Part 8 out of 9
"Oh! please wait a minute, till I do up my hair."
"Take a minute, but no more."
"There, it is done. Mr. Dodd, one word. If all should fail, and death
be inevitable, tell me so just before we perish, and I shall have
something to say to you. Now, I am ready."
"Jump forward, Jack."
"Stand by to jibe the foresail."
"Ay, ay, sir."
"See our sweeps all clear."
David now handled the main sheet, and at the same time looked
earnestly at Lucy, who met his eye with a look of eager attention.
"Starboard a little. That will do. Steady--steady as you go," As the
boat yielded to the helm, Jack gathered in on the sheet, took two
turns round the cleat, and eased away till the sail drew its best: so
far so good. Both sails were now on the same side of the boat, the
wind on her port quarter; but now came the dangerous operation of
coming to the wind, in a rough and broken sea, among the eddies of
wind and tide so prevalent off headlands. David, with the main sheet
in his right hand, directed Lucy with his left as well as his voice.
"Starboard the helm--starboard yet--now meet her--so!" and, as she
rounded to Jack and he kept hauling the sheets aft, and the boat, her
course and trim altered, darted among the breakers like a brave man
attacking danger. After the first plunge she went up and down like a
pickax, coming down almost where she went up; but she held her course,
with the waves roaring round her like a pack of hell-hounds.
More than half the terrible strip was passed. "Starboard yet," cried
David; and she headed toward the high mainland under whose lee was
calm and safety. Alas! at this moment a snorter of a sea broke under
her broadside, and hove her to leeward like a cork, and a tide eddy
catching her under the counter, she came to more than two points, and
her canvas, thus emptied, shook enough to tear the masts out of her by
"Port your helm! PORT! PORT!" roared David, in a voice like the roar
of a wounded lion; and, in his anxiety, he bounded to the helm
himself; but Lucy obeyed orders at half a word, and David, seeing
this, sprang forward to help Jack flatten in the foresheet. The boat,
which all through answered the helm beautifully, fell off the moment
Lucy ported the helm, and thus they escaped the impending and terrible
danger of her making sternway. "Helm amidships!" and all drew again:
the black water was in sight. But will they ever reach it? She tosses
like a cork. Bang! A breaker caught her bows, and drenched David and
Jack to the very bone. She quivered like an aspen-leaf but held on.
"Starboard one point," cried David, sitting down, and lifting an oar
out from the boat; but just as Lucy, in obeying the order, leaned a
little over the lee gunwale with the tiller, a breaker broke like a
shell upon the boat's broadside abaft, stove in her upper plank, and
filled her with water; some flew and slapped Lucy in the face like an
open hand. She screamed, but clung to the gunwale, and griped the
helm: her arm seemed iron, and her heart was steel. While she clung
thus to her work, blinded by the spray, and expecting death, she heard
oars splash into the water, and mellow stentorian voices burst out
In amazement she turned, squeezed the brine out of her eyes, and
looked all round, and lo! the boat was in a trifling bobble of a sea,
and close astern was the surge of fire raging, and growling, and
blazing in vain, and the two sailors were pulling the boat, with
superhuman strength and inspiration, into a monster mill-pool that now
lay right ahead, black as ink and smooth as oil, singing loudly as
"Cheerily oh oh! (pull) cheerily oh oh! (pull)
To port we go oh (pull), to port we go (pull)."
FLARE!! a great flaming eye opened on them in the center of the
"Look! look!" cried Lucy; "a fire in the mountain."
It was the lantern of a French sloop anchored close to the shore. The
crew had heard the sailors' voices. At sight of it David and Jack
cheered so lustily that Talboys crawled out of the water and glared
vaguely. The sailors pulled under the sloop's lee quarter: a couple of
ropes were instantly lowered, the lantern held aloft, ruby heads and
hands clustered at the gangway, and in another minute the boat's party
were all upon deck, under a hailstorm of French, and the boat fast to
THE skipper of the ship, hearing a commotion on deck, came up, and,
taking off his cap, made Lucy a bow in a style remote from an English
sailor's. She courtesied to him, and, to his surprise, addressed him
in Parisian French. When he learned she was from England, and had
rounded that point in an open boat, he was astonished.
"Diables d'Anglais!" said he.
The good-natured Frenchman insisted on Lucy taking sole possession of
his cabin, in which was a cheerful stove. His crew were just as kind
to David, Jack, and Talboys. This latter now resumed his right
place--at the head of mankind; being the only one who could talk
French, he interpreted for his companions. He improved upon my
narrative in one particular: he led the Frenchmen to suppose it was he
who had sailed the boat from England, and weathered the point. Who can
Dry clothes were found them, and grog and beef.
While employed on the victuals, a little Anglo-Frank, aged ten,
suddenly rolled out of a hammock and offered aid in the sweet accents
of their native tongue. The sound of the knives and forks had woke the
urchin out of a deep sleep. David filled the hybrid, and then sent him
to Lucy's cabin to learn how she was getting on. He returned, and told
them the lady was sitting on deck.
"Dear me," said David, "she ought to be in her bed." He rose and went
on deck, followed by Mr. Talboys. "Had you not better rest yourself?"
"No, thank you, Mr. Dodd; I had a delicious sleep in the boat."
Here Talboys put in his word, and made her a rueful apology for the
turn his pleasure-excursion had taken.
She stopped him most graciously.
"On the contrary, I have to thank you, indirectly, for one of the
pleasantest evenings I ever spent. I never was in danger before, and
it is delightful. I was a little frightened at first, but it soon wore
off, and I feel I should shortly revel in it; only I must have a brave
man near just to look at, then I gather courage from his eye; do I not
now, Mr. Dodd?"
"Indeed you do," said David, simply enough.
Lucy Fountain's appearance and manner bore out her words. Talboys was
white; even David and Jack showed some signs of a night of watching
and anxiety; but the young lady's cheek was red and fresh, her eye
bright, and she shone with an inspired and sprightly ardor that was
never seen, or never observed in her before. They had found the way to
put her blood up, after all--the blood of the Funteyns. Such are
thoroughbreds: they rise with the occasion; snobs descend as the
situation rises. See that straight-necked, small-nosed mare stepping
delicately on the turnpike: why, it is Languor in person, picking its
way among eggs. Now the hounds cry and the horn rings. Put her at
timber, stream, and plowed field in pleasing rotation, and see her
now: up ears; open nostril; nerves steel; heart immovable; eye of
fire; foot of wind. And ho! there! What stuck in that last arable,
dead stiff as the Rosinantes in Trafalgar Square, all but one limb,
which goes like a water-wagtail's? Why, by Jove! if it isn't the hero
of the turnpike road: the gallant, impatient, foaming, champing,
space-devouring, curveting cocktail.
Out of consideration for her male companions' infirmities, and
observing that they were ashamed to take needful rest while she
remained on deck, Lucy at length retired to her cabin.
She slept a good many hours, and was awakened at last by the rocking
of the sloop. The wind had fallen gently, but it had also changed to
due east, which brought a heavy ground-swell round the point into
their little haven. Lucy made her toilet, and came on deck blooming
like a rose. The first person she encountered was Mr. Talboys. She
saluted him cordially, and then inquired for their companions.
"Oh, they are gone."
"Gone! What do you mean?"
"Sailed half an hour ago. Look, there is the boat coasting the island.
No, not that way--westward; out there, just weathering that point
Don't you see?"
"Are they making a tour of the island, then?"
Here the little Anglo-Frank put in his word. "No, ma'ainselle, gone to
catch sheep bound for ze East Indeeze."
"Gone! gone! for good?" and Lucy turned very pale. The next moment
offended pride sent the blood rushing to her brow. "That is just like
Mr. Dodd; there is not another gentleman in the world would have had
the ill-breeding to go off like that to India without even bidding us
good-morning or good-by. Did he bid _you_ good-by, Mr. Talboys?"
"There, now, it is insolent--it is barbarous." Her vexation at the
affront David had put on Mr. Talboys soon passed into indignation.
"This was done to insult--to humiliate us. A noble revenge. You know
we used sometimes to quiz him a little ashore, especially you; so now,
out of spite, he has saved our lives, and then turned his back
arrogantly upon us before we could express our gratitude; that is as
much as to say he values us as so many dogs or cats, flings us our
lives haughtily, and then turned his back disdainfully on us. Life is
not worth having when given so insultingly."
Talboys soothed the offended fair. "I really don't think he meant to
insult us; but you know Dodd; he is a good-natured fellow, but he
never had the slightest pretension to good-breeding."
"Don't you think," replied the lady, "it would be as well to leave off
detracting from Mr. Dodd now that he has just saved your life?"
Talboys opened his eyes. "Why, you began it."
"Oh, Mr. Talboys, do not descend to evasion. What I say goes for
nothing. Mr. Dodd and I are fast friends, and nobody will ever succeed
in robbing me of my esteem for him. But you always hated him, and you
seize every opportunity of showing your dislike. Poor Mr. Dodd! He has
too many great virtues not to be envied--and hated."
Talboys stood puzzled, and was at a loss which way to steer his
tongue, the wind being so shifty. At last he observed a little
haughtily that "he never made Mr. Dodd of so much. importance as all
this. He owned he _had_ quizzed him, but it was not his intention
to quiz him any more; for I do feel under considerable obligations to
Mr. Dodd; he has brought us safe across the Channel; at the same time,
I own I should have been more grateful if he had beat against the wind
and landed us on our native coast; the lugger is there long before
this, and our boat was the best of the two."
"Absurd!" replied Lucy, with cold hauteur. "The lugger had a sharp
stern, but ours was a square stern, so we were obliged to _run;_
if we had _beat,_ we should all have been drowned directly."
