Part 12 out of 12
yourself?" he now plainly asked of Bywater.
Bywater for once was genuinely surprised. "I had no more to do with it,
sir, than this desk had," touching the master's. "I should not have
spent many an hour since, trying to ferret it out, if I had done it."
"Well, what have you found out?"
"On the day it happened, sir, when we were discussing it in the
cloisters, little Channing suddenly started up with a word that caused
me to think he had seen something connected with it, in which Gerald
Yorke was mixed up. But the boy recollected himself before he had said
much, and I could get no more from him. Once afterwards I heard him
tell Yorke that he had kept counsel about the inked surplice."
"Is that all?" asked the master, while the whole school sat with
tingling ears, for Bywater was not making his complaint in private.
"Not quite, sir. Please to look at this."
Bywater had whipped the broken phial out of his pocket, and was handing
the smaller piece towards the master. Mr. Pye looked at it curiously.
"As I was turning over my surplice, sir, in the vestry, when I found it
that day, I saw this bit of glass lying in the wet ink. I thought it
belonged to a small ornamental phial, which Gerald Yorke used to keep,
about that time, in his pocket, full of ink. But I couldn't be sure. So
I put the bit of glass into my pocket, thinking the phial would turn up
some day, if it did belong to it. And so it has. You can put the piece
into it, sir, and see whether it fits."
Gerald Yorke left his place, and joined Bywater before the head master.
He looked white and haughty. "Is it to be borne, sir, that he should
tell these lies of me?"
"Are they lies?" returned Mr. Pye, who was fitting the piece into the
"I have told no lies yet," said Bywater. "And I have not said for
certain you did it. I say I think so."
"You never found that bottle upon the surplice! I don't believe it!"
"I found the little piece of glass. I put it into my trousers pocket,
wet with ink as it was, and here are the stains of ink still," added
Bywater, turning out that receptacle for the benefit of Mr. Pye. "It
was this same pair of trousers I had on that day."
"Bywater," said the master, "why did you not say, at the time, that you
found the piece of glass?"
"Because, sir, the bit, by itself, would have told nothing. I thought
I'd wait till the bottle itself turned up. Old Jenkins, the bedesman,
found it a few days ago in the college burial-ground, pretty near to
the college gates; just in the spot where it most likely would be, sir,
if one came out of the college in a fright and dashed it over."
"Does this belong to you, Yorke?" inquired the master, scrutinizing
that gentleman's countenance, as he had previously scrutinized
Gerald Yorke took the phial in his hand and examined it. He knew
perfectly well that it was his, but he was asking himself whether the
school, apart from Bywater, could contradict him, if he said it was
not. He feared they might.
"I had a phial very much like this, sir," turning it over and over in
his hand, apparently for the purpose of a critical inspection. "I am
not sure that this is the same; I don't think it is. I lost mine, sir:
somebody stole it out of my pocket, I think."
"When did you lose it?" demanded Mr. Pye.
"About the time that the surplice got inked, sir; a day or two before
"Who is telling lies now?" cried bold Bywater. "He had the bottle that
very day, sir, at his desk, here, in this schoolroom. The upper boys
know he had it, and that he was using it. Channing"--turning round and
catching Tom's eye, the first he did catch--"you can bear witness that
he was using it that morning."
"Don't call upon me," replied Tom, stolidly. "I decline to interfere
with Mr. Yorke; for, or against him."
"It is his bottle, and he had it that morning; and I say that I think
he must have broken it over the surplice," persisted Bywater, with as
much noise as he dared display in the presence of the master.
"Otherwise, how should a piece out of the bottle be lying on the
The master came to the conclusion that the facts were tolerably
conclusive. He touched Yorke. "Speak the truth, boy," he said, with a
tone that seemed to imply he rather doubted Gerald's strict adherence
to truth at all times and seasons.
Gerald turned crusty. "I don't know anything about it, sir. Won't I
pummel you for this!" he concluded, in an undertone, to Bywater.
"Besides that, sir," went on Bywater, pushing Gerald aside with his
elbow, as if he were nobody: "Charles Channing, I say, saw something
that led him to suspect Gerald Yorke. I am certain he did. I think it
likely that he saw him fling the bottle away, after doing the mischief.
Yorke knows that I have given him more than one chance to get out of
this. If he had only told me in confidence that it was he who did it,
whether by accident or mischief, I'd have let it drop."
"Yorke," said the master, leaning his face forward and speaking in an
undertone, "do you remember what I promised the boy who did this
mischief? Not for the feat itself, but for braving me, when I ordered
him to speak out, and he would not."
Yorke grew angry and desperate. "Let it be proved against me, sir, if
you please, before you punish. I don't think even Bywater, rancorous as
he is, can prove me guilty."
At this moment, who should walk forward but Mr. Bill Simms, much to the
astonishment of the head-master, and of the school in general. Since
Mr. Simms's confession to the master, touching the trick played on
Charles Channing, he had not led the most agreeable of lives. Some of
the boys treated him with silent contempt, some worried his life out of
him, and all hated him. He could now enjoy a little bit of retaliation
on one of them, at any rate.
"Please, sir, the day the surplice was inked, I saw Gerald Yorke come
out of the college just before afternoon service, and chuck a broken
ink-bottle over into the burial-ground."
"You saw it!" exclaimed the master, while Gerald turned his livid face,
his flashing eye on the young tell-tale.
"Yes, sir. I was in the cloisters, inside one of the niches, and saw
it. Charley Channing was in the cloisters, too, but he didn't see me,
and I don't think Mr. Yorke saw either of us."
"Why did you not tell me this at the time?"
Mr. Bill Simms stood on his heels and stood on his toes, and pulled his
lanky straw-coloured hair, and rubbed his face, ere he spoke. "I was
afraid, sir. I knew Mr. Yorke would beat me."
"Cur!" ejaculated Gerald, below his breath. The head-master turned his
eyes upon him.
A commotion at the door, and Mr. Pye stopped. There burst in a lady
with a wide extent of crinoline, but that was not the worst of the
bustle. Her cheeks were flushed, her hands lifted, her eyes wild;
altogether she was in a state of the utmost excitement. Gerald stared
with all his might, and the head-master rose to receive her as she
sailed down upon him. It was Lady Augusta Yorke.
A GHOST AGAIN.
Minds are differently constituted: as was exemplified in the case under
our immediate notice. While one of Mr. Galloway's first thoughts, on
the receipt of Roland Yorke's letter, was to rush round to Lady
Augusta's with the news, half in anger, half in a reproachful humour,
Arthur Channing was deliberating how they could contrive to keep it
from her. The one was actuated by an angry, the other by a generous
Mr. Galloway at length concluded his long-delayed dinner that evening.
Then he put on his hat, and, with Roland's letter safe in his pocket,
went out again to call on Lady Augusta. It happened, however, that Lady
Augusta was not at home.
She had gone to dine at Colonel Joliffe's, a family who lived some
distance from Helstonleigh--necessitating an early departure from home,
if she would be in time for their six o'clock dinner-hour. It had thus
occurred that when the afternoon's post arrived, Lady Augusta was in
the bustle and hurry of dressing; and Lady Augusta was one of those who
are, and must be, in a bustle, even if they are only going to a
Martha was busily assisting, and the cook brought up two letters. "Both
for my lady," she said, giving them to Martha.
"I have no time for letters now," called out my lady. "Put them into my
Martha did as she was bid, and Lady Augusta departed. She returned home
pretty late, and the letters remained in their receptacle untouched.
Of course, to retire to rest late, necessitated, with Lady Augusta
Yorke, rising late the next morning. About eleven o'clock she came down
to breakfast. A letter on the breakfast-table brought to her
remembrance the letters of the previous night, and she sent Martha for
them. Looking at their addresses, she perceived one of them to be from
Roland; the other from Lord Carrick: and she laid them by her to be
"Mr. Galloway called last night, my lady," observed Martha.
"Oh, did he?" said Lady Augusta.
"He said he wanted to see your ladyship particularly. But I said you
were gone to Colonel Joliffe's."
Barely had Lady Augusta tasted her coffee, the letters still lying
unopened at her side, when William Yorke entered, having just left the
"This is a terrible blow, Lady Augusta," he observed, as he sat down.
"What's a blow?" returned Lady Augusta. "Will you take some coffee,
William?" "Have you not heard of it?" he replied, declining the coffee
with a gesture. "I thought it probable that you would have received
news from Roland."
"A letter arrived from Roland last night," she said, touching the
letter in question. "What is the matter? Is there bad news in it? What!
have you heard anything?"
Mr. Yorke had not the slightest doubt that the letter before him must
contain the same confession which had been conveyed to Arthur and to
Mr. Galloway. He thought it better that she should hear it from him,
than read it unprepared. He bent towards her, and spoke in a low tone
"I fear that the letter does contain bad news; very bad news, indeed.
"Good heavens! what has happened to him?" she interrupted, falling into
excitement, just as Roland himself might have done. "Is he ill? Has he
got hurt? Is he killed?"
"Now, pray calm yourself, Lady Augusta. Roland is well in health, and
has sailed for Port Natal, under what he considers favourable auspices.
"Then why in the world do you come terrifying me out of my wits with
your tales, William Yorke?" she broke forth. "I declare you are no
better than a child!"
"Nay, Lady Augusta, you terrified yourself, jumping to conclusions.
Though Roland is safe and sound, there is still some very disagreeable
news to be told concerning him. He has been making a confession of bad
"Oh," cried Lady Augusta, in a tone which seemed to say, "Is that
all?" as if bad behaviour and Roland might have some affinity for each
other. William Yorke bent his head nearer, and dropped his voice lower.
