Part 6 out of 18
'I hope so, at any rate, I am not a sham one' and Miss Van Siever as she
said this looked very savage.
'I shouldn't take you to be sham in anything.'
'Ah, that would be saying a great deal for myself. Who can undertake to
say that he is not a sham in anything?'
As she said this the ladies were getting up. So Miss Van Siever also
got up, and left Mr Conway Dalrymple to consider whether he could say or
could think of himself that he was not a sham in anything. As regarded
Miss Clara Van Siever, he began to think that he could not object to
paint her portrait, even though there might be no sugar-plum. He would
certainly do it as Jael; and he would, if he dared, insert dimly in the
background some idea of the face of the mother, half-appearing,
half-vanishing, as the spirit of the sacrifice. He was composing the
picture, while Mr Dobbs Broughton was arranging himself and his bottles.
'Musselboro,' he said, 'I'll come up between you and Crosbie. Mr Eames,
though I run away from you, the claret shall remain; or, rather, it
shall flow backwards and forwards as rapidly as you will.'
'I'll keep it moving,' said Johnny.
'Do; there's a good fellow. It's a nice glass of wine isn't it? Old
Ramsby, who keeps as good a stock of stuff as any wine-merchant in
London, gave me a hint, three or four years ago, that he'd a lot of tidy
Bordeaux. It's '41, you know. He had ninety dozen, and I took it all.'
'What was the figure, Broughton?' said Crosbie, asking the question
which he knew was expected.
'Well, I only gave one hundred and four for it then; it's worth a
hundred and twenty now. I wouldn't sell a bottle of it for any money.
Come, Dalrymple, pass it round; but fill your glass first.'
'Thank you, no; I don't like it. I'll drink sherry.'
'Don't like it!' said Dobbs Broughton.
'It's strange, isn't it? But I don't.'
'I thought you particularly told me to drink his claret?' said Johnny to
his friend afterwards.
'So I did,' said Conway; 'and wonderfully good wine it is. But I make
it a rule never to eat or drink anything in a man's house when he
praises himself and tells me the price of it.'
'And I make it a rule never to cut the nose off my own face,' said
Before he went, Johnny Eames had been specially invited to call on Lady
Demolines, and had said that he would do so. 'We live in Porchester
Gardens,' said Miss Demolines. 'Upon my word, I believe that the farther
London stretches in that direction, the farther mamma will go. She
thinks the air so much better. I know it's a long way.'
'Distance is nothing to me,' said Johnny; 'I can always set off over
Conway Dalrymple did not get invited to call on Mrs Van Siever, but
before he left the house he did say a word or two more to his friend Mrs
Broughton as to Clara Van Siever. 'She is a fine young woman,' he said;
'she is indeed.'
'You have found it out, have you?'
'Yes; I have found it out. I do not doubt that some day she'll murder
her husband or her mother, or startle the world by some newly-invented
crime; but that only makes her the more interesting.'
'And when you add to that all the old woman's money,' said Mrs Dobbs
Broughton, 'you think that she might do?'
'For a picture, certainly. I'm speaking of her simply as a model. Could
we not manage it? Get her once here, without her mother knowing it, or
Broughton, or anyone. I've got the subject--Jael and Sisera, you know.
I should like to put Musselboro in as Sisera, with the nail half driven
in.' Mrs Dobbs Broughton declared that the scheme was a great deal too
wicked for her participation, but at last she promised to think of it.
'You might as well come up and have a cigar,' Dalrymple said, as he and
his friend left Mrs Broughton's house. Johnny said that he would go up
and have a cigar or two. 'And now tell me what you think of Mrs Dobbs
Broughton and her set,' said Conway.
'Well; I'll tell you what I think of them. I think they stink of money,
as people say; but I'm not sure that they've got any all the same.'
'I should suppose he makes a large income.'
'Very likely, and perhaps spends more than he makes. A good deal of it
looked to me like make-believe. There's no doubt about the claret, but
the champagne was execrable. A man is a criminal to have such stuff
handed round to his guests. And there isn't the ring of real gold about
'I hate the ring of gold, as you call it,' said the artist.
'So do I--I hate it like poison; but if it is there, I like it to be
true. There is a sort of persons going now--and one meets them out here
and there every day in one's life--who are downright Brummagem as such
at the very first moment. My honoured lord and master, Sir Raffle, is
one such. There is no mistaking him. Clap him down upon the counter, and
he rings dull and untrue at once. Pardon me, my dear Conway, if I say
the same of your excellent friend Mr Dobbs Broughton.'
'I think you go a little too far, but I don't deny it. What you mean
is, that he's not a gentleman.'
'I mean a great deal more than that. Bless you, when you come to talk
of a gentleman, who is to define the word? How do I know whether or no
I'm a gentleman myself? When I used to be in Burton Crescent, I was
hardly a gentlemen then--sitting at the same table with Mrs Roper and
the Lupexes;--do you remember them, and the lovely Amelia?'
'I suppose you were a gentleman, then, as well as now?'
'You, if you had been painting duchesses then, with a studio in
Kensington Gardens, would have said so, if you had happened to come
across me. I can't define a gentleman, even in my own mind;--but I can
define a man with whom I think I can live pleasantly.'
'And poor Dobbs doesn't come within the line?'
'N-o, not quite; a very nice fellow, I'm quite sure, and I'm very much
obliged to you for taking me there.'
'I never will take you to any house again. And what did you think of
'That's a horse of another colour altogether. A pretty woman with such
a fine figure as hers has got a right to be anything she pleases. I see
you are a great favourite.'
'No, I'm not;--not especially. I do like her. She wants to make up a
match between me and that Miss Van Siever. Miss Van is to have gold by
the ingot, and jewels by the bushel, and a hatful of back shares, and a
whole mine in Cornwall, for her fortune.'
'And is very handsome into the bargain.'
'Yes; she's handsome.'
'So is her mother,' said Johnny. 'If you take the daughter, I'll take
the mother, and see if I can't do you out of a mine or two. Good-night,
old fellow. I'm only joking about old Dobbs. I'll go and dine there
again tomorrow, if you like it.'
MISS MADELINE DEMOLINES
'I don't think you care two straws about her,' Conway Dalrymple said to
his friend John Eames, two days after the dinner-party at Mrs Dobbs
Broughton's. The painter was at work in his studio, and the private
secretary from the Income-Tax Office, who was no doubt engaged on some
special mission to the West End on the part of Sir Raffle Buffle, was
sitting in a lounging-chair and smoking a cigar.
'Because I don't go about with my stockings cross-gartered, and do that
kind of business?'
'Well, yes; because you don't do that kind of business, more or less.'
'It isn't in my line, my dear fellow. I know what you mean, very well.
I daresay, artistically speaking--'
'Don't be an ass, Johnny.'
'Well then, poetically, or romantically, if you like that better--I
daresay that poetically or romantically I am deficient. I eat my dinner
very well, and I don't suppose I ought to do that; and, if you'll
believe me, I find myself laughing sometimes.'
'I never knew a man who laughed so much. You're always laughing.'
'And that, you think, is a bad sign?'
'I don't believe you really care about her. I think you are aware that
you have got a love-affair on hand, and that you hang on to it rather
persistently, having in some way come to a resolution that you would be
persistent. But there isn't much heart in it. I daresay there was once.'
'And that is your opinion?'
'You are just like some of those men who for years past have been going
to write a book on some new subject. The intention has been sincere at
first, and it never altogether dies away. But the would-be author,
though he still talks of his work, knows that it will never be executed,
and is very patient under his disappointment. All enthusiasm about the
thing is gone, but he is still known as the man who is going to do it
some day. You are the man who means to marry Miss Dale in five, ten, or
twenty years' time.'
'Now, Conway, all that is thoroughly unfair. The would-be author talks
of his would-be book to everybody. I have never talked of Miss Dale to
anyone but you, and one or two very old family friends. And from year to
year, and from month to month, I have done all that has been in my power
to win her. I don't think I shall ever succeed, and yet I am as
determined about it as I was when I first began it--or rather much more
so. If I do not marry Lily, I shall never marry at all, and if anybody
were to tell me tomorrow that she had made up her mind to have me, I
should well nigh go mad for joy. But I am not going to give up all my
life for love. Indeed the less I can bring myself to give up for it, the
better I shall think of myself. Now I'll go away and call on old Lady
'And flirt with her daughter.'
'Yes;--flirt with her daughter, if I get the opportunity. Why shouldn't
I flirt with her daughter?'
'Why not, if you like it?'
'I don't like it--not particularly, that is; because the young lady is
not very pretty, nor yet very graceful, not yet very wise.'
'She is pretty after a fashion,' said the artist, 'and if not wise, she
is at any rate clever.'
'Nevertheless, I do not like her,' said John Eames.
'Then why do you go there?'
'One has to be civil to people though they are neither pretty nor wise.
I don't mean to insinuate that Miss Demolines is particularly bad, or
indeed that she is worse than young ladies in general. I only abused her
because there was an insinuation in what you said, that I was going to
amuse myself with Miss Demolines in the absence of Miss Dale. The one
thing has nothing to do with the other thing. Nothing that I shall say
to Miss Demolines will at all militate against my loyalty to Lily.'
'All right, old fellow;--I didn't mean to put you on your purgation. I
want you to look at that sketch. Do you know for whom it is intended?'
Johnny took up a scrap of paper, and having scrutinised it for a minute
or two declared that he had not the slightest idea who was represented.
'You know the subject--the story that is intended to be told?' said
'Upon my word, I don't. There's some old fellow seems to be catching it
over the head; but it's all so confused, I can't make much of it. The
woman seems to be uncommon angry.'
'Do you ever read your Bible?'
'Ah dear! not as often as I ought to do. Al, I see; it's Sisera. I
never could quite believe that story. Jael might have killed Captain
Sisera in his sleep--for which, by-the-by, she ought to have been hung,
and she might possibly have done it with a hammer and a nail. But she
could not have driven it through, and staked him to the ground.'
'I've warrant enough for putting it into a picture, at any rate. My Jael
there is intended for Miss Van Siever.'
'Miss Van Siever! Well, it is like her. Has she sat for it?'
'Oh dear, no; not yet. I mean to get her to do so. There's a strength
about her, which would make her sit the part admirably. And I fancy she
would like to be driving a nail into a fellow's head. I think I shall
take Musselboro for a Sisera.'
