Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

East Lynne by Mrs. Henry Wood

Part 9 out of 13

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.5 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

Barbara, clasping her hands in emotion. "I would not lose my babe for
the world! I /could/ not part with him."

"Terrible grief, and hard to bear," outwardly assented Lady Isabel.
But in her heart she was thinking that death was not the worst kind of
parting. There was another far more dreadful. Mrs. Carlyle began to
speak of the children she was to take charge of.

"You are no doubt aware that they are not mine; Mrs. Latimer would
tell you. They are the children of Mr. Carlyle's first wife."

"And Mr. Carlyle's," interrupted Lady Isabel. What in the world made
her put in that? She wondered herself the moment the words were out of
her mouth. A scarlet streak flushed her cheeks, and she remembered
that there must be no speaking upon impulse at East Lynne.

"Mr. Carlyle's, of course," said Barbara, believing Madame Vine had
asked the question. "Their position--the girl's in particular--is a
sad one, for their mother left them. Oh, it was a shocking business!"

"She is dead, I hear," said Lady Isabel hoping to turn the immediate
point of conversation. Mrs. Carlyle, however, continued as though she
had not heard her.

"Mr. Carlyle married Lady Isabel Vane, the late Lord Mount Severn's
daughter. She was attractive and beautiful, but I do not fancy she
cared very much for her husband. However that may have been, she ran
away from him."

"It was very sad," observed Lady Isabel, feeling that she was expected
to say something. Besides, she had her /role/ to play.

"Sad? It was wicked--it was infamous!" returned Mrs. Carlyle, giving
way to some excitement. "Of all men living, of all husbands, Mr.
Carlyle least deserved such a requital. You will say so when you come
to know. And the affair altogether was a mystery; for it never was
observed or suspected by any one that Lady Isabel entertained a liking
for another. It was Francis Levison she eloped with--Sir Francis he is
now. He had been staying at East Lynne, but no one detected any undue
intimacy between them, not even Mr. Carlyle. To him, as others, her
conduct must always remain a mystery."

Madame appeared to be occupied with her spectacles, setting them
straight. Barbara continued,--

"Of course the disgrace is reflected on the children, and always will
be; the shame of having a divorced mother--"

"Is she not dead?" interrupted Lady Isabel.

"She is dead--oh, yes. But they will not be the less pointed at, the
girl especially, as I say. They allude to their mother now and then in
conversation, Wilson tells me; but I would recommend you, Madame Vine,
not to encourage them in that. They had better forget her."

"Mr. Carlyle would naturally wish them to do so."

"Most certainly. There is little doubt that Mr. Carlyle would blot out
the recollection of her, were it possible. But unfortunately she was
the children's mother, and, for that, there's no help. I trust you
will be able to instill principles into the little girl which will
keep her from a like fate."

"I will try," answered Lady Isabel, with more fervor than she had yet
spoken. "Do you have the children much with you, may I inquire?"

"No. I never was fond of being troubled with children. When my own
grow up into childhood I shall deem the nursery and the schoolroom the
fitter place for them. What I trust I shall never give up to another,
will be the /training/ of my children," pursued Barbara. "Let the
offices properly pertaining to a nurse be performed by the nurse--of
course, taking care that she is thoroughly to be depended on. Let her
have the /trouble/ of the children, their noise, their romping; in
short, let the nursery be her place, and the children's. But I hope
that I shall never fail to gather my children round me daily, at
stated and convenient periods, for higher purposes; to instill into
them Christian and moral duties; to strive to teach them how best to
fulfil the obligations of life. /This/ is a mother's task--as I
understand the question--let her do this work well, and the nurse can
attend to the rest. A child should never hear aught from his mother's
lips but persuasive gentleness; and this becomes impossible if she is
very much with her children."

Lady Isabel silently assented. Mrs. Carlyle's views were correct ones.

"When I first came to East Lynne I found Miss Manning, the governess,
was doing everything necessary for Mr. Carlyle's children in the way
of the training that I speak of," resumed Barbara. "She had them with
her for a short period every morning, even the little one; I saw that
it was all right, therefore did not interfere. Since she left--it is
nearly a month now--I have taken them myself. We were sorry to part
with Miss Manning; she suited very well. But she has been long
engaged, it turns out, to an officer in the navy, and now they are to
be married. You will have the entire charge of the little girl; she
will be your companion out of school hours; did you understand that?"

"I am quite ready and willing to undertake it," said Lady Isabel, her
heart fluttering. "Are the children well? Do they enjoy good health?"

"Quite so. They had the measles in the spring, and the illness left a
cough upon William, the eldest boy. Mr. Wainwright says he will
outgrow it."

"He has it still, then?"

"At night and morning. They went last week to spend the day with Miss
Carlyle, and were a little late in returning home. It was foggy, and
the boy coughed dreadfully after he came in. Mr. Carlyle was so
concerned that he left the dinner table and went up to the nursery; he
gave Joyce strict orders that the child should never again be out in
the evening so long as the cough was upon him. We had never heard him
cough like that."

"Do you fear consumption?" asked Lady Isabel, in a low tone.

"I do not fear that, or any other incurable disease for them,"
answered Barbara. "I think, with Mr. Wainwright, that time will remove
the cough. The children come of a healthy stock on the father's side;
and I have no reason to think they do not on their mother's. She died
young you will say. Ay, but she did not die of disease; her death was
the result of accident. Mrs. Latimer wrote us word you were of gentle
birth and breeding," she continued, changing the subject of
conversation. "I am sure you will excuse my speaking of these
particulars," Barbara added, in a tone of apology, "but this is our
first interview--our preliminary interview, it may in a measure be
called, for we could not say much by letter."

"I was born and reared a gentlewoman," answered Lady Isabel.

"Yes, I am sure of it; there is no mistaking the tone of a
gentlewoman," said Barbara. "How sad it is when pecuniary reverses
fall upon us! I dare say you never thought to go out as a governess."

A half smile positively crossed her lips. She think to go out as a
governess!--the Earl of Mount Severn's only child! "Oh, no, never,"
she said, in reply.

"Your husband, I fear, could not leave you well off. Mrs. Latimer said
something to that effect."

"When I lost him, I lost all," was the answer. And Mrs. Carlyle was
struck with the wailing pain betrayed in the tone. At that moment a
maid entered.

"Nurse says the baby is undressed, and quite ready for you ma'am," she
said, addressing her mistress.

Mrs. Carlyle rose, but hesitated as she was moving away.

"I will have the baby here to-night," she said to the girl. "Tell
nurse to put a shawl round him and bring him down. It is the hour for
my baby's supper," she smiled, turning to Lady Isabel. "I may as well
have him here for once, as Mr. Carlyle is out. Sometimes I am out
myself, and then he has to be fed."

"You do not stay indoors for the baby, then?"

"Certainly not. If I and Mr. Carlyle have to be out in the evening,
baby gives way. I should never give up my husband for my baby; never,
never, dearly as I love him."

The nurse came in--Wilson. She unfolded a shawl, and placed the baby
on Mrs. Carlyle's lap. A proud, fine, fair young baby, who reared his
head and opened wide his great blue eyes, and beat his arms at the
lights of the chandelier, as no baby of nearly six months ever did
yet. So thought Barbara. He was in his clean white nightgown and
nightcap, with their pretty crimped frills and border; altogether a
pleasant sight to look upon. /She/ had once sat in that very chair,
with a baby as fair upon her own knee; but all that was past and gone.
She leaned her hot head upon her hand, and a rebellious sigh of envy
went forth from her aching heart.