Talboys was staggered by this sudden influx of science; but he held
his ground. "There is something in that," said he; "but still,
"There, Mr. Talboys," said the young lady suddenly, assuming extreme
languor after delivering a facer, "pray do not engage me in an
argument. I do not feel equal to one, especially on a subject that has
lost its interest. Can you inform me when this vessel sails?"
"Not till to-morrow morning."
"Then will you be so kind as to borrow me that little boat? it is
dangling from the ship, so it must belong to it. I wish to land, and
see whether he has cast us upon an in- or an uninhabited island."
The sloop's boat speedily landed them on the island, and Lucy proposed
to cross the narrow neck of land and view the sea they had crossed in
the dark. This was soon done, and she took that opportunity of looking
about for the lateen, for her mind had taken another turn, and she
doubted the report that David had gone to intercept the East-Indiaman.
A short glance convinced her it was true. About seven miles to
leeward, her course west-northwest, her hull every now and then hidden
by the waves, her white sails spread like a bird's, the lateen was
flying through the foam at its fastest rate. Lucy gazed at her so long
and steadfastly that Talboys took the huff, and strolled along the
When Lucy turned to go back, she found the French skipper coming
toward her with a scrap of paper in his hand. He presented it with a
low bow; she took it with a courtesy. It was neatly folded, though not
as letters are folded ashore, and it bore her address. She opened it
"It was not worth while disturbing your rest just to see us go off.
God bless you, Miss Lucy! The Frenchman is bound for ----, and will
take you safe; and mind you don't step ashore till the plank is fast.
That was all. She folded it back thoughtfully into the original folds,
and turned away. When she had gone but a few steps she stopped and put
her rejected lover's little note into her bosom, and went slowly back
to the boat, hanging her sweet head, and crying as she went.
MR. FOUNTAIN remained in the town waiting for his niece's return. Six
o'clock came--no boat. Eight o'clock--no boat, and a heavy gale
blowing. He went down to the beach in great anxiety; and when he got
there he soon found it was shared to the full by many human beings.
There were little knots of fishermen and sailors discussing it, and
one poor woman, mother and wife, stealing from group to group and
listening anxiously to the men's conjectures. But the most striking
feature of the scene was an old white-haired man, who walked wildly,
throwing his arms about. The others rather avoided him, but Mr.
Fountain felt he had a right to speak to him; so he came to him, and
told him "his niece was on board; and you, too, I fear, have some one
dear to you in danger."
The old man replied sorrowfully that "his lovely new boat was in
danger--in such danger that he should never see her again;" then
added, going suddenly into a fury, that "as to the two rascally
bluejackets that were on board of her, and had borrowed her of his
wife while he was out, all he wished was that they had been swamped to
all eternity long ago, then they would not have been able to come and
swamp his dear boat."
Peppery old Fountain cursed him for a heartless old vagabond, and
joined the group whose grief and anxiety were less ostentatious, being
for the other boat that carried their own flesh and blood. But all
night long that white-haired old man paced the shore, flinging his
arms, weeping and cursing alternately for his dear schooner.
Oh holy love--of property! how venerable you looked in the moonlight,
with your white hairs streaming! How well you imitated, how close you
rivaled, the holiest effusions of the heart, and not for the first
time nor the last.
"My daughter! my ducats! my ducats! my daughter!" etc.
The morning broke; no sign of either boat. The wind had shifted to the
east, and greatly abated. The fishermen began to have hopes for their
comrades; these communicated themselves to Mr. Fountain.
It was about one o'clock in the afternoon when this latter observed
people streaming along the shore to a distant point. He asked a
coastguard man, whom he observed scanning the place with a glass,
"What it was?"
The man lowered his voice and said, "Well, sir, it will be something
coming ashore, by the way the folk are running."
Mr. Fountain got a carriage, and, urging the driver to use speed, was
hastily conveyed by the road to a part whence a few steps brought him
down to the sea. He thrust wildly in among the crowd.
"Make way," said the rough fellows: they saw he was one of those who
had the best right to be there.
He looked, and there, scarce fifty yards from the shore, was the
lugger, keel uppermost, drifting in with the tide. The old man
staggered, and was supported by a beach man.
When the wreck came within fifteen yards of the shore, she hung, owing
to the under suction, and could get neither way. The cries of the
women broke out afresh at this. Then half a dozen stout fellows swam
in with ropes, and with some difficulty righted her, and in another
minute she was hauled ashore.
The crowd rushed upon her. She was empty! Not an oar, not a
boat-hook--nothing. But jammed in between the tiller and the boat they
found a purple veil. The discovery was announced loudly by one of the
females, but the consequent outcry was instantly hushed by the men,
and the oldest fisherman there took it, and, in a sudden dead and
solemn silence, gave it with a world of subdued meaning to Mr.
MR. FOUNTAIN'S grief was violent; the more so, perhaps, that it was
not pure sorrow, but heated with anger and despair. He had not only
lost the creature he loved better than anyone else except himself, but
all his plans and all his ambition were upset forever. I am sorry to
say there were moments when he felt indignant with Heaven, and accused
its justice. At other times the virtues of her he had lost came to his
recollection, and he wept genuine tears. Now she was dead he asked
himself a question that is sometimes reserved for that occasion, and
then asked with bitter regret and idle remorse at its postponement,
"What can I do to show my love and respect for her?" The poor old
fellow could think of nothing now but to try and recover her body from
the sea, and to record her virtues on her tomb. He employed six men to
watch the coast for her along a space of twelve miles, and he went to
a marble-cutter and ordered a block of beautiful white marble. He drew
up the record of her virtues himself, and spelled her "Fontaine," and
so settled that question by brute force.
Oh, you may giggle, but men are not most sincere when they are most
reasonable, nor most reasonable when most sincere. When a man's heart
is in a thing, it is in it--wise or nonsensical, it is all one; so it
is no use talking.
I lack words to describe the gloom that fell on Mr. Bazalgette's home
when the sad tidings reached it. And, indeed, it would be trifling
with my reader to hang many more pages with black when he and I both
know Lucy Fontaine is alive all the time.
Meantime the French sloop lay at her anchor, and Lucy fretted with
impatience. At noon the next day she sailed, and, being a slow vessel,
did not anchor off the port of ---- till daybreak the day after. Then
she had to wait for the tide, and it was nearly eleven o'clock when
Lucy landed. She went immediately to the principal inn to get a
conveyance. On the road, whom should she meet but Mr. Hardie. He gave
a joyful start at sight of her, and with more heart than she could
have expected welcomed her to life again. From him she learned all the
proofs of her death. This made her more anxious to fly to her aunt's
house at once and undeceive her.
Mr. Hardie would not let her hire a carriage; he would drive her over
in half the time. He beckoned his servant, who was standing at the inn
door, and ordered it immediately. "Meantime, Miss Fountain, if you
will take my arm, I will show you something that I think will amuse
you, though _we_ have found it anything but amusing, as you may
well suppose." Lucy took his arm somewhat timidly, and he walked her
to the marble-cutter's shop. "Look there," said he. Lucy looked and
there was an unfinished slab on which she read these words:
Sacred to the Memory
WHO WAS DROWNED AT SEA ON THE
10TH SEPT., 18--.
As her beauty endeared her to all eyes,
So her modesty, piety, docilit
At this point in her moral virtues the chisel had stopped. Eleven
o'clock struck, and the chisel went for its beer; for your English
workman would leave the d in "God" half finished when strikes the hour
The fact is that the shopkeeper had newly set up, was proud of the
commission, and, whenever the chisel left off, he whipped into the
workshop and brought the slab out, _pro tem.,_ into his window
for an advertisement.
Hardie pointed it out to Lucy with a chuckle. Lucy turned pale, and
put her hand to her heart. Hardie saw his mistake too late, and
Lucy gave a little gasp and stopped him. "Pray say no more; it is my
fault; if people will feign death, they must expect these little
tributes. My uncle has lost no time." And two unreasonable tears
swelled to her eyes and trickled one after another down her cheeks;
then she turned her back quickly on the thing, and Mr. Hardie felt her
arm tremble. "I think, Mr. Hardie," said she presently, with marked
courtesy, "I should, under the circumstances, prefer to go home alone.
My aunt's nerves are sensitive, and I must think of the best way of
breaking to her the news that I am alive."
"It would be best, Miss Fountain; and, to tell the truth, I feel
myself unworthy to accompany you after being so maladroit as to give
you pain in thinking to amuse you."
"Oh, Mr. Hardie," said Lucy, growing more and more courteous, "you are
not to be called to account for my weakness; that _would_ be
unjust. I shall have the pleasure of seeing you at dinner?"
"Certainly, since you permit me."
He put Lucy into the carriage and off she drove. "Come," thought Mr.
Hardie, "I have had an escape; what a stupid blunder for me to make!
She is not angry, though, so it does not matter. She asked me to
Said Lucy to herself: "The man is a fool! Poor Mr. Dodd! _he_
would not have shown me my tombstone--to amuse me." And she dismissed
the subject from her mind.
She sent away the carriage and entered Mr. Bazalgette's house on foot.
After some consideration she determined to employ Jane, a girl of some
tact, to break her existence to her aunt. She glided into the
drawing-room unobserved, fully expecting to find Jane at work there
for Mrs. Bazalgette. But the room was empty. While she hesitated what
to do next, the handle of the door was turned, and she had only just
time to dart behind a heavy window-curtain, when it opened, and Mrs.
Bazalgette. walked slowly and silently in, followed by a woman. Mrs.
Bazalgette seated herself and sighed deeply. Her companion kept a
respectful silence. After a considerable pause, Mrs. Bazalgette said a
few words in a voice so thoroughly subdued and solemn, and every now
and then so stifled, that Lucy's heart yearned for her, and nothing
but the fear of frightening her aunt into a hysterical fit kept her
from flying into her arms.
