was without sadness; and Clara likewise met with
one solitary satisfaction, and that a very mixed one. Mr. Danvers,
the young curate, whom Oliver had not thought worth presenting, was
hailed by Fitzjocelyn as if their slight Oxford acquaintance had been
an intimacy, and was by him introduced to Clara as belonging to
James's college. She frankly held out her hand, but was discomfited
by his inquiry for her brother, whom he had hoped to meet. Louis
said something about not expecting the schoolmaster abroad in the
half-year, and Clara was not at all grateful to him for relieving her
from the embarrassment, but regarded the reply as a shabby
prevarication, and was much inclined to speak out; but Louis was
drawing the curate into conversation about the population, and
hearing but a desponding history. It was interrupted when Oliver,
after waiting in vain for more distinguished company, began to
marshal his guests to the grand hall, paved with black and white
marble, and with a vast extent of wall and window, decked with
evergreens, flags, and mottoes. Here a cold collation was prepared,
with a band in a music-gallery above, and all the et ceteras dear to
county papers. Oliver himself handed in Lady Britton, his mother
fell to the lot of the Earl, and Fitzjocelyn received orders to
conduct a handsome, young, giggling Mrs. Smithers, who, never having
been in contact with a live Lord, wanted to make the most of him,
and, before she had arrived at her place, was declaring that it was a
most interesting occasion, just like a scene at the Opera.
Louis glanced back to see what became of Clara, and, finding her
following with Sir Andrew Britton, contrived to sit immediately
opposite to her, at the long, narrow table, with nothing between them
but a couple of cold chickens and a tongue garnished with transfixed
crayfish. His eyes were, perhaps, a greater support to her than even
conversation, for she gathered a little philosophy and charity from
their cheering smile and arch twinkling, and she managed to listen
civilly to her neighbour, while she saw that her cousin was being
very polite to Mrs. Smithers. She was a great way from all other
friends, for the table had been spread for a more numerous assembly,
and the company sat in little clusters, with dreary gaps between,
where moulds of jelly quaked in vain, and lobster-salads wasted their
sweetness on the desert air. Her uncle could just be seen in the far
perspective at the head of the table, and, between him and the Earl,
Louis descried his Aunt Catharine, looking bright, with a little
embellishing flush on her withered cheek.
Sir Andrew was not a lady's man; and, after he had heard how far Miss
Dynevor had come to-day, that she had never ridden, and had not seen
the Menai tubular bridge, he discontinued the difficult task; and
she, finding that he had not even seen the cathedral, which she had
passed only fifteen miles off, gave him up, and occupied herself with
watching the infinite variety of affectations which Mrs. Smithers was
playing off, and the grave diversion with which Louis received them.
The lady was evidently trying to discover what had been the
intermediate history of Mrs. and Miss Dynevor; and Louis was taking
pleasure in baffling her, with cool, quiet answers, especially when
she came to the question whether Miss Dynevor had not a brother, and
why he was not present. It appeared that Oliver had made almost as
if his mother had been buried and dug up again; involving the thirty-
four years of her exile in such utter mystery, that people had begun
to make all sorts of wild stories to account for her proceedings; and
Lord Fitzjocelyn's explanation that she had lived in her own house in
Northwold, and taught him the Latin grammar, seemed quite a
disappointment from the simplicity and want of romance.
The weary banquet had arrived at ices, and Clara hoped the end was
near, when the worse trial of speeches began. Mr. Henderson was
declaring how strongly he felt the honour which had been devolved on
him, of expressing the universal joy in having so excellent and much-
beloved a neighbour restored by the noble exertions of her son. He
said all that the rest of the world ought to have felt, and so
heartily and sincerely as to make every one imagine the whole the
general sentiment, and the welcoming hurrah was cordial and joyous.
Mrs. Frost was deeply touched and gratified, and Lord Ormersfield
congratulated himself on having instigated Oliver to give this toast
to Mr. Henderson. If Clara could have driven James from her mind,
she would have been delighted, but there could be no triumph for her
where he was excluded.
The Earl returned thanks on behalf of his aunt, and said a great deal
that could have come from the mouth of no one 'unaccustomed to public
speaking,' ending by proposing the health of 'Mr. Oliver Frost
Dynevor.' In the midst of 'the fine old English gentleman,' while
Louis was suppressing a smile at the incongruity, a note was brought
to him, which he tossed to Clara, purporting that he was to return
thanks for her. She bent over the table to say, 'You will say
nothing I cannot bear to hear,' folded her hands, and shut her eyes,
as if she had been going to stand fire.
Oliver's clear, harsh tones, incapable of slowness or solemnity,
began to return thanks for himself, and pronounce this to be the
happy day to which he had been looking throughout his life--the day
of restoring the family inheritance to his mother, and the child of
his elder brother; he faltered--he never could calmly speak of Henry.
Failing the presence of one so dear, he rejoiced, however, to be able
to introduce to them his only daughter, and he begged that his
friends would drink the health of the heiress of Cheveleigh, Miss
Never did toast apparently conduce so little to the health of the
subject. Unprepared as Clara was for such a declaration, it was to
her as if she had been publicly denounced as the supplanter of her
brother. She became deadly white, and sat bolt upright, stiff and
motionless, barely stifling a scream, and her eyes fixed between
command and entreaty on her cousin without seeing, far less
acknowledging, the bows levelled at her. Louis, alarmed by her
looks, saw that no time was to be lost; and rising hastily before any
one was ready, perilled his fame for eloquence by rapidly assuring
the gentlemen and ladies that Miss Dynevor was truly sensible of the
kindness of their welcome, and their manner of receiving the toast.
Then pushing back his chair, with 'never mind,' to Mrs. Smithers and
her scent-bottle, he was at the back of Clara's chair almost before
her confused eyes had missed him in her gasps for breath, and impulse
to do something desperate; and so she might, if his voice had not
been in her ear, his hand grasping hers, both to console and raise
her. 'Clara, come, take care.' She obeyed, but trembling so much
that he was obliged to support her. Others would have risen in
alarm, but he silenced them by signs, and entreaties that no one
would frighten her grandmother. There was a large glass door
standing open under the Gothic window, and through it he led her out
upon a wide green lawn. She drew her breath in sobs, but could not
speak. Louis asked her to untie her bonnet, and touched the string,
which was merely a streamer. This brought a kind of laugh, but she
unfastened the bonnet herself, and the first use she made of her
breath was fiercely to exclaim--'How could you! Why did you not tell
them I never will--'
'Sit down,' said Louis, gently. 'Let me fetch some water.'
'No--no--let me get away from this place!' and she almost dragged him
along, as fresh cheers and peals of music broke out, till they had
entered a lonely walk in a sort of wilderness of shrubs. Still she
hurried on, till they came out on a quiet little garden, where the
tinkling of a little fountain was the only sound; the water looked
clear and fresh with the gold-fish darting in it, and the sun shone
calmly on the bright flowers and wavy ferns adorning the rockwork.
'What are you doing, Clara? You must rest here,' said he, drawing
her down on a rustic bench, intended to represent a crocodile.
'I can't rest here! I must go home! I'm going home to Jem!' she
exclaimed, obeying, however, because, though she could run, she could
'Dear Clara,' he said, affectionately, 'it was much worse than I
expected. I never believed he could have committed himself to such
an open declaration, especially without warning.'
'I'll not stay!' cried Clara, with all the vehemence of her Dynevor
nature. 'I'll go straight home to Northwold to-morrow morning--to-
night if I could. Yes, I will! I never came here for this!'
'And what is to become of my poor Aunt Kitty?'
'She has her Oliver! She would not have me put Jem out of his
'James will not be put into it.'
She wrenched away her hand, and looked at him with all her brother's
fierceness. 'And you!' she cried, 'why could not you speak up like a
man, and tell them that I thank none of them, and will have nothing
to say to any of them; and that if this is to belong to any one, it
must be to my noble, my glorious, generous brother; and, if he hasn't
it, it may go to the Queen, for what I care! I'll never have one
stone of it. Why could you not say so, instead of all that humbug'!'
'I thought the family had afforded quite spectacles enough for one
day,' said Louis; 'and besides, I had some pity upon your
grandmother, and on your uncle too.'
'Jem told me grandmamma claimed my first duty; but he never knew of
this wicked plan.'
'Yes, he did.'
'Knew that I was to supplant him!'
'Yes; we all knew it was a threat of your uncle; but we spared you
the knowledge, thinking that all might yet be accommodated, and never
expecting it would come on you in this sudden way.'
'Then I think I have been unfairly used,' cried Clara; 'I have been
brought here on false pretences. As if I would have come near the
place if I had known it!'
'A very false pretence that your grandmother must not be left alone
at eighty, by the child whom she brought up.'
'Oh, Louis! you want to tear me to pieces!'
'I have pity on my aunt; I have far more pity on your uncle.' Clara
stared at him. 'Here is a man who started with a grand heroic
purpose to redeem the estate, not for himself, but for her and his
brother; he exiles himself, he perseveres, till this one pursuit, for
which he denies himself home, kindred, wife or child, absorbs and
withers him up. He returns to find his brother dead; and the
children, for whom he sacrificed all, set against him, and rejecting
This was quite a new point of view to Clara. 'It is his own fault,'
'That a misfortune is by our own fault is no comfort,' said Louis.
