Part 6 out of 15
purpose, for whose good behaviour she would be held responsible, and it
was a relief when Mrs. Guthrie Brimston took him off her hands.
No healthy-minded human being likes to dwell on the misery which another
is suffering or has suffered, and it is, therefore, a comfort to know that
upon the whole, at this period of her life, Evadne was not at all unhappy.
She had her friends, her pleasures, and her occupations; the latter being
multifarious. The climate of Malta, at that time of the year, suited her
to perfection, and the picturesque place, with its romantic history and
strange traditions, was in itself an unfailing source of interest and
delight to her.
Dear old Mrs. Beale had kept her heart from hardening into bitterness just
by loving her, and giving her a good motherly hug now and then. When
Evadne was inclined to rail she would say: "Pity the wicked people, my
dear, pity them. Pity does more good in the world than blame, however well
deserved. You may soften a sinner by pitying him, but never by hard words;
and once you melt into the mood of pity yourself, you will be able to
endure things which would otherwise drive you mad."
Mrs. Malcomson helped her too. During that first burst of unpopularity
which she brought upon herself by daring to act upon her own perception of
right and wrong in defiance of the old established injustices of society,
when even the most kindly disposed hung back suspiciously, not knowing
what dangerous sort of a new creature she might eventually prove herself
to be--at the earliest mutter of that storm, Mrs. Malcomson came forward
boldly to support Evadne; and so also did Mrs. Sillinger.
Mr. St. John was another of Evadne's particular friends. He had injured
his health by excessive devotion to his duties, and been sent to Malta in
the hope that the warm bright climate might strengthen his chest, which
was his weak point, and restore him; but it was not really the right place
for him, and he had continued delicate throughout the winter, and required
little attentions which Evadne was happily able to pay him; and in this
way their early acquaintance had rapidly ripened into intimacy. He was a
clever man in his own profession, of exceptional piety, but narrow, which
did not, however, prevent him from being congenial to one side of Evadne's
nature. She had never doubted her religion. It was a thing apart from all
her knowledge and opinions, something to be _felt_, essentially, not
_known_ as anything but a pleasurable and elevating sensation, or
considered except in the way of referring all that is noble in thought and
action to the divine nature of its origin and influence; and she preserved
her deep reverence for the priesthood intact, and found both comfort and
spiritual sustenance in their ministrations. She still leaned to ritual,
and Mr. St. John was a ritualist, so that they had much in common; and
while she was able to pay him many attentions and show him great kindness,
for the want of which, as a bachelor and an invalid in a foreign place, he
must have suffered in his feeble state of health, he had it in his power
to take her out of herself. She said she was always the better for a talk
with him; and certainly the delicate dishes and wines and care generally
which she lavished upon him had as much to do as the climate with the
benefit he derived from his sojourn in Malta. They remained firm friends
always; and many years afterward, when he had become one of the most
distinguished bishops on the bench, he was able, from the knowledge and
appreciation of her character which he had gained in these early days, to
do her signal service, and save her from much stupid misrepresentation.
And last, among her friends, although one of the greatest, was Mr. Austin
B. Price. Evadne owed this kind, large-hearted, chivalrous gentleman much
gratitude, and repaid him with much affection. He was really the first to
discover that there was anything remarkable about her; and it was to him
she also owed a considerable further development of her originally feeble
sense of humour.
Mr. Price's first impression that she was an uncommon character had been
confirmed by one of those rapid phrases of hers which contained in a few
words the embodiment of feelings familiar to a multitude of people who
have no power to express them. She delivered it the third time they met,
which happened to be at another of those afternoon dances, held on board
the flag ship on that occasion. Colonel Colquhoun liked her to show
herself although she did not dance in the afternoon, so she was there,
sitting out, and Mr. Price was courteously endeavouring to entertain her.
"It surprises me," he said, "as an American, to find so little inclination
in your free and enlightened country to do away with your--politically
speaking--useless and extremely expensive Royal House."
"Well, you see," said Evadne, "we are deeply attached to our Royal House,
and we can well afford to keep it up."
It was this glimpse of the heart of the proud and patriotic little
aristocrat, true daughter of a nation great enough to disdain small
economies, and not accustomed to do without any luxury to which it is
attached, that appealed to Mr. Price, pleasing the pride of race with
which we contemplate any evidence of strength in our fellow-creatures,
whether it be strength of purpose or strength of passion, more than it
shocked his utilitarian prejudices.
When it was evident that Evadne had brought a good deal that was
disagreeable upon herself by her action in the matter of the Clarences,
old Mrs. Beale came to her one day in all kindliness to tell her the
private opinion of the friends who had stood by her loyally in public.
"I am sure you did it with the best motive, my dear, and it was bravely
done," the old lady said, patting her hand; "but be advised by those who
know the world, and have had more experience than you have had. Don't
interfere again. Interference does no good; and people will say such
things if you do! They will make you pay for your disinterestedness."
"But it seems to me that the question is not _Shall I have to pay?_
but _Am I not bound to pay?_" Evadne rejoined. "Neglecting to do what
is, to me, obviously the right thing, and making no endeavour but such as
is sure to be applauded--working in the hope of a reward, in fact, seems
to me to be a terribly old-fashioned idea, miserable remnant of the
bribery and corruption of the Dark Ages, when the people were kept in such
dense ignorance that they could be treated like children, and told if they
were good they should have this for a prize, but if they were bad they
should be punished."
"You are quite right, I am sure, my dear," rejoined Mrs. Beale; "but all
the same, I don't think I should interfere again, if I were you."
"It seems that I have not done the Clarences any good," Evadne murmured
one day to Mr. Price.
"Well, that was hardly to be expected," he answered--at which she raised
her eyebrows interrogatively. "Calumnies which attach themselves to a name
in a moment take a lifetime to remove, because such a large majority of
people prefer to think the worst of each other. The Clarences will have to
live down their own little difficulty. And what you have to consider now
is, not how little benefit they have derived from your brave defense of
them, but how many other people you may have saved from similar attacks. I
fancy it will be some time before people will venture to spread scandals
of the kind here in Malta again. You have taught them a lesson; you may be
sure of that; so don't be disheartened and lose sight of the final result
in consideration of immediate consequences. The hard part of teaching is
that the teacher himself seldom sees anything of the good he has done."
It was very evident at this time that Evadne's view of life was becoming
much too serious for her own good; and, perceiving this, Mr. Price let
fall some words one day in the course of conversation which she afterward
treasured in her heart to great advantage. "It is our duty to be happy,"
he said. "Every human being is entitled to a certain amount of pleasure in
life. But, in order to be happy, you must think of the world as a
mischievous big child; let your attitude be one of amused contempt so long
as you detect no vice in the mischief; once you do, however, if you have
the gift of language, use it, lash out unmercifully! And don't desist
because the creature howls at you. The louder it howls the more you may
congratulate yourself that you have touched it on the right spot, which is
sure to be tender."
But he did not limit his kindly attentions to the giving of good advice;
in fact, he very seldom gave advice at all; what he chiefly did was to
devise distractions for her which should take her out of herself; and one
of these was a children's party which he induced her to give at Christmas.
The party was to take place on Christmas Eve, and the whole of the day
before and far into the night the Colquhoun house was thronged with actors
rehearsing charades and tableaux, and officers painting and preparing
decorations, and putting them up. All were in the highest spirits; the
talk and laughter were incessant; the work was being done with a will, and
none of them looked as if they had ever had a sorrowful thought in their
lives--least of all Evadne, whose gaiety seemed the most spontaneous of
Late at night she had come to the hall with nails for the decorators, and
was handing them up as they were wanted by those on the ladders. The men
were in their shirt sleeves, the most becoming dress that a gentleman ever
appears in; and during a pause she happened to notice Colonel Colquhoun,
who had stepped back to judge the effect of some drapery he was putting
up. Mr. Price was a little behind him, and two of the younger men, the
three making an excellent foil to Colonel Colquhoun. Evadne was struck by
the contrast. The outside aspect of the man still pleased her. There was
no doubt that he was a fine specimen of his species, a splendid animal to
look at; what a pity he should have had a regrettable past, the kind of
past, too, which can never be over and done with! A returned convict is
always a returned convict, and a vicious man reformed is not repaired by
the process. The stigma is in his blood.
Evadne sighed. She was too highly tempered, well-balanced a creature to be
the victim of any one passion, and least of all of that transient state of
feeling miscalled "Love." Physical attraction, moral repulsion: that was
what she was suffering from; and now involuntarily she sighed--a sigh of
rage for what might have been; and just at that moment, Colonel Colquhoun,
happening to look at her, found her eyes fixed on him with a strange
expression. Was there going to be a chance for him after all?
He did not understand Evadne. He had no conception of the human
possibility of anything so perfect as her self-control; and when she
showed no feeling, he took it for granted that it was because she had
none. But during the games next day he obtained a glimpse of her heart
which surprised him. She had paid a forfeit, and, in order to redeem it,
she was requested to state her favourite names, gentlemen's and ladies'.
"Barbara, Evelyn, Julia, Elizabeth, Pauline, Mary, Bertram, and Evrard,"
she answered instantly. "I do not know if I think them the most beautiful
names, but they are the ones that I love the best, and have always in my
Colonel Colquhoun's countenance set upon this. They were the names of her
brothers and sisters, whom she never mentioned to him by any chance, and
whom he had not imagined that she ever thought of; yet it seemed that they
were always in her mind! He had so little conception of the depth and
tenderness of her nature, or of her fidelity, that had he been required to
put his feelings on the subject into words before this revelation, he
would, without a moment's hesitation, have declared her to be cold, and
wanting in natural affection, a girl with "views," and no heart. But after
this, a few questions and a very little observation served to convince him
that she not only cared for her friends, especially her brothers and
sisters, but fretted for their companionship continually in secret, and
felt the separation all the more because her father's harsh prohibition
was still in force, and none of them were allowed to write to her, her
mother excepted, whose letters, however, came but rarely now, and were
always unsatisfactory. The truth was that the poor lady had relapsed into
slavery, and been nagged into an outward show of acquiescence in her
husband's original mandate which forbade her to correspond with her
recalcitrant daughter; and, in her attempts to conceal her relapse from
the latter, and at the same time to keep Mr. Frayling quiet under the
conviction that her submission was genuine, the style of her letters
suffered considerably, and their numbers tended always to diminish. But
the thing that touched Colonel Colquhoun was the care which Evadne had
taken to conceal her trouble from him, the fact that she had not allowed a
single complaint to escape her, or made a sign that might have worried him
by implying a reproach. He had his moments of good feeling, however, and
his kindly impulses too, being, as already asserted, anything but a
monster; and under the influence of one of them, he sat down and wrote a
sharp remonstrance to Mr. Frayling, which, however, only drew from that
gentleman an expression of his sincere admiration for his son-in-law's
generous disposition, and of his regret that a daughter of his should
behave so badly to one who could show himself so nobly forgiving, with a
reiteration of his determination, however, not to countenance her until
she should "come to her senses"--so that no actual good was done, although
doubtless Colonel Colquhoun himself was the better for acting on the
It was about this time that he became aware of the fact that Evadne had
gradually formed a party of her own, and was making his house a centre of
attraction to all the best people in the place. He knew that such support
was an evidence of her strength, and would only confirm her in her
"views," especially when even those who had opposed her most bitterly at
first were caught intriguing to get into the Colquhoun house clique; but
naturally he was gratified by a position which reflected credit upon
himself; his respect for Evadne increased, and consequently they became,
if possible, better friends than ever.