'You're not in earnest?'
'He would just do for it. But of course I shan't ask him to sit, as my
Jael would not like it. She would not consent to operate on so base a
subject. So you really are going to Guestwick?'
'Yes; I start tomorrow. Good-bye, old fellow. I'll come and sit for
Sisera if you'll let me;--only Miss Van Jael shall have a blunted nail,
if you please.'
Then Johnny left the artist's room and walked from Kensington to Lady
Demoline's house. As he went he partly accused himself and partly
excused himself in that matter of his love for Lily Dale. There were
moments of his life in which he felt that he would willingly die for
her--that life was not worth having without her--in which he went about
inwardly reproaching fortune for having treated him so cruelly. Why
should she not be his? He half believed that she loved him. She had
almost told him so. She could not surely still love that other man who
had treated her with such vile falsehood? As he considered the question
in all its bearings he assured himself over and over again that there
would be now no fear of that rival;--and yet he had such fears, and
hated Crosbie almost as much as ever. It was a thousand pities,
certainly, that the man should have been made free by the death of his
wife. But it could hardly be that he should seek to see Lily again, or
that Lily, if so sought, should even listen to him. But yet there he
was, free once more--an odious being, whom Johnny was determined to
sacrifice to his vengeance, if cause for such sacrifice should occur.
And thus thinking of the real truth of his love, he endeavoured to
excuse himself to himself from that charge of vagueness and laxness
which his friend Conway Dalrymple had brought against him. And then
again he accused himself of the same sin. If he had been positively in
earnest, with downright manly earnestness, would he have allowed the
thing to drag itself with a weak uncertain life, as it had done for the
last two or three years? Lily Dale had been a dream to him in his
boyhood; and he had made a reality of his dream as soon as he had become
a man. But before he had been able, as a man, to tell his love to the
girl whom he had loved as a child, another man had intervened, and his
prize had been taken from him. Then the wretched victor had thrown his
treasure away, and he, John Eames, had been content to stoop to pick it
up--was content to do so now. But there was something which he felt to
be unmanly in the constant stooping. Dalrymple had told him that he was
like a man who is ever writing a book and yet never writes it. He would
do his very best to make Lily his own. But if he failed now, he would
have done with it. It seemed to him to be below his dignity as a man to
be always coveting a thing which he could not obtain.
Johnny was informed by the boy in buttons, who opened the door for him
at Lady Demolines', that the ladies were at home, and he was shown up
into the drawing-room. Here he was allowed full ten minutes to explore
the knick-knacks on the table, and open the photograph book, and examine
the furniture, before Miss Demolines made her appearance. When she did
come, her hair was tangled more marvellously even than when he saw at
the dinner-party, and her eyes were darker, and her cheeks thinner. 'I'm
afraid mamma won't be able to come down,' said Miss Demolines. 'She will
be so sorry but she is not quite well today. The wind is in the east,
she says, and when she says the wind is in the east she always refuses
to be well.'
'Then I should tell her it is in the west.'
'But it is in the east.'
'Ah, there I can't help you, Miss Demolines. I never know which is
east, and which is west; and if I did, I shouldn't know from which point
the wind blew.'
'At any rate mamma can't come downstairs, and you must excuse her. What
a very nice woman Mrs Dobbs Broughton is.' Johnny acknowledged that Mrs
Dobbs Broughton was charming. 'And Mr Broughton is so good-natured!'
Johnny again assented. 'I like him of all things,' said Miss Demolines.
'So do I,' said Johnny;--'I never liked anybody so much in my life. I
suppose one is bound to say that kind of thing.' 'Oh, you ill-natured
man,' said Miss Demollines. 'I suppose you think that poor Mr Broughton
is a little--just a little--you know what I mean.'
'Not exactly,' said Johnny.
'Yes, you do; you know very well what I mean. And of course he is. How
can he help it?'
'Poor fellow--no. I don't suppose he can help it, or he would;
'Of course Mr Broughton had not the advantage of birth or much early
education. All his friends know that, and make allowance accordingly.
When she married him, she was aware of his deficiency, and made up her
mind to put up with it.'
'It was very kind of her; don't you think so?'
'I knew Maria Clutterbuck for years before she was married. Of course
she was very much my senior, but, nevertheless, we were friends. I think
I was hardly more than twelve years old when I first began to correspond
with Maria. She was then past twenty. So you see, Mr Eames, I make no
secret of my age.'
'Why should you?'
'But never mind that. Everybody knows that Maria Clutterbuck was very
much admired. Of course I'm not going to tell you or any other gentleman
all her history.'
'I was in hopes you were.'
'Then certainly your hopes will be frustrated, Mr Eames. But
undoubtedly when she told us that she was going to take Dobbs Broughton,
we were a little disappointed. Maria Clutterbuck had been used to a
better kind of life. You understand what I mean, Mr Eames?'
'Oh, exactly;--and yet it's not a bad kind of life, either.'
'No, no; that is true. It has its attractions. She keeps her carriage,
sees a good deal of company, has an excellent house, and goes abroad for
six weeks every year. But you know, Mr Eames, there is, perhaps, a
little uncertainty about it.'
'Life is always uncertain, Miss Demolines.'
'You're quizzing now, I know. But don't you feel now, really, that City
money is always very chancy? It comes and goes so quick.'
'As regards the going, I think that's the same with all money,' said
'Not with land, or the funds. Mamma has every shilling laid out in a
first-class mortgage on land at four per cent. that does make one feel
so secure! The land can't run away.'
'But you think poor Broughton's money may?'
'It's all speculation, you know. I don't believe she minds it; I don't
indeed. She lives that kind of fevered life now that she likes
excitement. Of course we all know that Mr Dobbs Broughton is not what we
can call an educated gentleman. His manners are against him, and he is
very ignorant. Even dear Maria would admit that.'
'One would perhaps let that pass without asking her opinion at all.'
'She has acknowledged it to me, twenty times. But he is very
good-natured, and lets her do pretty nearly anything that she likes. I
only hope she won't trespass on his good-nature. I do, indeed.'
'You mean, spend too much money?'
'No; I didn't mean that exactly. Of course she ought to be moderate,
and I hope she is. To that kind of fevered existence profuse expenditure
is perhaps necessary. But I was thinking of something else. I fear she
is a little giddy.'
'Dear me! I should have thought she was too--too--too--'
'You mean too old for anything of that kind. Maria Broughton must be
thirty-three if she's a day.'
'That would make you just twenty-five,' said Johnny, feeling perfectly
sure as he said so that the lady whom he was addressing was at any rate
'Never mind my age, Mr Eames; whether I am twenty-five, or a hundred and
five, has nothing to do with poor Maria Clutterbuck. But now I'll tell
you why I mention all this to you. You must have seen how foolish she is
about your friend Mr Dalrymple?'
'Upon my word, I haven't.'
'Nonsense, Mr Eames; you have. If she were your wife, would you like
her to call a man Conway? Of course you would not. I don't mean to say
that there's anything in it. I know Maria's principles too well to
suspect that. It's merely because she's flighty and fevered.'
'That fevered existence accounts for it all,' said Johnny.
'No doubt it does,' said Miss Demolines, with a nod of her head, which
was intended to show that she was willing to give her friend the full
benefit of any excuse which could be offered for her. 'But don't you
think you could do something, Mr Eames?'
'I do something?'
'Yes, you. You and Mr Dalrymple are such friends! If you were just to
point out to him you know--'
'Point out what? Tell him that he oughtn't to be called Conway?
Because, after all, I suppose that's the worst of it. If you mean to say
that Dalrymple is in love with Mrs Broughton, you never made a greater
mistake in your life.'
'Oh, no; not in love. That would be terrible, you know.' And Miss
Demolines shook her head sadly. 'But there may be so much mischief done
without anything of that kind! Thoughtlessness, you know, Mr Eames--pure
thoughtlessness! Think of what I have said, and if you can speak a word
to your friend, do. And now I want to ask you something else. I'm so
glad you are come, because circumstances have seemed to make it
necessary that you and I should know each other. We may be of so much
use if we put our heads together.' Johnny bowed when he heard this, but
made no immediate reply. 'Have you heard anything about a certain
picture that is being planned?' Johnny did not wish to answer this
question, but Miss Demolines paused so long, and looked so earnestly
into his face, that he found himself forced to say something.
'A certain picture that is--, or, perhaps, that is not to be, painted by
'I hear so much about Dalrymple's pictures! You don't mean the portrait
of Lady Glencora Palliser? That is nearly finished, and will be in the
Exhibition this year.'
'I don't mean that at all. I mean a picture that has not yet been
'A portrait, I suppose?'
'As to that I cannot quite say. It is at any rate to be a likeness. I
am sure you have heard of it. Come, Mr Eames, it would be better that we
should be candid with each other. You remember Miss Van Siever, of
'I remember that she dined at the Broughtons.'
'And you have heard of Jael, I suppose, and Sisera?'
'Yes; in a general way--in the Bible.'
'And now will you tell me whether you have not heard the names of Jael
and Miss Van Siever coupled together? I see you know all about it.'
'I have heard of it certainly.'
'Of course you have. So have I, as you perceive. Now, Mr Eames,'--and
Miss Demoline's voice became tremulously eager as she addressed him--'it
is your duty, and it is my duty, to take care that that picture will
never be painted.'
'But why should it not be painted?'
'You don't know Miss Van Siever, yet.'
'Not in the least.'
'Nor Mrs Van Siever.'
'I never spoke a word to her.'
'I do. I know them both--well.' There was something almost grandly
tragic in Miss Demoline's voice as she thus spoke. 'Yes, Mr Eames, I
know them well. If that scheme be continued, it will work terrible
mischief. You and I must prevent it.'
'But I don't see what harm it will do.'
'Think of Conway Dalrymple passing so many hours in Maria's sitting-room
upstairs! The picture is to be painted there, you know.'
'But Miss Van Siever will be present. Won't that make it all right?
What is there wrong about Miss Van Siever?'
'I won't deny that Clara Van Siever has a certain beauty of her own. To
me she is certainly the most unattractive woman that I ever came near.
She is simply repulsive!' Hereupon Miss Demolines held up her hand as
though she were banishing Miss Van Siever for ever from her sight, and
shuddered slightly. 'Men think her handsome, and she is handsome. But
she is false, covetous, malicious, cruel, and dishonest.'