'His apparent neglect, after all, arose from his absorption in the
'Yes; but how shameful to wish James to forget his Ordination.'
'A strong way of putting it. He asked too much: but he would have
been, and may yet be, contented with concessions involving nothing
wrong. His way of life can hardly have taught him to appreciate
James's scruples, as we do; and even if right and wrong were more
neatly partitioned between them than I think they are, it would still
be hard on him to find this destined heir spurning his benefits.'
'What are you coming to, Louis! You think James right?
'I would give the world to think so, Clara. One motive is too high
for praise, the other--No, I will say nothing of it. But I could
wish I had not precipitated matters last year.'
'What, would you have robbed us of our few happy months?'
'It was your uncle whom I robbed; he would otherwise have come home
like a good genius; but he found you all happy without him, and with
no gratitude to spare for him. And there he sits at the head of that
long melancholy table, trying to bring back days that have gone too
far ever to be recalled, and only raising their spectres in this
mocking finery; scarcely one man present, whose welcome comes from
his heart; his mother past the days of heeding the display, except
for his sake; his nephew rejecting him; you indignant and miserable.
Oh, Clara! I never saw more plainly money given for that which is
not bread, and labour for that which satisfieth not. Empty and
hollow as the pageant was, I could better bear to take my part in it,
so far as truth would let me, than tell that poor man that the last
of his brother's children rejects him and his benefits.'
'At this rate, you will make a hero of Uncle Oliver.'
'It is because he is one of this world's heroes that he is
distasteful to you.'
'I don't understand.'
'Exclusive devotion to one object, grand though it was, has made him
the man he appears to us. Think what the spirit must have been that
conceived and carried out such a design! Depend upon it there is a
greatness in him, which may show, when, as dear granny says, she has
cured him of all he learnt away from home. I think that must be the
work for which you are all brought together here.'
'But I can't thrust out Jem. I won't stay here on those terms. I
'It is not graceful to make an uproar about your own magnanimity, nor
to talk of what is to happen after a man's death. You don't come
here to be heiress, but to take care of your grandmother. There is
no need to disturb the future, unless, to be sure, you were obliged
to explain your expectations.'
'Ah! to be sure, any way I could restore it all to James.'
'Or, better still, you may yet be able to draw the uncle and nephew
together, and bring back peace and union.'
'Then I must stay and bear all this, you think?'
'As a mere matter of obedience, certainly.'
Clara's countenance fell.
'That may deprive it of the brilliance of a voluntary sacrifice; but,
after all, it is what makes your course safe and plain.'
'And very dismal, just because no one will believe so.'
'So the safer for humility,' said Louis. 'Perhaps the dear old
Terrace did not offer training and trial enough. I try to believe
something of the kind in my own case. If choice had been mine, I
should hardly have been exactly what I am; and you know how my chief
happiness has been put far from me; but I can imagine that to be at
the summit of my wishes might foster my sluggishness, and that I
might rest too much on better judgment than my own, if it were beside
me. Probation maybe safer than joy; and you may do more good to
yourself and others than even under Isabel's wing. Only think of the
means in your hands, and all the wretched population round! There
will be some hope of help for the curate now--besides, I shall know
where to come for subscriptions next time I run crazy about any
Clara smiled. 'I suppose I must bear it,' she said.
'For shame, Clara! With Aunt Kitty, who would make a palace of a
dungeon, in the glorious glow of such a sunset, turning each cloud to
red and purple radiance by the very force of love and faith, who
could regret the being beside her? My own dear and precious aunt, to
see her so happy, with bliss and peace so undisturbed, so far above
these toys, and these distresses, gives me a sort of fear--'
'Oh, don't, Louis--'
They were interrupted by approaching voices. Clara hastily started
up, as her uncle and Lady Britton appeared in the green alley.
'Oh, must I go back to them all! My head does ache!'
Louis gave her his arm, pursued the path in the opposite direction,
and emerged at the lower end of the bowling-green, with the
battlemented front of the house rising before them. Presently, he
met his father searching for him. 'Poor Clara has been overcome,' he
said, in explanation. 'The speechifying has been too much for her.'
It was the first time that Clara had appeared to the Earl in any
light but that of an idle school-girl, and he said, kindly, 'It must
have been very trying. There should have been more preparation.
Your uncle would have shown better taste in sparing your grandmamma
so obtrusive a reception, and I was much pained both for her and for
you during some of the speeches.'
Sympathy from Lord Ormersfield nearly overthrew Clara again, and she
involuntarily squeezed Louis's arm. He asked for his aunt, and was
told, 'She is in the house, entertaining these people. They do not
know when to go away. How could Oliver inflict such a party on her
and such a style of people!'
'I must go and help her,' said Louis.
Clara was in no condition to appear, but Louis caused Mrs. Beckett to
be summoned, and committed her to her care. Her transport was one of
the few pleasant things of that day. 'Oh, Miss Clara! Oh, my Lord!
Was there ever the like? Isn't Master Oliver the most blessed boy?
Missus in her own home again! Eight men, and a French man-cook! If
ever I thought to see the day! Her old room just as it was, only
grander! Oh, if poor Mr. James was but here!'
'Ay, Jane, and here's Clara thinking herself ill about Mr. James.
Take her up and give her some tea, and make her fit to behave
prettily by-and-by, that granny may not be vexed.'
Having seen her safe under Jane's fondling care and infectious
exultation, he betook himself to the drawing-room, relieved his
aunt's anxiety by a whisper, and won golden opinions from the whole
company, before they were fairly got rid of; and Oliver begged to
conduct his mother to her apartment. 'Yes, my dear, I must go to
poor little Clara.'
'I've no fears for Clara,' said Oliver, as he led her upstairs.
'Knowing young fellow to wait for my announcement! I can give her
near double what Ponsonby could. I'd not object--old Dynevor blood--'
'My poor Oliver, you have so learnt to think of money, that you can't
believe others live for anything else. You'll learn your mistake.'
'You think the young chap meant nothing? I shall look sharp after
him, then. I look on Clara as my own. I'll have no trifling.'
'You may save yourself the trouble,' said his mother. 'They
understand each other--they have always been like brother and sister,
and I cannot have the children teased, or things put into their
Oliver laughed his scornful chuckle, and said he did not understand
that sort of brother and sister, but happily he became absorbed in
showing his mother the fittings of her splendid bedroom.
Clara had the comfort of clinging round her grandmother's neck, and
being told that it was all nonsense. Jem should have his rights, and
Uncle Oliver would learn to love and honour him at last; and she was
a good child, and ought to have been prepared, if granny could have
guessed he would do it so publicly and suddenly, but she must forgive
him, for he was beside himself at having got them home again, and he
could not make enough of her because she was poor Henry's child. So
she saw granny must not be grieved, and she let herself be dressed
for a constrained dinner in the vast dining-room, where the servants
outnumbered the diners, and the silver covers bore the Dynevor dragon
as a handle, looking as spiteful as some of the race could do.
Oliver was obliged to conclude that no offer had passed between the
two young people; but on the way home next morning the Earl observed,
'Clara Frost has a fine figure, and is much improved by dress. She
shows excellent feeling, and does credit to her education.'
'The Pendragon blood never had a finer development,' said Louis.
'Even supposing justice done to poor James, she will have a handsome
portion. Oliver will have far more to dispose of than the five
thousand pounds guaranteed to her.'
'Poor child!' said Louis.
'Yes, I pity her for being exposed to his parading. He forgot the
gentleman in his merchant's office. If you should ever have any
thoughts of rescuing her from him, my approval would not be wanting,
and it would be the easiest way of restoring her brother.'
'My dear father, if Clara and I were always sister and brother when
she was poor, we certainly shall be no more now.'
Lord Ormersfield mentally execrated Mr. Ponsonby, and felt that he
had spoken too soon.
Jane's felicity was complete when, a few days after, she received,
addressed in Lord Fitzjocelyn's handwriting, an Illustrated News,
with a whole page containing 'the reception of Mrs. Dynevor of
Cheveleigh,' with grand portraits of all the flounces and veils, many
gratuitous moustaches, something passing for Oliver standing up with
a wine-glass in his hand, a puppy that would have perfectly justified
Mr. Ponsonby's aversion representing Lord Fitzjocelyn, and no gaps at
That picture Mrs. Beckett caused to be framed and glazed, kept it as
her treasure for life, and put it into her will as a legacy to
THE GIANT OF THE WESTERN STAR.
Come, let us range the subterranean vast,
Dark catacombs of ages, twilight dells,
And footmarks of the centuries long past,
Which look on us from their sepulchral cells.
Then glad emerge we to the cheering day,
Some sun-ranged height, or Alpine snowy crown,
Or Chimborazo towering far away
O'er the great Andes chain, and, looking down,
On flaming Cordilleras, mountain thrown
O'er mountain, vast new realms.
The Creation--REV. I. WILLIAMS.