On the day following her children's party, Evadne went to see Edith. She
always went there when she felt brain-fagged and world-weary, and came
away refreshed. Edith's ignorance of life amazed and perplexed her. She
thought it foolish, and she thought it unsafe for a mature young woman to
know no more of the world than a child does, but still she shrank from
sharing the pain of her own knowledge with her, and had never had the
heart to say a word that might disturb her beautiful serenity. She showed
some selfishness in that. She could be a child in mind again with Edith,
and only with Edith, and it was really for her own pleasure that she
avoided all serious discussion with the latter, although she firmly
persuaded herself that it was entirely out of deference to Mrs. Beale's
wishes and prejudices.
She owed a great deal, as has already been said, to Mrs. Beale. When her
attitude began to attract attention and provoked criticism, the old lady
declined emphatically to hear a word against her from anybody, and so
supported her in public; while in private the influence of her sweet
old-fashioned womanliness was restraining in the way that Mrs. Orton Beg
had foreseen; it was a check upon Evadne, and prevented her from going too
far and fast at a time. Argument would not have hindered her; but when
Mrs. Beale was present, she often suppressed a fire-brand of a phrase,
because it would have wounded her.
As she went out that afternoon she met old Lord Groome on the doorstep,
just coming to call on her, and hesitated a moment between asking him in
or allowing him to accompany her as far as Mrs. Beale's, but decided on
the latter because she would get rid of him so much the sooner. Her
attitude toward him, however, was kindly and tolerant as a rule, and she
was even amused by his curious conceit. He was always ready to express
what he called an opinion on any subject, but more especially when it bore
reference to legislation and the government of peoples generally, for he
was comfortably confident that he had inherited the brain power necessary
for a legislator as well as a seat in the House of Lords and the position
of one--a pardonable error, surely, since it is so very common. Socially
he lived in a comfortable conception of the fitness of things that were
agreeable to him, morally he did not exist at all, religiously he
supported the Established Church, and politically he believed in every
antiquated error still extant, in which respect most of his friends
"Ah, and so you are going to see Miss Beale? That's right," he observed
patronisingly. "I like to see one young lady with her work in her hand
tripping in to sit and chat with another, and while away the long hours
till the gentlemen return. One can imagine all their little jests and
confidences. Young ladyhood is charming to contemplate."
The implication that a young lady has no great interest in life but in
"the return of the gentlemen," and that, while awaiting them, her pursuits
must of necessity be petty and trivial, both amused and provoked Evadne,
and she answered with a dry enigmatical, "Yes-s-s."
A few steps further on, they overtook that soft-voiced person of "singular
views," Mrs. Malcomson, from whom Lord Groome would have fled had he seen
her in time, for they detested each other cordially, and she never spared
him. She was strolling along alone with her eyes cast down, humming a
little tune to herself, and thinking. There was a tinge of colour in her
cheeks, for the air was fresh for Malta; her eyes were bright, her hair as
usual had broken from bondage into little brown curls, all crisp and
shining, on her forehead and neck, and her lips were parted as if they
only waited for an excuse to break into a smile. A healthier, pleasanter,
happier, handsomer young woman Lord Groome could not have wished to
encounter, and consequently his disapproval of those "absurd new-fangled
notions of hers" which were "an effectual bar, sir," as he said himself,
"the kind of thing that destroys a woman's charm, and makes it impossible
to get on with her," mounted to his forehead in a frown of perplexity.
"What are you so busy about?" Evadne asked her.
"My profession," she answered laconically.
"And what is that?" Lord Groome inquired, with that ponderous affectation
of playfulness which he believed to be acceptable to women.
"The Higher Education of Man," she rejoined, then darted down a side
"I am afraid you are too intimate with that lady," Lord Groome observed
severely, "You must not allow yourself to be bitten by her revolutionary
ideas. She is a dangerous person."
"Not 'revo'--but evolutionary," Evadne answered, smiling. "Yes. Mrs.
Malcomson has taught me a great deal. She is a very remarkable person. The
world will hear more of her, I am sure, and be all the better for her
passage through it. But here we are. Thank you for accompanying me. What a
hot afternoon! Good-bye!"
She shook hands with him, then opened the door and walked in, leaving him
He felt the dismissal somewhat summary, but shrugged his shoulders
philosophically and walked on, reflecting, _a propos_ of Mrs.
Malcomson: "That's just the way with women! When they begin to have ideas
they spread them everywhere, and all the other women in the neighbourhood
catch them, and are spoiled by them."
Evadne's spirits had risen in the open air, but the moment she found
herself alone a reaction set in.
The hall was dark and cool, and she stopped there, thinking--Oh, the
dissatisfaction of it all!
There were no servants about, and the house seemed curiously still. She
heard the ripple of running water from an unseen fountain somewhere, and
the intermittent murmur of voices in a room close by, but there is a
silence that broods above such sounds, and this it was that Evadne felt.
Close to where she stood was a divan with some tall foliage plants behind
it, and she sat down there, and, leaning forward with her arms resting on
her knees, began listlessly to trace out the pattern of the pavement with
the point of her parasol. She had no notion why she was lingering there
alone, when she had come out for the sole purpose of not being alone; but
the will to do anything else had suddenly forsaken her. Her mind, however,
had become curiously active all at once, in a jerky, disconnected sort of
"Lord Groome--thank Heaven for having got rid of him so easily! I was
afraid it would be more difficult. Poor foolish old man! Yes. It is
ridiculous that the destinies of nations should hang on the size of one
man's liver. Where did I hear that now? It seems as old--old--as the
iniquity itself. Subjects get into the air--I heard someone say that too,
by-the-way--here--soon after I came out. Who was it? Oh--the dance on the
_Abomination_. Mrs. Malcomson and Mr. Price. _He_ said subjects
were diseases which got into the air; _she_ said they were more like
perfumes. Now, _I_ should not have compared them with either--"
The door of the room where the voices had been murmuring intermittently
opened at that moment, and Edith came out, followed by Menteith.
It was a vision which Evadne never forgot.
Edith was dressed in ivory white, and wore a brooch of turquoise and
diamonds at her throat, a buckle of the same at her waist, and a very
handsome ring, also of turquoise and diamonds, on the third finger of her
left hand. Evadne took the ornaments in at a glance. She had seen all that
Edith had hitherto possessed, and these were new; but she did not for a
moment attach any significance to the fact. It was Edith's radiant face
that riveted her attention. A bright flush flickered on her delicate
cheek, deepening or fading at every breath; her large eyes floated in
light; even the bright strands of her yellow hair shone with unusual
lustre; her step was so buoyant she scarcely seemed to touch the ground at
all; she was all shy smiles; and as she came, with her slender white right
hand she played with the new ring she wore on her left, fingering it
nervously. But anyone more ecstatically happy than she seemed it is
impossible to imagine. Menteith could not take his eyes off her. He seemed
to gloat over every item of her appearance.
"Oh, here is Evadne!" she exclaimed in a voice of welcome, running up to
the latter and kissing her with peculiar tenderness. Then she turned and
looked up at Menteith, then back again at Evadne, wanting to say
something, but not liking to.
With a start of surprise, Evadne awoke to the significance of all this,
and she knew, too, what was expected of her; but she could not say, "I
congratulate you!" try as she would. "I will wait for you in the drawing
room," was all she was able to gasp, and she hastened off in that
direction as she spoke.
"How can you care so much for that cold, unsympathetic woman?" Menteith
"She is not cold and unsympathetic," Edith rejoined emphatically. "I am
afraid there is something wrong. I must go and see what it is. O Mosley! I
feel all chilled! It is a bad omen!"
"This is a bad damp hall," he answered, laughing at her, "you are too
sensitive to changes of temperature."
It seemed so really, for her colour had faded, and she had not recovered
it when she appeared in the drawing room.
Evadne was standing in the middle of the room alone, waiting for her.
"Edith! You are not going to marry that dreadful man?" she exclaimed.
Edith stopped short, astonished.
"_Dreadful man_!" she gasped. "Yon must be mad, Evadne!"
Mrs. Beale came into the room just as Edith uttered these words, and
overheard them. She had been on the point of happy smiles and tears,
expecting kind congratulations, but at the tone of Edith's voice almost
more than at what she had said, and at the sight of the two girls standing
a little apart looking into each other's faces in alarm and horror, her
own countenance changed, and an expression of blank inquiry succeeded the
smiles, and dried the tears.
"Oh, Mrs. Beale!" Evadne entreated; "you are not going to let Edith marry
that dreadful man!"
"Mother! she will keep saying that!" Edith exclaimed.
"My dear child, what _do_ you mean?" Mrs. Beale said gently to
Evadne, taking her hand.
"I mean that he is bad--thoroughly bad," said Evadne.
"Why! Now tell me, what do you know about him?" the old lady asked,
leading Evadne to a sofa, and making her sit down beside her upon it. Her
manner was always excessively soothing, and the first heat of Evadne's
indignation began to subside as she came under the influence of it.
"I don't know anything about him," she answered confusedly; "but I don't
like the way he looks at me!"
"Oh, come, now! that is childish!" Mrs. Beale said, smiling.
"No, it is not! I am sure it is not!" Evadne rejoined, knitting her brows
in a fruitless endeavour to grasp some idea that evaded her, some item of
information that had slipped from her mind. "I feel--I have a
consciousness which informs me of things my intellect cannot grasp. And I
_do_ know!" she exclaimed, her mental vision clearing as she
proceeded. "I have heard Colonel Colquhoun drop hints."
"And you would condemn him upon hints?" Edith interjected contemptuously.
"I know that if Colonel Colquhoun hints that there is something
objectionable about a man it must be something very objectionable indeed,"
Evadne answered, cooling suddenly.
Edith turned crimson.