"In that mysterious affair of the bank-note, when Arthur Channing was
"Well? well?" she hastily repeated--for he had made a slight pause--and
a tone of dread, as a shadow of evil, might be detected in her accents.
"It was Roland who took the note."
Lady Augusta jumped up. She _would_ not receive it. "It is not true; it
cannot be true!" she reiterated. "How dare you so asperse him, William
Yorke? Thoughtless as Roland is, he would not be guilty of dishonour."
"He has written full particulars both to Arthur Channing and to Mr.
Galloway," said Mr. Yorke, calmly. "I have no doubt that that letter to
you also relates to it. He confesses that to clear Arthur was a great
motive in taking him from Helstonleigh."
Lady Augusta seized the letter and tore it open. She was too agitated
to read calmly, but she saw enough to convince her that Roland, and no
other, had appropriated the money. This must have been the matter he
had obscurely hinted at in one of his last conversations with her. The
letter was concluded very much after Roland's own fashion.
"Now, mother, if you care that anything in the shape of honour should
ever shine round me again, you'll go off straight to the college
school, and set Tom Channing right with it and with the masters. And if
you don't, and I get drowned on my voyage, I'll not say but my ghost
will come again and haunt every one who has had to do with the
Ghosts were not agreeable topics to Lady Augusta, and she gave a shriek
at the bare thought. But that was as nothing, compared with her anger.
Honourable in the main--hot, hasty, impulsive, losing all judgment, all
self-control when these fits of excitement came upon her--it is more
than probable that her own course would have been to fly to the college
school, unprompted by Roland. A sense of justice was strong within her;
and in setting Tom right, she would not spare Roland, her own son
though he was.
Before William Yorke knew what she was about, she had flown upstairs,
and was down again with her things on. Before he could catch her up,
she was across the Boundaries, entering the cloisters, and knocking at
the door of the college school.
There she broke in upon that interesting investigation, touching the
Bywater, who seemed to think she had arrived for the sole purpose of
setting at rest the question of the phial's ownership, and not being
troubled with any superfluous ideas of circumlocution, eagerly held out
the pieces to her when she was yards from his desk. "Do you know this,
Lady Augusta? Isn't it Gerald's?"
"Yes, it is Gerald's," replied she. "He took it out of my desk one day
in the summer, though I told him not, and I never could get it back
again. Have you been denying that it was yours?" she sternly added to
Gerald. "Bad luck to you, then, for a false boy. You are going to take
a leaf out of your brother Roland's pattern, are you? Haven't I had
enough of you bad boys on my hands, but there must something fresh come
up about one or the other of you every day that the sun rises? Mr. Pye,
I have come by Roland's wish, and by my own, to set the young Channings
right with the school. You took the seniorship from Tom, believing that
it was his brother Arthur who robbed Mr. Galloway. Not but that I
thought some one else would have had that seniorship, you know!"
In Lady Augusta's present mood, had any one of her sons committed a
murder, she must have proclaimed it, though it had been to condemn him
to punishment. She had not come to shield Roland; and she did not care,
in her anger, how bad she made him out to be; or whether she did it in
Irish or English. The head-master could only look at her with
astonishment. He also believed her visit must have reference to the
matter in hand.
"It is true, Lady Augusta. But for the suspicion cast upon his brother,
Channing would not have lost the seniorship," said the master, ignoring
the hint touching himself.
"And all of ye"--turning round to face the wondering school--"have
been ready to fling ye're stones at Tom Channing, like the badly
brought up boys that ye are. _I_ have heard of it. And my two, Gerald
and Tod, the worst of ye at the game. You may look, Mr. Tod, but I'll
be after giving ye a jacketing for ye're pains. Let me tell ye all,
that it was not Tom Channing's brother took the bank-note; it was
_their_ brother--Gerald's and Tod's! It was my ill-doing boy, Roland,
who took it."
No one knew where to look. Some looked at her ladyship; some at the
head-master; some at the Reverend William Yorke, who stood pale and
haughty; some at Gerald and Tod; some at Tom Channing. Tom did not
appear to regard it as news: he seemed to have known it before: the
excessive astonishment painted upon every other face was absent from
his. But, half the school did not understand Lady Augusta. None
understood her fully.
"I beg your ladyship's pardon," said the head-master. "I do not
comprehend what it is that you are talking about."
"Not comprehend!" repeated her ladyship. "Don't I speak plainly? My
unhappy son Roland has confessed that it was he who stole the bank-note
that so much fuss has been made about, and that Arthur Channing was
taken up for. You two may look and frown"--nodding to Gerald and
Tod--"but it was your own brother who was the thief; Arthur Channing
was innocent. I'm sure I shan't look a Channing in the face for months
to come! Tell them about it in a straightforward way, William Yorke."
Mr. Yorke, thus called upon, stated, in a few concise words, the facts
to the master. His tone was low, but the boys caught the sense, that
Arthur was really innocent, and that poor Tom had been degraded for
nothing. The master beckoned Tom forward.
"Did you know of this, Channing?"
"Yes, sir; since the letter came to my brother Arthur last night."
Lady Augusta rushed up impulsively to Tom. She seized his hands, and
shook them heartily. Tom never afterwards was sure that she didn't kiss
him. "You'll live to be an honour to your parents yet, Tom," she said,
"when my boys are breaking my heart with wilfulness."
Tom's face flushed with pleasure; not so much at the words as at the
yearning, repentant faces cast at him from all parts of the room. There
was no mistaking that they were eager to offer reparation. Tom Channing
innocent all this time! How should they make it up to him? He turned to
resume his seat, but Huntley slipped out of the place he occupied as
the head of the school, and would have pushed Tom into it. There was
some slight commotion, and the master lifted his spectacles.
"Silence, there! Huntley, what are you about? Keep your seat."
"No, sir," said Huntley, advancing a step forward. "I beg your pardon,
sir, but the place is no longer mine. I never have considered it mine
legally, and I will, with your permission, resign it to its rightful
owner. The place is Channing's; I have only occupied it for him."
He quietly pushed Tom into it as he spoke, and the school, finding
their voices, and ignoring the presence of the master and of Lady
Augusta, sprang from their desks at one bound and seized upon Tom,
wishing him luck, asking him to be a good old fellow and forgive them.
"Long live Tom Channing, the senior of Helstonleigh school!" shouted
bold Bywater; and the boys, thus encouraged, took up the shout, and the
old walls echoed it. "Long live Tom Channing, the senior of
Before the noise had died away, Lady Augusta was gone, and another had
been added to the company, in the person of Mr. Huntley. "Oh," he said,
taking in a rapid glance of affairs: "I see it is all right. Knowing
how thoughtless Harry is, I feared he might not recollect to do an act
of justice. That he would be the first to do it if he remembered, I
"As if I should forget that, sir!" responded Mr. Harry. "Why, I could
no more live, with Channing under me now, than I could let any one of
the others be above me. And I am not sorry," added the young gentleman,
_sotto voce_. "If the seniorship is a great honour, it is also a great
bother. Here, Channing, take the keys."
He flung them across the desk as he spoke; he was proceeding to fling
the roll also, and two or three other sundries which belong to the
charge of the senior boy, but was stopped by the head-master.
"Softly, Huntley! I don't know that I can allow this wholesale changing
of places and functions."
"Oh yes, you can, sir," said Harry, with a bright look. "If I committed
any unworthy act, I should be degraded from the seniorship, and another
appointed. The same thing can be done now, without the degradation."
"He deserves a recompense," said Mr. Huntley to the master. "But this
will be no recompense; it is Channing's due. He will make you a better
senior than Harry, Mr. Pye. And now," added Mr. Huntley, improving upon
the whole, "there will be no necessity to separate the seniorship from
the Oxford exhibition."
It was rather a free and easy mode of dealing with the master's
privileges, and Mr. Pye relaxed into a smile. In good truth, his sense
of justice had been inwardly burning since the communication made by
Lady Augusta. Tom, putting aside a little outburst or two of passion,
had behaved admirably throughout the whole season of opprobrium; there
was no denying it. And Mr. Pye felt that he had done so.
"Will you do your duty as senior, Channing?" unnecessarily asked the
"I will try, sir."
"Take your place, then."
Mr. Huntley was the first to shake his hand when he was in it. "I told
you to bear up bravely, my boy! I told you better days might be in
store. Continue to do your duty in single-hearted honesty, under God,
as I truly believe you are ever seeking to do it, and you may well
leave things in His hands. God bless you, Tom!"
Tom was a little overcome. But Mr. Bywater made a divertisement. He
seized the roll, with which it was no business of his to meddle, and
carried it to Mr. Pye. "The names have to be altered, sir." In return
for which Mr. Pye sternly motioned him to his seat, and Bywater
favoured the school with a few winks as he lazily obeyed.
"Who could possibly have suspected Roland Yorke!" exclaimed the master,
talking in an undertone with Mr. Huntley.
"Nay, if we are to compare merits, he was a far more likely subject for
suspicion than Arthur," was Mr. Huntley's reply.
"He was, taking them comparatively. What I meant to imply was, that one
could not have suspected that Roland, knowing himself guilty, would
suffer another to lie under the stigma. Roland has his good points--if
that may be said of one who helps himself to bank-notes," concluded the
"Ay, he is not all bad. Witness sending back the money to Galloway;
witness his persistent championship of Arthur; and going away partly to
clear him, as he no doubt has done! I was as sure from the first that
Arthur Channing was not guilty, as that the sun shines in the heavens."
