Part 5 out of 13
papa. You drove recklessly, I recollect, and Mrs. Vane said when we
got home that you should never drive her again."
"Which meant, not until the next time. Of all capricious, vain,
exacting women, Emma Vane was the worst; and Emma Mount Severn is no
improvement upon it; she's a systematic flirt, and nothing better. I
drove recklessly on purpose to put her in a fright, and pay her off."
"What had she done?"
"Put me in a rage. She had saddled herself upon me, when I wanted--I
wished for another to be my companion."
"Blanche Challoner!" echoed Captain Levison, in a mocking tone; "what
did I care for Blanche Challoner?"
Isabel remembered that he had been supposed in those days to care a
great deal for Miss Blanche Challoner--a most lovely girl of
seventeen. "Mrs. Vane used to accuse you of caring too much for her,"
she said, aloud.
"She accused me of caring for some one else more than for Blanche
Challoner," he significantly returned; "and for once her jealous
surmises were not misplaced. No Lady Isabel, it was not Blanche
Challoner I had wished to drive home. Could you not have given a
better guess than that at the time?" he added, turning to her.
There was no mistaking the tone of his voice or the glance of his eye.
Lady Isabel felt a crimson flush rising and she turned her face away.
"The past is gone, and cannot be recalled," he continued, "but we both
played our cards like simpletons. If ever two beings were formed to
love each other, you and I were. I sometimes thought you read my
Surprise had kept her silent, but she interrupted him now, haughtily
"I must speak, Lady Isabel; it is but a few words, and then I am
silent forever. I would have declared myself had I dared, but my
uncertain position, my debts, my inability to keep a wife, weighed me
down; and, instead of appealing to Sir Peter, as I ought to have done,
for the means to assume a position that would justify me in asking
Lord Mount Severn's daughter, I crushed my hopes within me, and
suffered you to escape--"
"I will not hear this, Captain Levison," she cried, rising from her
seat in anger.
He touched her arm to place her on it again.
"One single moment yet, I pray you. I have for years wished that you
should know why I lost you--a loss that tells upon me yet. I have
bitterly worked out my own folly since I knew not how passionately I
loved you until you became the wife of another. Isabel, I love you
"How dare you presume so to address me?"
She spoke in a cold, dignified tone of hauteur, as it was her bounden
duty to speak; but, nevertheless, she was conscious of an undercurrent
of feeling, whispering that, under other auspices, the avowal would
have brought to her heart the most intense bliss.
"What I have said can do no hurt now," resumed Captain Levison; "the
time has gone by for it; for neither you nor I are likely to forget
that you are a wife. We have each chosen our path in life, and must
abide by it; the gulf between us is impassable but the fault was mine.
I ought to have avowed my affection, and not have suffered you to
throw yourself away upon Mr. Carlyle."
"Throw myself away!" she indignantly uttered, roused to the retort.
"Mr. Carlyle is my dear husband, esteemed, respected, and beloved. I
married him of my own free choice, and I have never repented it; I
have grown more attached to him day by day. Look at his noble nature,
his noble form; what are /you/ by his side? You forget yourself,
He bit his lip. "No, I do not."
"You are talking to me as you have no right to talk!" she exclaimed,
in agitation. "Who but you, would so insult me, taking advantage of my
momentarily unprotected condition. Would you dare to do it, were Mr.
Carlyle within reach! I wish you good-evening, sir."
She walked away as quickly as her tired frame would permit. Captain
Levison strode after her. He took forcible possession of her hand, and
placed it within his arm.
"I pray you forgive and forget what has escaped me, Lady Isabel.
Suffer me to be, as before, the kind friend, the anxious brother
endeavoring to be of service to you in the absence of Mr. Carlyle."
"It is what I have suffered you to be, looking upon you as, I may say,
a relative," she coldly rejoined, withdrawing her hand from his
contact. "Not else should I have permitted your incessant
companionship; and this is how you have repaid it! My husband thanked
you for your attention to me; could he have read what was in your
false heart, he had offered you different sort of thanks, I fancy."
"I ask your pardon, Lady Isabel; I have acknowledged my fault, and I
can do no more. I will not so offend again; but there are moments when
our dearest feelings break through the convenances of life and betray
themselves, in spite of our sober judgment. Suffer me to support you
down this steep hill," he added, for they were then going over the
sharp stones of the Grand Rue; "you are not strong enough to proceed
alone, after this evening's long walk."
"You should have thought of that before," she said, with some sarcasm
in her tone. "No; I have declined."
So she had to put his arm back, which he was holding out, as she
walked on unsupported, with what strength she had, he continuing by
her side. Arriving at her own door, she wished him a cool good-
evening, and he turned away in the direction of his hotel.
Lady Isabel brushed past Peter, and flew upstairs, startling Wilson,
who had taken possession of the drawing-room to air her smart cap at
its windows in the absence of her lady.
"My desk, Wilson, immediately," cried she, bearing off her gloves, her
bonnet, and her shawl. "Tell Peter to be in readiness to take a letter
to the post; and he must walk fast, or he will not catch it before the
English mail is closed."
The symptoms of sinful happiness throbbing at her heart while Francis
Levison told her of his love, spoke plainly to Lady Isabel of the
expediency of withdrawing entirely from his society, and his dangerous
sophistries; she would be away from the very place that contained him;
put the sea between them. So she dashed off a letter to her husband;
an urgent summons that he should come to her without delay for remain
away longer she /would not/. It is probable she would have started
alone, not waiting for Mr. Carlyle, but for fear of not having
sufficient funds for the journey, after the rent and other things were
Mr. Carlyle, when he received the letter and marked its earnest tone,
wondered much. In reply, he stated that he would be with her on the
following Saturday, and then her returning, or not, with him could be
settled. Fully determined not to meet Captain Levison, Isabel, in the
intervening days, only went out in a carriage. He called once, and was
shown into the drawing-room; but Lady Isabel, who happened to be in
her own chamber, sent out a message, which was delivered by Peter. "My
lady's compliments, but she must decline receiving visitors."
Sunday morning--it had been impossible for him to get away before--
brought Mr. Carlyle. He strongly combatted her wish to return home
until six weeks should have expired, he nearly said he would not take
her, and she grew earnest over it, almost to agitation.
"Isabel," he said, "let me know your motive, for it appears to me you
have one. The sojourn here is evidently doing you a vast deal of good,
and what you urge about 'being dull,' sounds very like nonsense. Tell
me what it is."
A sudden impulse flashed over her that she /would/ tell him the truth.
Not tell him that she loved Francis Levison, or that he had spoken to
her as he did; she valued her husband too greatly to draw him into any
unpleasantness whose end could not be seen; but own to him that she
had once felt a passing fancy for Francis Levison, and preferred not
to be subjected to his companionship now. Oh, that she had done so!
Her kind, her noble, her judicious husband! Why did she not? The whole
truth, as to her present feelings, it was not expedient that she
should tell, but she might have confided to him quite sufficient. He
would only have cherished her the more deeply, and sheltered her under
his fostering care, safe from harm.
Why did she not? In the impulse of the moment she was about to do so,
when Mr. Carlyle, who had been taking a letter from his pocket book
put it into her hand. Upon what slight threads the events of life
turn! Her thoughts diverted, she remained silent while she opened the
letter. It was from Miss Carlyle, who had handed it to her brother in
the moment of his departure, to carry to Lady Isabel and save postage.
Mr. Carlyle had nearly dropped it into the Folkestone post office.
A letter as stiff as Miss Corny herself. The children were well, and
the house was going on well, and she hoped Lady Isabel was better. It
filled three sides of note paper, but that was all the news it
contained, and it wound up with the following sentence, "I would
continue my epistle, but Barbara Hare, who is to spend the day with
us, has just arrived."
Barbara Hare spending the day at East Lynne! That item was quite
enough for Lady Isabel, and her heart and her confidence closed to her
husband. She must go home to her children, she urged; she could not
remain longer away from them; and she urged it at length with tears.
"Nay, Isabel," said Mr. Carlyle; "if you are so much in earnest as
this, you shall certainly go back with me."
Then she was like a child let loose from school. She laughed, she
danced in her excess of content; she showered kisses on her husband,
thanking him in her gleeful gratitude. Mr. Carlyle set it down to her
love for him; he arrived at the conclusion that, in reiterating that
she could not bear to be away from him, she spoke the fond truth.
"Isabel," he said, smiling tenderly upon her, "do you remember, in the
first days of our marriage, you told me you did not yet love me, but
that the love would come. I think this is it."
Her face flushed nearly to tears at the words; a bright, glowing, all
too conscious flush. Mr. Carlyle mistook its source, and caught her to
Lady Isabel had returned home to bodily health, to the delight of
meeting her children, to the glad sensation of security. But as the
days went on, a miserable feeling of apathy stole over her: a feeling
as if all whom she had loved in the world had died, leaving her living
She did not encourage these reflections; knowing what you do know of
her, you may be sure of that, but they thrust themselves continually
forward. The form of Francis Levison was ever present to her; not a
minute of the day but it gave the coloring to her thoughts, and at
night it made the subject of her dreams. Oh, those dreams! They were
painful to wake from; painful from the contrasts they presented to
reality; and equally painful to her conscience, in its strife after
what was right.
Mr. Carlyle mounted his horse one morning and rode over to Levison
Park. He asked for Sir Peter, but was shown into the presence of Lady
Levison--a young and pretty woman dressed showily. She inquired his
"My business, madam, is with Sir Peter."
"But Sir Peter is not well enough to attend to business; it upsets him
"Nevertheless, I am here by his own appointment. Twelve o'clock he
mentioned; and the hour has barely struck."
Lady Levison bit her lip and bowed coldly; and at that moment a
servant appeared to conduct Mr. Carlyle to Sir Peter. The matter which
had taken Mr. Carlyle thither was entered upon immediately--Francis
Levison, his debts, and his gracelessness. Sir Peter, an old gentleman
in a velvet skullcap, particularly enlarged upon the latter.