"Evadne--_dear_," Mrs. Beale remonstrated, patting her hand
emphatically to restrain her. "Edith has accepted him because she loves
him, and that is enough."
"If it were love it would be," Evadne answered. "But it is not love she
feels. Prove to her that this man is not a fit companion for her, and she
will droop for a while, and then recover. The same thing would happen if
you separated them for years without breaking off the engagement. Love
which lasts is a condition of the mature mind; it is a fine compound of
inclination and knowledge, controlled by reason, which makes the object of
it, not a thing of haphazard, but a matter of choice. Mrs. Beale," she
reiterated, "you will not let Edith marry that dreadful man!"
"My dear child," Mrs. Beale replied, speaking with angelic mildness, "your
mind is quite perverted on this subject, and how it comes to be so I
cannot imagine, for your mother is one of the sweetest, truest, most long
suffering _womanly_ women I ever knew. And so is Lady Adeline
Hamilton-Wells--and Mrs. Orton Beg. You have been brought up among womanly
women, none of whom ever even _thought_ such things as you do not
hesitate to utter, I am sure."
"I once heard a discussion between Lady Adeline and Aunt Olive," Evadne
rejoined. "It was about a lady who had a very bad husband, and had
patiently endured a great deal. 'It is beautiful--pathetic--pitiful to see
a woman making the best of a bad bargain in that way,' Aunt Olive said.
'It may be all that,' Lady Adeline answered; '_but is it right?_ If
this generation would object to bad bargains, the next would have fewer to
make the best of.'"
"Ah, that is so like dear Adeline!" Mrs. Beale observed. "But what a
memory you have, my dear, to be able to give the exact words!"
Evadne's countenance fell. She was disheartened, but still she persisted.
"It is you good women," she said, clasping Mrs. Beale's hand in both of
hers, and holding it to her breast: "It is you good women who make
marriage a lottery for us. You, for instance. Because you drew a prize
yourself, you see no reason why every other woman should not be equally
"I think, when people make _quite_ sure beforehand that they love
each other, they are safe--even when the man has _not_ been all that
he ought to have been. Love is a great purifier, and love for a good woman
has saved many a man," Mrs. Beale declared with the fervour of full
"That is presuming that a man 'who has not been all that he ought to have
been' is still able to love," said Evadne, "which is not the case. We are
all endowed with the power to begin with; but love is a delicate essence,
as volatile as it is delicious; and when a man's moral fibre is loosened,
his share of love escapes. But this is not the point," she broke off,
dropping Mrs. Beale's hand, and gathering herself together. "The trouble
now is that you are going to let Edith throw herself away on a man you
know nothing about--"
"Ah, my dear, _there_ you are mistaken," Mrs. Beale interrupted,
comfortably triumphant. "They have known each other all their lives. They
used to play together as children; and when I wrote to ask her father's
consent to the engagement, he replied that the one thing which could
reconcile him to parting with Edith was her choice of a man who had grown
up under our own eyes. I can assure you that we know his faults quite as
well as his good qualities."
"I thought you would like to have me in the regiment, Evadne," Edith
ventured with timid reproach.
"I would not like to have you anywhere as that man's wife," Evadne
"Well, if he is," said Edith, with a flash of enthusiasm, "if he is
_bad_, I will make him good; if he is lost, I will save him!"
"Spoken like a true woman, dearest!" her mother said, rising to kiss her,
and then standing back to look up at her with yearning love and
Evadne rose also with a heavy sigh. "I know how you feel," she said to
Edith drearily. "You glow and are glad from morning till night. You have a
great yearning here," she clasped her hands to her breast. "You find a new
delight in music, a new beauty in flowers; unaccountable joy in the warmth
and brightness of the sun, and rapture not to be contained in the quiet
moonlight. You despise yourself, and think your lover worthy of adoration.
The consciousness of him never leaves you even in your sleep. He is your
last thought at night, your first in the morning. Even when he is away
from you, you do not feel separated from him as you do from other people,
for a sense of his presence remains with you, and you flatter yourself
that your spirits mingle when your bodies are apart. You think, too, that
the source of all this ecstasy is holy because it is pleasurable; you
imagine it will last forever!"
Edith stared at her. That Evadne should know the entrancement of love
herself so exactly, and not reverence it as holy, amazed her.
"And you call it love," Evadne added, as if she had read her thought; "but
it is not love. The threshold of love and hate adjoin, and it--this
feeling--stands midway between them, an introduction to either. It is
always a question, as marriages are now made, whether, when passion has
had time to cool, husband and wife will love or detest each other. But
what is the use of talking?" she exclaimed. "You will not heed me. It is
too late now." She turned and walked toward the door; but Edith caught her
by the arm and stopped her.
"Evadne! Do not go like this!" she entreated, with a sob in her voice.
"Wish me well at least!"
"I _do_ wish you well," said Evadne. "With what other motive could I
have said so much? But I ask again, what is the use? Your parents are
content to let you marry a man of whose private life they have no
Mrs. Beale interrupted her: "This is not quite the case," she confessed.
"We _do_ know that there have been errors; but all that is over now,
and it would be wicked of us not to believe the best, and hope for the
best. A young man in his position has great temptations--"
"And if he succumbs, he is pardoned because of his position!"
"Oh, come, now, Evadne!" Mrs. Beale remonstrated, "You cannot think that
such a consideration affects our decision. His position and property are
very nice in themselves, and indeed all that we care about in that way for
Edith, but we were not thinking about either when we gave our consent. It
is the dear fellow himself that we want--"
"I can make him all that he ought to be! I know I can!" Edith exclaimed
fervently, clasping her hands, and looking up, with bright eyes full of
confidence and passion.
Evadne said not another word, but kissed them both, and left the house.
"Mother! how strange Evadne is!" Edith ejaculated.
Mrs. Beale shook her head several times. "I heard that she had some
trouble at the outset of her own married life," she said. "I don't know
what it was; but doubtless it accounts for her manner to-day. Don't think
about it, however. She will recover her right-mindedness as she grows
older. A little shock upsets a girl's judgment very often; but she is so
clever and conscientious, she will certainly get over it. But you are
quite agitated yourself, dear. Come! think no more about what she said!
Her own marriage quite disproves all her arguments, for Colonel Colquhoun
was notoriously just the kind of man she would have us believe Mosley is,
and see what she has done for him, and how well they get on together!
Think no more about it, dear child, but come out with me. The air will
tranquillize us both."
On her way home, Evadne overtook Mr. St. John. He was walking slowly with
his chin on his chest, looking down, and his whole demeanour was
expressive of deep dejection.
He looked up with a start when Evadne overtook him, and their eyes met.
"You have heard?" she said.
He made an affirmative gesture.
"I never--never dreamt of such a thing," she went on. "I thought--I hoped--
pardon me, but I hoped it would be you. She liked you so much. I know she
"But not enough, for she refused me," he answered gently. "But doubtless
it is all for the best. _His_ ways are not our ways, you know, and we
suffer because we are too proud to resign ourselves to manifestations of
His wisdom, which are beyond our comprehension. When you came up, I was
feeling as if I could never say 'Thy will be done' with my whole heart,
fervently, in this matter, but since you spoke to me, I think I can."
Evadne took his arm, and the gentle pressure of her hand upon it expressed
her heartfelt sympathy eloquently.
"If it had been anyone else, I thought at first--but, doubtless,
doubtless, it is all for the best!" he added; and then he raised his head,
and changed the subject bravely.
But Evadne did not hear what he was saying, for suddenly she found herself
on the cliffs at home, and it was a scented summer morning; the air was
balmy, the sun was shining, the little waves rippled up over the sand, the
birds were singing, and the dew-drops hung on the yellow gorse; but that
joy in her own being which lent a charm to these was wanting, and the
songs seemed tuneless, the scent oppressive, the sea all sameness, the
land a waste, and the sun itself a glaring garish baldness of light, that
accentuated her own disconsolation, the length of a life that is not worth
living, and the size of a world which contains no corner of comfort in all
its pitiless expanse. And it was the same story too. She was witnessing
the same mystery of love rejected--the same worthiness for the same
unworthiness; the same fine discipline of resignation, which made the pain
of it endurable; listening to the same old pulpit platitudes even, which
have such force of soothing when reverently expressed. She and Edith were
very different types of girlhood, and it seemed a strange coincidence that
their opportunities should have been identical nevertheless; but not
singular that their action should have been the same, because the force of
nature which controlled them is a matter of constitution more than of
character, and subject only to a training which neither of them had
received, and without which, instead of ruling, they are ruled
Evadne had quite forgotten by this time all her first fine feelings on the
subject of a celibate priesthood. She now held that the laws of nature are
the laws of God, and marriage is a law of nature which there is no
evidence that God has ever rescinded.
Evadne had not heard what Mr. St. John was saying, and she did not care to
hear; she knew that it was not relevant to anything which either of them
had in their minds; but still held his arm, and looked up at him
sympathetically when he paused for a reply, and at that moment Colonel
Colquhoun, accompanied by Sir Mosley Menteith, turned out of a side street
just behind them, and followed on in the same direction. When Menteith saw
the two walking so familiarly arm in arm, he glanced at Colonel Colquhoun
out of the comers of his eyes to see how he took it. But Colonel
Colquhoun's face remained serenely impassive.
"Easy!" he said. "We won't overtake them till we arrive at the house. I
expect he is seeing her home, and as Mrs. Colquhoun is only at her best
_tete-a-tete_, it would be a shame to deprive him of the small
recompense he will get for his trouble." He twisted his moustache and
continued to look at the pair thoughtfully when he had spoken, and
Menteith glanced at him again to see if he might not perchance be
concealing some secret annoyance under an affectation of easy
indifference, but there was not a trace of anything of the kind apparent.
"There is no doubt that women _do_ cling to the clergy," was the
outcome of Colonel Colquhoun's reflections--"I mean metaphorically
speaking, of course," he hastened to add with a laugh, perceiving the
double construction that might be put on the remark in view of the
situation. "Now, there is only one fellow on the island that Evadne cares
for as much as she does for her friend there, I think she likes the other
"You mean yourself, of course," said Menteith.
"No, I don't mean myself, of course," Colonel Colquhoun answered, "Putting
myself out of the question. It is Price, I mean."
"That dried-up old chap?" Menteith exclaimed. "Well, he's pretty safe, I
should say! And I should never be jealous of a parson myself. Women always
treat them _de haut en bas_."
"I believe, sir, that Mrs. Colquhoun is perfectly 'safe' with anyone whom
she may choose for a friend," Colonel Colquhoun said with an emphasis
which made Menteith apologize immediately.
Colonel Colquhoun asked Evadne that evening what she thought of the
"I think it detestable," she answered.
