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The Lovels of Arden by M. E. Braddon

Part 10 out of 10

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Good gracious me," cried Lady Laura with sudden impetuosity, "I have no
patience with the man! What is one man more than another, that there should
be so much fuss about him?"

"I must go home to Lovel," Clarissa said anxiously. "I don't know how long
I have been away from him. I lost my head, almost; and I felt that I _must_
come to you."

"Thank God you did come, you poor wandering creature! Wait a few minutes,
Clary, while I send for a cab, and put on my bonnet. I am coming with you."

"You, Lady Laura?"

"Yes, and I too," said a calm voice, that Clarissa remembered very well;
and looking up at the door of communication between the two rooms, she saw
the _portiere_ pushed aside, and Geraldine Challoner on the threshold.

"Let me come and nurse your baby, Mrs. Granger," she said gently; "I have
had a good deal of experience of that sort of thing."

"You do not know what an angel she is to the poor round Hale," said Lady
Laura; "especially to the children. And she nursed three of mine, Maud,
Ethel, and Alick--no; Stephen, wasn't it?" she asked, looking at her sister
for correction--"through the scarlatina. Nothing but her devotion could
have pulled them through, my doctor assured me. Let her come with us,

"O, yes, yes! God bless you, Lady Geraldine, for wanting to help my

"Norris, tell Fosset to bring me my bonnet and shawl, and fetch a cab
immediately; I can't wait for the carriage."

Five minutes afterwards, the three women were seated in the cab, and on
their way to Soho.

"You have sent for Mr. Granger, of course," said Lady Laura.

"No, not yet. I trust in God there may be no necessity; my darling will get
well; I know he will! Dr. Ormond is to see him to-morrow."

"What, Clarissa! you have not sent for your husband, although you say that
his boy is in danger?"

"If I let Mr. Granger know where I am, he will come and take my son away
from me."

"Nonsense, Clary; he can't do that. It is very shameful of you to keep him
in ignorance of the child's state." And as well as she could, amidst the
rattling of the cab, Lady Laura tried to awaken Clarissa to a sense of the
wrong she was doing. Jane Target stared in amazement on seeing her mistress
return with these two ladies.

"O, ma'am, I've been, so frightened!" she exclaimed. "I couldn't think what
was come of you."

Clarissa ran to the bed.

"He has been no worse?" she asked eagerly.

"No, ma'am. I do think, if there's any change, it is for the better."

"O thank God, thank God!" cried Clarissa hysterically, falling on her knees
by the bed. "Death shall not rob me of him! Nobody shall take him from me!"
And then, turning to Laura Armstrong, she said, "I need not send for my
husband, you see; my darling will recover."

* * * * *



Lady Laura went back to Portland-place in an hour; but Geraldine Challoner
stayed all night with the sick child. God was very merciful to Clarissa;
the angel of death passed by. In the night the fever abated, if only ever
so little; and Dr. Ormond's report next day was a cheering one. He did not
say the little one was out of danger; but he did say there was hope.

Lady Geraldine proved herself an accomplished nurse. The sick child seemed
more tranquil in her arms than even in his mother's. The poor mother felt
a little pang of jealousy as she saw that it was so; but bore the trial
meekly, and waited upon Geraldine with humble submission.

"How good you are!" she murmured once, as she watched the slim white hands
that had played chess with George Fairfax adjusting poultices--"how good
you are!"

"Don't say that, my dear Mrs. Granger. I would do as much for any
cottager's child within twenty miles of Hale; it would be hard if I
couldn't do it for my sister's friend."

"Have you always been fond of the poor?" Clarissa asked wonderingly.

"Yes," Geraldine answered, with a faint blush; "I was always fond of them.
I can get on with poor people better than with my equals sometimes, I
think; but I have visited more amongst them lately, since I have gone less
into society--since papa's death, in fact. And I am particularly fond of
children; the little things always take to me."

"My baby does, at any rate."

"Have you written or telegraphed to Mr. Granger?" Lady Geraldine asked

"No, no, no; there can be no necessity now. Dr. Ormond says there is hope."

"Hope, yes; but these little lives are so fragile. I implore you to send to
him. It is only right."

"I will think about it, by and by, perhaps, if he should grow any worse;
but I know he is getting better. O, Lady Geraldine, have some pity upon me!
If my husband finds out where I am, he will rob me of my child."

The words were hardly spoken, when there was a loud double-knock at the
door below, a delay of some two minutes, and then a rapid step on the
stair--a step that set Clarissa's heart beating tumultuously. She sat down
by the bed, clinging to it like an animal at bay, guarding her cub from the

The door was opened quickly, and Daniel Granger came into the room. He went
straight to the bed, and bent down to look at his child.

The boy had been light-headed in the night, but his brain was clear enough
now. He recognised his father, and smiled--a little wan smile, that went to
the strong man's heart.

"My God, how changed he is!" exclaimed Mr. Granger. "How long has he been

"Very little more than a week, sir," Jane Target faltered from the

"More than a week! and I am only told of his illness to-day, by a telegram
from Lady Laura Armstrong! I beg your pardon, Lady Geraldine; I did not see
you till this moment. I owe it to your sister's consideration that I am
here in time to see my boy before he dies."

"We have every hope of saving him," said Geraldine.

"And what a place I find him in! He has had some kind of doctor attending
him, I suppose?"

"He has had a surgeon from the neighbourhood, who seems both kind and
clever, and Dr. Ormond."

Mr. Granger seated himself at the foot of the bed, a very little way from
Clarissa, taking possession of his child, as it were.

"Do you know, Mrs. Granger, that I have scarcely rested night or day since
you left Paris, hunting for my son?" he said. And this was the first time
he acknowledged his wife's presence by word or look.

Clarissa was silent. She had been betrayed, she thought--betrayed by her
own familiar friend; and Daniel Granger had come to rob her of her child.
Come what might, she would not part with him without a struggle.

After this, there came a weary time of anxious care and watching. The
little life trembled in the balance; there were harassing fluctuations, a
fortnight of unremitting care, before a favourable issue could be safely
calculated upon. And during all that time Daniel Granger watched his boy
with only the briefest intervals for rest or refreshment. Clarissa watched
too; nor did her husband dispute her right to a place in the sick-room,
though he rarely spoke to her, and then only with the coldest courtesy.

Throughout this period of uncertainty, Geraldine Challoner was faithful
to the duty she had undertaken; spending the greatest part of her life at
Clarissa's lodgings, and never wearying of the labours of the sick-room.
The boy grew daily fonder of her; but, with a womanly instinct, she
contrived that it should be Clarissa who carried him up and down the room
when he was restless--Clarissa's neck round which the wasted little arm
twined itself.