"Did you suspect Roland?"
"No. I had a peculiar theory of my own upon the matter," said Mr.
Huntley, smiling, and apparently examining closely the grain of the
master's desk. "A theory, however, which has proved to be worthless; as
so many theories which obtain favour in this world often are. But I
will no longer detain you, Mr. Pye. You must have had enough hindrance
from your legitimate business for one morning."
"The hindrance is not at an end yet," was the master's reply, as he
shook hands with Mr. Huntley. "I cannot think what has possessed the
school lately: we are always having some unpleasant business or other
to upset it."
Mr. Huntley went out, nodding cordially to Tom as he passed his desk;
and the master turned his eyes and his attention on Gerald Yorke.
Lady Augusta had hastened from the college school as impetuously as she
had entered it. Her errand now was to the Channings. She was eager to
show them her grieved astonishment, her vexation--to make herself the
_amende_ for Roland, so far as she could do so. She found both Mr. and
Mrs. Channing at home. The former had purposed being in Guild Street
early that morning; but so many visitors had flocked in to offer their
congratulations that he had hitherto been unable to get away. Constance
also was at home. Lady Augusta had insisted upon it that she should not
come to the children on that, the first day after her father and
mother's return. They were alone when Lady Augusta entered.
Lady Augusta's first movement was to fling herself into a chair and
burst into tears. "What am I to say to you?" she exclaimed. "What
apology can I urge for my unhappy boy?"
"Nay, dear Lady Augusta, do not let it thus distress you," said Mr.
Channing. "You are no more to be held responsible for what Roland has
done, than we were for Arthur, when he was thought guilty."
"Oh, I don't know," she sobbed. "Perhaps, if I had been more strict
with him always, he would never have done it. I wish I had made a point
of giving them a whipping every night, all round, from the time they
were two years old!" she continued, emphatically. "Would that have made
my children turn out better, do you think?"
Mrs. Channing could not forbear a smile. "It is not exactly
_strictness_ that answers with children, Lady Augusta."
"Goodness me! I don't know what does answer with them, then! I have
been indulgent enough to mine, as every one else knows; and see how
they are turning out! Roland to go and take a bank-note! And, as if
that were not bad enough, to let the odium rest upon Arthur! You will
never forgive him! I am certain that you never can or will forgive him!
And you and all the town will visit it upon me!"
When Lady Augusta fell into this tearful humour of complaint, it was
better to let it run its course; as Mr. and Mrs. Channing knew by past
experience. They both soothed her; telling her that no irreparable
wrong had been done to Arthur; nothing but what would be now made
"It all turns contrary together!" exclaimed my lady, drying up her
tears over the first grievance, and beginning upon another. "I suppose,
Constance, you and William Yorke will be making it up now."
Constance's self-conscious smile, and her drooping eyelids might have
told, without words, that that was already done.
"And the next thing, of course, will be your getting married!"
continued Lady Augusta. "When is it to be? I suppose you have been
settling the time."
The question was a direct and pointed one, and Lady Augusta waited for
an answer. Mrs. Channing came to the relief of Constance.
"It would have been very soon indeed, Lady Augusta, but for this
dreadful uncertainty about Charles. In any case, it will not be delayed
beyond early spring."
"Oh, to be sure! I knew that! Everything goes contrary and cross for
me! What am I to do for a governess? I might pay a thousand a year and
not find another like Constance. They are beginning to improve under
you: they are growing more dutiful girls to me; and now it will all be
undone again, and they'll just be ruined!"
Constance looked up with her pretty timid blush. "William and I have
been thinking, Lady Augusta, that, if you approved of it, they had
better come for a few months to Hazledon House. I should then have them
constantly under my own eye, and I think I could effect some good. We
used to speak of this in the summer; and last night we spoke of it
Lady Augusta flew into an ecstasy as great as her late grief had been.
"Oh, it would be delightful!" she exclaimed. "Such a relief to me! and
I know it would be the making of them. I shall thank you and William
for ever, Constance; and I don't care what I pay you. I'd go without
shoes to pay you liberally."
Constance laughed. "As to payment," she said, "I shall have nothing to
do with that, on my own score, when once I am at Hazledon. Those things
will lie in William's department, not in mine. I question if he will
allow you to pay him anything, Lady Augusta. We did not think of it in
that light, but in the hope that it might benefit Caroline and Fanny."
Lady Augusta turned impulsively to Mrs. Channing. "What good children
God has given you!"
Tears rushed into Mrs. Channing's eyes; she felt the remark in all its
grateful truth. She was spared a reply; she did not like to contrast
them with Lady Augusta's, ever so tacitly, and say they were indeed
good; for Sarah entered, and said another visitor was waiting in the
As Mr. Channing withdrew, Lady Augusta rose to depart. She took Mrs.
Channing's hand. "How dreadful for you to come home and find one of
your children gone!" she uttered. "How can you bear it and be calm!"
Emotion rose then, and Mrs. Channing battled to keep it down. "The same
God who gave me my children, has taught me how to bear," she presently
said. "For the moment, yesterday, I really was overwhelmed; but it
passed away after a few hours' struggle. When I left home, I humbly
committed my child to God's good care, in perfect trust; and I feel,
that whether dead or alive, that care is still over him."
"I wish to goodness one could learn to feel as you do!" uttered Lady
Augusta. "Troubles don't seem to touch you and Mr. Channing; you rise
superior to them: but they turn me inside out. And now I must go! And I
wish Roland had never been born before he had behaved so! You must try
to forgive him, Mrs. Channing: you must promise to try and welcome him,
should he ever come back again!"
"Oh yes," Mrs. Channing answered, with a bright smile. "The one will be
as easy as the other has been. He is already forgiven, Lady Augusta."
"I have done what I could in it. I have been to the college school, and
told them all, and Tom is put into his place as senior. It's true,
indeed! and I hope every boy will be flogged for putting upon him;
Gerald and Tod amongst the rest. And now, good-bye."
Sarah was holding the street door open for Lady Augusta. Lady Augusta,
who generally gave a word of gossip to every one, even as Roland, had
her head turned towards the girl as she passed out of it, and thereby
nearly fell over a boy who at the moment was seeking to enter, being
led by a woman, as if he had no strength to walk alone. A tall, thin,
white-faced boy, with great eyes and little hair, and a red
handkerchief tied over his head, to hide the deficiency; but a
beautiful boy in spite of all, for he bore a strange resemblance to
Was it Charles? Or was it his shadow? My lady turned again to the hall,
startling the house with her cries, that Charley's ghost had come, and
bringing forth its inmates in consternation.
Not Charley's shadow--not Charley's ghost--but Charley himself, in real
flesh and blood. One knew him, if the rest did not; and that was
Judith. She seized upon him with sobs and cries, and sat down on the
hall bench and hugged him to her. But Charley had seen some one else,
and he slipped from Judith to the arms that were held out to shelter
him, his warm tears breaking forth. "Mamma! mamma!"
Mrs. Channing's tears fell fast as she received him. She strained him
to her bosom, and held him there; and they had to hold _her_, for her
emotion was great. It is of no use endeavouring to describe this sort
of meeting. When the loved who have been thought dead, are restored to
life, all description must fall short of reality, if it does not
utterly fail. Charley, whom they had mourned as lost, was with them
again: traces of sickness, of suffering were in his face, in his
attenuated form; but still he was in life. You must imagine what it
was. Mr. and Mrs. Channing, Lady Augusta, Constance, the servants, and
the Bishop of Helstonleigh: for no less a personage than that
distinguished prelate had been the visitor to Mr. Channing, come to
congratulate him on his cure and his return.
The woman who had accompanied Charley stood apart--a hard-featured
woman, in a clean cotton gown, and clean brown apron, whose face
proclaimed that she lived much in the open air. Perhaps she lived so
much in it as to disdain bonnets, for she wore none--a red cotton
handkerchief, fellow to the one on Charley's head, being pinned over
her white calico cap.
Many unexpected meetings take place in this life. A casual acquaintance
whom we have met years ago, but whom we never expected to see again,
may come across our path to-morrow. You, my reader, did not, I am sure,
expect to meet that woman again, whom you saw hanging up linen in a
boat, as it glided beneath the old cathedral walls, under the noses of
Bywater and a few more of his tribe, the morning they were throwing
away those unlucky keys, which they fondly thought were never to be
fished up again. But here is that very woman before you now, come to
pay these pages as unexpected a visit as the keys paid to the college
boys. Not more unlooked for, and not more strange than some of our
meetings in actual life.
"Mamma, I have been ill; I have been nearly dying; and she has nursed
me through it, and been kind to me."
Mrs. Channing leaned forward and grasped the woman's hand, gratitude
shining in her wet eyes. Mr. Channing and Judith had a fight which
should grasp the other. Lady Augusta laid hold of her behind, Sarah
assailed her in front. There appeared to be no room left for Constance
and the Bishop, or they might have assisted at the demonstration--as
the French say.
It was soon explained. That same barge had been passing down stream
again that night, when Charley fell into the water. The man heard the
splash, called to his horse to stop, leaped overboard, and saved him. A
poor little boy, with a wound in his head, quite senseless, it proved
to be, when they had him on board and laid him on the bench for
inspection. Meanwhile the docile horse went on of its own accord, and
before the knotty question was decided as to whether the man should
bring-to, and get him on shore, and try and discover to whom he
belonged, the barge was clear of the town, for the current was strong.