"I need not tell you," said Mrs. Bazalgette, "why I sent for you. You
know the sad bereavement that has fallen on me, but you cannot know
all I have lost in her. Nobody can tell what she was to all of us, but
most of all to me. I was her darling, and she was mine." Here tears
choked Mrs. Bazalgette's words, for a while. Recovering herself, she
paid a tribute to the character of the deceased. "It was a soul
without one grain of selfishness; all her thoughts were for others,
not one for herself. She loved us all--indeed, she loved some that
were hardly worthy of so pure a creature's love; but the reason was,
she had no eye for the faults of her friends; she pictured them like
herself, and loved her own sweet image in them. _And_ such a
temper! and so free from guile. I may truly say her mind was as lovely
as her person."
"She was, indeed, a sweet young lady," sighed the woman.
"She was an angel, Baldwin--an angel sent to bear us company a little
while, and now she is a saint in Heaven."
"Ah! ma'am, the best goes first, that is an old saying."
"So I have heard; but my niece was as healthy as she was lovely and
good. Everything promised long life. I hoped she would have closed my
eyes. In the bloom of health one day, and the next lying cold, stark,
and drenched!! Oh, how terrible! Oh, my poor Lucy! oh! oh! oh!"
"In the midst of life we are in death, ma'am. I am sure it is a
warning to me, ma'am, as well as to my betters."
"It, is, indeed, Baldwin, a warning to all of us who have lived too
much for vanities, to think of this sweet flower, snatched in a moment
from our bosoms and from the world; we ought to think of it on our
knees, and remember our own latter end. That last skirt you sent me
was rather scrimped, my poor Baldwin."
"Was it, ma'am?"
"Oh, it does not matter; I shall never wear it now; and, under such a
blow as this, I am in no humor to find fault. Indeed, with my grief I
neglect my household and my very children. I forget everything; what
did I send for you for?" and she looked with lack-luster eyes full in
Mrs. Baldwin's face.
"Jane did not say, ma'am, but I am at your orders."
"Oh, of course; I am distracted. It was to pay the last tribute of
respect to her dear memory. Ah! Baldwin, often and often the black
dress is all; but here the heart mourns beyond the power of grief to
express by any outward trappings. No matter; the world, the shallow
world, respects these signs of woe, and let mine be the deepest
mourning ever worn, and the richest. And out of that mourning I shall
never go while I live."
"No, ma'am," said Baldwin soothingly.
"Do you doubt me?" asked the lady, with a touch of sharpness that did
not seemed called for by Baldwin's humble acquiescence.
"Oh, no, ma'am; it is a very natural thought under the present
affliction, and most becoming the sad occasion. Well, ma'am, the
deepest mourning, if you please, I should say cashmere and crape."
"Yes, that would be deep. Oh, Baldwin, it is her violent death that
kills me. Well?"
"Cashmere and crape, ma'am, and with nothing white about the neck and
"Yes; oh yes; but will not that be rather unbecoming?"
"Well, ma'am--" and Baldwin hesitated.
"I hardly see how I _could_ wear that, it makes one look so old.
Now don't you think black _glace_ silk, and trimmed with
love-ribbon, black of course, but scalloped--"
"That would be very rich, indeed, ma'am, and very becoming to you;
but, being so near and dear, it would not be so deep as you are
"Why, Baldwin, you don't attend to what I say; I told you I was never
going out of mourning again, so what is the use of your proposing
anything to me that I can't wear all my life? Now tell me, can I
always wear cashmere and crape?"
"Oh no, ma'am, that is out of the question; and if it is for a
permanency, I don't see how we could improve on _glace_ silk,
with crape, and love-ribbons. Would you like the body trimmed with
"Oh, don't ask me; I don't know. If my darling had only died
comfortably in her bed, then we could have laid out her sweet remains,
and dressed them for her virgin tomb."
"It would have been a satisfaction, ma'am."
"A sad one, at the best; but now the very earth, perhaps, will never
receive her. Oh yes, anything you like--the body trimmed with jet, if
you wish it, and let me see, a gauze bodice, goffered, fastened to the
throat. That is all, I think; the sleeves confined at the wrist just
enough not to expose the arm, and yet look light--you understand."
"She kissed me just before she went on that fatal excursion, Baldwin;
she will never kiss me again--oh! oh! You must call on Dejazet for me,
and bespeak me a bonnet to match; it is not to be supposed I can run
about after her trumpery at such a time; besides, it is not usual."
"Indeed, ma'am, you are in no state for it; I will undertake any
purchases you may require."
"Thank you, my good Baldwin; you are a good, kind, feeling, useful
soul. Oh, Baldwin, if it had pleased Heaven to take her by disease, it
would have been bad enough to lose her; but to be drowned! her clothes
all wetted through and through; her poor hair drenched, too; and then
the water is so cold at this time of year--oh! oh! Send me a cross of
jet, and jet beads, with the dress, and a jet brooch, and a set of jet
buttons, in case--besides--oh! oh! oh!--I expect every moment to see
her carried home, all pale and wetted by the nasty sea--oh! oh!--and
an evening dress of the same--the newest fashion. I leave it to you;
don't ask me any questions about it, for I can't and won't go into
that. I can try it on when it is made--oh! oh! oh!--it does not do to
love any creature as I loved my poor lost Lucy--and a black fan---oh!
oh!--and a dozen pair of black kid gloves--oh!--and a
"Stop, aunt, or your love for me will be your ruin!" said Lucy,
coldly, and stood suddenly before the pair, looking rather cynical.
"What, Lucy! alive! No, her ghost--ah! ah!"
"Be calm, aunt; I am alive and well. Now, don't be childish, dear; I
have been in danger, but here I am."
Mrs. Bazalgette and Mrs. Baldwin flew together, and trembled in one
another's arms. Lucy tried to soothe them, but at last could not help
laughing at them. This brought Baldwin to her senses quicker than
anything; but Mrs. Bazalgette, who, like many false women, was
hysterical, went off into spasms--genuine ones. They gave her
salts--in vain. Slapped her hands--in vain.
Then Lucy cried to Baldwin, "Quick! the tumbler; I must sprinkle her
face and bosom."
"Oh, don't spoil my lilac gown!" gasped the sufferer, and with a
mighty effort she came to. She would have come back from the edge of
the grave to shield silk from water. Finally she wreathed her arms
round Lucy, and kissed her so tenderly, warmly and sobbingly, that
Lucy got over the shock of her shallowness, and they kissed and cried
together most joyously, while Baldwin, after a heroic attempt at
jubilation, retired from the room with a face as long as your arm.
_A bas les revenants!!_ She went to the housekeeper's room. The
housekeeper persuaded her to stay and take a bit of dinner, and soon
after dinner she was sent for to Mrs. Bazalgette's room.
Lucy met her coming out of it. "I fear I came _mal apropos,_ Mrs.
Baldwin; if I had thought of it, I would have waited till you had
secured that munificent order."
"I am much obliged to you, miss, I am sure; but you were always a
considerate young lady. You'll be glad to learn, miss, it makes no
difference; I have got the order; it is all right."
"That is fortunate," replied Lucy, kindly, "otherwise I should have
been tempted to commit an extravagance with you myself. Well, and what
is my aunt's new dress to be now?"
"Oh, the same, miss."
"The same? why, she is not going into mourning on my return? ha! ha!"
"La bless you, miss, mourning? you can't call that
mourning--_glace_ silk and love-ribbons scalloped out, and
cetera. Of course it was not my business to tell her so; but I could
not help thinking to myself, if that is the way my folk are going to
mourn for me, they may just let it alone. However, that is all over
now; and your aunt sent for me, and says she, 'Black becomes
_me;_ you will make the dresses all the same.'" And Baldwin
Lucy put her hand to her bosom. "Make the dresses all the same--all
the same, whether I am alive or dead. No, I will not cry; no, I will
not. Who is worth a tear? what is worth a tear? All the same. It is
not to be forgotten--nor forgiven. Poor Mr. Dodd!!"
Mr. Fountain learned the good news in the town, so his meeting with
Lucy was one of pure joy. Mr. Talboys did not hear anything. He had
business up in London, and did not stay ten minutes in ----.
The house revived, and _jubilabat, jubilabat._ But after the
first burst of triumph things went flat. David Dodd was gone, and was
missed; and Lucy was changed. She looked a shade older, and more than
one shade graver; and, instead of living solely for those who happened
to be basking in her rays, she was now and then comparatively
inattentive, thoughtful, and _distraite._
Mr. Fountain watched her keenly; ditto Mrs. Bazalgette. A slight
reaction had taken place in both their bosoms. "Hang the girl! there
were we breaking our hearts for her, and she was alive." She had
"_beguiled_ them of their tears."--Othello. But they still
loved her quite well enough to take charge of her fate.
A sort of itch for settling other people's destinies, and so gaining a
title to their curses for our pragmatical and fatal interference, is
the commonest of all the forms of sanctioned lunacy.
Moreover, these two had imbibed the spirit of rivalry, and each was
stimulated by the suspicion that the other was secretly at work.
Lucy's voluntary promise in the ballroom was a double sheet-anchor to
Mr. Fountain. It secured him against the only rival he dreaded.
Talboys, too, was out of the way just now, and the absence of the
suitor is favorable to his success, where the lady has no personal
liking for him. To work went our Machiavel again, heart and soul, and
whom do you think he had the cheek, or, as the French say, the
forehead, to try and win over?--Mrs. Bazalgette.
This bold step, however, was not so strange as it would have been a
month ago. The fact is, I have brought you unfairly close to this
pair. When you meet them in the world you will be charmed with both of
them, and recognize neither. There are those whose faults are all on
the surface: these are generally disliked; there are those whose
faults are all at the core: they charm creation. Mrs. Bazalgette is
allowed by both sexes to be the most delightful, amiable woman in the
county, and will carry that reputation to her grave. Fountain is "the
jolliest old buck ever went on two legs." I myself would rather meet
twelve such agreeable humbugs--six of a sex--_at dinner_ than the
twelve apostles, and so would you, though you don't know it. These
two, then, had long ere this found each other mighty agreeable. The
woman saw the man's vanity, and flattered it. The man the woman's, and
flattered it. Neither saw--am I to say?--his own or her own, or what?