Daniel Granger watched the mother and child sometimes with haggard eyes,
speculating on the future. If the boy lived, who was to have him? The
mother, whose guilt or innocence was an open question--who had owned to
being at heart false to her husband--or the father, who had done nothing to
forfeit the right to his keeping? And yet to part them was like plucking
asunder blossom and bud, that had grown side by side upon one common stem.
In many a gloomy reverie the master of Arden Court debated this point.

He could never receive his wife again--upon that question there seemed to
him no room for doubt. To take back to his home and his heart the woman who
had confessed her affection for another man, was hardly in Daniel Granger's
nature. Had he not loved her too much already--degraded himself almost by
so entire a devotion to a woman who had given him nothing, who had kept her
heart shut against him?

"She married Arden Court, not me," he said to himself; "and then she tried
to have Arden Court and her old lover into the bargain. Would she have run
away with him, I wonder, if he had had time to persuade her that day? _Can_
any woman be pure, when a man dares ask her to leave her husband?"

And then the locket that man wore--"From Clarissa"--was not that damning

He thought of these things again and again, with a weary iteration--thought
of them as he watched the mother walking slowly to and fro with her baby
in her arms. _That_ picture would surely live in his mind for ever, he
thought. Never again, never any more, in all the days to come, could he
take his wife back to his heart; but, O God, how dearly he had loved her,
and how desolate his home would be without her! Those two years of their
married life seemed to be all his existence; looking back beyond that time,
his history seemed, like Viola's, "A blank, my lord." And he was to live
the rest of his life without her. But for that ever-present anxiety about
the child, which was in some wise a distraction, the thought of these
things might have driven him mad.

At last, after those two weeks of uncertainty, there came a day when Dr.
Ormond pronounced the boy out of danger--on the very high-road to recovery,
in fact.

"I would say nothing decided till I could speak with perfect certainty," he
said. "You may make yourselves quite happy now."

Clarissa knelt down and kissed the good old doctor's hand, raining tears
upon it in a passion of gratitude. He seemed to her in that moment
something divine, a supernal creature who, by the exercise of his power,
had saved her child Dr. Ormond lifted her up, smiling at her emotion.

"Come, come, my dear soul, this is hysterical," he said, in his soothing
paternal way, patting her shoulder gently as he spoke; "I always meant to
save the little fellow; though it has been a very severe bout, I admit, and
we have had a tussle for it. And now I expect to see your roses come back
again. It has been a hard time for you as well as for baby."

When Mr. Granger went out of the room with the physician presently, Dr.
Ormond said gravely,--

"The little fellow is quite safe, Mr. Granger; but you must look to your
wife now."

"What do you mean?"

"She has a nasty little hacking cough--a chest cough--which I don't like;
and there's a good deal of incipient fever about her."

"If there is anything wrong, for God's sake see to her at once!" cried
Daniel Granger. "Why didn't you speak of this before?"

"There was no appearance of fever until to-day. I didn't wish to worry her
with medicines while she was anxious about the child; indeed, I thought the
best cure for her would be the knowledge of his safety. But the cough is
worse to-day; and I should certainly like to prescribe for her, if you will
ask her to come in here and speak to me for a few minutes."

So Clarissa went into the dingy lodging-house sitting-room to see the
doctor, wondering much that any one could be interested in such an
insignificant matter as _her_ health, now that her treasure was safe. She
went reluctantly, murmuring that she was well enough--quite well now; and
had hardly tottered into the room, when she sank down upon the sofa in a
dead faint.

Daniel Granger looked on aghast while they revived her.

"What can have caused this?" he asked.

"My dear sir, you are surely not surprised," said Dr. Ormond. "Your wife
has been sitting up with her child every night for nearly a month--the
strain upon her, bodily and mental, has been enormous, and the reaction
is of course trying. She will want a good deal of care, that is all. Come
now," he went on cheerfully, as Clarissa opened her eyes, to find her head
lying on Jane Target's shoulder, and her husband standing aloof regarding
her with affrighted looks--"come now, my dear Mrs. Granger, cheer up; your
little darling is safely over his troubles."

She burst into a flood of tears.

"They will take him away from me!" she sobbed.

"Take him away from you--nonsense! What are you dreaming of?"

"Death has been merciful; but you will be more cruel," she cried, looking
at her husband. "You will take him away."

"Come, come, my dear lady, this is a delusion; you really must not give way
to this kind of thing," murmured the doctor, rather complacently. He had
a son-in-law who kept a private madhouse at Wimbledon, and began to think
Mrs. Granger was drifting that way. It was sad, of course, a sweet young
woman like that; but patients are patients, and Daniel Granger's wife would
be peculiarly eligible.

He looked at Mr. Granger, and touched his forehead significantly. "The
brain has been sorely taxed," he murmured, confidentially; "but we shall
set all that right by-and-by." This with as confident an air as if the
brain had been a clock.

Daniel Granger went over to his wife, and took her hand--it was the
first time those two hands had met since the scene in Austin's
painting-room--looking down at her gravely.

"Clarissa," he said, "on my word of honour, I will not attempt to separate
you from your son."

She gave a great cry--a shriek, that rang through the room--and cast
herself upon her husband's breast.

"O, God bless you for that!" she sobbed; "God bless--" and stopped,
strangled by her sobs.

Mr. Granger put her gently back into her faithful hand-maiden's arms.
_That_ was different. He might respect her rights as a mother; he could
never again accept her as his wife.

But a time came now in which all thought of the future was swept away by
a very present danger. Before the next night, Clarissa was raving in
brain-fever; and for more than a month life was a blank to her--or not a
blank, an age of confused agony rather, to be looked back upon with horror

They dared not move her from the cheerless rooms in Soho. Lovel was sent
down to Ventnor with Lady Geraldine and a new nurse. It could do no harm to
take him away from his mother for a little while, since she was past the
consciousness of his presence. Jane Target and Daniel Granger nursed her,
with a nursing sister to relieve guard occasionally, and Dr. Ormond in
constant attendance.

The first thing she saw, when sense came back to her, was her husband's
figure, sitting a little way from-the bed, his face turned towards her,
gravely watchful. Her first reasonable words--faintly murmured in a
wondering tone--moved him deeply; but he was strong enough to hide all

"When she has quite recovered, I shall go back to Arden," he said to
himself; "and leave her to plan her future life with the help of Lady
Geraldine's counsel. That woman is a noble creature, and the best friend
my wife can have. And then we must make some fair arrangement about the
boy--what time he is to spend with me, and what with his mother. I cannot
altogether surrender my son. In any case he is sure to love her best."