"Well, I think it a pity myself," he said. "She's such a nice looking girl
Evadne turned to him with a flash of hope. "Can't you do something?" she
exclaimed. "Can't you prevent it?"
"Absolutely impossible," he answered. "And I beg as a favour to myself
that you won't try."
"I have done my best already," she said.
"Then you have made your friends enemies for life," he declared. "A girl
like that won't give up a man she loves even for such considerations as
have made you indifferent to my happiness--and welfare."
Evadne perceived the contradiction involved in commending Edith for doing
what he considered it a pity that she _should_ do; but she recognized
her own impotence also, and was silent. It was the system, the horrid
system that was to blame, and neither he, nor she, nor any of them.
Colonel Colquhoun ruminated for a little.
"It is rather curious," he finally observed, "that you should both have
shied at the parsons, seeing how very particular you are."
"Who told you we had both--refused a clergyman?" Evadne asked.
"Everybody in Malta knows that St. John proposed to Miss Beale," he
answered, "and your father told me about the offer you had. He remarked at
the time that girls will only have manly men, and that therefore we
soldiers get the pick of them."
Evadne was silent. She was thinking of something her father had once
remarked in her presence on the same subject: "I have observed," he had
said, in his pompous way, "that the clergy carry off all the nicest girls.
You will see some of the finest, who have money of their own too, marry
quite commonplace parsons. But the reason is obvious. It is their faith in
the superior moral probity of Churchmen which weighs with them."
The Scales went home the following week to prepare for the wedding, which
was to take place immediately. They both wrote to Evadne kindly before
they left, and she replied in the same tone, but she could not persuade
herself to see them again, nor did they wish it.
END OF BOOK II.
DEVELOPMENT AND ARREST OF DEVELOPMENT.
_Fury_: Blood thou canst see, and fire; and canst hear groans;--
Worse things, unheard, unseen, remain behind.
_Fury_: In each human heart terror survives
The ravin it has gorged. The loftiest fear
All that they would disdain to think were true:
Hypocrisy and Custom make their minds
The fanes of many a worship now outworn.
They dare not devise good for man's estate,
And yet they know not that they do not dare.
The good want power but to weep barren tears:
The powerful goodness want,--worse need for them:
The wise want love: and those who love want wisdom:
And all best things are thus confused to ill.
Many are strong and rich and would be just,
But live among their suffering fellow-men
As if none felt: they know not what they do.
Edith was married in the cathedral at Morningquest, and of course the
twins were present at the wedding. From what social gathering were they
ever excluded if they chose to be present? Mrs. Beale had not thought of
asking them at all, but Angelica intimated, in her royal way, that she
wished to be a bridesmaid, and Diavolo must be a page, and Lady Adeline
begged Mrs. Beale for Heaven's sake to arrange it so, lest worse should
come of it.
But the twins did not enjoy the occasion at all, for the truth was that
they were not as they had been. Angelica was rapidly outstripping Diavolo,
as was inevitable at that age. He was still a boy, but she was verging on
womanhood, and already had thoughts which did not appeal to him, and moods
which he could not comprehend, the consequence being continual quarrels
between them,--those quarrels in which people are hottest and bitterest,
not because of their hate, but because of their love for each other. There
is such agony in misunderstanding and blame when all has hitherto been
comprehension, approval, and sympathy. The shadow of approaching maturity,
which would separate them inevitably for the next few years, already
touched Angelica perceptibly; and, although to the onlookers they seemed
to treat each other as usual, both children felt that there was something
wrong, and their discomfort was all the greater because neither of them
could account for the change. Angelica had been for some time in her most
hoydenish, least human stage, during which she had given up hugging
Diavolo, and taken to butting him in the stomach instead. But she was
growing beyond that now, and was in fact just on the borderland, hovering
between two states: in the one of which she was a child, all nonsense and
mischievous tricks; and in the other a girl with tender impulses and
yearning senses seeking some satisfaction.
She and Diavolo had promised themselves some fun at Edith's wedding, but
when the morning came Angelica was moody and irritable, and Diavolo
watched her and waited in vain for a suggestion. When they were in the
cathedral, during the ceremony, she had a strange feeling that there was
something in it ail that specially concerned her, and she looked at Edith
and listened to the service intently, in an involuntary effort to obtain
some clue to her own sensations.
Diavolo, who was all sympathy when there was anything really wrong with
her, became alarmed.
"Does your stomach ache?" he whispered. (They were kneeling side by side.)
"No!" she answered shortly.
"Oh, then, I suppose there is something _morally_ wrong," he
observed, in a satisfied tone, as if he knew from experience that that was
a small thing compared with the other complaint.
They sat together at the wedding breakfast, but Angelica continued
Diavolo had brought a big boiled shrimp in his pocket.
It was black and of great age, and he managed to fasten it adroitly on the
shoulder of the lady who sat next him, so that its long antenna tickled
her neck, and provoked her attention to it.
Glancing down sideways, and catching a glimpse of black eyes and many
legs, she thought it was some horrid creature with a sting, and jumped up,
shrieking wildly, to everybody's consternation.
Angelica declared it was a stupid trick.
"Well, you put me up to it yourself," Diavolo grumbled.
"Did I?" she snapped. "Then I was wrong."
Somebody began to make a speech, which was all in praise of the lovely
bride; and Diavolo, listening to it, and remembering that he had wished to
marry her himself, became intensely sentimental. He recovered his shrimp,
and laying it out on the cloth before him gazed at it in a melancholy way.
"All the nice girls marry," he complained, thinking of Evadne.
"Well, what's that to you?" Angelica demanded, with a jealous flash.
"Only that I suppose you also will marry and leave me some day," he
readily responded. Diavolo was nothing if not courtly.
But Angelica knew him, and resented this attempt to impose upon her.
"I despise you!" she exclaimed; and then she turned to Mr. Kilroy of
Ilverthorpe, who was her neighbour on the right, and made great friends
with him to spite Diavolo; but the latter was engrossed in his breakfast
by that time, and took no notice.
When they got back to Hamilton House, Mr. Ellis asked her how she had
enjoyed the wedding.
"It made me feel _sick_," she said; and then she got a book, and
flinging herself down on a window seat, with her long legs straggling out
behind her and her face to the light, made a pretence of reading.
Diavolo hovered about her with a dismal face, trying to devise some method
of taking her out of herself.
"My ear does bother me," he said at last, sitting down beside her with his
back to the window, and his legs stretched straight out before him close
together. "I feel as if I could tear it off."
"No, don't; you might want it again!" Angelica retorted, and then, the
observation striking her as ludicrous, she looked up at him and grinned,
and so broke the ice.
Mr. Ellis was the first to notice signs of the impending change in
Angelica. Although she was over fifteen, she had no coquettish or womanly
ways, insisted on wearing her dresses up to her knees, expressed the
strongest objection to being grown-up and considered a young lady, and had
never been known to look at herself in the glass; but she began to be less
teasing and more sympathetic, and sometimes now, if the tutor were tired
or worried, she noticed it, and pulled Diavolo up for being a nuisance.
The day after the wedding, in the afternoon, Dr. Galbraith walked over
from Fountain Towers to Hamilton House, through the fields, and
encountered Lord Dawne in the porch. It was lovely summer weather.
"I am looking for the children," Lord Dawne said. "I have come over from
Morne with a message for them from their grandfather. Do you happen to
have seen them anywhere?"
"Yes, I have," Dr. Galbraith answered drily, but with a twinkle in his
eyes. "I discovered them just now in a field of mine--a hayfield--not that
they were making any pretence of hiding themselves, however," he hastened
to add, "for they were each sitting on the top of a separate haycock,
carrying on an animated discussion in tones as elevated as their position,
so that I heard them long before I saw them. They will end the discussion
by demolishing my haycocks, I suppose," he concluded resignedly.
"What was it all about?" Lord Dawne asked.
"Well, I believe they started with the vexed question of primogeniture,"
Dr. Galbraith replied; "but when I came up with them they were quarrelling
because they could not agree as to whether they were more their father's
or their mother's children. Angelica maintained the latter, for reasons
which she gave at the top of her voice with admirable accuracy. When I
appeared they both appealed to me to confirm their opinions, but I fled. I
am not so advanced as the Heavenly Twins."
Lord Dawne looked grave: "What will become of the child, Angelica?" he
"Oh, you needn't be anxious about her," Dr. Galbraith replied, looking
full at him with sympathy and affection in his kind gray eyes. "She has no
vice in her whatever, and not a trace of hysteria. Her talk is mere
exuberance of intellect."
"I don't know," her uncle answered. "_Qui peut tout dire arrive a tout
faire_, you know."
"I find that falsified continually in my profession," Dr. Galbraith
rejoined. "It depends entirely as a rule upon how the thing is said, and
why. If it be a matter of inclination only, controlled by fear of the law
or public opinion which is expressed, the aphorism would hold, probably;
but language which is the outcome of moods or phases that are transient
makes no permanent mark upon the character."
Lord Dawne took Dr. Galbraith to the drawing room, where they found Lady
Adeline with Mr. Hamilton-Wells and the tutor. Mr. Ellis had been a great
comfort to Lady Adeline ever since he came to the house. She felt, she
said, that she should always owe him a deep debt of gratitude for his
patient care of her terrible children.
"You are just in time for tea, George," she said to Dr. Galbraith. "Dawne,
you had better wait here for the children. They won't be late this
afternoon, I am sure, because Mr. Kilroy of Ilverthorpe is here, and
Angelica likes him to talk to."
"Ah, now you do surprise me," said Dr. Galbraith, "for I should have
thought that Mr. Kilroy was the last person in the world to interest
"And so he is," Mr. Hamilton-Wells observed in his precisest way, "and she
does not profess to find him interesting. But what she says is that she
must talk, and he does for a target to talk at."
Lady Adeline looked anxiously at the door while her husband was speaking.
She was in terror lest Mr. Kilroy should come in and hear him, for Mr.
Hamilton-Wells had a habit of threshing his subject out, even when it was
obviously unfortunate, and would not allow himself to be interrupted by
He made his favourite gesture with his hands when he had spoken, which
consisted in spreading his long white fingers out as if he wore lace
ruffles which were in the way, and was shaking them back a little. He had
a long cadaverous face, clean shaven; straight hair of suspicious
brownness, parted in the middle and plastered down on either side of his
head; and a general air of being one of his own Puritan ancestors who
should have appeared in black velvet and lace; and his punctilious manners
strengthened this impression. The one trinket he displayed was a ring,
which he wore on the forefinger of his right hand, a handsome intaglio
carved out of crimson coral. It seemed to be the only part of his natural
costume which had survived, and came into play continually.
