Part 7 out of 11
legs, in writing no one can see but Julius with his spectacles off,
and set in a brooch as big as the top of a thimble, all done by a
one-legged sergeant of marines. So that the line might not be out
done, I offered my sergeant-major's banner-screen, but I am sorry to
say they declined it, which made me jealous."
"Are there any drawings of the Reynolds' boy?"
"Yes, Lenore Vivian brought them down, and very good they are.
Every one says he has the making of a genius, but he does not look
as if it agreed with him; he is grown tall, and thin, and white, and
I should not wonder if those good-for-nothing servants bullied him."
"Did you see anything of Eleonora?"
"Nothing so impossible. I meet her every day, but she is always
beset with the Strangeways, and I think she avoids me."
"I can hardly think so."
"I don't like it! That man is always hanging about Sirenwood, and
Lenore never stirs an inch without one of those girls. I wish Frank
could see for himself, poor fellow."
"He does hope to run down next week. I have just heard from him in
high spirits. One of his seniors has come into some property,
another is out of health and retires, so there is some promotion in
"I wish it would make haste then. I don't like the look of things."
"I can hardly disbelieve in the dear girl herself; yet I do feel as
if it were against nature for it to succeed. Did you hear anything
of Mrs. Bowater to-day?"
"Yes, she is much better, and Edith is coming to go into the gallery
with me on Tuesday when they inaugurate the Rat-house. Oh! did you
hear of the debate about it? You know there's to be a procession--
all the Volunteers, and all the Odd Fellows, and all the Good
Templars, and all the school-children of all denominations--whatever
can walk behind a flag. Our choir boys grew emulous, and asked
Herbert to ask the Rector to let them have our lovely banner with
the lilies on it; but he declined, though there's no choice but to
give the holiday that will be taken."
"Was that the debate?"
"Oh no! that was among the higher powers--where the procession
should start from. The precedent was an opening that began with
going to church, and having a sermon from the Bishop; but then
there's no church, and after that spur the Bishop gave them they
can't ask him without one; besides, the mayor dissents, and so do a
good many more of them. So they are to meet at the Market Cross,
and Mr. Fuller, in the famous black gown, supported by Mr. Driver,
is to head them. I'm not sure that Julius and Herbert were not in
the programme, but Mr. Truelove spoke up, and declared that Mr.
Flynn the Wesleyan Methodist, and Mr. Howler the Primitive
Methodist, and Mr. Riffell the Baptist, had quite as good a right to
walk in the foreground and to hold forth, and Mr. Moy supported
"Popularity hunting against Raymond."
"Precisely. But Howler, Flynn, and Co. were too much for Mr.
Fuller, so he seceded, and the religious ceremonies are now to be
confined to his saying grace at the dinner. Raymond thinks it as
well, for the inaugural speech would only have been solemn mockery;
but Julius thinks it a sad beginning for the place to have no
blessing because of our unhappy divisions. Isn't that like Julius?"
"Exactly, though I see it more from Raymond's point of view. So you
are going to the dinner?"
"Oh yes. Happily my Rector has nothing to say against that, and I
am sure he owes me something for keeping me out of the bazaar. In
fact, having avoided the trouble, I _couldn't_ take the pleasure!
and he must set that against the races."
"My dear, though I am not set against races like Julius, I think,
considering his strong feelings on the subject--"
"My dear Mrs. Poynsett, it would be very bad for Julius to give in
to his fancies. The next thing would be to set baby up in a little
hood and veil like a nun!"
Rosamond's winsome nonsense could not but gain a smile. No doubt
she was a pleasant daughter-in-law, though, for substantial care,
Anne was the strength and reliance. Even Anne was much engrossed by
preparations for the bazaar. It had been a great perplexity to her
that the one thing she thought not worldly should be condemned by
Julius, and he had not tried to prevent her from assisting Cecil,
thinking, as he had told Eleonora, that the question of right and
wrong was not so trenchant as to divide households.
The banquet and inauguration went off fairly well. There was
nothing in it worth recording, except that Rosamond pronounced that
Raymond only wanted a particle of Irish fluency to be a perfect
speaker; but every one was observing how ill and depressed he
looked. Even Cecil began to see it herself, and to ask Lady Tyrrell
with some anxiety whether she thought him altered.
"Men always look worn after a Session," said Lady Tyrrell.
"If this really makes him unhappy!"
"My dear Cecil, that's the very proof of the necessity. If it makes
him unhappy to go five miles away with his wife, it ought not. You
should wean him from such dependence."
Cecil had tears in her eyes as she said, "I don't know! When I hear
him sighing in his sleep, I long to give it up and tell him I will
try to be happy here."
"My dear child, don't be weak. If you give way now, you will rue it
all your life."
"If I could have taken to his mother, I think he would have cared
more for me."
"No. The moment her jealousy was excited she would have resumed
him, and you would have been the more shut out in the cold. A
little firmness now, and the fresh start is before you."
Cecil sighed, feeling that she was paying a heavy price for that
fresh start, but her hands were too full for much thought. Guests
came to dinner, Mrs. Poynsett kept more to her own room, and Raymond
exerted himself to talk, so that the blank of the evenings was less
apparent. The days were spent at the town-hall, where the stalls
were raised early enough for all the ladies, their maids and
footmen, to buzz about them all day, decking them out.
Mrs. Duncombe was as usual the guiding spirit, contriving all with a
cleverness that made the deficiencies of her household the more
remarkable. Conny and Bee Strangeways were the best workers, having
plenty of experience and resource, and being ready to do anything,
however hard, dusty, or disagreeable; and to drudge contentedly,
with plenty of chatter indeed, but quite as freely to a female as to
a male companion; whereas Miss Moy had a knot of men constantly
about her, and made a noise which was a sore trial to Cecil's heavy
spirit all the first day, exclusive of the offence to her native
fastidiousness. She even called upon Lady Tyrrell and Mrs. Duncombe
to hold a council whether all gentlemen should not be excluded the
next day, as spoiling the ladies' work, and of no use themselves;
but there were one or two who really did toil, and so well that they
could not be dispensed with, and Mrs. Duncombe added that it would
not do to give offence.
There was a harassed look about Mrs. Duncombe herself, for much
depended on the success of her husband's filly, Dark Hag. The
Captain had hitherto been cautious, and had secured himself against
heavy loss, so as to make the turf a tolerable speculation, on but
the wonderful perfections of this animal had led him to stake much
more on her than had been his wont; and though his wife was assured
of being a rich woman in another week, she was not sorry for the
multiplicity of occupations which hindered her mind from dwelling
too much on the chances.
"How calm you look,--how I envy you!" she said, as she came to
borrow some tape of Eleonora Vivian, who was fastening the pendent
articles to the drapery of her sister's stall. Eleonora gave a
constrained smile, feeling how little truth there was in her
apparent peace, wearied out as she was with the long conflict and
constant distrust. She was the more anxious to be with Lady Susan,
whose every word she could believe, and she finally promised to
leave home with Bee and Conny the day after the ball, and to meet
their mother in London. They knew there was no chance for Lorimer,
but they took her on her own terms, hoping something perhaps, and at
any rate glad to be a comfort to one whom they really loved, while
Lady Tyrrell was delighted to promote the visit, seeing that the
family did more for Lorimer's cause than he did for himself; and in
his own home who could guess the result, especially after certain
other manoeuvres of her ladyship had taken effect?
Lady Tyrrell did not know, nor indeed did Conny or Bee, that, though
they would meet their mother in London, she would not at once go
into Yorkshire with them, but would send them to their uncle's,
while she repaired to the retreat at St. Faith's. The harass of
these last few weeks, especially the endeavour to make her go to the
races, had removed all scruples from Lenore's mind as to leaving her
home in ignorance of her intentions. To her mind, the circumstances
of her brother's death had made a race-course no place for any of
the family, especially that of Backsworth; gout coming opportunely
to disable her father in London, and one or two other little
accidents, had prevented the matter from coming to an issue while
she had been in London, and the avowal of her intention to keep away
had filled her father with passion at her for her absurd scruples
and pretences at being better than other people. It had been Lady
Tyrrell who pacified him with assurances that she would soon do
better; no one wished to force her conscience, and Lenore, always on
the watch, began to wonder whether her sister had any reason for
wishing to keep her away, and longed the more for the house of truth
So came on the bazaar day, which Mrs. Poynsett spent in solitude,
except for visits from the Rectory, and one from Joanna Bowater, who
looked in while Julius was sitting with her, and amused them by her
account of herself as an emissary from home with ten pounds to be
got rid of from her father and mother for good neighbourhood's sake.
She brought Mrs. Poynsett a beautiful bouquet, for the elderly
spinsters, she said, sat on the stairs and kept up a constant
supply; and she had also some exquisite Genoese wire ornaments from
Cecil's counter, and a set of studs from a tray of polished pebbles
sent up from Vivian's favourite lapidary at Rockpier. She had been
amused to find the Miss Strangeways hunting over it to match that
very simple-looking charm which Lena wore on to her watch, for, as
she said, "the attraction must either be the simplicity of it, or
the general Lena-worship in which those girls indulge."
"How does that dear child look?"
"Fagged, I think, but so does every one, and it was not easy to keep
order, Mrs. Duncombe's counter was such a rendezvous for noisy
people, and Miss Moy was perfectly dreadful, running about forcing
things on people and refusing change."
"And how is poor Anne enduring?"
"Like Christian in Vanity Fair as long as she did endure, for she
retired to the spinsters on the back stairs. I offered to bring her
home, and she accepted with delight, but I dropped her in the
village to bestow her presents. I was determined to come on here;
we go on Monday."
"Shall you be at the Ordination?"
"I trust so. If mamma is pretty well, we shall both go."