Wilson, the curious, was devouring her with her eyes. Wilson was
thinking she never saw such a mortal fright as the new governess. Them
blue spectacles capped everything, she decided; and what on earth made
her tie up her throat in that fashion? As well wear a man's color and
stock at once! If her teaching was no better than her looks, Miss Lucy
might as well go to the parish charity school!

"Shall I wait, ma'am?" demurely asked Wilson, her investigation being

"No," said Mrs. Carlyle. "I will ring."

Baby was exceedingly busy taking his supper. And of course, according
to all baby precedent, he ought to have gone off into a sound sleep
over it. But the supper concluded, and the gentleman seemed to have no
more sleep in his eyes than he had before he began. He sat up, crowed
at the lights, stretched out his hands for them, and set his mother at
defiance, absolutely refusing to be hushed up.

"Do you wish to keep awake all night, you rebel?" cried Barbara,
fondly looking on him.

A loud crow, by way of answer. Perhaps it was intended to intimate he
did. She clasped him to her with a sudden gesture of rapture, a sound
of love, and devoured his pretty face with kisses. Then she took him
in her arms, putting him to sit upright, and approached Madame Vine.

"Did you ever see a more lovely child?"

"A fine baby, indeed," she constrained herself to answer; and she
could have fancied it her own little Archibald over again when he was
a baby. "But he is not much like you."

"He is the very image of my darling husband. When you see Mr. Carlyle
--" Barbara stopped, and bent her ear, as listening.

"Mr. Carlyle is probably a handsome man!" said poor Lady Isabel,
believing that the pause was made to give her an opportunity of
putting in an observation.

"He is handsome: but that is the least good about him. He is the most
noble man! Revered, respected by everyone; I may say loved! The only
one who could not appreciate him was his wife; and we must assume that
she did not, by the ending that came. However she could leave him--how
she could even look at another, after calling Mr. Carlyle husband--
will always be a marvel to those who know him."

A bitter groan--and it nearly escaped her lips.

"That certainly is the pony carriage," cried Barbara, bending her ear
again. "If so, how very early Mr. Carlyle is home! Yes, I am sure it
is the sound of the wheels."

How Lady Isabel sat she scarcely knew; how she concealed her
trepidation she never would know. A pause: an entrance to the hall;
Barbara, baby in arms, advanced to the drawing-room door, and a tall
form entered. Once more Lady Isabel was in the presence of her
sometime husband.

He did not perceive that any one was present, and he bent his head and
fondly kissed his wife. Isabel's jealous eyes were turned upon them.
She saw Barbara's passionate, lingering kiss in return, she heard her
fervent, whispered greeting, "My darling!" and she watched him turn to
press the same fond kisses on the rosy open lips of his child. Isabel
flung her hand over her face. Had she bargained for this? It was part
of the cross she had undertaken to carry, and she /must/ bear it.

Mr. Carlyle came forward and saw her. He looked somewhat surprised.
"Madame Vine," said Barbara; and he held out his hand and welcomed her
in the same cordial, pleasant manner that his wife had done. She put
her shaking hand into his; there was no help for it. Little thought
Mr. Carlyle that that hand had been tenderly clasped in his a thousand
times--that it was the one pledged to him at the altar of Castle

She sat down on her chair again, unable to stand, feeling as though
every drop of blood within her had left her body. It had certainly
left her face. Mr. Carlyle made a few civil inquiries as to her
journey, but she did not dare to raise her eyes to his, as she
breathed forth the answers.

"You are at home soon, Archibald," said Barbara, addressing him. "I
did not expect you so early. I did not think you could get away. Do
you know what I was wishing to-day?" she continued. "Papa is going to
London with Squire Pinner to see those new agricultural implements--or
whatever it is. They are sure to be away as much as three days. I was
thinking if we could but persuade mamma to come to us for the time
papa is to be away, it would be a delightful little change for her--a
break in her monotonous life."

"I wish you could," warmly spoke Mr. Carlyle. "Her life, since you
left, is a monotonous one; though, in her gentle patience, she will
not say so. It is a happy thought, Barbara, and I only hope it may be
carried out. Mrs. Carlyle's mother is an invalid, and lonely, for she
has no child at home with her now," he added, in a spirit of
politeness, addressing himself to Madame Vine.

She simply bowed her head; trust herself to speak she did not. Mr.
Carlyle scanned her face attentively, as she sat, her spectacles bent
downward. She did not appear inclined to be sociable, and he turned to
the baby, who was wider awake than ever.

"Young sir, I should like to know what brings you up, and here, at
this hour."

"You may well ask," said Barbara. "I just had him brought down, as you
were not here, thinking he would be asleep directly. And only look at
him!--no more sleep in his eyes than there is in mine."

She would have hushed him to her as she spoke, but the young gentleman
stoutly repudiated it. He set up a half cry, and struggled his arms,
and head free again, crowing the next moment most impudently. Mr.
Carlyle took him.

"It is no use, Barbara; he is beyond your coaxing this evening." And
he tossed the child in his strong arms, held him up to the chandelier,
made him bob at the baby in the pier-glass, until the rebel was in an
ecstacy of delight. Finally he smothered his face with kisses, as
Barbara had done. Barbara rang the bell.

Oh! Can you imagine what it was for Lady Isabel? So had he tossed, so
had he kissed her children, she standing by, the fond, proud, happy
mother, as Barbara was standing now. Mr. Carlyle came up to her.

"Are you fond of these little troubles, Madame Vine? This one is a
fine fellow, they say."

"Very fine. What is his name?" she replied, by way of saying


"Arthur Archibald," put in Barbara to Madame Vine. "I was vexed that
his name could not be entirely Archibald, but that was already
monopolized. Is that you, Wilson? I don't know what you'll do with
him, but he looks as if he would not be asleep by twelve o'clock."

Wilson, with a fresh satisfying of her curiosity, by taking another
prolonged stare from the corner of her eyes at Madame Vine, received
the baby from Mr. Carlyle, and departed with him.

Madame Vine rose. "Would they excuse her?" she asked, in a low tone;
"she was tired and would be glad to retire to rest."

"Of course. And anything she might wish in the way of refreshment,
would she ring for?" Barbara shook hands with her, in her friendly
way; and Mr. Carlyle crossed the room to open the door for her, and
bowed her out with a courtly smile.

She went up to her chamber at once. To rest? Well, what think you? She
strove to say to her lacerated and remorseful heart that the cross--
far heavier though it was proving than anything she had imagined or
pictured--was only what she had brought upon herself, and /must/ bear.
Very true; but none of us would like such a cross to be upon our

"Is she not droll looking?" cried Barbara, when she was alone with Mr.
Carlyle. "I can't think why she wears those blue spectacles; it cannot
be for her sight, and they are very disfiguring."

"She puts me in mind of--of----" began Mr. Carlyle, in a dreamy tone.

"Of whom?"

"Her face, I mean," he said, still dreaming.

"So little can be seen of it," resumed Mrs. Carlyle. "Of whom does she
put you in mind?"

"I don't know. Nobody in particular," returned he, rousing himself.
"Let us have tea in, Barbara."



At her bedroom door, the next morning, stood Lady Isabel, listening
whether the coast was clear ere she descended to the gray parlor, for
she had a shrinking dread of encountering Mr. Carlyle. When he was
glancing narrowly at her face the previous evening she had felt the
gaze, and it impressed upon her the dread of his recognition. Not only
that; he was the husband of another; therefore it was not expedient
that she should see too much of him, for he was far dearer to her than
he had ever been.