'What a fiend in petticoats!'
'You may say that, Mr Eames. And then her mother! Her mother is not so
bad. Her mother is different. But the mother is an odious woman, too. It
was an evil day for Maria Clutterbuck when she first saw either the
mother or the daughter. I tell you that in confidence.'
'But what can I do?' said Johnny, who began to be shattered and almost
interested by the eagerness of the woman.
'I'll tell you what you can do. Don't let your friend go to Mr
Broughton's house to paint the picture. If he does do it, there will be
mischief come of it. Of course you can prevent him.'
'I should not think of trying to prevent him unless I knew why.'
'She's a nasty proud minx, and it would set her up ever so high--to
think that she was being painted by Mr Dalrymple! But that isn't the
reason. Maria would get into terrible trouble about it, there would be
no end of mischief. I must not tell you more now, and if you do not
believe me, I cannot help it. Surely, Mr Eames, my word may be taken as
going for something? And when I ask you to help me in this, I do expect
that you will not refuse me.' By this time Miss Demolines was sitting
close to him, and had more than once put her hand upon his arm in the
energy of her eloquence. Then as he remembered that he had never seen
Miss Demolines till the other day, of Miss Van Siever, or even Mrs Dobbs
Broughton, he bethought himself that it was all very droll. Nevertheless
he had no objection to Miss Demolines putting her hand upon his arm.
'I never like to interfere in anything that does not seem to be my own
business,' said Johnny.
'Is not your friend's business your own business? What does friendship
mean if it not so? And when I tell you that it is my business, mine of
right, does that go for nothing with you? I thought I might depend upon
you, Mr Eames; I did indeed.' Then again she put her hand upon his arm,
and as he looked into her eyes he began to think that after all she was
good-looking in a certain way. At any rate she had fine eyes, and there
was something picturesque about the entanglement of her hair. 'Think of
it, and then come back and talk to me again,' said Miss Demolines.
'But I am going out of town tomorrow.'
'For how long?'
'For ten days.'
'Nothing can be done during that time. Clara Van Siever is going away
in a day, and will not be back for three weeks. I happen to know that;
so we have plenty of time for working. It would be very desirable that
she should never even hear of it; but that cannot be hoped, as Maria has
such a tongue! Couldn't you see Mr Dalrymple tonight?'
'Well, no; I don't think I could.'
'Mind, at least, that you come to me as soon as ever you return.'
Before he got out of the house, which he did after a most affectionate
farewell, Johnny felt himself compelled to promise that he would come to
Miss Demolines again as soon as he got back to town; and as the door was
closed behind him by the boy in buttons, he made up his mind that he
certainly would call as soon as he returned to London. 'It's as good as
a play,' he said to himself. Not that he cared in the least for Miss
Demolines, or that he would take any steps with the intention of
preventing the painting of the picture. Miss Demolines had some battle
to fight, and he would leave her to fight it with her own weapons. If
his friend chose to paint a picture of Jael, and take Miss Van Siever as
a model, it was no business of his. Nevertheless he would certainly go
and see Miss Demolines again, because, as he said, she was as good as a
On that same afternoon Conway Dalrymple rolled up his sketch of Jael and
Sisera, put it into his pocket, dressed himself with some considerable
care, putting on a velvet coat which he was in the habit of wearing out
of doors when he did not intend to wander beyond Kensington Gardens, and
the neighbourhood and which was supposed to become him well, yellow
gloves, and a certain Spanish hat of which he was fond, and slowly
sauntered across to the house of his friend Mrs Dobbs Broughton. When
the door was opened to him he did not ask if the lady were at home, but
muttering some word to the servant, made his way through the hall,
upstairs, to a certain small sitting-room looking to the north which was
much used by the mistress of the house. It was quite clear that Conway
Dalrymple had arranged his visit beforehand, and that he was expected.
He opened the door without knocking, and, though the servant had
followed him, he entered without being announced. 'I'm afraid I'm late,'
he said, as he gave his hand to Mrs Broughton; 'but for the life I could
not get away sooner.'
'You are quite in time,' said the lady, 'for any good that you are
likely to do.'
'What does that mean?'
'It means this, my friend, that you had better give the idea up. I have
been thinking of it all day, and I do not approve of it.'
'Of course you will say so, Conway. I have observed of late that
whatever I say to you is called nonsense. I suppose it is the new
fashion that gentlemen should so express themselves, but I am not quite
sure that I like it.'
'You know what I mean. I am very anxious about this picture, and I
shall be much disappointed if it cannot be done now. It was you put it
into my head first.'
'I regret it very much, I can assure you; but it will not be generous in
you to urge that against me.'
'But why shouldn't it succeed?'
'There are many reasons--some personal to myself.'
'I do not know what they can be. You hinted at something which I only
took as having been said in joke.'
'If you mean about Miss Van Siever and yourself, I was quite in earnest,
Conway. I do not think you could do better, and I should be glad to see
it of all things. Nothing would please me more than to bring Miss Van
Siever and you together.'
'And nothing would please me less.'
'But why so?'
'Because--because--I can do nothing but tell you the truth, carina; it
is because my heart is not free to present itself at Miss Van Siever's
'It ought to be so, Conway, and you must make it free. It will be well
that you should be married, and well for others besides yourself. I tell
you so as your friend, you have no truer friend. Sit where you are, if
you please. You can say anything you have to say without stalking about
'I was not going to stalk--as you call it.'
'You will be safer and quieter while you are sitting. I heard a knock
at the door, and I do not doubt that it will be Clara. She said she
would be here.'
'And you have told her about the picture?'
'Yes; I have told her. She said that it would be impossible, and that
her mother would not allow it. Here she is.' Then Miss Van Siever was
shown into the room, and Dalrymple perceived that she was a girl the
peculiarity of whose complexion bore daylight better even than
candlelight. There was something in her countenance which seemed to
declare that she could bear any light to which it might be subjected,
without flinching from it. And her bonnet, which was very plain, and her
simple brown morning gown, suited her well. She was one who required
none of the circumstances of studied dress to carry off aught in her own
appearance. She could look her best when other women look their worst,
and could dare to be seen at all times. Dalrymple, with an artist's eye,
saw this at once, and immediately confessed to himself that there was
something great about her. He could not deny her beauty. But there was
ever present to him that look of hardness which had struck him when he
first saw her. He could not but fancy that though at times she might be
playful, and allow the fur of her coat to be stroked with
good-humour--she would be a dangerous plaything, using her claws
unpleasantly when the good-humour should have passed away. But not the
less was she beautiful, and--beyond that and better than that, for his
purpose--she was picturesque.
'Clara,' said Mrs Broughton, 'here is this mad painter, and he says that
he will have you on his canvas either with your will or without it.'
'Even if he could do that, I am sure he would not,' said Miss Van
'To prove to you that I can, I think I need only show you the sketch,'
said Dalrymple, taking the drawing out of his pocket. 'As regards the
face, I know it so well by heart already, that I feel certain I could
produce a likeness without even a sitting. What do you think of it, Mrs
'It is clever,' said she, looking at it with all the enthusiasm which
women are able to throw into their eyes on such occasions; 'very clever.
The subject would just suit her. I have never doubted that.'
'Eames says that it is confused,' said the artist.
'I don't see that at all,' said Mrs Broughton.
'Of course a sketch must be rough. This one has been rubbed about and
altered--but I think there is something in it.'
'An immense deal,' said Mrs Broughton. 'Don't you think so, Clara?'
'I am not a judge.'
'But you can see the woman's fixed purpose; and her stealthiness as
well;--and the man sleeps like a log. What is that dim outline?'
'Nothing in particular,' said Dalrymple. But the dim outline was
intended to represent Mrs Van Siever.
'It is very good--unquestionably good,' said Mrs Dobbs Broughton. 'I do
not for a moment doubt that you will make a great picture of it. It is
just the subject for you, Conway; so much imagination, and yet such a
scope for portraiture. It would be full of action, and yet such perfect
repose. And the lights and shadows would be exactly in your line. I can
see at a glance how you would manage the light in the tent, and bring it
down just on the nail. And then the pose of the woman would be so good,
so much strength, and yet such grace! You should have the bowl he drank
the milk out of, so as to tell the whole story. No painter living tells
a story so well as you do, Conway.' Conway Dalrymple knew that the woman
was talking nonsense to him, and yet he liked it, and liked her for
'But Mr Dalrymple can paint his Sisera without making me Jael,' said
Miss Van Siever.
'Of course he can,' said Mrs Broughton.
'But I never will,' said the artist. 'I conceived the subject as
connected with you, and I will never disjoin the two ideas.'
'I think it no compliment, I can assure you,' said Miss Van Siever.
'And none was intended. But you may observe that artists in all ages
have sought for higher types of models in painting women who have been
violent or criminal, than have sufficed for them in their portraitures
of gentleness and virtue. Look at all the Judiths and the Lucretias, and
the Charlotte Cordays; how much finer the women are than the Madonnas
and the Saint Cecilias.'
'After that, Clara, you need not scruple to be a Jael,' said Mrs
'But I do scruple--very much; so strongly that I know I never shall do
it. In the first place I don't know why Mr Dalrymple wants it.'
'Want it!' said Conway. 'I want to paint a striking picture.'
'But you can do that without putting me into it.'
'No;--not this picture. And why should you object? It is the commonest
thing in the world for ladies to sit to artists in that manner.'
'People would know it.'
'Nobody would know it, so that you need care about it. What would it
matter if everybody knew it? We are not proposing anything
improper;--are we, Mrs Broughton?'
'She shall not be pressed if she does not like it,' said Mrs Broughton.
'You know I told you before Clara came in, that I was afraid it could
not be done.'
'And I don't like it,' said Miss Van Siever, with some little hesitation
in her voice.
'I don't see anything improper in it, if you mean that,' said Mrs
'Well yes; that is the difficulty, no doubt. The only question is,
whether your mother is not so very singular, as to make it impossible
that you should comply with her in everything.'
'I am afraid that I do not comply with her in very much,' said Miss Van
Siever in her gentlest voice.
'You drive me to say so, otherwise I should be a hypocrite. Of course I
ought not to have said it before Mr Dalrymple.'