"I'd pay his debts to-day and set him upon his legs again, but that I
know I should have to do the same thing over and over again to the end
of the chapter, as I have done it repeatedly hitherto," cried Sir
Peter. "His grandfather was my only brother, his father my dutiful and
beloved nephew; but he is just as bad as they were estimable. He is a
worthless fellow and nothing else, Mr. Carlyle."
"His tale drew forth my compassion, and I promised I would see you and
speak for him," returned Mr. Carlyle. "Of Captain Levison's personal
virtues or vices, I know nothing."
"And the less you know the better," growled Sir Peter. "I suppose he
wants me to clear him and start him afresh."
"Something of that sort, I conclude."
"But how is it to be done? I am at home, and he is over there. His
affairs are in a state of confusion, and nobody can come to the bottom
of them without an explanation from him. Some liabilities, for which I
have furnished the money, the creditors swear have not been
liquidated. He must come over if he wants anything done."
"Where is he to come to? He must be in England /sub rosa/."
"He can't be here," hastily rejoined Sir Peter. "Lady Levison would
not have him for a day."
"He might be at East Lynne," good-naturedly observed Mr. Carlyle.
"Nobody would think of looking for him there. I think it is a pity
that you should not meet, if you do feel inclined to help him."
"You are a deal more considerate to him than he deserves, Mr. Carlyle.
May I ask if you intend to act for him in a professional capacity?"
"I do not."
A few more words, and it was decided that Captain Levison should be
immediately sent for. As Mr. Carlyle left Sir Peter's presence, he
encountered Lady Levison.
"I can scarcely be ignorant that your conference with my husband has
reference to his grandnephew," she observed.
"It has," replied Mr. Carlyle.
"I have had a very bad opinion of him, Mr. Carlyle; at the same time I
do not wish you to carry away a wrong impression of me. Francis
Levison is my husband's nephew, his presumptive heir; it may,
therefore, appear strange that I set my face against him. Two or three
years ago, previous to my marriage with Sir Peter, in fact before I
knew Sir Peter, I was brought into contact with Francis Levison. He
got acquainted with some friends of mine, and at their house I met
him. He behaved shamefully ill; he repaid their hospitality with gross
ingratitude; other details and facts regarding his conduct also became
known to me. Altogether I believe him to be a base and despicable man,
both by nature and inclination, and that he will remain such to the
end of time."
"I know very little indeed of him," observed Mr. Carlyle. "May I
inquire the nature of his ill-conduct in that instance?"
"He ruined them--he ruined them, Mr. Carlyle. They were simple,
unsuspicious country people, understanding neither fraud nor vice, nor
the ways of an evil world. Francis Levison got them to put their names
to bills, 'as a matter of form, to accommodate him for a month or so,'
he stated, and so they believed. They were not wealthy; they lived
upon their own small estate, with none too much of superfluous money
to spare, and when the time came for them to pay--as come it did--it
brought ruin, and they had to leave their home. He deliberately did it
--knowing what would be the end. And I could tell you of other things.
Sir Peter may have informed you that I object to receive him here. I
do. My objection is to the man--to his character; not owing, as I hear
it has been said, to any jealous paltry feeling touching his being the
heir. I must lose my own self-respect before I admit Francis Levison
to my house as an inmate. Sir Peter may assist him in welcome--may pay
his debt, and get him out of his scrapes as often as he pleases, but I
will not have him here."
"Sir Peter said you declined to receive him. But it is necessary that
he should come to England, if his affairs are to be set straight, and
also that he should see Sir Peter."
"Come to England!" interrupted Lady Levison. "How can he come to
England under present circumstances, unless, indeed, he comes /en
"/En cachette/, of course," replied Mr. Carlyle. "There is no other
way. I have offered to let him stay at East Lynne. He is, you may be
aware, a sort of connection of Lady Isabel's."
"Take care that he does not repay /your/ hospitality with
ingratitude," warmly returned Lady Levison. "It would only be in
accordance with his practice."
Mr. Carlyle laughed.
"I do not see what harm he could do me, allowing that he had the
inclination. He would not scare my clients from me, or beat my
children, and I can take care of my pocket. A few days will, no doubt,
be the extent of his sojourn."
Lady Levison smiled too, and shook hands with Mr. Carlyle.
"In your house, perhaps, there may be no field for his vagaries, but
rely upon it, where there is one he is sure to be at some mischief or
This visit of Mr. Carlyle's to Levison Park took place on a Friday
morning, and on his return to his office he dispatched an account of
it to Captain Levison at Boulogne, telling him he had better come
over. But now Mr. Carlyle, like many another man whose mind has its
share of work, was sometimes forgetful of trifles, and it entirely
slipped his memory to mention the expected arrival at home. The
following evening, Saturday, he and Lady Isabel were dining in the
neighborhood, when the conversation at table turned upon the Ducies
and their embarrassments. The association of ideas led Mr. Carlyle's
thoughts to Boulogne, to Captain Levison and /his/ embarrassments, and
it immediately occurred to him that he had not told his wife of the
anticipated visit. He kept it in his mind then, and spoke as soon as
they were in the chariot returning home.
"Isabel," began he, "I suppose we have always rooms ready for
visitors, because I am expecting one."
"Oh, yes; or if not, they are soon made ready."
"Ah, but to-morrow's Sunday, and I have no doubt that's the day he
will take advantage of to come. I am sorry I forgot to mention it
"Who is coming, then?"
"Who?" repeated Lady Isabel, in a sharp tone of consternation.
"Captain Levison. Sir Peter consents to see him, with a view to the
settlement of his liabilities, but Lady Levison declines to receive
him at the Park. So I offered to give him house-room at East Lynne for
a few days."
There is an old saying, "the heart leaping into the mouth;" and Lady
Isabel's leaped into hers. She grew dizzy at the words--her senses
seemed momentarily to desert her. Her first sensation was as if the
dull earth had opened and shown her a way into Paradise; her second, a
lively consciousness that Francis Levison ought not to be suffered to
come again into companionship with her. Mr. Carlyle continued to
converse of the man's embarrassments, of his own interview with Sir
Peter and Lady Levison; but Isabel was as one who heard not. She was
debating the question, how she could prevent his coming?
"Archibald," she presently said, "I do not wish Francis Levison to
stay at East Lynne."
"It will only be for a few days--perhaps but a day or two. Sir Peter
is in the humor to discharge the claims, and, the moment his resolve
is known, the ex-captain can walk on her majesty's dominions, an
unmolested man, free to go where he will."
"That may be," interrupted Lady Isabel, in an accent of impatience;
"but why should he come to our house?"
"I proposed it myself. I had no idea you would dislike his coming. Why
"I don't like Francis Levison," she murmured. "That is, I don't care
to have him at East Lynne."
"My dear, I fear there is no help for it now; he is most likely on his
road, and will arrive to-morrow. I cannot turn him out again, after my
own voluntary invitation. Had I known it would be disagreeable to you,
I would not have proposed it."
"To-morrow!" she exclaimed, all the words that caught her ear. "Is he
"Being Sunday, a free day, he will be sure to take advantage of it.
What has he done that you should object to his coming? You did not say
in Boulogne that you disliked him."
"He had done nothing," was her faltering answer, feeling that her
grounds of opposition must melt under her one by one.
"Lady Levison appears to possess a very ill opinion of him," resumed
Mr. Carlyle. "She says she knew him in years gone by. She mentioned
one or two things which, if true, must be bad enough. But possibly she
may be prejudiced."
"She is prejudiced," said Isabel. "At least Francis Levison told me at
Boulogne. There appeared to be no love lost between them."
"At any rate, his ill doings or well doings cannot affect us for the
short period he is likely to remain. You have taken a prejudice
against him also, I suppose, Isabel."
She suffered Mr. Carlyle to remain in the belief, and sat with clasped
hands and a despairing spirit feeling that fate was against her.
How could she accomplish her task of forgetting this man, if he was
thus to be thrown into her home and her companionship? Suddenly she
turned to her husband, and laid her cheek upon his shoulder.
He thought she was tired. He passed his arm round her waist, drew her
face to a more comfortable position, and bent his own lovingly upon
it. It came to her mind, as she lay there, to tell him a portion of
the truth, like it had done once before. It was a strong arm of
shelter, that round her--a powerful pillar of protection, him upon
whom she leaned; why did she not confide herself to him as trustingly
as a little child? Simply because her courage failed. Once, twice, the
opening words were upon her lips, but come forth they did not; and
then the carriage stopped at East Lynne, and the opportunity was over.
Oh! How many a time in her after years did Lady Isabel recall that
midnight drive with her husband, and wish, in her vain repentance,
that she had opened his eyes to that dangerous man.
On Sunday Captain Levison arrived at East Lynne.
MRS. HARE'S DREAM.
The next day rose bright, warm, and cloudless, and the morning sun
streamed into the bedroom of Mrs. Hare. Mr. and Mrs. Hare were of the
old-fashioned class who knew nothing about dressing-rooms, their
bedrooms were very large, and they never used a dressing-room in their
lives, or found the want of one. The justice rubbed his face to a
shining brilliancy, settled on his morning wig and his dressing-gown,
and then turned to the bed.
"What will you have for breakfast?"
"Thank you, Richard, I do not think that I can eat any thing. I shall
be glad of my tea; I am very thirsty."
"All nonsense," responded the justice, alluding to the intimation of
not eating. "Have a poached egg."
Mrs. Hare smiled at him, and gently shook her head. "You are very
kind, Richard, but I could not eat it this morning. Barbara may send
up the smallest bit of dry toast. Would you please throw the window
open before you go down; I should like to feel the air."
"You will get the air too near from this window," replied Mr. Justice
Hare, opening the further one. Had his wife requested that the further
one to be opened, he would have opened the other; his own will and
opinions were ever paramount. Then he descended.
A minute or two, and up ran Barbara, looking bright and fair as the
morning, her pink muslin dress, with its ribbons and its open white
lace sleeves, as pretty as she was. She leaned over to kiss her
"Mamma, are you ill? And you have been so well lately; you went to bed
so well last night. Papa says--"
"Barbara, dear," interrupted Mrs. Hare, glancing round the room with
dread, and speaking in a deep whisper, "I have had one of those
dreadful dreams again."