Almost at the same moment there burst out of a remote room--the
nursery--an upright, fair, noble boy, of some five years old, who
began careering along on the corridor, astride upon a hearth-broom.
She did not need to be told it was her boy, Archibald; his likeness to
Mr. Carlyle would have proclaimed it, even if her heart had not. In an
impulse of unrestrainable tenderness, she seized the child, as he was
galloping past her, and carried him into her room, broom and all.

"You must let me make acquaintance with you," she said to him by way
of excuse. "I love little boys."

Love! Down she sat upon a low chair, the child held upon her lap,
kissing him passionately, and the tears raining from her eyes. She
could not have helped the tears had it been to save her life; she
could as little have helped the kisses. Lifting her eyes, there stood
Wilson, who had entered without ceremony. A sick feeling came over
Lady Isabel: she felt as if she had betrayed herself. All that could
be done now, was to make the best of it; to offer some lame excuse.
What possessed her thus to forget herself?

"He did so put me in remembrance of my own children," she said to
Wilson, gulping down her emotion, and hiding her tears in the best
manner she could; whilst the astonished Archibald, released now, stood
with his finger in his mouth and stared at her spectacles, his great
blue eyes opened to their utmost width. "When we have lost children of
our own, we are apt to love fondly all we come near."

Wilson, who stared only in a less degree than Archie, for she deemed
the new governess had gone suddenly mad, gave some voluble assent, and
turned her attention upon Archie.

"You naughty young monkey! How dare you rush out in that way with
Sarah's heart-broom? I'll tell you what it is, sir, you are getting a
might deal too owdacious and rumbustical for the nursery. I shall
speak to your mamma about it."

She seized hold of the child and shook him. Lady Isabel started
forward, her hands up, her voice one of painful entreaty.

"Oh, don't, don't beat him! I cannot see him beaten."

"Beaten!" echoed Wilson; "if he got a good beating it would be all the
better for him; but it's what he never does get. A little shake, or a
tap, is all I must give; and it's not half enough. You wouldn't
believe the sturdy impudence of that boy, madame; he runs riot, he
does. The other two never gave a quarter of the trouble. Come along,
you figure! I'll have a bolt put at the top of the nursery door; and
if I did, he'd be for climbing up the door-post to get at it."

The last sentence Wilson delivered to the governess, as she jerked
Archie out of the room, along the passage, and into the nursery. Lady
Isabel sat down with a wrung heart, a chafed spirit. Her own child!
And she might not say to the servant, you shall not beat him.

She descended to the gray parlor. The two older children and breakfast
were waiting; Joyce quitted the room when she entered it.

A graceful girl of eight years old, a fragile boy a year younger, both
bearing her once lovely features--her once bright and delicate
complexion--her large, soft brown eyes. How utterly her heart yearned
to them; but there must be no scene like there had just been above.
Nevertheless she stooped and kissed them both--one kiss each of
impassioned fervor. Lucy was naturally silent, William somewhat

"You are our new governess," said he.

"Yes. We must be good friends."

"Why not!" said the boy. "We were good friends with Miss Manning. I am
to go into Latin soon--as soon as my cough's gone. Do you know Latin?"

"No--not to teach it," she said, studiously avoiding all endearing

"Papa said you would be almost sure not to know Latin, for that ladies
rarely did. He said he should send up Mr. Kane to teach me."

"Mr. Kane?" repeated Lady Isabel, the name striking upon her memory.
"Mr. Kane, the music-master?"

"How did you know he was a music-master?" cried shrewd William. And
Lady Isabel felt the red blood flush to her face at the unlucky
admission she had made. It flushed deeper at her own falsehood, as she
muttered some evasive words about hearing of him from Mrs. Latimer.

"Yes, he is a music-master; but he does not get much money at it, and
he teaches the classics as well. He has come up to teach us music
since Miss Manning left; mamma said that we ought not to lose our

Mamma! How the word, applied to Barbara, grated on her ear.

"Whom does he teach?" she asked.

"Us two," replied William, pointing to his sister and himself.

"Do you always take bread and milk?" she inquired, perceiving that to
be what they were eating.

"We get tired of it sometimes and then we have milk and water, and
bread and butter, or honey; and then we take to bread and milk again.
It's Aunt Cornelia who thinks we should eat bread and milk for
breakfast. She says papa never had anything else when he was a boy."

Lucy looked up.

"Papa would give me an egg when I breakfasted with him," cried she,
"and Aunt Cornelia said it was not good for me, but papa gave it to me
all the same. I always had breakfast with him then."

"And why do you not now?" asked Lady Isabel.

"I don't know. I have not since mamma came."

The word "stepmother" rose up rebelliously in the heart of Lady
Isabel. Was Mrs. Carlyle putting away the children from their father?

Breakfast over, she gathered them to her, asking them various
questions about their studies, their hours of recreation, the daily
routine of their lives.

"This is not the schoolroom, you know," cried William, when she made
some inquiry as to their books.


"The schoolroom is upstairs. This is for our meals, and for you in an

The voice of Mr. Carlyle was heard at this juncture in the hall, and
Lucy was springing toward the sound. Lady Isabel, fearful lest he
might enter if the child showed herself, stopped her with a hurried

"Stay here, Isabel."

"Her name's Lucy," said William, looking quickly up. "Why do you call
her Isabel?"

"I thought--thought I had heard her called Isabel," stammered the
unfortunate lady, feeling quite confused with the errors she was

"My name is Isabel Lucy," said the child; "but I don't know who could
have told you, for I am never called Isabel. I have not been since--
since--shall I tell you?--since mamma went away," she concluded,
dropping her voice. "Mamma that was, you know."

"Did she go?" cried Lady Isabel, full of emotion, and possessing a
very faint idea of what she was saying.

"She was kidnapped," whispered Lucy.

"Kidnapped!" was the surprised answer.

"Yes, or she would not have gone. There was a wicked man on a visit to
papa, and he stole her. Wilson said she knew he was a kidnapper before
he took mamma. Papa said I was never to be called Isabel again, but
Lucy. Isabel was mamma's name."

"How do you know papa said it?" dreamily returned Lady Isabel.

"I heard him. He said it to Joyce, and Joyce told the servants. I put
only Lucy to my copies. I did put Isabel Lucy, but papa saw it one
day, and he drew his pencil through Isabel, and told me to show it to
Miss Manning. After that, Miss Manning let me put nothing but Lucy. I
asked her why, and she told me papa preferred the name, and that I was
not to ask questions."

She could not well stop the child, but every word was rending her

"Lady Isabel was our very, very own mamma," pursued Lucy. "This mamma
is not."

"Do you love this one as you did the other?" breathed Lady Isabel.

"Oh, I loved mamma--I loved mamma!" uttered Lucy, clasping her hands.
"But its all over. Wilson said we must not love her any longer, and
Aunt Cornelia said it. Wilson said, if she loved us she would not have
gone away from us."

"Wilson said so?" resentfully spoke Lady Isabel.

"She said she need not let that man kidnap her. I am afraid he beat
her, for she died. I lie in my bed at night, and wonder whether he did
beat her, and what made her die. It was after she died that our new
mamma came home. Papa said that she was to be our mamma in place of
Lady Isabel and we were to love her dearly."

"/Do/ you love her?" almost passionately asked Lady Isabel.

Lucy shook her head.

"Not as I loved mamma."

Joyce entered to show the way to the schoolroom, and they followed her
upstairs. As Lady Isabel stood at the window, she saw Mr. Carlyle
depart on foot on his way to the office. Barbara was with him, hanging
fondly on his arm, about to accompany him to the park gates. So had
/she/ fondly hung, so had /she/ accompanied him, in the days gone

Barbara came into the schoolroom in the course of the morning, and
entered upon the subject of their studies, the different allotted
hours, some to play, some to work. She spoke in a courteous but
decided tone, showing that she was the unmistakable mistress of the
house and children, and meant to be. Never had Lady Isabel felt her
position so keenly--never did it so gall and fret her spirit; but she
bowed to meek obedience. A hundred times that day did she yearn to
hold the children to her heart, and a hundred times she had to repress
the longing.