'You and Mr Dalrymple will understand all about that, I daresay, before
the picture is finished,' said Mrs Broughton.
It did not take much persuasion on the part of Conway Dalrymple to get
the consent of the younger lady to be painted, or of the elder to allow
the sitting to go on in her room. When the question of easels and other
apparatus came to be considered, Mrs Broughton was rather flustered, and
again declared with energy that the whole thing must fall to the ground;
but a few more words from the painter restored her, and at last the
arrangements were made. As Mrs Dobbs Broughton's dear friend, Madalina
Demolines had said, Mrs Dobbs Broughton liked a fevered existence. 'What
will Dobbs Broughton say?' she exclaimed more than once. And it was
decided at last that Dobbs should know nothing about it as long as it
could be kept from him. 'Of course he shall be told at last,' said his
wife. 'I wouldn't keep anything from the dear fellow for all the world.
But if he knew it at first it would be sure to get through Musselboro to
'I certainly shall beg that Mr Broughton may not be taken into
confidence if Mr Musselboro is to follow,' said Clara. 'And it must be
understood that I must cease to sit immediately, whatever may be the
inconvenience, should mamma speak to me about it.'
This stipulation was made and conceded, and then Miss Van Siever went
away, leaving the artist with Mrs Dobbs Broughton. 'And now, if you
please, Conway, you had better go too,' said the lady, as soon as there
had been time for Miss Van Siever to get downstairs and out of the
'Of course you are in a hurry to get rid of me.'
'Yes, I am.'
'A little while ago I improperly said that some suggestion of yours was
nonsense and you rebuked me for my blunt incivility. Might not I rebuke
you now with equal justice?'
'Do so, if you will;--but leave me. I tell you, Conway, that in these
matters you must either be guided by me, or you and I must cease to see
each other. It does not do that you should remain here with me longer
than the time usually allowed for a morning call. Clara has come and
gone, and you also must go. I am sorry to disturb you, for you seem to
be so very comfortable in that chair.'
'I am comfortable--and I can look at you. Come;--there can be no harm
in saying that, if I say nothing else. Well;--there, now I am gone.'
Whereupon he got up from his arm-chair.
'But you are not gone while you stand there.'
'And you would really wish me to marry this girl?'
'I do--if you can love her.'
'And what about her love?'
'You must win it, of course. She is to be won, like any other woman.
The fruit won't fall into your mouth merely because you open your lips.
You must climb the tree.'
'Still climbing trees in the Hesperides,' said Conway. 'Love does that,
you know; but it is hard to climb the trees without the love. It seems
to me that I have done my climbing--have clomb as high as I knew how,
and that the boughs are breaking with me, and that I am likely to get a
fall. Do you understand me?'
'I would rather not understand you.'
'That is no answer to my question. Do you understand that at this
moment I am getting a fall which will break every bone in my skin and
put any other climbing out of the question as far as I am concerned? Do
you understand that?'
'No; I do not,' said Mrs Broughton, in a tremulous voice.
'Then I'll go and make love at once to Clara Van Siever. There's enough
of pluck left in me to ask her to marry me, and I suppose I could manage
to go through the ceremony if she accepted me.'
'But I want you to love her,' said Mrs Dobbs Broughton.
'I daresay I should love her well enough after a bit;--that is, if she
didn't break my head or comb my hair. I suppose there will be no
objection to my saying that you sent me when I ask her?'
'Conway, you will of course not mention my name to her. I have
suggested to you a marriage which I think would tend to make you happy,
and would give you a stability in life which you want. It is perhaps
better that I should be explicit at once. As an unmarried man I cannot
continue to know you. You have said words of late which have driven me
to this conclusion. I have thought about it much--too much perhaps, and
I know that I am right. Miss Van Siever has beauty and wealth and
intellect, and I think that she would appreciate the love of such a man
as you are. Now go.' And Mrs Dobbs Broughton, standing upright, pointed
to the door. Conway Dalrymple slowly took his Spanish hat from of the
marble slab on which he had laid it, and left the room without saying a
word. The interview had been quite long enough, and there was nothing
else which he knew how to say with effect.
Croquet is a pretty game out of doors, and chess is delightful in a
drawing-room. Battledore and shuttlecock and hunt-the-slipper have also
their attractions. Proverbs are good, and cross questions with crooked
answers may be made very amusing. But none of these games are equal to
the game of love-making--providing that the players can be quite sure
that there shall be no heart in the matter. Any touch of heart not only
destroys the pleasure of the game, but makes the player awkward and
incapable and robs him of his skill. And thus it is that there are many
people who cannot play the game at all. A deficiency of some needed
internal physical strength prevents the owners of the heart from keeping
a proper control over its valves, and thus emotion sets in, and the
pulses are accelerated, and feeling supervenes. For such a one to
attempt the game of love-making, is as though your friend with the gout
should insist on playing croquet. A sense of the ridiculous, if nothing
else, should in either case deter the afflicted one from the attempt.
There was no such absurdity with our friend Mrs Dobbs Broughton and
Conway Dalrymple. Their valves and pulses were all right. They could
play the game without the slightest danger of any inconvenient
result;--of any inconvenient result, that is, as regarded their own
feelings. Blind people cannot see and stupid people cannot
understand--and it might be that Mr Dobbs Broughton, being both blind
and stupid in such matters, might perceive something of the playing of
the game and not know that it was only a game of skill.
When I say that as regarded these two lovers there was nothing of love
between them, and that the game was therefore so far innocent, I would
not be understood as asserting that these people had no hearts in their
bosoms. Mrs Dobbs Broughton probably loved her husband in a sensible,
humdrum way, feeling him to be a bore, knowing him to be vulgar, aware
that he often took a good deal more wine than was good for him, and that
he was almost as uneducated as a hog. Yet she loved him, and showed her
love by taking care that he should have things for dinner which he liked
to eat. But in this alone there were to be found none of the charms of a
fevered existence, and therefore, Mrs Dobbs Broughton, requiring those
charms for her comfort, played her little game with Conway Dalrymple.
And as regarded the artist himself let no reader presume him to have
been heartless because he flirted with Mrs Dobbs Broughton. Doubtless he
will marry some day, and will have a large family for which he will work
hard, and will make a good husband to some stout lady who will be
careful in looking after his linen. But on the present occasion he fell
into some slight trouble in spite of the innocence of his game. As he
quitted his friend's room he heard the hall-door slammed heavily; then
there was a quick step on the stairs, and on the landing-place above the
first flight he met the master of the house, somewhat flurried, as it
seemed, and not looking comfortable, either as regarded his person or
his temper. 'By George, he's been drinking!' Conway said to himself,
after the first glance. Now it certainly was the case that Dobbs
Broughton would sometimes drink at improper hours.
'What the devil are you doing here?' said Dobbs Broughton to his friend
the artist. 'You're always here. You're here a doosed sight more than I
like.' Husbands when they have been drinking are very apt to make
mistakes as to the purport of the game.
'Why Dobbs,' said the painter, 'there's something wrong with you.'
'No, there ain't. There's nothing wrong; and if there was, what's that
to you? I shan't ask you to pay anything for me, I suppose?'
'Well;--I hope not.'
'I won't have you here, and let that be an end of it. It's all very
well when I choose to have a few friends to dinner, but my wife can do
very well without your fal-lalling here all day. Will you remember that,
if you please?'
Conway Dalrymple, knowing that he had better not argue any question with
a drunken man, took himself out of the house, shrugging his shoulders as
he thought of the misery of which his poor dear playfellow would now be
called on to endure.
A HERO AT HOME
On the morning after his visit to Miss Demolines, John Eames found
himself at the Paddington Station asking for a ticket for Guestwick, and
as he picked up his change another gentleman also demanded a ticket for
the same place. Had Guestwick been as Liverpool or Manchester, Eames
would have thought nothing about it. It is a matter of course that men
should always be going from London to Liverpool and Manchester; but it
seemed odd to him that two men should want first-class tickets for so
small a place as Guestwick at the same moment. And when, afterwards, he
was placed by the guard in the same carriage with this other traveller,
he could not but feel some little curiosity. The man was four or five
years Johnny's senior, a good-looking fellow, with a pleasant face, and
the outward appurtenances of a gentleman. The intelligent reader will no
doubt be aware that the stranger was Major Grantly; but the intelligent
reader has in this respect had much advantage over John Eames, who up to
this time had never even heard of his cousin Grace Crawley's lover. 'I
think you were asking for a ticket to Guestwick,' said Johnny;
--whereupon the major owned that such was the case. 'I lived in
Guestwick for the greater part of my life,' said Johnny, 'and it's the
dullest, dearest little town in all England.' 'I never was there
before,' said the major, 'and indeed I can hardly say I am going there
now. I shall only pass through it.' Then he got out his newspaper, and
Johnny also got his out, and for a time there was no conversation
between them. John remembered how holy was the errand upon which he was
intent, and gathered his thoughts together, resolving that having so
great a matter on his mind he would think about nothing else and speak
about nothing at all. He was going down to Allington to ask Lily Dale
for the last time whether she would be his wife; to ascertain whether he
was to be successful or unsuccessful in the one great wish of his life;
and, as such was the case with him--as he had in hand a thing so vital,
it could be nothing to him whether the chance companion of his voyage
was an agreeable or disagreeable person. He himself, in any of the
ordinary circumstances of life, was prone enough to talk with anyone he
might meet. He could have travelled for twelve hours together with an
old lady, and could listen to her or make her listen to him without
half-an-hour's interruption. But this journey was made on no ordinary
occasion, and it behoved him to think of Lily. Therefore, after the
first little almost necessary effort at civility, he fell back into
gloomy silence. He was going to do his best to win Lily Dale, and this
doing of his best would require all his thoughts and all his energy.
And probably Major Grantly's mind was bent in the same direction. He,
too, had this work before him, and could not look upon his work as a
thing that which he was intent upon obtaining. He knew--he almost
knew--that he had won the heart of the girl whom he was seeking. There
had been that between him and her which justified him in supposing that
he was dear to her, although no expression of affection had ever passed
from her lips to his ears. Men may know all that they require to know on
that subject without any plainly spoken words. Grace Crawley had spoken
no word, and yet he had known--at any rate had not doubted, that he
could have the place in her heart of which he desired to be the master.