It had been nearly clear of it when it passed the cathedral wall, and
the splash occurred. The man thought it as well that it was so; his
voyage, this journey, was being made against time, and he dared not
linger. Had the boat-house keeper's mother not put her head under the
bed-clothes and kept it there, she might possibly have heard sounds of
So they kept Charley on board. He had evidently struck his head against
something which had caused the wound, and stunned him. It may have
been, it is just possible that it may have been, against the projecting
wall of the boat-house, as he turned the corner in his fright and
hurry. If so, that, no doubt, caused his fall and his stumble into the
water. The woman--she had children of her own: that great girl whom you
saw scraping potatoes was one, and she had two others still
younger--washed the wound, and tried to bring Charley round. But she
could not awaken him to full consciousness. His mind appeared to be
wandering, and ere another day had passed he was in strong delirium.
Whether it was the blow, or the terrible fright which had preceded it,
or--and this was most probable--both combined, Charles Channing was
attacked with brain fever. The woman nursed him through it; she applied
her own simple remedies. She cut off his hair, and kept wet linen
constantly to his head; and hot bricks, wrapped round with wet steaming
flannels, to his feet; and she gave him a certain herb tea to drink,
which, in her firm belief and experience, had never yet failed to
subdue fever. Perhaps Charley did as well without a doctor as he would
have done with one. By the time they reached their destination the
malady was subsiding; but the young patient was so prostrated and weak
that all he could do was to lie quite still, scarcely opening his eyes,
scarcely moving his hands.
When he became able to talk, they were beginning to move up stream
again, as the woman called it. Charley told her all about himself,
about his home, his dear mamma and Judith, his papa's ill-health, and
hopes of restoration, his college schoolboy life. It was delicious to
lie there in the languor of returning health, and talk of these things.
The kindly woman won his love and confidence; but when she asked him
how he came to fall into the river, he could never remember. In the
social atmosphere of companionship, in the bright sunlight, Charley
could look back on the "ghost" in the cloisters, and draw his own
deductions. His good sense told him it was no ghost; that it was all a
trick of Bywater's and others of the college boys. The woman's opinion
was, that if they did do such a thing to frighten him, they ought to be
whipped; but she was inclined to view it as a delusion of Charley's
imagination, a relic left by the fever.
"Your folks'll be fine and pleased to see you again, dear," she would
say to him. "My master'll moor the barge to the side when we gets to
the place, and I'll take ye home to 'um."
How Charley longed for it, he alone could tell; pleasant as it was, now
he was better, to lie on deck, on a rude bed made of sacks, and glide
peacefully along on the calm river, between the green banks, the blue
sky above, the warm sun shining on him. Had Charley been placed on that
barge in health, he would have thought it the nastiest place he had
ever seen--confined, dirty, monotonous. But waking to it from fever,
when he did not care where he lay, so that he could only lie, he grew
reconciled to it. Indeed, Charley began to like the boat; but he was
none the less eager for the day that would see him leave it.
That day came at last. The barge was brought-to; and here you see
Charley and his protector. Charley's clothes looked a mile too small
for him, he had so grown in his illness; and Charley was minus a cap,
and the handkerchief did duty for one. But it was Charley, in spite of
all; and I say that you must imagine the meeting. You must imagine
their heartfelt thanks to the woman, and their more substantial
"Charley, darling, if you could only have written to us, what dreadful
distress you would have saved!" exclaimed Constance.
"_He_ write, miss!" interposed the woman. "He couldn't have writ to
save his life! And we was a-moving up stream again before he was well
enough to tell us anything about himself. My husband might have writ a
word else; I ain't no hand at a pen myself. We have got quite used to
the little gentleman, and shall miss him now."
"Constance, tell her. Is it not true about the ghost? I am sure you
must have heard of it from the boys. She thinks I dreamt it, she says."
Judith broke out volubly before Constance could answer, testifying that
it was true, and relating the ill-doings of the boys that night rather
more at length than she need have done. She and the woman appeared to
be in perfect accord as to the punishment merited by those gentlemen.
The bishop leaned over Charley. "You hear what a foolish trick it was,"
he said. "Were I you, I would be upon good terms with such ghosts in
future. There are no other sorts of ghosts, my boy."
"I know there are not," answered Charles. "Indeed, my lord, I do know
there are not," he repeated more earnestly. "And I knew it then; only,
somehow I got frightened. I will try and learn to be as brave in the
dark as in the light."
"That's my sensible boy!" said the bishop. "For my part, Charley, I
rather like being in the dark. God seems all the nearer to me."
The woman was preparing to leave, declining all offers that she should
rest and take refreshment. "Our turn both down and up was hurried this
time," she explained, "and I mayna keep the barge and my master
a-waiting. I'll make bold, when we are past the town again, to step
ashore, and see how the young gentleman gets on."
Charley clung to her. "You shall not go till you promise to stay a
whole day with us!" he cried. "And you must bring the children for
mamma to see. She will be glad to see them."
The woman laughed. "A whole day! a whole day's pleasure was na for the
likes of them," she answered; "but she'd try and spare a bit longer to
stop than she could spare now."
With many kisses to Charles, with many hand-shakes from all, she took
her departure. The Bishop of Helstonleigh, high and dignified prelate
that he was, and she a poor, hard-working barge-woman, took her hand
into his, and shook it as heartily as the rest. Mr. Channing went out
with her. He was going to say a word of gratitude to the man. The
bishop also went out, but he turned the other way.
As he was entering Close Street, the bishop encountered Arthur. The
latter raised his hat and was passing onwards, but the bishop arrested
"Channing, I have just heard some news from your father. You are at
length cleared from that charge. You have been innocent all this time."
Arthur's lips parted with a smile. "Your lordship may be sure that I am
thankful to be cleared at last. Though I am sorry that it should be at
the expense of my friend Yorke."
"Knowing yourself innocent, you might have proclaimed it more
decisively. What could have been your motive for not doing so?"
The ingenuous flush flew into Arthur's cheek. "The truth is, my lord, I
suspected some one else. Not Roland Yorke," he pointedly added.
"But--it was one against whom I should have been sorry to bring a
charge. And so--and so--I went on bearing the blame."
"Well, Channing, I must say, and I shall say to others, that you have
behaved admirably; showing a true Christian spirit. Mr. Channing may
well be happy in his children. What will you give me," added the
bishop, releasing Arthur's hand, which he had taken, and relapsing into
his free, pleasant manner, "for some news that I can impart to you?"
Arthur wondered much. What news could the bishop have to impart which
"The little lost wanderer has come home."
"Not Charles!" uttered Arthur, startled to emotion. "Charles! and not
"Not dead, certainly," smiled the bishop, "considering that he can talk
and walk. He will want some nursing, though. Good-bye, Channing. This,
take it for all in all, must be a day of congratulation for you and
To leap into Mr. Galloway's with the tidings, to make but a few bounds
thence home, did not take many minutes for Arthur. He found Charles in
danger of being kissed to death--Mrs. Channing, Lady Augusta,
Constance, and Judith, each taking her turn. I fear Arthur only made
"Why, Charley, you have grown out of your clothes!" he exclaimed. "How
thin and white you are!"
The remarks did not please Judith. "Thin and white!" she resentfully
repeated. "Did you expect him to come home as red and fat as a
turkey-cock, and him just brought to the edge of the grave with brain
fever? One would think, Master Arthur, that you'd rejoice to see him,
if he had come back a skeleton, when it seemed too likely you'd never
see him at all. And what if he have outgrown his clothes? They can be
let out, or replaced with new ones. I have hands, and there's tailors
in the place, I hope."
The more delighted felt Judith, the more ready was she to take up
remarks and convert them into grievances. Arthur knew her, and only
laughed. A day of rejoicing, indeed, as the bishop had said. A day of
praise to God.
Charley had been whispering to his mother. He wanted to go to the
college schoolroom and surprise it. He was longing for a sight of his
old companions. That happy moment had been pictured in his thoughts
fifty times, as he lay in the boat; it was almost as much desired as
the return home. Charley bore no malice, and he was prepared to laugh
with them at the ghost.
"You do not appear strong enough to walk even so far as that," said
"Dear mamma, let me go! I could walk it, for that, if it were twice as
"Yes, let him go," interposed Arthur, divining the feeling. "I will
help him along."
Charley's trencher--the very trencher found on the banks--was brought
forth, and he started with Arthur.
"Mind you bring him back safe this time!" called out Judy in a tone of
command, as she stood at the door to watch them along the Boundaries.
"Arthur," said the boy, "were they punished for playing me that ghost
"They have not been punished yet; they are to be. The master waited to
see how things would turn out."
You may remember that Diggs, the boat-house keeper, when he took news
of Charles's supposed fate to the college school, entered it just in
time to interrupt an important ceremony, which was about to be
performed on the back of Pierce senior. In like manner--and the
coincidence was somewhat remarkable--Charles himself now entered it,
when that same ceremony was just brought to a conclusion, only that the
back, instead of being Pierce senior's, was Gerald Yorke's. Terrible
disgrace for a senior! and Gerald wished Bywater's surplice had been at
the bottom of the river before he had meddled with it. He had not done
it purposely. He had fallen in the vestry, ink-bottle in hand, which
had broken and spilt its contents over the surplice. In an unlucky
moment, Gerald had determined to deny all knowledge of the accident,
never supposing it would be brought home to him.
Sullen, angry, and resentful, he was taking his seat again, and the
head-master, rather red and hot with exertion, was locking up the great
birch, when the door was opened, and Arthur Channing made his
appearance; a boy, carrying the college cap, with him.
