Part 4 out of 4
lady in her most icy tone. "Mr. Smithson, I am sorry I have been
detaining you so long, but I think these are the letters you wished
If her ladyship thought by this speech to quench Mr. Smithson she was
mistaken. Mr. Smithson just looked at the letters, and went on with
the old subject.
"Now, my lady, it struck me that if you had such a man to take poor
Horner's place, he would work the rents and the land round most
satisfactorily. I should not despair of inducing this very man to
undertake the work. I should not mind speaking to him myself on the
subject, for we got capital friends over a snack of luncheon that he
asked me to share with him."
Lady Ludlow fixed her eyes on Mr. Smithson as he spoke, and never
took them off his face until he had ended. She was silent a minute
before she answered.
"You are very good, Mr. Smithson, but I need not trouble you with any
such arrangements. I am going to write this afternoon to Captain
James, a friend of one of my sons, who has, I hear, been severely
wounded at Trafalgar, to request him to honour me by accepting Mr.
"A Captain James! A captain in the navy! going to manage your
"If he will be so kind. I shall esteem it a condescension on his
part; but I hear that he will have to resign his profession, his
state of health is so bad, and a country life is especially
prescribed for him. I am in some hopes of tempting him here, as I
learn he has but little to depend on if he gives up his profession."
"A Captain James! an invalid captain!"
"You think I am asking too great a favour," continued my lady. (I
never could tell how far it was simplicity, or how far a kind of
innocent malice, that made her misinterpret Mr. Smithson's words and
looks as she did.) "But he is not a post-captain, only a commander,
and his pension will be but small. I may be able, by offering him
country air and a healthy occupation, to restore him to health."
"Occupation! My lady, may I ask how a sailor is to manage land?
Why, your tenants will laugh him to scorn."
"My tenants, I trust, will not behave so ill as to laugh at any one I
choose to set over them. Captain James has had experience in
managing men. He has remarkable practical talents, and great common
sense, as I hear from every one. But, whatever he may be, the affair
rests between him and myself. I can only say I shall esteem myself
fortunate if he comes."
There was no more to be said, after my lady spoke in this manner. I
had heard her mention Captain James before, as a middy who had been
very kind to her son Urian. I thought I remembered then, that she
had mentioned that his family circumstances were not very prosperous.
But, I confess, that little as I knew of the management of land, I
quite sided with Mr. Smithson. He, silently prohibited from again
speaking to my lady on the subject, opened his mind to Miss Galindo,
from whom I was pretty sure to hear all the opinions and news of the
household and village. She had taken a great fancy to me, because
she said I talked so agreeably. I believe it was because I listened
"Well, have you heard the news," she began, "about this Captain
James? A sailor,--with a wooden leg, I have no doubt. What would
the poor, dear, deceased master have said to it, if he had known who
was to be his successor! My dear, I have often thought of the
postman's bringing me a letter as one of the pleasures I shall miss
in heaven. But, really, I think Mr. Horner may be thankful he has
got out of the reach of news; or else he would hear of Mr. Smithson's
having made up to the Birmingham baker, and of his one-legged
captain, coming to dot-and-go-one over the estate. I suppose he will
look after the labourers through a spy-glass. I only hope he won't
stick in the mud with his wooden leg; for I, for one, won't help him
out. Yes, I would," said she, correcting herself; "I would, for my
"But are you sure he has a wooden leg?" asked I. "I heard Lady
Ludlow tell Mr. Smithson about him, and she only spoke of him as
"Well, sailors are almost always wounded in the leg. Look at
Greenwich Hospital! I should say there were twenty one-legged
pensioners to one without an arm there. But say he has got half-a-
dozen legs: what has he to do with managing land? I shall think him
very impudent if he comes, taking advantage of my lady's kind heart."
However, come he did. In a month from that time, the carriage was
sent to meet Captain James; just as three years before it had been
sent to meet me. His coming had been so much talked about that we
were all as curious as possible to see him, and to know how so
unusual an experiment, as it seemed to us, would answer. But, before
I tell you anything about our new agent, I must speak of something
quite as interesting, and I really think quite as important. And
this was my lady's making friends with Harry Gregson. I do believe
she did it for Mr. Horner's sake; but, of course, I can only
conjecture why my lady did anything. But I heard one day, from Mary
Legard, that my lady had sent for Harry to come and see her, if he
was well enough to walk so far; and the next day he was shown into
the room he had been in once before under such unlucky circumstances.
The lad looked pale enough, as he stood propping himself up on his
crutch, and the instant my lady saw him, she bade John Footman place
a stool for him to sit down upon while she spoke to him. It might be
his paleness that gave his whole face a more refined and gentle look;
but I suspect it was that the boy was apt to take impressions, and
that Mr. Horner's grave, dignified ways, and Mr. Gray's tender and
quiet manners, had altered him; and then the thoughts of illness and
death seem to turn many of us into gentlemen, and gentlewomen, as
long as such thoughts are in our minds. We cannot speak loudly or
angrily at such times; we are not apt to be eager about mere worldly
things, for our very awe at our quickened sense of the nearness of
the invisible world, makes us calm and serene about the petty trifles
of to-day. At least, I know that was the explanation Mr. Gray once
gave me of what we all thought the great improvement in Harry
Gregson's way of behaving.
My lady hesitated so long about what she had best say, that Harry
grew a little frightened at her silence. A few months ago it would
have surprised me more than it did now; but since my lord her son's
death, she had seemed altered in many ways,--more uncertain and
distrustful of herself, as it were.
At last she said, and I think the tears were in her eyes: "My poor
little fellow, you have had a narrow escape with your life since I
saw you last."
To this there was nothing to be said but "Yes;" and again there was
"And you have lost a good, kind friend, in Mr. Horner."
The boy's lips worked, and I think he said, "Please, don't." But I
can't be sure; at any rate, my lady went on:
"And so have I,--a good, kind friend, he was to both of us; and to
you he wished to show his kindness in even a more generous way than
he has done. Mr. Gray has told you about his legacy to you, has he
There was no sign of eager joy on the lad's face, as if he realised
the power and pleasure of having what to him must have seemed like a
"Mr. Gray said as how he had left me a matter of money."
"Yes, he has left you two hundred pounds."
"But I would rather have had him alive, my lady," he burst out,
sobbing as if his heart would break.
"My lad, I believe you. We would rather have had our dead alive,
would we not? and there is nothing in money that can comfort us for
their loss. But you know--Mr. Gray has told you--who has appointed
all our times to die. Mr. Horner was a good, just man; and has done
well and kindly, both by me and you. You perhaps do not know" (and
now I understood what my lady had been making up her mind to say to
Harry, all the time she was hesitating how to begin) "that Mr.
Horner, at one time, meant to leave you a great deal more; probably
all he had, with the exception of a legacy to his old clerk,
Morrison. But he knew that this estate--on which my forefathers had
lived for six hundred years--was in debt, and that I had no immediate
chance of paying off this debt; and yet he felt that it was a very
sad thing for an old property like this to belong in part to those
other men, who had lent the money. You understand me, I think, my
little man?" said she, questioning Harry's face.
He had left off crying, and was trying to understand, with all his
might and main; and I think he had got a pretty good general idea of
the state of affairs; though probably he was puzzled by the term "the
estate being in debt." But he was sufficiently interested to want my
lady to go on; and he nodded his head at her, to signify this to her.
"So Mr. Horner took the money which he once meant to be yours, and
has left the greater part of it to me, with the intention of helping
me to pay off this debt I have told you about. It will go a long
way, and I shall try hard to save the rest, and then I shall die
happy in leaving the land free from debt." She paused. "But I shall
not die happy in thinking of you. I do not know if having money, or
even having a great estate and much honour, is a good thing for any
of us. But God sees fit that some of us should be called to this
condition, and it is our duty then to stand by our posts, like brave
soldiers. Now, Mr. Horner intended you to have this money first. I
shall only call it borrowing from you, Harry Gregson, if I take it
and use it to pay off the debt. I shall pay Mr. Gray interest on
this money, because he is to stand as your guardian, as it were, till
you come of age; and he must fix what ought to be done with it, so as
to fit you for spending the principal rightly when the estate can
repay it you. I suppose, now, it will be right for you to be
educated. That will be another snare that will come with your money.