She would never surrender herself altogether till she had taught herself
to be sure of him to whom she gave herself. But she had listened to him
with silence that had not rebuked him, and he had told himself that he
might venture, without fear of that rebuke as to which the minds of some
men are sensitive to a degree which other men cannot even understand.
But for all this Major Grantly could not be altogether happy as to his
mission; he would ask Grace Crawley to be his wife; but he would be
ruined by his own success. And the remembrance that he would be severed
from his own family by the thing that he was doing, was very bitter to
him. In generosity he might be silent about this to Grace, but who can
endure to be silent on such a subject to the woman who is to be his
wife? And then it would not be possible for him to abstain from some
explanation. He was now following her down to Allington, a step which he
certainly would not have taken but the misfortune which had befallen her
father, and he must explain to her in some sort of way why he did so. He
must say to her--if not in so many words, still almost as plainly as
words could speak--I am here now to ask you to be my wife, because you
specially require the protection and countenance of the man who loves
you, in the present circumstances of your father's affairs. He knew that
he was doing right;--perhaps had some idea that he was doing nobly; but
this very appreciation of his own good qualities made the task before
the more difficult.
Major Grantly had The Times, and John Eames had The Daily News, and they
exchanged papers. One had the last Saturday, and the other the last
Spectator, and they exchanged these also. Both had The Pall Mall Gazette,
of which enterprising periodical they gradually came to discuss the
merits and demerits, thus falling into conversation at last, in spite of
the weight of the mission on which each of them was intent. Then, at
last, when they were within half-an-hour of the end of their journey,
Major Grantly asked his companion what was the best inn at Guestwick. He
had at first been minded to go on to Allington at once--to go on to
Allington and get his work done, and then return home or remain there,
or find the nearest inn with a decent bed, as circumstances might direct
him. But on reconsideration, as he drew nearer to the scene of his
future operations, he thought that it might be well for him to remain
that night at Guestwick. He did not quite know how far Allington was
from Guestwick, but he did know that it was still mid-winter, and that
the days were short. 'The Magpie' was the best inn, Johnny said. Having
lived at Guestwick all his life, and having a mother living there now,
he had never himself put up at 'The Magpie' but he believed it to a good
country inn. They kept post-horses there, he knew. He did not tell the
stranger that his late old friend Lord De Guest, and his present old
friend Lady Julia, always hired post-horses from 'The Magpie', but he
grounded his ready assertion on the remembrance of that fact. 'I think I
shall stay there tonight,' said the major. 'You'll find it pretty
comfortable, I don't doubt,' said Johnny. 'Though, indeed, it always
seems to me that a man alone at an inn has a very bad time of it.
Reading is all very well, but one gets tired of it at last. And then I
hate horse-hair chairs.' 'It isn't very delightful,' said the major,
'but beggars mustn't be choosers.' Then there was a pause, after which
the major spoke again. 'You don't happen to know which way Allington
'Allington!' said Johnny.
'Yes, Allington. Is there not a village called Allington?'
'There is a village called Allington, certainly. It lies over there.'
And Johnny pointed with his finger through the window. 'As you do not
know the country you can see nothing, but I can see the Allington trees
at this moment.'
'I suppose there is no inn at Allington?'
'There's a public-house, with a very nice bedroom. It is called the
"Red Lion". Mrs Forrard keeps it. I would quite as soon stay there as at
"The Magpie". Only if they don't expect you, they wouldn't have much for
'Then you know the village of Allington?'
'Yes, I know the village of Allington very well. I have friends living
there. Indeed, I may say I know everybody living in Allington.'
'Do you know Mrs Dale?'
'Mrs Dale,' said Johnny. 'Yes, I know Mrs Dale. I have known Mrs Dale
pretty nearly all my life.' Who could this man be who was gong down to
see Mrs Dale--Mrs Dale, and consequently, Lily Dale? He thought that he
knew Mrs Dale so well, that she could have no visitor of whom he would
not be entitled to have some knowledge. But Major Grantly had nothing
more to say at the moment about Mrs Dale. He had never seen Mrs Dale in
his life, and was now going to her house, not to see her, but a friend
of hers. He found that he could not very well explain this to a
stranger, and therefore at the moment he said nothing further. But
Johnny would not allow the subject to be dropped. 'Have you known Mrs
Dale long?' he asked.
'I have not the pleasure of knowing her at all,' said the major.
'I thought, perhaps, by your asking after her--'
'I intend to call upon her, that is all. I suppose they will have an
omnibus here from "The Magpie"?' Eames said that there no doubt would be
an omnibus from 'The Magpie', and then they were at their journey's end.
For the present we will follow John Eames, who went at once to his
mother's house. It was his intention to remain there for two or three
days, and then go over to the house, or rather to the cottage, of his
great ally Lady Julia, which lay just beyond Guestwick Manor, and
somewhat nearer to Allington than to the town of Guestwick. He had made
up his mind that he would not himself go over to Allington till he
could do so from Guestwick Cottage, as it was called, feeling that,
under certain untoward circumstances--should untoward circumstances
arise--Lady Julia's sympathy might be more endurable than that of his
mother. But he would take care that it should be known at Allington that
he was in the neighbourhood. He understood the necessary strategy of his
campaign too well to suppose that he could startle Lily into acceptance.
With his own mother and sister, John Eames was in these days quite a
hero. He was a hero with them now, because in his early boyish days
there had been so little about him that was heroic. Then there had been
a doubt whether he would ever earn his daily bread, and he had been a
very heavy burden on the slight family resources in the matter of
jackets and trousers. The pride taken in Johnny had not been great,
though the love felt for him had been warm. But gradually things had
changed, and John Eames had become hero in his mother's eyes. A chance
circumstance had endeared him to Earl De Guest, and from that moment
things had gone well with him. The earl had given him a watch and had
left him a fortune, and Sir Raffle Buffle had made him his private
secretary. In the old days, when Johnny's love for Lily Dale was first
discussed by his mother and sister, they had thought it impossible that
Lily should ever bring herself to regard with affection so humble a
suitor;--for the Dales have ever held their heads up in the world. But
now there is no misgiving on that score with Mrs Eames and her daughter.
Their wonder that Lily Dale should be such a fool as to decline the love
of such a man. So Johnny was received with respect due to a hero, as
well as with the affection belonging to a son;--by which I mean it to be
inferred that Mrs Eames had got a little bit of fish for dinner as well
as a leg of mutton.
'A man came down in the train with me who says he is going over to
Allington,' said Johnny. 'I wonder who he can be. He is staying at "The
'A friend of Captain Dale's probably,' said Mary. Captain Dale was the
squire's nephew and his heir.
'But this man was not going to the squire's. He was going to the Small
'Is he going to stay there?'
'I suppose not, as he asked about the inn.' Then, Johnny reflected that
he might possibly be a friend of Crosbie's, and became melancholy in
consequence. Crosbie might have thought it expedient to send an
ambassador down to prepare the ground for him before he should venture
again upon the scene himself. If it were so, would it not be well that
he, John Eames, should get over to Lily as soon as possible, and not
wait till he should be staying with Lady Julia?
It was at any rate incumbent upon him to call upon Lady Julia the next
morning, because of his commission. The Berlin wool might remain in his
portmanteau till his portmanteau should go with him to the cottage; but
he would take the spectacles at once, and he must explain to Lady Julia
what the lawyers had told him about the income. So he hired a
saddle-horse from 'The Magpie' and started after breakfast on the
morning after his arrival. In his unheroic days he would have walked--as
he had done, scores of times, over the whole distance from Guestwick to
Allington. But now, in these grander days, he thought about his boots
and the mud, and the formal appearance of the thing. 'Ah dear,' he said
to himself, as the nag walked slowly out of the town, 'it used to be
better with the old days. I hardly hoped that she would ever accept me,
but at least she had never refused me. And then that brute had not as
yet made his way down to Allington!'
He did not go very fast. After leaving the town he trotted on for a
mile or so. But when he got to the palings of Guestwick Manor he let the
animal walk again, and his mind ran back over the incidents of his life
which were connected with the place. He remembered a certain long ramble
which he had taken in those days woods after Lily had refused him. That
had been subsequent to the Crosbie episode in his life, and Johnny had
been led to hope by certain of his friends--especially by Lord De Guest
and his sister--that he might then be successful. But he had been
unsuccessful, and had passed the bitterest hour of his life wandering
about in those woods. Since that he had been unsuccessful again and
again; but the bitterness of failure had not been so strong with him as
on that first occasion. He would try again now, and if he failed, he
would fail for the last time. As he was thinking of all this, a gig
overtook him on the road, and on looking round he saw that the occupant
of the gig was the man who had travelled with him on the previous day in
the train. Major Grantly was alone in the gig, and as he recognised John
Eames he stopped his horse. 'Are you going to Allington?' he asked. John
Eames, with something of scorn in his voice, replied that he had no
intention of going to Allington on that day. He still thought that this
man might be an emissary from Crosbie, and therefore resolved that but
scant courtesy was due to him. 'I am on my way there now,' said Grantly,
'and am going to the house of your friend. May I tell her that I
travelled with you yesterday?'
'Yes, sir,' said Johnny. 'You may tell her that you came down with John
'And are you John Eames?' asked the major.
'If you have no objection,' said Johnny. 'But I can hardly suppose that
you have heard of my name before?'
'It is familiar to me because I have the pleasure of knowing a cousin of
yours, Grace Crawley.'
'My cousin is at present staying at Allington with Mrs Dale,' said
'Just so,' said the major, who now began to reflect that he had been
indiscreet in mentioning Grace Crawley's name. No doubt everyone
connected with the family, all the Crawleys, all the Dales, and all the
Eames's, would soon know the business which had brought him down to
Allngton; but he need not have taken the trouble of beginning the story
himself. John Eames, in truth, had never heard of Major Grantly's name,
and was quite unaware of the fortune which awaited his cousin. Even
after what he had now been told, he still suspected the stranger of
being an emissary from his enemy; but the major, not giving him credit
for his ignorance, was annoyed with himself for having told so much of
his own history. 'I will tell the ladies that I had the pleasure of
meeting you,' he said; 'that is, if I am lucky enough to see them.' And
then he drove on.
'I know I should hate that fellow if I were to meet him anywhere again,'
said Johnny to himself as he rode on. 'When I take an aversion to a
fellow at first sight, I always stick to it. It's instinct, I suppose.'