Mr. Kilroy entered the room in time to hear the concluding remark, but
naturally did not take it to himself, and Lord Dawne, seeing his sister's
trepidation, came to the rescue by diverting the subject into another
They were all sitting round an open window, and just at that moment the
twins themselves appeared in sight, straggling up the drive in a deep
discourse, with their arms round each other's necks, and Angelica's dark
head resting against Diavolo's fair one.
"Harmony reigns among the heavenly bodies, apparently," said Dr.
"The powers of darkness plotting evil, more likely," said their uncle
"Naughty children! What have they done with their hats?" Lady Adeline
"Discovered some ingenious method of doing damage to my hay with them,
most probably," Dr. Galbraith observed.
They all leant forward, watching the children.
"Angelica is growing up," said Lord Dawne.
"She has always been the taller, stronger, and wickeder of the two, and
will remain so, I expect," said Dr. Galbraith.
"But how old is she now exactly?" Mr. Kilroy wished to know.
"Nearly sixteen," Lady Adeline answered. "But a very young sixteen in some
ways, I am thankful to say. And I believe we have you to thank, Mr. Ellis,
for keeping her so."
The tutor's strong but careworn face flushed sensitively; but he only
answered with a deprecating gesture.
"Then how old is Diavolo?" Mr. Kilroy pursued absently.
"About the same age," Mr. Hamilton-Wells replied, without moving a muscle
of his face.
Lady Adeline looked puzzled: "Of course they are the same age," she said,
as if the point could be disputed.
Mr. Kilroy woke up: "Oh, of course, of course!" he exclaimed with some
The twins had gone round the house by this time, and presently Diavolo
appeared in the drawing room alone. His thick fair hair stood out round
his head like a rumpled mop: his face and hands were not immaculate, and
his clothes were creased; but he entered the room with the same courtly
yet diffident air and high-bred ease which distinguished his uncle Dawne,
whom he imitated as well as resembled in most things.
He took his seat beside him now, and remarked that it was a nice day, and--
But before he could finish the affable phrase, the door burst open from
without, and Angelica entered.
"Hollo! Are you all here?" she said. "How are you, Uncle Dawne?"
"I wish you would not be so impetuous," Diavolo remonstrated gently. "You
quite startle one."
"You _are_ a coon!" said Angelica.
"My dear child--" Lady Angeline began.
"Well, mamma, no matter _what_ I do, Diavolo grumps at me," Angelica
"What expressions you use!" sighed Lady Adeline.
Angelica plumped down on the arm of her uncle's chair, and hugged him
round the head with one hand. She smelt overpoweringly strong of hay and
hot weather, but he patiently endured the caress, which was over in a
moment as it happened, for Angelica caught sight of her cat lurking under
a sofa opposite, and bending down double, whistled to it. Then she turned
her attention to a huge slice of bread, butter, and jam she held in her
hand. Diavolo's soul appeared in his face and shone out of his eyes when
she bit it.
"Have some?" said Angelica, going over to him, and edging him half off his
chair so as to make room for herself beside him. She held the bread and
butter to his mouth as she spoke, and they finished it together, bite and
"Now I am ready for tea," said Angelica when they had done.
"So am I," said Diavolo, with a sigh of satisfaction.
"Let us have afternoon tea with you here to-day, Mr. Ellis," Angelica
coaxed. "It's so much more sociable. And I want to talk to Mr. Kilroy."
She jumped up in her impetuous way, plumped down again on a low stool in
front of that gentleman, clasped her hands round her knees, and looked up
in his face as she spoke.
"That's a nice place you've got at--" she was beginning, but Mr. Ellis
interrupted her by throwing up his head and ejaculating "Grammar!"
"_Bother_!" Angelica exclaimed testily. "Now you've put me all out.
Oh!--I was going to say _you have_ a nice place at Ilverthorpe. We
were over there the other day and inspected it."
"Very happy--glad, I am sure, you did not stand upon ceremony," Mr. Kilroy
But this politeness seemed altogether superfluous to Angelica, and she did
not therefore acknowledge it in any way.
"I suppose you will go into Parliament now," she pursued.
Mr. Kilroy looked surprised. The idea had occurred to him lately, but he
was not aware of having mentioned it to anyone.
"I hope you will at all events," she continued, "and let me write your
speeches for you. That is what Diavolo is going to do. You see I shall
want a mouthpiece until I get in myself, and I don't mind having two if
you are clever at learning by heart. You've a pleasant voice and good
address to begin with, and that is all in your favour. Oh, you needn't
exchange glances with papa," she broke off. "He doesn't know how I mean to
order my life in the least."
"But you will allow him some voice in the ordering of it--at least until
you marry, I suppose," Mr. Kilroy observed.
"That depends," Angelica answered decidedly. "You see, a child comes into
the world for purposes of its own, and not in order to carry out any
preconceived ideas its father may have of what it is good for. And as to
marrying--well, that requires consideration."
"Now, I call that a very proper spirit in which to approach the subject,"
Mr. Kilroy declared. "You have every right to expect to make the best
match possible, and the choice for a young lady in your position will be
"Not at all," said Angelica bluntly. "Is thy servant a slave of a princess
that she should marry a rickety king? I have quite other views for myself.
In fact, I think the wisest plan for me would be to buy a nice clean
little boy, and bring him up to suit my own ideas. I needn't marry him,
you know, if he doesn't turn out well." She slipped from the footstool on
to the floor as she spoke, and began to make friendly overtures to the
"I always thought you had designs on Dr. Galbraith!" said Diavolo, meaning
to provoke her.
"Did you?" she answered. "Then you must have thought me of a suicidal
tendency. Why, he would pound me up in a mortar if I disagreed with him.
You have heard him slam a door?"
"He _is_ irascible," Diavolo answered, quite as if Dr. Galbraith were
not present listening to him. "He called me a little brute on one
"Which reminds me," said Dr. Galbraith. "What have you done to my decoy?
The birds have forsaken it."
"We never did anything to your decoy," rejoined Angelica in a positive
tone. "You just went down there yourself one day and exploded some long
words at the ducks, and, naturally, they scooted."
"Well, I warn you," said Dr. Galbraith, frowning with decision--"I warn
you that I am going to have keys made for everything about the place that
will lock up; and, all the same, I shall only allow you to come under
escort of the chief constable, and I shall keep a posse of detectives
concealed about the grounds to watch for you carefully."
The twins exploded with delight.
"Didn't I promise you I'd draw him this afternoon?" Diavolo exclaimed.
"You did," Angelica responded, with tears in her eyes.
Lord Dawne got up.
"Won't you stay for tea?" Lady Adeline exclaimed. "It is just coming."
"I don't care for any, thank you," he answered. "And I really ought not to
have stayed so long. I only came to ask if you would let the children
come. Both my father and Fulda have set their hearts upon having them."
"Are we to go to Morne?" cried Angelica.
"For a visit--to stay?" said Diavolo.
"If you behave yourselves," their mother answered.
"Oh, in that case!" said Diavolo, shrugging his shoulders as at an
"It would never do for us to be good there," said Angelica. "Grandpapa
would be so dreadfully disappointed if we were."
"Quite so," said Diavolo.
And then they scampered out together into the hall, and kicked each other
in the exuberance of their spirits, but without ill-will.
As soon as the Heavenly Twins were safely settled at Morne, Mr.
Hamilton-Wells played them a huge trick. He made Lady Adeline pack up and
set off with him for a voyage round the world without them. When their
parents were well on the way, and the news was broken to the children, the
people at Morne expected storm and trouble; but the Heavenly Twins saw the
joke at once, and chuckled immoderately.
"I wonder how long it took him to think it out?" said Diavolo.
"It must have been a brilliant impromptu," Angelica supposed--"because,
you know, our coming here was all arranged in a moment. If you remember,
we came because they looked so sure that we shouldn't. I expect as soon as
we had gone, it was such a relief, that papa said: 'Adeline, my dear, we
must prolong this period of peace.' And he's just about hit on the only
way to do so."
"I should like to have seen him, though, popping in and out of the train
whenever it stopped. He must have been in a perfect fever until they were
safe on board and out at sea, fearing we might have heard that they were
off, and found some means of following them."
"We might do so still," said Angelica thoughtfully.
"No. Too much bother," said Diavolo. "And, besides, there is good deal
going on here, you know," he added significantly. "But, I say," he
demanded, becoming parent-sick suddenly, "do you understand how they could
go off like that without saying good-bye to us? I call it beastly
"Oh, give them their due!" said Angelica. "They did say good-bye to us.
Don't you remember how particularly affectionate they were the last time
they came? And all the good advice they gave us? 'Do attend to Mr. Ellis';
'Don't worry your grandfather,' and that sort of thing. They must have
relieved their own feelings thoroughly."
"Well, then, they didn't consider ours much," Diavolo grumbled; "and they
might have allowed us, poor grass-orphans, the comfort of bidding them
"We'll write them a letter," said Angelica.
And this was how it happened that the Heavenly Twins, who had only gone to
Morne for a month, remained a year there, and one of the most important
years of their lives, as was afterward evident. It was during this time
that they managed to identify themselves completely with their grandfather
in the estimation of the people of Morningquest. Charming manners were a
family trait, and the Heavenly Twins had always been popular in the city
on their own account; their spontaneity and extreme affability having
usually been held to balance their monkey tricks. Hamilton House, however,
was ten miles distant from Morningquest, and they had hitherto been
thought of as Hamilton-Wells; but after that year at the Castle, they
became identified with the old stock, the alien Hamilton-Wells being
dropped out of sight altogether.
The duke himself had always been popular. He had, like his ancestors,
lived much in his castle on the hill overlooking the city, and had
dominated the latter by his personality as well as by his place, so that
the people, predisposed by the pressure of hereditary habit to recognize
the pre-eminence of one of his family, and being no longer subject to the
authority of their duke as in the old days when he was a ruler who must be
obeyed, looked up to him involuntarily as an example to be followed.
Which was how it came to pass that, for the last half century, there had
been two influences at work in Morningquest: that of the chime, full
fraught with spiritual suggestion; and that of the duke, which was just
the opposite. They were the influences of good and evil, and, needless to
say, the effect of the latter was much the more certain of the two.