"Is Edith going to the ball on Thursday?"
"No, she has given it up. It seems as if we at least ought to
recollect our Ember days, though I am ashamed to think we never did
till this time last year."
"I confess that I never heard of them," said Mrs. Poynsett. "Don't
look shocked, my dear; such things were not taught in my time."
Julius showed her the rubric and the prayer from the book in his
pocket, knowing that the one endeared to her by association was one
of the Prayer-books made easy by omission of all not needed at the
barest Sunday service.
"I see," she said, "it seems quite right. I wish you had told me
before you were ordained, my dear."
"You kept your Ember days for me by instinct, dear mother."
"Don't be too sure, Julius. One learns many things when one is laid
on one's back."
"Think of Herbert now," whispered Jenny. "I am glad he is sheltered
from all this hubbub by being at the palace. I suppose you cannot
go to the Cathedral, Julius?"
"No, Bindon will not come back till his brother's holiday is over,
nor do I even know where to write to him. Oh! here comes Anne. Now
for her impressions."
Anne had brought her little gift for Mrs. Poynsett, and displayed
her presents for Glen Fraser, but as to what she had seen it made
her shudder and say, "You were right, Julius, I did not know people
could go on so! And with all those poor people ill close by. Miss
Slater, who sat on the stairs just below me tying up flowers, is
much grieved about a lad who was at work there till a fortnight ago,
and now is dying of a fever, and harassed by all the rattling of the
"What! close by! Nothing infectious, I hope?"
"The doctor called it gastric fever, but no one was to hear of it
lest there should be an alarm; and it was too late to change the
place of the bazaar, though it is so sad to have all that gaiety
close at hand."
If these were the impressions of Anne and Joanna early in the day,
what were they later, when, in those not sustained by excitement,
spirit and energy began to flag? Cecil's counter, with her
excellent and expensive wares, and her own dignified propriety, was
far less popular than those where the goods were cheaper and the
saleswomen less inaccessible, and she was not only disappointed at
her failure, but vexed when told that the articles must be raffled
for. She could not object, but it seemed an unworthy end for what
had cost her so much money and pains to procure, and it was not
pleasant to see Mrs. Duncombe and Miss Moy hawking the tickets
about, like regular touters, nor the most beautiful things drawn by
the most vulgar and tasteless people.
Miss Moy had around her a court of 'horsey' men who were lounging
away the day before the races, and who had excited her spirits to a
pitch of boisterousness such as dismayed Mrs. Duncombe herself when
her attempts at repression were only laughed at.
Somehow, among these adherents, there arose a proposal for the
election of a queen of beauty, each gentleman paying half-a-crown
for the right of voting. Miss Moy bridled and tried to blush. She
was a tall, highly-coloured, flashing-eyed brunette, to whom a
triumph would be immense over the refined, statuesque, severe Miss
Vivian, and an apple-blossom innocent-looking girl who was also
present, and though Lady Tyrrell was incontestably the handsomest
person in the room, her age and standing had probably prevented her
occurring to the propounders of the scheme.
The design was taking shape when young Strangeways, who was willing
to exchange chaff with Gussie Moy, but was gentleman enough to feel
the indecorum of the whole thing, moved across to his sister, and
muttered, "I say, Con, they are getting up that stupid trick of
election of a queen of beauty. Does Lady Tyrrell know it?"
"Wouldn't it be rather fun?"
"Horrid bad form, downright impudence. Mother would squash it at
once. Go and warn one of them," signing with his head.
Constance made her way to Eleonora, who had already been perplexed
and angered by more than one critical stare, as one and another man
loitered past and gazed intrepidly at her. She hurried at once to
her sister, who was sitting passively behind her counter as if
wearied out, and who would not be stirred to interference. "Never
mind, Lenore, it can't be helped. It is all for the cause, and to
stop it would be worse taste, fitting on the cap as an acknowledged
beauty, and to that I'm not equal."
"It is an insult."
"Never fear, they'll never choose you while you look so forbidding,
though perhaps it is rather becoming. They have not the taste."
Eleonora said no more, but went over to the window where Raymond was
keeping his guard, with his old-fashioned sense of protection. She
had no sooner told him than he started into incredulous indignation,
in which he was joined by his wife who only wished him to dash
forward to prevent the scheme before he would believe it real.
However, when the ballot-box came his way, and a simpering youth
presented him with a card, begging for his opinion, he spoke so as
to be heard by all, "No, thank you, sir. I am requested by the
ladies present to state that such competition was never contemplated
by their committee and would be repugnant to all their sentiments.
They beg that the election may be at once dropped and the money
Mr. Charnock Poynsett had a weight that no one resisted. There was
a moment's silence, a little murmur, apologetic and remonstrant, but
the deed was done.
Only a clear voice, with the thrillings of disappointed vanity and
exultation scarcely disguised by a laugh, was heard saying, louder
than the owner knew, "Oh, of course Mr. Charnock Poynsett spoiled
sport. It would have been awkward between his wife and his old
"For shame, Gussie," hushed Mrs. Duncombe, "they'll hear."
"I don't care! Let them! Stuck-up people!"
Whoever heard, Cecil Charnock Poynsett did, and felt as if the
ground were giving way with her.
The Lady Green Mantle
The night, just like the night before,
In terrors passed away,
Nor did the demons vanish thence
Before the dawn of day.--MOORE
The turmoil was over, the gains had been emptied into bags to be
counted at leisure, the relics of the sale left to be disposed of
through the Exchange and Mart. Terry, looking tired to death,
descended from his post as assistant showman; and, with some
gentlemen who were to dine at Compton Poynsett, Cecil drove home to
dress in haste, and act hostess to a large dinner-party. All the
time she felt giddy at the words she had heard--"Mr. Poynsett's old
flame." It was constantly ringing in her ears, and one conviction
was before her mind. Her cheeks burnt like fire, and when she
reached her own room at night, and leant from the window to cool
them, they only burnt the more.
Had she been wilfully deceived? had she been taking the counsel of a
jealous woman about her husband? Had not Camilla assured her that
the object of his first love was not in the country? Ay; but when
that was spoken Camilla herself was in London, and Cecil knew enough
of her friend to be aware that she viewed such a subterfuge as
ingenious. Even then she had perceived that the person alluded to
could only have been a Vivian, and the exclamation of careless spite
carried assurance to her that she had been tricked into confidence,
and acceptance of the advice of a rival. She had a feverish longing
to know more, and obtain explanation and external certainty. But
Raymond was one of the very tired that night. He fell asleep the
instant his head touched the pillow; but it was that sobbing,
sighing sleep which had before almost swept away, from very ruth,
her resolution; and on this night there were faltering words,
strangely, though unconsciously, replying to her thoughts.
"Camilla, a cruel revenge!" "Poor child! but for you she might have
learnt." "My mother!" "Why, why this persistent hatred?" "Cannot
you let us alone?" "Must you destroy our home?"
These were the mutterings at intervals. She listened, and in the
darkness her impulse was to throw herself on her husband, tell him
all, show him how she had been misled, and promise to give up all to
which that true Vivienne had prompted her. She did even try to wake
him, but the attempt caused only a more distinct expostulation of
"Cannot you let her alone?" "Cannot you let us learn to love one
another?" "It may be revenge on me or my mother; but what has she
done?" "Don't!--oh, don't!"
The distress she caused forced her to desist, and she remembered how
Raymond had always warned her. The intimacy with Lady Tyrrell had
been in the teeth of his remonstrances. He had said everything to
prevent it short of confessing his former attachment, and though
resentful that the warning had been denied her, she felt it had been
well that she had been prevented from putting the question on her
first impulse. Many ways of ascertaining the fact were revolved by
her as with an aching head she lay hopelessly awake till morning,
when she fell into a doze which lasted until she found that Raymond
had risen, and that she must dress in haste, unless she meant to
lose her character for punctuality. Her head still ached, and she
felt thoroughly tired; but when Raymond advised her to stay at home,
and recruit herself for the ball, she said the air of the downs
would refresh her. Indeed, she felt as if quiet and loneliness
would be intolerable until she could understand herself and what she
Raymond took the reins of the barouche, and a gentleman who had
slept at the Hall went on the box beside him, leaving room for
Rosamond and her brother, who were to be picked up at the Rectory;
but when they drew up there, only Rosamond came out in the wonderful
bonnet, just large enough to contain one big water-lily, which
suited well with the sleepy grace of her movements, and the glossy
sheen of her mauve silk.
"Terry is not coming. He has a headache, poor boy," she said, as
Julius shut her into the barouche. "Take care of him and baby."
"Take care of yourself, Madam Madcap," said Julius, with a smile, as
she bent down to give him a parting kiss, with perhaps a little
pleading for forgiveness in it. But instead of, as last year,
shuddering, either at its folly or publicity, Cecil felt a keen pang
of desire for such a look as half rebuked, while it took a loving
farewell of Rosamond. Was Camilla like that statue which the
husband inadvertently espoused with a ring, and which interposed
between him and his wife for ever?
Rosamond talked. She always had a certain embarrassment in tete-a-
tetes with Cecil, and it took form in a flow of words. "Poor Terry!
he turned faint and giddy at breakfast. I thought he had been
indulging at the refreshment-stall, but he says he was saving for a
fine copy of the Faerie Queen that Friskyball told him of at a book-
stall at Backsworth, and existed all day on draughts of water when
his throat grew dry as showman; so I suppose it is only inanition,
coupled with excitement and stuffiness, and that quiet will repair
him. He would not hear of my staying with him."
"I suppose you do not wish to be late?"
"Certainly not," said Rosamond, who, indeed, would have given up
before, save for her bonnet and her principle; and whatever she said
of Lady Rathforlane's easy management of her nurslings, did not
desire to be _too_ many hours absent from her Julia.