But have courage, Harry. Both education and money may be used
rightly, if we only pray against the temptations they bring with
Harry could make no answer, though I am sure he understood it all.
My lady wanted to get him to talk to her a little, by way of becoming
acquainted with what was passing in his mind; and she asked him what
he would like to have done with his money, if he could have part of
it now? To such a simple question, involving no talk about feelings,
his answer came readily enough.
"Build a cottage for father, with stairs in it, and give Mr. Gray a
school-house. O, father does so want Mr. Gray for to have his wish!
Father saw all the stones lying quarried and hewn on Farmer Hale's
land; Mr. Gray had paid for them all himself. And father said he
would work night and day, and little Tommy should carry mortar, if
the parson would let him, sooner than that he should be fretted and
frabbed as he was, with no one giving him a helping hand or a kind
Harry knew nothing of my lady's part in the affair; that was very
clear. My lady kept silence.
"If I might have a piece of my money, I would buy land from Mr.
Brooks; he has got a bit to sell just at the corner of Hendon Lane,
and I would give it to Mr. Gray; and, perhaps, if your ladyship
thinks I may be learned again, I might grow up into the
"You are a good boy," said my lady. "But there are more things to be
thought of, in carrying out such a plan, than you are aware of.
However, it shall be tried."
"The school, my lady?" I exclaimed, almost thinking she did not know
what she was saying.
"Yes, the school. For Mr. Horner's sake, for Mr. Gray's sake, and
last, not least, for this lad's sake, I will give the new plan a
trial. Ask Mr. Gray to come up to me this afternoon about the land
he wants. He need not go to a Dissenter for it. And tell your
father he shall have a good share in the building of it, and Tommy
shall carry the mortar."
"And I may be schoolmaster?" asked Harry, eagerly.
"We'll see about that," said my lady, amused. "It will be some time
before that plan comes to pass, my little fellow."
And now to return to Captain James. My first account of him was from
"He's not above thirty; and I must just pack up my pens and my paper,
and be off; for it would be the height of impropriety for me to be
staying here as his clerk. It was all very well in the old master's
days. But here am I, not fifty till next May, and this young,
unmarried man, who is not even a widower! O, there would be no end
of gossip. Besides he looks as askance at me as I do at him. My
black silk gown had no effect. He's afraid I shall marry him. But I
won't; he may feel himself quite safe from that. And Mr. Smithson
has been recommending a clerk to my lady. She would far rather keep
me on; but I can't stop. I really could not think it proper."
"What sort of a looking man is he?"
"O, nothing particular. Short, and brown, and sunburnt. I did not
think it became me to look at him. Well, now for the nightcaps. I
should have grudged any one else doing them, for I have got such a
But when it came to Miss Galindo's leaving, there was a great
misunderstanding between her and my lady. Miss Galindo had imagined
that my lady had asked her as a favour to copy the letters, and enter
the accounts, and had agreed to do the work without the notion of
being paid for so doing. She had, now and then, grieved over a very
profitable order for needlework passing out of her hands on account
of her not having time to do it, because of her occupation at the
Hall; but she had never hinted this to my lady, but gone on
cheerfully at her writing as long as her clerkship was required. My
lady was annoyed that she had not made her intention of paying Miss
Galindo more clear, in the first conversation she had had with her;
but I suppose that she had been too delicate to be very explicit with
regard to money matters; and now Miss Galindo was quite hurt at my
lady's wanting to pay her for what she had done in such right-down
"No," Miss Galindo said; "my own dear lady, you may be as angry with
me as you like, but don't offer me money. Think of six-and-twenty
years ago, and poor Arthur, and as you were to me then! Besides, I
wanted money--I don't disguise it--for a particular purpose; and when
I found that (God bless you for asking me!) I could do you a service,
I turned it over in my mind, and I gave up one plan and took up
another, and it's all settled now. Bessy is to leave school and come
and live with me. Don't, please, offer me money again. You don't
know how glad I have been to do anything for you. Have not I,
Margaret Dawson? Did you not hear me say, one day, I would cut off
my hand for my lady; for am I a stock or a stone, that I should
forget kindness? O, I have been so glad to work for you. And now
Bessy is coming here; and no one knows anything about her--as if she
had done anything wrong, poor child!"
"Dear Miss Galindo," replied my lady, "I will never ask you to take
money again. Only I thought it was quite understood between us. And
you know you have taken money for a set of morning wrappers, before
"Yes, my lady; but that was not confidential. Now I was so proud to
have something to do for you confidentially."
"But who is Bessy?" asked my lady. "I do not understand who she is,
or why she is to come and live with you. Dear Miss Galindo, you must
honour me by being confidential with me in your turn!"
I had always understood that Miss Galindo had once been in much
better circumstances, but I had never liked to ask any questions
respecting her. But about this time many things came out respecting
her former life, which I will try and arrange: not however, in the
order in which I heard them, but rather as they occurred.
Miss Galindo was the daughter of a clergyman in Westmoreland. Her
father was the younger brother of a baronet, his ancestor having been
one of those of James the First's creation. This baronet-uncle of
Miss Galindo was one of the queer, out-of-the-way people who were
bred at that time, and in that northern district of England. I never
heard much of him from any one, besides this one great fact: that he
had early disappeared from his family, which indeed only consisted of
a brother and sister who died unmarried, and lived no one knew
where,--somewhere on the Continent, it was supposed, for he had never
returned from the grand tour which he had been sent to make,
according to the general fashion of the day, as soon as he had left
Oxford. He corresponded occasionally with his brother the clergyman;
but the letters passed through a banker's hands; the banker being
pledged to secrecy, and, as he told Mr. Galindo, having the penalty,
if he broke his pledge, of losing the whole profitable business, and
of having the management of the baronet's affairs taken out of his
hands, without any advantage accruing to the inquirer, for Sir
Lawrence had told Messrs. Graham that, in case his place of residence
was revealed by them, not only would he cease to bank with them, but
instantly take measures to baffle any future inquiries as to his
whereabouts, by removing to some distant country.
Sir Lawrence paid a certain sum of money to his brother's account
every year; but the time of this payment varied, and it was sometimes
eighteen or nineteen months between the deposits; then, again, it
would not be above a quarter of the time, showing that he intended it
to be annual, but, as this intention was never expressed in words, it
was impossible to rely upon it, and a great deal of this money was
swallowed up by the necessity Mr. Galindo felt himself under of
living in the large, old, rambling family mansion, which had been one
of Sir Lawrence's rarely expressed desires. Mr. and Mrs. Galindo
often planned to live upon their own small fortune and the income
derived from the living (a vicarage, of which the great tithes went
to Sir Lawrence as lay impropriator), so as to put-by the payments
made by the baronet, for the benefit of Laurentia--our Miss Galindo.
But I suppose they found it difficult to live economically in a large
house, even though they had it rent free. They had to keep up with
hereditary neighbours and friends, and could hardly help doing it in
the hereditary manner.
One of these neighbours, a Mr. Gibson, had a son a few years older
than Laurentia. The families were sufficiently intimate for the
young people to see a good deal of each other: and I was told that
this young Mr. Mark Gibson was an unusually prepossessing man (he
seemed to have impressed every one who spoke of him to me as being a
handsome, manly, kind-hearted fellow), just what a girl would be sure
to find most agreeable. The parents either forgot that their
children were growing up to man's and woman's estate, or thought that
the intimacy and probable attachment would be no bad thing, even if
it did lead to a marriage. Still, nothing was ever said by young
Gibson till later on, when it was too late, as it turned out. He
went to and from Oxford; he shot and fished with Mr. Galindo, or came
to the Mere to skate in winter-time; was asked to accompany Mr.
Galindo to the Hall, as the latter returned to the quiet dinner with
his wife and daughter; and so, and so, it went on, nobody much knew
how, until one day, when Mr. Galindo received a formal letter from
his brother's bankers, announcing Sir Lawrence's death, of malaria
fever, at Albano, and congratulating Sir Hubert on his accession to
the estates and the baronetcy. The king is dead--"Long live the
king!" as I have since heard that the French express it.