The school were struck dumb. The head-master paused, birch in hand. But
that he was taller and thinner, and that the bright colour and auburn
curls were gone, they would have said at once it was Charley Channing.
The master let fall the birch and the lid of his desk. "_Channing!_" he
uttered, as the child walked up to him. "Is it really you? What has
become of you all this time? Where have you been?"
"I have been a long way in a barge, sir. The barge-man saved me. And I
have had brain fever."
He looked round for Tom; and Tom, in the wild exuberance of his
delight, took Charley in his arms, and tears dropped from his eyes as
he kissed him as warmly as Judith could have done. And then brave Tom
could have eaten himself up, in mortification at having been so
demonstrative in sight of the college school.
But the school were not in the humour to be fastidious just then. Some
of them felt more inward relief at sight of Charles than they cared to
tell; they had never experienced anything like it in their lives, and
probably never would again. In the midst of the murmur of heartfelt
delight that was arising, a most startling interruption occurred from
Mr. Bywater. That gentleman sprang from his desk to the middle of the
room, turned a somersault, and began dancing a hornpipe on his head.
"_Bywater_!" uttered the astounded master. "Are you mad?"
Bywater finished his dance, and then brought himself to his feet.
"I am so glad he has turned up all right, sir. I forgot you were in
"I should think you did," significantly returned the master. But
Charles interrupted him.
"You will not punish them, sir, now I have come back safe?" he pleaded.
"But they deserve punishment," said the master.
"I know they have been sorry; Arthur says they have," urged Charley.
"Please do not punish them now, sir; it is so pleasant to be back
"Will you promise never to be frightened at their foolish tricks
again?" said the master. "Not that there is much danger of their
playing you any: this has been too severe a lesson. I am surprised that
a boy of your age, Charles, could allow himself to be alarmed by
'ghosts.' You do not suppose there are such things, surely?"
"No, sir; but somehow, that night I got too frightened to think. You
will forgive them, sir, won't you?"
"Yes! There! Go and shake hands with them," said Mr. Pye, relaxing his
dignity. "It is worth something, Charley, to see you here again."
The school seemed to think so; and I wish you had heard the shout that
went up from it--the real, true, if somewhat noisy delight, that
greeted Charles. "Charley, we'll never dress up a ghost again! We'll
never frighten you in any way!" they cried, pressing affectionately
round him. "Only forgive us!"
"Why are you sitting in the senior's place, Tom?" asked Arthur.
"Because it is his own," said Harry Huntley, with a smile of
satisfaction. "Lady Augusta came in and set things right for you, and
Tom is made senior at last. Hurrah! Arthur cleared, Tom senior, Charley
back, and Gerald flogged! Hurrah!"
"Hurrah! If Pye were worth a dump, he'd give us a holiday!" echoed bold
The glorious surprise of Charley's safety greeted Hamish on his return
home to dinner. In fact, he was just in time, having come in somewhat
before one o'clock, to witness Charley's arrival from the college
schoolroom, escorted by the whole tribe, from the first to the last.
Even Gerald Yorke made one, as did Mr. William Simms. Gerald, the smart
over, thought it best to put a light, careless face upon his
punishment, disgraceful though it was considered to be for a senior. To
give Gerald his due, his own share in the day's exploits faded into
insignificance, compared with the shock of mortification which shook
him, when he heard the avowal of his mother, respecting Roland. He and
Tod had been the most eager of all the school to cast Arthur's guilt in
Tom Channing's cheek; they had proclaimed it as particularly
objectionable to their feelings that the robbery should have taken
place in an office where their brother was a pupil; and now they found
that Tom's brother had been innocent, and their own brother guilty! It
was well that Gerald's brow should burn. "But she'd no cause to come
here and blurt it out to the lot, right in one's face!" soliloquized
Gerald, alluding to Lady Augusta. "They'd have heard it soon enough,
Mr. William Simms, I have said, also attended Charles. Mr. William was
hoping that the return of Charley would put him upon a better footing
with the school. He need not have hoped it: his offence had been one
that the college boys never forgave. Whether Charley returned dead or
alive, or had never returned at all, Simms would always remain a sneak
in their estimation. "Sneak Simms," he had been called since the
occurrence: and he had come to the resolution, in his own mind, of
writing word home to his friends that the studies in Helstonleigh
college school were too much for him, and asking to be removed to a
private one. I think he would have to do so still.
Hamish lifted Charley to him with an eager, fond movement. A weight was
taken from his mind. Although really irresponsible for the
disappearance of Charles, he had always felt that his father and mother
might inwardly attach some blame to him--might think him to have been
wanting in care. Now, all was sunshine.
Dinner over, Mr. Channing walked with Hamish to the office. They were
some time in getting there. Every other person they met, stopped Mr.
Channing to congratulate him. It seemed that the congratulations were
never to end. It was not only Mr. Channing's renewed health that people
had to speak of. Helstonleigh, from one end to the other, was ringing
with the news of Arthur's innocence; and Charley's return was getting
They reached Guild Street at last. Mr. Channing entered and shook hands
with his clerks, and then took his own place in his private room.
"Where are we to put you, now, Hamish?" he said, looking at his son
with a smile. "There's no room for you here. You will not like to take
your place with the clerks again."
"Perhaps I had better follow Roland Yorke's plan, and emigrate,"
replied Hamish, demurely.
"I wish Mr. Huntley--By the way, Hamish, it would only be a mark of
courtesy if you stepped as far as Mr. Huntley's and told him of
Charles's return," broke off Mr. Channing; the idea occurring to him
with Mr. Huntley's name. "None have shown more sympathy than he, and he
will be rejoiced to hear that the child is safe."
"I'll go at once," said Hamish. Nothing loth was he, on his own part,
to pay a visit to Mr. Huntley's.
Hamish overtook Mr. Huntley close to his own home. He was returning
from the town. Had he been home earlier, he would have heard the news
from Harry. But Harry had now had his dinner and was gone again. He did
not dine at the later hour.
"I have brought you some news, sir," said Hamish, as they entered
"News again! It cannot be very great, by the side of what we were
favoured with last night from Mr. Roland," was the remark of Mr.
"But indeed it is. Greater news even than that. We have found Charley,
Mr. Huntley sprang from the chair he was taking. "Found Charley! Have
you really? Where has he--Hamish, I see by your countenance that the
tidings are good. He must be alive."
"He is alive and well. At least, well, comparatively speaking. A barge
was passing down the river at the time he fell in, and the man leaped
overboard and saved him. Charley has been in the barge ever since, and
has had brain fever."
"And how did he come home?" wondered Mr. Huntley, when he had
sufficiently digested the news.
"The barge brought him back. It is on its way up again. Charley arrived
under escort of the barge-woman, a red handkerchief on his head in lieu
of his trencher, which, you know, he lost that night," added Hamish,
laughing. "Lady Augusta, who was going out of the house as he entered,
was frightened into the belief that it was his ghost, and startled them
all with her cries to that effect, including the bishop, who was with
my father in the drawing-room."
"Hamish, it is like a romance!" said Mr. Huntley.
"Very nearly, taking one circumstance with another. My father's return,
cured; Roland's letter; and now Charley's resuscitation. Their all
happening together renders it the more remarkable. Poor Charley does
look as much like a ghost as anything, and his curls are gone. They had
to cut his hair close in the fever."
Mr. Huntley paused. "Do you know, Hamish," he presently said, "I begin
to think we were all a set of wiseacres. We might have thought of a
"If we had thought of a barge, we should never have thought the barge
would carry him off," objected Hamish. "However, we have him back now,
and I thank God. I always said he would turn up, you know."
"I must come and see him," said Mr. Huntley. "I was at the college
school this morning, therefore close to your house, but I did not call.
I thought your father would have enough callers, without me."
Hamish laughed. "He has had a great many. The house, I understand, has
been like a fair. He is in Guild Street this afternoon. It looks like
the happy old times, to see him at his post again."
"What are you going to do, now your place is usurped?" asked Mr.
Huntley. "Subside into a clerk again, and discharge the one who was
taken on in your stead, when you were promoted?"
"That's the question--what is to be done with me?" returned Hamish, in
his joking manner. "I have been telling my father that I had perhaps
better pay Port Natal a visit, and join Roland Yorke."
"I told your father once, that when this time came, I would help you to
"I am aware you did, sir. But you told me afterwards that you had
altered your intention--I was not eligible for it."
"Believing you were the culprit at Galloway's."
Hamish raised his eyebrows. "The extraordinary part of that, sir, is,
how you could have imagined such a thing of me."
"Hamish, I shall always think so myself in future. But I have this
justification--that I was not alone in the belief. Some of your family,
who might be supposed to know you better than I, entertained the same
"Yes; Constance and Arthur. But are you sure, sir, that it was not
their conduct that first induced you to suspect me?"
"Right, lad. Their conduct--I should rather say their manner--was
inexplicably mysterious, and it induced me to ferret out its cause.
That they were screening some one, was evident, and I could only come
to the conclusion that it was you. But, Master Hamish, there were
circumstances on your own part which tended to strengthen the belief,"
added Mr. Huntley, his tone becoming lighter. "Whence sprang that money
wherewith you satisfied some of your troublesome creditors, just at
that same time?"
Once more, as when it was alluded to before, a red flush dyed the face
of Hamish. Certainly, it could not be a flush of guilt, while that
ingenuous smile hovered on his lips. But Hamish seemed attacked with
sudden shyness. "Your refusal to satisfy me on this point, when we
previously spoke of it, tended to confirm my suspicions," continued Mr.