The same impression of the Illustrated London News which delighted
Jane Beckett's simple heart in England, caused no small sensation at
Dona Rosita cast one glance at El Visconde there portrayed, and then
became absorbed in Clara's bonnet; Mr. Robson pronounced Lord
Ormersfield as good a likeness as Mr. Dynevor, Mr. Ponsonby cast a
scornful look and smile at the unlucky figure representing
Fitzjocelyn; and not a critical voice was heard, excepting Tom
Madison's, who indignantly declared that they had made the young Lord
look as if he had stood behind a counter all his life.
The juxtaposition of Lord Fitzjocelyn and Mr. Dynevor's niece, was
not by any means forgotten. It looked very like a graceful
conclusion to Oliver's exertions that he should crown their union,
and the county paper, which had likewise been forwarded, very nearly
hinted as much. Mr. Ponsonby took care that the paragraph should be
laid in his daughter's way, and he offered her the sight of Oliver
Dynevor's own letter.
Mary suspected that he regarded it as something conclusive, and took
care to read it when there were no eyes to mark her emotions.
'Ormersfield and his son were there,' wrote Oliver. 'The young man
is not so soft as he looks. They tell me he is going to work
sensibly at the estate, and he has a sharp eye for the main chance.
I hear he played fast and loose till he found your daughter had
better prospects than Miss Conway, whom my fool of a nephew chose to
marry, and now he is making up to my niece. My mother dotes on him,
and I shall make no objection--no extravagance that I can see, and he
will take care of the property. You will take no offence, since you
refuse the tender altogether.'
Of this Mary believed two sentences--namely, that Aunt Catharine
doted on Fitzjocelyn, and that he was not so soft as he looked, which
she took as an admission that he was not comporting himself
foolishly. She was quite aware that the friendship between him and
Clara might deceive an uninitiated spectator; and, though she
commanded herself to think that an attachment between them would be
equally natural and desirable, she could not but look with great
satisfaction at the easy unsuspicious tone of Mrs. Frost's letter,
which, after mentioning with much affection and gratitude all
Oliver's attempts to make her happy, in spite of the many sad changes
around, ended by saying that poor Clara felt the separation from her
brother so much, that without dear Louis she did not know how she
would have gone through the festivities. 'You can guess how he is
everything to us all,' said Aunt Kitty, 'and I brightened up his
looks with giving him your last letter to read. I dare say, Miss
Mary, you would like to scold me.'
Aunt Kitty! Aunt Kitty! you dearly loved a little kindly mischief!
Let that be as it might, Mr. Ponsonby thought that Mr. Dynevor's
letter had certainly not had much effect, for Mary was more lively
and cheerful than he had seen her since her first arrival. Mary's
cheerfulness was becoming the more necessary to him, since he was
beginning a little to weary of the childish charms of his young
Limenian wife. Rosita had neither education nor conversation; and
when all her pretty ways had been tried on him in succession, they
began to grow tedious. Moreover, the playful submission which she
had brought from her convent was beginning to turn into wilfulness.
Her extravagances in dress were appalling. She refused to wear the
same dresses twice, and cried, stamped her graceful foot, and pouted
when he remonstrated. She managed to spend every evening in
amusement, either at the Opera, or at evening parties, where her
splendid eyes, and scraps of broken English, made great havoc among
young lieutenants and midshipmen visiting Lima. Mr. Ponsonby was
growing tired of these constant gaieties, and generally remained at
home, sending Mary in his stead, as a sort of guard over her; and
Mary, always the same in her white muslin, followed Rosita through
all the salas of Lima--listened to the confidences of Limenian
beauties--talked of England to little naval cadets, more homesick
than they would have chosen to avow--and felt sure of some pleasure
and interest for the evening, when Mr. Ward came to stand by her
One afternoon, as Mary sat in her window reading, a gay voice
exclaimed, 'Beso las manos a Usted;' and looking up, she saw one of
the prettiest figures imaginable. A full dark purple satin skirt
just revealed the point of a dainty white satin shoe. It was plaited
low on the hips, and girded loosely with a brightly striped scarf.
The head and upper part of the person were shrouded in a close hood
of elastic black silk webbing, fastened behind at the waist, and held
over the face by the hand, which just allowed one be-ringed finger
and one glancing dark eye to appear, while the other hand held a fan
and a laced pocket-handkerchief. So perfectly did the costume suit
the air and shape of the lady, that, as she stood among Mary's orange
trees, it was like an illusion, of the fancy, but consternation took
away all the charm from Mary's eyes. 'Tapada, she cried; 'you surely
are not going out, tapada?'
'Ah, you have found me out,' cried Rosita. 'Yes, indeed I am! and I
have the like saya y manto ready for you. Come, we will be on the
Alameda; Xavier waits to attend us. Your Senor Ouard will be at his
But Mary drew back. This pretty disguise was a freak, such as only
the most gay ladies permitted themselves; and she had little doubt
that her father would be extremely displeased at his wife and
daughter so appearing, although danger there was none; since, though
any one might accost a female thus veiled, not the slightest
impertinence was ever allowed. Mary implored Bosita to wait till Mr.
Ponsonby's views should be known; but she was only laughed at for her
English precision, and the pretty creature danced away to her stolen
She came in, all glory and delight at the perplexity in which she had
involved the English officers, the guesses and courtesies of her own
countrymen, and her mystification of Mr. Robson, who had evidently
recognised her, though pretending to treat her as a charming
The triumph was of short duration. For the first time, she had
aroused one of Mr. Ponsonby's gusts of passion; she quailed under it,
wept bitterly, and made innumerable promises, and then she put on her
black mantilla, and, with Xavier behind her, went to her convent
chapel, and returned, half crying over the amount of repetitions of
her rosary by which her penance was to be performed, and thereby all
sense of the fault put away. Responsibility and reflection never
seemed to be impressed on that childish mind.
Mary had come in for some of the anger, for not having prevented
Rosita's expedition; but they were both speedily forgiven, and Mary
never was informed again of her using the saya y manto.
Their minds were diverted by the eager desire of one of the young
officers to visit the silver mines. It had been an old promise to
Mary from her father to take her to see them; but in her former
residence in Peru, it had never been fulfilled. He now wished to
inspect matters himself, in order to answer the numerous questions
sent by Oliver; and Rosita, eagerly catching at any proposal which
promised a variety, a party was made up for ascending to the San
Benito mines, some days' journey from Lima. Mary and Rosita were the
only ladies; but there were several gentlemen, three naval officers,
and Mr. Ward, who was delighted to have an opportunity of visiting
the wonders which had been, for many years, within his reach without
his rousing himself from his business to see them. Tents, bedding,
and provisions were to be carried with them, and Mary had full
occupation in stimulating Dolores to bring together the requisite
preparations; while Mr. Ward and Robson collected guides, muleteers,
It was a merry party, seated on the gaily-trapped mules, with an idle
young midshipman to make mischief, and all in spirits to enjoy his
nonsense, in the exhilaration of the mountain air blowing freshly
from the snowy summits which seemed to rise like walls before them.
The steaming, misty, relaxing atmosphere of Lima was left behind, and
with it many a care and vexation. Mr. Ponsonby brought his mule to
the side of his wife's litter, and exchanged many a joke in Anglo-
Spanish with her and the lieutenant; and Mr. Ward, his brow
unfurrowed from counting-house cares, walked beside Mary's mule,
gathered each new flower for her, and listened to her narrative of
some of the causes for which she was glad, with her own eyes, to see
Tom Madison in his scene of action.
The first day of adventure they slept at a hacienda, surrounded with
fields where numerous llamas were pasturing. The next began the real
mountain work; the rock looked like a wall before them, and the white
summits were sharply defined against the blue sky. The sharper air
made Rosita shiver; but the English travellers congratulated
themselves on something like a breeze, consoling them for the glow
with which the sunbeams beat upon the rocks. The palms and huge
ferns had given place to pines, and these were growing more scanty.
Once or twice they met a brown Indian, robed in a coloured blanket,
with a huge straw hat, from beneath which he gazed with curious,
though gentle eyes, upon the cavalcade. By-and-by, looking like a
string of ants descending a perpendicular wall, Mary beheld a row of
black specks slowly moving. She was told that these were the mules
bringing down the metal in panniers--the only means of communication,
until, as the lieutenant promised, a perpendicular railroad should be
invented. The electricity of the atmosphere made jokes easily pass
current. The mountain was 'only' one of the spurs of the Andes, a
mere infant among the giants; but, had it been set down in Europe,
Mont Blanc must have hid his diminished head; and the view was better
than on some of the more enormous neighbours, which were both further
inland, and of such height, that to gaze from them was 'like looking
from an air-balloon into vacancy.' Whereas here Mary had but to turn
her head, as her mule steadily crept round the causeway--a legacy of
the Incas--to behold the expanse of the Pacific, a sheet of
glittering light in the sunshine, the horizon line raised so high,
that the first moment it gave her a sense of there being something
wrong with her eye, before the feeling of infinity rushed upon her.
They were turning the flank of the mountain, and losing the sunshine.