Hang language!!! In short, they had long ago oiled one another's
asperities, and their intercourse was smooth and frequent: they were
always chatting together--strewing flowers of speech over their mines
Mr. Fountain, then, who, in virtue of his sex, had the less patience,
"My dear Mrs. Bazalgette, I would not have missed this visit for a
thousand pounds. Certainly there is nothing like contact for rubbing
off prejudices. I little thought, when I first came here, the
principal attraction of the place would prove to be my fair hostess."
"I know you were prejudiced, my dear Mr. Fountain. I can't say I ever
had any against you, but certainly I did not know half your good
qualities. However, your courtesy to me when I invaded you at Font
Abbey prepared me for your real character; and now this visit, I
trust, makes us friends."
"Ah! my dear Mrs. Bazalgette, one thing only is wanting to make you my
benefactor as well as friend--if I could only persuade you to withdraw
your powerful opposition to a poor old fellow's dream."
"What poor old fellow?"
"You? why, you are not so very old. You are not above fifty."
"Ah! fair lady, you must not evade me. Come, can nothing soften you?"
"I don't know what you mean, Mr. Fountain"; and the mellifluous tones
"You are too sagacious not to know everything; you know my heart is
set on marrying my niece to a man of ancient family."
"With all my heart. You have only to use your influence with her. If
she consents, I will not oppose."
"You cruel little lady, you know it is not enough to withdraw
opposition; I can't succeed without your kind aid and support."
"Now, Mr. Fountain, I am a great coward, but, really, I could almost
venture to scold you a little. Is not a poor little woman to be
allowed to set her heart on things as well as a poor old gentleman who
does not look fifty? You know my poor little heart is bent on her
marrying into our own set, yet you can ask me to influence her the
other way--me, who have never once said a word to her for my own
favorites! No; the fairest, kindest, and best way is to leave her to
select her own happiness."
"A fine thing it would be if young people were left to marry who they
like," retorted Fountain. "My dear lady, I would never have asked your
aid so long as there was the least chance of her marrying Mr. Hardie;
but, now that she has of her own accord declined him--"
"What is that? declined Mr. Hardie? when did he ever propose for her?"
"You misunderstand me. She came to me and told me she would never
"When was that? I don't believe it."
"It was in the ball-room."
Mrs. Bazalgette reflected; then she turned very red. "Well, sir," said
she, "don't build too much on that; for four months ago she made me a
solemn promise she would never marry any lover you should find her,
and she repeated that promise in your very house."
"I don't believe it, madam."
"That is polite, sir. Come, Mr. Fountain, you are agitated and cross,
and it is no use being cross either with me or with Lucy. You asked my
co-operation. You gentlemen can ask anything; and you are wise to do
these droll things; that is where you gain the advantage over us poor
cowards of women. Well, I will co-operate with you. Now listen. Lucy's
_penchant_ is neither for Mr. Hardie, nor Mr. Talboys, but for
"You don't mean it?"
"Oh, she does not care _much_ for him; she has refused him to my
knowledge, and would again; besides, he is gone to India, so there is
an end of _him._ She seems a little languid and out of spirits;
it may be because he _is_ gone. Now, then, is the very time to
press a marriage upon her."
"The very worst time, surely, if she is really such an idiot as to be
fretting for a fellow who is away."
Mrs. Bazalgette informed her new ally condescendingly that he knew
nothing of the sex he had undertaken to tackle.
"When a cold-blooded girl like this, who has no strong attachment, is
out of spirits, and all that sort of thing, then is the time she falls
to any resolute wooer. She will yield if we both insist, and we
_will_ insist. Only keep your temper, and let nothing tempt you
to say an unkind word to her."
She then rang the bell, and desired that Miss Fountain might be
requested to come into the drawing-room for a minute.
"But what are you going to do?"
"Give her the choice of two husbands--Mr. Talboys or Mr. Hardie."
"She will take neither, I am afraid."
"Oh, yes, she will."
"Ah! the one she dislikes the least."
"By Jove, you are right--you are an angel." And the old gentleman in
his gratitude to her who was outwitting him, and vice versa,
kissed Mrs. Bazalgette's hand with great devotion, in which act he was
surprised by Lucy, who floated through the folding-doors. She said
nothing, but her face volumes.
"Sit down, love."
She sat down, and her eye mildly bored both relatives, like, if you
can imagine a gentle gimlet, worked by insinuation, not force.
Then the favored Fountain enjoyed the inestimable privilege of
beholding a small bout of female fence.
The accomplished actress of forty began.
The novice held herself apparently all open with a sweet smile, the
eye being the only weapon that showed point.
"My love, your uncle and I, who were not always just to one another,
have been united by our love for you."
"So I observed as I came in--ahem!"
"Henceforth we are one where your welfare is concerned, and we have
something serious to say to you now. There is a report, dearest,
creeping about that you have formed an unfortunate attachment--to a
person beneath you."
"Who told you that, aunt? Name, as they say in the House."
"No matter; these things are commonly said without foundation in this
wicked world; but, still, it is always worth our while to prove them
false, not, of course, directly--_'qui s'excuse s'accuse'_--but
"I agree with you, and I shall do so in my uncle's presence. You were
present, aunt--though uninvited--when the gentleman you allude to
offered me what I consider a great honor, and you heard me decline it;
you are therefore fully able to contradict that report, whose source,
by the by, you have not given me, and of course you will contradict
Mrs. Bazalgette colored a little. But she said affectionately: "These
silly rumors are best contradicted by a good marriage, love, and that
brings me to something more important. We have two proposals for you,
and both of them excellent ones. Now, in a matter where your happiness
is at stake, your uncle and I are determined not to let our private
partialities speak. We do press you to select one of these offers, but
leave you quite free as to which you take. Mr. Talboys is a gentleman
of old family and large estates. Mr. Hardie is a wealthy, and able,
and rising man. They are both attached to you; both excellent matches.
"Whichever you choose your uncle and I shall both feel that an
excellent position for life is yours, and no regret that you did not
choose our especial favorite shall stain our joy or our love." With
this generous sentiment tears welled from her eyes, whereat Fountain
worshiped her and felt his littleness.
But Lucy was of her own sex, and had observed what an unlimited
command of eye-water an hysterical female possesses. She merely bowed
her head graciously, and smiled politely. Thus encouraged to proceed,
her aunt dried her eyes with a smile, and with genial cheerfulness
proceeded: "Well, then, dear, which shall it be--Mr. Talboys?"
Lucy opened her eyes _so_ innocently. "My dear aunt, I wonder at
that question from you. Did you not make me promise you I would never
marry that gentleman, nor any friend of my uncle's?"
"And did you?" cried Fountain.
"I did," replied the penitent, hanging her head. "My aunt was so kind
to me about something or other, I forget what."
Fountain bounced up and paced the room.
Mrs. Bazalgette lowered her voice: "It is to be Mr. Hardie, then?"
"Mr. Hardie!!!" cried Lucy, rather loudly, to attract her uncle's
"Oh, no, the same objection applies there; I made my uncle a solemn
promise not to marry any friend of yours, aunt. Poor uncle! I refused
at first, but he looked so unhappy my resolution failed, and I gave my
promise. I will keep it, uncle. Don't fear me."
It caused Mrs. Bazalgette a fierce struggle to command her temper.
Both she and Fountain were dumb for a minute; then elastic Mrs.
"We were both to blame; you and I did not really know each other. The
best thing we can do now is to release the poor girl from these silly
promises, that stand in the way of her settlement in life."
"I agree, madam."
"So do I. There, Lucy, choose, for we both release you."
"Thank you," said Lucy gravely; "but how can you? No unfair advantage
was taken of me; I plighted my word knowingly and solemnly, and no
human power can release persons of honor from a solemn pledge.
Besides, just now you would release me; but you might not always be in
the same mind. No, I will keep faith with you both, and not place my
truth at the mercy of any human being nor of any circumstance. If that
is all, please permit me to retire. The less a young lady of my age
thinks or talks about the other sex, the more time she has for her
books and her needle;" and, having delivered this precious sentence,
with a deliberate and most deceiving imitation of the pedantic prude,
she departed, and outside the door broke instantly into a joyous
chuckle at the expense of the plotters she had left looking moonstruck
in one another's faces. If the new allies had been both Fountain, the
apple of discord this sweet novice threw down between them would have
dissolved the alliance, as the sly novice meant it to do; but, while
the gentleman went storming about the room ripe for civil war, the
lady leaned back in her chair and laughed heartily.
"Come, Mr. Fountain, it is no use your being cross with a female, or
she will get the better of you. She has outwitted us. We took her for
a fool, and she is a clever girl. I'll--tell--you--what, she is a very
clever girl. Never mind that, she is only a girl; and, if you will be
ruled by me, her happiness shall be secured in spite of her, and she
shall be engaged in less than a week."
Fountain recognized his superior, and put himself under the lady's
orders--in an evil hour for Lucy.
The poor girl's triumph over the forces was but momentary; her ground
was not tenable. The person promised can release the person who
promises--_volenti non fit injuria._ Lucy found herself attacked
with female weapons, that you and I, sir, should laugh at; but they
made her miserable. Cold looks; short answers; solemnity; distance;
hints at ingratitude and perverseness; kisses intermitted all day, and
the parting one at night degraded to a dignified ceremony. Under this
impalpable persecution the young thoroughbred, that had steered the
boat across the breakers, winced and pined.