"Oh, mamma, how /can/ you!" exclaimed Barbara, starting up in
vexation. "How can you suffer a foolish dream to overcome you as to
make you ill? You have good sense in other matters, but, in this, you
seem to put all sense away from you."
"Child, will you tell me how I am to help it?" returned Mrs. Hare,
taking Barbara's hand and drawing her to her again. "I do not give
myself the dreams; I cannot prevent their making me sick, prostrate,
feverish. How can I help these things, I ask?"
At this moment the bedroom door was flung open, and the face of the
justice, especially stern and cross then was pushed in. So startled
was Mrs. Hare, that she shook till she shook the pillow, and Barbara
sprang away from the bed. Surely he had not distinguished their topic
"Are you coming to make the breakfast to-day, or not Barbara? Do you
expect me to make it?"
"She is coming this instant, Richard," said Mrs. Hare, her voice more
faint than usual. And the justice turned and stamped down again.
"Barbara, could your papa have heard me mention Richard?"
"No, no, mamma impossible: the door was shut. I will bring up your
breakfast myself and then you can tell me the dream."
Barbara flew after Mr. Hare, poured out his coffee, saw him settled at
his breakfast, with a plateful of grouse-pie before him, and then
returned upstairs with her mamma's tea and dry toast.
"Go on with your dream, mamma," she said.
"But your breakfast will be cold, child."
"Oh, don't mind that. Did you dream of Richard?"
"Not very much of Richard; except that the old and continuous trouble
of his being away and unable to return, seemed to pervade it all
through. You remember, Barbara, Richard asserted to us, in that short,
hidden night visit, that he did not commit the murder; that it was
another who did?"
"Yes, I remember it," replied Barbara.
"Barbara, I am convinced he spoke the truth; I trust him implicitly."
"I feel sure of it also, mamma."
"I asked him, you remember, whether it was Otway Bethel who committed
it; for I have always doubted Bethel, in an indefinite, vague manner.
Richard replied it was not Bethel, but a stranger. Well, Barbara, in
my dream I thought that stranger came to West Lynne, that he came to
this house here, and we were talking to him of him, conversing as we
might with any other visitor. Mind you, we seemed to /know/ that he
was the one who actually did it; but he denied it. He wanted to put it
upon Richard; and I saw him, yes I did, Barbara--whisper to Otway
Bethel. But oh, I cannot tell you the sickening horror that was upon
me throughout, and seemed to be upon you also, lest he should make
good his own apparent innocence, and crush Richard, his victim. I
think the dread and horror awoke me."
"What was he like, this stranger?" asked Barbara, in a low tone.
"Well, I cannot quite tell. The recollection of his appearance seemed
to pass away from me with the dream. He was dressed as a gentleman,
and we conversed, with him as an equal."
Barbara's mind was full of Captain Thorn, but his name had not been
mentioned to Mrs. Hare, and neither would she mention it now. She fell
into deep thought; and Mrs. Hare had to speak twice before she could
"Barbara, I say, don't you think this dream, coming uncalled for
uninduced, must forebode some ill? Rely upon it, something connected
with that wretched murder is going to be stirred up again."
"You know, I do not believe in dreams," was Barbara's answer. "I think
when people say, 'this dream is a sign of such and such a thing,' it
is the greatest absurdity in the world. I wish you could remember what
the man seemed like in your dream."
"I wish I could," answered Mrs. Hare, breaking off a particle of her
dry toast. "All I can remember is, that he appeared to be a
"Was he tall? Had he black hair?"
Mrs. Hare shook her heard. "I tell you, my dear, the remembrance has
passed from me; so whether his hair was black or light, I cannot say.
I think he was tall, but he was sitting down, and Otway Bethel stood
behind his chair. I seemed to feel that Richard was outside the door
in hiding, trembling lest the man should go out and see him there; and
I trembled, too. Oh, Barbara, it was a distressing dream!"
"I wish you could avoid having them, mamma, for they seem to upset you
"Why did you ask whether the man was tall, and had black hair?"
Barbara returned an evasive answer. It would not do to tell Mrs. Hare
that her suspicions pointed to one particular quarter; it would have
agitated her too greatly.
So vivid was the dream, she could scarcely persuade herself, when she
awoke, that it was not real, and the murderer actually at West Lynne.
"Oh, Barbara, Barbara!" she exclaimed, in a wailing tone, "when will
this mystery be cleared, and my own restored to me? Seven years since
he stole here to see us, and no tidings yet."
"People say that changes come every seven years, mamma," said Barbara,
hopefully; "but I will go down and send you up some more tea."
"And guard your countenance well," returned her mother. "Don't let
your father suspect anything. Remember his oath to bring Richard to
justice. If he thought we dwelt on his innocence, there is no knowing
what he might do to find him, he is so very just."
"So very cruel and unnatural, I call it, mamma. But never fear my
betraying anything. But have you heard about Joyce?"
"No. What is it?"
"She had a severe fall while playing with little Isabel, and it is
said she will be confined to bed for several weeks. I am very sorry
for her." And, composing her face, she descended to the breakfast-
The dinner hour at the Hares', when they were alone, was four o'clock
and it arrived that day as usual, and they sat down to table. Mrs.
Hare was better then; the sunshine and the business of stirring life
had in some measure effaced the visions of the night, and restored her
to her wonted frame of mind.
The cloth removed, the justice sat but a little while over his port
wine, for he was engaged to smoke an after-dinner pipe with a brother
magistrate, Mr. Justice Herbert.
"Shall you be home to tea, papa?" inquired Barbara.
"Is it any business of yours, young lady?"
"Oh, not in the least," answered Miss Barbara. "Only if you had been
coming home to tea, I suppose we must have waited, had you not been in
"I thought you said, Richard, that you were going to stay the evening
with Mr. Herbert?" observed Mrs. Hare.
"So I am," responded the justice. "But Barbara has a great liking for
the sound of her own tongue."
The justice departed, striding pompously down the gravel walk. Barbara
waltzed round the large room to a gleeful song, as if she felt his
absence a relief. Perhaps she did. "You can have tea now, mamma, at
any time you please, if you are thirsty, without waiting till seven,"
"Barbara!" said Mrs. Hare.
"I am sorry to hear of the calamity which has fallen upon Joyce! I
should like to walk to East Lynne this evening and inquire after her,
and see her, if I may; it would be but neighborly. I feel quite equal
to it. Since I have accustomed myself to take more exercise I feel
better for it, you know; and we have not been out to-day. Poor Joyce!
What time shall we go, Barbara?"
"If we were to get there by--by seven, I should think; their dinner
will be over then."
"Yes," answered Mrs. Hare, with alacrity, who was always pleased when
somebody else decided for her. "But I should like some tea before we
Barbara took care that her mamma should have some tea and then they
proceeded toward East Lynne. It was a lovely evening--the air warm,
and the humming gnats sported in it as if to make the most of the
waning summer. Mrs. Hare enjoyed it at first, but ere she reached East
Lynne, she became aware that the walk was too much for her. She did
not usually venture upon half so long a one, and probably the fever
and agitation of the morning had somewhat impaired her day's strength.
She laid her hand upon the iron gate as they turned into the park, and
"I did wrong to come, Barbara."
"Lean on me, mamma. When you reach those benches, you can take a good
rest before proceeding to the house. It is very warm, and that may
have fatigued you."
They gained the benches, which were placed under some of the park
trees, in front of the gates and the road, but not of the house, and
Mrs. Hare sat down. Another minute and they were surrounded. Mr.
Carlyle, his wife, and sister, who were taking an after-dinner stroll
amidst the flowers with their guest, Francis Levison, discerned them,
and came up. The children, except the youngest, were of the party.
Lady Isabel warmly welcomed Mrs. Hare; she had become quite attached
to the delicate and suffering woman.
"A pretty one, I am, am I not, Archibald, to come inquiring after one
invalid, and am so much of an invalid myself that I have to stop half-
way?" Mrs. Hare exclaimed, as Mr. Carlyle shook her hand. "I was so
greatly concerned to hear of poor Joyce."
"You must stay the evening, now you are here," cried Lady Isabel. "It
will afford you a good rest; and tea will refresh you."
"Oh thank you, but we have taken tea," said Mrs. Hare.
"There is no reason why you should not take some more," she laughed.
"Indeed, you seem too fatigued to be anything but a prisoner with us
for the next hour or two."
"I fear I am," answered Mrs. Hare.
"Who the dickens are they?" Captain Levison was muttering to himself,
as he contemplated the guests from a distance. "It's a deuced pretty
girl, whoever she may be. I think I'll approach, they don't look
He did approach, and the introduction was made: "Captain Levison, Mrs.
Hare and Miss Hare." A few formal words, and Captain Levison
disappeared again, challenging little William Carlyle to a foot-race.
"How very poorly your mamma looks!" Mr. Carlyle exclaimed to Barbara,
when they were beyond the hearing of Mrs. Hare, who was busy talking
with Lady Isabel and Miss Carlyle. "And she has appeared so much
stronger lately; altogether better."
"The walk here has fatigued her; I feared it would be too long; so
that she looks unusually pale," replied Barbara. "But what do you
think it is that has upset her again, Mr. Carlyle?"
He turned his inquiring eyes upon Barbara.
"Papa came downstairs this morning, saying mamma was ill, that she had
one of her old attacks of fever and restlessness. I declare, as papa
spoke, I thought to myself could mamma have been dreaming some foolish
dream again--for you remember how ill she used to be after them. I ran
upstairs and the first thing that mamma said to me was, that she had
had one of those dreadful dreams."
"I fancied she must have outlived her fear of them; that her own plain
sense had come to her aid long ago, showing her how futile dreams are,
meaning nothing, even if hers do occasionally touch upon that--that
"You may just as well reason with a post as reason with mamma when she
is suffering from the influence of one of those dreams," returned
Barbara. "I tried it this morning. I asked her to call up--as you
observe--good sense to her aid. And her reply was, 'How could she help
her feelings? She did not induce the dream by thinking of Richard, or
in any other way, and yet it came and shattered her.' Of course so
far, mamma is right, for she cannot help the dreams coming."