When Clarissa was at last well enough to be moved, her husband took her
down to Ventnor, where the sight of her boy, bright and blooming, and the
sound of his first syllables--little broken scraps of language, that are
so sweet to mothers' ears--had a better influence than all Dr. Ormond's
medicines. Here, too, came her father, from Nice, where he had been
wintering, having devoted his days to the pleasing duty of taking care of
himself. He would have come sooner, immediately on hearing of Clarissa's
illness, he informed Mr. Granger; but he was a poor frail creature, and to
have exposed himself to the north-cast winds of this most uncertain climate
early in April would have been to run into the teeth of danger. It was
the middle of May now, and May this year had come without her accustomed

"I knew that my daughter was in good hands," he said. Daniel Granger
signed, and answered nothing.

Mr. Lovel's observant eyes soon perceived that there was something amiss;
and one evening, when he and Mr. Granger were strolling on the sands
between Ventnor and Shanklin, he plainly taxed his son-in-law with the

"There is some quarrel between Clary and you," he said; "I can see that at
a glance. Why, I used to consider you a model couple--perfectly Arcadian in
your devotion--and now you scarcely speak to each other."

"There is a quarrel that must last our lives," Daniel Granger answered
moodily, and then told his story, without reservation.

"Good heavens!" cried Mr. Lovel, at the end, "there is a curse upon that
man and his race."

And then he told his own story, in a very few words, and testified to his
undying hatred of all the house of Fairfax.

After this there came a long silence, during which Clarissa's father was

"You cannot, of course, for a moment suppose that I can doubt my daughter's
innocence throughout this unfortunate business," he said at last. "I know
the diabolical persistency of that race too well. It was like a Fairfax to
entangle my poor girl in his net--to compromise her reputation, in the hope
of profiting by his treachery. I do not attempt to deny, however, that
Clarissa was imprudent. We have to consider her youth, and that natural
love of admiration which tempts women to jeopardise their happiness and
character even for the sake of an idle flirtation. I do not pretend that my
daughter is faultless; but I would stake my life upon her purity. At
the same time I quite agree with you, Granger, that under existing
circumstances, a separation--a perfectly amicable separation, my daughter
of course retaining the society of her child--would be the wiser course for
both parties."

Mr. Granger had a sensation as of a volume of cold water dashed suddenly in
his face. This friendly concurrence of his father-in-law's took him
utterly by surprise. He had expected that Mr. Lovel would insist upon a
reconciliation, would thrust his daughter upon her husband at the point of
the sword, as it were. He bowed acquiescence, but for some moments could
find no words to speak.

"There is no other course open to me," he said at last. "I cannot tell you
how I have loved your daughter--God alone knows that--and how my every
scheme of life has been built up from that one foundation. But that is all
over now. I know, with a most bitter certainty, from her own lips, that I
have never possessed her heart."

"I can scarcely imagine that to be the case," said Mr. Lovel, "even though
Clarissa may have been betrayed into some passionate admission to that
effect. Women will say anything when they are angry."

"This was not said in anger."

"But at the worst, supposing her heart not to have been yours hitherto, it
might not be too late to win it even now. Men have won their wives after

"I am too old to try my hand at that," replied Mr. Granger, with a bitter
smile. He was mentally comparing himself with George Fairfax, the handsome
soldier, with that indescribable charm of youth and brightness about him.

"If you were a younger man, I would hardly recommend such a separation,"
Mr. Lovel went on coolly; "but at your age--well, existence is quite
tolerable without a wife; indeed there is a halcyon calm which descends
upon a man when a woman's influence is taken out of his life, that is,
perhaps, better than happiness. You have a son and heir, and that, I should
imagine, for a man of your position, is the chief end and aim of marriage.
My daughter can come abroad with me, and we can lead a pleasant drowsy life
together, dawdling about from one famous city or salubrious watering-place
to another. I shall, as a matter of course, surrender the income you have
been good enough to allow me; but, _en revanche_, you will no doubt make
Clarissa an allowance suitable to her position as your wife."

Mr. Granger laughed aloud.

"Do you think there can ever be any question of money between us?" he
asked. "Do you think that if, by the surrender of every shilling I
possess, I could win back my faith in my wife, I should hold the loss a
heavy one?"

Mr. Lovel smiled, a quiet, self-satisfied smile, in the gloaming.

"He will make her income a handsome one," he said to himself, "and I shall
have my daughter--who is really an acquisition, for I was beginning to find
life solitary--and plenty of ready money. Or he will come after her in
three months' time. That is the result I anticipate."

They walked till a late moon had risen from the deep blue waters, and when
they went back to the house everything was settled. Mr. Lovel answered for
his daughter as freely as if he had been answering for himself. He was to
take her abroad, with his grandson and namesake Lovel, attended by Jane
Target and the new nurse, vice Mrs. Brobson, dismissed for neglect of
her charge immediately after Clarissa's flight. If the world asked any
questions, the world must be told that Mr. and Mrs. Granger had parted
by mutual consent, or that Mrs. Granger's doctor had ordered continental
travel. Daniel Granger could settle that point according to his own
pleasure; or could refuse to give the world any answer at all, if he

Mr. Lovel told his daughter the arrangement that he had made for her next

"I am to have my son?" she asked eagerly.

"Yes, don't I tell you so? You and Lovel are to come with me. You can live
anywhere you please; you will have a fair income, a liberal one, I daresay.
You are very well off, upon my word, Clarissa, taking into consideration
the fact of your supreme imprudence--only you have lost your husband."

"And I have lost Arden Court. Does not there seem a kind of retribution in
that? I made a false vow for the love of Arden Court--and--and for your
sake, papa."

"False fiddlestick!" exclaimed Mr. Lovel, impatiently; "any reasonable
woman might have been happy in your position, and with such a man as
Granger; a man who positively worshipped you. However, you have lost all
that. I am not going to lecture you--the penalty you pay is heavy enough,
without any sermonising on my part. You are a very lucky woman to retain
custody of your child, and escape any public exposure; and I consider that
your husband has shown himself most generous."

Daniel Granger and his wife parted soon after this; parted without any sign
of compunction--there was a dead wall of pride between them. Clarissa felt
the burden of her guilt, but could not bring herself to make any avowal of
her repentance to the husband who had put her away from him,--so easily, as
it seemed to her. _That_ touched her pride a little.

On that last morning, when the carriage was waiting to convey the
travellers to Ryde, Mr. Granger's fortitude did almost abandon him at
parting with his boy. Clarissa was out of the room when he took the child
up in his arms, and put the little arms about his neck. He had made
arrangements that the boy was to spend so many weeks in every year with
him--was to be brought to him at his bidding, in fact; he was not going to
surrender his treasure entirely.