Sir Hubert and his wife were greatly surprised. Sir Lawrence was but
two years older than his brother; and they had never heard of any
illness till they heard of his death. They were sorry; very much
shocked; but still a little elated at the succession to the baronetcy
and estates. The London bankers had managed everything well. There
was a large sum of ready money in their hands, at Sir Hubert's
service, until he should touch his rents, the rent-roll being eight
thousand a-year. And only Laurentia to inherit it all! Her mother,
a poor clergyman's daughter, began to plan all sorts of fine
marriages for her; nor was her father much behind his wife in his
ambition. They took her up to London, when they went to buy new
carriages, and dresses, and furniture. And it was then and there she
made my lady's acquaintance. How it was that they came to take a
fancy to each other, I cannot say. My lady was of the old nobility,-
-grand, compose, gentle, and stately in her ways. Miss Galindo must
always have been hurried in her manner, and her energy must have
shown itself in inquisitiveness and oddness even in her youth. But I
don't pretend to account for things: I only narrate them. And the
fact was this:- that the elegant, fastidious countess was attracted
to the country girl, who on her part almost worshipped my lady. My
lady's notice of their daughter made her parents think, I suppose,
that there was no match that she might not command; she, the heiress
of eight thousand a-year, and visiting about among earls and dukes.
So when they came back to their old Westmoreland Hall, and Mark
Gibson rode over to offer his hand and his heart, and prospective
estate of nine hundred a-year, to his old companion and playfellow,
Laurentia, Sir Hubert and Lady Galindo made very short work of it.
They refused him plumply themselves; and when he begged to be allowed
to speak to Laurentia, they found some excuse for refusing him the
opportunity of so doing, until they had talked to her themselves, and
brought up every argument and fact in their power to convince her--a
plain girl, and conscious of her plainness--that Mr. Mark Gibson had
never thought of her in the way of marriage till after her father's
accession to his fortune; and that it was the estate--not the young
lady--that he was in love with. I suppose it will never be known in
this world how far this supposition of theirs was true. My Lady
Ludlow had always spoken as if it was; but perhaps events, which came
to her knowledge about this time, altered her opinion. At any rate,
the end of it was, Laurentia refused Mark, and almost broke her heart
in doing so. He discovered the suspicions of Sir Hubert and Lady
Galindo, and that they had persuaded their daughter to share in them.
So he flung off with high words, saying that they did not know a true
heart when they met with one; and that although he had never offered
till after Sir Lawrence's death, yet that his father knew all along
that he had been attached to Laurentia, only that he, being the
eldest of five children, and having as yet no profession, had had to
conceal, rather than to express, an attachment, which, in those days,
he had believed was reciprocated. He had always meant to study for
the bar, and the end of all he had hoped for had been to earn a
moderate income, which he might ask Laurentia to share. This, or
something like it, was what he said. But his reference to his father
cut two ways. Old Mr. Gibson was known to be very keen about money.
It was just as likely that he would urge Mark to make love to the
heiress, now she was an heiress, as that he would have restrained him
previously, as Mark said he had done. When this was repeated to
Mark, he became proudly reserved, or sullen, and said that Laurentia,
at any rate, might have known him better. He left the country, and
went up to London to study law soon afterwards; and Sir Hubert and
Lady Galindo thought they were well rid of him. But Laurentia never
ceased reproaching herself, and never did to her dying day, as I
believe. The words, "She might have known me better," told to her by
some kind friend or other, rankled in her mind, and were never
forgotten. Her father and mother took her up to London the next
year; but she did not care to visit--dreaded going out even for a
drive, lest she should see Mark Gibson's reproachful eyes--pined and
lost her health. Lady Ludlow saw this change with regret, and was
told the cause by Lady Galindo, who of course, gave her own version
of Mark's conduct and motives. My lady never spoke to Miss Galindo
about it, but tried constantly to interest and please her. It was at
this time that my lady told Miss Galindo so much about her own early
life, and about Hanbury, that Miss Galindo resolved, if ever she
could, she would go and see the old place which her friend loved so
well. The end of it all was, that she came to live there, as we
But a great change was to come first. Before Sir Hubert and Lady
Galindo had left London on this, their second visit, they had a
letter from the lawyer, whom they employed, saying that Sir Lawrence
had left an heir, his legitimate child by an Italian woman of low
rank; at least, legal claims to the title and property had been sent
into him on the boy's behalf. Sir Lawrence had always been a man of
adventurous and artistic, rather than of luxurious tastes; and it was
supposed, when all came to be proved at the trial, that he was
captivated by the free, beautiful life they lead in Italy, and had
married this Neapolitan fisherman's daughter, who had people about
her shrewd enough to see that the ceremony was legally performed.
She and her husband had wandered about the shores of the
Mediterranean for years, leading a happy, careless, irresponsible
life, unencumbered by any duties except those connected with a rather
numerous family. It was enough for her that they never wanted money,
and that her husband's love was always continued to her. She hated
the name of England--wicked, cold, heretic England--and avoided the
mention of any subjects connected with her husband's early life. So
that, when he died at Albano, she was almost roused out of her
vehement grief to anger with the Italian doctor, who declared that he
must write to a certain address to announce the death of Lawrence
Galindo. For some time, she feared lest English barbarians might
come down upon her, making a claim to the children. She hid herself
and them in the Abruzzi, living upon the sale of what furniture and
jewels Sir Lawrence had died possessed of. When these failed, she
returned to Naples, which she had not visited since her marriage.
Her father was dead; but her brother inherited some of his keenness.
He interested the priests, who made inquiries and found that the
Galindo succession was worth securing to an heir of the true faith.
They stirred about it, obtained advice at the English Embassy; and
hence that letter to the lawyers, calling upon Sir Hubert to
relinquish title and property, and to refund what money he had
expended. He was vehement in his opposition to this claim. He could
not bear to think of his brother having married a foreigner--a
papist, a fisherman's daughter; nay, of his having become a papist
himself. He was in despair at the thought of his ancestral property
going to the issue of such a marriage. He fought tooth and nail,
making enemies of his relations, and losing almost all his own
private property; for he would go on against the lawyer's advice,
long after every one was convinced except himself and his wife. At
last he was conquered. He gave up his living in gloomy despair. He
would have changed his name if he could, so desirous was he to
obliterate all tie between himself and the mongrel papist baronet and
his Italian mother, and all the succession of children and nurses who
came to take possession of the Hall soon after Mr. Hubert Galindo's
departure, stayed there one winter, and then flitted back to Naples
with gladness and delight. Mr. and Mrs. Hubert Galindo lived in
London. He had obtained a curacy somewhere in the city. They would
have been thankful now if Mr. Mark Gibson had renewed his offer. No
one could accuse him of mercenary motives if he had done so. Because
he did not come forward, as they wished, they brought his silence up
as a justification of what they had previously attributed to him. I
don't know what Miss Galindo thought herself; but Lady Ludlow has
told me how she shrank from hearing her parents abuse him. Lady
Ludlow supposed that he was aware that they were living in London.
His father must have known the fact, and it was curious if he had
never named it to his son. Besides, the name was very uncommon; and
it was unlikely that it should never come across him, in the
advertisements of charity sermons which the new and rather eloquent
curate of Saint Mark's East was asked to preach. All this time Lady
Ludlow never lost sight of them, for Miss Galindo's sake. And when
the father and mother died, it was my lady who upheld Miss Galindo in
her determination not to apply for any provision to her cousin, the
Italian baronet, but rather to live upon the hundred a-year which had
been settled on her mother and the children of his son Hubert's
marriage by the old grandfather, Sir Lawrence.
Mr. Mark Gibson had risen to some eminence as a barrister on the
Northern Circuit, but had died unmarried in the lifetime of his
father, a victim (so people said) to intemperance. Doctor Trevor,
the physician who had been called in to Mr. Gray and Harry Gregson,
had married a sister of his. And that was all my lady knew about the
Gibson family. But who was Bessy?
That mystery and secret came out, too, in process of time. Miss
Galindo had been to Warwick, some years before I arrived at Hanbury,
on some kind of business or shopping, which can only be transacted in
a county town. There was an old Westmoreland connection between her
and Mrs. Trevor, though I believe the latter was too young to have
been made aware of her brother's offer to Miss Galindo at the time
when it took place; and such affairs, if they are unsuccessful, are
seldom spoken about in the gentleman's family afterwards. But the
Gibsons and Galindos had been county neighbours too long for the
connection not to be kept up between two members settled far away
from their early homes. Miss Galindo always desired her parcels to
be sent to Dr. Trevor's, when she went to Warwick for shopping
purchases. If she were going any journey, and the coach did not come
through Warwick as soon as she arrived (in my lady's coach or
otherwise) from Hanbury, she went to Doctor Trevor's to wait. She
was as much expected to sit down to the household meals as if she had
been one of the family: and in after-years it was Mrs. Trevor who
managed her repository business for her.