The evening air was almost chill, and the clearness such that they
already saw the ragged height whither they were bound rising in
craggy shattered grandeur, every flat space or gentler declivity
covered with sheds and huts for the work-people, and cavernous mouths
opening on the cliff-side. Dark figures could be distinctly seen
moving about; and as to the descending mules, they seemed to be close
on the other side of a narrow ravine. Rosita, who, now it came to
the point, was not without fears of sleeping on the bare mountain-
side, wanted to push on; she was sure they could arrive before night,
but she was told that she knew nothing of mountain atmosphere; and
she was not discontented with the bright fire and comfortable
arrangements on which they suddenly came, after turning round a great
shoulder of rock. Mr. Robson and the sumpter-mules had quietly
preceded them, and the gipsying on the Andes was likely to be not
much less luxurious than an English pic-nic. The negro cook had done
his best; Mary made her father's coffee, and Rosita was waited on to
her satisfaction. And when darkness came on, too early for English
associations with warm days, the lights of the village at the mine
glittered merrily, and, apparently, close at hand; and the stars
above shone as Mary had never seen them, so marvellously large and
bright, and the Magellan clouds so white and mysterious. Mr. Ward
came and told her some of the observations made on them by
distinguished travellers; and after an earnest conversation, she
sought her matted bed, with a pleasant feeling on her mind, as if she
had been unusually near Louis's world.
Clear, sharp, and cold was the air next day; the snow-fields
glistened gloriously in the rising sun, and a rose-coloured mist
seemed to rise from them. Rosita was shown the unusual spectacle of
hoar frost, and shiveringly profited by Mary's ample provision of
wraps. The hill-sides were beyond conception desolate and bare.
Birds were an almost unknown race in Peru; and here even green things
had departed, scarcely a tuft of blossom looking out on the face of
the red and purple rock; and the exceeding stillness so awful, that
even the boy-sailor scarce dared to speak above his breath. Rosita
began to repent of having come near so horrible a place; and when she
put her head out of her litter, and beheld herself winding along a
ledge projecting from the face of a sheer precipice, she would have
begged to go back instantly; but her husband spoke in a voice of
authority which subdued her; she drew in her head into her basket-
work contrivance, and had recourse to vows to Sta Rosa of Lima of a
chaplet of diamond roses, if she ever came safely down again.
Mary had made up her mind that they should not have been taken
thither if there were any real danger; and so, though she could have
preferred her mule taking the inner side of the ledge, and was not
too happy when it climbed like a cat, she smiled, and answered all
inquiries that she did not think she ought to be frightened. The
region was in general more stern than beautiful, the clefts between
the hills looking so deep, that it seemed as if an overthrown
mountain could hardly fill them; but now and then came sudden peeps
of that wonderful ocean; or almost under her feet, as if she could
throw a stone into it, there would lie an intensely green valley,
shut in with feathering pines, and the hacienda and grazing llamas
dwindled, so that they could have been taken for a Swiss farm and
flocks of sheep.
Not till the middle of the day did they meet the line of mules, and
not until the sunset did they find themselves close before the
wonderful perforated San Benito summit. It was, unlike many other
metalliferous hills, an isolated, sharply-defined mass of rock,
breaking into sudden pinnacles and points, traversed with veins of
silver. These veins had been worked with galleries, which, even
before the Spanish conquest, had honeycombed the solid rock, and had
been thought to have exhausted its riches; but it had been part of
Oliver Dynevor's bold speculations to bring modern science to profit
by the leavings of the Peruvians and their destroyers. It was a
marvellous work, but it might still be a question whether the profit
would bear out the expense.
However, that was not the present consideration. No one could feel
anything but admiring astonishment at the fantastic craggy height of
peaks and spires, rising against the darkening sky, like the very
stronghold of the Giant of the Western Star; and, with the black
openings of the galleries, here and there showing the lights of the
workmen within. Mary remembered the tales, in which Louis used
vainly to try to interest her, of metal-working Dwarfs within the
mountains; and would have been glad to tell him that, after all,
reality was quite as strange as his legends.
The miners, Indians and negroes, might truly have been Trolls, as,
with their brown and black countenances, and wild bright attire, they
came thronging out of their rude houses, built of piled stones on
every tolerably level spot. Three or four stout, hearty Cornish
miners, with picks on their shoulders, made the contrast stranger;
and among them stood a young man, whose ruddy open face carried Mary
home to Ormersfield in one moment; and she could not but blush almost
as if it had been Louis, when she bent her head in acknowledgment of
He started towards her as if to help her off her mule; but Mr.
Ponsonby was detaining him by questions, and Mr. Ward, as usual, was
at her rein. In a wonderfully brief time, as it seemed to her, all
the animals were led off to their quarters; and Robson, coming up,
explained that Madison's hut, the only habitable place, had been
prepared for the ladies--the gentlemen must be content to sleep in
'The hut was at least clean,' said Robson, as he ushered them in; and
Mary felt as if it were a great deal more. It was rudely built, and
only the part near the hearth was lined with matting; the table and
the few stools and chairs were rough carpentry, chiefly made out of
boxes; but upon the wall hung a beautiful print from Raffaelle, of
which she knew the giver as surely as if his name had been written on
it; and the small bookcase suspended near contained, compressed
together, an epitome of Louis's tastes--the choicest of all his
favourites, in each class of book. Mary stood by it, reading the
names, and trying to perceive Louis's principle of selection in each
case. It jarred upon her when, as the gentlemen loitered about,
waiting for the evening meal, they came and looked at the titles,
with careless remarks that the superintendent was a youth of taste,
and a laugh at the odd medley--Spenser, Shakspeare, 'Don Quixote,'
Calderon, Fouque, and selections from Jeremy Taylor, &c.
Mary would hear no more comments. She went to the fire, and tried to
persuade Rosita they would come safe down again; and then, on the
apology for a mantelshelf, she saw some fossils and some dried
grasses, looking almost as if Fitzjocelyn had put them there.
She did not see Madison that night; but the next morning he presented
himself to act as their guide through the wonders of the
extraordinary region where his lot had been cast. She found that
this was only the first floor of the wondrous castle. Above and
above, rose galleries, whence the ore was lowered down to the
buildings here placed, where it underwent the first process of
separation. The paths above were fit for none, save a chamois, or a
barefooted Indian, or a sailor--for the midshipman was climbing aloft
in such places, that Tom's chief work was to summon him back, in
horror lest he should involve himself in endless galleries, excavated
before the days of Atahualpa.
Much of the desperate scrambling which Madison recommended as plain-
sailing, was beyond Mr. Ponsonby; but where he went, Mary went; and
when he stopped, she, though she had not drawn since the master at
her school had resigned her, as a hopeless case, applied herself to
the perpetration of an outline of the rocks, that, as she said, 'her
aunts might see what sort of place it was.' Her steady head, and
firm, enterprizing hand and foot, enabled her to see the crowning
wonder of the mountain, one of the ventanillas or windows. Mr. Ward,
having visited it, came back bent on taking her thither; there was no
danger, if she were not afraid. So, between him and Tom Madison, she
was dragged up a steep path, and conducted into a gallery cut out in
the living rock, growing gloomier and gloomier, till suddenly there
was a spot of light on the sparkling floor, and Mary found herself
beneath an opening through the mountain crown, right up into the sky,
which, through the wild opening, looked of the deepest, most ultra-
marine, almost purple blue, utterly beyond conception in the glory of
intense colour, bringing only to her mind those most expressive, yet
most inexpressive words, 'the body of heaven in His clearness.' She
felt, what she had often heard said, that to all mountain tops is
given somewhat of the glory that dwelt on Sinai. That ineffable blue
was more dazzling than even the fields beyond fields of marvellous
white that met her eye on emerging from the dark gallery.
'I never wish so much that Lord Fitzjocelyn should see anything as
that,' said Tom Madison, when Mary, in her gratitude, was trying to
say something adequate to the trouble she had given, though the
beauty was beyond any word of admiration.
'He would--' she began to answer, but the rest died away, only
answered by Tom with an emphatic 'He _would_!' and then began the
difficulties of getting down.
But Mary had the pleasure at the next pause of hearing Mr. Ward say,
'That is a very fine intelligent young fellow, worthy of his library.
I think your father has a prize in him!'
Mary's eyes thanked Mr. Ward, with all her heart in them. It was
worth going up the Andes for such a sentence to put into a letter
that Aunt Kitty would show to Louis.
Robson seemed anxious to monopolize the attention of the gentlemen,
to the exclusion of Madison; and while Tom was thus thrust aside,
Mary succeeded in having a conversation with him, such as she felt
was a sort of duty to Louis. She asked him the names of the various
mountain-peaks in sight, whose bare crags, too steep to support the
snow, here and there stood out dark in salient contrast to the white
scenery, and as he gave them to her, mentioning the few facts that he
had been able to gather respecting them, she was able to ask him
whether he was in the habit of seeing anything approaching to
society. He smiled, saying that his nearest neighbours were many
miles off--an engineer conducting some far more extensive mining
operations, whom he sometimes met on business, and an old Spanish
gentleman, who lived in a valley far down the mountain side, with
whom he sometimes smoked his cigar on a Sunday, if he felt inclined
for a perpendicular promenade on a Peruvian causeway for nearly four
miles. Mary asked whether he often did feel inclined. No, he
thought not often; he had generally worked hard enough in the week to
make his book the best company; but he liked now and then to see
something green for a change after these bare mountains and rocks,
and the old Don Manrique was very civil and agreeable. Then, after a
few minutes' conversation of this kind, something of the old
conscious abruptness of tone seemed to come over the young man, and
looking down, he said bluntly, 'Miss Ponsonby, do you think there
would be any objection to my coming into Lima just for Christmas?'