And yet that parting seemed almost as bitter as if it had been for ever. It
was such an outrage upon nature; the child who should have been so strong a
link to bind those two hearts, to be taken from him like this, and for
no sin of his. Resentment against his wife was strong in his mind at all
times, but strongest when he thought of this loss which she had brought
upon him. And do what he would, the child would grow up with a divided
allegiance, loving his mother best.

One great sob shook him as he held the boy in that last embrace, and then
he set him down quietly, as the door opened, and Clarissa appeared in her
travelling-dress, pale as death, but very calm.

Just at the last she gave her hand to her husband, and said gently,--"I am
very grateful to you for letting me take Lovel. I shall hold him always at
your disposal."

Mr. Granger took the thin cold hand, and pressed it gently.

"I am sorry there is any necessity for a divided household," he said
gravely. "But fate has been stronger than I. Good-bye."

And so they parted; Mr. Granger leaving Ventnor later in the day,
purposeless and uncertain, to moon away an evening at Ryde, trying to
arrive at some decision as to what he should do with himself.

He could not go back to Arden yet awhile, that was out of the question.
Farming operations, building projects, everything else, must go on without
him, or come to a standstill. Indeed, it seemed to him doubtful whether he
should ever go back to the house he had beautified, and the estate he had
expanded: to live there alone--as he had lived before his marriage, that is
to say, in solitary state with his daughter--must surely be intolerable His
life had been suddenly shorn of its delight and ornament He knew now, even
though their union had seemed at its best so imperfect, how much his wife
had been to him.

And now he had to face the future without her. Good heavens! what a blank
dismal prospect it seemed! He went to London, and took up his abode at
Claridge's, where his life was unspeakably wearisome to him. He did not
care to see people he knew, knowing that he would have to answer friendly
inquiries about his wife. He had nothing to do, no interest in life;
letters from architect and builder, farm-bailiff and steward, were only a
bore to him; he was too listless even to answer them promptly, but let them
lie unattended to for a week at a time. He went to the strangers' gallery
when there was any debate of importance, and tried to give his mind to
politics, with a faint idea of putting himself up for Holborough at the
next election. But, as Phedre says, "Quand ma bouche implorait le nom de la
deesse, j'adorais Hippolyte;" so Mr. Granger, when he tried to think of the
Irish-Church question, or the Alabama claims, found himself thinking of
Clarissa. He gave lip the idea at last, convinced that public life was, for
the most part, a snare and a delusion; and that there were plenty of men in
the world better able to man the great ship than he. Two years ago he
had been more interested in a vestry meeting than he was now in the most
stirring question of the day.

Finally, he determined to travel; wrote a brief letter to Sophia,
announcing his intention; and departed unattended, to roam the world;
undecided whether he should go straight to Marseilles, and then to Africa,
or whether he should turn his face northwards, and explore Norway and
Sweden. It ended by his doing neither. He went to Spa to see his boy, from
whom he had been separated something over two months.

* * * * *



Mr. Lovel had taken his daughter to Spa, finding that she was quite
indifferent whither she went, so long as her boy went with her. It was a
pleasant sleepy place out of the season, and he liked it; having a fancy
that the mineral waters had done wonders for him. He had a villa on the
skirts of the pine-wood, a little way beyond the town; a villa in which
there was ample room for young Lovel and his attendants, and from which
five minutes' walk took them into shadowy deeps of pine, where the boy
might roll upon the soft short grass.

By and by, Mr. Lovel told Clarissa they could go farther afield, travel
wherever she pleased, in fact; but, for the present, perfect rest and quiet
would be her best medicine. She was not quite out of the doctor's hands
yet; that fever had tried her sorely, and the remnant of her cough still
clung to her. At first she had a great terror of George Fairfax discovering
her retreat. He had found her at Brussels; why should he not find her
at Spa? For the first month of her residence in the quiet inland
watering-place she hardly stirred out of doors without her father, and sat
at home reading or painting day after day, when she was longing to be out
in the wood with her baby and nurse.

But when the first four weeks had gone by, and left her unmolested, Mrs.
Granger grew bolder, and wandered out every day with her child, and saw the
young face brighten daily with a richer bloom, as the boy gained strength,
and was almost happy. The pine-wood was very pretty; but those slender
trees, shooting heavenwards, lacked the grandeur of the oaks and beeches of
Arden, and very often Clarissa thought of her old home with a sigh. After
all, it was lost to her; twice lost, by a strange fatality, as it seemed.

In these days she thought but seldom of George Fairfax. In very truth she
was well-nigh cured of her guilty love for him. Her folly had cost her too
dear; "almost the loss of my child," she said to herself sometimes.

There are passions that wear themselves out, that are by their very nature
self-destroying--a lighted candle that will burn for a given time, and then
die out with ignominious smoke and sputtering, not the supernal lamp that
shines on, star-like, for ever. Solitude and reflection brought this fact
home to Clarissa, that her love, fatal as it had been, was not eternal. A
woman's heart is scarcely wide enough to hold two great affections; and now
baby reigned supreme in the heart of Clarissa. She had plenty of money now
at her disposal; Mr. Granger having fixed her allowance at three thousand
a year, with extensive powers should that sum prove insufficient; so
the Bohemian household under the shadow of St. Gudule profited by her
independence. She sent her brother a good deal of money, and received very
cheery letters in acknowledgment of her generosity, with sometimes a little
ill-spelt scrawl from Bessie, telling her that Austin was much steadier in
Brussels than he had been in Paris, and was working hard for the dealers,
with whom he was in great favour. English and American travellers,
strolling down the Montagne de la Cour, were caught by those bright
"taking" bits, which Austin Lovel knew so well how to paint. An elderly
Russian princess had bought his Peach picture, and given him a commission
for portraits of a brood of Muscovian bantlings. In one way and another
he was picking up a good deal of money; and, with the help of Clarissa's
remittances, had contrived to arrange some of those awkward affairs in

"Indeed, there is very little in this world that money won't settle,"
he wrote to his sister; "and I anticipate that enlightened stage of our
criminal code when wilful murder will be a question of pounds, shillings,
and pence. I fancy it in a police report: 'The fine was immediately paid,
and Mr. Greenacre left the court with his friends.' I have some invitation
to go back to my old quarters in the only city I love; there is a Flemish
buffet in the Rue du Chevalier Bayard that was a fortune to me in my
backgrounds; but the little woman pleads so earnestly against our return,
that I give way. Certainly, Paris is a dangerous place for a man of my
temperament, who has not yet mastered the supreme art of saying no at the
right moment. I am very glad to hear you are happy with your father and the
little one. I wish I had him here for a model; my own boys are nothing but
angles. Yet I would rather hear of you in your right position with your
husband. That fellow Fairfax is a scoundrel; I despise myself for ever
having asked him to put his name to a bill; and, still more, for being
blind to his motives when he was hanging about my painting-room last
winter. You have had a great escape, Clary; and God grant you wisdom to
avoid all such perilous paths in time to come. Preachment of any kind comes
with an ill grace from me, I know; but I daresay you remember what Portia
says: 'If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had
been churches, and poor men's cottages princes' palaces;' and every man,
however fallen, has a kind of temple in his breast, wherein is enshrined
the image of his nearest and dearest. Let my garments be never so
besmirched and bedraggled, my sister's robes must be spotless."