So, on the day I spoke of, she had gone to Doctor Trevor's to rest,
and possibly to dine. The post in those times, came in at all hours
of the morning: and Doctor Trevor's letters had not arrived until
after his departure on his morning round. Miss Galindo was sitting
down to dinner with Mrs. Trevor and her seven children, when the
Doctor came in. He was flurried and uncomfortable, and hurried the
children away as soon as he decently could. Then (rather feeling
Miss Galindo's presence an advantage, both as a present restraint on
the violence of his wife's grief, and as a consoler when he was
absent on his afternoon round), he told Mrs. Trevor of her brother's
death. He had been taken ill on circuit, and had hurried back to his
chambers in London only to die. She cried terribly; but Doctor
Trevor said afterwards, he never noticed that Miss Galindo cared much
about it one way or another. She helped him to soothe his wife,
promised to stay with her all the afternoon instead of returning to
Hanbury, and afterwards offered to remain with her while the Doctor
went to attend the funeral. When they heard of the old love-story
between the dead man and Miss Galindo,--brought up by mutual friends
in Westmoreland, in the review which we are all inclined to take of
the events of a man's life when he comes to die,--they tried to
remember Miss Galindo's speeches and ways of going on during this
visit. She was a little pale, a little silent; her eyes were
sometimes swollen, and her nose red; but she was at an age when such
appearances are generally attributed to a bad cold in the head,
rather than to any more sentimental reason. They felt towards her as
towards an old friend, a kindly, useful, eccentric old maid. She did
not expect more, or wish them to remember that she might once have
had other hopes, and more youthful feelings. Doctor Trevor thanked
her very warmly for staying with his wife, when he returned home from
London (where the funeral had taken place). He begged Miss Galindo
to stay with them, when the children were gone to bed, and she was
preparing to leave the husband and wife by themselves. He told her
and his wife many particulars--then paused--then went on--"And Mark
has left a child--a little girl -
"But he never was married!" exclaimed Mrs. Trevor.
"A little girl," continued her husband, "whose mother, I conclude, is
dead. At any rate, the child was in possession of his chambers; she
and an old nurse, who seemed to have the charge of everything, and
has cheated poor Mark, I should fancy, not a little."
"But the child!" asked Mrs. Trevor, still almost breathless with
astonishment. "How do you know it is his?"
"The nurse told me it was, with great appearance of indignation at my
doubting it. I asked the little thing her name, and all I could get
was 'Bessy!' and a cry of 'Me wants papa!' The nurse said the mother
was dead, and she knew no more about it than that Mr. Gibson had
engaged her to take care of the little girl, calling it his child.
One or two of his lawyer friends, whom I met with at the funeral,
told me they were aware of the existence of the child."
"What is to be done with her?" asked Mrs. Gibson.
"Nay, I don't know," replied he. "Mark has hardly left assets enough
to pay his debts, and your father is not inclined to come forward."
That night, as Doctor Trevor sat in his study, after his wife had
gone to bed, Miss Galindo knocked at his door. She and he had a long
conversation. The result was that he accompanied Miss Galindo up to
town the next day; that they took possession of the little Bessy, and
she was brought down, and placed at nurse at a farm in the country
near Warwick, Miss Galindo undertaking to pay one-half of the
expense, and to furnish her with clothes, and Dr. Trevor undertaking
that the remaining half should be furnished by the Gibson family, or
by himself in their default.
Miss Galindo was not fond of children; and I dare say she dreaded
taking this child to live with her for more reasons than one. My
Lady Ludlow could not endure any mention of illegitimate children.
It was a principle of hers that society ought to ignore them. And I
believe Miss Galindo had always agreed with her until now, when the
thing came home to her womanly heart. Still she shrank from having
this child of some strange woman under her roof. She went over to
see it from time to time; she worked at its clothes long after every
one thought she was in bed; and, when the time came for Bessy to be
sent to school, Miss Galindo laboured away more diligently than ever,
in order to pay the increased expense. For the Gibson family had, at
first, paid their part of the compact, but with unwillingness and
grudging hearts; then they had left it off altogether, and it fell
hard on Dr. Trevor with his twelve children; and, latterly, Miss
Galindo had taken upon herself almost all the burden. One can hardly
live and labour, and plan and make sacrifices, for any human
creature, without learning to love it. And Bessy loved Miss Galindo,
too, for all the poor girl's scanty pleasures came from her, and Miss
Galindo had always a kind word, and, latterly, many a kind caress,
for Mark Gibson's child; whereas, if she went to Dr. Trevor's for her
holiday, she was overlooked and neglected in that bustling family,
who seemed to think that if she had comfortable board and lodging
under their roof, it was enough.
I am sure, now, that Miss Galindo had often longed to have Bessy to
live with her; but, as long as she could pay for her being at school,
she did not like to take so bold a step as bringing her home, knowing
what the effect of the consequent explanation would be on my lady.
And as the girl was now more than seventeen, and past the age when
young ladies are usually kept at school, and as there was no great
demand for governesses in those days, and as Bessy had never been
taught any trade by which to earn her own living, why I don't exactly
see what could have been done but for Miss Galindo to bring her to
her own home in Hanbury. For, although the child had grown up
lately, in a kind of unexpected manner, into a young woman, Miss
Galindo might have kept her at school for a year longer, if she could
have afforded it; but this was impossible when she became Mr.
Horner's clerk, and relinquished all the payment of her repository
work; and perhaps, after all, she was not sorry to be compelled to
take the step she was longing for. At any rate, Bessy came to live
with Miss Galindo, in a very few weeks from the time when Captain
James set Miss Galindo free to superintend her own domestic economy
For a long time, I knew nothing about this new inhabitant of Hanbury.
My lady never mentioned her in any way. This was in accordance with
Lady Ludlow's well-known principles. She neither saw nor heard, nor
was in any way cognisant of the existence of those who had no legal
right to exist at all. If Miss Galindo had hoped to have an
exception made in Bessy's favour, she was mistaken. My lady sent a
note inviting Miss Galindo herself to tea one evening, about a month
after Bessy came; but Miss Galindo "had a cold and could not come."
The next time she was invited, she "had an engagement at home"--a
step nearer to the absolute truth. And the third time, she "had a
young friend staying with her whom she was unable to leave." My lady
accepted every excuse as bona fide, and took no further notice. I
missed Miss Galindo very much; we all did; for, in the days when she
was clerk, she was sure to come in and find the opportunity of saying
something amusing to some of us before she went away. And I, as an
invalid, or perhaps from natural tendency, was particularly fond of
little bits of village gossip. There was no Mr. Horner--he even had
come in, now and then, with formal, stately pieces of intelligence--
and there was no Miss Galindo in these days. I missed her much. And
so did my lady, I am sure. Behind all her quiet, sedate manner, I am
certain her heart ached sometimes for a few words from Miss Galindo,
who seemed to have absented herself altogether from the Hall now
Bessy was come.
Captain James might be very sensible, and all that; but not even my
lady could call him a substitute for the old familiar friends. He
was a thorough sailor, as sailors were in those days--swore a good
deal, drank a good deal (without its ever affecting him in the
least), and was very prompt and kind-hearted in all his actions; but
he was not accustomed to women, as my lady once said, and would judge
in all things for himself. My lady had expected, I think, to find
some one who would take his notions on the management of her estate
from her ladyship's own self; but he spoke as if he were responsible
for the good management of the whole, and must, consequently, be
allowed full liberty of action. He had been too long in command over
men at sea to like to be directed by a woman in anything he
undertook, even though that woman was my lady. I suppose this was
the common-sense my lady spoke of; but when common-sense goes against
us, I don't think we value it quite so much as we ought to do.