'I suppose not; I cannot tell.'
Tom explained that all the miners would be making holiday, and the
senior Cornishman might safely be left in charge of the works, while
he only wished to spend Christmas-day itself in the city, and would
be a very short time absent. He blushed a little as he spoke, and
Mary ventured to reply to what she gathered of his thought, 'No other
day would suit you as well?'
'No, ma'am, it hardly would,' he answered, gravely.
'I will try what can be done,' said Mary, 'unless you would speak to
Mr. Ponsonby yourself.'
He looked inquiringly at Mr. Ponsonby's figure some paces distant,
and shook his head.
'I will try,' repeated Mary; and then she added, 'These grand hill-
tops and blue sky almost make a church--'
'Yes, ma'am,' said Tom, his black eyes lighting at the thought; 'I've
felt so sometimes, but 'tis a mighty lonely one after a time. I've
taken my book, and got out of earshot of the noise the blacks make;
and I do assure you, Miss Ponsonby, the stillness was enough to drive
one wild, with nothing but savage rocks to look at either! Not a
green plant, nor a voice to answer, unless one got to the mountain
echoes, and they are worse--'
'But surely you have the Cornishmen! What do they do on a Sunday?'
'They lie about, and smoke and sleep, or go down to the valley,' said
Tom. 'I never thought of them.'
'I think you should,' said Mary, gravely. 'If you are in any
authority over them, it must give you a charge over their souls.
I think you should, at least, give them the choice of reading the
service with you.'
'I'll think about it,' said Madison, gruffly.
'I will send up some books for them to make an opening,' said Mary.
'I should not like to think of men living in such scenes, without
being the better for them.'
Robson was here obliged to call Madison to refer some question to
him; but Mary had another talk with him, when he begged to know if
there were likely soon to be an opportunity of sending to England.
He had some fossils which he wished to send to Lord Fitzjocelyn; and
he fetched them, and explained his theories with regard to them as if
he had almost forgotten that she was not his young Lord. She carried
his request to her father, and was answered that of course he might
take a holiday if he could leave the works with safety; he had better
spend a few days in the town when he did come. With this answer she
made him happy; and they set off, to the extreme joy of Rosita, who
had engrossed much less attention than she had expected, and declared
she would never have come into these horrible places if she could
have imagined what they were like. Certainly, no one wished to have
her company there again.
When Mr. Ponsonby mentioned the permission which he had accorded to
Madison, Robson coughed and looked annoyed. Mary could not help
suspecting that this was because the request had not been preferred
through himself. 'So the young fellow wants to be coming down, does
he? I thought his ardour was too hot to last long.'
'Very natural that the poor lad should want a holiday,' said Mr.
Ponsonby. 'It must take a tolerable flow of spirits to stand long,
being so many feet above the level of the sea, in caves fit for a
robber's den at the theatre.'
'Oh, I am making no objection, sir,' returned Robson; 'the young man
may take his pleasure for what I care, so he can be trusted not to
neglect his business.'
Here the path narrowed, and Mary had to fall back out of hearing; but
she had an unpleasant suspicion that Robson was telling her father
something to Tom's disadvantage, and she had to consider how to avoid
rousing a jealousy, which she knew might be dangerous.
Mr. Ward, however, came up to interrupt her thoughts and watch the
steps of her mule. The worst difficulties of the descent had
precluded all conversation; and the party were just beginning to
breathe freely, think of terra firma as not far off, and gaze with
easier minds on the marvellous ocean. Mary went on in very
comfortable discussion of the wonders they had seen, and of Madison's
remark that the performances of the Incas made one quite ashamed of
the achievements of modern science--a saying in which Mr. Ward
perfectly agreed; and then he began to say something rather long, and
a little disconnected, and Mary's mind took an excursion to Aunt
Kitty, and the reading of the letter that she was going to write,
when suddenly something in Mr. Ward's voice startled her, and
recalling her attention, she discovered, to her dismay, that he was
actually making her an offer! An offer! She would as soon have
expected one from her father! And oh! how well expressed--how
entirely what it ought to be! How unlike every one of those three of
her past experience!
In great distress she exclaimed, 'Oh, Mr. Ward, pray do not--indeed,
'I feared that I was but too likely to meet with such an answer,'
said Mr. Ward; 'and yet your father encouraged me to hope, that in
course of time--'
'Then papa has told you what he thinks?' said Mary.
'I applied to him before I could venture to join this party. Mary,
I am aware that I can bring none of the advantages which have'--his
voice faltered--'which have forestalled me; but the most true and
earnest affection is already yours.'
'I am very sorry for it, Mr. Ward,' said Mary, gravely, though much
touched. 'It is very kind of you, but it is only fair and candid to
tell you that papa has probably led you into a mistake. He thinks
that the--the object was weak and unworthy, and that my feelings
could be easily overcome. He does not know--'
'He assured me that all was at an end--'
'It is,' said Mary; 'but I am certain that I shall never feel for any
one else the same as'--and the tears were coming last. 'You are very
kind, Mr. Ward, but it is of no use to think that this can ever be.'
'Forgive me for having harassed you,' said Mr. Ward, and they went on
so long in silence that Mary hoped it was over, and yet he did not go
away from her. She was sorry to see the grieved, dejected expression
on his good, sensible, though somewhat worn countenance; and she
esteemed him highly; but who could have thought of so unlucky a fancy
coming into his head? When, at length, he spoke again, it was to say
that he begged that she would forget what was past, and allow him to
continue on his former footing. Mary was glad to have something
grateful to say, and answered that she should have been very sorry to
lose him as a friend; whereupon his face cheered up, he thanked her,
and fell back from her rein. In spite of her past trials of the
futility of the attempt to live with a rejected suitor as if nothing
had happened, she had hopes of the possibility when her own heart was
untouched, and the gentleman nearly doubled her years; but when she
talked to her father, she gathered that it was considered by both
gentlemen that the proposal had been premature, and that her final
detachment from Louis was reckoned on as so certain that Mr. Ward was
willing to wait, as if it were only a matter of time. He was so
wealthy and prosperous, and a connexion with him would have been so
useful to the firm, that Mary was grateful to her father for
forbearing to press her on what he evidently wished so earnestly.
Mr. Ward had exactly the excellent, well-balanced character, which
seemed made to suit her, and she could have imagined being very happy
with him, if--No, no--Mr. Ward could not be thought of at the same
Yet, whatever she might say, no one would believe her; so she held
her peace, and wrote her history of the silver mines; and Mr. Ward
haunted the house, and was most kindly forbearing and patient, and
Mary found at every turn, how good a man he was, and how cruel and
mistaken his sister thought her.
And Christmas came, when the churches were perfect orange-groves, and
the scene of the wanderers of Bethlehem was acted from house to house
in the twilight. The scanty English congregation met in the room
that served as a chapel in the Consul's house--poor Mary alone of all
her household there to keep the feast; and Mr. Ward was there, and
Madison had come down from his mountain. There were hearts at home
that would rejoice to hear that.
Mary saw him afterwards, and he thanked her for her suggestion
respecting the miners. Two had been only as shy as Tom himself; they
had been reading alone, and were glad to join company, a third was
beginning to come, and it had led to a more friendly intercourse.
Mary sent him away, very happy with some books for them, some new
Spanish reading for himself, an astronomical book, and her little
celestial globe--for the whole firmament of stars had been by no
means lost on him. That interview was her Christmas treat. Well for
her that she did not hear Robson say, 'That young man knows how to
come over the ladies. I shall keep a sharper look-out after him.
I know no harm of him, but if there's one man I trust less than
another, it is one that tries the serious dodge.'
THE WRONG WOMAN IN THE WRONG PLACE.
Give me again my hollow tree,
My crust of bread, and liberty.
The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse--POPE.
The new cook's first compliment to Charlotte was, 'Upon my word, you
are a genteel young woman, I dare say you have a lot of sweethearts.'
The indignant denial of the Lady of Eschalott was construed into her
being 'sly,' and Mrs. Cook promised herself to find her out.
Those were not happy days with the little maiden. The nurse looked
down on her, and the cook filled the kitchen with idlers, whose looks
and speeches were abhorrent to her. Sometimes the woman took offence
at her for being high; at others, she forced on her advice upon her
dress, or tried to draw out confidences either on lovers or the
affairs of the family. Charlotte was sadly forlorn, and shut herself
up in her pantry, or in her own little attic with Jane's verbenas
which cook had banished from the kitchen, and lost her sorrows in
books hired at the library. She read, and dreamt, created leisure
for reading, lived in a trance, and awoke from it to see her work
neglected, reproach herself, and strain her powers to make up for
what was left undone. Then, finding her efforts failing, she would
be distressed and melancholy, until a fresh novel engrossed her for a
time, and the whole scene was enacted over again.
Still, it was not all idleness nor lost ground. The sense of
responsibility was doing her good, she withstood the cook's follies,
and magnanimously returned unopened a shining envelope of Mr.