There was comfort in these good tidings of her brother--comfort for which
Clarissa was very grateful to Providence. She would have been glad to go to
Brussels to see him, but had that ever-present terror of coming athwart the
pathway of George Fairfax; nor could she go on such an errand without some
kind of explanation with her father. She was content to abide, therefore,
among the quiet pine-woods and umbrageous avenues, which the holiday world
had not yet invaded, and where she was almost as free to wander with her
boy as amidst the beloved woods of Arden Court.

Life thus spent was very peaceful--peaceful, and just a little monotonous.
Mr. Lovel sipped his chocolate, and trifled with his maintenon cutlet, at
11 A.M., with an open volume of Burton or Bentley beside his cup, just as
in the old days of Clarissa's girlhood. It was just like the life at Mill
Cottage, with that one ever fresh and delicious element--young Lovel.
That baby voice lent a perpetual music to Clarissa's existence; the
sweet companionship of that restless clambering infant seemed to her the
perfection of happiness.

And yet--and yet--there were times when she felt that her life was a
failure, and lamented somewhat that she had so wrecked it. She was not hard
of heart; and sometimes she thought of Daniel Granger with a remorseful
pang, that cams upon her sharply in the midst of her maternal joys; thought
of all that he had done for love of her--the sublime patience wherewith
he had endured her coldness, the generous eagerness he had shown in the
indulgence of her caprices; in a word, the wealth of wasted love he had
lavished on an ungrateful woman.

"It is all over now," she said to herself sadly. "It is not every woman who
in all her lifetime can win so great a love as I have lost."

The tranquil sensuous life went on. There were hours in it which her child
could not fill--long hours, in which that marvellous blossom folded its
petals, slumbering sweetly through the summer noontide, and was no better
company than a rose-bud. Clarissa tried to interest herself in her old
studies; took up her Italian, and read Dante with her father, who was
a good deal more painstaking in his explanations of obscure idioms and
irregular verbs for the benefit of Mrs. Granger with a jointure of three
thousand per annum, than he had been wont to show himself for the behoof
of Miss Lovel without a sixpence. She drew a great deal; but somehow these
favourite pursuits had lost something of their charm. They could not fill
her life; it seemed blank and empty in spite of them.

She had her child--the one blessing for which she had prayed--about which
she had raved with such piteous bewailings in her delirium; but there was
no sense of security in the possession. She was full of doubts and fears
about the future. How long would Daniel Granger suffer her to keep her
treasure? Must not the day come when he would put forth his stronger claim,
and she would be left bereaved and desolate?

Scarcely could she dare to think of the future; indeed, she did her
uttermost to put away all thought of it, so fraught was it with terror and
perplexity; but her dreams were made hideous by scenes of parting--weird
and unnatural situations, such as occur in dreams; and her health suffered
from these shadowy fears. Death, too, had been very near her boy; and she
watched him with a morbid apprehension, fearful of every summer breeze that
ruffled his flaxen hair.

She was tired of Spa, and secretly anxious to cross the frontier, and
wander through Germany, away to the further-most shores of the Danube; but
was fain to wait patiently till her father's medical adviser--an English
physician, settled at Spa--should pronounce him strong enough to travel.

"That hurried journey to the Isle of Wight sent me back prodigiously," Mr.
Lovel told his daughter. "It will take me a month or two to recover the
effects of those abominable steamers. The Rhine and the Danube will keep,
my dear Clary. The castled crag of Drachenfels can be only a little
mouldier for the delay, and I believe the mouldiness of these things is
their principal charm."

So Clarissa waited. She had not the courage to tell her father of those
shapeless terrors that haunted her by day, and those agonising dreams that
visited her by night, which she fancied might be driven away by movement
and change of scene; she waited, and went on suffering, until at last
that supreme egotist, Marmaduke Lovel, was awakened to the fact, that
his daughter was looking no better than when he first brought her to
Belgium--worse rather, incontestably worse. He took alarm immediately.
The discovery moved him more than he could have supposed anything outside
himself could have affected him.

"What?" he asked himself. "Is my daughter going to languish and fade, as my
wife faded? Is she too to die of a Fairfax?"

The English physician was consulted; hummed and ha'd a little, prescribed a
new tonic; and finding, after a week or two, that this produced no result,
and that the pulse was weaker and more fitful, recommended change of air
and scene,--a remedy which common-sense might have suggested in the first

"We will start for Cologne to-morrow morning. Tell Target to pack, Clary.
You shall sleep under the shadow of the great cathedral to-morrow night."

Clarissa thanked her father warmly, and then burst into tears.

"Hysteria," murmured the physician.

"I shall get away from that dreadful room," she sobbed, "where I have such
hideous dreams;" and then went away to set Jane Target to work.

"I don't quite like the look of that," the doctor said gravely, when she
was gone. "Those distressing dreams are a bad sign. But Mrs. Granger is yet
very young, and has an excellent constitution, I believe. Change of scene,
and the amusement of travelling, may do all we want."

He left Mr. Lovel very thoughtful.

"If she doesn't improve very speedily, I shall telegraph to Granger," he
said to himself.

He had no occasion to do this. Daniel Granger, after going half way to
Marseilles, with a notion of exploring Algiers and Morocco, had stopped
short, and made his way by road and rail--through sirocco, clouds of dust,
and much inconvenience--to Liege, where he had lingered to recover and calm
himself down a little before going to see his child.

Going to see his child--that was the sole purpose of his journey; not for a
moment would he have admitted that it mattered anything to him that he was
also going to see his wife.

It was between seven and eight o'clock, on a bright June evening--a flush
of rosy light behind the wooded hills--and Clarissa was sitting on some
felled timber, with her boy asleep in her arms. He had dropped off to sleep
in the midst of his play; and she had lingered, unwilling to disturb him.
If he went on sleeping, she would be able to carry him home presently, and
put him to bed without awaking him. The villa was not a quarter of a mile

She was quite alone with her darling, the nurse being engaged in the grand
business of packing. They were all to start the next morning after a very
early breakfast. She was looking down at the young sleeper, singing to him
softly--a commonplace picture perhaps, but a very fair one--a _Madonna aux

So thought Daniel Granger, who had arrived at Spa half an hour ago, made
his inquiries at the villa, and wandered into the wood in quest of his only
son. The mother's face, with its soft smile of ineffable love, lips half
parted, breathing that fragment of a tender song, reminded him of a picture
by Raffaelle. She was nothing to him now; but he could not the less
appreciate her beauty, spiritualised by sorrow, and radiant with the glory
of the evening sunlight.