Lady Ludlow was proud of her personal superintendence of her own
estate. She liked to tell us how her father used to take her with
him in his rides, and bid her observe this and that, and on no
account to allow such and such things to be done. But I have heard
that the first time she told all this to Captain James, he told her
point-blank that he had heard from Mr. Smithson that the farms were
much neglected and the rents sadly behind-hand, and that he meant to
set to in good earnest and study agriculture, and see how he could
remedy the state of things. My lady would, I am sure, be greatly
surprised, but what could she do? Here was the very man she had
chosen herself, setting to with all his energy to conquer the defect
of ignorance, which was all that those who had presumed to offer her
ladyship advice had ever had to say against him. Captain James read
Arthur Young's "Tours" in all his spare time, as long as he was an
invalid; and shook his head at my lady's accounts as to how the land
had been cropped or left fallow from time immemorial. Then he set
to, and tried too many new experiments at once. My lady looked on in
dignified silence; but all the farmers and tenants were in an uproar,
and prophesied a hundred failures. Perhaps fifty did occur; they
were only half as many as Lady Ludlow had feared; but they were twice
as many, four, eight times as many as the captain had anticipated.
His openly-expressed disappointment made him popular again. The
rough country people could not have understood silent and dignified
regret at the failure of his plans, but they sympathized with a man
who swore at his ill success--sympathized, even while they chuckled
over his discomfiture. Mr. Brooke, the retired tradesman, did not
cease blaming him for not succeeding, and for swearing. "But what
could you expect from a sailor?" Mr. Brooke asked, even in my lady's
hearing; though he might have known Captain James was my lady's own
personal choice, from the old friendship Mr. Urian had always shown
for him. I think it was this speech of the Birmingham baker's that
made my lady determine to stand by Captain James, and encourage him
to try again. For she would not allow that her choice had been an
unwise one, at the bidding (as it were) of a dissenting tradesman;
the only person in the neighbourhood, too, who had flaunted about in
coloured clothes, when all the world was in mourning for my lady's
Captain James would have thrown the agency up at once, if my lady had
not felt herself bound to justify the wisdom of her choice, by urging
him to stay. He was much touched by her confidence in him, and swore
a great oath, that the next year he would make the land such as it
had never been before for produce. It was not my lady's way to
repeat anything she had heard, especially to another person's
disadvantage. So I don't think she ever told Captain James of Mr.
Brooke's speech about a sailor's being likely to mismanage the
property; and the captain was too anxious to succeed in this, the
second year of his trial, to be above going to the flourishing,
shrewd Mr. Brooke, and asking for his advice as to the best method of
working the estate. I dare say, if Miss Galindo had been as intimate
as formerly at the Hall, we should all of us have heard of this new
acquaintance of the agent's long before we did. As it was, I am sure
my lady never dreamed that the captain, who held opinions that were
even more Church and King than her own, could ever have made friends
with a Baptist baker from Birmingham, even to serve her ladyship's
own interests in the most loyal manner.
We heard of it first from Mr. Gray, who came now often to see my
lady, for neither he nor she could forget the solemn tie which the
fact of his being the person to acquaint her with my lord's death had
created between them. For true and holy words spoken at that time,
though having no reference to aught below the solemn subjects of life
and death, had made her withdraw her opposition to Mr. Gray's wish
about establishing a village school. She had sighed a little, it is
true, and was even yet more apprehensive than hopeful as to the
result; but almost as if as a memorial to my lord, she had allowed a
kind of rough school-house to be built on the green, just by the
church; and had gently used the power she undoubtedly had, in
expressing her strong wish that the boys might only be taught to read
and write, and the first four rules of arithmetic; while the girls
were only to learn to read, and to add up in their heads, and the
rest of the time to work at mending their own clothes, knitting
stockings and spinning. My lady presented the school with more
spinning-wheels than there were girls, and requested that there might
be a rule that they should have spun so many hanks of flax, and
knitted so many pairs of stockings, before they ever were taught to
read at all. After all, it was but making the best of a bad job with
my poor lady--but life was not what it had been to her. I remember
well the day that Mr. Gray pulled some delicately fine yarn (and I
was a good judge of those things) out of his pocket, and laid it and
a capital pair of knitted stockings before my lady, as the first-
fruits, so to say, of his school. I recollect seeing her put on her
spectacles, and carefully examine both productions. Then she passed
them to me.
"This is well, Mr. Gray. I am much pleased. You are fortunate in
your schoolmistress. She has had both proper knowledge of womanly
things and much patience. Who is she? One out of our village?"
"My lady," said Mr. Gray, stammering and colouring in his old
fashion, "Miss Bessy is so very kind as to teach all those sorts of
things--Miss Bessy, and Miss Galindo, sometimes."
My lady looked at him over her spectacles: but she only repeated the
words "Miss Bessy," and paused, as if trying to remember who such a
person could be; and he, if he had then intended to say more, was
quelled by her manner, and dropped the subject. He went on to say,
that he had thought it is duty to decline the subscription to his
school offered by Mr. Brooke, because he was a Dissenter; that he
(Mr. Gray) feared that Captain James, through whom Mr. Brooke's offer
of money had been made, was offended at his refusing to accept it
from a man who held heterodox opinions; nay, whom Mr. Gray suspected
of being infected by Dodwell's heresy.
"I think there must be some mistake," said my lady, "or I have
misunderstood you. Captain James would never be sufficiently with a
schismatic to be employed by that man Brooke in distributing his
charities. I should have doubted, until now, if Captain James knew
"Indeed, my lady, he not only knows him, but is intimate with him, I
regret to say. I have repeatedly seen the captain and Mr. Brooke
walking together; going through the fields together; and people do
My lady looked up in interrogation at Mr. Gray's pause.
"I disapprove of gossip, and it may be untrue; but people do say that
Captain James is very attentive to Miss Brooke."
"Impossible!" said my lady, indignantly. "Captain James is a loyal
and religious man. I beg your pardon Mr. Gray, but it is
Like many other things which have been declared to be impossible,
this report of Captain James being attentive to Miss Brooke turned
out to be very true.
The mere idea of her agent being on the slightest possible terms of
acquaintance with the Dissenter, the tradesman, the Birmingham
democrat, who had come to settle in our good, orthodox, aristocratic,
and agricultural Hanbury, made my lady very uneasy. Miss Galindo's
misdemeanour in having taken Miss Bessy to live with her, faded into
a mistake, a mere error of judgment, in comparison with Captain
James's intimacy at Yeast House, as the Brookes called their ugly
square-built farm. My lady talked herself quite into complacency
with Miss Galindo, and even Miss Bessy was named by her, the first
time I had ever been aware that my lady recognized her existence;
but--I recollect it was a long rainy afternoon, and I sat with her
ladyship, and we had time and opportunity for a long uninterrupted
talk--whenever we had been silent for a little while she began again,
with something like a wonder how it was that Captain James could ever
have commenced an acquaintance with "that man Brooke." My lady
recapitulated all the times she could remember, that anything had
occurred, or been said by Captain James which she could now
understand as throwing light upon the subject.
"He said once that he was anxious to bring in the Norfolk system of
cropping, and spoke a good deal about Mr. Coke of Holkham (who, by
the way, was no more a Coke than I am--collateral in the female line-
-which counts for little or nothing among the great old commoners'
families of pure blood), and his new ways of cultivation; of course
new men bring in new ways, but it does not follow that either are
better than the old ways. However, Captain James has been very
anxious to try turnips and bone manure, and he really is a man of
such good sense and energy, and was so sorry last year about the
failure, that I consented; and now I begin to see my error. I have
always heard that town bakers adulterate their flour with bone-dust;
and, of course, Captain James would be aware of this, and go to
Brooke to inquire where the article was to be purchased."
My lady always ignored the fact which had sometimes, I suspect, been
brought under her very eyes during her drives, that Mr. Brooke's few
fields were in a state of far higher cultivation than her own; so she
could not, of course, perceive that there was any wisdom to be gained
from asking the advice of the tradesman turned farmer.
But by-and-by this fact of her agent's intimacy with the person whom
in the whole world she most disliked (with that sort of dislike in
which a large amount of uncomfortableness is combined--the dislike
which conscientious people sometimes feel to another without knowing
why, and yet which they cannot indulge in with comfort to themselves
without having a moral reason why), came before my lady in many
shapes. For, indeed I am sure that Captain James was not a man to
conceal or be ashamed of one of his actions. I cannot fancy his ever
lowering his strong loud clear voice, or having a confidental
conversation with any one. When his crops had failed, all the
village had known it. He complained, he regretted, he was angry, or
owned himself a -- fool, all down the village street; and the
consequence was that, although he was a far more passionate man than
Mr. Horner, all the tenants liked him far better. People, in
general, take a kindlier interest in any one, the workings of whose
mind and heart they can watch and understand, than in a man who only
lets you know what he has been thinking about and feeling, by what he
does. But Harry Gregson was faithful to the memory of Mr. Horner.