Mr. Carlyle made no immediate reply. He picked up a ball belonging to
one of the children, which lay in his path, and began tossing it
gently in his hand. "It is a singular thing," he observed, presently,
"that we do not hear from Richard."
"Oh, very, very. And I know mamma distresses over it. A few words
which she let fall this morning, betrayed it plainly. I am no believer
in dreams," continued Barbara, "but I cannot deny that these, which
take such a hold upon mamma, do bear upon the case in a curious manner
--the one she had last night especially."
"What was it?" asked Mr. Carlyle.
"She dreamed that the real murderer was at West Lynne. She thought he
was at our house--as a visitor, she said, or like one making a morning
call--and we, she and I, were conversing with him about the murder. He
wanted to deny it--to put it on Richard; and he turned and whispered
to Otway Bethel, who stood behind his chair. This is another strange
thing," added Barbara, lifting her blue eyes in their deep earnestness
to the face of Mr. Carlyle.
"What is strange? You speak in enigmas, Barbara."
"I mean that Otway Bethel should invariably appear in her dreams.
Until that stolen visit of Richard's we had no idea he was near the
spot at the time, and yet he had always made a prominent feature in
"And who was the murderer--in your mamma's dream?" continued Mr.
Carlyle, speaking as gravely as though he were upon a subject that men
"She cannot remember, except that he seemed a gentleman, and that we
held intercourse with him as such. Now, that again is remarkable. We
never told her, you know, of our suspicions of Captain Thorn."
"I think you must be becoming a convert to the theory of dreams
yourself, Barbara; you are so very earnest," smiled Mr. Carlyle.
"No, not to dreams; but I am earnest for my dear brother Richard's
"That Thorn does not appear in a hurry again to favor West Lynne with
Mr. Carlyle paused, for Barbara had hurriedly laid her hand upon his
arm, with a warning gesture. In talking they had wandered across the
park to its ornamental grounds, and were now in a quiet path,
overshadowed on the other side by a chain of imitation rocks. Seated
astride on the summit of these rocks, right above where Mr. Carlyle
and Barbara were standing was Francis Levison. His face was turned
from them and he appeared intent upon a child's whip, winding leather
round its handle. Whether he heard their footsteps or not, he did not
turn. They quickened their pace, and quitted the walk, bending their
steps backward toward the group of ladies.
"Could he have heard what we were saying?" ejaculated Barbara, below
Mr. Carlyle looked down upon the concerned, flushed cheeks with a
smile. Barbara was so evidently perturbed. But for a certain episode
of their lives, some years ago, he might have soothed her tenderly.
"I think he must have heard a little, Barbara, unless his wits were
wool-gathering. He might not be attending. What if he did hear? It is
of no consequence."
"I was speaking, you know, of Captain Thorn--of his being the
"You were not speaking of Richard or his movements, so never mind.
Levison is a stranger to the whole. It is nothing to him. If he did
hear the name of Thorn mentioned, or even distinguished the subject,
it would bear for him no interest--would go, as the saying runs, 'in
at one ear and out at the other.' Be at rest, Barbara."
He really did look somewhat tenderly upon her as he spoke--and they
were near enough to Lady Isabel for her to note the glance. She need
not have been jealous: it bore no treachery to her. But she did note
it; she had noted also their wandering away together, and she jumped
to the conclusion that it was premeditated, that they had gone beyond
her sight to enjoy each other's society for a few stolen moments.
Wonderfully attractive looked Barbara that evening, for Mr. Carlyle or
any one else to steal away with. Her tasty, elegant airy summer
attire, her bright blue eyes, her charming features, and her damask
cheeks! She had untied the strings of her pretty white bonnet, and was
restlessly playing with them, more in thought than nervousness.
"Barbara, love, how are we to get home?" asked Mrs. Hare. "I do fear I
shall never walk it. I wish I had told Benjamin to bring the phaeton."
"I can send to him," said Mr. Carlyle.
"But it is too bad of me, Archibald, to take you and Lady Isabel by
storm in this unceremonious manner; and to give your servants trouble
"A great deal too bad, I think," returned Mr. Carlyle, with mock
gravity. "As to the servants, the one who has to go will never get
over the trouble, depend upon it. You always were more concerned for
others than for yourself, dear Mrs. Hare."
"And you were always kind, Archibald, smoothing difficulties for all,
and making a trouble of nothing. Ah, Lady Isabel, were I a young
woman, I should be envying you your good husband; there are not many
Possibly the sentence reminded Lady Isabel that another, who was
young, might be envying her, for her cheeks--Isabel's--flushed
crimson. Mr. Carlyle held out his strong arm of help to Mrs. Hare.
"If sufficiently rested, I fancy you would be more comfortable on a
sofa indoors. Allow me to support you thither."
"And you can take my arm on the other side," cried Miss Carlyle,
placing her tall form by Mrs. Hare. "Between us both we will pull you
bravely along; your feet need scarcely touch the ground."
Mrs. Hare laughed, but said she thought Mr. Carlyle's arm would be
sufficient. She took it, and they were turning toward the house, when
her eye caught the form of a gentleman passing along the road by the
"Barbara, run," she hurriedly exclaimed. "There's Tom Herbert going
toward our house, and he will just call in and tell them to send the
phaeton, if you ask him, which will save the trouble to Mr. Carlyle's
servants of going expressly. Make haste, child! You will be up with
him in half a minute."
Barbara, thus urged, set off, on the spur of the moment, toward the
gates, before the rest of the party well knew what was being done. It
was too late for Mr. Carlyle to stop her and repeat that the servant
should go, for Barbara was already up with Mr. Tom Herbert. The latter
had seen her running toward him, and waited at the gate.
"Are you going past our house?" inquired Barbara, perceiving then that
Otway Bethel also stood there, but just beyond the view of the women.
"Yes. Why?" replied Tom Herbert, who was not famed for his politeness,
being blunt by nature and "fast" by habit.
"Mamma would be so much obliged to you, if you would just call in and
leave word that Benjamin is to bring up the phaeton. Mamma walked
here, intending to walk home, but she finds herself so fatigued as to
be unequal to it."
"All right. I'll call and send him. What time?"
Nothing had been said to Barbara about the time, so she was at liberty
to name her own. "Ten o'clock. We shall be home then before papa."
"That you will," responded Tom Herbert. "He and the governor, and two
or three more old codgers, are blowing clouds till you can't see
across the room; and they are sure to get at it after supper. I say,
Miss Barbara are you engaged for a few picnics?"
"Good for a great many," returned Barbara.
"Our girls want to get up some in the next week or two. Jack's home,
"Is he?" said Barbara, in surprise.
"We had a letter yesterday, and he came to-day--a brother officer with
him. Jack vows if the girls don't cater well for them in the way of
amusement, he'll never honor them by spending his leave at home again;
so mind you keep yourself in readiness for any fun that may turn up.
"Good evening, Miss Hare," added Otway Bethel.
As Barbara was returning the salutation, she became conscious of other
footsteps advancing from the same direction that they had come, and
moved her head hastily round. Two gentlemen, walking arm-in-arm, were
close upon her, in one of whom she recognized "Jack," otherwise Major
Herbert. He stopped, and held out his hand.
"It is some years since we met, but I have not forgotten the pretty
face of Miss Barbara," he cried. "A young girl's face it was then, but
it is a stately young lady's now."
Barbara laughed. "Your brother has just told me you had arrived at
West Lynne; but I did not know you were so close to me. He has been
asking me if I am ready for some pic--"
Barbara's voice faltered, and the rushing crimson dyed her face. Whose
face was /that/, who was he, standing opposite to her, side by side
with John Herbert? She had seen the face but once, yet it had
implanted itself upon her memory in characters of fire. Major Herbert
continued to talk, but Barbara for once lost her self-possession; she
could not listen, she could only stare at that face as if fascinated
to the gaze, looking herself something like a simpleton, her shy blue
eyes anxious and restless, and her lips turning to an ashy whiteness.
A strange feeling of wonder, of superstition was creeping over
Barbara. Was that man behind her in sober, veritable reality--or was
it but a phantom called up in her mind by the associations rising from
her mamma's dream; or by the conversation held not many moments ago
with Mr. Carlyle.
Major Herbert may have deemed that Barbara, who evidently could not
attend to himself, but was attending to his companion, wished for an
introduction, and he accordingly made it. "/Captain Thorn/--Miss
Then Barbara roused herself; her senses were partially coming to her,
and she became alive to the fact that they must deem her behavior
unorthodox for a young lady.
"I--I looked at Captain Thorn, for I thought I remembered his face,"
"I was in West Lynne for a day or two, some five years ago," he
"Ah--yes," returned Barbara. "Are you going to make a long stay now?"
"We have several weeks' leave of absence. Whether we shall remain here
all the time I cannot say."
Barbara parted from them. Thought upon thought crowded upon her brain
as she flew back to East Lynne. She ran up the steps to the hall,
gliding toward a group which stood near its further end--her mother,
Miss Carlyle, Mr. Carlyle, and little Isabel; Lady Isabel she did not
see. Mrs. Hare was then going up to see Joyce.
In the agitation of the moment she stealthily touched Mr. Carlyle, and
he stepped away from the rest to speak to her, she drawing back toward
the door of one of the reception rooms, and motioning him to approach.
"Oh, Archibald, I must speak to you alone! Could you not come out
again for a little while?"
He nodded, and walked out openly by her side. Why should he not? What
had he to conceal? But, unfortunately, Lady Isabel, who had but gone
into that same room for a minute, and was coming out again to join
Mrs. Hare, both saw Barbara's touch upon her husband's arm, marked her
agitation, and heard her words. She went to one of the hall windows
and watched them saunter toward the more private part of the ground;
she saw her husband send back Isabel. Never, since her marriage, had
Lady Isabel's jealousy been excited as it was excited that evening.
"I--I feel--I scarcely know whether I am awake or dreaming," began
Barbara, putting up her hand to her brow and speaking in a dreamy
tone. "Pardon me for bringing you out in this unceremonious fashion."