"I only want to stay till the Three-year-old Cup has been run for,"
said Cecil. "Mrs. Duncombe would feel it unkind if we did not."
"You look tired," said Rosamond, kindly; "put your feet upon the
front seat--nobody will look. Do you know how much you cleared?"
"Not yet," said Cecil. "I do not know what was made by the raffles.
How I do hate them! Fancy that lovely opal Venetian vase going to
that big bony Scotswoman, Mr. M'Vie's mother."
"Indeed! That is a pity. If I had known it would be raffled for, I
would have sent a private commission, though I don't know if Julius
would have let me. He says it is gambling. What became of the Spa
work-box, with the passion-flower wreath?"
"I don't know. I was so disgusted, that I would not look any more.
I never saw such an obnoxious girl as that Miss Moy."
"_That_ she is," said Rosamond. "I should think she was acting the
fast girl as found in sensation novels."
"Exactly," said Cecil, proceeding to narrate the proposed election;
and in her need of sympathy she even told its sequel, adding,
"Rosamond, do you know what she meant?"
"Is it fair to tell you?" said Rosamond, asking a question she knew
to be vain.
"I must know whether I have been deceived."
"Never by Raymond!" cried Rosamond.
"Never, never, never!" cried Cecil, with most unusual excitement.
"He told me all that concerned himself at the very first. I wish he
had told me who it was. How much it would have saved! Rosamond,
you know, I am sure."
"Yes, I made Julius tell me; but indeed, Cecil, you need not mind.
Never has a feeling more entirely died out."
"Do you think I do not know that?" said Cecil. "Do you think my
husband could have been my husband if he had not felt _that_?"
"Dear Cecil, I am so glad," cried impulsive Rosamond; her gladness,
in truth, chiefly excited by the anger that looked like love for
Raymond. "I mean, I am glad you see it so, and don't doubt him."
"I hope we are both above that," said Cecil. "No, it is Camilla
that I want to know about. I _must_ know whether she told me
"She told! what did she tell you?"
"That _he_--Raymond--had loved some one," said Cecil in a stifled
voice; "that I little knew what his love could be. I thought it had
been for her sister in India. She told me that it was nobody in the
country. But then we were in town."
"Just like her!" cried Rosamond, and wondered not to be
"Tell me how it really was!" only asked Cecil.
"As far as I know, the attachment grew up with Raymond, but it was
when the brother was alive, and Sir Harry at his worst; and Mrs.
Poynsett did not like it, though she gave in at last, and tried to
make the best of it; but then she--Camilla--as you call her--met the
old monster, Lord Tyrrell, made up a quarrel, because Mrs. Poynsett
would not abdicate, and broke it off."
"She said Mrs. Poynsett only half consented, and that the family
grew weary of her persistent opposition."
"And she made you think it Mrs. Poynsett's doing, and that she is
not possible to live with! O, Cecil! you will not think that any
longer. Don't you see that it is breaking Raymond's heart?"
Cecil's tears were starting, and she was very near sobbing as she
said, "I thought perhaps if we were away by ourselves he might come
to care for me. _She_ said he never would while his mother was by--
that she would not let him."
"That's not a bit true!" said Rosamond, indignantly. "Is it not
what she has most at heart, to see her sons happy? When has she
ever tried to interfere between Julius and me? Not that she could,"
added Rosamond to herself in a happy little whisper, not meant to be
heard, but it was; and with actual though suppressed sobs, Cecil
"O, Rose, Rose! what do you do to make your husband love you?"
"Do? Be very naughty!" said Rosamond, forced to think of the
exigencies of the moment, and adding lightly, "There! it won't do to
cry. Here are the gentlemen looking round to see what is the
Ardently did she wish to have been able to put Cecil into Raymond's
arms and run out of sight, but with two men-servants with crossed
arms behind, a strange gentleman in front, the streets of Wil'sbro'
at hand, and the race-ground impending, sentiment was impossible,
and she could only make herself a tonic, and declare nothing to be
the matter; while Cecil, horrified at attracting notice, righted
herself and made protest of her perfect health and comfort. When
Raymond, always careful of her, stopped the carriage and descended
from his perch to certify himself whether she was equal to going on,
his solicitude went to her heart, and she gave his hand, as it lay
on the door, an affectionate thankful pressure, which so amazed him
that he raised his eyes to her face with a softness in them that
made them for a moment resemble Frank's.
That was all, emotion must be kept at bay, and as vehicles thickened
round them as they passed through Wil'sbro', the two ladies betook
themselves to casual remarks upon them. Overtaking the Sirenwood
carriage just at the turn upon the down, Raymond had no choice but
to take up his station with that on one side, and on the other
Captain Duncombe's drag, where, fluttering with Dark Hag's colours,
were perched Mrs. Duncombe and Miss Moy, just in the rear of the
like conveyance from the barracks.
Greetings, and invitations to both elevations were plentiful, and
Rosamond would have felt in her element on the military one. She
was rapidly calculating, with her good-natured eye, whether the
choice her rank gave her would exclude some eager girl, when Cecil
whispered, "Stay with me pray," with an irresistibly beseeching
tone. So the Strangeways sisters climbed up, nothing loth; Lady
Tyrrell sat with her father, the centre of a throng of gentlemen,
who welcomed her to the ground where she used to be a reigning
belle; and the Colonel's wife, Mrs. Ross, came to sit with Lady
Rosamond. The whole was perfect enjoyment to the last. She felt it
a delightful taste of her merry old Bohemian days to sit in the
clear September sunshine, exhilarated by the brilliancy and life
around, laughing with her own little court of officers, exclaiming
at every droll episode, holding her breath with the thrill of
universal expectation and excitement, in the wonderful hush of the
multitude as the thud of the hoofs and rush in the wind was heard
coming nearer, straining her eyes as the glossy creatures and their
gay riders flashed past, and setting her whole heart for the moment
on the one she was told to care for.
Raymond, seeing his ladies well provided for, gave up his reins to
the coachman, and started in quest of a friend from the other side
of the county. About an hour later, when luncheon was in full
progress, and Rosamond was, by Cecil's languor, driven into doing
the honours, with her most sunshiny drollery and mirth, Raymond's
hand was on the carriage door, and he asked in haste, "Can you spare
me a glass of champagne? Have you a scent-bottle?"
"Yes, no, not exactly. She has been knocked down and trampled on."
"Who? Let me come! Can't I help? Could Rosamond?"
"No, no. It is a poor woman, brutally treated. No, I say, I'll
manage. It is a dreadful scene, don't."
But there was something in his tone which impelled Rosamond to open
the carriage door and spring out.
"Rose, I say it is no place for a lady. I can't answer for it to
"I'll do that. Take me."
There was no withstanding her, and, after all, Raymond's tone
betrayed that he was thankful for her help, and knew that there was
no danger for her.
He had not many yards to lead her. The regions of thoughtless
gaiety were scarcely separated from the regions of undisguised evil,
and Raymond, on his way back from his friend, had fallen on a
horrible row, in which a toy-selling woman had been set upon, thrown
down and trodden on, and then dragged out by the police, bleeding
and senseless. When he brought Rosamond to the spot, she was lying
propped against a bundle, moaning a little, and guarded by a young
policeman, who looked perplexed and only equal to keeping back the
crowd, who otherwise, with better or worse purposes, would have
rushed back in the few minutes during which Mr. Poynsett had been
They fell back, staring and uttering expressions of rough wonder at
the advance of the lady in her glistening silk, but as she knelt
down by the poor creature, held her on her arm, bathed her face with
scent on her own handkerchief, and held to her lips the champagne
that Raymond poured out, there was a kind of hoarse cheer.
"I think her arm is put out," said Rosamond; "she ought to go to the
"Send for a cab," said Raymond to the policeman; but at that moment
the girl opened her eyes, started at the sight of him and tried to
hide her face with her hand.
"It is poor Fanny Reynolds," said he in a low voice to Rosamond,
while the policeman was gruffly telling the woman she was better,
and ought to get up and not trouble the lady; but Rosamond waved off
his too decided assistance, saying:
"I know who she is; she comes from my husband's parish; and I will
take her home. You would like to go home, would you not, poor
The woman shuddered, but clung to her; and in a minute or two an
unwilling fly had been pressed into the service, and the girl lifted
into it by Raymond and the policeman.
"You are really going with her?" said the former. "You will judge
whether to take her home; but she ought to go to the Infirmary
"Tell Cecil I am sorry to desert her," said Rosamond, as he wrung
her hand, then paid the driver and gave him directions, the
policeman going with them to clear the way through the throng to the
border of the down.
The choice of the cabman had not been happy. He tried to go towards
Backsworth, and when bidden to go to Wil'sbro', growled out an
imprecation, and dashed off at a pace that was evident agony to the
poor patient; but when Rosamond stretched out at the window to
remonstrate, she was answered with rude abuse that he could not be
hindered all day by whims. She perceived that he was so much in
liquor that their connection had better be as brief as possible; and
the name on the door showed that he came from beyond the circle of
influence of the name of Charnock Poynsett. She longed to assume
the reins, if not to lay the whip about his ears; but all she could
do was to try to lessen the force of the jolts by holding up the
girl, as the horse was savagely beaten, and the carriage so swayed
from side to side that she began to think it would be well if there
were not three cases for the Infirmary instead of one. To talk to
the girl or learn her wishes was not possible, among the moans and
cries caused by the motion; and it was no small relief to be safely
at the Infirmary door, though there was no release till after a
fierce altercation with the driver, who first denied, and then
laughed to scorn the ample fare he had received, so that had any
policeman been at hand, the porter and house surgeon would have
given him in charge, but they could only take his number and let him
drive off in a fury.