In a soft, damask dress, not unlike the color of the walls from which
the room took its name, a cap of Honiton lace shading her delicate
features, sat Mrs. Hare. The justice was in London with Squire Pinner,
and Barbara had gone to the Grove and brought her mamma away in
triumph. It was evening now, and Mrs. Hare was paying a visit to the
gray parlor. Miss Carlyle had been dining there, and Lady Isabel,
under plea of a violent headache, had begged to decline the invitation
to take tea in the drawing-room, for she feared the sharp eyes of Miss
Carlyle. Barbara, upon leaving the dessert-table, went to the nursery,
as usual, to her baby, and Mrs. Hare took the opportunity to go and
sit a few minutes with the governess--she feared the governess must be
very lonely. Miss Carlyle, scorning usage and ceremony, had remained
in the dining-room with Mr. Carlyle, a lecture for him, upon some
defalcation or other most probably in store. Lady Isabel was alone.
Lucy had gone to keep a birthday in the neighborhood, and William was
in the nursery. Mrs. Hare found her in a sad attitude, her hands
pressed upon her temples. She had not yet made acquaintance with her
beyond a minute's formal introduction.

"I am sorry to hear you are not well, this evening," she gently said.

"Thank you. My head aches much"--which was no false plea.

"I fear you must feel your solitude irksome. It is dull for you to be
here all alone."

"I am so used to solitude."

Mrs. Hare sat down, and gazed with sympathy at the young, though
somewhat strange-looking woman before her. She detected the signs of
mental suffering on her face.

"You have seen sorrow," she uttered, bending forward, and speaking
with the utmost sweetness.

"Oh, great sorrow!" burst from Lady Isabel, for her wretched fate was
very palpable to her mind that evening, and the tone of sympathy
rendered it nearly irrepressible.

"My daughter tells me that you have lost your children, and you have
lost your fortune and position. Indeed I feel for you. I wish I could
comfort you!"

This did not decrease her anguish. She completely lost all self
control, and a gush of tears fell from her eyes.

"Don't pity me! Don't pity me dear Mrs. Hare! Indeed, it only makes
endurance harder. Some of us," she added, looking up, with a sickly
smile, "are born to sorrow."

"We are all born to it," cried Mrs. Hare. "I, in truth, have cause to
say so. Oh, you know not what my position has been--the terrible
weight of grief that I have to bear. For many years, I can truly say
that I have not known one completely happy moment."

"All do not have to bear this killing sorrow," said Lady Isabel.

"Rely upon it, sorrow of some nature does sooner or later come to all.
In the brightest apparent lot on earth, dark days must mix. Not that
there is a doubt but that it falls unequally. Some, as you observe,
seem born to it, for it clings to them all their days; others are more
favored--as we reckon favor. Perhaps this great amount of trouble is
no more than is necessary to take us to Heaven. You know the saying,
'Adversity hardens the heart, or it opens it to Paradise.' It may be
that our hearts continue so hard, that the long-continued life's
trouble is requisite to soften them. My dear," Mrs. Hare added, in a
lower tone, while the tears glistened on her pale cheeks, "there will
be a blessed rest for the weary, when this toilsome life is ended; let
us find comfort in that thought."

"Ay! Ay!" murmured Lady Isabel. "It is all that is left to me."

"You are young to have acquired so much experience of sorrow."

"We cannot estimate sorrow by years. We may live a whole lifetime of
it in a single hour. But we generally bring ill fate upon ourselves,"
she continued, in a desperation of remorse; "as our conduct is, so
will our happiness or misery be."

"Not always," sighed Mrs. Hare. "Sorrow, I grant you, does come all
too frequently, from ill-doing; but the worst is, the consequences of
this ill-doing fall upon the innocent as well as upon the guilty. A
husband's errors will involve his innocent wife; parent's sins fall
upon their children; children will break the hearts of their parents.
I can truly say, speaking in all humble submission, that I am
unconscious of having deserved the great sorrow which came upon me;
that no act of mine invited it on; but though it has nearly killed me,
I entertain no doubt that it is lined with mercy, if I could only
bring my weak rebellious heart to look for it. You, I feel sure, have
been equally undeserving."

/She?/ Mrs. Hare marked not the flush of shame, the drooping of the

"You have lost your little ones," Mrs. Hare resumed. "That is grief--
great grief; I would not underrate it; but, believe me, it is as
/nothing/ compared to the awful fate, should it ever fall upon you, of
finding your children grow up and become that which makes you wish
they had died in their infancy. There are times when I am tempted to
regret that /all/ my treasures are not in that other world; that they
had not gone before me. Yes; sorrow is the lot of all."

"Surely, not of all," dissented Lady Isabel. "There are some bright
lots on earth."

"There is not a lot but must bear its appointed share," returned Mrs.
Hare. "Bright as it may appear, ay, and as it may continue to be for
years, depend upon it, some darkness must overshadow it, earlier or

"Mr. and Mrs. Carlyle--what sorrow can there be in store for them?"
asked Lady Isabel, her voice ringing with a strange sound, which Mrs.
Hare noted, though she understood it not.

"Mrs. Carlyle's lot is bright," she said, a sweet smile illumining her
features. "She loves her husband with an impassioned love; and he is
worthy of it. A happy fate, indeed, is hers; but she must not expect
to be exempted from sorrow. Mr. Carlyle has had his share of it,"
continued Mrs. Hare.


"You have doubtless been made acquainted with his history. His first
wife left him--left home and her children. He bore it bravely before
the world, but I know that it wrung his very heart-strings. She was
his heart's sole idol."

"She? Not Barbara?"

The moment the word "Barbara" had escaped her lips, Lady Isabel,
recollected herself. She was only Madame Vine, the governess; what
would Mrs. Hare think of her familiarity?

Mrs. Hare did not appear to have noticed it; she was absorbed in the

"Barbara?" she uttered; "certainly not. Had his first love been given
to Barbara, he would have chosen her then. It was given to Lady

"It is given his wife now?"

Mrs. Hare nearly laughed.

"Of course it is; would you wish it to be buried in the grave with the
dead, and with one who was false to him? But, my dear, she was the
sweetest woman, that unfortunate Lady Isabel. I loved her then, and I
cannot help loving her still. Others blamed her, but I pitied. They
were well matched; he so good and noble; she, so lovely and

"And she left him--threw him to the winds with all his nobility and
love!" exclaimed the poor governess, with a gesture of the hands that
looked very much like despair.

"Yes. It will not do to talk of--it is a miserable subject. How she
could abandon such a husband, such children, was a marvel to many; but
to none more than it was to me and my daughter. The false step--though
I feel almost ashamed to speak out the thought, lest it may appear to
savor of triumph--while it must have secured her own wretchedness, led
to the happiness of my child; for it is certain Barbara would never
love one as she loves Mr. Carlyle."

"It did secure wretchedness to her, you think?" cried Lady Isabel, her
tone one of bitter mockery more than anything else.

Mrs. Hare was surprised at the question.

"No woman ever took that fatal step yet, without its entailing on her
the most dire wretchedness," she replied. "It cannot be otherwise. And
Lady Isabel was of a nature to feel remorse beyond common--to meet it
half-way. Refined, modest, with every feeling of an English
gentlewoman, she was the very last, one would have thought, to act so.
It was as if she had gone away in a dream, not knowing what she was
doing; I have thought so many a time. That terrible mental
wretchedness and remorse did overtake her, I know."