A great change, however, came over the duke toward the end of his life. In
his youth he had filled the place with riot and debauchery; in middle age
he had concealed his doings under respectable cloaks of excuse, such as
the County Club and business; but now he was old and superstitious, and
sought to sway the people in another direction altogether. For when his
youngest daughter, the beautiful Lady Fulda, became a Roman Catholic, she
wrought upon him by her earnestness so as to make him fear the flames, and
drove him in that way to seek solace and salvation in the Church as well;
and when he had done so himself, he rather expected, and quite intended,
that everybody else should do likewise. But the people of Morningquest who
had adopted his vices did not fear the flames themselves, and would have
nothing to do with his piety. They were like the children in "Punch," who,
when threatened with the policeman at the corner, exclaimed in derision:
"Why, that's father!" And, besides, the times were changing rapidly, and
the influence which remained to the aristocracy was already only dominant
so long as it went the way of popular feeling and was human; directly it
retrograded to past privileges, ideas, superstitions, and tastes, the
people laughed at it. They knew that the threatened rule of the priest was
a far-fetched anachronism which they need not fear for themselves in the
aggregate, and they therefore gave themselves up with interest to the
observation of such evidences of its effect on the individual as the duke
should betray to them from time to time. Their theory was that, having
grown too old for worldly dissipation, he had entered the Church in search
of new forms of excitement, and to vary the monotony generally, as so many
elderly coquettes do when they can no longer attract attention in any
other way. This, the people maintained, was the nature of such religious
consolation as he enjoyed; and upon that supposition certain lapses of his
were accounted for uncharitably.
But, in truth, the duke was perfectly sincere. He had turned so late in
life, however, that he was apt, by force of habit, to get muddled. His
difficulty was to disconnect the past from the present, the two having a
tendency to mix themselves up in his mind. The great interest of his old
age was the building of a Roman Catholic Cathedral in Morningquest, but
occasionally--and always at the most inconvenient times--he would forget
it was a cathedral, and imagine it was an opera house he was supporting;
and when he went to distribute the prizes in the schools, he would
compliment the pretty girls on their good looks, instead of lecturing them
on the sin of vanity; and promise that they should sing in the chorus, or
dance in the ballet if their legs were good, when he should have been
discoursing about the dangers of the vain world, and pointing the moral of
happy humble obscurity. On these occasions, Lady Fulda, who was always
beside him, suffered a good deal. She would pull him up in a whisper which
he sometimes made her repeat, until everyone in the place had heard it but
himself, and then, at last, when he did understand, he would hasten to
correct himself. But, of course, it was the mistake and not the correction
which made the most lasting impression.
Lady Fulda was not at all clever. In the schoolroom she was always far
behind her sisters, Lady Adeline and Lady Claudia, and before his
conversion, her father used to say that she had the appearance of a Juno,
and the cow-like capacity one would naturally expect from the portraits of
that matron now extant. But this was not fair to her intelligence, for she
had a certain range which included sympathetic insight, and the knack of
saying the right thing both for her own purpose and for the occasion.
She had a full exterior of uncrumpled, lineless, delicately tinted flesh;
a voice that made "Good-morning" impressive when she said it; a sincerity
which paused upon every expression of opinion to weigh its worth. She
would hardly say; "It is a fine day," without first glancing at the
weather, just to be sure that it had not changed since she decided to make
the remark. And she had a great loving heart. If she did not sigh for
husband and children, it was because she was never In the presence of any
creature for many minutes without feeling a flood of tenderness for them
suffuse her whole being, so that her affections were always satisfied.
Because of her grand presence people expected great things of her, and
none of them ever went disappointed away. She filled their hearts, and
nobody ever complains of the head when the heart is full. Love was the
secret both of her beauty and her power.
The twins arrived late one day at Morne, and immediately afterward the
whole castle was pervaded by their presence, and signs of them appeared in
the most unlikely places. A mysterious packet, rolled up in a sheet of the
_Times_, considerably soiled, and known as "Angelica's work," which
nobody had ever seen opened, was found in the oriel room on the seat of
the chair sacred to the duke himself; and a cricket cap of Diavolo's was
discovered on one of the tall candles which stood on the altar in the
private chapel of the castle, as if it had been used as an extinguisher, A
peculiar intentness was also observed in the expression of the children's
countenances which was thought to betoken mischief, because always
hitherto it had been noticed that when the gravity of their demeanour was
most exemplary, the wickedness of the design upon which they were engaged
was sure to be extreme. But all the old symptoms were misleading at this
time, for the twins settled down at once, with lively intelligent
interest, to the innocent occupation of studying the ways of the
household, their own conduct being distinguished for the most part by a
masterly inactivity. For the truth was they were thinking. They had lately
taken to reading the books and papers and magazines of the day, which they
found in the library at Hamilton House; and at Morne they followed the
same occupation, and thus had an opportunity of seeing the questions which
interested them treated from different points of view. At home all had
been Liberal, Protestant, and progressive; but at Morne the tendency of
everything was Roman Catholic, Conservative, and retrograde; and they were
doing their best, as their conversations with different people at this
time showed, to discover the why and wherefore, and right and wrong of the
difference. Angelica was naturally the first to draw definite conclusions
for herself, and having made up her own mind she began to instruct
Diavolo. She was teaching him to respect women, for one thing; when he
didn't respect them she beat him; and this made him thoughtful.
"You wouldn't strike me if you didn't know that I can't strike you back,
because you're a girl," he remonstrated.
"And you wouldn't say that if you didn't know that the cruellest thing you
can do to a woman is to hurt her feelings," she retorted.
"Oh, feelings!" exclaimed Diavolo. "You've got castanets that clack where
you should have feelings."
Angelica raised her hand, and then dropped it by her side again, and
looked at him.
"What do you mean by this nonsense?" she demanded. "We always _have_
fought everything out ever since we were born."
"Yes," he said regretfully, "and you used to be as hard as nails. When I
got a good hit at you it made my knuckles tingle. But now you're getting
all boggy everywhere. Just look at your arms!"
Angelica ripped her tight sleeve open to the shoulder with one of her
sudden jerks, and looked at her arm. "Now, see mine," said Diavolo, taking
off his coat, and turning his shirt sleeve up in his more deliberate way.
Angelica held out her arm beside his to compare them. Hers was round and
white and firm, with every little blue vein visible beneath the fine
transparent skin; his was all hard muscle and bone, burnt brown with the
sun, and coarse of texture compared with hers.
"You see, now!" he said.
Angelica slowly drew down the tattered remains of her sleeve, and then she
looked at Diavolo thoughtfully, and from him to a full-length reflection
of herself in a long mirror on the wall.
"We're growing up!" she said, in a surprised sort of tone.
"_You_ are," he said, "_I_ seem to be just about as young as
ever I was."
"All the more reason that I should teach you, then," said Angelica.
"Education matures the mind, and the principal instrument of education for
your sex has always been a stick. Women are open to reason from their
cradles, but men have to be whopped. They are thrashed at school, that
being, as they have always maintained themselves, the best way to deal
with them. 'He that spareth the rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him
chasteneth him betimes.' And 'Withhold not correction from the child: for
if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.' It is only the boys,
you see, that have their minds enlarged in that way, because, if you tell
a girl a thing, she understands it at once. And when men grow up and
things go wrong, they still think they ought to thrash each other. That is
also their primitive way of settling the disputes of nations; they just
hack each other down in hundreds, sacrificing the lives which are precious
to the women they should be loving, for the sake of ideas that are always
changing. You certainly _are_ the stupid part of humanity!" she
concluded. "And how you ever discovered the way to manage each other, I
can't imagine. But it was the right one. 'A whip for the horse, a bridle
for the ass, and a rod for the fool's back.'"--and so saying, she flounced
out of the room, without, however, administering the parting slap of
another kind which he expected.
But the episode made a lasting impression on Diavolo, as was apparent in
much that he said, and particularly in some remarks which he made during a
conversation he had with his grandfather toward the end of the year.
A capital understanding had always existed, between Diavolo and his
grandfather, a fact which caused Lady Adeline's heart to sink every time
she observed it, but had an opposite effect on the duke himself--a quite
exhilarating effect, indeed, which was the cause of certain of those
lapses which Lady Fulda had so often to deplore--as when, for instance, he
aided and abetted Diavolo in some of his worst tricks, and then had to sit
sheepishly by, saying nothing, when the boy was found out and corrected.
Lady Fulda was puzzled by the intelligent glances that passed between the
two at such times, but Diavolo was perfectly loyal, and never once got his
grandfather into trouble.
One of the dreams of the old duke's life was to make a good Catholic of
Diavolo, and to that end his conversation was often directed--
intermittently it is true, because Diavolo was skilled in the
art of beguiling him into other subjects when it suited himself.
The duke was turning his attention at this time, under Lady Fulda's
direction, to the spiritual welfare of that class of women which in former
times he had been accustomed to countenance in quite another way. Lady
Fulda had established a refuge for these in Morningquest, and her father
was deeply interested in the success of the undertaking. The Heavenly
Twins were also much interested. At first they could not make out why
their Aunt Fulda so often breakfasted in her outdoor dress, and whether
she had just come in or was just going out.
If there were no visitors staying at the castle, the party at breakfast
was small, there being only the old duke, Father Ricardo, Mr. Ellis, and
the Heavenly Twins, as a rule. When Lady Fulda did appear the meal was
usually half over.
The duke sat at the end of the long table, with the twins on either side
of him, but he was generally limp and querulous in the morning, and more
kindly disposed toward Father Ricardo than to his own flesh and blood, as
Angelica pointed out on one occasion.
When Lady Fulda came in she always went up to her father and kissed him.
He did not rise to receive the salute, but he invariably held her hand
some seconds, and asked: "Any news?" anxiously; to which she always
answered "Yes" or "No"; and then he would say: "You must tell me
afterward. Go to your seat now. Take plenty of rest and refreshment Both
are necessary; both are necessary!"
The Heavenly Twins were inclined to regard this scene with the scorn and
contempt of ignorance at first; but when Lord Dawne came to the castle for
a few days, with their widowed aunt Lady Claudia and Ideala, and all these
paid the same reverent attention to Lady Fulda's report as the duke and
Father Ricardo did, they reserved judgment until they should know more
about the matter.
They asked Mr. Ellis for an explanation, but he told them bluntly to mind
their own business, and further puzzled them by a remark which they
chanced to hear him make about Lady Fulda to Dr. Galbraith. They did not
overhear what Dr. Galbraith had said to lead up to it, but Mr. Ellis
answered: "Grasp her character? She is not a character at all! She's a
beautiful abstraction. Now Ideala is human."
Although the twins were Protestants by education--and also by nature, one
may say--it had pleased them to go regularly to certain services in the
chapel from the day of their arrival at the castle.
"We enjoy them very much," Angelica said, to the great delight of her aunt
"I am sure the atmosphere of devotion in which we live will have its
effect upon the children," the latter said several times.
And so it had. It was never the low mass, however, at which they appeared,
but the more sensuous, sumptuous functions, when there was music, of which
they both were exceedingly fond, both of them being excellent musicians.