Miss Galindo has told me that she used to watch him hobble out of the
way of Captain James, as if to accept his notice, however good-
naturedly given, would have been a kind of treachery to his former
benefactor. But Gregson (the father) and the new agent rather took
to each other; and one day, much to my surprise, I heard that the
"poaching, tinkering vagabond," as the people used to call Gregson
when I first had come to live at Hanbury, had been appointed
gamekeeper; Mr. Gray standing godfather, as it were, to his
trustworthiness, if he were trusted with anything; which I thought at
the time was rather an experiment, only it answered, as many of Mr.
Gray's deeds of daring did. It was curious how he was growing to be
a kind of autocrat in the village; and how unconscious he was of it.
He was as shy and awkward and nervous as ever in any affair that was
not of some moral consequence to him. But as soon as he was
convinced that a thing was right, he "shut his eyes and ran and
butted at it like a ram," as Captain James once expressed it, in
talking over something Mr. Gray had done. People in the village
said, "they never knew what the parson would be at next;" or they
might have said, "where his reverence would next turn up." For I
have heard of his marching right into the middle of a set of
poachers, gathered together for some desperate midnight enterprise,
or walking into a public-house that lay just beyond the bounds of my
lady's estate, and in that extra-parochial piece of ground I named
long ago, and which was considered the rendezvous of all the ne'er-
do-weel characters for miles round, and where a parson and a
constable were held in much the same kind of esteem as unwelcome
visitors. And yet Mr. Gray had his long fits of depression, in which
he felt as if he were doing nothing, making no way in his work,
useless and unprofitable, and better out of the world than in it. In
comparison with the work he had set himself to do, what he did seemed
to be nothing. I suppose it was constitutional, those attacks of
lowness of spirits which he had about this time; perhaps a part of
the nervousness which made him always so awkward when he came to the
Hall. Even Mrs. Medlicott, who almost worshipped the ground he trod
on, as the saying is, owned that Mr. Gray never entered one of my
lady's rooms without knocking down something, and too often breaking
it. He would much sooner have faced a desperate poacher than a young
lady any day. At least so we thought.
I do not know how it was that it came to pass that my lady became
reconciled to Miss Galindo about this time. Whether it was that her
ladyship was weary of the unspoken coolness with her old friend; or
that the specimens of delicate sewing and fine spinning at the school
had mollified her towards Miss Bessy; but I was surprised to learn
one day that Miss Galindo and her young friend were coming that very
evening to tea at the Hall. This information was given me by Mrs.
Medlicott, as a message from my lady, who further went on to desire
that certain little preparations should be made in her own private
sitting-room, in which the greater part of my days were spent. From
the nature of these preparations, I became quite aware that my lady
intended to do honour to her expected visitors. Indeed, Lady Ludlow
never forgave by halves, as I have known some people do. Whoever was
coming as a visitor to my lady, peeress, or poor nameless girl, there
was a certain amount of preparation required in order to do them
fitting honour. I do not mean to say that the preparation was of the
same degree of importance in each case. I dare say, if a peeress had
come to visit us at the Hall, the covers would have been taken off
the furniture in the white drawing-room (they never were uncovered
all the time I stayed at the Hall), because my lady would wish to
offer her the ornaments and luxuries which this grand visitor (who
never came--I wish she had! I did so want to see that furniture
uncovered!) was accustomed to at home, and to present them to her in
the best order in which my lady could. The same rule, mollified,
held good with Miss Galindo. Certain things, in which my lady knew
she took an interest, were laid out ready for her to examine on this
very day; and, what was more, great books of prints were laid out,
such as I remembered my lady had had brought forth to beguile my own
early days of illness,--Mr. Hogarth's works, and the like,--which I
was sure were put out for Miss Bessy.
No one knows how curious I was to see this mysterious Miss Bessy--
twenty times more mysterious, of course, for want of her surname.
And then again (to try and account for my great curiosity, of which
in recollection I am more than half ashamed), I had been leading the
quiet monotonous life of a crippled invalid for many years,--shut up
from any sight of new faces; and this was to be the face of one whom
I had thought about so much and so long,--Oh! I think I might be
Of course they drank tea in the great hall, with the four young
gentlewomen, who, with myself, formed the small bevy now under her
ladyship's charge. Of those who were at Hanbury when first I came,
none remained; all were married, or gone once more to live at some
home which could be called their own, whether the ostensible head
were father or brother. I myself was not without some hopes of a
similar kind. My brother Harry was now a curate in Westmoreland, and
wanted me to go and live with him, as eventually I did for a time.
But that is neither here nor there at present. What I am talking
about is Miss Bessy.
After a reasonable time had elapsed, occupied as I well knew by the
meal in the great hall,--the measured, yet agreeable conversation
afterwards,--and a certain promenade around the hall, and through the
drawing-rooms, with pauses before different pictures, the history or
subject of each of which was invariably told by my lady to every new
visitor,--a sort of giving them the freedom of the old family-seat,
by describing the kind and nature of the great progenitors who had
lived there before the narrator,--I heard the steps approaching my
lady's room, where I lay. I think I was in such a state of nervous
expectation, that if I could have moved easily, I should have got up
and run away. And yet I need not have been, for Miss Galindo was not
in the least altered (her nose a little redder, to be sure, but then
that might only have had a temporary cause in the private crying I
know she would have had before coming to see her dear Lady Ludlow
once again). But I could almost have pushed Miss Galindo away, as
she intercepted me in my view of the mysterious Miss Bessy.
Miss Bessy was, as I knew, only about eighteen, but she looked older.
Dark hair, dark eyes, a tall, firm figure, a good, sensible face,
with a serene expression, not in the least disturbed by what I had
been thinking must be such awful circumstances as a first
introduction to my lady, who had so disapproved of her very
existence: those are the clearest impressions I remember of my first
interview with Miss Bessy. She seemed to observe us all, in her
quiet manner, quite as much as I did her; but she spoke very little;
occupied herself, indeed, as my lady had planned, with looking over
the great books of engravings. I think I must have (foolishly)
intended to make her feel at her ease, by my patronage; but she was
seated far away from my sofa, in order to command the light, and
really seemed so unconcerned at her unwonted circumstances, that she
did not need my countenance or kindness. One thing I did like--her
watchful look at Miss Galindo from time to time: it showed that her
thoughts and sympathy were ever at Miss Galindo's service, as indeed
they well might be. When Miss Bessy spoke, her voice was full and
clear, and what she said, to the purpose, though there was a slight
provincial accent in her way of speaking. After a while, my lady set
us two to play at chess, a game which I had lately learnt at Mr.
Gray's suggestion. Still we did not talk much together, though we
were becoming attracted towards each other, I fancy.
"You will play well," said she. "You have only learnt about six
months, have you? And yet you can nearly beat me, who have been at
it as many years."
"I began to learn last November. I remember Mr. Gray's bringing me
'Philidor on Chess,' one very foggy, dismal day."
What made her look up so suddenly, with bright inquiry in her eyes?
What made her silent for a moment as if in thought, and then go on
with something, I know not what, in quite an altered tone?
My lady and Miss Galindo went on talking, while I sat thinking. I
heard Captain James's name mentioned pretty frequently; and at last
my lady put down her work, and said, almost with tears in her eyes:
"I could not--I cannot believe it. He must be aware she is a
schismatic; a baker's daughter; and he is a gentleman by virtue and
feeling, as well as by his profession, though his manners may be at
times a little rough. My dear Miss Galindo, what will this world
Miss Galindo might possibly be aware of her own share in bringing the
world to the pass which now dismayed my lady,--for of course, though
all was now over and forgiven, yet Miss, Bessy's being received into
a respectable maiden lady's house, was one of the portents as to the
world's future which alarmed her ladyship; and Miss Galindo knew
this,--but, at any rate, she had too lately been forgiven herself not
to plead for mercy for the next offender against my lady's delicate
sense of fitness and propriety,--so she replied:
"Indeed, my lady, I have long left off trying to conjecture what
makes Jack fancy Gill, or Gill Jack. It's best to sit down quiet
under the belief that marriages are made for us, somewhere out of
this world, and out of the range of this world's reason and laws.