"How did you know it? Did you hear it?" exclaimed Lady Isabel, her
tone all too eager, had Mrs. Hare been suspicious. "Did he proclaim
that--Francis Levison? Did you hear it from him?"

Mrs. Hare, gentle Mrs. Hare, drew herself up, for the words grated on
her feelings and on her pride. Another moment, and she was mild and
kind again, for she reflected that the poor, sorrowful governess must
have spoken without thought.

"I know not what Sir Francis Levison may have chose to proclaim," she
said, "but you may be sure he would not be allowed opportunity to
proclaim anything to me, or to any other friend of Mr. Carlyle's; nay,
I should say, nor to any of the good and honorable. I heard it from
Lord Mount Severn."

"From Lord Mount Severn?" repeated Lady Isabel. And she opened her
lips to say something more, but closed them again.

"He was here on a visit in the summer; he stayed a fortnight. Lady
Isabel was the daughter of the late earl--perhaps you may not have
known that. He--Lord Mount Severn--told me, in confidence, that he had
sought out Lady Isabel when the man, Levison, left her; he found her
sick, poor, broken-hearted, in some remote French town, utterly borne
down with remorse and repentance."

"Could it be otherwise?" sharply asked Lady Isabel.

"My dear, I have said it could not. The very thought of her deserted
children would entail it, if nothing she did. There was a baby born
abroad," added Mrs. Hare, dropping her voice, "an infant in its
cradle, Lord Mount Severn said; but that child, we knew, could only
bring pain and shame."

"True," issued from her trembling lips.

"Next came her death; and I cannot but think it was sent to her in
mercy. I trust she was prepared for it, and had made her peace with
God. When all else is taken from us, we turn to him; I hope she had
learned to find the Refuge."

"How did Mr. Carlyle receive the news of her death?" murmured Lady
Isabel, a question which had been often in her thoughts.

"I cannot tell; he made no outward sign either of satisfaction or
grief. It was too delicate a subject for any one to enter upon with
him, and most assuredly he did not enter upon it himself. After he was
engaged to my child, he told me he should never have married during
Lady Isabel's life."

"From--from--the remains of affection?"

"I should think not. I inferred it to be from conscientious scruples.
All his affection is given to his present wife. There is no doubt that
he loves her with a true, a fervent, a lasting love: though there may
have been more romantic sentiment in the early passion felt for Lady
Isabel. Poor thing! She gave up a sincere heart, a happy home."

Ay, poor thing! She had very nearly wailed forth her vain despair.

"I wonder whether the drawing-room is tenanted yet," smiled Mrs. Hare,
breaking a pause which had ensued. "If so I suppose they will be
expecting me there."

"I will ascertain for you," said Lady Isabel, speaking in the impulse
of the moment; for she was craving an instant to herself, even though
it were but in the next hall.

She quitted the gray parlor and approached the drawing-room. Not a
sound came from it; and, believing it was empty, she opened the door
and looked cautiously in.

Quite empty. The fire blazed, the chandelier was lighted, but nobody
was enjoying the warmth or the light. From the inner room, however,
came the sound of the piano, and the tones of Mr. Carlyle's voice. She
recognized the chords of the music--they were those of the
accompaniment to the song he had so loved when she sang it him. Who
was about to sing it to him now?

Lady Isabel stole across the drawing-room to the other door, which was
ajar. Barbara was seated at the piano, and Mr. Carlyle stood by her,
his arm on her chair, and bending his face on a level with hers,
possibly to look at the music. So once had stolen, so once had peeped
the unhappy Barbara, to hear this selfsame song. /She/ had been his
wife then; she had craved, and received his kisses when it was over.
Their positions were reversed.

Barbara began. Her voice had not the brilliant power of Lady Isabel's,
but it was a sweet and pleasant voice to listen to.

"When other lips and other hearts
Their tales of love shall tell,
In language whose excess imparts
The power they feel so well,
There may, perhaps, in such a scene,
Some recollection be,
Of days that have as happy been--
And you'll remember me."

Days that had as happy been! Ay! /did/ he remember her? Did a thought
of her, his first and best love, flit across him, as the words fell on
his ear? Did a past vision of the time when she had sat there and sung
it to him arouse his heart to even momentary recollection?

Terribly, indeed, were their positions reversed; most terribly was she
feeling it. And by whose act and will had the change been wrought?
Barbara was now the cherished wife, East Lynne's mistress. And what
was she? Not even the courted, welcomed guest of an hour, as Barbara
had been; but an interloper; a criminal woman who had thrust herself
into the house; her act, in doing so, not justifiable, her position a
most false one. Was it right, even if she did succeed in remaining
undiscovered, that she and Barbara should dwell in the same
habitation, Mr. Carlyle being in it? Did she deem it to be right? No,
she did not; but one act of ill-doing entails more. These thoughts
were passing through her mind as she stood there, listening to the
song; stood there as one turned to stone, her throbbing temples
pressed against the door's pillar.

The song was over, and Barbara turned to her husband, a whole world of
love in her bright blue eyes. He laid his hand upon her head; Lady
Isabel saw that, but she would not wait to see the caress that most
probably followed it. She turned and crossed the room again, her hands
clasped tightly on her bosom, her breath catching itself in hysterical
sobs. Miss Carlyle was entering the hall. They had not yet met, and
Lady Isabel swept meekly past her with a hurried courtesy. Miss
Carlyle spoke, but she dared not answer, to wait would have been to
betray herself.

Sunday came, and that was the worst of all. In the old East Lynne pew
at St. Jude's, so conspicuous to the congregation, sat she, as in
former times; no excuse, dared she, the governess make, to remain
away. It was the first time she had entered an English Protestant
church since she had last sat in it, there, with Mr. Carlyle. Can you
wonder that the fact alone, with all the terrible remembrances it
brought in its train, was sufficient to overwhelm her with emotion?
She sat at the upper end now, with Lucy; Barbara occupied the place
that had been hers, by the side of Mr. Carlyle. Barbara there, in her
own right his wife; she severed from him forever and forever!

She scarcely raised her head; she tightened her thick veil over her
face; she kept her spectacles bent toward the ground. Lucy thought she
must be crying; she never had seen anyone so still at church before.
Lucy was mistaken; tears came not to solace the bitter anguish of
hopeless, self-condemning remorse. How she sat out the service she
could not tell; she could not tell how she could sit out other
services, as the Sundays came round! The congregation did not forget
to stare at her. What an extraordinary looking governess Mrs. Carlyle
had picked up!

They went out when it was over. Mr. and Mrs. Carlyle in advance; she,
humbly following them with Lucy. She glanced aside at the tomb in the
churchyard's corner, where moldered the remains of her father; and a
yearning cry went forth from the very depth of her soul. "Oh, that I
were laid there with him! Why did I come back again to East Lynne?"

Why, truly? But she had never thought that her cross would be so sharp
as this.



As this is not a history of the British constitution, it does not
concern it to relate how or why West Lynne got into hot water with the
House of Commons. The House threatened to disfranchise it, and West
Lynne under the fear, went into mourning for its sins. The threat was
not carried out; but one of the sitting members was unseated with
ignominy, and sent to the right about. Being considerably humiliated
thereby, and in disgust with West Lynne, he retired accordingly, and a
fresh writ was issued. West Lynne then returned the Hon. Mr. Attley, a
county nobleman's son; but he died in the very midst of his first
session, and another writ had to be issued.