Soon after her arrival at the castle Angelica bought a big drum. She said
she couldn't express her feelings on any other instrument on Sunday, her
spiritual fervour was so excessive. Her behaviour in chapel, however, was
for the most part exemplary. Her aunt noticed that she often knelt all
through the service with a book before her, thoroughly absorbed. Lady
Fulda was anxious to know what the book was, and on one occasion, when
Angelica remained on her knees after the congregation had dispersed, with
her handkerchief pressed to her face, apparently deeply moved, her aunt
stole up behind her softly, and peeped over her shoulder, expecting to see
a holy "Imitation," or something of that kind; but, to her horror, she
found that the book was Burnand's "Happy Thoughts," and that Angelica's
gurglings were not tears of repentance, but suppressed explosions of
This happened during what proved to be rather a trying time for Lady
Fulda, It was while Lord Dawne, Lady Claudia, and Ideala were at the
castle, and the old duke was, as Lady Fulda delicately phrased it to her
sister Claudia in private, "inclined to be tiresome." It was at this time
that he had several relapses. One of these happened in chapel during
The choir had been singing _O Salutaris, Hostia!_ at the conclusion
of which everybody was startled by a senile cheer from the stalls. The
duke had dosed off into a dream of the opera, and had awakened suddenly,
under the impression that a wooden image of the Blessed Virgin opposite
had just completed a lovely solo, and was unexpectedly following it up by
an audacious _pas seul_.
"Aren't our ancestors like us?" Diavolo whispered to Angelica
enthusiastically. But Angelica dampened his ardent admiration of the
_coup_ by refusing to believe that the diminutive duke had "done it
The next day Diavolo happened to stroll into the oriel room about
tea-time, and finding his grandfather sitting there alone, looking down
upon Morningquest from his accustomed seat in the great deep window, which
was open, he carefully chose a soft cushion, placing it on the low sill so
that he could rest his back against it, and stretching himself out on the
floor, looked up at the old gentleman sociably.
"You're growing a big fellow, sir," the latter observed.
"But not growing so fast as Angelica is," said Diavolo.
"Ah, women mature earlier," said the duke. "But their minds never get far
beyond the first point at which they arrive."
"I suppose you mean when they marry at seventeen, or their education is
otherwise stopped short for them, just when a man is beginning his
properly?" Diavolo languidly suggested.
The duke frowned down at him. "Where is your sister?" he asked.
"That I can't tell you," Diavolo answered.
"Don't you know?" the duke said sharply.
"Yes," was the cool rejoinder; "but I don't happen to have my sister's
permission to say."
The old man's face relaxed into a smile: "That's right my boy, that's
right," he said, "Loyalty is a grand virtue. Be loyal to the ladies"--he
shook his head in search of an improving aphorism, but only succeeded in
extracting a familiar saw. "Kiss, but never tell," he said, "it's vulgarly
put, my boy, but there's a whole code in it, and a damned chivalrous code,
too. I tell you, men were gentlemen when they stuck to it."
There was a sound of stealthy footsteps in the room at this moment, and
the old duke glanced over his shoulder apprehensively, while Diavolo bent
to one side to peer round the chair his grandfather was sitting in, which
was between him and the door.
"It's one of the dogs," he said carelessly. "Father Ricardo is out, I
The duke looked relieved.
"Well," Diavolo resumed, reflectively, "I should have thought myself that
it was playing it pretty low down to sneak on a woman. But, I say, sir,"
he asked innocently, "how would you define a lady-killer?"
"Lady-killer," said the little old gentleman, taking hold of his collar to
perk himself up out of his clothes, as it were, on the strength of his
past reputation: "A lady-killer is a--eh--a fellow whom
"Do you mean real ladies, or only pretty women?" said Diavolo.
"Both, my boy, both," the duke answered complacently. He was beginning to
"You were one once, were you not, sir?" said Diavolo. "I suppose you had a
deuced good time?"
"Ah!" the duke ejaculated, with a sigh of retrospective satisfaction.
Then, suddenly remembering his new role, he pulled himself up, and added
severely. "But keep clear of women, my boy, keep clear of women. Women are
the very devil, sir."
"But supposing they run after _you_?" said Diavolo. "Nowadays, you
know, a fellow gets so hunted down--they say."
"Oh--ah--then. In that case, you see," said the duke, relapsing, "the
principle has always been to take the goods the gods may send you, and be
There was a pause after this, during which the duke again recollected
"We were talking about women," he sternly recommenced, "and I was warning
you that their wiles are snares of the evil one, who finds them ever ready
to carry out his worst behests. Women are bad."
"Are they, now?" said Diavolo. "Well, I should have thought, taking them
all round, you know, that they're a precious sight better than _we_
"It was a woman, my boy," the duke said solemnly, "who compassed the fall
"Well," Diavolo rejoined, with a calmly judicial air, "I've thought a good
deal about that story myself, and it doesn't seem to me to prove that
women are weak, but rather the contrary. For you see, the woman could
tempt the man easily enough; but it took the very old devil himself to
tempt the woman."
"Humph!" said the duke, looking hard at his grandson.
"And, at any rate," Diavolo pursued, "it happened a good while ago, that
business, and it's just as likely as not that it was Adam whom the devil
first put up to a thing or two, and Eve got it out of him--for I grant you
that women are curious--and then they both came a cropper together, and
it was a case of six of one and half a dozen of the other. It mostly is, I
should think, in a business of that kind."
"Well, yes," said the duke. "In my own experience, I always found that we
were just about one as bad as the other"--and he chuckled.
"Then, we may conclude that there is a doubt about that Garden of Eden
story whichever way you look at it, and it's too old for an argument at
any rate," said Diavolo. "But there is no doubt about the redemption. It
was a woman who managed that little affair. And, altogether, it seems to
me, in spite of the disadvantage of being classed by law with children,
lunatics, beggars, and irresponsible people generally, that, in the matter
of who have done most good in the world, women come out a long chalk ahead
"Why the devil don't you speak English, sir!" the duke burst out testily.
Diavolo started. "Good gracious, grandpapa!" he began with his customary
deliberation, "how sudden you are! You quite made me jump. Is it the slang
you don't like?"
"Yes sir, it _is_ the slang I don't like."
"Then you've only got to say so," said Diavolo in a tone of mild
remonstrance. "You really quite upset me when you're so sudden. Angelica
will tell you I never could stand being startled. She's tried all kinds of
things to cure me. You can't frighten me, you know. It's just the jump I
"Oh, you object, do you?" said the duke, bending his brows upon him. "Then
"Oh, no! pray don't mention it, sir," said Diavolo. "I didn't mean you to
go so far as that, you know. And it's over in a minute."
Angelica burst into the room at this point, followed by two or three dogs,
and immediately took up her favourite position on the arm of her
"I want some tea," she said.
"It's coming," said Diavolo.
"You say that because you don't want the trouble of getting up to ring,"
Diavolo looked at her provokingly, and she was about to say something
tart, when a footman opened the door wide, and two others entered carrying
the tea-things, and at the same time the rest of the party began to
Lady Fulda was the first to arrive with her widowed sister, Lady Claudia.
They presented a great contrast, the one being so perfectly lovely, the
other so decidedly plain. Lady Claudia was a tall gaunt woman, hard in
manner, with no pretension to any accomplishments; but wise, and of a
faithful, affectionate disposition, which deeply endeared her to her
Lord Dawne came in next, with Dr. Galbraith and Mr. Kilroy of Ilverthorpe,
and these were followed by Father Ricardo and Mr. Ellis, after whom came
Ideala herself, alone.
This was before she made her name, but already people spoke of her; and
theoretically men were supposed not to like her "because of her ideas,
don't you know," which were strongly opposed in some circles, especially
by those who either did not know or could not understand them. There is no
doubt that mankind have a rooted objection to be judged when the judge is
a woman. If they cannot in common honesty deny the wisdom of her decisions
they attack her for venturing to decide at all.
"Now," said Angelica, skipping over to a couch beside which Mr. Kilroy was
sitting, "_now_, we shall have a little interesting conversation!"
"I hope you will kindly allow us to have a little interesting tea first,"
said Diavolo, who had risen politely when the other ladies entered the
room, a formality which he omitted in Angelica's case because he insisted
that she wasn't a lady.
When the tea was handed round, and the servants had withdrawn, he lounged
over to the couch where she was, in his deliberate way, sat down beside
her, and put his tea cup on the floor; and then they put their arms round
each other, slanted their heads together, and sat expectant. This had been
a favourite position of theirs from the time they could sit up at all, and
when there was a good deal of gossip going on about them it had always
been a treat to see them sitting so, with blank countenances and ears
open, collecting capital doubtless for new outrages on public decency.
"What do you want to talk about. Angelica?" Ideala asked, smiling.
"Oh, a lot of things," Angelica exclaimed, straightening herself
energetically, and giving Diavolo's head a knock with her own to make him
move it out of the way. "I've been reading, you know, and I want you to
explain. I want to know how people can be so silly."
"In what way?" Ideala asked.
"Well, I'm thinking of Aunt Fulda," said the candid Angelica. "You know,
she very much wants to make a Roman Catholic of me, and she gave me some
books to read, and of course I read them. They were all about the Church
being the true church and all that sort of thing. And then I got a lot of
books about other churches, and each said that _it_ was the true
church just as positively, and Aunt Fulda told me that anyone who would
read about _her_ church _must_ be convinced that it is the true
church, but the difficulty is to get people to read; so when I found these
other books I took them to her to show her all about the other true
churches, and I told her she ought to read them, because if there were
truth in any of them, we could none of us possibly be saved unless we
belonged to _all_ the different churches. But do you know, she
wouldn't look at a book! She said she wasn't allowed to! Now! what do you
think of that? and after telling me what a mistake it was not to read!"
Lady Fulda and her father were talking together in the window, and did not
therefore overhear these remarks, but Father Ricardo was listening, and
Ideala flashed a mischievous glance at him as Angelica spoke.
"Then," the latter continued before anyone could answer her, "Aunt Fulda
is just as good as she possibly _can_ be, and Father Ricardo says it
is because she has submitted to _his_ Holy Church; and Mrs. Orton Beg
and mamma are also as good as they possibly can be, and the Bishop of
Morningquest says that Mrs. Orton Beg is a holy woman because she is a
humble follower of Christ, but he rather shakes his head about mamma.
Uncle Dawne, however, and Dr. Galbraith both maintain that mamma is
admirable, because she doesn't trouble her head about churches and creeds
any longer. She used to do so once, but now she thinks only of what is
_morally_ right or wrong, and leaves the ecclesiastical muddle for
the divines to get out of as best they can. Mamma used to dread bringing
us to Morne when we were younger; we were always so outrageous here; and
we told her it was Aunt Fulda who made us so, because she is too good, and
the balance of nature has to be preserved. But, now, I am sure Aunt
Claudia is quite as good as she is, and so are you, and mamma, and Mrs.