Poor Fanny was carried away fainting to the accident ward, and
Rosamond found it would be so long before she would be visible
again, that it would be wiser to go home and send in her relations,
but there was not a fly or cab left in Wil'sbro', and there was
nothing for it but to walk.
She found herself a good deal shaken, and walked fast because thus
her limbs did not tremble so much, while the glaring September
afternoon made her miss the parasol she had left in the carriage,
and find little comfort in the shadeless erection on her head. It
was much further than she had walked for a long time past, and she
had begun to think she had parted with a good deal of her strength
before the Compton woods grew more defined, or the church tower came
Though the lane to the Reynolds' colony was not full in her way, she
was glad to sit down in the shade to speak to old Betty, who did not
comport herself according to either extreme common to parents in
"So Fanny, she be in the 'firmary, be her? I'm sure as 'twas very
good of the young Squire and you, my lady; and I'm sorry her's bin
and give you so much trouble."
Everybody was harvesting but the old woman, who had the inevitable
bad leg. All men and beasts were either in the fields or at the
races, and Rosamond, uncertain whether her patient was not in a
dying state, rejoiced in her recent acquisition of a pony carriage,
and speeding home with renewed energy, roused her 'parson's man'
from tea in his cottage, and ordered him off to take Betty Reynolds
to see her daughter without loss of time.
Then at length she opened her own gate and walked in at the drawing-
room window. Terry started up from the sofa, and Anne from a chair
by his side, exclaiming at her appearance, and asking if there had
been any accident.
"Not to any of us, but to a poor woman whom I have been taking to
the Infirmary," she said, sinking into a low chair. "Where's
"He went to see old George Willett," said Anne. "The poor old man
has just heard of the death of his daughter at Wil'sbro'."
"And you came to sit with this boy, you good creature. How are you,
"Oh, better, thanks," he said, with a weary stretch. "How done up
you look, Rose! How did you come?"
"I walked from Wil'sbro'."
"Walked!" echoed both her hearers.
"Walked! I liked my two legs better than the four of the horse that
brought me there, though 'twasn't his fault, poor beast, but the
brute of a driver, whom we'll have up before the magistrate. I've
got the name; doing his best to dislocate every bone in the poor
thing's body. Well, and I hope baby didn't disturb you?"
"Baby has been wonderfully quiet. Julius went to see after her
once, but she was out."
"I'll go and see the young woman, and then come and tell my story."
But Rosamond came back almost instantly, exclaiming, "Emma must have
taken the baby to the Hall. I wish she would be more careful. The
sun is getting low, and there's a fog rising."
"She had not been there when I came down an hour ago," said Anne;
"at least, not with Mrs. Poynsett. They may have had her in the
housekeeper's room. I had better go and hasten her home."
Julius came in shortly after, but before he had heard the tale of
Fanny Reynolds, Anne had returned to say that neither child nor
nurse had been at the Hall, nor passed the large gate that morning.
It was growing rather alarming. The other servants said Emma had
taken the baby out as usual in the morning, but had not returned to
dinner, and they too had supposed her at the Hall. None of the
dependants of the Hall in the cottages round knew anything of her,
but at last Dilemma Hornblower imparted that she had seen my lady's
baby's green cloak atop of a tax-cart going towards Wil'sbro'.
Now Emma had undesirable relations, and Rosamond had taken her in
spite of warning that her uncle was the keeper of the 'Three
Pigeons.' The young parents stood looking at one another, and
Rosamond faintly said, "If that girl has taken her to the races!"
"I'm more afraid of that fever in Water Lane," said Julius. "I have
a great mind to take the pony carriage and see that the girl does
not take her there."
"Oh! I sent it with Betty Reynolds," cried Rosamond in an agony.
"At that moment the Hall carriage came dashing up, and as Raymond
saw the three standing in the road, he called to the coachman to
stop, for he and his friend were now within, and Cecil leaning back,
looking much tired. Raymond's eager question was what Rosamond had
done with her charge.
"Left her at the Infirmary;--but, oh! you've not seen baby?"
"Seen--seen what! your baby?" asked Raymond, as if he thought
Rosamond's senses astray, while his bachelor friend was ready to
laugh at a young mother's alarms, all the more when Julius answered,
"It is too true; the baby and her nurse have not been seen here
since ten o'clock; and we are seriously afraid the girl may have
been beguiled to those races. There is a report of the child's
cloak having been seen on a tax-cart."
"Then it was so," exclaimed Cecil, starting forward. "I saw a
baby's mantle of that peculiar green, and it struck me that some
farmer's wife had been aping little Julia's."
"Where? When?" cried Rosamond.
"They passed us, trying to find a place. I did not show it to you
for you were talking to those gentlemen."
"Did you see it, Brown?" asked Julius, going towards the coachman.
"Our baby and nurse, I mean."
"I can't tell about Miss Charnock, sir," said the coachman, "but I
did think I remarked two young females with young Gadley in a tax-
cart. I would not be alarmed, sir, nor my lady," he added, with the
freedom of a confidential servant, who, like all the household,
adored Lady Rosamond. "It was a giddy thing in the young woman to
have done; and no place to take the young lady to. But there--there
were more infants there than a man could count, and it stands to
reason they come to no harm."
"The most sensible thing that has been said yet," muttered the
friend; but Rosamond was by no means pacified. "Gadley's cart!
They'll go to that horrid public-house in Water Lane where there's
typhus and diphtheria and everything; and there's this fog--and that
girl will never wrap her up. Oh! why did I ever go?"
"My dear Rose," said Julius, trying to speak with masculine
composure, "this is nonsense. Depend upon it, Emma is only anxious
to get her home."
"I don't know, I don't know! If she could take her to the races,
she would be capable of taking her anywhere! They all go and drink
at that beer-shop, and catch--Julius, the pony carriage! Oh! it's
"Yes," said Julius in explanation. "She sent Betty Reynolds into
Wil'sbro' in it."
"Get in, Rosamond," cried Cecil, "we will drive back till we find
But this was more than a good coachman could permit for his horses'
sake, and Brown declared they must be fed and rested before the
ball. Cecil was ready to give up the ball, but still they could not
be taken back at once; and Rosamond had by this time turned as if
setting her face to walk at once to the race-ground until she found
her child, when Raymond said, "Rose! would you be afraid to trust to
King Coal and me? I would put him in at once and drive you till you
"Oh! Raymond, how good you are!"
The coachman, glad of this solution, only waited to pick up Anne,
and hurried on his horses, while the bachelor friend could not help
grunting a little, and observing that it was plain there was only
one child in the family, and that he would take any bet 'it' was at
home all right long before Poynsett reached the parsonage.
"Maybe so," said Raymond, "but I would do anything rather than leave
her mother in the distress you take so easily."
"Besides, there's every chance of her being taken to that low
public-house," said Cecil. "One that Mr. Poynsett would not allow
our servants to go to during the bazaar, though it is close to the
town-hall, and all the others did."
"Let us hope that early influence may prevent contamination,"
solemnly said the friend.
Cecil turned from him. "I still hope she may be at home," she said;
"it is getting very chill and foggy. Raymond, I hope you may not
have to go."
"You must lie down and get thoroughly rested," he said, as he helped
her out; and only waiting to equip himself for the evening dance, he
hurried to the stables to expedite the harnessing of the powerful
and fiery steed which had as yet been only experimentally driven by
himself and the coachman.
Rosamond was watching, and when King Coal was with difficulty pulled
up, she made but one spring to the seat of the dog-cart; and Julius,
who was tucking in the rug, had to leap back to save his foot, so
instantaneous was the dash forward. They went like the wind,
Rosamond not caring to speak, and Raymond had quite enough on his
hands to be glad not to be required to talk, while he steered
through the numerous vehicles they met, and she scanned them
anxiously for the outline of Emma's hat. At last they reached
Wil'sbro', where, as they came to the entrance of Water Lane,
Rosamond, through the hazy gaslight, declared that she saw a tax-
cart at the door of the 'Three Pigeons,' and Raymond, albeit
uncertain whether it were _the_ tax-cart, could only turn down the
lane at her bidding, with difficulty preventing King Coal from
running his nose into the vehicle. Something like an infant's cry
was heard through the open door, and before he knew what she was
about, Rosamond was on the pavement and had rushed into the house;
and while he was signing to a man to take the horse's head, she was
out again, the gaslight catching her eyes so that they glared like a
tigress's, her child in her arms, and a whole Babel of explaining
tongues behind her. How she did it neither she nor Raymond ever
knew, but in a second she had flown to her perch, saying hoarsely,
"Drive me to Dr. Worth's. They were drugging her. I don't know
whether I was in time. No, not a word"--(this to those behind)--
"never let me see any of you again."
King Coal prevented all further words of explanation by dancing
round, so that Raymond was rejoiced at finding that nobody was run
over. They were off again instantly, while Rosamond vehemently
clasped the child, which was sobbing out a feeble sound, as if quite
spent with crying, but without which the mother seemed dissatisfied,
for she moved the poor little thing about if it ceased for a moment.
They were soon within Dr. Worth's iron gates, where Raymond could
give the horse to a servant, help his sister-in-law down, and speak
for her; for at first she only held up the phial she had clutched,
and gazed at the doctor speechlessly.
He looked well both at the bottle and the baby while Raymond spoke,
and then said, "Are you sure she took any, Lady Rosamond?"
"Quite, quite sure!" cried Rosamond. "The spoon was at her lips,
the dear little helpless darling!"
"Well, then," said the doctor, dryly, "it only remains to be proved
whether an aristocratic baby can bear popular treatment. I dare say
some hundred unlucky infants have been lugged out to the race-course
to-day, and come back squalling their hearts out with fatigue and
hunger, and I'll be bound that nine-tenths are lulled with this very
sedative, and will be none the worse."