He came towards the little group silently, his footfall making no sound
upon the moss-grown earth. He did not approach quite near, however, in
silence, afraid of startling her, but stopped a little way off, and said

"They told me I should most likely find you somewhere about here, with

His wife gave a little cry, and looked up aghast.

"Have you come to take him away from me?" she asked, thinking that her
dreams had been prophetic.

"No, no, I am not going to do that; though you told me he was to be at my
disposal, remember, and I mean to claim him sometimes. I can't allow him
to grow up a stranger to me.--God bless him, how well he is looking! Pray
don't look so frightened," he went on, in an assuring voice, alarmed by
the dead whiteness of Clarissa's face; "I have only come to see my boy
before----. The fact is, I have some thoughts of travelling for a year or
two. There is a rage for going to Africa nowadays, and I am not without
interest in that sort of thing."

Clarissa looked at him wonderingly. This sudden passion for foreign
wanderings seemed to her very strange in him. She had been accustomed
to suppose his mind entirely absorbed by new systems of irrigation, and
model-village building, and the extension of his estate. His very dreams,
she had fancied, were of the hedgerows that bounded his lands--boundaries
that vanished day by day, as the lands widened, with now a whole farm
added, and now a single field. Could he leave Arden, and the kingdom that
he had created for himself, to roam in sandy deserts, and hob-and-nob with
Kaffir chiefs under the tropic stars?

Mr. Granger seated himself upon the timber by his wife's side, and bent
down to look at his son, and to kiss him gently without waking him. After
that fond lingering kiss upon the little one's smooth cheek, he sat for
some minutes in silence, looking at his wife.

It was only her profile he could see; but he saw that she was looking ill,
worse than she had looked when they parted at Ventnor. The sight of the
pale face, with a troubled look about the mouth, touched him keenly. Just
in that moment he forgot that there was such a being as George Fairfax upon
this earth; forgot the sin that his wife had sinned against him; longed to
clasp her to his breast; was only deterred by a kind of awkward shyness--to
which such strong men as he are sometimes liable--from so doing.

"I am sorry to see that you are not looking very well," he said at last,
with supreme stiffness, and with that peculiarly unconciliating air which
an Englishman is apt to put on, when he is languishing to hold out the

"I have not been very well; but I daresay I shall soon be better, now we
are going to travel."

"Going to travel!"

"Yes, papa has made up his mind to move at last. We go to Cologne
to-morrow. I thought they would have told you that at the house."

"No; I only waited to ask where you--where the boy was to be found. I did
not even stop to see your father."

After this there came a dead silence--a silence that lasted for about five
minutes, during which they heard the faint rustle of the pine branches
stirred ever so lightly by the evening wind. The boy slept on, unconscious
and serene; the mother watching him, and Daniel Granger contemplating both
from under the shadow of his eyebrows.

The silence grew almost oppressive at last, and Mr. Granger was the first
to break it.

"You do not ask me for any news of Arden," he said.

Clarissa blushed, and glanced at him with a little wounded look. It was
hard to be reminded of the paradise from which she had been exiled.

"I--I beg your pardon. I hope everything is going on as you wish; the home
farm, and all that kind of thing. Miss Granger--Sophia--is well, I hope?"

"Sophia is quite well, I believe. I have not seen her since I left

"She has been away from Arden, then?"

"No; it is I who have not been there. Indeed, I doubt if I shall ever go
there again--without you, Clarissa. The place is hateful to me."

Again and again, with infinite iteration, Daniel Granger had told himself
that reconciliation with his wife was impossible. Throughout his journey
by road and rail--and above all things is a long journey conductive to
profound meditation--he had been firmly resolved to see his boy, and then
go on his way at once, with neither delay nor wavering. But the sight of
that pale pensive face to-night had well-nigh unmanned him. Was this the
girl whose brightness and beauty had been the delight of his life? Alas,
poor child, what sorrow his foolish love had brought upon her! He began
all at once to pity her, to think of her as a sacrifice to her father's
selfishness, his own obstinacy.

"I ought to have taken my answer that day at the Court, when I first told
her my secret," he said to himself. "That look of pained surprise, which
came into her face when I spoke, might surely have been enough for me. Yet
I persisted, and was not man enough to face the question boldly--whether
she had any heart to give me."

Clarissa rose, with the child still in her arms.

"I am afraid the dew is beginning to fall," she said; "I had better take
Lovel home."

"Let me carry him," exclaimed Mr. Granger; and in the next moment the boy
was in his father's strong arms, the flaxen head nestling in the paternal

"And so you are going to begin your travels to-morrow morning," he said, as
they walked slowly homeward side by side.

"Yes, the train leaves at seven. But you would like to see more of Lovel,
perhaps, having come so far to see him. We can defer our journey for a day
or two."

"You are very good. Yes, I should like you to do that."

"And with regard to what you were saying just now," Clarissa said, in a low
voice, that was not quite steady, "I trust you will not let the memory of
any pain I may have given you influence your future life, or disgust you
with a place to which you were so much attached as I know you were to
Arden. Pray put me out of your thoughts. I am not worthy to be regretted by
you. Our marriage was a sad mistake on your part--a sin upon mine. I know
now that it was so."

"A mistake--a sin! O, Clary, Clary, I could have been so happy, if you had
only loved me a little--if you had only been true to me.

"I never was deliberately false to you. I was very wicked; yes, I
acknowledge that. I did trifle with temptation. I ought to have avoided the
remotest chance of any meeting with George Fairfax. I ought to have told
you the truth, told you all my weakness; but--but I had not the courage to
do that. I went to the Rue du Chevalier Bayard to see my brother."

"Was that honest, Clarissa, to allow me to be introduced to your brother as
a stranger?"

"That was Austin's wish, not mine. He would not let me tell you who he was;
and I was so glad for you to be kind to him, poor fellow! so glad to be
able to see him almost daily; and when the picture was finished, and Austin
had no excuse for coming to us any more, I went to see him very often, and
sometimes met Mr. Fairfax in his painting-room; but I never went with any
deliberate intention of meeting him."

"No," interjected Mr. Granger bitterly; "you only went, knowing that he was
likely to be there!"