Of course the consideration now was, who should be the next lucky man
fixed upon. All the notables within ten miles were discussed, not
excepting the bench justices. Mr. Justice Hare? No! he was too
uncompromising, he would study his own will, but not that of West
Lynne. Squire Pinner? He never made a speech in his life, and had not
an idea beyond turnips and farming stock. Colonel Bethel? He had no
money to spend upon an election. Sir John Dobede? He was too old. "By
a good twenty years," laughed Sir John, to himself. "But here we
stand, like a pack of noodles, conning over the incapables, and
passing by the right one," continued Sir John. "There's only one man
amongst us fit to be our member."

"Who's that?" cried the meeting.

"Archibald Carlyle."

A pause of consternation--consternation at their collective
forgetfulness--and then a loud murmur of approaching to a shout,
filled the room. Archibald Carlyle. It should be no other.

"If we can get him," cried Sir John. "He may decline, you know."

The best thing, all agreed, was to act promptly. A deputation, half
the length of the street--its whole length, if you include the tagrag
and bobtail that attended behind--set off on the spur of the moment to
the office of Mr. Carlyle. They found that gentleman about to leave it
for the evening, to return home to dinner; for, in the discussion of
the all-important topic, the meeting had suffered time to run on to a
late hour; those gentlemen who dined at a somewhat earlier one had,
for once in their lives, patiently allowed their dinners and their
stomachs to wait--which is saying a great deal for the patience of a

Mr. Carlyle was taken by surprise. "Make me your member?" cried he,
merrily. "How do you know I should not sell you all?"

"We'll trust you, Carlyle. Too happy to do it."

"I am not sure that I could spare the time," deliberated Mr. Carlyle.

"Now, Carlyle, you must remember that you avowed to me, no longer than
last Christmas, your intention of going into parliament some time,"
struck in Mr. Justice Herbert. "You can't deny it."

"Some time!--yes," replied Mr. Carlyle; "but I did not say when. I
have no thoughts of it yet awhile."

"You must allow us to put you in nomination--you must, indeed, Mr.
Carlyle. There's nobody else fit for it. As good send a pig to the
House as some of us."

"An extremely flattering reason for proposing to shift the honor upon
me," laughed Mr. Carlyle.

"Well, you know what we mean, Carlyle; there's not a man in the whole
county so suitable as you, search it to the extremity of its
boundaries--you must know there is not."

"I don't know anything of the sort," returned Mr. Carlyle.

"At any rate, we shall do it, for we have determined upon having you.
When you walk into West Lynne to-morrow, you'll see the walks alive
with placards, 'Carlyle forever!' "

"Suppose you allow me until to-morrow to consider of it, and defer the
garnishing of the walls a day later," said Mr. Carlyle, a serious tone
peeping out in the midst of his jocularity.

"You do not fear the expenses?"

It was but a glance he returned in answer. As soon as the question had
been put--it was stupid old Pinner who propounded it--they had felt
how foolish it was. And indeed the cost would be a mere nothing, were
there no opposition.

"Come, decide now, Carlyle. Give us your promise."

"If I decide now, it will be in the negative," replied Mr. Carlyle.
"It is a question that demands consideration. Give me till to-morrow
for that, and it is possible that I may accede to your request."

This was the best that could be made of him, and the deputation backed
out, and as nothing more could be done, departed to their several
dinner-tables. Mr. Dill, who had been present, remained rubbing his
hands with satisfaction, and casting admiring glances at Mr. Carlyle.

"What's the matter, Dill?" asked the latter; "you look as though you
were pleased at this movement, and assumed that I should accept it."

"And so you will, Mr. Archibald. And as to the looking pleased,
there's not a man, woman or child in West Lynne who won't do that."

"Don't make too sure, Dill."

"Of which, sir--of your becoming our member, or of the people looking

"Of either," laughed Mr. Carlyle.

He quitted the office to walk home, revolving the proposition as he
did so. That he had long thought of some time entering parliament was
certain, though no definite period of the "when" had fixed itself in
his mind. He saw not why he should confine his days entirely to toil,
to the work of his calling. Pecuniary considerations did not require
it, for his realized property, combined with the fortune brought by
Barbara, was quite sufficient to meet expenses, according to their
present style of living. Not that he had the least intention of giving
up his business; it was honorable, as he conducted it, and lucrative,
and he really liked it. He would not have been condemned to lead an
idle life for the world; but there was no necessity for his being
always at it. Mr. Dill made as good a principal as he did, and--if
length of service and experience might be counted--a better one. He
could safely be left to manage during the time it would be necessary
for him, Mr. Carlyle, to be in London. He would rather represent West
Lynne than any other spot on the face of the earth, no matter what
might be the other's importance; and, as West Lynne was now in want of
a member, perhaps his opportunity had come. That he would make a good
and efficient public servant, he believed; his talents were superior,
his oratory persuasive, and he had the gift of a true and honest
spirit. That he would have the interest of West Lynne, at heart was
certain, and he knew that he should serve his constituents to the very
best of his power and ability. They knew it also.

Before Mr. Carlyle had reached East Lynne, he had decided that it
should be.

It was a fine spring evening. The lilac was in bloom, the hedges and
trees were clothed in their early green, and all things seemed full of
promise. Even Mr. Carlyle's heart was rejoicing in the prospect opened
to it; he was sure he should like a public life; but in the sanguine
moments of realization or of hope, some dark shade will step in to mar
the brightness.

Barbara stood at the drawing-room window watching for him. Not in her
was the dark shade; her dress was a marvel of vanity and prettiness,
and she had chosen to place on her fair hair a dainty headdress of
lace--as if her hair required any such ornament! She waltzed up to Mr.
Carlyle when he entered, and saucily held up her face, the light of
love dancing in her bright blue eyes.

"What do you want?" he provokingly asked, putting his hands behind
him, and letting her stand there.

"Oh, well--if you won't say good-evening to me, I have a great mind to
say you should not kiss me for a week, Archibald."

He laughed. "Who would be punished by that?" whispered he.

Barbara pouted her pretty lips, and the tears positively came into her
eyes. "Which is as much as to say it would be no punishment to you.
Archibald, /don't/ you care for me?"

He threw his arms around her and clasped her to his heart, taking
plenty of kisses then. "You know whether I care not," he fondly

But now, will you believe that that unfortunate Lady Isabel had been a
witness to this? Well, it was only what his greeting to her had once
been. Her pale face flushed scarlet, and she glided out of the room
again as softly as she had entered it. They had not seen her. Mr.
Carlyle drew his wife to the window, and stood there, his arms round
her waist.

"Barbara, what should you say to living in London for a few months out
of the twelve?"

"London? I am very happy where I am. Why should you ask me that? You
are not going to live in London?"

"I am not sure of that. I think I am for a portion of the year. I have
had an offer made me this afternoon, Barbara."

She looked at him, wondering what he meant--wondering whether he was
serious. An offer? What sort of an offer? Of what nature could it be?

He smiled at her perplexity. "Should you like to see M. P. attached to
my name? West Lynne wants me to become its member."

A pause to take in the news; a sudden rush of color, and then she
gleefully clasped her hands round his arm, her eyes sparkling with

"Oh, Archibald, how glad I am! I knew how you were appreciated, and
you will be appreciated more and more. This is right; it was not well
for you to remain what you are for life--a private individual, a
country lawyer."

"I am perfectly contented with my lot, Barbara," he seriously said. "I
am too busy to be otherwise."

"I know that; were you but a laboring man, toiling daily for the bread
you eat, you would be contented, feeling that you were fulfilling your
appointed duty to the utmost," she impulsively said; "but, Archibald,
can you not still be a busy man at West Lynne, although you do become
its representative?"