She did not want a husband or a lover, but she could not live without
being loved. She was not sent into the world for that. She began
secretly to hate the two gentlemen that had lost her her relations'
affection, and she looked round to see how she could get rid of them
without giving fresh offense to her dear aunt and uncle. If she could
only make it their own act! Now a man in such a case inclines to give
the obnoxious parties a chance of showing themselves generous and
delicate; he would reveal the whole situation to them, and indicate
the generous and manly course; but your thorough woman cannot do this.
It is physically as well as morally impossible to her. Misogynists say
it is too wise, and not cunning enough. So what does Miss Lucy do but
turn round and make love to Captain Kenealy? And the cold virgin being
at last by irrevocable fate driven to love-making, I will say this for
her, she did not do it by halves. She felt quite safe here. The
good-natured, hollow captain was fortified against passion by
self-admiration. She said to herself: "Now here is a peg with a
military suit hanging to it; if I can only fix my eyes on this piece
of wood and regimentals, and make warm love to it, the love that poets
have dreamed and romances described, I may surely hope to disgust my
two admirers, and then they will abandon me and despise me. Ah! I
could love them if they would only do that."
Well, for a young lady that had never, to her knowledge, felt the
tender passion, the imitation thereof which she now favored that
little society with was a wonderful piece of representation. Was
Kenealy absent, behold Lucy uneasy and restless; was he present; but
at a distance, her eye demurely devoured him; was he near her, she
wooed him with such a god-like mixture of fire, of tenderness, of
flattery, of tact; she did so serpentinely approach and coil round the
soldier and his mental cavity, that all the males in creation should
have been permitted to defile past (like the beasts going into the
ark), and view this sweet picture a moment, and infer how women would
be wooed, and then go and do it. Effect:
Talboys and Hardie mortified to the heart's core; thought they had
altogether mistaken her character. "She is a love-sick fool."
On Bazalgette: "Ass! Dodd was worth a hundred of him."
On Kenealy: made him twirl his mustache.
On Fountain: filled him with dismay. There remained only one to be
A letter is brought in and handed to Captain Kenealy. He reads it, and
looks a little--a very little--vexed. Nobody else notices it.
Lucy. "What is the matter? Oh, what has occurred?"
Kenealy. "Nothing particulaa."
Lucy. "Don't deceive us: it is an order for you to join the
horrid army." (Clasps her hands.) "You are going to leave us."
Kenealy. "No, it is from my tailaa. He waunts to be paed."
Lucy. "Pay the creature, and nevermore employ him."
Kenealy. "Can't. Haven't got the money. Uncle won't daie. The
begaa knows I can't pay him, that is the reason why he duns."
Lucy. "He knows it? then what business has he to annoy you
thus? Take my advice. Return no reply. That is not courteous. But when
the sole motive of an application is impertinence, silent contempt is
the course best befitting your dignity."
Kenealy (twirling his mustache). "Dem the fellaa. Shan't take
any notice of him."
Mrs. Bazalgette (to Lucy in passing). "Do you think we are all
_Ibi omnis effusus amor;_ for La Bazalgette undeceived her ally
and Mr. Hardie, and the screw was put harder still on poor Lucy. She
was no longer treated like an equal, but made for the first time to
feel that her uncle and aunt were her elders and superiors, and, that
she was in revolt. All external signs of affection were withdrawn, and
this was like docking a strawberry of its water. A young girl may have
flashes of spirit, heroism even, but her mind is never steel from top
to toe; it is sure to be wax in more places than one.
"Nobody loves me now that poor Mr. Dodd is gone," sighed Lucy. "Nobody
ever will love me unless I consent to sacrifice myself. Well, why not?
I shall never love any gentleman as others of my sex can love. I will
go and see Mrs. Wilson."
So she ordered out her captain, and rode to Mrs. Wilson, and made her
captain hold her pony while she went in. Mrs. Wilson received her with
a tenor scream of delight that revived Lucy's heart to hear, and then
it was nothing but one broad gush of hilarity and cordiality--showed
her the house, showed her the cows, showed her the parlor at last, and
made her sit down.
"Come, set ye down, set ye down, and let me have a downright good look
at ye. It is not often I clap eyes on ye, or on anything like ye, for
that matter. Aren't ye well, my dear?"
"Are ye sure? Haven't ye ailed anything since I saw ye up at the
"No, dear nurse."
"Then you are in care. Bless you, it is not the same face--to a
stranger, belike, but not to the one that suckled you. Why, there is
next door to a wrinkle on your pretty brow, and a little hollow under
your eye, and your face is drawn like, and not half the color. You are
in trouble or grief of some sort, Miss Lucy; and--who knows?--mayhap
you be come to tell it your poor old nurse. You might go to a worse
part. Ay! what touches you will touch me, my nursling dear, all one as
if it was your own mother."
"Ah! _you_ love me," cried Lucy; "I don't know why you love me
so; I have not deserved it of you, as I have of others that look
coldly on me. Yes, you love me, or you would not read my face like
this. It is true, I am a little--Oh, nurse, I am unhappy;" and in a
moment she was weeping and sobbing in Mrs. Wilson's arms.
The Amazon sat down with her, and rocked to and fro with her as if she
was still a child. "Don't check it, my lamb," said she; "have a good
cry; never drive a cry back on your heart"; and so Lucy sobbed and
sobbed, and Mrs. Wilson rocked her.
When she had done sobbing she put up a grateful face and kissed Mrs.
Wilson. But the good woman would not let her go. She still rocked with
her, and said, "Ay, ay, it wasn't for nothing I was drawed so to go to
your house that day. I didn't know you were there; but I was drawed. I
WAS WANTED. Tell me all, my lamb; never keep grief on your heart; give
it a vent; put a part on't on me; I do claim it; you will see how much
lighter your heart will feel. Is it a young man?"
"Oh no, no; I hate young men; I wish there were no such things. But for
them no dissension could ever have entered the house. My uncle and
aunt both loved me once, and oh! they were so kind to me. Yes; since
you permit me, I will tell you all."
And she told her a part.
She told her the whole Talboys and Hardie part.
Mrs. Wilson took a broad and somewhat vulgar view of the distress.
"Why, Miss Lucy," said she, "if that is all, you can soon sew up their
stockings. You don't depend on _them,_ anyways: you are a young
lady of property."
"Oh, am I?"
"Sure. I have heard your dear mother say often as all her money was
settled on you by deed. Why, you must be of age, Miss Lucy, or near
"The day after to-morrow, nurse."
"There now! I knew your birthday could not be far off. Well, then, you
must wait till you are of age, and then, if they torment you or put on
you, 'Good-morning,' says you; 'if we can't agree together, let's
agree to part,' says you."
"What! leave my relations!!"
"It is their own fault. Good friends before bad kindred! They only
want to make a handle of you to get 'em rich son-in-laws. You pluck up
a sperrit, Miss Lucy. There's no getting through the world without a
bit of a sperrit. You'll get put upon at every turn else; and if they
don't vally you in that house, why, off to another; y'ain't chained to
their door, I do suppose."
"But, nurse, a young lady cannot live by herself: there is no instance
"All wisdom had a beginning. 'Oh, shan't I spoil the pudding once I
cut it?' quoth Jack's wife."
"What would people say?"
"What could they say? You come to me, which I am all the mother you
have got left upon earth, and what scandal could they make out of
that, I should like to know? Let them try it. But don't let me catch
it atween their lips, or down they do go on the bare ground, and their
caps in pieces to the winds of heaven;" and she flourished her hand
and a massive arm with a gesture free, inspired, and formidable.
"Ah! nurse, with you I should indeed feel safe from every ill. But,
for all that, I shall never go beyond the usages of society. I shall
never leave my aunt's house."
"I don't say as you will. But I shall get your room ready this
afternoon, and no later."
"No, nurse, you must not do that."
"Tell'ee I shall. Then, whether you come or not, there 'tis. And when
they put on you, you have no call to fret. Says you, 'There's my room
awaiting, and likewise my welcome, too, at Dame Wilson's; I don't need
to stand no more nonsense here than I do choose,' says you. Dear
heart! even a little foolish, simple thought like that will help keep
your sperrit up. You'll see else--you'll see."
"Oh, nurse, how wise you are! You know human nature."
"Well, I am older than you, miss, a precious sight; and if I hadn't
got one eye open at this time of day, why, when should I, you know?"
After this, a little home-made wine forcibly administered, and then
much kissing, and Lucy rode away revivified and cheered, and quite
another girl. Her spirits rose so that she proposed to Kenealy to
extend their ride by crossing the country to ----. She wanted to buy
"Yaas," said the assenter; and off they cantered.
In the glove-shop who should Lucy find but Eve Dodd. She held out her
hand, but Eve affected not to observe, and bowed distantly. Lucy would
not take the hint. After a pause she said:
"Have you any news of Mr. Dodd?"
"I have," was the stiff reply.
"He left us without even saying good-by."
"Yes, after saving all our lives. Need I say that we are anxious, in
our turn, to hear of his safety? It was still very tempestuous when he
left us to catch the great ship, and he was in an open boat."
"My brother is alive, Miss Fountain, if that is what you wish to
"Alive? is he not well? has he met with any accident? any misfortune?
is he in the East Indiaman? has he written to you?"
"You are very curious: it is rather late in the day; but, if I am to
speak about my brother, it must be at home, and not in an open shop. I
can't trust my feelings."
"Are you going home, Miss Dodd?"
"Shall I come with you?"
"If you like: it is close by."
Lucy's heart quaked. Eve was so stern, and her eyes like basilisks'.
"Sit down, Miss Fountain, and I will tell you what you have done for
my brother. I did not court this, you know; I would have avoided your
eye if I could; it is your doing."
"Yes, Miss Dodd," faltered Lucy, "and I should do it again. I have a
right to inquire after his welfare who saved my life."
"Well, then, Miss Fountain, his saving your life has lost him his ship
and ruined him for life."