And he was still giving himself credit for the strength of his instincts
when he reached Lady Julia's cottage. He rode at once into the
stable-yard, with the privilege of an accustomed friend of the house,
and having given up his horse, entered the cottage by the back door. 'Is
my lady at home, Jemima?' he said to the maid.
'Yes, Mr John; she is in the drawing-room, and friends of yours are with
her.' Then he was announced, and found himself in the presence of Lady
Julia, Lily Dale, and Grace Crawley.
He was very warmly received. Lady Julia really loved him dearly, and
would have done anything in her power to bring about a match between him
and Lily. Grace was his cousin, and though she had not seen him often,
she was prepared to love him dearly as Lily's lover. And Lily--Lily
loved him dearly too--if only she could have brought herself to love him
as he wished to be loved! To all of them Johnny Eames was something of a
hero. At any rate in the eyes of all of them he possessed those virtues
which seemed to them to justify them in petting him and making much of
'I am so glad you've come--that is, if you've brought my spectacles,'
said Lady Julia.
'My pockets are crammed with spectacles,' said Johnny.
'And when are you coming to me?'
'I was thinking of Tuesday.'
'No; don't come till Wednesday. But I mean Monday. No; Monday won't
do. Come on Tuesday--early, and drive me out. And now tell us the news.'
Johnny swore that there was no news. He made a brave attempt to be gay
and easy before Lily; but he failed, and he knew that he failed--and he
knew that she knew that he failed. 'Mamma will be so glad to see you,'
said Lily. 'I suppose you haven't seen Bell yet?'
'I only got to Guestwick yesterday afternoon,' said he.
'And it will be so nice our having Grace at the Small House;--won't it?
Uncle Christopher has quite taken a passion for Grace--so that I am
hardly anybody now in the Allington world.'
'By-the-by,' said Johnny, 'I came down here with a friend of yours,
'A friend of mine?' said Grace.
'So he says, and he is at Allington at this moment. He passed me in the
gig down here.'
'And what was his name?' Lily asked.
'I have not the remotest idea,' said Johnny. 'He is a man about my own
age, very good-looking, and apparently very well able to take care of
himself. He is short-sighted, and holds a glass in one eye when he looks
out of a carriage window. That's all I know about him.
Grace Crawley's face had become suffused with blushes at the first
mention of the friend and the gig; but then Grace blushed very easily.
Lily knew all about it at once;--at once divined who must be the friend
in the gig, and was almost beside herself with joy. Lady Julia, who had
heard no more of the major than had Johnny, was still clever enough to
perceive that the friend must be a particular friend--for she had
noticed Miss Crawley's blushes. And Grace herself had no doubt as to the
man. The picture of her lover, with the glass in his eye as he looked
out of the window, had been too perfect to admit of a doubt. In her
distress she put out her hand and took hold of Lily's dress.
'And you say he is at Allington now?' said Lily.
'I have no doubt he is at the Small House at this moment,' said Johnny.
SHOWING HOW MAJOR GRANTLY TOOK A WALK
Major Grantly drove his gig into the yard of the 'Red Lion' at
Allington, and from thence walked away at once to Mrs Dale's house. When
he reached the village he had hardly made up his mind as the way in
which he would begin his attack; but now, as he went down the street, he
resolved that he would first ask for Mrs Dale. Most probably he would
find himself in the presence of Mrs Dale and her daughter, and of Grace
also, at his first entrance; and if so, his position would be awkward
enough. He almost regretted now that he had not written to Mrs Dale, and
asked for an interview. His task would be very difficult if he should
find all the ladies together. But he was strong enough in the feeling
that when his purpose was told it would meet the approval at any rate of
Mrs Dale; and he walked boldly on, and bravely knocked at the door of
the Small House, as he had already learned that Mrs Dale's residence was
called by the neighbourhood. Nobody was at home, the servant said; and
then, when the visitor began to make further inquiry, the girl explained
that the two young ladies had walked as far as Guestwick Cottage, and
that Mrs Dale was at this moment at the Great House with the squire. She
had gone across soon after the young ladies had started. The maid,
however, was interrupted before she had finished telling all this to the
major, by finding her mistress behind her in the passage. Mrs Dale had
returned, and had entered the house from the lawn.
'I am here now, Jane,' said Mrs Dale, 'if the gentleman wishes to see
Then the major announced himself. 'My name is Major Grantly,' said he;
and he was blundering on with some words about his own intrusion, when
Mrs Dale begged him to follow her into the drawing-room. He had muttered
something to the effect that Mrs Dale would not know who he was; but Mrs
Dale knew all about him, and had heard the whole of Grace's story from
Lily. She and Lily had often discussed the question whether, under
existing circumstances, Major Grantly should feel himself bound to offer
his hand to Grace, and the mother and daughter had differed somewhat on
the matter. Mrs Dale had held that he was not so bound, urging that the
unfortunate position in which Mr Crawley was placed was so calamitous to
all connected with him, as to justify any man, not absolutely engaged,
in abandoning the thoughts of such a marriage. Mrs Dale had spoken of
Major Grantly's father and mother and brother and sister, and had
declared her opinion that they were entitled to consideration. But Lily
had opposed this idea very stoutly, asserting that in an affair of love
a man should think neither of father or brother of mother or sister. 'If
he is worth anything,' Lily had said, 'he will come to her now--in her
trouble; and will tell her that she at least has got a friend who will
be true to her. If he does that, then I shall think that there is
something of the poetry and nobleness of love left.' In answer to this
Mrs Dale had replied that women had no right to expect from men such
self-denying nobility as that. 'I don't expect it, mamma,' said Lily.
'And I am sure that Grace does not. Indeed I am quite sure that Grace
does not expect even to see him ever again. She never says so, but I
know that she has made up her mind about it. Still I think he ought to
come.' 'It can hardly be that a man is bound to do a thing, the doing of
which, as you confess, would be almost more than noble,' said Mrs Dale.
And so the matter had been discussed between them. But now, as it seemed
to Mrs Dale, the man had come to do the noble thing. At any rate he was
there in her drawing-room, and before either of them had sat down he had
contrived to mention Grace. 'You may not probably have heard my name,'
he said,' but I am acquainted with your friend, Grace Crawley.'
'I know your name very well, Major Grantly. My brother-in-law who lives
down yonder, Mr Dale, knows your father very well--or he did some years
ago. And I have heard him say that he remembers you.'
'I recollect. He used to be staying at Ullathorne. But that is a long
time ago. Is he at home now?'
'Mr Dale is almost always at home. He very rarely goes away, and I am
sure would be glad to see you.'
Then there was a little pause in the conversation. They had managed to
seat themselves, and Mrs Dale had said enough to put her visitor fairly
at his ease. If he had anything special to say to her, he must say
it--any request or proposition to make as to Grace Crawley, he must make
it. And he did make it at once. 'My object in coming to Allington,' he
said, 'was to see Miss Crawley.'
'She and my daughter have taken a long walk to call on a friend, and I
am afraid they will stay for lunch; but they will certainly be home
between three and four, if that is not too long for you to remain at
'Oh, dear, no,' said he. 'It will not hurt me to wait.'
'It certainly will not hurt me, Major Grantly. Perhaps you will lunch
'I'll tell you what, Mrs Dale; if you'll permit me, I'll explain to you
why I have come here. Indeed, I have intended to do so all through, and
I can only ask you to keep my secret, if after all it should require to
'I will certainly keep any secret that you may ask me to keep,' said Mrs
Dale, taking off her bonnet.
'I hope there may be no need of one,' said Major Grantly. 'The truth
is, Mrs Dale, that I have known Grace Crawley for some time--nearly for
two years now, and--I may as well speak it out at once--I have made up
my mind to ask her to be my wife. That is why I am here.' Considering
the nature of the statement, which must have been embarrassing, I think
that it was made with fluency and simplicity.
'Of course, Major Grantly, you know that I have no authority with our
young friend,' said Mrs Dale. 'I mean that she is not connected with us
by family ties. She has a father and mother, living, as I believe, in
the same county as yourself.'
'I know that, Mrs Dale.'
'And you may, perhaps, understand that, as Miss Crawley is now staying
with me, I owe it in a measure to her friends to ask you whether they
are aware of your intention.'
'They are not aware of it.'
'I know that at the present moment they are in great trouble.'
Mrs Dale was going on, but she was interrupted by Major Grantly. 'That
is just it,' he said. 'There are circumstances at present which make it
almost impossible that I should go to Mr Crawley and ask his permission
to address his daughter. I do not know whether you have heard the whole
'As much, I believe, as Grace could tell me.'
'He is, I believe, in such a state of mental distress as to be hardly
capable of giving me a considerate answer. And I should not know how to
speak to him, or how not to speak to him, about this unfortunate affair.
But, Mrs Dale, you will, I think, perceive that the same circumstances
make it imperative upon me to be explicit to Miss Crawley. I think I am
the last man to boast of a woman's regard, but I had learned to think
that I was not indifferent to Grace. If that be so, what must she think
of me if I stay away from her now?'
'She understands too well the weight of the misfortune which has fallen
upon her father, to suppose that anyone not connected with her can be
bound to share it.'
'That is just it. She will think that I am silent for that reason. I
have determined that that shall not keep me silent, and, therefore, I
have come here. I may, perhaps, be able to bring comfort to her in her
trouble. As regards my worldly position--though, indeed, it will not be
very good--as hers is not good either, you will not think yourself bound
to forbid me to see her on that head.'
'Certainly not. I need hardly say that I fully understand that, as
regards money, you are offering everything where you can get nothing.'
'And you understand my feeling?'
'Indeed I do--and appreciate the great nobility of your love for Grace.