"If I could not, I should never accept the honor, Barbara. For some
few months of the year I must of necessity be in town; but Dill is an
efficient substitute, and I can run down for a week or so between
times. Part of Saturday, Sunday, and part of Monday, I can always pass
here, if I please. Of course these changes have their drawbacks, as
well as their advantages."

"Where would be the drawbacks in this?" she interrupted.

"Well," smiled Mr. Carlyle, "in the first place, I suppose you could
not always be with me."

Her hands fell--her color faded. "Oh, Archibald!"

"If I do become their member, I must go up to town as soon as elected,
and I don't think it will do for my little wife to be quitting her
home to travel about just now."

Barbara's face wore a very blank look. She could not dissent from Mr.
Carlyle's reasoning.

"And you must remain in London to the end of the session, while I am
here! Separated! Archibald," she passionately added, while the tears
gushed into her eyes. "I could not /live/ without you."

"Then what is to be done? Must I decline it?"

"Decline it! Oh, of course not! I know we are looking on the dark side
of things. I can go very well with you for a month--perhaps two."

"You think so?"

"I am sure so. And, mind you must not encourage mamma to talk me out
of it. Archibald," she continued, resting her head upon his breast,
her sweet face turned up beseechingly to his, "you would rather have
me with you, would you not?"

He bent his own down upon it. "What do you think about it, my

Once more--an opportune moment for her to enter--Lady Isabel. Barbara
heard her this time, and sprang away from her husband. Mr. Carlyle
turned round at the movement, and saw Madame Vine. She came forward,
her lips ashy, her voice subdued.

Six months now had she been at East Lynne, and had hitherto escaped
detection. Time and familiarity render us accustomed to most things--
to danger among the rest; and she had almost ceased to fear
recognition, living--so far as that point went--far more peaceably
than she had done at first. She and the children were upon the best of
terms. She had greatly endeared herself to them; she loved them, and
they loved her--perhaps nature was asserting her own hidden claims.

She felt very anxious about William. He seemed to grow weaker, and she
determined to make her fears known to Mr. Carlyle.

She quitted the parlor. She had heard Mr. Carlyle come in. Crossing
the hall, she tapped softly at the drawing-room door, and then as
softly entered. It was the moment of Mr. Carlyle's loud greeting to
his wife. They stood together heedless of her.

Gliding out again, she paced the hall, her hands pressed upon her
beating heart. How /dared/ that heart rise up in sharp rebellion at
these witnessed tokens of love? Was Barbara not his wife? Had she not
a legal claim to all his tenderness? Who was she that she should
resent them in her jealousy? What, though they had once been hers,
hers only, had she not signed and sealed her own forfeit of them, and
so made room for Barbara?

Back to the gray parlor, there she stood, her elbow on the
mantelpiece, her eyes hidden by her hand. Thus she remained for some
minutes, and Lucy thought how sad she looked.

But Lucy felt hungry, and was casting longing glances to the tea-
table. She wondered how long her governess meant to keep it waiting.
"Madame Vine," cried she presently, "don't you know that tea is

This caused Madame Vine to raise her eyes. They fell on the pale boy
at her feet. She made no immediate answer, only placed her hand on
Lucy's shoulder.

"Oh, Lucy dear, I--I have many sorrows to bear."

"The tea will warm you, and there is some nice jam," was Miss Lucy's
offered consolation.

"Their greeting, tender as it may be, is surely over by this time,"
thought Lady Isabel, an expression something like mockery curving her
lips. "I will venture again."

Only to see him with his wife's face on his breast, and his lips bent
upon it. But they had heard her this time, and she had to advance, in
spite of her spirit of misery and her whitened features.

"Would you be so good sir, as to come and look at William?" she asked
in a low tone, of Mr. Carlyle.


"What for?" interjected Barbara.

"He looks very ill. I do not like his looks. I am fearing whether he
can be worse than we have thought."

They went to the gray parlor, all three of them. Mr. Carlyle was in
first, and had taken a long, silent look at William before the others

"What is he doing on the floor?" exclaimed Barbara, in her
astonishment. "He should not lie on the floor, Madame Vine."

"He lays himself down there at the dusk hour, and I cannot get him up
again. I try to persuade him to use the sofa, but it is of no use."

"The floor will not hurt him," said Mr. Carlyle. /This/ was the dark
shade: his boy's failing health.

William opened his eyes. "Who's that--papa?"

"Don't you feel well, William?"

"Oh, yes, I'm very well; but I am tired."

"Why do you lie down here?"

"I like lying here. Papa, that pretty white rabbit of mine is dead."

"Indeed. Suppose you get up and tell me all about it."

"I don't know about it myself yet," said William, softly rising. "The
gardener told Lucy when she was out just now: I did not go; I was
tired. He said--"

"What has tired you?" interrupted Mr. Carlyle, taking hold of the
boy's hand.

"Oh, nothing. I am always tired."

"Do you tell Mr. Wainwright that you are tired?"

"No. Why should I tell him? I wish he would not order me to take that
nasty medicine, that cod liver oil."

"But it is to make you strong, my boy."

"It makes me sick. I always feel sick after it, papa. Madame Vine says
I ought to have cream. That would be nice."

"Cream?" repeated Mr. Carlyle, turning his eyes on Madame Vine.

"I have known cream to do a great deal of good in a case like
William's," she observed. "I believe that no better medicine can be
given; that it has in fact no substitute."

"It can be tried," said Mr. Carlyle.

"Pray give your orders, Madame Vine, for anything you think may be
beneficial to him," Mrs. Carlyle added. "You have had more experience
with children than I. Joyce--"

"What does Wainwright say?" interrupted Mr. Carlyle, speaking to his
wife, in his low tone.

"I do not always see him when he comes, Archibald. Madame Vine does, I

"Oh, dear!" cried Lucy, "can't we have tea? I want some bread and

Mr. Carlyle turned round, smiled and nodded at her. "Patience is good
for little girls, Miss Lucy. Would you like some bread and jam, my

William shook his head. "I can't eat jam. I am only thirsty."

Mr. Carlyle cast a long and intent look at him, and then left the
room. Lady Isabel followed him, her thoughts full of her ailing child.

"Do you think him very ill, sir?" she whispered.

"I think he looks so. What does Mr. Wainwright say?"

"He says nothing to me. I have not inquired his true condition. Until
to-night it did not come to me that there was any apprehension."

"Does he look so much worse to-night?"

"Not any worse than customary. Latterly he had looked just like this
in the evening. It was a remark of Hannah's that roused my alarm: she
thinks he is on the road to death. What can we do to save him?"

She clasped her hands as she spoke, in the intensity of her emotion.
She almost forgot, as they stood there together talking of the welfare
of the child, their child, that he was no longer her husband. Almost,
not quite, utterly impossible would it be for her wholly to forget the
dreadful present. Neither he nor the child could again belong to her
in this world.

A strange rising of the throat in her wild despair, a meek courtesy,
as she turned from him, his last words ringing in her ears: "I shall
call in further advice for him, Madame Vine."

William was clinging round Mrs. Carlyle, in a coaxing attitude, when
she re-entered the gray parlor. "I know what I could eat, mamma, if
you'd let me have it," cried he, in answer to her remonstrance that he
must eat something.

"What could you eat?"

"Some cheese."

"Cheese! Cheese with tea!" laughed Mrs. Carlyle.

"For the last week or two he has fancied strange things, the effect of
a diseased appetite," exclaimed Madame Vine; "but if I allow them to
be brought in he barely tastes them."

"I am sure, mamma, I could eat some cheese now," said William.