"He came in sight of the ship; but the captain, that was jealous of
him like all the rest, made all sail and ran from him: he chased her,
and often was near catching her, but she got clear out of the Channel,
and my poor David had to come back disgraced, ruined for life, and
broken-hearted. The Company will never forgive him for deserting his
ship. His career is blighted, and all for one that never cared a straw
for him. Oh, Miss Fountain, it was an evil day for my poor brother
when first he saw your face!" Eve would have said more, for her heart
was burning with wrath and bitterness, but she was interrupted.
Lucy raised both her hands to Heaven, and then, bowing her head, wept
tenderly and humbly.
A woman's tears do not always affect another woman; but one reason is,
they are very often no sign of grief or of any worthy feeling. The
sex, accustomed to read the nicer shades of emotion, distinguishes
tears of pique, tears of disappointment, tears of spite, tears
various, from tears of grief. But Lucy's was a burst of regret so
sincere, of sorrow and pity so tender and innocent that it fell on
Eve's hot heart like the dew.
"Ah! well," she cried, "it was to be, it was to be; and I suppose I
oughtn't to blame you. But all he does for you tells against himself,
and that does seem hard. It isn't as if he and you were anything to
one another; then I shouldn't grudge it so much. He has lost his
character as a seaman."
"He valued it a deal more than his life. He was always ready to throw
THAT away for you or anybody else. He has lost his standing in the
"You see he has no interest, like some of them; he only got on by
being better and cleverer than all the rest; so the Company won't
listen to any excuses from him, and, indeed, he is too proud to make
"He will never be captain of a ship now?"
"Captain of a ship! Will he ever leave the bed of sickness he lies
"The bed of sickness! Is he ill? Oh, what have I done?"
"Is he ill? What! do you think my brother is made of iron? Out all
night with you--then off, with scarce a wink of sleep; then two days
and two nights chasing the _Combermere,_ sometimes gaining,
sometimes losing, and his credit and his good name hanging on it; then
to beat back against wind, heartbroken, and no food on board--"
"Oh, it is too horrible."
"He staggered into me, white as a ghost. I got him to bed: he was in a
burning fever. In the night he was lightheaded, and all his talk was
about you. He kept fretting lest you should not have got safe home. It
is always so. We care the most for those that care the least for us."
"Is he in the Indiaman?"
"No, Miss Fountain, he is not in the Indiaman," cried Eve, her wrath
suddenly rising again; "he lies there, Miss Fountain, in that room, at
death's door, and you to thank for it."
At this stab Lucy uttered a cry like a wounded deer. But this cry was
followed immediately by one of terror: the door opened suddenly, and
there stood David Dodd, looking as white as his sister had said, but,
as usual, not in the humor to succumb. "Me at death's port, did you
say?" cried he, in a loud tone of cheerful defiance; "tell that to the
"I HEARD your voice, Miss Lucy; I would know it among a million; so I
rigged myself directly. Why, what is the matter?"
"Oh, Mr. Dodd," sobbed Lucy, "she has told me all you have gone
through, and I am the wicked, wicked cause!"
David groaned. "If I didn't think as much. I heard the mill going. Ah!
Eve, my girl, your jawing-tackle is too well hung. Eve is a good
sister to me, Miss Lucy, and, where I am concerned, let her alone for
making a mountain out of a mole-hill. If you believe all she says, you
are to blame. The thing that went to my heart was to see my skipper
run out his stunsel booms the moment he saw me overhauling him; it was
a dirty action, and him an old shipmate. I am glad now I couldn't
catch her, for if I had my foot would not have been on the deck two
seconds before his carcass would have been in the Channel. And pray,
Eve, what has Miss Fountain got to do with that? the dirty lubber
wasn't bred at her school, or he would not have served an old messmate
"Belay all that, and let's hear something worth hearing. Now, Miss
Lucy, you tell me--oh, Lord, Eve, I say, isn't the thundering old
dingy room bright now?--you spin me your own yarn, if you will be so
good. Here you are, safe and sound, the Lord be praised! But I left
you under the lee of that thundering island: wasn't very polite, was
it? but you will excuse, won't you? Duty, you know--a seaman must
leave his pleasure for his duty. Tell me, now, how did you come on?
Was the vessel comfortable? You would not sail till the wind fell? Had
you a good voyage? A tiresome one, I am afraid: the sloop wasn't built
for fast sailing. When did you land?"
To this fire of eager questions Lucy was in no state to answer. "Oh,
no, Mr. Dodd," she cried, "I can't. I am choking. Yes, Miss Dodd, I am
the heartless, unfeeling girl you think me." Then, with a sudden dart,
she took David's hand and kissed it, and, both her hands hiding her
blushing face, she fled, and a single sob she let fall at the door was
the last of her. So sudden was her exit, it left both brother and
"Eve, she is offended," said David, with dismay.
"What if she is?" retorted Eve; "no, she is not offended; but I have
made her feel at last, and a good job, too. Why should she escape? she
has done all the mischief. Come, you go to bed."
"Not I; I have been long enough on my beam-ends. And I have heard her
voice, and have seen her face, and they have put life into me. I shall
cruise about the port. I have gone to leeward of John Company's favor,
but there are plenty of coasting-vessels; I may get the command of
one. I'll try; a seaman never strikes his flag while there's a shot in
"Here, put me up, Captain Kenealy! Oh, do pray make haste! don't
dawdle so!" Off cantered Lucy, and fanned her pony along without
mercy. At the door of the house she jumped off without assistance, and
ran to Mr. Bazalgette's study, and knocked hastily, and that gentleman
was not a little surprised when this unusual visitor came to his side
with some signs of awe at having penetrated his sanctum, but evidently
driven by an overpowering excitement. "Oh, Uncle Bazalgette! Oh, Uncle
"Why, what is the matter? Why, the child is ill. Don't gasp like that,
Lucy. Come, pluck up courage; I am sure to be on your side, you know.
What is it?"
"Uncle, you are always so kind to me; you know you are."
"Oh, am I? Noble old fellow!"
"Oh, don't make me laugh! ha! ha! oh! oh! oh! ha! oh!"
"Confound it, I have sent her into hysterics; no, she is coming round.
Ten thousand million devils, has anybody been insulting the child in
my house? They have. My wife, for a guinea."
"No, no, no. It is about Mr. Dodd."
"Mr. Dodd? oho!"
"I have ruined him."
"How have you managed that, my dear?"
Then Lucy, all in a flutter, told Mr. Bazalgette what the reader has
He looked grave. "Lucy," said he, "be frank with me. Is not Mr. Dodd
in love with you?"
"I _will_ be frank with _you,_ dear uncle, because you are
frank. Poor Mr. Dodd did love me once; but I refused him, and so his
good sense and manliness cured him directly."
"So, now that he no longer loves you, you love him; that is so like
"Oh, no, uncle; how ridiculous! If I loved Mr. Dodd, I could repair
the cruel injuries I have done him with a single word. I have only to
recall my refusal, and he-- But I do not love Mr. Dodd. Esteem him I
do, and he has saved my life; and is he to lose his health, and his
character, and his means of honorable ambition for that? Do you not
see how shocking this is, and how galling to my pride? Yes, uncle, I
_have_ been insulted. His sister told me to my face it was an
evil day for him when he and I first met--that was at Uncle
"Well, and what am I to do, Lucy?"
"Dear Uncle, what I thought was, if you would be so kind as to use
your influence with the Company in his favor. Tell them that if he did
miss his ship it was not by a fault, but by a noble virtue; tell them
that it was to save a fellow creature's life--a young lady's life--one
that did not deserve it from him, your own niece's; tell them it is
not for your honor he should be disgraced. Oh, uncle, you know what to
say so much better than I do."
Bazalgette grinned, and straightway resolved to perpetrate a practical
joke, and a very innocent one. "Well," said he, "the best way I can
think of to meet your views will be, I think, to get him appointed to
the new ship the Company is building."
Lucy opened her eyes, and the blood rushed to her cheek. "Oh uncle, do
I hear right? a ship? Are you so powerful? are you so kind? do you
love your poor niece so well as all this? Oh, Uncle Bazalgette!"
"There is no end to my power," said the old man, solemnly; "no limit
to my goodness, no bounds to my love for my poor niece. Are you in a
hurry, my poor niece? Shall we have his commission down to-morrow, or
wait a month?"
"To-morrow? is it possible? Oh, yes! I count the minutes till I say to
his sister, 'There, Miss Dodd, I have friends who value me too highly
to let me lie under these galling obligations.' Dear, dear uncle, I
don't mind being under them to you, because I love you" (kisses).
"And not Mr. Dodd?"
"No, dear; and that is the reason I would rather give him a ship
than--the only other thing that would make him happy. And really, but
for your goodness, I should have been tempted to--ha! ha! Oh, I am so
happy now. No; much as I admire my preserver's courage and delicacy
and unselfishness and goodness, I don't love him; so, but for this, he
MUST have been unhappy for life, and then I should have been miserable
"Perfectly clear and satisfactory, my dear. Now, if the commission is
to be down to-morrow, you must not stay here, because I have other
letters to write, to go by the same courier that takes my application
for the ship."
"And do you really think I will go till I have kissed you, Uncle
"On a subject so important, I hardly venture to give an opin--hallo!
kissing, indeed? Why, it is like a young wolf flying at horseflesh."
"Then that will teach you not to be kinder to me than anybody else
Lucy ran out radiant and into the garden. Here she encountered
Kenealy, and, coming on him with a blaze of beauty and triumph, fired
a resolution that had smoldered in him a day or two.
He twirled his mustache and--popped briefly.
AFTER the first start of rueful astonishment, the indignation of the
just fired Lucy's eyes.
She scolded him well. "Was this his return for all her late kindness?"