"Then you do not think it will hurt her?"
"So far from it, that, under the circumstances, it was the best
thing she could have. She has plainly been exhausted, and though I
would not exactly recommend the practice in your nursery, I doubt if
she could have taken nourishment till she had been composed. She
will sleep for an hour or two, and by that time you can get her
home, and feed her as usual. I should be more anxious about Lady
Rosamond herself," he added, turning to Raymond. "She looks
completely worn out. Let me order you a basin of soup."
But Rosamond would not hear of it, she must get baby home directly.
Raymond advised a fly, but it was recollected that none was
attainable between the races and the ball, so the little one was
muffled in shawls and cloaks almost to suffocation, and the doctor
forced a glass of wine on her mother, and promised to look in the
next day. Still they had a delay at the door, caused by the
penitent Emma and her aunt, bent on telling how far they had been
from intending any harm; how Emma, when carrying the baby out, had
been over-persuaded by the cousins she had never disappointed
before; how they had faithfully promised to take her home early,
long before my lady's return; how she had taken baby's bottle, but
how it had got broken; how impossible it had been to move off the
ground in the throng; and how the poor baby's inconsolable cries had
caused the young nurse to turn aside to see whether her aunt could
find anything to prevent her from screaming herself into
Nothing but the most determined volubility on Mrs. Gadley's part
could have poured this into the ears of Raymond; Rosamond either
could not or would not heed, pushed forward, past the weeping Emma,
and pulled away her dress with a shudder, when there was an attempt
to draw her back and make her listen.
"Don't, girl," said Raymond. "Don't you see that Lady Rosamond
can't attend to you? If you have anything to say, you must come
another time. You've done quite enough mischief for the present."
"Yes," said the doctor, "tell your brother to put them both to bed,
and keep them quiet. I should like to prescribe the same for you,
Mr. Poynsett; you don't look the thing, and I suppose you are going
to take the ball by way of remedy."
Raymond thanked the doctor, but was too much employed in enveloping
his passengers to make further reply.
It was quite dark, and the fog had turned to misty rain, soft and
still, but all pervading, and Rosamond found it impossible to hold
up an umbrella as well as to guard the baby, who was the only
passenger not soaked and dripping by the time they were among the
lighted windows of the village.
"Oh, Raymond! Raymond!" she then said, in a husky dreamy voice,
"how good and kind you have been. I know there was something that
would make you very, very glad!"
"Is there?" he said. "I have not met with anything to make me glad
for a long time past!"
"And I don't seem able to recollect what it was, or even if I ought
to tell," said Rosamond, in the same faint, bewildered voice, which
made Raymond very glad they were at the gate, where stood Julius.
But before Rosamond would descend into her husband's arms, she
opened all her child's mufflings, saying, "Kiss her, kiss her,
Raymond--how she shall love you!" And when he had obeyed, and
Rosamond had handed the little one down to her father, she pressed
her own wet cheek against his dripping beard and moustache, and
exclaimed, "I'll never forget your goodness. Have you got her safe,
Julius? I'll never, never go anywhere again!"
O no, no, no; 'tis true. Here, take this too;
It is a basilisk unto mine eye,
Kills me to look on't. Let there be no honour,
Where there is beauty; truth, where semblance; love,
Where there's another man.--Cymbeline
When Julius, according to custom, opened his study shutters, at
half-past six, to a bright sunrise, his eldest brother stood before
the window. "Well, how are they?" he said.
"All right, thank you; the child woke, had some food, and slept well
and naturally after it; and Rose has been quite comfortable and at
rest since midnight. You saved us from a great deal, Raymond."
"Ah!" with a sound of deep relief; "may Julia only turn out as sweet
a piece of womanhood as her mother. Julius, I never understood half
what that dear wife of yours was till yesterday."
"I was forced to cut our gratitude very short," said Julius, laying
his hand on his brother's shoulder. "You know I've always taken
your kindness as a matter of course."
"I should think so," said Raymond, the more moved of the two. "I
tell you, Julius, that Rosamond was to me the only redeeming element
in the day. I wanted to know whether you could walk with me to ask
after that poor girl; I hear she came home one with her
"Gladly," said Julius. "I ought to have gone last night; but what
with Rose, and the baby, and Terry, I am afraid I forgot
everything." He disappeared, and presently issued from the front
door in his broad hat, while Raymond inquired for Terry.
"He is asleep now, but he has been very restless, and there is
something about him I don't like. Did not Worth say he would come
and look at the baby?"
"Yes, but chiefly to pacify Rosamond, about whom he was the most
"She is quite herself now; but you look overdone, Raymond. Have you
had any sleep?"
"I have not lain down. When we came home at four o'clock, Cecil was
quite knocked up, excited and hysterical. Her maid advised me to
leave her to her; so I took a bath, and came down to wait for you."
Julius would have liked to see the maid who could have soothed his
Rosamond last night without him! He only said, however, "Is Frank
come down? My mother rather expected him."
"Yes, he came to the race-ground."
"Indeed! He was not with you when you came back, or were we not
sufficiently rational to see him?"
"Duncombe gave a dinner at the hotel, and carried him off to it.
I'm mortally afraid there's something amiss in that quarter. What,
didn't you know that Duncombe's filly failed?"
"No, indeed, I did not."
"The town was ringing with it. Beaten out-and-out by Fair Phyllida!
a beast that took them all by surprise--nothing to look at--but
causing, I fancy, a good deal of distress. They say the Duncombes
will be done for. I only wish Frank was clear; but that unhappy
engagement has thrown him in with Sir Harry's set, and he was with
them all day--hardly spoke to me. To a fellow like him, a veteran
scamp like old Vivian, with his benignant looks, is ten times more
dangerous than men of his own age. However, having done the damage,
they seem to have thrown him off. Miss Vivian would not speak to
him at the ball."
"Eleonora! I don't know how to think it!"
"What you cannot _think_, a Vivian can _do_ and does!" said Raymond,
bitterly. "My belief is that he was decoyed into being fleeced by
the father, and now they have done their worst, he is cast off. He
came home with us, but sat outside, and I could not get a word out
"I hope my mother may."
"If he be not too far gone for her. I always did expect some such
termination, but not with this addition."
"I don't understand it now--Lena!"
"I only wonder at your surprise. The girl has been estranged from
us all for a long time. If it is at an end, so much the better. I
only wish we were none of us ever to see the face of one of them
Julius knew from his wife that there were hopes for Raymond, but of
course he might not speak, and he was revolving these words, which
had a vehemence unlike the wont of the speaker, when he was startled
by Raymond's saying, "Julius, you were right. I have come to the
conclusion that no consideration shall ever make me sanction races
"I am glad," began Julius.
"You would not be glad if you had seen all I saw yesterday. You
must have lent me your eyes, for when you spoke before of the evils,
I thought you had picked up a Utopian notion, and were running a-
muck with it, like an enthusiastic young clergyman. For my own part
I can't say I ever came across anything offensive. Of course I know
where to find it, as one does wherever one goes, but there was no
call to run after it; and as we were used to the affair, it was a
mere matter of society--"
"No, it could never be any temptation to you," said Julius.
"No, nor to any other reasonable man; and I should add, though
perhaps you might not allow it, that so long as a man keeps within
his means, he has a right to enhance his excitement and amusement by
"Umph! He has a right then to tempt others to their ruin, and
create a class of speculators who live by gambling."
"You need not go on trying to demolish me. I was going to say that
I had only thought of the demoralization, from the betting side; but
yesterday it was as if you had fascinated my eyes to look behind the
scenes. I could not move a step without falling on something
abominable. Roughs, with every passion up to fever-pitch, ferocity
barely kept down by fear of the police, gambling everywhere,
innocent young things looking on at coarseness as part of the humour
of the day, foul language, swarms of vagabond creatures, whose trade
is to minister to the license of such occasions. I declare that
your wife was the only being I saw display a spark of any sentiment
human nature need not blush for!"
"Nay, Raymond, I begin to wonder whose is the exaggerated feeling
"You were not there," was the answer; and they were here interrupted
by crossing the path of the policeman, evidently full of an official
"I did not expect to see you so early, sir," he said. "I was coming
to the Hall to report to you after I had been in to the
"What is it?"
"There has been a burglary at Mrs. Hornblower's, sir. If you
please, sir," to Julius, "when is the Reverend Mr. Bowater expected
"Not before Monday. Is anything of his taken?"
"Yes, sir. A glass case has been broken open, and a silver cup and
oar, prizes for sports at college, I believe, have been abstracted.
Also the money from the till below; and I am sorry to say, young
Hornblower is absconded, and suspicion lies heavy on him. They do
say the young man staked heavily on that mare of Captain
"You had better go on to the superintendent now," said Raymond.
"You can come to me for a summons if you can find any traces."
Poor Mrs. Hornblower, what horror for her! and poor Herbert too who
would acutely feel this ingratitude. The blackness of it was beyond
what Julius thought probable in the lad, and the discussion of it
occupied the brothers till they reached the Reynolds colony, where
they were received by the daughter-in-law, a much more civilized
person than old Betty.
After Fanny's dislocated arm had been set, the surgeon had sent her
home in the Rectory carriage, saying there was so much fever in
Wil'sbro', that she would be likely to recover better at home; but
she had been suffering and feverish all night, and Dan Reynolds was
now gone in quest of 'Drake,' for whom she had been calling all
"Is he her husband?" asked Julius.
"Well, I don't know, sir; leastways, Granny says he ought to be
answerable for what's required."