I'm not so sure that I should settle it down that they were made in
heaven; t'other place seems to me as likely a workshop; but at any
rate, I've given up troubling my head as to why they take place.
Captain James is a gentleman; I make no doubt of that ever since I
saw him stop to pick up old Goody Blake (when she tumbled down on the
slide last winter) and then swear at a little lad who was laughing at
her, and cuff him till he tumbled down crying; but we must have bread
somehow, and though I like it better baked at home in a good sweet
brick oven, yet, as some folks never can get it to rise, I don't see
why a man may not be a baker. You see, my lady, I look upon baking
as a simple trade, and as such lawful. There is no machine comes in
to take away a man's or woman's power of earning their living, like
the spinning-jenny (the old busybody that she is), to knock up all
our good old women's livelihood, and send them to their graves before
their time. There's an invention of the enemy, if you will!"
"That's very true!" said my lady, shaking her head.
"But baking bread is wholesome, straight-forward elbow-work. They
have not got to inventing any contrivance for that yet, thank Heaven!
It does not seem to me natural, nor according to Scripture, that iron
and steel (whose brows can't sweat) should be made to do man's work.
And so I say, all those trades where iron and steel do the work
ordained to man at the Fall, are unlawful, and I never stand up for
them. But say this baker Brooke did knead his bread, and make it
rise, and then that people, who had, perhaps, no good ovens, came to
him, and bought his good light bread, and in this manner he turned an
honest penny and got rich; why, all I say, my lady, is this,--I dare
say he would have been born a Hanbury, or a lord if he could; and if
he was not, it is no fault of his, that I can see, that he made good
bread (being a baker by trade), and got money, and bought his land.
It was his misfortune, not his fault, that he was not a person of
quality by birth."
"That's very true," said my lady, after a moment's pause for
consideration. "But, although he was a baker, he might have been a
Churchman. Even your eloquence, Miss Galindo, shan't convince me
that that is not his own fault."
"I don't see even that, begging your pardon, my lady," said Miss
Galindo, emboldened by the first success of her eloquence. "When a
Baptist is a baby, if I understand their creed aright, he is not
baptized; and, consequently, he can have no godfathers and godmothers
to do anything for him in his baptism; you agree to that, my lady?"
My lady would rather have known what her acquiescence would lead to,
before acknowledging that she could not dissent from this first
proposition; still she gave her tacit agreement by bowing her head.
"And, you know, our godfathers and godmothers are expected to promise
and vow three things in our name, when we are little babies, and can
do nothing but squall for ourselves. It is a great privilege, but
don't let us be hard upon those who have not had the chance of
godfathers and godmothers. Some people, we know, are born with
silver spoons,--that's to say, a godfather to give one things, and
teach one's catechism, and see that we're confirmed into good church-
going Christians,--and others with wooden ladles in their mouths.
These poor last folks must just be content to be godfatherless
orphans, and Dissenters, all their lives; and if they are
tradespeople into the bargain, so much the worse for them; but let us
be humble Christians, my dear lady, and not hold our heads too high
because we were born orthodox quality."
"You go on too fast, Miss Galindo! I can't follow you. Besides, I
do believe dissent to be an invention of the Devil's. Why can't they
believe as we do? It's very wrong. Besides, its schism and heresy,
and, you know, the Bible says that's as bad as witchcraft."
My lady was not convinced, as I could see. After Miss Galindo had
gone, she sent Mrs. Medlicott for certain books out of the great old
library up stairs, and had them made up into a parcel under her own
"If Captain James comes to-morrow, I will speak to him about these
Brookes. I have not hitherto liked to speak to him, because I did
not wish to hurt him, by supposing there could be any truth in the
reports about his intimacy with them. But now I will try and do my
duty by him and them. Surely this great body of divinity will bring
them back to the true church."
"I could not tell, for though my lady read me over the titles, I was
not any the wiser as to their contents. Besides, I was much more
anxious to consult my lady as to my own change of place. I showed
her the letter I had that day received from Harry; and we once more
talked over the expediency of my going to live with him, and trying
what entire change of air would do to re-establish my failing health.
I could say anything to my lady, she was so sure to understand me
rightly. For one thing, she never thought of herself, so I had no
fear of hurting her by stating the truth. I told her how happy my
years had been while passed under her roof; but that now I had begun
to wonder whether I had not duties elsewhere, in making a home for
Harry,--and whether the fulfilment of these duties, quiet ones they
must needs be in the case of such a cripple as myself, would not
prevent my sinking into the querulous habit of thinking and talking,
into which I found myself occasionally falling. Add to which, there
was the prospect of benefit from the more bracing air of the north.
It was then settled that my departure from Hanbury, my happy home for
so long, was to take place before many weeks had passed. And as,
when one period of life is about to be shut up for ever, we are sure
to look back upon it with fond regret, so I, happy enough in my
future prospects, could not avoid recurring to all the days of my
life in the Hall, from the time when I came to it, a shy awkward
girl, scarcely past childhood, to now, when a grown woman,--past
childhood--almost, from the very character of my illness, past
youth,--I was looking forward to leaving my lady's house (as a
residence) for ever. As it has turned out, I never saw either her or
it again. Like a piece of sea-wreck, I have drifted away from those
days: quiet, happy, eventless days,--very happy to remember!
I thought of good, jovial Mr. Mountford,--and his regrets that he
might not keep a pack, "a very small pack," of harriers, and his
merry ways, and his love of good eating; of the first coming of Mr.
Gray, and my lady's attempt to quench his sermons, when they tended
to enforce any duty connected with education. And now we had an
absolute school-house in the village; and since Miss Bessy's drinking
tea at the Hall, my lady had been twice inside it, to give directions
about some fine yarn she was having spun for table-napery. And her
ladyship had so outgrown her old custom of dispensing with sermon or
discourse, that even during the temporary preaching of Mr. Crosse,
she had never had recourse to it, though I believe she would have had
all the congregation on her side if she had.
And Mr. Horner was dead, and Captain James reigned in his stead.
Good, steady, severe, silent Mr. Horner! with his clock-like
regularity, and his snuff-coloured clothes, and silver buckles! I
have often wondered which one misses most when they are dead and
gone,--the bright creatures full of life, who are hither and thither
and everywhere, so that no one can reckon upon their coming and
going, with whom stillness and the long quiet of the grave, seems
utterly irreconcilable, so full are they of vivid motion and
passion,--or the slow, serious people, whose movements--nay, whose
very words, seem to go by clockwork; who never appear much to affect
the course of our life while they are with us, but whose methodical
ways show themselves, when they are gone, to have been intertwined
with our very roots of daily existence. I think I miss these last
the most, although I may have loved the former best. Captain James
never was to me what Mr. Horner was, though the latter had hardly
changed a dozen words with me at the day of his death. Then Miss
Galindo! I remembered the time as if it had been only yesterday,
when she was but a name--and a very odd one--to me; then she was a
queer, abrupt, disagreeable, busy old maid. Now I loved her dearly,
and I found out that I was almost jealous of Miss Bessy.
Mr. Gray I never thought of with love; the feeling was almost
reverence with which I looked upon him. I have not wished to speak
much of myself, or else I could have told you how much he had been to
me during these long, weary years of illness. But he was almost as
much to every one, rich and poor, from my lady down to Miss Galindo's
The village, too, had a different look about it. I am sure I could
not tell you what caused the change; but there were no more lounging
young men to form a group at the cross-road, at a time of day when
young men ought to be at work. I don't say this was all Mr. Gray's
doing, for there really was so much to do in the fields that there
was but little time for lounging now-a-days. And the children were
hushed up in school, and better behaved out of it, too, than in the
days when I used to be able to go my lady's errands in the village.
I went so little about now, that I am sure I can't tell who Miss
Galindo found to scold; and yet she looked so well and so happy that
I think she must have had her accustomed portion of that wholesome
Before I left Hanbury, the rumour that Captain James was going to
marry Miss Brooke, Baker Brooke's eldest daughter, who had only a
sister to share his property with her, was confirmed. He himself
announced it to my lady; nay, more, with a courage, gained, I
suppose, in his former profession, where, as I have heard, he had led
his ship into many a post of danger, he asked her ladyship, the
Countess Ludlow, if he might bring his bride elect, (the Baptist
baker's daughter!) and present her to my lady!