Ideala smiled at her. "And so you are puzzled?" she said. "Well, now, I
will explain. Your aunts and mother, and Mrs. Orton Beg, are all of those
people born good, who would have been saints in any calendar, Buddhist,
Christian, or Jewish. They come occasionally--these good people--to cause
confusion on the subject of original sin, and overthrow the pride of
professors who maintain that their own code of religious ethics must be
the right one because it produces the best specimens of humanity. There
was a Chinese lady living at Shanghai a few years ago, a devout Buddhist,
who, in her habits of life, her character, her prayers, her penances, and
her sweetness of disposition, exactly resembled your Aunt Fulda, the only
difference between them being the names of the ideal of goodness upon whom
they called for help. Their virtues were identical, and the moral outcome
of their lives was the same."
"I see what you mean!" Angelica burst out. "And you wouldn't say either
'convert' or 'pervert' yourself, would you?"
"Well, no," Ideala acknowledged, "I always adopt a little pleonasm myself
to avoid Christian controversy, and say 'when So-and-so became' a Roman or
Anglican Catholic, a Protestant, Positivist, or whatever else it might be;
and I let them say 'convert' or 'pervert,' whichever they like, to me,
because I know that it really cannot matter, so long as they are
agreeable--not that anybody ever expects them to be, poor little people!
although they know quite well that they should never let their angry
passions rise. They have no sense of humour at all! But just fancy, how
silly it must seem to the angels when Miss Protestant throws down a book
she is reading and shrieks, '_Convert_, indeed!' while Miss Catholic
at the same moment groans,'_Pervert_,' indignantly! Must be
'something rotten in the state of Denmark,' surely, or one or other of
them would have proved their point by this time. Or do you suppose," she
added, looking at Lord Dawne, "that the opposition is mercifully
preordained by nature to generate the right amount of heat by friction to
keep things going so that we do not come to a standstill on the way to
human perfection? It is very wonderful any way," she added--"to the looker
on; wonderfully funny!"
"I did not know that Lady Adeline had definitely left the Church of
England," Mr. Kilroy observed, "and I am surprised to hear it."
"Are you?" said Ideala. "Now, we were not. Adeline has always been of a
deeply religious disposition; but it was not bound to be, and it was never
likely to be, the religion of any church which would secure her lasting
"I wonder what the religion of the future will be?" Mr. Kilroy remarked.
"It will consist in the deepest reverence for moral worth, the tenderest
pity for the frailties of human nature, the most profound faith in its
ultimate perfectibility," Ideala answered. "The religion of the future
must be a thing about which there can be no doubt, and consequently no
dispute. It will be for the peace and perfecting of man, not for the
exercise of his power to outwit an antagonist in an argument; and there
are only the great moral truths, perceived since the beginning of thought,
but hard to hold as principles of action because the higher faculties to
which they appeal are of slower growth than the lower ones which they
should control, and the delights they offer are of a nature too delicate
to be appreciated by uncultured palates; but it is in these, the infinite
truths, known to Buddha, reflected by Plato, preached by Christ,
undoubted, undisputed even by the spirit of evil, that religion must
consist, and is steadily growing to consist, while the questionable
man-made gauds of sensuous service are gradually being set aside. The
religion of the future will neither be a political institution, nor a
means of livelihood, but an expression of the highest moral attribute,
human or divine--disinterested love."
She sat for some time, looking down at the floor, and lost in thought when
she had said this; and then, rousing herself, she turned to Father
Ricardo, "I had a fit of Roman Catholicism once myself," she said to him,
pleasantly, "I enjoyed it very much while it lasted. But you do a great
deal of harm, you clergy! In the first place you begin by setting up
Christ as an ideal of perfect manhood, and then you proceed to demolish
him as a possible example, by maintaining that he was not a man, but a
God, and therefore a being whom it is beyond the power of man to imitate!
Oh, you terrible, terrible clergy! You preach the parable of the buried
talents, and side by side with that you have always insisted that women
should put theirs away; and you have soothed their sensitive consciences
with the dreadful cant of obedience--not obedience to the moral law, but
obedience to the will of man; for what moral law could be affected by the
higher education of women?"
"The Anglican Church is rather countenancing the higher education of
women, is it not?" said Mr. Kilroy.
"You don't put it properly," Ideala answered. "Women, after a hard battle,
secured for themselves their own higher education, and now that it is
being found to answer, the churches are coming in to claim the credit.
Dear, how rapidly reforms are carried out when we take them in hand
ourselves!" she exclaimed. "All the spiritual power is ours, and while we
refuse to know, it must be wasted for want of direction."
"But that is what you reject," said Father Ricardo. "The Church is ever
ready to direct her children."
"For her own advantage, and very badly," Ideala answered. "Does her
direction ever benefit the human race generally, or anybody but herself in
particular? Every great reform has been forced on the Church from outside.
Just consider the state of degradation, and the dense ignorance of the
people of every country upon which the curse of Catholicism rests!
'Wherever churches and monasteries abound the people are backward' it is
written. Just lately, there has been a little revival of Catholicism, a
flash in the pan, here in England, due to Cardinal Newman and Cardinal
Manning, who introduced some good old Protestant virtues into your
teaching; but that cannot last. You carry the instrument of your own
destruction along with you in the degrading exercises with which you seek
to debase our beautiful, wonderful, perfectible human nature."
"But the Church has done all that is possible for the people," Father
Ricardo began lamely. "The Church has always taught, for one thing, that
the labourer is worthy of his hire."
"But the Church never used its influence to make the hire worthy of the
labourer; instead of that, it has always sought to grind the last penny
out of the people, and then it pauperized them with alms," said Ideala.
"Why have the priests done so little good, Uncle Dawne?" Diavolo asked.
"Because they are no better than other people," was the answer, "and when
they get money they use it just as everybody else does, to strengthen
their own position, and make a display with."
"Ah, the terrible mistake it has been, this making a paid profession of
the doing of good!" Ideala exclaimed.
Angelica, who had put her arm round Diavolo again, and was sitting with
her head against his, listening gravely, now looked at Ideala: "I want to
know where the true spirit of God is," she said.
"I can tell you," Ideala answered fearlessly. "It is in us _women_.
_We_ have preserved it, and handed it down from one generation to
another of our own sex unsullied; and very soon we shall be called upon to
prove the possession of it, for already"--she turned to Father Ricardo
here, and specially addressed him, speaking always in gentle tones,
without emphasis--"already I--that is to say Woman--am a power in the
land, while you--that is to say Priest--retain ever less and less even of
the semblance of power.
"Pardon me, dear lady," the priest replied; "but it shocks me to hear you
assume such an arrogant tone."
"I don't think the tone was in the least arrogant," Angelica put in
briskly; "and, at any rate, it's your own tone exactly, for I've heard you
say as much and more, speaking of the priesthood."
"Not exactly," Diavolo corrected her. "Father Ricardo always says:
'Heaven, for some great inscrutable purpose, has mercifully vouchsafed
this wondrous power to us, poor'--or humble or unworthy; the first
adjective of that kind he can catch--'priests.' I like the short way of
putting it myself."
"But why do you always try to make out that it is our duty to be
_miserable_ sinners?" Angelica asked.
"If we taught ourselves to be happy in this world, we should grow to love
it too much, and then we should not strive to win the next."
"And that would impoverish the Church?" Diavolo suggested.
"But why not let _us_ be happy, and you raise money in some other
way?" Angelica wanted to know. "Miracles--now I should try some miracles;
a miracle must be much better than a bazaar to raise the funds."
"Oh, but you forget the nunneries Father Ricardo was telling us about the
other day," Diavolo said; "the austere orders where they only live a few
years, you know."
"I had forgotten for the moment, but I read up the subject at the time,
and found out that when the nuns die all their money remains in the Church;
is that what you mean?" said the practical Angelica.
"Yes," said Diavolo. "You see, it would hardly cost ten shillings a week
to keep a nun, and of course," he said to Father Ricardo, "the more
fasting you counsel the less outlay there would be; so I don't wonder you
promise them more goodies in the next world, the more austerities they
practise in this."
"It must really work like a provision of nature for the enrichment of Holy
Church--so many nuns worked off on the prayer and fasting mill per annum,
so many unencumbered fortunes added to the establishment," Angelica
_"Jerusalem!_" said Diavolo. "How easy it is to gull the public!"
The Heavenly Twins had been speaking in a confidential tone, as if they
were behind the scenes with Father Ricardo, and now they watched him,
seeming to wait for him to wink--at least, that was how Dr. Galbraith
afterward interpreted the look. Nothing of this kind coming to pass,
however, they, both got up, and both together strolled out of the room,
"That child, Angelica, will be one of us," Ideala whispered to Lord Dawne.
"Yes," he answered gravely; "They will both be of us eventually; only we
must make no move, but wait in patience 'Until the day break, and the
shadows flee away.'"
There was much high talk of doing good and living for others at Morne in
these days, to which the twins listened attentively. It is evident from
the thoughts they expressed at this time that the minds of both were in a
state of fermentation, and that the more active pursuits in which they
still indulged occasionally were the mere outcome of habit. When the
conversation was interesting, they would sit beside Father Ricardo (whom
they insisted on classing with themselves as an inferior being) and watch
the speakers by the hour together, and Father Ricardo too, gauging his
moral temperature, and noting every sigh of pity or shiver of
disapprobation that shook his sensitive frame.
"Where does it hurt you, _dear?_" Diavolo asked him once. "I know you
are a bad, bad man, because you say so yourself--"
"I never said so!" Father Ricardo exclaimed with a puzzled air.
"Well, you said you were a miserable sinner, not worthy, _et cetera_,
and it comes to the same thing," Diavolo rejoined; "and I don't wonder you
are disheartened when you see how impossible it is for you to be as
disinterestedly good as Uncle Dawne and Dr. Galbraith. I feel so myself
"Oh, I hope I am disinterested," Father Ricardo protested.
"I can't make it out if you are," said Diavolo, shaking his head. "You
don't seem to love goodness for its own sake, but for the reward here and
hereafter. The whole system you preach is one of reward and punishment."
Father Ricardo had an innocent hobby. He was fond of old china, and had
made a beautiful collection, with the help of such friends as Lord Dawne,
Dr. Galbraith, and Lady Adeline Hamilton-Wells, who never failed to bring
him back any good specimen they might find in the course of their travels.
One day at this time, after the talk had been running, as usual, upon