"What state secrets have you to discuss?" asked Mr. Carlyle in a
"We were speaking of mamma's dream. She said the impression it had
left upon her mind--that the murderer was in West Lynne--was so vivid
that in spite of common sense she could not persuade herself that he
was not. Well--just now----"
"Barbara, what /can/ be the matter?" uttered Mr. Carlyle, perceiving
that her agitation was so great as to impede her words.
"/I have just seen him!/" she rejoined.
"Seen him!" echoed Mr. Carlyle, looking at her fixedly, a doubt
crossing his mind whether Barbara's mind might be as uncollected as
"What were nearly my last words to you? That if ever that Thorn did
come to West Lynne again, I would leave no stone unturned to bring it
home to him. He is here, Archibald. Now, when I went to the gate to
speak to Tom Herbert, his brother, Major Herbert, was also there, and
with him Captain Thorn. Bethel, also. Do you wonder I say that I know
not whether I am awake or dreaming? They have some weeks' holiday, and
are here to spend it."
"It is a singular coincidence," exclaimed Mr. Carlyle.
"Had anything been wanting to convince me that Thorn is the guilty
man, this would have done it," went on Barbara, in her excitement.
"Mamma's dream, with the steadfast impression it left upon her that
Hallijohn's murderer was now at West Lynne--"
In turning the sharp corner of the covered walk they came in contact
with Captain Levison, who appeared to be either standing or sauntering
there, his hands underneath his coat-tails. Again Barbara felt vexed,
wondering how much he had heard, and beginning in her heart to dislike
the man. He accosted them familiarly, and appeared as if he would have
turned with them; but none could put down presumption more effectually
than Mr. Carlyle, calm and gentlemanly though he always was.
"I will join you presently, Captain Levison," he said with a wave of
the hand. And he turned back with Barbara toward the open parts of the
"Do you like that Captain Levison?" she abruptly inquired, when they
were beyond hearing.
"I cannot say I do," was Mr. Carlyle's reply. "He is one who does not
improve upon acquaintance."
"To me it looks as though he had placed himself in our way to hear
what we were saying."
"No, no, Barbara. What interest could it bear for him?"
Barbara did not contest the point; she turned to the one nearer at
heart. "What must be our course with regard to Thorn?"
"It is more than I can tell you," replied Mr. Carlyle. "I cannot go up
to the man and unceremoniously accuse him of being Hallijohn's
They took their way to the house, for there was nothing further to
discuss. Captain Levison entered it before them, and saw Lady Isabel
standing at the hall window. Yes, she was standing and looking still,
brooding over her fancied wrongs.
"Who is that Miss Hare?" he demanded in a cynical tone. "They appear
to have a pretty good understanding together. Twice this evening I
have met them enjoying a private walk and a private confab."
"What did you say?" sharply and haughtily returned Lady Isabel.
"Nay, I did not mean to offend you," was the answer, for he knew that
she heard his words distinctly in spite of her question. "I spoke of
/Monsieur votre mari/."
CAPTAIN THORN IN TROUBLE ABOUT "A BILL."
In talking over a bygone misfortune, we sometimes make the remark, or
hear it made to us, "Circumstances worked against it." Such and such a
thing might have turned out differently, we say, had the surrounding
circumstances been more favorable, but they were in opposition; they
were dead against it. Now, if ever attendant circumstances can be said
to have borne a baneful influence upon any person in this world, they
most assuredly did at this present time against Lady Isabel Carlyle.
Coeval, you see, with the arrival of the ex-captain, Levison, at East
Lynne, all the jealous feeling, touching her husband and Barbara Hare,
was renewed, and with greater force than ever. Barbara, painfully
anxious that something should be brought to light, it would have
puzzled her to say how or by what means, by which her brother should
be exonerated from the terrible charge under which he lay; fully
believing that Frederick Thorn, captain in her majesty's service, was
the man who had committed the crime, as asserted by Richard, was in a
state of excitement bordering upon frenzy. Too keenly she felt the
truth of her own words, that she was powerless, that she could,
herself, do nothing. When she rose in the morning, after a night
passed in troubled reflection more than in sleep, her thoughts were,
"Oh, that I could this day find out something certain!" She was often
at the Herberts'; frequently invited there--sometimes going uninvited.
She and the Herberts were intimate and they pressed Barbara into all
the impromptu gay doings, now their brother was at home. There she of
course saw Captain Thorn, and now and then she was enabled to pick up
scraps of his past history. Eagerly were these scraps carried to Mr.
Carlyle. Not at his office; Barbara would not appear there. Perhaps
she was afraid of the gossiping tongues of West Lynne, or that her
visits might have come to the knowledge of that stern, prying, and
questioning old gentleman whom she called sire. It may be too, that
she feared, if seen haunting Mr. Carlyle's office, Captain Thorn might
come to hear of it and suspect the agitation, that was afloat--for who
could know better than he, the guilt that was falsely attaching to
Richard? Therefore she chose rather to go to East Lynne, or to waylay
Mr. Carlyle as he passed to and from business. It was little she
gathered to tell him; one evening she met him with the news that Mr.
Thorn /had/ been in former years at West Lynne, though she could not
fix the date; another time she went boldly to East Lynne in eager
anxiety, ostensibly to make a call on Lady Isabel--and a very restless
one it was--contriving to make Mr. Carlyle understand that she wanted
to see him alone. He went out with her when she departed, and
accompanied her as far as the park gates, the two evidently absorbed
in earnest converse. Lady Isabel's jealous eye saw that. The
communication Barbara had to make was, that Captain Thorn had let fall
the avowal that he had once been "in trouble," though of its nature
there was no indication given. Another journey of hers took the scrap
of news that she had discovered he knew Swainson well. Part of this,
nay, perhaps the whole of it, Mr. Carlyle had found out for himself;
nevertheless he always received Barbara with vivid interest. Richard
Hare was related to Miss Carlyle, and if his innocence could be made
clear in the sight of men, it would be little less gratifying to them
than to the Hares. Of Richard's innocence, Mr. Carlyle now entertained
little, if any doubt, and he was becoming impressed with the guilt of
Captain Thorn. The latter spoke mysteriously of a portion of his past
life--when he could be brought to speak of it at all--and he bore
evidently some secret that he did not care to have alluded to.
But now look at the mean treachery of that man, Francis Levison! The
few meetings that Lady Isabel did witness between her husband and
Barbara would have been quite enough to excite her anger and jealousy,
to trouble her peace; but, in addition, Francis Levison took care to
tell her of those she did not see. It pleased him--he could best tell
with what motive--to watch the movements of Mr. Carlyle and Barbara.
There was a hedge pathway through the fields, on the opposite side of
the road to the residence of Justice Hare, and as Mr. Carlyle walked
down the road to business in his unsuspicion (not one time in fifty
did he choose to ride; the walk to and fro kept him in health, he
said), Captain Levison would be strolling down like a serpent behind
the hedge, watching all his movements, watching his interviews with
Barbara, did any take place, watching Mr. Carlyle turn into the grove,
as he sometimes did, and perhaps watch Barbara run out of the house to
meet him. It was all related over, and with miserable exaggeration, to
Lady Isabel, whose jealousy, as a natural sequence, grew feverish in
It is scarcely necessary to explain, that of this feeling of Lady
Isabel's Barbara knew nothing; not a shadow of suspicion had ever
penetrated to her mind that Lady Isabel was jealous of her. Had she
been told that such was the fact, she would have laughed in derision
at her informant. Mr. Carlyle's happy wife, proudly secure in her
position and in his affection, jealous of /her!/ of her, to whom he
had never given an admiring look or a loving word! It would have taken
a great deal to make Barbara believe that.
How different were the facts in reality. These meetings of Mr.
Carlyle's and Barbara's, instead of episodes of love-making and tender
speeches, were positively painful, especially to Barbara, from the
unhappy nature of the subject to be discussed. Far from feeling a
reprehensible pleasure at seeking the meetings with Mr. Carlyle,
Barbara shrank from them; but that she was urged by dire necessity, in
the interests of Richard, she would wholly have avoided such. Poor
Barbara, in spite of that explosion of bottled-up excitement years
back, was a lady, possessed of a lady's ideas and feelings, and--
remembering the explosion--it did not accord with her pride at all to
be pushing herself into what might be called secret meetings with
Archibald Carlyle. But Barbara, in her sisterly love, pressed down all
thought of self, and went perseveringly forward for Richard's sake.
Mr. Carlyle was seated one morning in his private room at his office,
when his head clerk, Mr. Dill came in. "A gentleman is asking to see
you, Mr. Archibald."
"I am too busy to see anybody for this hour to come. You know that,
"So I told him, sir, and he says he'll wait. It is that Captain Thorn
who is staying here with John Herbert."
Mr. Carlyle raised his eyes, and they encountered those of the old
man; a peculiar expression was in the face of both. Mr. Carlyle
glanced down at the parchment he was perusing, as if calculating his
time. Then he looked up again and spoke.
"I will see /him/, Dill. Send him in."
The business leading to the visit was quite simple. Captain Frederick
Thorn had got himself into some trouble and vexation about "a bill"--
as too many captains will do--and he had come to crave advice of Mr.
Mr. Carlyle felt dubious about giving it. This Captain Thorn was a
pleasant, attractive sort of a man, who won much on acquaintance; one
whom Mr. Carlyle would have been pleased, in a friendly point of view,
and setting professional interest apart, to help out of his
difficulties; but if he were the villain they suspected him to be, the
man with crime upon his hand, then Mr. Carlyle would have ordered his
office door held wide for him to slink out of it.
"Cannot you advise me what my course ought to be?" he inquired,
detecting Mr. Carlyle's hesitation.
"I could advise you, certainly. But--you must excuse my being plain,
Captain Thorn--I like to know who my clients are before I take up
their cause or accept them as clients."