Mrs. Reynolds further betrayed that the family had not been ignorant
of Fanny's career since she had run away from home, leaving her
child on her grandmother's hands. She had made her home in one of
the yellow vans which circulate between fairs and races, driving an
ostensible trade in cheap toys, but really existing by setting up
games which were, in fact, forms of gambling, according to the taste
of the people and the toleration of the police. From time to time,
she had appeared at home, late in the evening, with small sums of
money and presents for her boy; and Mrs. Dan believed that she
thought herself as good as married to 'that there Drake.' She was
reported to be asleep, and the place 'all of a caddle,' and Julius
promised to call later in the day.
"Yes, sir," said Mrs. Reynolds; "it would be a right good thing,
poor girl. She've a kind heart, they all do say; not as I know, not
coming here till she was gone, nor wanting to know much on her, for
'twas a right bad way she was in, and 'twere well if them nasty
races were put down by Act of Parliament, for they be the very ruin
of the girls in these parts."
"There's a new suggestion, Raymond," said Julius as he shut the
Raymond was long in answering, and when he spoke, it was to say, "I
shall withdraw from the subscription to the Wil'sbro' Cup."
"So much the better."
Then Raymond began discussing the terms of the letter in which he
would state his reasons, but with an amount of excitement that made
Julius say, "I should think it better not to write in this first
heat. It will take more effect if it is not so visibly done on the
spur of the moment."
But the usually deliberate Raymond exclaimed, "I cannot rest till it
is done. I feel as if I must be like Lady Macbeth, continually
washing my hands of all this wreck and ruin."
"No wonder; but I should think there was great need of caution--to
use your own words."
"My seat must go, if this is to be the price," said Raymond. "I
felt through all the speeches at that gilt-gingerbread place, that
it was a monument of my truckling to expediency. We began the whole
thing at the wrong end, and I fear we are beginning to see the
"Do you mean that you are anxious about that fever in Water Lane?"
"There was an oppressive sickly air about everything, strongest at
the ball. I can't forget it," said Raymond, taking off his hat, so
that the morning air might play about his temples. "We talked about
meddling women, but the truth was that they were shaming us by doing
what they could."
"I hope others will see it so. Is not Whitlock to be mayor next
"Yes. He may do something. Well, they will hardly unseat me! I
should not like to see Moy in my place, and it would be a sore thing
for my mother; but," he continued, in the same strange, dreamy
manner, "everything has turned out so wretchedly that I hardly know
or care how it goes."
"My dear old fellow!"
Raymond had stopped to lean over a gate, where he could look up to
the old red house in the green park, set in brightly-tinted trees,
all aglow in the morning sunshine. Tears had sprung on his cheeks,
and a suppressed sob heaved his chest. Julius ventured to say,
"Perhaps there may yet be a change of mind."
"No!" was the answer. "In the present situation there is nothing
for it but to sacrifice my last shred of peace to the one who has
the chief right--in a certain way."
They walked on, and he hardly spoke again till, as they reached the
Rectory, Julius persuaded him to come in and have a cup of tea; and
though he said he must go back and see his friend off, he could not
withstand the sight of Rosamond at the window, fresh and smiling,
with her child in her arms.
"Not a bit the worse for her dissipation," she merrily said. "Oh,
the naughty little thing!--to have begun with the turf, and then the
'Three Pigeons'! Aren't you ashamed of her, papa? Sit down,
Raymond; how horribly tired you do look."
"Ha! What's this?" exclaimed Julius, who had been opening the post-
bag. "Here's a note from the Bishop, desiring me to come to the
palace to-day, if possible."
"Oh!" cried Raymond. "Where is there vacant--isn't there a canonry
or a chaplaincy?"
"Or an archbishopric or two?" said Julius. "The pony can do it, I
think, as there will be a long rest. If he seems fagged, I can put
up at Backsworth and take a fly."
"You'll let James drive you," said Rosamond.
"I had rather not," said Julius. "It may be better to be alone."
"He is afraid of betraying his elevation to James," laughed
"Mrs. Daniel Reynolds to see you, sir."
This was with the information that that there trapezing chap, Drake,
had fetched off poor Fanny in his van. He had been in trouble
himself, having been in custody for some misdemeanour when she was
thrown down; but as soon as he was released, he had come in search
of her, and though at first he seemed willing to leave her to be
nursed at home, he had no sooner heard of the visitors of that
morning than he had sworn he would have no parson meddling with his
poor gal! she was good enough for him, and he would not have a pack
of nonsense put in her head to set her against him.
"He's good to her, sir," said Mrs. Reynolds, "I think he be; but he
is a very ignorant man. He tell'd us once as he was born in one of
they vans, and hadn't never been to school nor nothin', nor heard
tell of God, save in the way of bad words: he've done nothin' but
go from one races and fairs to another, just like the gipsies,
though he bain't a gipsy neither; but he's right down attacted to
poor Fanny, and good to her."
"Another product of the system," said Raymond.
"Like the gleeman, whom we see through a picturesque medium," said
Julius; "but who could not have been pleasant to the mediaeval
clergyman. I have hopes of poor Fanny yet. She will drift home one
of these days, and we shall get hold of her."
"What a fellow you are for hoping!" returned Raymond, a little
"Why not?" said Julius.
"Why! I should say--" replied Raymond, setting out to walk home,
where he presided over his friend's breakfast and departure, and
received a little banter over his solicitude for the precious
infant. Cecil was still in bed, and Frank was looking ghastly, and
moved and spoke like one in a dream, Raymond was relieved to hear
him pleading with Susan for to his mother's room much earlier than
Susan took pity and let him in; when at once he flung himself into a
chair, with his face hidden on the bed, and exclaimed, "Mother, it
is all over with me!"
"My dear boy, what can have happened?"
"Mother, you remember those two red pebbles. Could you believe that
she has sold hers?"
"Are you sure she has? I heard that they had a collection of such
things from the lapidary at Rockpier."
"No, mother, that is no explanation. When I found that I should be
able to come down, I sent a card to Lady Tyrrell, saying I would
meet them on the race-ground--a post-card, so that Lena might see
it. When I came there was no Lena, only some excuse about resting
for the ball--lying down with a bad headache, and so forth--making
it plain that I need not go on to Sirenwood. By and by there was
some mild betting with the ladies, and Lady Tyrrell said, 'There's a
chance for you, Bee; don't I see the very fellow to Conny's charm?'
Whereupon that girl Conny pulled out the very stone I gave Lena
three years ago at Rockpier. I asked; yes, I asked--Lena had sold
it; Lena, at the bazaar; Lena, who--"
"Stay, Frank, is this trusting Lena as she bade you trust her? How
do you know that there were no other such pebbles?"
"You have not seen her as I have done. There has been a gradual
alienation--holding aloof from us, and throwing herself into the
arms of those Strangeways. It is no fault of her sister's. She has
lamented it to me."
"Or pointed it out. Did she know the history of these pebbles?"
"No one did. Lena was above all reserved with her."
"Camilla Tyrrell knows a good deal more than she is told. Where's
your pebble? You did not stake that?"
"Those who had one were welcome to the other."
"O, my poor foolish Frank! May it not be gone to tell the same tale
of you that you think was told of her? Is this all?"
"Would that it were!"
"Well, go on, my dear. Was she at the ball?"
"Surrounded by all that set. I was long in getting near her, and
then she said her card was full; and when I made some desperate
entreaty, she said, in an undertone that stabbed me by its very
calmness, 'After what has passed to-day, the less we meet the
better.' And she moved away, so as to cut me off from another
"After what had passed! Was it the parting with the stone?"
"Not only. I got a few words with Lady Tyrrell. She told me that
early impressions had given Lena a kind of fanatical horror of
betting, and that she had long ago made a sort of vow against a
betting man. Lady Tyrrell said she had laughed at it, but had no
notion it was seriously meant; and I--I never even heard of it!"
"Nor are you a betting man, my Frank."
"Ay! mother, you have not heard all."
"You are not in a scrape, my boy?"
"Yes, I am. You see I lost my head after the pebble transaction. I
couldn't stand small talk, or bear to go near Raymond, so I got
among some other fellows with Sir Harry--"
"And excitement and distress led you on?"
"I don't know what came over me. I could not stand still for fear I
should feel. I must be mad on something. Then, that mare of
Duncombe's, poor fellow, seemed a personal affair to us all; and Sir
Harry, and a few other knowing old hands, went working one up, till
betting higher and higher seemed the only way of supporting
Duncombe, besides relieving one's feelings. I know it was being no
end of a fool; but you haven't felt it, mother!"
"And Sir Harry took your bets?"
"One must fare and fare alike," said Frank.
"How much have you lost?"
"I've lost Lena, that's all I know," said the poor boy; but he
produced his book, and the sum appalled him. "Mother," he said in a
broken voice, "there's no fear of its happening again. I can never
feel like this again. I know it is the first time one of your sons
has served you so, and I can't even talk of sorrow, it seems all
swallowed up in the other matter. But if you will help me to meet
it, I will pay you back ten or twenty pounds every quarter."
"I think I can, Frankie. I had something in hand towards my own
possible flitting. Here is the key of my desk. Bring me my
banker's book and my cheque book."
"Mother! mother!" he cried, catching her hand and kissing it, "what
a mother you are!"
"You understand," she said, "that it is because I believe you were
not master of yourself, and that this is the exception, not the
habit, that I am willing to do all I can for you."
"The habit! No, indeed! I never staked more than a box of gloves
before; but what's the good, if she has made a vow against me?"
Mrs. Poynsett was silent for a few moments, then she said, "My poor
boy, I believe you are both victims of a plot. I suspect that
Camilla Tyrrell purposely let you see that pebble-token and be
goaded into gambling, that she might have a story to tell her
sister, when she had failed to shake her constancy and principle in
any other way."
"Mother, that would make her out a fiend. She has been my good and
candid friend all along. You don't know her."
"What would a friend have done by you yesterday?"