She hinted broadly at the viper of Aesop, and indicated more faintly
an animal that, when one bestows the choicest favors on it, turns and
rends one. Then, becoming suddenly just to the brute creation, she
said: "No, it is only your abominable sex that would behave so
perversely, so ungratefully."
"Don't understand," drawled Kenealy, "I thought you would laike it."
"Well, you see, I don't laike it."
"You seemed to be getting rather spooney on me."
"Spooney! what is that? one of your mess-room terms, I suppose."
"Yaas; so I thought you waunted me to pawp."
"Captain Kenealy, this subterfuge is unworthy of you. You know
perfectly well why I distinguished you. Others pestered me with their
attachments and nonsense, and you spared me that annoyance. In return,
I did all in my power to show you the grateful friendship I thought
you worthy of. But you have broken faith; you have violated the clear,
though tacit understanding that subsisted between us, and I am very
angry with you. I have some little influence left with my aunt, sir,
and, unless I am much mistaken, you will shortly rejoin the army,
"What a boa! what a dem'd boa!"
"And don't swear; that is another foolish custom you gentlemen have;
it is almost as foolish as the other. Yes, I'll tell my aunt of you,
and then you will see."
"What a boa! How horrid spaiteful you are."
"Well, I am rather vindictive. But my aunt is ten times worse, as her
deserter shall find, unless--"
"Unless you beg my pardon directly." And at this part of the
conversation Lucy was fain to turn her head away, for she found it
getting difficult to maintain that severe countenance which she
thought necessary to clothe her words with terror, and subjugate the
"Well, then, I apolojaize," said Kenealy.
"And I accept your apology; and don't do it again."
"I won't, 'pon honaa. Look heah; I swear I didn't mean to affront yah;
I don't waunt yah to mayrry me; I only proposed out of civility."
"Come, then, it was not so black as it appeared. Courtesy is a good
thing; and if you thought that, after staying a month in a house, you
were bound by etiquette to propose to the marriageable part of it, it
is pardonable, only don't do it again, _please."_
"I'll take caa--I'll take caa. I say your tempaa is not--quite--what
those other fools think it is--no, by Jove;" and the captain glared.
"Nonsense: I am only a little fiendish on this one point. Well, then,
steer clear of it, and you will find me a good crechaa on every
Kenealy vowed he would profit by the advice.
"Then there is my hand: we are friends again."
"You won't tell your aunt, nor the other fellaas?"
"Captain Kenealy, I am not one of your garrison ladies; I am a young
person who has been educated; your extra civility will never be known
to a soul: and you shall not join the army but as a volunteer."
"Then, dem me, Miss Fountain, if I wouldn't be cut in pieces to
oblaige you. Just you tray me, and you'll faind, if I am not very
braight, I am a man of honah. If those ether begaas annoy you, jaast
tell me, and I'll parade 'em at twelve paces, dem me."
"I must try and find some less insane vent for your friendly feelings;
and what can I do for you?"
"Yah couldn't go on pretending to be spooney on me, could yah?"
"Oh, no, no. What for?"
"I laike it; makes the other begaas misable."
"What worthy sentiments! it is a sin to balk them. I am sure there is
no reason why I should not appear to adore you in public, so long as
you let me keep my distance in private; but persons of my sex cannot
do just what they would like. We have feelings that pull us this way
and that, and, after all this, I am afraid I shall never have the
courage to play those pranks with you again; and that is a pity, since
it amused you, and teased those that tease me."
In short, the house now contained two "holy alliances" instead of one.
Unfortunately for Lucy, the hostile one was by far the stronger of the
two; and even now it was preparing a terrible coup.
This evening the storm that was preparing blew good to one of a
depressed class, which cannot fail to gratify the just.
Mrs. Bazalgette. "Jane, come to my room a minute; I have
something for you. Here is a cashmere gown and cloak; the cloak I
want; I can wear it with anything; but you may have the gown."
"Oh, thank you, mum; it is beautiful, and a'most as good as new. I am
sure, mum, I am very much obliged to you for your kindness."
"No, no, you are a good girl, and a sensible girl. By the by, you
might give me your opinion upon something. Does Miss Lucy prefer any
one of our guests? You understand me."
"Well, mum, it is hard to say. Miss Lucy is as reserved as ever."
"Oh, I thought she might--ahem!"
"No, mum, I do assure you, not a word."
"Well, but you are a shrewd girl; tell me what you think: now, for
instance, suppose she was compelled to choose between, say Mr. Hardie
and Mr. Talboys, which would it be?"
"Well, mum, if you ask my opinion, I don't think Miss Lucy is the one
to marry a fool; and by all accounts, there's a deal more in Mr.
Hardies's head than what there isn't in Mr. Talboysese's."
"You are a clever girl. You shall have the cloak as well, and, if my
niece marries, you shall remain in her service all the same."
"Thank you kindly, mum. I don't desire no better mistress, married or
single; and Mr. Hardies is much respected in the town, and heaps o'
money; so miss and me we couldn't do no better, neither of us. Your
servant, mum, and thanks you for your bounty"; and Jane courtesied
twice and went off with the spoils.
In the corridor she met old Fountain. "Stop, Jane," said he, "I want
to speak to you."
"At your service, sir."
"In the first place, I want to give you something to buy a new gown";
and he took out a couple of sovereigns. "Where am I to put them? in
"Put them under the cloak, sir," murmured Jane, tenderly. She loved
He put his hand under the heap of cashmere, and a quick little claw
hit the coins and closed on them by almighty instinct.
"Now I want to ask your opinion. Is my niece in love with anyone?"
"Well, Mr. Fountains, if she is she don't show it."
"But doesn't she like one man better than another?"
"You may take your oath of that, if we could but get to her mind."
"Which does she like best, this Hardie or Mr. Talboys? Come, tell me,
"Well, sir, you know Mr. Talboys is an old acquaintance, and like
brother and sister at Font Abbey. I do suppose she have been a scare
of times alone with him for one, with Mr. Hardie's. That she should
take up with a stranger and jilt an old acquaintance, now is it
"Why, of course not. It was a foolish question; you are a young woman
of sense. Here's a 5 pound note for you. You must not tell I spoke to
"Now is it likely, sir? My character would be broken forever."
"And you shall be with my niece when she is Mrs. Talboys."
"I might do worse, sir, and so might she. He is respected far and
wide, and a grand house, and a carriage and four, and everything to
make a lady comfortable. Your servant, sir, and wishes you many
"And such as Jane was, all true servants are."
The ancients used to bribe the Oracle of Delphi. Curious.
Lucy's twenty-first birthday dawned, but it was not to her the gay
exulting day it is to some. Last night her uncle and aunt had gone a
step further, and, instead of kissing her ceremoniously, had evaded
her. They were drawing matters to a climax: once of age, each day
would make her more independent in spirit as in circumstances. This
morning she hoped custom would shield her from unkindness for one day
at least. But no, they made it clear there was but one way back to
their smiles. Their congratulations at the breakfast-table were cold
and constrained; her heart fell; and long before noon on her birthday
she was crying. Thus weakened, she had to encounter a thoroughly
prepared attack. Mr. Bazalgette summoned her to his study at one
o'clock, and there she found him and Mrs. Bazalgette and Mr. Fountain
seated solemnly in conclave. The merchant was adding up figures.
"Come, now, business," said he. "Dick has added them up: his figures
are in that envelope; break the seal and open it, Lucy. If his total
corresponds with mine, we are right; if not, I am wrong, and you will
all have to go over it with me till we are right." A general groan
followed this announcement. Luckily, the sum totals corresponded to a
Then Mr. Bazalgette made Lucy a little speech.
"My dear, in laying down that office which your amiable nature has
rendered so agreeable, I feel a natural regret on your account that
the property my colleague there and I have had to deal with on your
account has not been more important. However, as far as it goes, we
have been fortunate. Consols have risen amazingly since we took you
off land and funded you. The rise in value of your little capital
since your mother's death is calculated on this card. You have, also,
some loose cash, which I will hand over to you immediately. Let me
see--eleven hundred and sixty pounds and five shillings. Write your
name in full on that paper, Lucy."
He touched a bell; a servant came. He wrote a line and folded it,
inclosing Lucy's signature.
"Let this go to Mr. Hardie's bank immediately. Hardie will give you
three per cent for your money. Better than nothing. You must have a
check-book. He sent me a new one yesterday. Here it is; you shall have
it. I wonder whether you know how to draw a check?"
"Look here, then. You note the particulars first on this counter-foil,
which thus serves in some degree for an account-book. In drawing the
check, place the sum in letters close to these printed words, and the
sum in figures close to the pound. For want of this precaution, the
holder of the check has been known to turn a 10 pound check into 110
"Oh how wicked!"
"Mind what you say. Dexterity is the only virtue left in England; so
we must be on our guard, especially in what we write with our name
"I must say, Mr. Bazalgette, you are unwise to put such a sum of money
into a young girl's hands."
"The young girl has been a woman an hour and ten minutes, and come
into her property, movables, and cash aforesaid."
"If you were her real friend, you would take care of her money for her
till she marries."
"The eighth commandment, my dear, the eighth commandment, and other
primitive axioms: _suum cuique,_ and such odd sayings: 'Him as
keeps what isn't hisn, soon or late shall go to prison,' with similar
apothegms. Total: let us keep the British merchant and the Newgate
thief as distinct as the times permit. Fountain and Bazalgette,
account squared, books closed, and I'm off!"
"Oh, uncle, pray stay!" said Lucy. "When you are by me, Rectitude and
Sense seem present in person, and I can lean on them."
"Lean on yourself; the law has cut your leading-strings. Why patch
'em? It has made you a woman from a baby. Rise to your new rank.