You shall see her here, if you wish it--and today, if you choose to
wait.' Major Grantly said that he would wait and would see Grace on that
afternoon. Mrs Dale again suggested that he should lunch with her, but
this he declined. She then proposed that he should go across and call
upon the squire, and thus consume his time. But to this he also
objected. He was not exactly in humour, he said, to renew so old and so
slight an acquaintance at that time. Mr Dale would probably have
forgotten him, and would be sure to ask what had brought him to
Allington. He would go and take a walk, he said, and come again at
exactly half-past three. Mrs Dale again expressed her certainty that the
young ladies would be back by that time, and Major Grantly left the
Mrs Dale when she was left alone could not but compare the good fortune
that was awaiting Grace, with the evil fortune which had fallen on her
own child. Here was a man who was at all points a gentleman. Such, at
least, was the character which Mrs Dale at once conceded to him. And
Grace had chanced to come across this man, and to please his eye, and
satisfy his taste, and be loved by him. And the result of that chance
would be that Grace would have everything given to her that the world
has to give worth acceptance. She would have a companion for her life
whom she could trust, admire, love, and of whom she could be infinitely
proud. Mrs Dale was not at all aware whether Major Grantly might have
five hundred a year to spend, or five thousand--or what sum intermediate
between the two--nor did she give much of her thoughts at the moment to
that side of the subject. She knew without thinking of it--or fancied
that she knew, that there were means sufficient for comfortable living.
It was solely the nature and character of the man that was in her mind,
and the sufficiency that was to be found in them for a wife's happiness.
But her daughter, her Lily, had come across a man who was a scoundrel,
and, as the consequence of that meeting, all her life was marred! Could
any credit be given to Grace for her success, or any blame attached to
Lily for her failure. Surely not the latter! How was her girl to have
guarded herself from a love so unfortunate, or have avoided the rock on
which her vessel had been shipwrecked? Then many bitter thoughts passed
through Mrs Dale's mind, and she almost envied Grace Crawley her lover.
Lily was contented to remain as she was, but Lily's mother could not
bring herself to be satisfied that her child should fill a lower place
in the world than other girls. It had ever been her idea--an ideal
probably never absolutely uttered even to herself, but not the less
practically conceived--that it is the business of a woman to be married.
That her Lily should have been won and not worn, had been, and would be,
a trouble to her for ever.
Major Grantly went back to the inn and saw his horse fed, and smoked a
cigar, and then, finding that it was still only just one o'clock, he
started off for a walk. He was careful not to go out of Allington by
the road he had entered it, as he had no wish to encounter Grace and her
friend on their return to the village; so he crossed a little brook
which runs at the bottom of the hill on which the chief street of
Allington is built, and turned into a field-path to the left as soon as
he had got beyond the houses. Not knowing the geography of the place he
did not understand that by taking that path he was making his way back
to the squire's house; but it was so; and after sauntering on for about
a mile and crossing back again over the stream, of which he took no
notice, he found himself leaning across a gate, and looking into a
paddock on the other side of which was the high wall of a gentleman's
garden. To avoid this he went on a little farther and found himself on a
farm road, and before he could retrace his steps so as not to be seen,
he met a gentleman whom he presumed to be the owner of the house. It was
the squire surveying his home farm, as was his daily custom; but Major
Grantly had not perceived that the house must of necessity be Allington
House, having been aware that he had passed the entrance to the place,
as he entered the village on the other side. 'I'm afraid I'm intruding,'
he said, lifting his hat. 'I came up the path yonder, not knowing that
it would lead me so close to a gentleman's house.'
'There's a right of way through the fields on to the Guestwick road,'
said the squire, 'and therefore you are not trespassing in any sense;
but we are not particular about such things down here, and you would be
very welcome if there were no right of way. If you are a stranger,
perhaps you would like to see the outside of the old house. People think
Then Major Grantly became aware that this must be the squire, and he was
annoyed with himself for his own awkwardness in having thus come upon
the house. He would have wished to keep himself altogether unseen if it
had been possible--and especially unseen by this old gentleman, to whom,
now that he had met him, he was almost bound to introduce himself. But
he was not absolutely bound to do so, and he determined that he would
still keep his peace. Even if the squire should afterwards hear of his
having been there, what would it matter? But to proclaim himself at the
present moment would be disagreeable to him. He permitted the squire,
however, to lead him to the front of the house, and in a few moments was
standing on the terrace hearing an account of the architecture of the
You can see the date still in the brickwork of one of the chimneys--that
is, if your eyes are very good you can see it--1617. It was completed
in that year, and very little has been done to it since. We think the
chimneys are pretty.'
'They are very pretty,' said the major. 'Indeed, the house altogether
is as graceful as it can be.'
'Those trees are old too,' said the squire, pointing to two cedars which
stood at the side of the house. 'They say they are older than the house
but I don't feel sure of it. There was a mansion here before, very
nearly, though not quite, on the same spot.'
'Your own ancestors were living here before that, I suppose?' said
Grantly, meaning to be civil.
'Well, yes; two or three hundred years before it, I suppose. If you
don't mind coming down to the churchyard, you'll get an excellent view
of the house;--by far the best there is. By-the-by, would you like to
step in and take a glass of wine?'
'I'm very much obliged,' said the major, 'but indeed I'd rather not.'
Then he followed the squire down to the churchyard, and was shown the
church as well as the view of the house, and the vicarage, and a view
over to Allington woods from the vicarage gate, of which the squire was
very fond, and in this way he was taken back on to the Guestwick side of
the village, and even down on the road by which he had entered it,
without in the least knowing where he was. He looked at his watch, and
saw that it was past two. 'I'm very much obliged to you, sir,' he said
again taking off his hat to the squire, 'and if I shall not be
intruding, I'll make my way back to the village.'
'To Allington,' said Grantly.
'This is Allington,' said the squire; and as he spoke, Lily Dale and
Grace Crawley turned the corner from the Guestwick road and came close
upon them. 'Well, girls, I did not expect to see you,' said the squire;
'your mamma told me you wouldn't be back till it was nearly dark, Lily.'
'We have come back earlier than we intended,' said Lily. She of course
had seen the stranger with her uncle, and knowing the ways of the squire
in such matters had expected to be introduced to him. But the reader
will be aware that no introduction was possible. It never occurred to
Lily that this man could be Major Grantly of whom she and Grace had been
talking during the whole length of the walk home. But Grace and her
lover had of course known each other at once, and Grantly, though he was
abashed and almost dismayed by the meeting, of course came forward and
gave his hand to his friend. Grace in taking it did not utter a word.
'Perhaps I ought to have introduced myself to you as Major Grantly,'
said he, turning to the squire.
'Major Grantly! Dear me! I had no idea that you were expected in these
'I have come without being expected.'
'You are very welcome, I'm sure. I hope your father is well? I used to
know him some years ago, and I daresay he has not forgotten me.' Then,
while the girls stood by in silence, and while Grantly was endeavouring
to escape, the squire invited him very warmly to send his portmanteau up
to the house. 'We'll have the ladies up from the house below, and make
it as little dull for you as possible.' But this would not have suited
Grantly--at any rate would not suit him till he should know what answer
he was to have. He excused himself therefore, pleading a positive
necessity to be at Guestwick that evening, and then, explaining that he
had already seen Mrs Dale, he expressed his intention of going back to
the Small House in company with the ladies, if they would allow him. The
squire, who did not yet quite understand it all, bade him a formal
adieu, and Lily led the way home down behind the churchyard wall and
through the bottom of the gardens belonging to the Great House. She of
course knew now who the stranger was, and did all in her power to
relieve Grace of her embarrassment. Grace had hitherto not spoken a
single word since she had seen her lover, nor did she say a word to him
in their walk to the house. And, in truth, he was not much more
communicative than Grace. Lily did all the talking, and with wonderful
female skill contrived to have some words ready for use till they all
found themselves together in Mrs Dale's drawing-room. 'I have caught a
major, mamma, and landed him,' said Lily laughing, 'but I'm afraid, from
what I hear, that you had caught him first.'
MISS LILY DALE'S LOGIC
Lady Julia De Guest always lunched at one exactly, and it was not much
past twelve when John Eames made his appearance at the cottage. He was
of course told to stay, and of course said that he would stay. It had
been his purpose to lunch with Lady Julia; but then he had not expected
to find Lily Dale at the cottage. Lily herself would have been quite at
her ease, protected by Lady Julia, and somewhat protected also by her
own powers of fence, had it not been that Grace was there also. But
Grace Crawley, from the moment that she had heard the description of the
gentleman who looked out of the window with his glass in his eye, had by
no means been at her ease. Lily saw at once that she could not be
brought to join in any conversation, and both John and Lady Julia, in
their ignorance of the matter in hand, made matters worse.
'So that was Major Grantly,' said John. 'I have heard of him before, I
think. He is a son of the old archdeacon, is he not?'
'I don't know about old archdeacon,' said Lady Julia. 'The archdeacon
is the son of the old bishop, whom I remember very well. And it is not
so very long since the bishop died, either.'
'I wonder what he is doing at Allington,' said John.
'I think he knows my uncle,' said Lily.
'But he's going to call on your mother, he said.' Then Johnny
remembered that the major had said something as to knowing Miss Crawley,
and for the moment he was silent.
'I remember when they talked of making the son a bishop also,' said Lady
'What;--the same man who is now a major?' said Johnny.
'No, you goose. He is not the son of; he is the grandson. They were
going to make the archdeacon a bishop, and I remember hearing that he
was terribly disappointed. He is getting to be an old man now, I
suppose; and yet, dear me, how well I remember his father.'
'He didn't look like a bishop's son,' said Johnny.
'How does a bishop's son look,' Lily asked.
'I suppose he ought to have some sort of clerical tinge about him; but
this fellow had nothing of that kind.'
'But then this fellow, as you call him,' said Lily, 'is only the son of
'That accounts for it, I suppose,' said Johnny.
But during all this time, Grace did not say a word, and Lily perceived
it. Then she bethought herself as to what she had better do. Grace, she
knew, could not be comfortable where she was. Nor, indeed, was it
probable that Grace would be very comfortable in returning home. There
could not be much ease for Grace till the coming meeting between her and
Major Grantly should be over. But it would be better that Grace should
go back to Allington at once; and better also, perhaps, for Major
Grantly that it should be so. 'Lady Julia,' she said, 'I don't think
we'll mind stopping for lunch today.'
'Nonsense, my dear; you promised.'
'I think we must break our promise; I do indeed. You mustn't be angry
with us.' And Lily looked at Lady Julia, as though there were something
which Lady Julia ought to understand, which she, Lily, could not quite
explain. I fear that Lily was false, and intended her old friend to
believe that she was running away because John Eames had come there.
'But you will be famished,' said Lady Julia.
'We shall live through it,' said Lily.