"She neither saw nor heard my madness. No, mother, Lenore's heart
has been going from me for months past, and she is glad of this plea
for release, believing me unworthy. Oh! that stern face of hers!
set like a head of Justice with not a shade of pity--so beautiful--
so terrible! It will never cease to haunt me."
He sat in deep despondency, while Mrs. Poynsett overlooked her
resources; but presently he started up, saying, "There's one shadow
of a hope. I'll go over to Sirenwood, insist on seeing one her and
having an explanation. I have a right, whatever I did yesterday;
and you have forgiven me for that, mother!"
"I think it is the most hopeful way. If you can see her without
interposition, you will at least come to an understanding. Here,
you had better take this cheque for Sir Harry."
When he was gone, she wondered whether she had been justified in
encouraging him in defending Eleonora. Was this not too like
another form of the treatment Raymond had experienced? Her heart
bled for her boy, and she was ready to cry aloud, "Must that woman
always be the destroyer of my sons' peace?"
When Frank returned, it was with a face that appalled her by its
blank despair, as he again flung himself down beside her.
"She is gone," he said.
"Gone, and with the Strangeways. I saw her."
"Spoke to her?"
"Oh no. The carriage turned the corner as I crossed the road. The
two girls were there, and she--"
"Going with them to the station?"
"I thought so; I went to the house, meaning to leave my enclosure
for Sir Harry and meet her on her way back; but I heard she was gone
to stay with Lady Susan in Yorkshire. Sir Harry was not up, nor
Mrs. Poynsett's hope failed, though she was relieved that Camilla's
tongue had not been in action. She was dismayed at the prone
exhausted manner in which Frank lay, partly on the floor, partly
against her couch, with his face hidden.
"Do you know where she is gone?"
"Yes, Revelrig, Cleveland, Yorkshire."
"I will write to her. Whatever may be her intentions, they shall
not be carried out under any misrepresentation that I can
contradict. You have been a foolish fellow, Frankie; but you shall
not be painted worse than you are. She owes you an explanation, and
I will do my best that you shall have it. My dear, what is the
She rang her bell hastily, and upheld the sinking head till help
came. He had not lost consciousness, and called it giddiness, and
he was convicted of having never gone to bed last night, and having
eaten nothing that morning; but he turned against the wine and soup
with which they tried to dose him, and, looking crushed and
bewildered, said he would go and lie down in his own room.
Raymond went up with him, and returned, saying he only wanted to be
alone, with his face from the light; and Mrs. Poynsett, gazing at
her eldest son, thought he looked as ill and sunken as his younger
A Stickit Minister
And the boy not out of him.--TENNYSON'S Queen Mary
Julius had only too well divined the cause of his summons. He found
Herbert Bowater's papers on the table before the Bishop, and there
was no denying that they showed a declension since last year, and
that though, from men without his advantages they would have been
passable, yet from him they were evidences of neglect of study and
thought. Nor could the cause be ignored by any one who had kept an
eye on the cricket reports in the county paper; but Herbert was such
a nice, hearty, innocent fellow, and his father was so much
respected, that it was with great reluctance that his rejection was
decided on and his Rector had been sent for in case there should be
any cause for extenuation.
Julius could not say there was. He was greatly grieved and
personally ashamed, but he could plead nothing but his own failure
to influence the young man enough to keep him out of a rage for
amusement, of which the quantity, not the quality, was the evil. So
poor Herbert was sent for to hear his fate, and came back looking
stunned. He hardly spoke till they were in the fly that Julius had
brought from Backsworth, and then the untamed school-boy broke
forth: "What are you doing with me? I say, I can't go back to
Compton like a dog in a string."
"Where will you go?"
"I don't care. To Jericho at once, out of the way of every one. I
tell you what, Rector, it was the most ridiculous examination I ever
went up for, and I'm not the only man that says so. There was
Rivers, of St. Mary's at Backsworth,--he says the questions were
perfectly unreasonable, and what no one could be prepared for. This
fellow Danvers is a new hand, and they are always worst, setting one
a lot of subjects of no possible use but to catch one out. I should
like to ask him now what living soul at Compton he expects to be the
better for my views on the right reading of--"
Julius interrupted the passionate tones at the lodge by saying, "If
you wish to go to Jericho, you must give directions."
Herbert gave something between a laugh and a growl.
"I left the pony at Backsworth. Will you come with me to Strawyers
and wait in the park till I send Jenny out to you?"
"No, I say. I know my father will be in a greater rage than he ever
was in his life, and I won't go sneaking about. I'd like to go to
London, to some hole where no one would ever hear of me. If I were
not in Orders already, I'd be off to the ivory-hunters in Africa,
and never be heard of more. If this was to be, I wish they had
found it out a year ago, and then I should not have been bound,"
continued the poor young fellow, in his simplicity, thinking his
thoughts aloud, and his sweet candid nature beginning to recover its
balance. "Now I'm the most wretched fellow going. I know what I've
undertaken. It's not your fault, nor poor Joanna's. You've all
been at me, but it only made me worse. What could my father be
thinking of to make a parson of a fellow like me? Well, I must face
it out sooner or later at Compton, and I had better do it there than
at home, even if my father would have me."
"I must go to Strawyers. The Bishop gave me a letter for your
father, and I think it will break it a little for your mother.
Would you wait for me at Rood House? You could go into the chapel,
and if they wish for you, I could return and fetch you."
Herbert caught at this as a relief, and orders were given
accordingly. It seemed a cruel moment to tell him of young
Hornblower's evasion and robbery, but the police wanted the
description of the articles; and, in fact, nothing would have so
brought home to him that, though Compton might not appreciate
minutiae of Greek criticism, yet the habit of diligence, of which it
was the test, might make a difference there. The lingering self-
justification was swept away by the sense of the harm his pleasure-
seeking had done to the lad whom he had once influenced. He had
been fond and proud of his trophies, but he scarcely wasted a
thought on them, so absorbed was he in the thought of how he had
lorded it over the youth with that late rebuke. The blame he had
refused to take on himself then came full upon him now, and he
reproached himself too much to be angered at the treachery and
"I can't prosecute," he said, when Julius asked for the description
he had promised to procure.
"We must judge whether it would be true kindness to refrain, if he
is captured," said Julius. "I had not time to see his mother, but
Rosamond will do what she can for her, poor woman."
"How shall I meet her?" sighed Herbert; and so they arrived at the
tranquil little hospital and passed under the deep archway into the
gray quadrangle, bright with autumn flowers, and so to the chapel.
As they advanced up the solemn and beautiful aisle Herbert dropped
on his knees with his hands over his face. Julius knelt beside him
for a moment, laid his hand on the curly brown hair, whispered a
prayer and a blessing, and then left him; but ere reaching the door,
the low choked sobs of anguish of heart could be heard.
A few steps more, and in the broad walk along the quadrangle, Julius
met the frail bowed figure with his saintly face, that seemed to
have come out of some sacred bygone age.
Julius told his errand. "If you could have seen him just now," he
said, "you would see how much more hope there is of him than of many
who never technically fail, but have not the same tender, generous
heart, and free humility."
"Yes, many a priest might now be thankful if some check had come on
"And if he had met it with this freedom from bitterness. And it
would be a great kindness to keep him here a day or two. Apart from
being with you, the showing himself at Compton or at Strawyers on
Sunday would be hard on him."
"I will ask him. I will gladly have him here as long as the quiet
may be good for him. My nephew, William, will be here till the end
of the Long Vacation, but I must go to St. Faith's on Monday to
conduct the retreat."
"I leave him in your hands then, and will call as I return to see
what is settled, and report what his family wish. I grieve more for
them than for himself."
Julius first encountered Jenny Bowater in the village making
farewell calls. He stopped the carriage and joined her, and not a
word was needed to tell her that something was amiss. "You have
come to tell us something," she said. "Herbert has failed?"
"Prayers are sometimes answered as we do not expect," said Julius.
"I believe it will be the making of him."
"Oh, but how will mamma ever bear it!" cried Jenny.
"We must remind her that it is only a matter of delay, not
rejection," said Julius.
"Have you seen him?"
"Yes, the Bishop sent for me, and asked me to see your father. It
was partly from slips in critical knowledge, which betrayed the want
of study, and the general want of thought and progress, and all the
rest of it, in his papers--"
"Just the fact--"
"Yes, which a man of less reality and more superficial quickness
might have concealed by mere intellectual answers, though it might
have been much worse for him in the end."
"Where is he?"
"At Rood House. Unless your mother wishes for him here, he had
better stay there till he can bear to come among us again."
"Much better, indeed," said Jenny. "I only hope papa and mamma will
see how good it is for him to be there. O, Julius, if he is taking
it in such a spirit, I can think it all right for him; but for them--
for them, it is very hard to bear. Nothing ever went wrong with
the boys before, and Herbert--mamma's darling!" Her eyes were full
"I wish he had had a better Rector," said Julius.
"No, don't say that. It was not your fault."
"I cannot tell. An older man, or more truly a holier man, might
have had more influence. We were all in a sort of laissez-aller
state this autumn, and now comes the reckoning."
"There's papa," said Jenny. "Had you rather go to him alone, or can
I do any good?"
"I think I will go alone," said Julius.
Mr. Bowater, who had grown up in a day when examinations were much
less earnest matters, never guessed what brought Julius over, but
simply thought he had come to wish them good-bye; then believed in
any accident rather than in failure, and finally was exceedingly
angry, and stormed hotly, first at examinations and modern Bishops,
then at cricket and fine ladies, then at Julius, for not having
looked after the lad better, and when this was meekly accepted,
indignation took a juster direction, and Herbert's folly and
idleness were severely lashed more severely than Julius thought they
quite deserved, but a word of pleading only made it worse. Have him
home to take leave? No, indeed, Mr. Bowater hoped he knew his duty
better as father of a family, when a young man had publicly
disgraced himself. "I'll tell you what, Julius Charnock, if you
wish him to forget all the little impression it may have made, and
be ready to run after any amount of folly, you'd make me have him
home to be petted and cried over by his mother and sisters. He has
been their spoilt pet too long, and I won't have him spoilt now.