"I am able to pay you," was Captain Thorn's reply. "I am not short of
ready money; only this bill--"
Mr. Carlyle laughed out, after having bit his lip with annoyance. "It
was a natural inference of yours," he said, "but I assure you I was
not thinking of your purse or my pocket. My father held it right never
to undertake business for a stranger--unless a man was good, in a
respectable point of view, and his cause was good, he did not mention
it--and I have acted on the same principle. By these means, the
position and character of our business, is rarely attained by a
solicitor. Now, in saying that you are a stranger to me, I am not
casting any doubt upon you, Captain Thorn, I am merely upholding my
"My family is well connected," was Captain Thorn's next venture.
"Excuse me; family has nothing to do with it. If the poorest day
laborer, if a pauper out of the workhouse came to me for advice, he
should be heartily welcome to it, provided he were an honest man in
the face of the day. Again I repeat, you must take no offence at what
I say, for I cast no reflection on you; I only urge that you and your
character are unknown to me."
Curious words from a lawyer to a client-aspirant, and Captain Thorn
found them so. But Mr. Carlyle's tone was so courteous, his manner so
affable, in fact he was so thoroughly the gentleman, that it was
impossible to feel hurt.
"Well, how can I convince you that I am respectable? I have served my
country ever since I was sixteen, and my brother officers have found
no cause of complaint--any position as an officer and a gentleman
would be generally deemed a sufficient guarantee. Inquire of John
Herbert. The Herberts, too, are friends of yours, and they have not
disdained to give me room amidst their family."
"True," returned Mr. Carlyle, feeling that he could not well object
further; and also that all men should be deemed innocent until proved
guilty. "At any rate, I will advise you what must be done at present,"
he added, "though if the affair is one that must go on, I do not
promise that I can continue to act for you. I am very busy just now."
Captain Thorn explained his dilemma, and Mr. Carlyle told him what to
do in it. "Were you not at West Lynne some ten years ago?" he suddenly
inquired, at the close of the conversation. "You denied it to me once
at my house; but I concluded from an observation you let fall, that
you had been here."
"Yes, I was," replied Captain Thorn, in a confidential tone. "I don't
mind owning it to you in confidence, but I do not wish it to get
abroad. I was not at West Lynne, but in its neighborhood. The fact is,
when I was a careless young fellow, I was stopping a few miles from
here, and got into a scrape, though a--a--in short it was an affair of
gallantry. I did not show out very well at the time, and I don't care
that it should be known in the country again."
Mr. Carlyle's pulse--for Richard Hare's sake--beat a shade quicker.
The avowal of "an affair of gallantry" was almost a confirmation of
"Yes," he pointedly said. "The girl was Afy Hallijohn."
"Afy--who?" repeated Captain Thorn, opening his eyes, and fixing them
on Mr. Carlyle's.
Captain Thorn continued to look at Mr. Carlyle, an amused expression,
rather than any other, predominant on his features. "You are
mistaken," he observed. "Afy Hallijohn? I never heard the name before
in my life."
"Did you ever hear or know that a dreadful tragedy was enacted in this
place about that period?" replied Mr. Carlyle, in a low, meaning tone.
"That Afy Hallijohn's father was--"
"Oh, stay, stay, stay," hastily interrupted Captain thorn. "I am
telling a story in saying I never heard her name. Afy Hallijohn? Why,
that's the girl Tom Herbert was telling me about--who--what was it?--
disappeared after her father was murdered."
"Murdered in his own cottage--almost in Afy's presence--murdered by--
by----" Mr. Carlyle recollected himself; he had spoken more
impulsively than was his custom. "Hallijohn was my father's faithful
clerk for many years," he more calmly concluded.
"And he who committed the murder was young Hare, son of Justice Hare,
and brother to that attractive girl, Barbara. Your speaking of this
has recalled, what they told me to my recollection, the first evening
I was at the Herberts. Justice Hare was there, smoking--half a dozen
pipes there were going at once. I also saw Miss Barbara that evening
at your park gates, and Tom told me of the murder. An awful calamity
for the Hares. I suppose that is the reason the young lady is Miss
Hare still. One with her good fortune and good looks ought to have
changed her name ere this."
"No, it is not the reason," returned Mr. Carlyle.
"What is the reason, then?"
A faint flush tinged the brow of Mr. Carlyle. "I know more than one
who would be glad to get Barbara, in spite of the murder. Do not
depreciate Miss Hare."
"Not I, indeed; I like the young lady too well," replied Captain
Thorn. "The girl, Afy, has never been heard of since, has she?"
"Never," said Mr. Carlyle. "Do you know her well?" he deliberately
"I never knew her at all, if you mean Afy Hallijohn. Why should you
think I did? I never heard of her till Tom Herbert amused me with the
Mr. Carlyle most devoutly wished he could tell whether the man before
him was speaking the truth or falsehood. He continued,--
"Afy's favors--I speak in no invidious sense--I mean her smiles and
chatter--were pretty freely dispersed, for she was heedless and vain.
Amidst others who got the credit for occasional basking in her rays,
was a gentleman of the name of Thorn. Was it not yourself?"
Captain Thorn stroked his moustache with an air that seemed to say he
/could/ boast of his share of such baskings: in short, as if he felt
half inclined to do it. "Upon my word," he simpered, "you do me too
much honor; I cannot confess to having been favored by Miss Afy."
"Then she was not the--the damsel you speak of, who drove you--if I
understand aright--from the locality?" resumed Mr. Carlyle, fixing his
eyes upon him, so as to take in every tone of the answer and shade of
countenance as he gave it.
"I should think not, indeed. It was a married lady, more's the pity;
young, pretty, vain and heedless, as you represent this Afy. Things
went smoother after a time, and she and her husband--a stupid country
yeoman--became reconciled; but I have been ashamed of it since I have
grown wiser, and I do not care ever to be recognized as the actor in
it, or to have it raked up against me."
Captain Thorn rose and took a somewhat hasty leave. Was he, or was he
not, the man? Mr. Carlyle could not solve the doubt.
Mr. Dill came in as he disappeared, closed the door, and advanced to
his master, speaking in an under tone.
"Mr. Archibald, has it struck you that the gentleman just gone out may
be the Lieutenant Thorn you once spoke to me about--he who had used to
gallop over from Swainson to court Afy Hallijohn?"
"It has struck me so, most forcibly," replied Mr. Carlyle. "Dill, I
would give five hundred pounds out of my pocket this moment to be
assured of the fact--if he is the same."
"I have seen him several times since he has been staying with the
Herberts," pursued the old gentleman, "and my doubts have naturally
been excited as to whether it could be the man in question. Curious
enough, Bezant, the doctor, was over here yesterday from Swainson; and
as I was walking with him, arm-in-arm, we met Captain Thorn. The two
recognized each other and bowed, merely as distant acquaintances. 'Do
you know that gentleman?' said I to Bezant. 'Yes,' he answered, 'it is
Mr. Frederick.' 'Mr. Frederick with something added on to it,' said I;
'his name is Thorn.' 'I know that,' returned Bezant; 'but when he was
in Swainson some years ago, he chose to drop the Thorn, and the town
in general knew him only as Mr. Frederick.' 'What was he doing there,
Bezant?' I asked. 'Amusing himself and getting into mischief,' was the
answer; 'nothing very bad, only the random scrapes of young men.' 'Was
he often on horseback, riding to a distance?' was my next question.
'Yes, that he was,' replied Bezant; 'none more fond of galloping
across the country than he; I used to tell him he'd ride his horse's
tail off.' Now, Mr. Archibald, what do you think?" concluded the old
clerk; "and so far as I could make out, this was about the very time
of the tragedy at Hallijohn's."
"Think?" replied Mr. Carlyle. "What can I think but that it is the
same man. I am convinced of it now."
And, leaning back into his chair, he fell into a deep reverie,
regardless of the parchments that lay before him.
The weeks went on--two or three--and things seemed to be progressing
backward, rather than forward--if that's not Irish. Francis Levison's
affairs--that is, the adjustment of them--did not advance at all.
Another thing that may be said to be progressing backward, for it was
going on fast to bad, instead of good, was the jealousy of Lady
Isabel. How could it be otherwise, kept up, as it was, by Barbara's
frequent meetings with Mr. Carlyle, and by Captain Levison's
exaggerated whispers of them. Discontented, ill at ease with herself
and with everybody about her, Isabel was living now in a state of
excitement, a dangerous resentment against her husband beginning to
rise up in her heart. That very day--the one of Captain Levison's
visit to Levison Park--in driving through West Lynne in the pony
carriage, she had come upon her husband in close converse with Barbara
Hare. So absorbed were they, that they never saw her, though her
carriage passed close to the pavement where they stood.
On the morning following this, as the Hare family were seated at
breakfast, the postman was observed coming toward the house. Barbara
sprang from her seat to the open window, and the man advanced to her.
"Only one miss. It is for yourself."
"Who is it from?" began the justice, as Barbara returned to her chair.
In letters as in other things, he was always curious to know their
contents, whether they might be addressed to himself or not.
"It is from Anne, papa," replied Barbara, as she laid the letter by
her side on the table.
"Why don't you open it and see what she says?"
"I will, directly; I am just going to pour out some more tea for
Finally the justice finished his breakfast, and strolled out into the
Barbara opened her letter; Mrs. Hare watched her movements and her
countenance. She saw the latter flush suddenly and vividly, and then
become deadly pale; she saw Barbara crush the note in her hand when
"Oh, mamma!" she uttered.
The flush of emotion came also into Mrs. Hare's delicate cheeks.
"Barbara, is it bad news?"
"Mamma, it--it--is about Richard," she whispered, glancing at the door
and window, to see that none might be within sight or hearing. "I
never thought of him; I only fancied Anne might be sending me some bit
of news concerning her own affairs. Good Heavens! How fortunate--how
providential that papa did not see the paper fall; and that you did
not persist in your inquiries. If he--"
"Barbara, you are keeping me in suspense," interrupted Mrs. Hare, who
had also grown white. "What should Anne know about Richard?"
Barbara smoothed out the writing, and held it before her mother. It
was as follows:--
"I have had a curious note from R. It was without date or
signature, but I knew his handwriting. He tells me to let you
know, in the most sure and private manner that I can, that he will
soon be paying another night visit. You are to watch the grove
every evening when the present moon gets bright."
Mrs. Hare covered her face for some minutes. "Thank God for all his
mercies," she murmured.