Delaford's. At Christmas, when Mr. and Mrs. Frost went to pay a
visit at Beauchastel, and the cook enjoyed a course of gaieties, the
only use she made of her liberty was to drink tea once with Mrs.
Martha, and to walk over to Marksedge to see old Madison, who was
fast breaking, and who dictated to her his last messages to his
James and Isabel spent a pleasant lively Christmas with their
hospitable old friends, and James returned full of fresh vigour and
new projects. His first was to offer his assistance to the Vicar, so
as to have a third service on the Sunday; but there were differences
of opinion between them, and his proposal was received so
ungraciously, that a coolness arose, which cut him off from many
openings for usefulness.
However, he had enough to occupy him in his own department, the
school. He was astonished at his boys' deficiency in religious
instruction, and started a plan for collecting them for some teaching
for an hour before morning service. Mr. Calcott agreed with him that
nothing could be more desirable, but doubted whether the parents
would compel their sons to attend, and advised James to count the
cost, doubting whether, in the long run, he would be able to dispense
with one day of entire rest. This was the more to be considered,
since James expended a wonderful amount of energy in his teaching,
did his utmost to force the boys on, in class and in private, drilled
his usher, joined in the games, and gave evening lectures on subjects
of general information.
Some responded to his training, and these he strenuously encouraged,
asking them to dinner and taking them to walk; and these were
enthusiastically fond of him, and regarded his beautiful wife as a
being of a superior order. Fitzjocelyn and James used to agree that
intercourse with her was a very important element in their training,
and the invitations were made as impartial as possible, including the
intelligent and well-conducted, irrespective of station. Isabel's
favourite guest was a good, well-mannered lad, son to Mr.
Ramsbotham's follower, the butcher, but, unluckily, Mrs. Richardson
and her friends did not esteem it a compliment when their sons were
asked to meet him, and, on the other hand, James did not always
distinguish real merit from mere responsiveness to his own mind.
Dull boys, or such as had a half sullen, half conservative dislike to
change, did not gain notice of an agreeable kind, and while intending
to show strict justice, he did not know how far he was affected by
His lectures had emancipated him from evening parties; and, after
Mrs. Frost's departure, visiting gave Isabel little trouble. The
calm, lofty manners that had been admired in Miss Conway, were
thought pride in Mrs. James Frost, and none of the ladies of
Northwold even wished to do more than exchange morning calls with
her, and talk among themselves of her fine-ladyism. She recked
nothing of their keeping aloof; her book and her pen were far
pleasanter companions on her alternate evenings of solitude, and in
them she tried to lose her wishes for the merry days spent with
granny and Clara, and her occasional perceptions that all was not as
in their time. James would sometimes bring this fact more palpably
The separation of the families had not diminished the income of the
household, but the difference in comfort was great. Isabel knew
nothing of management, and did not care to learn. She had been
willing to live on a small scale, but she did not understand personal
superintendence, she was careless of display, and perfectly happy as
long as she was the guest of the grandmother, but she had no
comprehension of petty tidinesses or small economies. Now James,
brought up on a very different scale, knew in detail how the
household ought to live, and made it a duty not to exceed a fixed
sum. He had the eye for neatness that she wanted; he could not
believe it a hardship to go without indulgences to which his
grandmother and sister had not been accustomed. Thus, he protested
against unnecessary fires; Isabel shivered and wore shawls; he was
hurt at seeming to misuse her, resigned his study fire, and still
found the coals ever requiring to be renewed, insisted that his wife
should speak to the cook, and mystified her by talking about the
regulation of the draught of the kitchen fire; and when Isabel
understood, she forgot the lecture.
He was a devoted and admiring husband, but he could not coolly
discover innumerable petty neglects and wasteful habits. Impatient
words broke out, and Isabel always received them so meekly that he
repented and apologized; and in the reconciliation the subject was
forgotten, but only to be revived another time. Isabel was always
ready to give warm aid and sympathy in all his higher cares and
purposes, and her mild tranquillity was repose and soothing to him,
but she was like one in a dream. She had married a vision of
perfection, and entered on a romance of happy poverty, and she had no
desire to awaken; so she never exerted her mind upon the world around
her, when it seemed oppressive; and kept the visionary James Frost
before her, in company with Adeline and the transformed Sir Hubert.
It was much easier to line his tent with a tapestry of Maltese
crosses, than to consider whether the hall should be covered with
How Christmas passed with Clara, may be seen in the following
'Cheveleigh, Jan. 1851.
'Dearest Jem,--I can write a long letter to-night, for a fortunate
cold has spared me from one of Sir Andrew's dinner-parties. It is a
reminiscence of the last ball, partly brought on by compunction at
having dragged poor granny thither, in consideration of my unguarded
declaration of intense dislike to be chaperoned by Lady Britton.
Granny looks glorious in black velvet and diamonds, and I do trust
that her universal goodwill rendered the ball more tolerable to her
than it was to me. She, at least, is all she seems; whereas I am so
infested with civilities, that I long to proclaim myself little Clara
Frost, bred up for a governess, and the laughing-stock of her school.
Oh! for that first ball where no one danced with me but Mr.
Richardson, and I was not a mere peg for the display of Uncle
Oliver's Peruvian jewels! I have all the trouble in the world to be
allowed to go about fit to be seen, and only by means of great
fighting and coaxing did I prevail to have my dress only from London
instead of Paris.
'And no wonder I shivered all the way to the ball. Fancy Jane
insisting on my going to display my dress to that poor dying
Marianne; I was shocked at the notion of carrying my frivolities into
such a scene, but Jane said her mind ran on it, and it was 'anything
to take off her thoughts from that man.' So I went into her room,
and oh! if you could have seen the poor thing, with her short breath
and racking cough, her cheeks burning and her eyes glistening at that
flimsy trumpery. One bunch of the silver flowers on my skirt was
wrong; she spied it, and they would not thwart her, so she would have
the needle, and the skeleton trembling fingers set them right. They
said she would sleep the easier for it, and she thanked me as if it
had really set her more at rest; but how sad, how strange it seems,
when she knows that she is sinking fast, and has had Mr. Danvers with
her every day. He thinks all is well with her; but it was a
melancholy, blank, untaught mind, to begin to work on. Louis would
call her life a mournful picture of our civilization. She has told
it all to Jane: she was of the mechanic class, just above the rank
that goes to Sunday-schools; she went to a genteel weekly school, and
was taken out pleasuring on Sunday--no ground-work at all. An orphan
at fifteen, she never again knew tenderness. Then came dressmaking
till her health failed, and she tried service. She says, Isabel's
soft tones made a paradise for her; but late hours, which she did not
feel at the time, wore her out, and Delaford trifled with her.
Always when alone he pretended devotion to her, then flirted with any
other who came in his way, and worry and fretting put the finish to
her failing health. She had no spirit to break entirely with him,
and even now is pining for one kind word, which he seems to be too
hard and selfish to send to her, in answer to a letter of forgiveness
that she wrote a fortnight back. What a wretch he must be! Jane
says, he tried flirting with poor little Charlotte, and that she was
a little 'took up' with his guitar and his verses; but then, Jane
says, 'Charlotte has somewhat at the bottom, and knows better than to
heed a man as wasn't real religious.' I suppose that is the true
difference between Charlotte and Marianne, and even if we looked into
Delaford's history, most likely we should find him another
nineteenth-century victim to an artificial life. At least, I trust
that Jane has been the greatest blessing, Marianne herself speaks of
her as more than a mother to her; and I believe I told you of the
poor girl's overpowering gratitude, when she found we would not turn
her out to die homeless. We read, and we talk, and Mr. Danvers
comes; but I believe dear old Jane does more for her than all.
'Poor Jane! when her task of nursing is over, I do not know what she
will turn to. The grand servants only keep terms with her because
Uncle Oliver gave notice that no one should stay in the house who did
not show respect to his _friend_ Mrs. Beckett. It takes all her love
for Missus and Master Oliver to make her bear it; and her chief
solace is in putting me to bed, and in airing Master Oliver's shirt
and slippers. You would laugh to hear her compassionating the home
minced-pies! and she tells me she would give fifty pounds rather than
bring Charlotte here. My uncle wished grandmamma to manage the
house, and she did so at first, but she and the servants did not get
on well together; and she said, what I never knew her say before,
that she is too old, and so we have an awful dame who rules with a
'You ask whether the dear granny is happy. You know she is all
elasticity, and things are pleasanter here to her than to me, but I
do not think she enjoys life as she did at home. It is hard to have
her whole mission reduced to airing those four horses. We have
tormented my uncle out of making us use more than two at a time, by
begging for six and the Lord Mayor's coach; but aired alternately
they must be, and we must do it, and by no road but what the coachman
chooses; and this does not seem to me to agree with her like trotting
about the town on her errands. There is no walking here, excepting
in the pleasure-ground, where all my grandfather's landscape-
gardening has been cut up so as to be a mere vexation to her. The
people round are said to be savage and disaffected, and the quarter
of a mile between the park and the village is subject to miners going
home. They did once holloa at me, and orders were issued that I
should walk no more. I believe that if they saw me fearless, and
coming among them for friendly purposes, they would leave off
hooting; but the notion frightens granny, so I am a prisoner. They
are the people to think it a mockery to be visited by a lady
bedizened as I am, and stuck up in a carriage; so we can do very
little except through Mr. Danvers, and my uncle is always
discontented at the sight of him, and fancies he is always begging.