I'll not see him till he has worked enough to show whether there's
any real stuff in him."
Mr. Bowater never even asked where his son was, probably taking it
for granted that he was gone back to Compton; nor did Julius see
Jenny again, as she was trying to comfort her mother under the
dreadful certainty that poor dear Herbert was most cruelly treated,
and that the examining chaplain came of a bad stock, and always had
had a dislike to the family. It was to be hoped that Mr. Bowater
would keep to his wise resolution, and not send for Herbert, for
nothing could be worse for him than the sympathy he would have met
with from her.
What with looking in to report at Rood House and finding Herbert
most grateful for leave to remain there for a few days, Julius did
not reach home till long after dark. Pleasantly did the light greet
him from the open doorway where his Rosamond was standing. She
sprang at once into his arms, as if he had been absent a month, and
cried, "Here you are, safe at last!" Then, as she pulled off his
wraps, "How tired you must be! Have you had any food? No--it's all
ready;" and he could see 'high tea' spread, and lighted by the first
fire of the season. "Come and begin!"
"What, without washing my hands?"
"You are to do that in the study; it is all ready." He did not
exactly see why he should be too tired to mount to his dressing-
room; but he obeyed, not ungratefully, and his chair was ready, his
plate heaped with partridge and his tumbler filled with ale almost
before his eyes had recovered the glare of light. The eagerness and
flutter of Rosamond's manner began to make him anxious, and he began
for the third time the inquiries she had always cut short--"Baby all
right? Terry better?"
"Baby--oh yes, a greater duck than ever. I put her to bed myself,
and she was quite delicious. Eat, I say; go on."
"Not unless you eat that other wing."
"I'll help myself then. You go on. I don't see Herbert, so I
suppose it is all right. Where's your canonry?"
"Alas! poor Herbert is plucked. I had to go round by Strawyers to
"Plucked! I never heard of such a thing. I think it is a great
shame such a nice honest fellow should be so ill-used, and when all
his pretty things have been stolen too! Do you know, they've taken
up young Hornblower; but his friends have made off with the things,
and they say they are in the melting-pot by this time, and there's
no chance of recovering them."
"I don't think he cares much now, poor fellow. Did you see Mrs.
"No; by the time I could get my hat on she had heard it, poor thing,
and was gone to Backsworth; for he's there, in the county gaol; was
taken at the station, I believe; I don't half understand it."
Her manner was indeed strange and flighty; and though she recurred
to questions about the Ordination and the Bowaters, Julius perceived
that she was forcing her attention to the answers as if trying to
stave off his inquiries, and he came to closer quarters. "How is
Terry? Has Dr. Worth been here?"
"Yes; but not till very late. He says he never was so busy."
"Rosamond, what is it? What did he say of Terry?"
"He said"--she drew a long breath--"he says it is the Water Lane
"Terry, my dear--"
She held him down with a hand on his shoulder--
"Be quiet. Finish your dinner. Dr. Worth said the great point was
to keep strong, and not be overdone, nor to go into infected air
tired and hungry. I would not have let you come in if there had
been any help for it; and now I'll not have you go near him till
you've made a good meal."
"You must do the same then. There, eat that slice, or I won't;" and
as she allowed him to place it on her plate, "What does he call it--
"He can't tell yet; he does not know whether it is infectious or
only epidemic; and when he heard how the dear boy had been for days
past at the Exhibition at the town-hall, and drinking lots of iced
water on Saturday, he seemed to think it quite accounted for. He
says there is no reason that in this good air he should not do very
well; but, oh, Julius, I wish I had kept him from that horrid place.
They left him in my charge!"
"There is no reason to distress yourself about that, my Rose. He
was innocently occupied, and there was no cause to expect harm.
There's all good hope for him, with God's blessing. Who is with him
"Cook is there now. Both the maids were so kind and hearty,
declaring they would do anything, and were not afraid; and I can
manage very well with their help. You know papa had a low fever at
Montreal, and mamma and I nursed him through it, so I know pretty
well what to do."
"But how about the baby?"
"Emma came back before the doctor came, crying piteously, poor
child, as if she had had a sufficient lesson; so I said she might
stay her month on her good behaviour, and now we could not send her
out of the house. I have brought the nursery down to the spare
room, and in the large attic, with plenty of disinfecting fluid, we
can, as the doctor said, isolate the fever. He is quiet and sleepy,
and I do not think it will be hard to manage, if you will only be
good and conformable."
"I don't promise, if that means that you are to do everything and I
nothing. When did Worth see him?"
"Not till five o'clock: and he would not have come at all, if Anne
had not sent in some one from the Hall when she saw how anxious I
was. He would not have come otherwise; he is so horribly busy, with
lots of cases at Wil'sboro'. Now, if you have done, you may come
and see my boy."
Julius did see a flushed sleeping face that did not waken at his
entrance; and as his wife settled herself for her watch, he felt as
if he could not leave her after such a day as she had had, but an
indefinable apprehension made him ask whether she would spare him to
run up to the Hall to see his mother and ask after Raymond, whose
looks had haunted him all day. She saw he would not rest otherwise,
and did not show how unwilling was her consent, for though she knew
little, her mind misgave her.
He made his way into the Hall by the back door, and found his mother
still in the drawing-room, and Raymond dozing in the large arm-chair
by the fire. Mrs. Poynsett gave a warning look as Julius bent over
her, but Raymond only opened his eyes with a dreamy gaze, without
speaking. "Why, mother, where are the rest?"
"Poor Frank--I hope it is only the shock and fatigue; but Dr. Worth
wished him to be kept as quiet as possible. He can't bear to see
any one in the room, so that good Anne said she would sit in
Charlie's room close by."
"Then he is really ill?" said Julius.
"He nearly fainted after walking over to Sirenwood in vain. I don't
understand it. There's something very wrong there, which seems
perfectly to have crushed him."
"I'll go up and see him," said Julius. "You both of you look as if
you ought to be in bed. How is Cecil, Raymond?"
"Quite knocked up," he sleepily answered. "Here's Susan, mother."
Susan must have been waiting till she heard voices to carry off her
mistress. Raymond pushed her chair into her room, bent over her
with extra tenderness, bade her good night; and when Julius had done
the same they stood by the drawing-room fire together.
"I've been trying to write that letter, Julius," said Raymond, "but
I never was so sleepy in my life, and I can't get on with it."
"That letter. About the races."
"Oh! That seems long ago!"
"So it does," said Raymond, in the same dreamy manner, as if trying
to shake something off. "Some years, isn't it? I wanted it done,
somehow. I would sit down to it now, only I have fallen asleep a
dozen times over it already."
"Not very good for composition," said Julius, alarmed by something
indefinable in his brother's look, and by his manner of insisting on
what was by no means urgent. "Come, put it out of your head, and go
"How did you find the boy Terry?" asked Raymond, again as if in his
"I scarcely saw him. He was asleep."
"And Worth calls it--?"
"The same fever as in Water Lane."
"I thought so. We are in for it," said Raymond, now quite awake.
"He did not choose to say so to my mother, but I gathered it from
"But Frank only came down yesterday."
"Frank was knocked down and predisposed by the treatment he met
with, poor boy. They say he drank quarts of iced things at the
dinner and ball, and ate nothing. This may be only the effect of
the shock, but his head is burning, and there is a disposition to
wander. However, he has had his coup de grace, and that may account
for it. It is Cecil."
"Cecil, poor child. She has been constantly in that pestiferous
place. All Worth would say was that she must be kept quiet and
cool, but he has sent the same draughts for all three. I saw, for
Terry's came here. I fancy Worth spoke out plainly to that maid of
Cecil's, Grindstone; but she only looks bitter at me, says she can
attend to her mistress, and has kept me out of the room all day.
But I will go in to-night before I go to bed," added Raymond,
energetically. "You are ready to laugh at me, Julius. No one has
meddled between you and Rosamond."
"Thank God, no!" cried Julius.
"Friend abroad, or you may leave out the r," said Raymond, "maid at
home. What chance have I ever had?"
"I'll tell you what I should do, Raymond," said Julius, "turn out
the maid, keep the field, nurse her myself."
"Yes," said Raymond, "that's all very well if--if you haven't got
the fever yourself. There, you need say nothing about it, nobody
would be of any use to me to-night, and it may be only that I am
But there was something about his eyes and his heavy breath which
confirmed his words, and Julius could only say, "My dear Raymond!"
"It serves us right, does not it?" said his brother, smiling. "I
only wish it had not fixed on the one person who tried to do good."
"If I could only stay with you; but I must tell Rosamond first."
"No, indeed. I want no one to-night, no one; after that you'll look
after my mother, that's the great thing." He spoke steadily, but
his hand trembled so that he could not light his candle, and Julius
was obliged to do it, saying wistfully, "I'll come up the first
thing in the morning and see how you are."
"Do, and if there is need, you will tell my mother. A night's rest
may set me right, but I have not felt well these three or four days--
I shall be in my own old room."
He leant heavily on the balusters, but would not take his brother's
arm. He passed into his dressing-room, and thus to the open door of
the room where he heard his wife's voice; and as Mrs. Grindstone
came forward to warn him off, he said, "She is awake."
"Yes, sir; but she must not be excited."
"How are you now?" he asked, coming up to the bed.
"Oh! it is very hot and heavy," said Cecil wearily, putting her hand
into his; "I'm aching all over."
"Poor child!" he said softly.