"And on that unhappy day when you found me there," Clarissa went on, "I had
gone to see my brother, having no idea that he had left Paris. I wanted to
come away at once; but Mr. Fairfax detained me. I was very angry with him."

"Yes, it appeared so, when he was asking you to run away with him. It is a
hard thing for a man to believe in his wife's honour, when things have come
to such a pass as that, Clarissa."

"I have told you the truth," she answered gravely; "I cannot say any more."

"And the locket--the locket I gave you, which I found on that man's

"I gave that locket to my sister-in-law, Bessie Lovel. I wished to give her
something, poor soul; and I had given Austin all my money. I had so many
gifts of yours, Daniel"--that sudden sound of his Christian name sent a
thrill through Mr. Granger's veins--"parting with one of them seemed not to
matter very much."

There was a pause. They were very near the villa by this time. Mr. Granger
felt as if he might never have an opportunity for speaking to his wife
again, if he lost his chance now.

"Clarissa," he said earnestly, "if I could forget all that happened in
Paris, and put it out of my mind as if it had never been, could you forget
it too?"

"With all my heart," she answered.

"Then, my darling, we will begin the world again--we will begin life over
again, Clarissa!"

So they went home together reconciled. And Mr. Lovel, looking up from Aime
Martin's edition of Moliere, saw that what he had anticipated had come to
pass. His policy had proved as successful as it had been judicious. In less
than three months Daniel Granger had surrendered. This was what came of Mr.
Granger's flying visit to his boy.

* * * * *



After that reconciliation, which brought a wonderful relief and comfort
to Clarissa's mind--and who shall say how profoundly happy it made her
husband?--Mr. and Mrs. Granger spent nearly a year in foreign travel. For
his own part, Daniel Granger would have been glad to go back to Arden, now
that the dreary burden was lifted off his mind, and his broken life pieced
together again; but he did not want county society to see his wife till
the bloom and brightness had come back to her face, nor to penetrate the
mystery of their brief severance. To remain away for some considerable time
was the surest way of letting the scandal, if any had ever arisen, die out.

He wrote to his daughter, telling her briefly that he and his wife had
arranged all their little differences--little differences! Sophia gave a
shrill scream of indignation as she went over this sentence in her father's
letter, scarcely able to believe her eyes at first--and they were going
through Germany together with the intention of wintering at Borne. As
Clarissa was still somewhat of an invalid, it would be best for them to be
alone, he thought; but he was ready to further any plans for his daughter's
happiness during his absence.

Miss Granger replied curtly, that she was tolerably happy at Arden, with
her "duties," and that she had no desire to go roaming about the world in
quest of that contented mind which idle and frivolous persons rarely found,
go where they might. She congratulated her father upon the termination of
a quarrel which she had supposed too serious to be healed so easily, and
trusted that he would never have occasion to regret his clemency. Mr.
Granger crushed the letter in his hand, and threw it over the side of the
Rhine steamer, on which he had opened his budget of English correspondence,
on that particular morning.

They had a very pleasant time of it in Germany, moving in a leisurely
way from town to town, seeing everything thoroughly without hurry or
restlessness. Young Lovel throve apace the new nurse adored him; and
faithful Jane Target was a happy as the day was long, amidst all the
foreign wonders that surrounded her pathway. Daniel Granger was contented
and hopeful; happy in the contemplation of his wife's fair young face,
which brightened daily; in the society of his boy, who, with increasing
intelligence, developed an ever-increasing appreciation of his father--the
strong arms, that tossed him aloft and caught him so skilfully; the
sonorous voice, that rang so cheerily upon his ear; the capacious pockets,
in which there was wont to lurk some toy for his delectation.

Towards the middle of November they took up their winter quarters in
Rome--not the November of fogs and drizzle, known to the denizens of
London, but serene skies and balmy air, golden sunsets, and late-lingering
flowers, that seemed loath to fade and vanish from a scene so beautiful.
Clarissa loved this city of cities, and felt a thrill of delight at
returning to it. She drove about with her two-year-old son, showing him the
wonders and glories of the place as fondly as if its classic associations
had been within the compass of his budding mind. She went on with her
art-studies with renewed vigour, as if there had been a Raffaelle fever in
the very air of the place, and made plans for copying half the pictures in
the Vatican. There was plenty of agreeable society in the city, English and
foreign; and Clarissa found herself almost as much in request as she had
been in Paris. There were art-circles in which she was happiest, and where
Daniel Granger held his own very fairly as a critic and connoisseur. And
thus the first two winter months slipped away very pleasantly, till they
came to January, in which month they were to return to Arden.

They were to return there to assist at a great event--an event the
contemplation whereof was a source of unmitigated satisfaction to Mr.
Granger, and which was more than pleasing to Clarissa. Miss Granger was
going to be married, blest with her papa's consent and approval, of course,
and in a manner becoming a damsel whose first consideration was duty. After
refusing several very fair offers, during the progress of her girlhood, she
had at last suffered herself to be subjugated by the constancy and devotion
of Mr. Tillott, the curate of New Arden.

It was not in any sense a good match. Mr. Tillott's professional income was
seventy-five pounds a year; his sole private means an allowance of fifty
from his brother, who, Mr. Tillott admitted, with a blush, was in trade. He
was neither handsome nor accomplished. The most his best friends could say
of him was, that he was "a very worthy young man." He was not an orator: he
had an atrocious delivery, and rarely got through the briefest epistle,
or collect even, without blundering over a preposition. His demeanour in
pulpit and reading-desk was that of a prisoner at the bar, without hope of
acquittal, and yet he had won Miss Granger--that prize in the matrimonial
market, which many a stout Yorkshireman had been eager to win.

He had flattered her; with a slavish idolatry he followed her footsteps,
and ministered to her caprices, admiring, applauding, and imitating all her
works and ways, holding her up for ever as the pattern and perfection of
womankind. Five times had Miss Granger rejected him; on some occasions with
contumely even, letting him know that there was a very wide gulf between
their social positions, and that although she might be spiritually his
sister, she stood, in a worldly sense, on a very remote platform from that
which it was his mission to occupy. Mr. Tillott swallowed every humiliation
with a lowly spirit, that had in it some leaven of calculation, and bore
up against every repulse; until at last the fair Sophia, angry with her
father, persistently opposed to her stepmother, and out of sorts with
the world in general, consented to accept the homage of this persevering
suitor. He, at least, was true to her; he, at least, believed in her
perfection. The stout country squires, who could have given her houses
and lands, had never stooped to flatter her foibles; had shown themselves
heartlessly indifferent to her dragooning of the model villagers; had even
hinted their pity for the villagers under that martial rule. Tillott alone
could sympathise with her, trudging patiently from cottage to cottage in
bleak Christmas weather, carrying parcels of that uncomfortable clothing
with which Miss Granger delighted to supply her pensioners.