A little sauciness on my part has the best effect when anything is
wanted, for my uncle is very kind to me in his own fashion, which is
'We have made something of a nest in the last of the suite of rooms,
the only one habitably small; but it is wonderful where all the time
in the day goes. My uncle likes me to ride with him in the morning,
and I have to help granny air the horses in the afternoon; and in the
evening, when we are lucky enough to dine alone, I play them both
asleep, unless they go to backgammon. Think of granny reduced to
that! We should be very happy when he is detained in his study, but
that granny thinks it is bad for him. Dear granny!
I see the object of her life is to win him back to serious thoughts.
She seems to think of him like a schoolboy who must be lured to find
home pleasanter than idle ways; and she begs me quite sadly to bear
with him, and make him happy, to prevent him from longing after his
counting-house at Lima. She tried to make him promise never to go
back, but he has only promised never to go while she lives, and she
seems to think it would be fatal, and to charge all his disregard of
religious matters upon herself for having sent him out. If you could
see her pleased smile when we extort a subscription, or when she gets
him to church; but when those South American mails come in on
Sundays--alas! Those accounts are his real element, and his moments
of bliss are over the 'Money-market and City intelligence,' or in
discussing railway shares with Sir Andrew. All the rest is an
obstinate and dismal allegiance to the days of Shrievalty, about as
easy to recall as the days when the Pendragons wore golden collars
and armlets. Imitated hospitality turns into ostentation; and the
people who seek after silver covers and French cookery are no more to
my taste than they are, in good earnest, to Uncle Oliver's. The nice
people, if there are any, won't come in our way, except Mr.
Henderson; and when we do pluck up courage to disgust Mr. Coachman by
calling on Mrs. Henderson, we are very happy. But she is a wise
woman, and will not bring her pretty Fanny into our world; and when I
press her, behold! I remember what I used to think of patronage.
'But Louis has promised to come at Easter, and he will teach me a
little more charity, I hope; and, what is better (no, I don't mean
that), will tell me about the dear, dear, trebly dear Terrace and all
the doings. I hope you will begin your Sunday scheme; but granny
fears the bad set will not care, and the good will prefer having
their families together. It is worse than I expected even of Mr.
Purvis to refuse the afternoon service, when you offered to take all
the trouble off hishands; granny hopes you will take care what you
are about with him. Tell Louis we have a famous letter from Mary to
show him if he will bring us all news of every one, and especially of
his godchild. Contrary to custom, you tell us more about her than
her mamma does.
'Your most affectionate Sister,
Before Easter, Charlotte's poor rival was lying at rest in Cheveleigh
churchyard, and Jane's task of love was at an end.
AUNT CATHARINE'S HOME.
The lady sleeps--O may her sleep,
As it is lasting, so be deep!
Heaven have her in its sacred keep!
This bed being changed for one more holy,
This room for one more melancholy,
Some tomb, that oft hath flung its black
And wing-like panels fluttering back,
Triumphant o'er the fluttering palls
Of her grand family funerals.
E. A. POE.
The summer was nearly over, when, one morning at breakfast, Louis
surprised his father by a sound, half consternation, half amusement,
and handed him a note, containing these words:--
'DEAR F.,--There were three of us last night; there are five this
morning. Isabel and the twins are doing well. Heaven knows what is
to become of us!
'Yours, J. F.'
'What would you have?' said Lord Ormersfield, calmly. 'The poorer
people are, the more children they have!'
He went on with his own letters, while Louis laughed at the
enunciation of this inverse ratio; and then took up the note again,
to wonder at the tone of anxiety and distress, so unlike James. He
went to call on Lady Conway, and was better satisfied to find that
James had written in a lively strain to her, as if proud of his
little daughters, and resolved not to be pitied. Of this he was in
no danger from his sisters-in-law, who looked upon twin-girls as the
only blessing needed to complete Isabel's felicity, had devised three
dozen names for them, and longed to be invited to Northwold to see
Nothing was heard of James for more than a week, and, as London grew
hotter, dustier, and drearier than ever, Fitzjocelyn longed, more
than he thought wholesome to confess, after Ormersfield turf, the
deep ravines, and rushing brooks. The sun shone almost through the
blind of the open window on the large library table, where sat Louis
at his own end, writing to his Inglewood bailiff, and now and then
solacing himself by lifting with the feather of his pen one of the
bells of a delicate lily in a glass before him--a new spectacle on
the Earl's writing-table; and so was a strip of vellum, with
illuminations rich and rare--Louis's indulgence when he felt he had
earned an hour's leisure. There was a ring at the door, a step on
the stairs, and before the father and son stood James, his little
black bag in his hand, like himself, all dust, and his face worn,
heated, and tired.
'Then you have not heard from Cheveleigh?' he said, in answer to
their astonished greetings, producing a note, which was eagerly
'Dearest Jem,--My uncle says I may write to you, in case you can
leave Isabel, that he will be glad to see you. I told you that dear
grandmamma had a cold, and so we would not let her come to Isabel;
but I little guessed what was coming. It only seemed a feverish
cold, and Jane and I almost laughed at my uncle for choosing to send
for a doctor. He was not alarmed at first, but yesterday she was
inert and sleepy, and he asked for more advice. Dr. Hastings came
to-day, and oh! Jem, he calls it a breaking up of the constitution,
and does not think she will rally. She knows us, but she is almost
always drowsy, and very hard to rouse. If you can come without
hurting Isabel, I know you will. We want you all the more, because
my uncle will not let me send for Mr. Danvers. Poor Uncle Oliver is
'Your most affectionate CLARA.'
'Transplantation has killed her--I knew it would!' said James, as
Louis stood, with the note in his hand, as if not yet understanding
'Nay,' said the Earl, 'it is an age at which we could hardly hope she
would long be spared. You could leave Mrs. James Frost with
'Yes, Miss Mercy undertakes her--she is doing well--she would not
hear of my staying. I must go on, the train starts at two,' he
added, hastily, looking at the time-piece.
'We will send you,' said Lord Ormersfield. 'Take time to rest. You
look very ill! You should have some luncheon.'
'No, thank you!' said James, at first with the instinct of
resistance; but yielding and confessing, 'Charlotte went into
hysterics, and I had nothing to eat before I came away.'
Louis came forward from the window where he had been standing as in a
dream, he laid his hand on James's shoulder, and said, 'I will go!'
His voice was hardly audible, but, clearing it, and striving to
recall his thoughts, he added, 'Father, I can be spared. The
division is not coming on to-night, or you could get me a pair.'
The Earl looked doubtfully at James.
'Yes, let me go,' said Louis. 'I must see her again. It has been
mother and son between us.' And, hiding his face in his hands, he
hurried out of the room.
'Let him come,' said James. 'If duty and affection claim a right,
none have such as he.'
'I hesitate only as to acting unceremoniously by your uncle.'
'This is no moment for ceremony--no time to deprive her of whatever
she loves best.'
'Be it so, then. His own feelings are his best passport, and well
has she deserved all that he can ever feel! And, James, if she
should express any desire to see me, if I can be of any use in
settling matters, or could promote any better understanding with your
uncle, I am ready at a moment's notice. I would come at once, but
that many might be burdensome to your uncle and sister.'
The two cousins were quickly on their way. James took a second-class
ticket, the first time he had ever done so in travelling with his
cousin. Fitzjocelyn placed himself beside him without remark.
James dozed as well as the narrow seat would permit, and only woke to
chafe at each halt, and Louis mused over the associations of those
scenes, and last year's triumphant return. Had the change of habits
truly hastened the decay of her powers? had her son's toil and
success been merely to bring her home to the grave of her fathers, at
the expense of so many heartburnings, separations, and dissensions?
At least, he trusted that her last hours might be crowned by the
peacemaker's joy, and that she might see strife and bitterness laid
aside between Oliver, and Henry's only surviving son.
Alas! it was not to be. The shutters and blinds were closed, and
Clara met them at the door, her pale face and streaming eyes
forestalling the tidings. The frame, hitherto so vigorous and
active, had been spared long or weary decay; and tranquil torpor had
mildly conducted the happy, gentle spirit to full repose. She had
slumbered away without revival or suffering, as one who did 'rest
from her labours,' and her eyes had been closed on the previous
Clara wept as she spoke, but she had been alone with her sorrow long
enough to face it, and endure calmly.
Not so her brother. It was anguish to have come too late, and to
have missed the last word and look; and he strode madly up and down
the room, almost raving at the separation and removal which he
declared had killed her.
'Oh, speak to him, Louis!' cried Clara. 'Oh, what shall I do?'
As she spoke, the door was opened, and Mr. Dynevor came in, with a
grief-stricken look and quieter manner, but his entrance instantly
silenced all James's demonstrations, and changed them into a haughty,
compressed bitterness, as though he actually looked on him in the
light of his grandmother's destroyer.