Huntley. "I think you might make a confidant of me, Hamish. That money
could not have dropped from the clouds; and I am sure you possessed no
funds of your own just then."
"But neither did I steal it. Mr. Huntley"--raising his eyes to that
gentleman's face--"how closely you must have watched me and my
Mr. Huntley drew in his lips. "Perhaps I had my own motives for doing
so, young sir."
"I earned the money," said Hamish, who probably penetrated into Mr.
Huntley's "motives;" at any rate, he hoped he did so. "I earned it
fairly and honourably, by my own private and special industry."
Mr. Huntley opened his eyes. "Private and special industry! Have you
"Not shoemaker," laughed Hamish. "Book-maker. The truth is, Mr.
Huntley--But will you promise to keep my secret?"
"Ay. Honour bright."
"I don't want it to be known just yet. The truth is, I have been doing
some literary work. Martin Pope gave me an introduction to one of the
London editors, and I sent him some papers. They were approved of and
inserted: but for the first I received no pay. I threatened to strike,
and then payment was promised. The first instalment, I chiefly used to
_arrest_ my debts; the second and third to liquidate them. That's where
the money came from."
Mr. Huntley stared at Hamish as if he could scarcely take in the news.
It was, however, only the simple truth. When Martin Pope paid a visit
to Hamish, one summer night, frightening Hamish and Arthur, who dreaded
it might be a less inoffensive visitor; frightening Constance, for that
matter, for she heard more of their dread than was expedient; his
errand was to tell Hamish that in future he was to be paid for his
papers: payment was to commence forthwith. You may remember the
evening, though it is long ago. You may also remember Martin Pope's
coming hurriedly into the office in Guild Street, telling Hamish some
one was starting by the train; when both hastened to the station,
leaving Arthur in wonder. That was the very London editor himself. He
had been into the country, and was taking Helstonleigh on his way back
to town; had stayed in it a day or two for the purpose of seeing Martin
Pope, who was an old friend, and of being introduced to Hamish
Channing. That shy feeling of reticence, which is the characteristic of
most persons whose genius is worth anything, had induced Hamish to bury
all this in silence.
"But when have you found time to write?" exclaimed Mr. Huntley, unable
to get over his surprise. "You could not find it during office hours?"
"Certainly not. I have written in the evening, and at night. I have
been a great rake, stopping up later than I ought, at this writing."
"Do they know of it at home?"
"Some of them know that I sit up; but they don't know what I sit up
for. By way of a blind--I suppose it may be called a justifiable
deceit," said Hamish, gaily--"I have taken care to carry the office
books into my room, that their suspicions may be confined to the
accounts. Judy's keen eyes detected my candle burning later than she
considered it ought to burn, and her rest has been disturbed with
visions of my setting the house on fire. I have counselled her to keep
the water-butt full, under her window, so that she may be safe from
"And are you earning money now?"
"In-one sense, I am: I am writing for it. My former papers were for the
most part miscellaneous--essays, and that sort of thing; but I am about
a longer work now, to be paid for on completion. When it is finished
and appears, I shall startle them at home with the news, and treat them
to a sight of it. When all other trades fail, sir, I can set up my tent
as an author."
Mr. Huntley's feelings glowed within him. None, more than he, knew the
value of silent industry--the worth of those who patiently practise it.
His heart went out to Hamish. "I suppose I must recommend you to
Bartlett's post, after all," said he, affecting to speak carelessly,
his eye betraying something very different.
"Is it not gone?" asked Hamish.
"No, it is not gone. And the appointment rests with me. How would you
"Nay," said Hamish, half mockingly: "the question is, should I be
honest enough for it?"
Mr. Huntley shook his fist at him. "If you ever bring that reproach up
to me again, I'll--I'll--You had better keep friends with me, you know,
sir, on other scores."
Hamish laughed. "I should like the post very much indeed, sir."
"And the house also, I suppose, you would make no objection to?" nodded
"None in the world. I must work away, though, if it is ever to be
"How can you tell but that some good spirit might furnish it for you?"
cried Mr. Huntley, quaintly.
They were interrupted before anything more was said. Ellen, who had
been out with her aunt, came running in, in excitement. "Oh, papa! such
happy news! Charles Channing is found, and--"
She stopped when she saw that she had another auditor. Hamish rose to
greet her. He took her hand, released it, and then returned to the fire
to Mr. Huntley. Ellen stood by the table, and had grown suddenly timid.
"You will soon be receiving a visit from my mother and Constance,"
observed Hamish, looking at her. "I heard certain arrangements being
discussed, in which Miss Ellen Huntley's name bore a part. We are soon
to lose Constance."
Ellen blushed rosy red. Mr. Huntley was the first to speak. "Yorke has
come to his senses, I suppose?"
"Yorke and Constance between them. In a short time she is to be
transplanted to Hazledon."
"It is more than he deserves," emphatically declared Mr. Huntley. "I
suppose you will be for getting married next, Mr. Hamish, when you come
into possession of that house we have been speaking of, and are your
"I always intended to think of it, sir, as soon as I could do so,"
returned saucy Hamish. And Ellen ran out of the room.
That same afternoon Arthur Channing was seated at the organ in
pursuance of his duty, when a message came up from the dean. He was
desired to change the selected anthem, taken from the thirty-fifth
Psalm, for another: "O taste, and see, how gracious the Lord is!"
It was not an anthem in the cathedral collection, but one recently
composed and presented to it by a private individual. It consisted of a
treble solo and chorus. Why had the dean specially commanded it for
that afternoon? Very rarely indeed did he change the services after
they were put up. Had he had _Arthur_ in his mind when he decided upon
it? It was impossible to say. Be it as it would, the words found a
strange echo in Arthur's heart, as Bywater's sweet voice rang through
the cathedral. "O taste, and see, how gracious the Lord is, blessed is
the man that trusteth in him. O fear the Lord, ye that are his saints.
for they that fear him lack nothing. The lions do lack, and suffer
hunger: but they who seek the Lord shall want no manner of thing that
is good. The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous: and his ears are
open unto their prayers. Great are the troubles of the righteous; but
the Lord delivereth him out of all. The Lord delivereth the souls of
his servants: and all they that put their trust in him shall not be
Every word told upon Arthur's heart, sending it up in thankfulness to
the Giver of all good.
He found the dean waiting for him in the nave, when he went down at the
conclusion of the service. Dr. Gardner was with him. The dean held out
his hand to Arthur.
"I am very glad you are cleared," he said. "You have behaved nobly."
Arthur winced. He did not like to take the faintest meed of praise that
was not strictly his due. The dean might have thought he deserved less,
did he know that he had been only screening Hamish; but Arthur could
not avow that tale in public. He glanced at the dean with a frank
"You see now, sir, that I only spoke the truth when I assured you of my
"I do see it," said the dean. "I believed you then." And once more
shaking Arthur's hand, he turned into the cloisters with Dr. Gardner.
"I have already offered my congratulations," said the canon, good
humouredly, nodding to Arthur. This was correct. He had waylaid Arthur
as he went into college.
Arthur suffered them to go on a few steps, and then descended to the
cloisters. Old Ketch was shuffling along.
"What's this I've been a hearing, about that there drownded boy having
come back?" asked he of Arthur, in his usual ungracious fashion.
"I don't know what you may have heard, Ketch. He has come back."
"And he ain't dead nor drownded?"
"Neither one nor the other. He is alive and well."
Ketch gave a groan of despair. "And them horrid young wretches'll
escape the hangman! I'd ha' walked ten miles to see em--"
"Gracious, Sir John, what's that you are talking about?" interrupted
Bywater, as the choristers trooped up, "Escaped you! so we have, for
once. What an agony of disappointment it must be for you, Mr. Calcraft!
Such practice for your old hands, to topple off a dozen or so of us!
Besides the pay! How much do you charge a head, Calcraft?"
Ketch answered by a yell.
"Now, don't excite yourself, I beg," went on aggravating Bywater. "We
are thinking of getting up a petition to the dean, to console you for
your disappointment, praying that he'll allow you to wear a cap we have
ordered for you! It's made of scarlet cloth, with long ears and a set
of bells! Its device is a cross beam and a cord, and we wish you health
to wear it out! I say, let's wish Mr. Calcraft health! What's tripe a
pound to-day, Calcraft?"
The choristers, in various stages of delight, entered on their
aggravating shouts, their mocking dance. When they had driven Mr. Ketch
to the very verge of insanity, they decamped to the schoolroom.
I need not enlarge on the evening of thankfulness it was at Mr.
Channing's. Not one, but had special cause for gratitude--except,
perhaps, Annabel. Mr. Channing restored to health and strength; Mrs.
Channing's anxiety removed; Hamish secure in his new prospects-for Mr.
Huntley had made them certain; heaviness removed from the heart of
Constance; the cloud lifted from Arthur; Tom on the pedestal he thought
he had lost, sure also of the Oxford exhibition; Charley amongst them
again! They could trace the finger of God in all; and were fond of
Soon after tea, Arthur rose. "I must drop in and see Jenkins," he
observed. "He will have heard the items of news from twenty people,
there's little doubt; but he will like me to go to him with
particulars. No one in Helstonleigh has been more anxious that things
should turn out happily, than poor Jenkins."
"Tell him he has my best wishes for his recovery, Arthur," said Mr.
"I will tell him," replied Arthur. "But I fear all hope of recovery for
Jenkins is past."