Nor was the position which this marriage would give her, humble as it might
appear, altogether without its charm. As Mr. Tillott's wife, she would be
a very great lady amongst small people; and Mr. Tillott himself would be
invested with a reflected glory from having married an heiress. The curate
stage would, of course, soon be past. The living of Arden was in Mr.
Granger's gift; and no doubt the present rector could be bought out
somehow, after a year or so, and Mr. Tillott installed in his place. So,
after due deliberation, and after the meek Tillott had been subjected to a
trial of his faith which might have shaken the strongest, but which left
him firm as a rock, Miss Granger surrendered, and acknowledged that she
thought her sphere of usefulness would be enlarged by her union with Thomas

"It is not my own feelings which, I consider," remarked the maiden, in a
tone which was scarcely flattering to her lover; "I have always held duty
above those. I believe that New Arden is my proper field, and that it is a
Providence that leads me to accept a tie which binds me more closely to the
place. I could never have remained in _this_ house after Mrs. Granger's

Upon this, the enraptured Tillott wrote a humble and explanatory letter to
Mr. Granger, stating the blessing which had descended upon him in the shape
of Sophia's esteem, and entreating that gentleman's approval of his suit.

It came by return of post, in a few hearty words.

"MY DEAR TILLOTT,--Yes; with all my heart! I have always thought you
a good fellow; and I hope and believe you will make my daughter a
good husband. Mrs. Granger and I will be home in three weeks, in
time to make all arrangements for the wedding.--Yours, &c.


"Ah," said Miss Granger, when this epistle was shown her by her triumphant
swain, "I expected as much. I have never been anything to papa since his
marriage, and he is glad to get rid of me."

The Roman season was at its height, when there arose a good deal of talk
about a lady who did not belong to that world in which Mrs. Granger lived,
but who yet excited considerable curiosity and interest therein.

She was a Spanish dancer, known as Donna Rita, and had been creating a
_furore_ in St. Petersburg, Paris, Vienna, all over the civilised world, in
fact, except in London, where she was announced as likely to appear during
the approaching season. She had taken the world by storm by her beauty,
which was exceptional, and by her dancing, which made up in _chic_ for
anything it may have lacked in genius. She was not a Taglioni; she was only
a splendid dark-haired woman, with eyes that reminded one of Cleopatra, a
figure that was simply perfection, the free grace of some wild creature of
the forest, and the art of selecting rare and startling combinations of
colour and fabric for her dress.

She had hired a villa, and sent a small army of servants on before her to
take possession of it--men and women of divers nations, who contrived to
make their mistress notorious by their vagaries before she arrived to
astonish the city by her own eccentricities. One day brought two pair of
carriage horses, and a pair of Arabs for riding; the next, a train of
carriages; a week after came the lady herself; and all Rome--English
and American Rome most especially--was eager to see her. There was an
Englishman in her train, people said. Of course, there was always some
one--_elle en mange cinq comme ca tous les ans_, remarked a Frenchman.

Clarissa had no curiosity about this person. The idle talk went by her like
the wind, and made no impression; but one sunny afternoon, when she was
driving with her boy, Daniel Granger having an engagement to look at a
new picture which kept him away from her, she met the Senora face to
face--Donna Rita, wrapped in sables to the throat, with a coquettish
little turban-shaped sable hat, a couple of Pomeranian dogs on her
lap--half reclining in her barouche--a marvel of beauty and insolence. She
was not alone. A gentleman--the Englishman, of course--sat opposite to her,
and leant across the white bear-skin carriage-rug to talk to her. They were
both laughing at something he had just said, which the Senora characterised
as "_pas si bete._"

He looked up as the two carriages passed each other; for just one brief
moment looked Clarissa Granger in the face; then, pale as death, bent down
to caress one of the dogs.

It was George Fairfax.

It was a bitter ending; but such stories are apt to end so; and a man with
unlimited means, and nothing particular to do with himself, must find
amusement somehow. Clarissa remained in Rome a fortnight after this, and
encountered the Senora several times--never unattended, but never again
with George Fairfax.

She heard the story afterwards from Lady Laura. He had been infatuated, and
had spent thousands upon "that creature." His poor mother had been half
broken-hearted about it.

"The Lyvedon estate spoiled him, my dear," Lady Laura said conclusively.
"He was a very good fellow till he came into his property."

Mr. Fairfax reformed, however, a couple of years later, and married a
fashionable widow with a large fortune; who kept him in a whirl of society,
and spent their combined incomes royally. He and Clarissa meet sometimes in
society--meet, touch hands even, and know that every link between them is

And is Clarissa happy? Yes, if happiness can be found in children's voices
and a good man's unchanging affection. She has Arden Court, and her
children; her father's regard, growing warmer year by year, as with
increasing age he feels increasing need of some one to love him; her
brother's society now and then--for Mr. Granger has been lavish in
his generosity, and all the peccadilloes of Austin's youth have been
extinguished from the memories of money-lenders and their like by means of
Mr. Granger's cheque-book.

The painter can come to England now, and roam his native woods unburdened
by care; but though this is very sweet to him once in a way, he prefers a
Continental city, with its _cafe_ life, and singing and dancing gardens,
where he may smoke his in the gloaming. He grows steadier as he grows
older, paints better, and makes friends worth making; much to the joy of
poor Bessie, who asks no greater privilege than to stand humbly by, gazing
fondly while he puts on his white cravat, and sallies forth radiant, with a
hot-house flower in his button-hole, to dine in the great world.

But this is only a glance into the future. The story ends in the orthodox
manner, to the sound of wedding bells--Miss Granger's--who swears to love,
honour, and obey Thomas Tillott, with a fixed intention to keep the upper
baud over the said Thomas in all things. Yet these men who are so slavish
as wooers are apt to prove of sterner mould as husbands, and life is all
before Mrs. Tillott, as she journeys in chariot and posters to Scarborough
for her unpretentious honeymoon, to return in a fortnight to a bran-new
gothic villa on the skirts of Arden, where one tall tree is struggling
vainly to look at home in a barren waste of new-made garden. And in the
servants' hall and housekeeper's room at Arden Court there is rejoicing,
as when the elder Miss Pecksniff went away from the little village near

For some there are no marriage bells--for Lady Geraldine, for instance, who
is content to devote herself unostentatiously to the care of her sister's
neglected children--neglected in spite of French and German governesses,
Italian singing masters, Parisian waiting-maids, and half an acre or so
of nursery and schoolroom--and to wider charities: not all unhappy, and
thankful for having escaped that far deeper misery--the fate of an unloved


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