'Ah! James,' began his uncle, gently, 'I wish you had been here
'I left home by the first train after hearing. I ought to have heard
'I could not suppose you would choose to come here without serious
reason,' said Oliver, with more dignity than usual. 'However, I
would willingly forget, and you will remain here for the present.'
'I must apologize for having thrust myself on you, sir,' said Louis,
'but, indeed, I could not stay away. After what she has been to me,
ever since I can remember her--' and tears cut him short.
'Sir, it does you honour!' returned Oliver. 'She was attached to
you. I hope you will not leave us as yet.'
Louis felt as if he could not leave the house where what was mortal
of his dear old aunt yet remained, and he likewise had a perception
that he might be a support and assistance to Clara in keeping the
peace between her brother and uncle; so he gratefully accepted the
Mr. Dynevor presently explained that he intended the funeral to take
place at the end of the week.
'I can not be so long from home,' said James, in a quick, low voice.
Clara ran up to her uncle, laid her hand on his arm, and drew him
into a window, whence he presently turned, saying, 'Your sister tells
me that you cannot be so long absent in the present state of your
family. If possible, the day shall be hastened.'
James was obliged to say, 'Thank you!' but any concession seemed to
affect him like an injury.
Grievous work was it to remain at Cheveleigh, under the constant
dread of some unbecoming outbreak between uncle and nephew.
Fortunately, Oliver had too much on his hands to have much time to
spend with the others; but when they were together, there was
scarcely a safe subject, not even the intended names of the twins.
James made hasty answer that they had already received their names,
Mercy and Salome. Louis and Clara both cried out incredulously.
'Yes,' said James. 'We don't like family names.'
'But such as those!'
'I wish nothing better for them than to be such another pair of
faithful sisters. May they only do as well, poor children!'
The end was softer than the beginning, and there was a tight short
sigh, that seemed to burst upward from a whole world of suppressed
anxiety and despondence.
It was not easy to understand him, he would not talk of home, was
brief about his little Catharine; and when Clara said something of
Isabel's writings, formerly his great pride, and feared that she
would have no more time for them, his blunt answer was, 'She ought
These comparatively indifferent topics were the only resource; for he
treated allusions to his grandmother as if they were rending open a
wound, and it was only in his absence that Louis and Clara could hold
the conversations respecting her, which were their chief comfort and
relief. If they were certain that Oliver was busy, and James writing
letters, they would walk up and down the sheltered alley, where Louis
had last year comforted Clara. The green twilight and chequered
shade well accorded with the state of their minds, darkened, indeed,
by one of the severest losses that could ever befall either of them,
and yet it was a sorrow full of thankfulness and blessed hope.
Louis spoke of his regret that scenes of uncongenial gaiety should
have been forced upon her last year.
'I believe it made very little difference to her,' said Clara. 'She
did just what Uncle Oliver wished, but only as she used to play with
us, no more; nay, rather less for her own amusement than as she would
play at battledore, or at thread-paper verses.'
'And she was not teased nor harassed?'
'I think not. She was grieved if I were set against Uncle Oliver's
plans, and really hurt if she could not make him think as she did
about right and wrong, but otherwise she was always bright. She
never found people tiresome; she could find something kind to say to
and for the silliest; and when my uncle's display was most provoking,
she would only laugh at 'poor Oliver's' odd notions of doing her
honour. I used to be quite ashamed of the fuss I would make when I
thought a thing vulgar; when I saw that sort of vanity by the side of
her real indifference, springing from unworldliness.'
'And then her mornings were quiet?'
'More quiet than at home. While we were riding, she used to sit with
her dear old big Bible, and the two or three old books she was so
fond of. You remember her Sutton and her Bishop Home, and often she
would show me some passage that had struck her as prettier than ever,
well as she had always known it. Once she said she was very thankful
for the leisure time, free from household cares, and even from
friendly gossip; for she said first she had been gay, then she had
been busy, and had never had time to meditate quietly.'
'So she made a cloister of this grand house. Ah! I trusted she was
past being hurt by external things. That grand old age was like a
pure glad air where worldly fumes ccnild not mount up. My only fear
would have been this unlucky estrangement making her unhappy.'
'I think I may tell you how she felt it,' said Clara; 'I am trying to
tell James, but I don't know whether I can. She said she had come to
perceive that she had confounded pride with independence. She blamed
herself, so that I could not bear to hear it, for the grand fine
things in her life. She said pride had made her stand alone, and
unkindly spurn much that was kindly meant. I don't mean that she
repented of the actions, but of the motives; she said the glory of
being beholden to no one had run through everything; and had been
very hurtful even to Uncle Oliver. She never let him know all her
straits, and was too proud, she said, to ask, when she was hurt at
his not offering help, and so she made him seem more hard-hearted,
and let us become set against him. She said she had fostered the
same temper in poor Jem, who had it strongly enough by inheritance,
and that she had never known the evil, nor understood it as pride,
till she saw the effects.'
'Did they make her unhappy?'
'She cried when she spoke of it, and I have seen her in tears at
church, and found her eyes red when she had been alone, but I don't
think it was a hard, cruel sorrow; I think the sunshine of her nature
managed to beam through it.'
'The sunshine was surely love,' said Louis, 'making the rainbow of
hope on the tears of repentance. Perhaps it is a blessing vouchsafed
to the true of heart to become aware of such a hidden constitutional
infirmity in time to wash it out with blessed tears like those.'
'Hidden,' said Clara, 'yes, indeed it was, even from herself, because
it never showed in manner, like my pride; she was gracious and
affable to all the world. I heard the weeding-women saying, 'she had
not one bit of pride,' and when I told her of it, she shook her head,
and laughed sadly, and said that was the kind of thing which had
taken her in.'
'Common parlance is a deceitful thing,' said Louis, sighing; 'people
can't even be sincere without doing harm! Well, I had looked to see
her made happy by harmony between those two!'
'She gave up the hope of seeing it,' said Clara, 'but she looked to
it all the same. She said meekly one day that it might be her
penalty to see them at variance in her own lifetime, but over her
grave perhaps they would be reconciled, and her prayers be answered.
How she did love Uncle Oliver! Do you know, Louis, what she was to
him showed me what the mother's love must be, which we never missed,
because--because we had her!'
'Don't talk of it, Clara,' said Louis, hastily; 'we cannot dwell on
ourselves, and bear it patiently!'
It was truly the loss of a most tender mother to them both; bringing
for the first time the sense of orphanhood on the girl, left between
the uncongenial though doting uncle, and the irritable though
affectionate brother; and Louis, though his home was not broken up,
suffered scarcely less. His aunt's playful sweetness had peculiarly
accorded with his disposition, and the affection and confidence of
his fond, clinging nature had fastened themselves upon her, all the
more in the absence of his own Mary. Each loss seemed to make the
other more painful. Aunt Kitty's correspondence was another link cut
away between him and Peru, and he had never known such a sense of
dreariness in his whole life. Clara was going patiently and quietly
through those trying days, with womanly considerateness; believing
herself supported by her brother, and being so in fact by the mere
sisterly gratification of his presence, though she was far more
really sustained and assisted by Fitzjocelyn. How much happier was
the sorrow of Louis and Clara than that of James or Oliver! Tempers
such as those in which the uncle and nephew but too closely resembled
each other were soured, not softened by grief, and every arrangement
raised discussions which did not tend to bring them nearer together.
Oliver designed a stately funeral. Nothing was too much for him to
lavish on his mother, and he was profuse in orders for hangings,
velvet, blazonry, mutes, and hired mourners, greedy of offers of the
dreary state of empty carriages, demanding that of Lord Ormersfield,
and wanting James to write to Lady Conway for the same purpose.
Nothing could be more adverse to the feelings of the grandchildren;
but Clara had been schooled into letting her uncle have his way, and
knew that dear granny would have said Oliver might do as he pleased
with her in death as in life, owning the affection so unpleasantly
manifested; James, on the other hand, could see no affection, nothing
but disgusting parade, as abhorrent to his grandmother's taste as to
his own. He thought he had a right to be consulted, for he by no
means believed himself to have abdicated his headship of the family;
and he made his voice heard entirely without effect, except the
indignation of his uncle, and the absence of the Conway carriage;
although Lord Ormersfield wrote that he should bring Sir Walter in
his own person, thus leaving James divided between satisfaction in
any real token of respect to his grandmother, and dislike to
gratifying Oliver's ostentation by the production of his baronet kin.
Sydney Calcott wrote to him in the name of various former scholars of
Mrs. Frost, anxious to do her the last honours by attending the
funeral. Homage to her days of gallant exertion in poverty was most
welcome and touching to the young people; but their uncle, without
taste to understand it, wishing to forget her labours, and fancying
them discreditable to a daughter of the Dynevors, received the
proposal like an indignity; and but for Fitzjocelyn's mediation and
expostulations, it would have been most unsuitably rejected. He was
obliged to take the answer into his own hands, since Oliver insisted
that his mother was to be regarded in no light save that of Mrs.
Dynevor, of Cheveleigh; and James was equally resolved that she
should be only Mrs. Frost, of Dynevor Terrace.
It was heart-sickening to see these bickerings over the grave of one
so loving and so beloved; and very trying to be always on the alert
to obviate the snappings that might at any time become a sharp
dissension; but nothing very distressing actually arose until the