It was more decidedly past than even Arthur suspected when he spoke. A
young woman was attending to Mrs. Jenkins's shop when Arthur passed
through it. Her face was strange to him; but from a certain peculiarity
in the eyes and mouth, he inferred it to be Mrs. Jenkins's sister. In
point of fact, that lady, finding that her care of Jenkins and her care
of the shop rather interfered with each other, had sent for her sister
from the country to attend temporarily on the latter. Lydia went up to
Jenkins's sick-room, and said a gentleman was waiting: and Mrs. Jenkins
"Oh, it's you!" quoth she. "I hope he'll be at rest now. He has been
bothering his mind over you all day. My opinion is, he'd never have
come to this state if he had taken things easy, like sensible people."
"Is he in his room?" inquired Arthur.
"He is in his room, and in his bed. And what's more, young Mr.
Channing, hell never get out of it alive."
"Then he is worse?"
"He has been worse this four days. And I only get him up now to have
his bed made. I said to him yesterday, 'Jenkins, you may put on your
things, and go down to the office if you like.' 'My dear,' said he, 'I
couldn't get up, much less get down to the office;' which I knew was
the case, before I spoke. I wish I had had my wits about me!" somewhat
irascibly went on Mrs. Jenkins: "I should have had his bed brought down
to the parlour here, before he was so ill. I don't speak for the shop,
I have somebody to attend to that; but it's such a toil and a trapes up
them two pair of stairs for every little thing that's wanted."
"I suppose I can go up, Mrs. Jenkins?"
"You can go up," returned she; "but mind you don't get worrying him. I
won't have him worried. He worries himself, without any one else doing
it gratis. If it's not about one thing, it's about another. Sometimes
it's his master and the office, how they'll get along; sometimes it's
me, what I shall do without him; sometimes it's his old father. He
don't need any outside things to put him up."
"I am sorry he is so much worse," remarked Arthur.
"So am I," said Mrs. Jenkins, tartly. "I have been doing all I could
for him from the first, and it has been like working against hope. If
care could have cured him, or money could have cured him, he'd be well
now. I have a trifle of savings in the bank, young Mr. Channing, and I
have not spared them. If they had ordered him medicine at a guinea a
bottle, I'd have had it for him. If they said he must have wine, or
delicacies brought from the other ends of the earth, they should have
been brought. Jenkins isn't good for much, in point of spirit, as all
the world knows; but he's my husband, and I have strove to do my duty
by him. Now, if you want to go up, you can go," added she, after an
imperceptible pause. "There's a light on the stairs, and you know his
room. I'll take the opportunity to give an eye to the kitchen; I don't
care to leave him by himself now. Finely it's going on, I know!"
Mrs. Jenkins whisked down the kitchen stairs, and Arthur proceeded up.
Jenkins was lying in bed, his head raised by pillows. Whatever may have
been Mrs. Jenkins's faults of manner, her efficiency as a nurse and
manager could not be called into question. A bright fire burnt in the
well-ventilated though small room, the bed was snowy white, the
apartment altogether thoroughly comfortable. But--Jenkins!
Fully occupied with his work for Mr. Galloway, it was several days
since Arthur had called on Jenkins, and the change he now saw in his
face struck him sharply. The skin was drawn, the eyes were unnaturally
bright, the cheeks had fallen in; certainly there could not be very
many hours of life left to Jenkins. A smile sat on his parched lips,
and his eyelashes became moist as he looked up to Arthur, and held out
his feeble hand.
"I knew you would be cleared, sir! I knew that God would surely bring
the right to light! I have been humbly thanking Him for you, sir, all
Arthur's eyes glistened also as he bent over him. "You have heard it,
then, Jenkins? I thought you would."
"Yes, sir, I heard it this morning, when it was getting towards
mid-day. I had a visit, sir, from his lordship the bishop. I had,
indeed! He came up as he has done before--as kindly, and with as little
ceremony, as if he had been a poor body like myself. It was he who
first told me, Mr. Arthur."
"I am glad he came to see you, Jenkins."
"He talked so pleasantly, sir. 'It is a journey that we must all take,
Jenkins,' he said; 'and for my part, I think it matters little whether
we take it sooner or later, so that God vouchsafes to us the grace to
prepare for it.' For affability, sir, it was just as if it had been a
brother talking to me; but he said things different from what any poor
brother of mine could have said, and they gave me comfort. Then he
asked me if I had taken the Sacrament lately; and I thanked him, and
said I had taken it on Sunday last; our clergyman came round to me
after service. Mr. Arthur"--and poor Jenkins's eyes wore an eager look
of gratitude--"I feel sure that his lordship would have administered it
to me with his own hands. I wonder whether all bishops are like him!"
Arthur did not answer. Jenkins resumed, quitting the immediate topic
"And I hear, sir, that Mr. Channing has come home restored, and that
the little boy is found. His lordship was so good as to tell me both.
Oh, Mr. Arthur, how merciful God has been!"
"We are finding Him so, just now," fervently spoke Arthur.
"And it is all right again, sir, with you and Mr. Galloway?"
"Quite right. I am to remain in the office. I am to be in your place,
"You'll occupy a better position in it, sir, than I ever did. But you
will not be all alone, surely?"
"Young Bartlett is coming to be under me. Mr. Galloway has made final
arrangements to-day. We shall go on all right now."
"Ay," said Jenkins, folding his thin hands upon the counterpane, and
speaking as in self-commune; "we must live near to God to know His
mercy. It does seem almost as if I had asked a favour of any earthly
person, so exactly has it been granted me! Mr. Arthur, I prayed that I
might live to see you put right with Mr. Galloway and the town, and I
felt as sure as I could feel, by some inward evidence which I cannot
describe, but which was plain to me, that God heard me, and would grant
me my wish. It seems, sir, as if I had been let live for that. I shan't
be long now."
"While there is life there is hope, you know, Jenkins," replied Arthur,
unable to say anything more cheering in the face of circumstances.
"Mr. Arthur, the hope for me now is, to go," said Jenkins. "I would not
be restored if I could. How can I tell, sir, but I might fall away from
God? If the call comes to-night, sir, it will find me ready. Oh, Mr.
Arthur, if people only knew the peace of living close to God--of
feeling that they are READY! Ready for the summons, let it come in the
second or third watch!"
"Jenkins!" exclaimed Arthur, as the thought struck him: "I have not
heard you cough once since I came in! Is your cough better!"
"Oh, sir, there's another blessing! Now that I have grown so weak that
the cough would shatter me--tear my frame to pieces--it is gone! It is
nearly a week, sir, since I coughed at all. My death-bed has been made
quite pleasant for me. Except for weakness, I am free from pain, and I
have all things comfortable. I am rich in abundance: my wife waits upon
me night and day--she lets me want for nothing; before I can express a
wish, it is done. When I think of all the favours showered down upon
me, and how little I can do, or have ever done, for God, in return, I
am overwhelmed with shame."
"Jenkins, one would almost change places with you, to be in your frame
of mind," cried Arthur, his tone impassioned.
"God will send the same frame of mind to all who care to go to Him,"
was the reply. "Sir," and now Jenkins dropped his voice, "I was grieved
to hear about Mr. Roland. I could not have thought it."
"Ay; it was unwelcome news, for his own sake."
"I never supposed but that the post-office must have been to blame. I
think, Mr. Arthur, he must have done it in a dream; as one, I mean, who
has not his full faculties about him. I hope the Earl of Carrick will
take care of him. I hope he will live to come back a good, brave man!
If he would only act less on impulse and more on principle, it would be
better for him. Little Master Charles has been ill, I hear, sir? I
should like to see him."
"I will bring him to see you," replied Arthur.
"Will you, sir?" and Jenkins's face lighted up. "I should like just to
set eyes on him once again. But--it must be very soon, Mr. Arthur."
"You think so?" murmured Arthur.
"I know it, sir--I feel it. I do not say it before my wife, sir, for I
don't think she sees herself that I am so near the end, and it would
only grieve her. It _will_ grieve her, sir, whenever it comes, though
she may not care to show people that it does. I shall see you again, I
hope, Mr. Arthur?"
"That you shall be sure to do. I will not miss a day now, without
coming in. It will do me good to see you, Jenkins; to hear you tell me,
again, of your happy state of resignation."
"It is better than resignation, Mr. Arthur, it is a state of hope. Not
but that I shall leave some regrets behind me. My wife will be lone and
comfortless, and must trust to her own exertions only. And my poor old
"If I didn't know it! If I didn't know that, on some subject or other,
he'd be safe to be worrying himself, or it would not be him! I'd put
myself into my grave at once, if I were you, Jenkins. As good do it
that way, as by slow degrees."
Of course you cannot fail to recognize the voice. She entered at that
unlucky moment when Jenkins was alluding to his father. He attempted a
"My dear, I was not worrying. I was only telling Mr. Arthur Channing
that there were some things I should regret to leave. My poor old
father for one; he has looked to me, naturally, to help him a little
bit in his old age, and I would rather, so far as that goes, have been
spared to do it. But, neither that nor anything else can worry me now.
I am content to leave all to God."
"Was ever the like heard?" retorted Mrs. Jenkins, "Not worrying! _I_
know. If you were not worrying, you wouldn't be talking. Isn't old
Jenkins your father, and shan't I take upon myself to see that he does
not want? You know I shall, Jenkins. When do I ever go from my word?"
"My dear, I know you will do what's right," returned Jenkins, in his
patient meekness: "but the old man will feel it hard, my departing
before him. Are you going, sir?"