Rectitude and Sense are just as much wanted in the town of ----, where
I am due, as they are in this house. Besides, Sense has spoken
uninterrupted for ten minutes; prodigious! so now it is Nonsense's
turn for the next ten hours." He made for the door; then suddenly
returning, said: "I will leave a grain of sense, etc., behind me. What
is marriage? Do you give it up? Marriage is a contract. Who are the
parties? the papas and mammas, uncles and aunts? By George, you would
think so to hear them talk. No, the contract is between two parties,
and these two only. It is a printed contract. Anybody can read it
gratis. None but idiots sign a contract without reading it; none but
knaves sign a contract which, having read, they find they cannot
execute. Matrimony is a mercantile affair; very well, then, import
into it sound mercantile morality. Go to market; sell well; but, d--n
it all, deliver the merchandise as per sample, viz., a woman warranted
to love, honor and obey the purchaser. If you swindle the other
contracting party in the essentials of the contract, don't complain
when you are unhappy. Are shufflers entitled to happiness? and what
are those who shuffle and prevaricate in a church any better than
those who shuffle and prevaricate in a counting-house?" and the brute
"My husband is a worthy man," said Mrs. Bazalgette, languidly, "but
now and then he makes me blush for him."
"Our good friend is a humorist," replied Fountain, good-humoredly,
"and dearly loves a paradox"; and they pooh-poohed him without a
particle of malice.
Then Mrs. Bazalgette turned to Lucy, and hoped that she did her the
justice to believe she had none but affectionate motives in wishing to
see her speedily established.
"Oh no, aunt," said Lucy. "Why should you wish to part with me? I give
you but little trouble in your great house."
"Trouble, child? you know you are a comfort to have in any house."
This pleased Lucy; it was the first gracious word for a long time.
Having thus softened her, Mrs. Bazalgette proceeded to attack her by
all the weaknesses of her sex and age, and for a good hour pressed her
so hard that the tears often gushed from Lucy's eyes over her red
cheeks. The girl was worn by the length of the struggle and the
pertinacity of the assault. She was as determined as ever to do
nothing, but she had no longer the power to resist in words. Seeing
her reduced to silence, and not exactly distinguishing between
impassibility and yielding, Mrs. Bazalgette delivered the
"I must now tell you plainly, Lucy, that your character is compromised
by being out all night with persons of the other sex. I would have
spared you this, but your resistance compels those who love you to
tell you all. Owing to that unfortunate trip, you are in such a
situation that you _must_ marry."
"The world is surely not so unjust as all this," sighed Lucy.
"You don't know the world as I do," was the reply. "And those who live
in it cannot defy it. I tell you plainly, Lucy, neither your uncle nor
I can keep you any longer, except as an engaged person. And even that
engagement ought to be a very short one."
"What, aunt? what, uncle? your house is no longer mine?" and she
buried her head upon the table.
"Well, Lucy," said Mr. Fountain, "of course we would not have told you
this yesterday. It would have been ungenerous. But you are now your
own mistress; you are independent. Young persons in your situation can
generally forget in a day or two a few years of kindness. You have now
an opportunity of showing us whether you are one of that sort."
Here Mrs. Bazalgette put in her word. "You will not lack people to
encourage you in ingratitude--perhaps my husband himself; but if he
does, it will make a lasting breach between him and me, of which you
will have been the cause."
"Heaven forbid!" said Lucy, with a shudder. "Why should dear Mr.
Bazalgette be drawn into my troubles? He is no relation of mine, only
a loyal friend, whom may God bless and reward for his kindness to a
poor fatherless, motherless girl. Aunt, uncle, if you will let me stay
with you, I will be more kind, more attentive to you than I have been.
Be persuaded; be advised. If you succeeded in getting rid of me, you
might miss me, indeed you might. I know all your little ways so well."
"Lucy, we are not to be tempted to do wrong," said Mrs. Bazalgette,
sternly. "Choose which of these two offers you will accept. Choose
which you please. If you refuse both, you must pack up your things,
and go and live by yourself, or with Mr. Dodd."
"Mr. Dodd? why is his name introduced? Was it necessary to insult me?"
and her eyes flashed.
"Nobody wishes to insult you, Lucy. And I propose, madam, we give her
a day to consider."
"Thank you, uncle."
"With all my heart; only, until she decides, she must excuse me if I
do not treat her with the same affection as I used, and as I hope to
do again. I am deeply wounded, and I am one that cannot feign."
"You need not fear me, aunt; my heart is turned to ice. I shall never
intrude that love on which you set no value. May I retire?"
Mrs. Bazalgette looked to Mr. Fountain, and both bowed acquiescence.
Lucy went out pale, but dry-eyed; despair never looked so lovely, or
carried its head more proudly.
"I don't like it," said Mr. Fountain. "I am afraid we have driven the
poor girl too hard."
"What are you afraid of, pray?"
"She looked to me just like a woman who would go and take an ounce of
laudanum. Poor Lucy! she has been a good niece to me, after all;" and
the water stood in the old bachelor's eyes.
Mrs. Bazalgette tapped him on the shoulder and said archly, but with a
tone that carried conviction, "She will take no poison. She will hate
us for an hour; then she will have a good cry: to-morrow she will come
to our terms; and this day next year she will be very much obliged to
us for doing what all women like, forcing her to her good with a
SAID Lucy as she went from the door, "Thank Heaven, they have insulted
This does not sound logical, but that is only because the logic is so
subtle and swift. She meant something of this kind: "I am of a
yielding nature; I might have sacrificed myself to retain their
affection; but they have roused a vice of mine, my pride, against
them, so now I shall be immovable in right, thanks to my wicked pride.
Thank Heaven, they have insulted me!" She then laid her head upon her
bed and moaned, for she was stricken to the heart. Then she rose and
wrote a hasty note, and, putting it in her bosom, came downstairs and
looked for Captain Kenealy. He proved to be in the billiard-room,
playing the spotted ball against the plain one. "Oh, Captain Kenealy,
I am come to try your friendship; you said I might command you."
"Then _will_ you mount my pony, and ride with this to Mrs.
Wilson, to that farm where I kept you waiting so long, and you were
not angry as anyone else would have been?"
"But not a soul must see it, or know where you are gone."
"All raight, Miss Fountain. Don't you be fraightened; I'm close as the
grave, and I'll be there in less than haelf an hour."
"Yes; but don't hurt my dear pony either; don't beat him; and, above
all, don't come back without an answer."
"I'll bring you an answer in an hour and twenty minutes." The captain
looked at his watch, and went out with a smartness that contrasted
happily with his slowness of speech.
Lucy went back to her own room and locked herself in, and with
trembling hands began to pack up her jewels and some of her clothes.
But when it came to this, wounded pride was sorely taxed by a host of
reminiscences and tender regrets, and every now and then the tears
suddenly gushed and fell upon her poor hands as she put things out, or
patted them flat, to wander on the world.
While she is thus sorrowfully employed, let me try and give an outline
of the feelings that had now for some time been secretly growing in
her, since without their co-operation she would never have been driven
to the strange step she now meditated.
Lucy was a very unselfish and very intelligent girl. The first trait
had long blinded her to something; the second had lately helped to
open her eyes.
If ever you find a person quick to discover selfishness in others, be
sure that person is selfish; for it is only the selfish who come into
habitual collision with selfishness, and feel how sharp-pointed a
thing it is. When Unselfish meets Selfish, each acts after his kind;
Unselfish gives way, Selfish holds his course, and so neither is
thwarted, and neither finds out the other's character.
Lucy, then, of herself, would never have discovered her relatives'
egotism. But they helped her, and she was too bright not to see
anything that was properly pointed out to her.
When Fountain kept showing and proving Mrs. Bazalgette's egotism, and
Mrs. Bazalgette kept showing and proving Mr. Fountain's egotism, Lucy
ended by seeing both their egotisms, as clearly as either could
desire; and, as she despised egotism, she lost her respect for both
these people, and let them convince her they were both persons against
whom she must be on her guard.
This was the direct result of their mines and countermines heretofore
narrated, but not the only result. It followed indirectly, but
inevitably, that the present holy alliance failed. Lucy had not
forgotten the past; and to her this seemed not a holy, but an unholy,
hollow, and empty alliance.
"They hate one another," said she, "but it seems they hate me worse,
since they can hide their mutual dislike to combine against poor me."
Another thing: Lucy was one of those women who thirst for love, and,
though not vain enough to be always showing they think they ought to
be beloved, have quite secret _amour propre_ enough to feel at
the bottom of their hearts that they were sent here to that end, and
that it is a folly and a shame not to love them more or less.
If ever Madame Ristori plays "Maria Stuarda" within a mile of you, go
and see her. Don't chatter: you can do that at home; attend to the
scene; the worst play ever played is not so unimproving as chit-chat.
Then, when the scaffold is even now erected, and the poor queen, pale
and tearful, palpitates in death's grasp, you shall see her suddenly
illumined with a strange joy, and hear her say, with a marvelous burst
of feminine triumph,
"I have been _amata molto!!!"_
Uttered, under a scaffold, as the Italian utters it, this line is a
revelation of womanhood.
The English virgin of our humbler tale had a soul full of this
feeling, only she had never learned to set the love of sex above other
loves; but, mark you, for that very reason, a mortal insult to her
heart from her beloved relatives was as mortifying, humiliating and
unpardonable as is, to other high-spirited girls, an insult from their
What could she do more than she had done to win their love? No, their
hearts were inaccessible to her.
"They wish to get rid of me. Well, they shall. They refuse me their
houses. Well, I will show them the value of their houses to me. It was
their hearts I clung to, not their houses."
A tap came to Lucy's door.
"Who is that? I am busy."
"Oh, miss!" said an agitated voice, "may I speak to you--the captain!"
"What captain? "inquired Lucy, without opening the door.
"I will come out to you. Now. Has Captain Kenealy returned already?"
"La! no, miss. He haven't been anywhere as I know of. He had them