"Oh, mamma, but it is an awful risk for him to run!"
"But to know that he is in life--to know that he is in life! And for
the risk--Barbara, I dread it not. The same God who protected him
through the last visit, will protect him through this. He will not
forsake the oppressed, the innocent. Destroy the paper, child."
"Archibald Carlyle must first see it, mamma."
"I shall not be easy until it is destroyed, Barbara."
Braving the comments of the gossips, hoping the visit would not reach
the ears or eyes of the justice, Barbara went that day to the office
of Mr. Carlyle. He was not there, he was at West Lynne; he had gone to
Lynneborough on business, and Mr. Dill thought it a question if he
would be at the office again that day. If so, it would be late in the
afternoon. Barbara, as soon as their own dinner was over, took up her
patient station at the gate, hoping to see him pass; but the time went
by and he did not. She had little doubt that he had returned home
without going to West Lynne.
What should she do? "Go up to East Lynne and see him," said her
conscience. Barbara's mind was in a strangely excited state. It
appeared to her that this visit of Richard's must have been specially
designed by Providence, that he might be confronted by Thorn.
"Mamma," she said, returning indoors, after seeing the justice depart
upon an evening visit to the Buck's Head, where he and certain other
justices and gentlemen sometimes congregated to smoke and chat, "I
shall go up to East Lynne, if you have no objection. I must see Mr.
Away went Barbara. It had struck seven when she arrived at East Lynne.
"Is Mr. Carlyle disengaged?"
"Mr. Carlyle is not yet home, miss. My lady and Miss Carlyle are
waiting dinner for him."
A check for Barbara. The servant asked her to walk in, but she
declined and turned from the door. She was in no mood for visit
Lady Isabel had been standing at the window watching for her husband
and wondering what made him so late. She observed Barbara approach the
house, and saw her walk away again. Presently the servant who had
answered the door, entered the drawing-room.
"Was not that Miss Hare?"
"Yes, my lady," was the man's reply. "She wanted master. I said your
ladyship was at home, but she would not enter."
Isabel said no more; she caught the eyes of Francis Levison fixed on
her with as much meaning, compassionate meaning, as they dared
express. She clasped her hands in pain, and turned again to the
Barbara was slowly walking down the avenue, Mr. Carlyle was then in
sight, walking quickly up it. Lady Isabel saw their hands meet in
"Oh, I am so thankful to have met you!" Barbara exclaimed to him,
impulsively. "I actually went to your office to-day, and I have been
now to your house. We have such news!"
"Ay! What? About Thorn?"
"No; about Richard," replied Barbara, taking the scrap of paper from
the folds of her dress. "This came to me this morning from Anne."
Mr. Carlyle took the document, and Barbara looked over him whilst he
read it; neither of them thinking that Lady Isabel's jealous eyes, and
Captain Levison's evil ones, were strained upon them from the distant
windows. Miss Carlyle's also, for the matter of that.
"Archibald, it seems to me that Providence must be directing him
hither at this moment. Our suspicions with regard to Thorn can now be
set at rest. You must contrive that Richard shall see him. What can he
be coming again for?"
"More money," was the supposition of Mr. Carlyle. "Does Mrs. Hare know
"She does, unfortunately. I opened the paper before her, never
dreaming it was connected with Richard--poor, unhappy Richard!--and
not to be guilty."
"He acted as though he were guilty, Barbara; and that line of conduct
often entails as much trouble as real guilt."
"You do not believe him guilty?" she most passionately uttered.
"I do not. I have little doubt of the guilt of Thorn."
"Oh, if it could but be brought home to him!" returned Barbara, "so
that Richard might be cleared in the sight of day. How can you
contrive that he shall see Thorn?"
"I cannot tell; I must think it over. Let me know the instant he
"Of course I shall. It may be that he does not want money; that his
errand is only to see mamma. He was always so fond of her."
"I must leave you," said Mr. Carlyle, taking her hand in token of
farewell. Then, as a thought occurred to him, he turned and walked a
few steps with her without releasing it. He was probably unconscious
that he retained it; she was not.
"You know, Barbara, if he should want money, and it be not convenient
to Mrs. Hare to supply it at so short a notice, I can give it to him,
as I did before."
"Thank you, thank you, Archibald. Mamma felt sure you would."
She lifted her eyes to his with an expression of gratitude; a warmer
feeling for an uncontrolled moment mingled with it. Mr. Carlyle nodded
pleasantly, and then set off toward his house at the pace of a steam
Two minutes in his dressing-room, and he entered the drawing-room,
apologizing for keeping them waiting dinner, and explaining that he
had been compelled to go to his office to give some orders subsequent
to his return to Lynneborough. Lady Isabel's lips were pressed
together, and she preserved an obstinate silence. Mr. Carlyle, in his
unsuspicion, did not notice it.
"What did Barbara Hare want?" demanded Miss Carlyle, during dinner.
"She wanted to see me on business," was his reply, given in a tone
that certainly did not invite his sister to pursue the subject. "Will
you take some more fish, Isabel?"
"What was that you were reading over with her?" pursued the
indefatigable Miss Corny. "It looked like a note."
"Ah, that would be telling," returned Mr. Carlyle, willing to turn it
off with gayety. "If young ladies choose to make me party to their
love letters, I cannot betray confidence, you know."
"What rubbish Archibald!" quoth she. "As if you could not say outright
what Barbara wants, without making a mystery of it. And she seems to
be always wanting you now."
Mr. Carlyle glanced at his sister a quick, peculiar look; it seemed to
her to speak both of seriousness and warning. Involuntarily her
thoughts--and her fears--flew back to the past.
"Archibald, Archibald!" she uttered, repeating the name, as if she
could not get any further words out in her dread. "It--it--is never--
that old affair is never being raked up again?"
Now Miss Carlyle's "old affair" referred to one sole and sore point--
Richard Hare, and so Mr. Carlyle understood it. Lady Isabel unhappily
believing that any "old affair" could only have reference to the
bygone loves of her husband and Barbara.
"You will oblige me by going on with your dinner, Cornelia," gravely
responded Mr. Carlyle. Then--assuming a more laughing tone--"I tell
you it is unreasonable to expect me to betray a young woman's secrets,
although she may choose to confide them professionally to me. What say
you, Captain Levison?"
The gentleman addressed bowed, a smile of mockery, all too perceptible
to Lady Isabel, on his lips. And Miss Carlyle bent her head over her
plate, and went on with her dinner as meek as any lamb.
That same evening, Lady Isabel's indignant and rebellious heart
condescended to speak of it when alone with her husband.
"What is it that she wants with you so much, that Barbara Hare?"
"It is private business, Isabel. She has to bring me messages from her
"Must the business be kept from me?"
He was silent for a moment, considering whether he might tell her. But
it was impossible he could speak, even to his wife, of the suspicion
they were attaching to Captain Thorn. It would have been unfair and
wrong; neither could he betray that a secret visit was expected from
Richard. To no one in the world could he betray that, however safe and
"It would not make you the happier to know it, Isabel. There is a dark
secret, you are aware, touching the Hare family. It is connected with
She did not put faith in a word of the reply. She believed he could
not tell her because her feelings, as his wife, would be outraged by
the confession; and it goaded her anger into recklessness. Mr.
Carlyle, on his part, never gave a thought to the supposition that she
might be jealous; he had believed that nonsense at an end years ago.
He was perfectly honorable and true; strictly faithful to his wife,
giving her no shadow of cause or reason to be jealous of him; and
being a practical, matter-of-fact man, it did not occur to him that
she could be so.
Lady Isabel was sitting, the following morning, moody and out of
sorts. Captain Levison, who had accompanied Mr. Carlyle in the most
friendly manner possible to the park gate on his departure, and then
stolen along the hedgewalk, had returned to Lady Isabel with the news
of an "ardent" interview with Barbara, who had been watching for his
going by at the gate of the grove. She sat, sullenly digesting the
tidings, when a note was brought in. It proved to be an invitation to
dinner for the following Tuesday, at a Mrs. Jefferson's--for Mr. and
Lady Isabel Carlyle and Miss Carlyle.
"Do you go?" asked Miss Carlyle.
"Yes," replied Isabel. "Mr. Carlyle and I both want a change of some
sort," she added, in a mocking sort of spirit; "it may be well to have
it, if only for an evening."
In truth this unhappy jealousy, this distrust of her husband, appeared
to have altered Lady Isabel's very nature.
"And leave Captain Levison?" returned Miss Carlyle.
Lady Isabel went over to her desk, making no reply.
"What will you do with him, I ask?" persisted Miss Carlyle.
"He can remain here--he can dine by himself. Shall I accept the
invitation for you?"
"No; I shall not go," said Miss Carlyle.
"Then, in that case, there can be no difficulty in regard to Captain
Levison," coldly spoke Lady Isabel.
"I don't want his company--I am not fond of it," cried Miss Carlyle.
"I would go to Mrs. Jefferson's, but that I should want a new dress."
"That's easily had," said Lady Isabel. "I shall want one myself."
"/You/ want a new dress!" uttered Miss Carlyle. "Why, you have a
"I don't know that I could count a dozen in all," returned Lady
Isabel, chafing at the remark, and the continual thwarting put upon
her by Miss Carlyle, which had latterly seemed more than hard to
endure. Petty evils are more difficult to support than great ones,
Lady Isabel concluded her note, folded, sealed it, and then rang the
bell. As the man left the room with it, she desired that Wilson might
be sent to her.
"Is it this morning, Wilson, that the dressmaker comes to try on Miss
Isabel's dress?" she inquired.
Wilson hesitated and stammered, and glanced from her mistress to Miss
Carlyle. The latter looked up from her work.
"The dressmaker's not coming," spoke she, sharply. "I countermanded
the order for the frock, for Isabel does not require it."
"She does require it," answered Lady Isabel, in perhaps the most
displeased tone she had ever used to Miss Carlyle. "I am a competent
judge of what is necessary for my children."
"She no more requires a new frock than that table requires one, or
that you require the one you are longing for," stoically persisted
Miss Carlyle. "She has got ever so many lying by, and her striped
silk, turned, will make up as handsome as ever."