"I must go," replied Arthur, taking one of the thin hands. "I will
bring Charley in to-morrow."
Jenkins pressed Arthur's hand between his. "God bless you, Mr. Arthur,"
he fervently said. "May He be your friend for ever! May He render your
dying bed happy, as He has rendered mine!" And Arthur turned
away--never again to see Jenkins in life.
"Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when He cometh shall find
As Jenkins was, that night, when the message came for him.
IN WHAT DOES IT LIE?
Had the clerk of the weather been favoured with an express letter
containing a heavy bribe, a more lovely day could not have been secured
than that one in January which witnessed the marriage of Constance
Channing to the Rev. William Yorke.
The ceremony was over, and they were home again; seated at breakfast
with their guests. But only a few guests were present, and they for the
most part close friends: the Huntleys; Lady Augusta Yorke, and Gerald;
Mr. Galloway; and the Rev. Mr. Pye, who married them. It has since
become the fashion to have a superfluity of bridesmaids: I am not sure
that a young lady would consider herself legally married unless she
enjoyed the privilege. Constance, though not altogether a slave to
fashion, followed it, not in a very extensive degree. Annabel Channing,
Ellen Huntley, and Caroline and Fanny Yorke, had been the _demoiselles
d'honneur_. Charley's auburn curls had grown again, and Charley himself
was in better condition than when he arrived from his impromptu
excursion. For grandeur, no one could approach Miss Huntley; her
brocade silk stood on end, stiff, prim, and stately as herself. Judy,
in her way, was stately too; a curiously-fine lace cap on her head,
which had not been allowed to see the light since Charley's
christening, with a large white satin bow in front, almost as large as
the cap itself. And that was no despicable size.
The only one who did not behave with a due regard to what might be
expected of him, was Hamish--grievous as it is to have to record it. It
had been duly impressed upon Hamish that he was to conduct Miss Huntley
in to breakfast, etiquette and society consigning that lady to his
share. Mr. Hamish, however, chose to misconstrue instructions in the
most deplorable manner. He left Miss Huntley, a prey to whomsoever
might pick her up, and took in Miss Ellen. It might have passed,
possibly, but for Annabel, who appeared as free and unconcerned that
important morning as at other times.
"Hamish, that's wrong! It is Miss Huntley you are to take in; not
Hamish had grown suddenly deaf. He walked on with Ellen, leaving
confusion to right itself. Arthur stepped up in the dilemma, and the
tips of Miss Huntley's white-gloved fingers were laid upon his arm. It
would take her some time to forgive Hamish, favourite though he was.
Later on, Hamish took the opportunity of reading Miss Annabel a private
lecture on the expediency of minding her own business.
Hamish was in his new post now, at the bank: thoroughly
well-established. He had not yet taken up his abode in the house. It
was too large, he laughingly said, for a single man.
The breakfast came to an end, as other breakfasts do; and next,
Constance came down in her travelling dress. Now that the moment of
parting was come, Constance in her agitation longed for it to be over.
She hurriedly wished them adieu, and lifted her tearful face last to
Mr. Channing laid his hands upon her. "May God bless my dear child, and
be her guide and refuge for ever! William Yorke, it is a treasure of
great price that I have given you this day. May she be as good a wife
as she has been a daughter!"
Mr. Yorke, murmuring a few heartfelt words, put Constance into the
carriage, and they drove away.
"It will be your turn next," whispered Hamish to Ellen Huntley, who
stood watching the departure from one of the windows.
What Ellen would have said--whether she would have given any other
answer than that accorded by her blushing cheeks, cannot be told. The
whisper had not been quite so low as Hamish thought it, and it was
overheard by Mr. Huntley.
"There may be two words to that bargain, Mr. Hamish."
"Twenty, if you like, sir," responded Hamish, promptly, "so that they
be affirmative ones."
"Ellen," whispered Mr. Huntley, "would you have him, with all his
Ellen seemed ready to fall, and her eyes filled. "Do not joke now,
papa," was all she said.
Hamish caught her hand, and took upon himself the task of soothing her.
And Mr. Huntley relapsed into a smile, and did not hinder him.
But some one else was bursting into tears: as the sounds testified. It
proved to be Lady Augusta Yorke. A few tears might well be excused to
Mrs. Channing, on the occasion of parting with her ever-loving,
ever-dutiful child, but what could Lady Augusta have to cry about?
Lady Augusta was excessively impulsive: as you have long ago learned.
The happiness of the Channing family, in their social relations to each
other; the loving gentleness of Mr. and Mrs. Channing with their
children; the thorough respect, affection, duty, rendered to them by
the children in return--had struck her more than ever on this morning.
She was contrasting the young Channings with her own boys and girls,
and the contrast made her feel very depressed. Thus she was just in a
condition to go off, when the parting came with Constance, and the
burst took place as she watched the carriage from the door. Had any one
asked Lady Augusta why she cried, she would have been puzzled to state.
"Tell me!" she suddenly uttered, turning and seizing Mrs. Channing's
hands--"what makes the difference between your children and mine? My
children were not born bad, any more than yours were; and yet, look at
the trouble they give me! In what does it lie?"
"I think," said Mrs. Channing, quietly, and with some hesitation--for
it was not pleasant to say anything which might tacitly reflect on the
Lady Augusta--"that the difference in most children lies in the
bringing up. Children turn out well or ill, as they are trained; and in
accordance with this rule they will become our blessing or our grief."
"Ah, yes, that must be it," acquiesced Lady Augusta. "And yet--I don't
know," she rejoined, doubtingly. "Do you believe that so very much lies
in the training?"
"It does, indeed, Lady Augusta. God's laws everywhere proclaim it. Take
a rough diamond from a mine--what is it, unless you polish it, and cut
it, and set it? Do you see its value, its beauty, in its original
state? Look at the trees of our fields, the flowers and fruits of the
earth--what are they, unless they are pruned and cared for? It is by
cultivation alone that they can be brought, to perfection. And, if God
so made the productions of the earth, that it is only by our constant
attention and labour that they can be brought to perfection, would He,
think you, have us give less care to that far more important product,
our children's minds? _They_ may be trained to perfectness, or they may
be allowed to run to waste from neglect."
"Oh dear!" sighed Lady Augusta. "But it is a dreadful trouble, always
to be worrying over children."
"It is a trouble that, in a very short time after entering upon it,
grows into a pleasure," said Mrs. Channing. "I am sure that there is
not a mother, really training her children to good, who will not bear
me out in the assertion. It is a pleasure that they would not be
without. Take it from them, and the most delightful occupation of their
lives is gone. And think of the reward! Were there no higher end to be
looked for, it would be found in the loving obedience of the children.
You talk of the trouble, Lady Augusta: those who would escape trouble
with their children should be careful how they train them."
"I think I'll begin at once with mine," exclaimed Lady Augusta,
A smile crossed Mrs. Channing's lips, as she slightly shook her head.
None knew better than she, that training, to bear its proper fruit,
must be begun with a child's earliest years.
Meanwhile, the proctor was holding a conference with Mr. Channing.
"Presents seem to be the order of the day," he was remarking, in
allusion to sundry pretty offerings which had been made to Constance.
"I think I may as well contribute my mite--"
"Why, you have done it! You gave her a bracelet, you know," cried Miss
Annabel. For which abrupt interruption she was forthwith consigned to a
distance; and ran away, to be teased by Tom and Gerald.
"I have something in my pocket which I wish to give to Arthur; which I
have been intending for some time to give him," resumed Mr. Galloway,
taking from his pocket what seemed to be a roll of parchment. "Will you
accept them, Arthur?"
"Oh! Mr. Galloway--"
"No thanks, my boy. I am in your debt far deeper than I like to be! A
trifling thing such as this"--touching the parchment--"cannot wipe out
the suspicion I cast upon you, the disgrace which followed it. Perhaps
at some future time, I may be better able to atone for it. I hope we
shall be together many years, Arthur. I have no son to succeed to my
business, and it may be--But I will leave that until the future comes."
It was a valuable present gracefully offered, and Mr. Channing and
Arthur so acknowledged it, passing over the more important hint in
"Children," said Mr. Channing, as, the festivities of the day at an
end, and the guests departed, they were gathered together round their
fireside, bereft of Constance "what a forcible lesson of God's mercy
ought these last few months to teach us! Six months ago, there came to
us news that our suit was lost; other troubles followed upon it, and
things looked dark and gloomy. But I, for one, never lost my trust in
God; it was not for a moment shaken; and if you are the children I and
your mother have striven to bring up, you did not lose yours. Tom,"
turning suddenly upon him, "I fear you were the only impatient one."
Tom looked contrite. "I fear I was, papa."
"What good did the indulgence of your hasty spirit do you?"
"No good, but harm," frankly confessed Tom. "I hope it has helped me to
some notion of patience, though, for the future, papa."
"Ay," said Mr. Channing. "Hope on, strive on, work on, and trust on! I
believe that you made those your watchwords; as did I. And now, in an
almost unprecedentedly short time, we are brought out of our troubles.
While others, equally deserving, have to struggle on for years before
the cloud is lifted, it has pleased God to bring us wonderfully quickly
out of ours; to heap mercies and blessings, and a hopeful future upon
us. I may truly say, 'He has brought us to great honour, and comforted
us on every side.'"
"I HAVE BEEN YOUNG, AND NOW AM OLD; AND YET SAW I NEVER THE RIGHTEOUS
FORSAKEN, NOR HIS SEED BEGGING THEIR BREAD."