I am glad I was not present when he made this request; I should have
felt so much ashamed for him, and I could not have helped being
anxious till I heard my lady's answer, if I had been there. Of
course she acceded; but I can fancy the grave surprise of her look.
I wonder if Captain James noticed it.
I hardly dared ask my lady, after the interview had taken place, what
she thought of the bride elect; but I hinted my curiosity, and she
told me, that if the young person had applied to Mrs. Medlicott, for
the situation of cook, and Mrs. Medlicott had engaged her, she
thought that it would have been a very suitable arrangement. I
understood from this how little she thought a marriage with Captain
James, R.N., suitable.
About a year after I left Hanbury, I received a letter from Miss
Galindo; I think I can find it.--Yes, this is it.
'Hanbury, May 4, 1811.
'You ask for news of us all. Don't you know there is no news in
Hanbury? Did you ever hear of an event here? Now, if you have
answered "Yes," in your own mind to these questions, you have fallen
into my trap, and never were more mistaken in your life. Hanbury is
full of news; and we have more events on our hands than we know what
to do with. I will take them in the order of the newspapers--births,
deaths, and marriages. In the matter of births, Jenny Lucas has had
twins not a week ago. Sadly too much of a good thing, you'll say.
Very true: but then they died; so their birth did not much signify.
My cat has kittened, too; she has had three kittens, which again you
may observe is too much of a good thing; and so it would be, if it
were not for the next item of intelligence I shall lay before you.
Captain and Mrs. James have taken the old house next Pearson's; and
the house is overrun with mice, which is just as fortunate for me as
the King of Egypt's rat-ridden kingdom was to Dick Whittington. For
my cat's kittening decided me to go and call on the bride, in hopes
she wanted a cat; which she did like a sensible woman, as I do
believe she is, in spite of Baptism, Bakers, Bread, and Birmingham,
and something worse than all, which you shall hear about, if you'll
only be patient. As I had got my best bonnet on, the one I bought
when poor Lord Ludlow was last at Hanbury in '99--I thought it a
great condescension in myself (always remembering the date of the
Galindo baronetcy) to go and call on the bride; though I don't think
so much of myself in my every-day clothes, as you know. But who
should I find there but my Lady Ludlow! She looks as frail and
delicate as ever, but is, I think, in better heart ever since that
old city merchant of a Hanbury took it into his head that he was a
cadet of the Hanburys of Hanbury, and left her that handsome legacy.
I'll warrant you that the mortgage was paid off pretty fast; and Mr.
Horner's money--or my lady's money, or Harry Gregson's money, call it
which you will--is invested in his name, all right and tight; and
they do talk of his being captain of his school, or Grecian, or
something, and going to college, after all! Harry Gregson the
poacher's son! Well! to be sure, we are living in strange times!
'But I have not done with the marriages yet. Captain James's is all
very well, but no one cares for it now, we are so full of Mr. Gray's.
Yes, indeed, Mr. Gray is going to be married, and to nobody else but
my little Bessy! I tell her she will have to nurse him half the days
of her life, he is such a frail little body. But she says she does
not care for that; so that his body holds his soul, it is enough for
her. She has a good spirit and a brave heart, has my Bessy! It is a
great advantage that she won't have to mark her clothes over again:
for when she had knitted herself her last set of stockings, I told
her to put G for Galindo, if she did not choose to put it for Gibson,
for she should be my child if she was no one else's. And now you see
it stands for Gray. So there are two marriages, and what more would
you have? And she promises to take another of my kittens.
'Now, as to deaths, old Farmer Hale is dead--poor old man, I should
think his wife thought it a good riddance, for he beat her every day
that he was drunk, and he was never sober, in spite of Mr. Gray. I
don't think (as I tell him) that Mr. Gray would ever have found
courage to speak to Bessy as long as Farmer Hale lived, he took the
old gentleman's sins so much to heart, and seemed to think it was all
his fault for not being able to make a sinner into a saint. The
parish bull is dead too. I never was so glad in my life. But they
say we are to have a new one in his place. In the meantime I cross
the common in peace, which is very convenient just now, when I have
so often to go to Mr. Gray's to see about furnishing.
'Now you think I have told you all the Hanbury news, don't you? Not
so. The very greatest thing of all is to come. I won't tantalize
you, but just out with it, for you would never guess it. My Lady
Ludlow has given a party, just like any plebeian amongst us. We had
tea and toast in the blue drawing-room, old John Footman waiting with
Tom Diggles, the lad that used to frighten away crows in Farmer
Hale's fields, following in my lady's livery, hair powdered and
everything. Mrs. Medlicott made tea in my lady's own room. My lady
looked like a splendid fairy queen of mature age, in black velvet,
and the old lace, which I have never seen her wear before since my
lord's death. But the company? you'll say. Why, we had the parson
of Clover, and the parson of Headleigh, and the parson of Merribank,
and the three parsonesses; and Farmer Donkin, and two Miss Donkins;
and Mr. Gray (of course), and myself and Bessy; and Captain and Mrs.
James; yes, and Mr. and Mrs. Brooke; think of that! I am not sure
the parsons liked it; but he was there. For he has been helping
Captain James to get my lady's land into order; and then his daughter
married the agent; and Mr. Gray (who ought to know) says that, after
all, Baptists are not such bad people; and he was right against them
at one time, as you may remember. Mrs. Brooke is a rough diamond, to
be sure. People have said that of me, I know. But, being a Galindo,
I learnt manners in my youth and can take them up when I choose. But
Mrs. Brooke never learnt manners, I'll be bound. When John Footman
handed her the tray with the tea-cups, she looked up at him as if she
were sorely puzzled by that way of going on. I was sitting next to
her, so I pretended not to see her perplexity, and put her cream and
sugar in for her, and was all ready to pop it into her hands,--when
who should come up, but that impudent lad Tom Diggles (I call him
lad, for all his hair is powdered, for you know that it is not
natural gray hair), with his tray full of cakes and what not, all as
good as Mrs. Medlicott could make them. By this time, I should tell
you, all the parsonesses were looking at Mrs. Brooke, for she had
shown her want of breeding before; and the parsonesses, who were just
a step above her in manners, were very much inclined to smile at her
doings and sayings. Well! what does she do, but pull out a clean
Bandanna pocket-handkerchief all red and yellow silk, spread it over
her best silk gown; it was, like enough, a new one, for I had it from
Sally, who had it from her cousin Molly, who is dairy-woman at the
Brookes', that the Brookes were mighty set-up with an invitation to
drink tea at the Hall. There we were, Tom Diggles even on the grin
(I wonder how long it is since he was own brother to a scarecrow,
only not so decently dressed) and Mrs. Parsoness of Headleigh,--I
forget her name, and it's no matter, for she's an ill-bred creature,
I hope Bessy will behave herself better--was right-down bursting with
laughter, and as near a hee-haw as ever a donkey was, when what does
my lady do? Ay! there's my own dear Lady Ludlow, God bless her! She
takes out her own pocket-handkerchief, all snowy cambric, and lays it
softly down on her velvet lap, for all the world as if she did it
every day of her life, just like Mrs. Brooke, the baker's wife; and
when the one got up to shake the crumbs into the fire-place, the
other did just the same. But with such a grace! and such a look at
us all! Tom Diggles went red all over; and Mrs. Parsoness of
Headleigh scarce spoke for the rest of the evening; and the tears
came into my old silly eyes; and Mr. Gray, who was before silent and
awkward in a way which I tell Bessy she must cure him of, was made so
happy by this pretty action of my lady's, that he talked away all the
rest of the evening, and was the life of the company.
'Oh, Margaret Dawson! I sometimes wonder if you're the better off
for leaving us. To be sure you're with your brother, and blood is
blood. But when I look at my lady and Mr. Gray, for all they're so
different, I would not change places with any in England.'
Alas! alas! I never saw my dear lady again. She died in eighteen
hundred and fourteen, and Mr. Gray did not long survive her. As I
dare say you know, the Reverend Henry Gregson is now vicar of
Hanbury, and his wife is the daughter of Mr. Gray and Miss Bessy.