'It is out of the question that I should let you walk all the way here
from Allington and all the way back without taking something.'
'We shall just be home in time for lunch if we go now,' said Lily. 'Will
not that be the best, Grace?'
Grace hardly knew what would be best. She only knew that Major Grantly
was at Allington, and that he had come thither to see her. The idea of
hurrying back after him was unpleasant to her, and yet she was so
flurried that she felt thankful to Lily for taking her away from the
cottage. The matter was compromised at last. They remained for
half-an-hour, and ate some biscuits and pretended to drink a glass of
wine, and then they started. John Eames, who in truth believed that Lily
Dale was running away from him, was by no means well pleased, and when
the girls were gone, did not make himself so agreeable to his old friend
as he should have done. 'What a fool I am to come here at all,' he said,
throwing himself into an arm-chair as soon as the front door was closed.
'That's very civil to me, John!'
'You know what I mean, Lady Julia. I am a fool to come near her, until
I can do so without thinking more of her than I do of any other girl in
'I don't think you have anything to complain of as yet,' said Lady
Julia, who had in some sort perceived that Lily's retreat had been on
Grace's account, and not on her own. 'It seems to me that Lily was very
glad to see you, and when I told her that you were coming to stay here,
and would be near them for some days, she seemed to be quite
pleased;--she did indeed.'
'Then why did she run away the moment I came in?' said Johnny.
'I think it was something you said about the man who has gone to
'What difference can the man make to her? The truth is, I despise
myself;--I do indeed, Lady Julia. Only think of my meeting Crosbie at
dinner the other day, and his having the impertinence to come up and
shake hands with me.'
'I suppose he didn't say anything about what happened at the Paddington
'No; he didn't speak about that. I wish I knew whether she cares for
him still. If I thought she did, I would never speak another word to
her--I mean about myself. Of course I am not going to quarrel with them.
I am not such a fool as that.' Then Lady Julia tried to comfort him, and
succeeded so far that he was induced to eat the mince veal that had been
intended for the comfort and support of the two young ladies who had run
'Do you think it is he?' were the first words which Grace said when they
were fairly on their way back together.
'I should think it must be. What other man can there be, of that sort,
who would be likely to come to Allington to see you?'
'His coming is not likely. I cannot understand that he should come. He
let me leave Silverbridge without seeing me--and I thought that he was
'And I think he is quite right to come here. I am very glad he has
come. It shows that he has really something like a heart inside him. Had
he not come, or sent, or written, or taken some step before the trial
comes on, to make you know that he was thinking of you, I should have
said that he was as hard--as hard as any other man I had ever heard of.
Men are so hard! But I don't think he is, now. I am beginning to regard
him as the one chevalier sans peur et sans reproche, and to fancy that
you ought to go down on your knees before him, and kiss his highness's
shoebuckle. In judging of men one's mind vacillates so quickly between
the scorn which is due to a false man and the worship which is due to a
true man.' Then she was silent for a moment, but Grace said nothing, and
Lily continued, 'I tell you fairly, Grace, that I shall expect very much
from you now.'
'Much in what way, Lily?'
'In the way of worship. I shall not be content that you should merely
love him. If he has come here, as he must have done, to say that the
moment of the world's reproach is the moment he has chosen to ask you to
be his wife, I think that you will owe him more than love.'
'I shall owe him more than love, and I will pay him more than love,'
said Grace. There was something in the tone of her voice as she spoke
which made Lily stop her and look up into her face. There was a smile
there which Lily had never seen before, and which gave a beauty to her
which was wonderful to Lily's eyes. Surely this lover of Grace's must
have seen a smile like that, and therefore had loved her and was giving
such wonderful proof of his love. 'Yes,' continued Grace, standing and
looking at her friend, 'you may stare at me, Lily, but you may be sure
that I will do for Major Grantly all the good that I can do for him.'
'Never mind what I mean. You are very imperious in managing your own
affairs, and you must let me be so equally in mine.'
'But I tell you everything.'
'Do you suppose that if--if--if in real truth it can possibly be the
case that Major Grantly shall have come here to offer me his hand when
we all ground down in the dust as we are, do you think that I will let
him sacrifice himself? Would you?'
'Certainly. Why not? There will be no sacrifice. He will be asking
for that which he wishes to get; and you will be bound to give it to
'If he wants it, where is his nobility? If it be as you say, he will
have shown himself noble, and his nobility will have consisted in this,
that he has been willing to take that which he does not want, in order
that he may succour the one whom he loves. I also will succour one whom
I love, as best I know how.' Then she walked on quickly before her
friend, and Lily stood for a moment thinking before she followed her.
They were now on a field-path, by which they were enabled to escape the
road back to Allington for the greater part of the distance, and Grace
had reached a stile, and had clambered over it before Lily had caught
'You must not go away by yourself,' said Lily.
'I don't wish to go away by myself.'
'I want you to stop a moment and listen to me. I am sure you are wrong
in this--wrong for both your sakes. You believe that he loves you?'
'I thought he did once; and if he has come here to see me, I suppose he
'If that be the case, and you also love him--'
'I do. I make no mystery about that to you. I do love him with all my
heart. I love him today, now that I believe him to be here, and that I
suppose I shall see him, perhaps this very afternoon. And I loved him
yesterday, when I thought that I should never see him again. I do love
him. I do. I love him so well that I will never do him an injury.'
'That being so, if he makes you an offer you are bound to accept it. I
do not think that you have an alternative.'
'I have an alternative, and I shall use it. Why don't you take my
'Because I like somebody else better. If you have got as good a reason,
I won't say another word to you.'
'And why don't you take that other person?'
'Because I cannot trust his love; that is why. It is not very kind of
you, opening my sores afresh, when I am trying to heal yours.'
'Oh, Lily, I am unkind--unkind to you, who have been so generous to me?'
'I'll forgive you all that and a deal more if you will only listen to me
and try to take my advice. Because this major of yours does a generous
thing, which is for the good of you both--the infinite good of both of
you--you are to emulate his generosity by doing a thing which will be
for the good of neither of you. That is about it. Yes, it is, Grace. You
cannot doubt that he has been meaning this for some time past; and of
course, if he looks upon you as his own--and I daresay, if the whole
truth is to be told, he does--'
'But I am not his own.'
'Yes you are, in one sense; you have just said so with a great deal of
energy. And if it is so--let me see, where was I?'
'Oh, Lily, you need not mind where you were.'
'But I do mind, and I hate to be interrupted in my arguments. Yes, just
that. If he saw his cow sick, he'd try to doctor the cow in her
sickness. He sees that you are sick, and of course he comes to your
'I am not Major Grantly's cow.'
'Yes, you are.'
'Nor his dog, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is his,
except--except, Lily, the dearest friend that he has on the face of the
earth. He cannot have a friend that will go no further for him than I
will. He will never know how far I will go to serve him. You don't know
his people. Nor do I know them. But I know what they are. His sister is
married to a marquis.'
'What has that to do with it?' said Lily, sharply. 'If she were married
to an archduke, what difference would that make?'
'And they are proud people--all of them--and rich; and they live with
high persons in the world.'
'I didn't care though they lived with the royal family, and had the
Prince of Wales for their bosom friend. It only shows how much better he
is than they are.'
'But think of what my family is--how we are situated. When my father
was simply poor I did not care about it, because he has been born and
bred a gentleman. But now he is disgraced. Yes, Lily, he is. I am bound
to say so, at any rate to myself, when I am thinking of Major Grantly;
and I will not carry that disgrace into a family which would feel it so
keenly as they would do.' Lily, however, went on with her arguments, and
was still arguing when they turned the corner of the lane, and came upon
Lily's uncle and the major himself.
SHOWING WHAT MAJOR GRANTLY DID AFTER HIS WALK
In going down from the church to the Small House Lily Dale had all the
conversation to herself. During some portion of the way the path was
only broad enough for two persons, and here Major Grantly walked by Lily's
side, while Grace followed them. Then they found their way into the
house, and Lily made her little speech to her mother about catching the
major. 'Yes, my dear, I have seen Major Grantly before,' said Mrs Dale.
'I suppose he has met you on the road. But I did not expect that any of
you would have returned so soon.' Some little explanation followed as to
the squire, and as to Major Grantly's walk, and after that the great
thing was to leave the two lovers alone. 'You will dine here, of course,
Major Grantly,' Mrs Dale said. But this he declined. He had learned, he
said, that there was a night-train up to London, and he thought that he
would return to town by that. He had intended, when he left London to
get back there as soon as possible. Then Mrs Dale, having hesitated for
two or three seconds, got up and left the room, and Lily followed. 'It
seems very odd and abrupt,' said Mrs Dale to her daughter, 'but I
suppose it is best.' 'Of course, it is best, mamma. Do as one would be
done by--that's the only rule. It will be much better for her that she
should have it over.'
Grace was seated on a sofa, and Major Grantly got up from his chair, and
came and stood opposite to her. 'Grace,' he said, 'I hope you are not
angry with me for coming down to see you here.'
'No, I am not angry,' she said.
'I have thought a great deal about it, and your friend, Miss Prettyman,
knew that I was coming. She quite approves of my coming.'
'She has written to me, but did not tell me of it,' said Grace, not
knowing what other answer to make.
'No--she could not have done that. She had no authority. I only
mention her name because it will have weight with you, and because I
have not done that which, under the circumstances, perhaps, I should
have been bound to do. I have not seen your father.'
'Poor papa,' said Grace.
'I have felt that at the present moment I could not do so with any
success. It has not come of any want of respect either for him or for
you. Of course, Grace, you know why I am here.' He paused, and then,
remembering that he had no right to expect an answer to such a question,
he continued, 'I have come here, dearest Grace, to ask you to be my
wife, and to be a mother to Edith. I know that you love Edith.'
'I do indeed.'
'And I have hoped sometimes--though I suppose I ought not to say so--but
I have hoped and almost thought sometimes, that you have been willing
to--love me, too. It is better to tell the truth simply, is it not?'
'I suppose so,' said Grace.
'And therefore, and because I love you dearly myself, I have come to ask
you to be my wife.' Saying which he opened out his hand, and held it to
her. But she did not take it. 'There is my hand, Grace. If your heart is
as I would have it you can give me yours, and I shall want nothing else
to make me happy.' But still she made no motion towards granting him his