Wilson backed out of the room and closed the door softly, but her
mistress caught a compassionate look directed toward her. Her heart
seemed bursting with indignation and despair; there seemed to be no
side on which she could turn for refuge. Pitied by her own servants!
She reopened her desk and dashed off a haughty, peremptory note for
the attendance of the dressmaker at East Lynne, commanding its
Miss Corny groaned in her wrath.
"You will be sorry for not listening to me, ma'am, when your husband
shall be brought to poverty. He works like a horse now, and with all
his slaving, can scarcely, I fear, keep expenses down."
Poor Lady Isabel, ever sensitive, began to think they might, with one
another, be spending more than Mr. Carlyle's means would justify; she
knew their expenses were heavy. The same tale had been dinned into her
ears ever since she married him. She gave up in that moment all
thought of the new dress for herself and for Isabel; but her spirit,
in her deep unhappiness, felt sick and faint within her.
Wilson, meanwhile, had flown to Joyce's room, and was exercising her
dearly beloved tongue in an exaggerated account of the matter--how
Miss Carlyle put upon my lady, and had forbidden a new dress to her,
as well as the frock to Miss Isabel.
And yet a few more days passed on.
RICHARD HARE AT MR. DILL'S WINDOW.
Bright was the moon on that genial Monday night, bright was the
evening star, as they shone upon a solitary wayfarer who walked on the
shady side of the road with his head down, as though he did not care
to court observation. A laborer, apparently, for he wore a smock-frock
and had hobnails in his shoes; but his whiskers were large and black,
quite hiding the lower part of his face, and his broad-brimmed "wide-
awake" came far over his brows. He drew near the dwelling of Richard
Hare, Esq., plunged rapidly over some palings, after looking well to
the right and to the left, into a field, and thence over the side wall
into Mr. Hare's garden, where he remained amidst the thick trees.
Now, by some mischievous spirit of intuition or contrariety, Justice
Hare was spending this evening at home, a thing he did not do once in
six months unless he had friends with him. Things in real life do
mostly go by the rules of contrary, as children say in their play,
holding the corners of the handkerchief, "Here we go round and round
by the rules of conte-rary; if I tell you to hold fast, you must
loose; if I tell you to loose, you must hold fast." Just so in the
play of life. When we want people to "hold fast," they "loose;" and
when we want them to "loose," they "hold fast."
Barbara, anxious, troubled, worn out almost with the suspense of
looking and watching for her brother, feeling a feverish expectation
that night would bring him--but so had she felt for the two or three
nights past--would have given her hand for her father to go out. But
no--things were going by the rule of contrary. There sat the stern
justice in full view of the garden and the grove, his chair drawn
precisely in front of the window, his wig awry, and a long pipe in his
"Are you not going out, Richard?" Mrs. Hare ventured to say.
"Mamma, shall I ring for the shutters to be closed?" asked Barbara, by
"Shutters closed?" said the justice. "Who'd shut out this bright moon?
You have got the lamp at the far end of the room, young lady, and can
go to it."
Barbara ejaculated an inward prayer for patience--for safety of
Richard, if he did come, and waited on, watching the grove in the
distance. It came, the signal, her quick eye caught it; a movement as
if some person or thing had stepped out beyond the trees and stepped
back again. Barbara's face turned white and her lips dry.
"I am so hot!" she exclaimed, in her confused eagerness for an excuse;
"I must take a turn in the garden."
She stole out, throwing a dark shawl over her shoulders, that might
render her less conspicuous to the justice, and her dress that evening
was a dark silk. She did not dare to stand still when she reached the
trees, or to penetrate them, but she caught glimpses of Richard's
face, and her heart ached at the change in it. It was white, thin, and
full of care; and his hair, he told her, was turning gray.
"Oh, Richard, darling, and I may not stop to talk to you!" she wailed,
in a deep whisper. "Papa is at home, you see, of all the nights in the
"Can't I see my mother?"
"How can you? You must wait till to-morrow night."
"I don't like waiting a second night, Barbara. There's danger in every
inch of ground that this neighborhood contains."
"But you must wait, Richard, for reasons. That man who caused all the
"Hang him!" gloomily interrupted Richard.
"He is at West Lynne. At least there is a Thorn, we--I and Mr. Carlyle
--believe to be the same, and we want you to see him."
"Let me see him," panted Richard, whom the news appeared to agitate;
"let me see him, Barbara, I say----"
Barbara had passed on again, returning presently.
"You know, Richard, I must keep moving, with papa's eyes there. He is
a tall man, very good-looking, very fond of dress and ornament,
especially of diamonds."
"That's he," cried Richard, eagerly.
"Mr. Carlyle will contrive that you shall see him," she continued,
stooping as if to tie her shoe. "Should it prove to be the same,
perhaps nothing can be done--immediately done--toward clearing you,
but it shall be a great point ascertained. Are you sure you should
know him again?"
"Sure! That I should know /him/?" uttered Richard Hare. "Should I know
my own father? Should I know you? And are you not engraven on my heart
in letters of blood, as is he? How and when am I to see him, Barbara?"
"I can tell you nothing till I have seen Mr. Carlyle. Be here
to-morrow, as soon as ever the dusk will permit you. Perhaps Mr.
Carlyle will contrive to bring him here. If--"
The window was thrown open, and the stentorian voice of Justice Hare
was heard from it.
"Barbara, are you wandering about there to take cold? Come in! Come
in, I say!"
"Oh, Richard, I am so sorry!" she lingered to whisper. "But papa is
sure to be out to-morrow evening; he would not stay in two evenings
running. Good-night, dear."
There must be no delay now, and the next day Barbara, braving
comments, appeared once more at the office of Mr. Carlyle. Terribly
did the rules of contrary seem in action just then. Mr. Carlyle was
not in, and the clerks did not know when to expect him; he was gone
out for some hours, they believed.
"Mr. Dill," urged Barbara, as the old gentleman came to the door to
greet her, "I /must/ see him."
"He will not be in till late in the afternoon, Miss Barbara. I expect
him then. Is it anything I can do?"
"No, no," sighed Barbara.
At that moment Lady Isabel and her little girl passed in the chariot.
She saw Barbara at her husband's door; what should she be doing there,
unless paying him a visit? A slight, haughty bow to Barbara, a
pleasant nod and smile to Mr. Dill, and the carriage bowled on.
It was four o'clock before Barbara could see Mr. Carlyle, and
communicate her tidings that Richard had arrived.
Mr. Carlyle held deceit and all underhand doings in especial
abhorrence; yet he deemed that he was acting right, under the
circumstances, in allowing Captain Thorn to be secretly seen by
Richard Hare. In haste he arranged his plans. It was the evening of
his own dinner engagement at Mrs. Jefferson's but that he must give
up. Telling Barbara to dispatch Richard to his office as soon as he
should make his appearance at the grove, and to urge him to come
boldly and not fear, for none would know him in his disguise, he wrote
a hurried note to Thorn, requesting him also to be at his office at
eight o'clock that evening, as he had something to communicate to him.
The latter plea was no fiction, for he had received an important
communication that morning relative to the business on which Captain
Thorn had consulted him, and his own absence from the office in the
day had alone prevented his sending for him earlier.
Other matters were calling the attention of Mr. Carlyle, and it was
five o'clock ere he departed for East Lynne; he would not have gone so
early, but that he must inform his wife of his inability to keep his
dinner engagement. Mr. Carlyle was one who never hesitated to
sacrifice personal gratification to friendship or to business.
The chariot was at the door, and Lady Isabel dressed and waiting for
him in her dressing-room. "Did you forget that the Jeffersons dined at
six?" was her greeting.
"No, Isabel; but it was impossible for me to get here before. And I
should not have come so soon, but to tell you that I cannot accompany
you. You must make my excuses to Mrs. Jefferson."
A pause. Strange thoughts were running through Lady Isabel's mind.
"Why so?" she inquired.
"Some business has arisen which I am compelled to attend to this
evening. As soon as I have snatched a bit of dinner at home I must
hasten back to the office."
Was he making this excuse to spend the hours of her absence with
Barbara Hare? The idea that it was so took firm possession of her
mind, and remained there. Her face expressed a variety of feelings,
the most prominent that of resentment. Mr. Carlyle saw it.
"You must not be vexed, Isabel. I assure you it is no fault of mine.
It is important private business which cannot be put off, and which I
cannot delegate to Dill. I am sorry it should have so happened."
"You never return to the office in the evening," she remarked, with
"No; because if anything arises to take us there after hours, Dill
officiates. But the business to-night must be done by myself."
Another pause. Lady Isabel suddenly broke it. "Shall you join us later
in the evening?"
"I believe I shall not be able to do so."
She drew her light shawl around her shoulders, and swept down the
staircase. Mr. Carlyle followed to place her in the carriage. When he
said farewell, she never answered but looked out straight before her
with a stony look.
"What time, my lady?" inquired the footman, as he alighted at Mrs.
"Early. Half-past nine."
A little before eight o'clock, Richard Hare, in his smock-frock and
his slouching hat and his false whiskers, rang dubiously at the outer
door of Mr. Carlyle's office. That gentleman instantly opened it. He
was quite alone.
"Come in, Richard," said he, grasping his hand. "Did you meet any whom
"I never looked at whom I met, sir," was the reply. "I thought that if
I looked at people, they might look at me, so I came straight ahead
with my eyes before me. How the place has altered! There's a new brick
house on the corner where old Morgan's shop used to stand."
"That's the new police station. West Lynne I assure you, is becoming
grand in public buildings. And how have you been, Richard?"
"Ailing and wretched," answered Richard Hare. "How can I be otherwise,
Mr. Carlyle, with so false an accusation attached to me; and working
like a slave, as I have to do?"
"You may take off the disfiguring hat, Richard. No one is here."
Richard slowly heaved it from his brows, and his fair face, so like
his mother's, was disclosed. But the moment he was uncovered he turned
shrinkingly toward the entrance door. "If any one should come in,
"Impossible!" replied Mr. Carlyle. "The front door is fast, and the