"You may have it," answered Mrs. Carlyle.

As she turned to leave the room, the impatient knock and ring of a
visitor was heard. Barbara wondered who could be arriving at that,
their dinner hour. Sailing majestically into the hall, her lips
compressed, her aspect threatening, came Miss Carlyle.

Now it turned out that Miss Corny had been standing at her own window,
grimly eyeing the ill doings of the street, from the fine housemaid
opposite, who was enjoying a flirting interview with the baker, to the
ragged urchins, pitch-polling in the gutter and the dust. And there
she caught sight of the string, justices and others, who came flowing
out of the office of Mr. Carlyle. So many of them were they that Miss
Corny involuntarily thought of a conjuror flinging flowers out of a
hat--the faster they come, the more it seems there are to come. "What
on earth is up?" cried Miss Corny, pressing her nose flat against the
pane, that she might see better.

They filed off, some one way, some another. Miss Carlyle's curiosity
was keener than her appetite, for she stayed on the watch, although
just informed that her dinner was served. Presently Mr. Carlyle
appeared and she knocked at the window with her knuckles. He did not
hear it; he had turned off at a quick pace toward home. Miss Corny's
temper rose.

The clerks came out next, one after another; and the last was Mr.
Dill. He was less hurried than Mr. Carlyle had been, and heard Miss
Corny's signal.

"What in the name of wonder, did all that stream of people want at the
office?" began she, when Mr. Dill had entered in obedience to it.

"That was the deputation, Miss Cornelia."

"What deputation?"

"The deputation to Mr. Archibald. They want him to become their new

"Member of what?" cried she, not guessing at the actual meaning.

"Of parliament, Miss Corny; to replace Mr. Attley. The gentlemen came
to solicit him to be put in nomination."

"Solicit a donkey!" irascibly uttered Miss Corny, for the tidings did
not meet her approbation. "Did Archibald turn them out again?"

"He gave them no direct answer, ma'am. He will consider of it between
now and to-morrow morning."

"/Consider/ of it!" shrieked she. "Why, he'd never, never be such a
flat as to comply. He go into parliament! What next?"

"Why should he not, Miss Corny? I'm sure I should be proud to see him

Miss Corny gave a sniff. "You are proud of things more odd than even
John Dill. Remember that fine shirt front! What has become of it? Is
it laid up in lavender?"

"Not exactly in lavender, Miss Corny. It lies in the drawer; for I
have never liked to put it on since, after what you said."

"Why don't you sell it at half-price, and buy a couple of good useful
ones with the money?" returned she, tartly. "Better that than keep the
foppish thing as a witness of your folly. Perhaps he'll be buying
embroidered fronts next, if he goes into that idle, do-nothing House
of Commons. I'd rather enter myself for six months at the treadmill."

"Oh, Miss Corny! I don't think you have well considered it. It's a
great honor, and worthy of him. He will be elevated above us all, as
it were, and he deserves to be."

"Elevate him on a weathercock!" raged Miss Corny. "There, you may go.
I've heard quite enough."

Brushing past the old gentleman, leaving him to depart or not, as he
might please, Miss Carlyle strode upstairs, flung on her shawl and
bonnet, and strode down again. Her servant looked considerably
surprised, and addressed her as she crossed the hall.

"Your dinner, ma'am?" he ventured to say.

"What's my dinner to you?" returned Miss Corny, in her wrath. "You
have had yours."

Away she strode. And thus it happened that she was at East Lynne
almost as soon as Mr. Carlyle.

"Where's Archibald?" began she, without ceremony, the moment she saw

"He is here. Is anything the matter?"

Mr. Carlyle, hearing the voice, came out and she pounced upon him with
her tongue.

"What's this about your becoming the new member for West Lynne?"

"West Lynne wishes it," said Mr. Carlyle. "Sit down, Cornelia."

"Sit down yourself," retorted she, keeping on her feet. "I want my
question answered. /Of course/ you will decline?"

"On the contrary, I have made up my mind to accept."

Miss Corny untied the strings of her bonnet, and flung them behind

"Have you counted the cost?" she asked, and there was something quite
sepulchral in her solemn tone.

"I have given it consideration, Cornelia; both as regards money and
time. The expenses are not worth naming, should there be no
opposition. And if there is any--"

"Ay!" groaned Miss Corny. "If there is?"

"Well? I am not without a few hundred to spare for the playing," he
said, turning upon her the good-humored light of his fine countenance.

Miss Carlyle emitted some dismal groans.

"That ever I should have lived to see this day! To hear money talked
of as though it were dirt. And what's to become of your business?" she
sharply added. "Is that to be let run to rack and ruin, while you are
kicking up your heels in that wicked London, under plea of being at
the House night after night?"

"Cornelia," he gravely said, "were I dead, Dill could carry on the
business just as well as it is being carried on now. I might go into a
foreign country for seven years and come back to find the business as
flourishing as ever, for Dill could keep it together. And even were
the business to drop off--though I tell you it will not do so--I am
independent of it."

Miss Carlyle faced tartly round upon Barbara.

"Have you been setting him on to this?"

"I think he had made up his mind before he spoke to me. But," added
Barbara, in her truth, "I urged him to accept it."

"Oh, you did! Nicely moped and miserable you'll be here, if he goes to
London for months on the stretch. You did not think of that, perhaps."

"But he would not have me here," said Barbara, her eyelashes becoming
wet at the thought, as she unconsciously moved to her husband's side.
"He would take me with him."

Miss Carlyle made a pause, and looked at them alternately.

"Is that decided?" she asked.

"Of course it is," laughed Mr. Carlyle, willing to joke the subject
and his sister into good-humor. "Would you wish to separate man and
wife, Cornelia?"

She made no reply. She rapidly tied her bonnet-strings, the ribbons
trembling ominously in her fingers.

"You are not going, Cornelia? You must stay to dinner, now that you
are here--it is ready--and we will talk this further over afterward."

"This has been dinner enough for me for one day," spoke she, putting
on her gloves. "That I should have lived to see my father's son throw
up his business, and change himself into a lazy, stuck-up parliament

"Do stay and dine with us, Cornelia; I think I can subdue your
prejudices, if you will let me talk to you."

"If you wanted to talk to me about it, why did you not come in when
you left the office?" cried Miss Corny, in a greater amount of wrath
than she had shown yet. And there's no doubt that, in his not having
done so, lay one of the sore points.

"I did not think of it," said Mr. Carlyle. "I should have come in and
told you of it to-morrow morning."

"I dare say you would," she ironically answered. "Good evening to you

And, in spite of their persuasions, she quitted the house and went
stalking down the avenue.

Two or three days more, and the address of Mr. Carlyle to the
inhabitants of West Lynne appeared in the local papers, while the
walls and posts convenient were embellished with various colored
placards, "Vote for Carlyle." "Carlyle forever!"

Wonders never cease. Surprises are the lot of man; but perhaps a
greater surprise had never been experienced by those who knew what was
what, than when it went forth to the world that Sir Francis Levison
had converted himself from--from what he was--into a red-hot

Had he been offered the post of prime minister? Or did his conscience
smite him, as was the case with a certain gallant captain renowned in
song? Neither the one nor the other. The simple fact was, that Sir
Francis Levison was in a state of pecuniary embarrassment, and
required something to prop him up--some snug sinecure--plenty to get
and nothing to do.

Patch himself up he must. But how? He had tried the tables, but luck
was against him; he made a desperate venture upon the turf, a grand
/coup/ that would have set him on his legs for some time, but the
venture turned out the wrong way, and Sir Francis was a defaulter. He
began then to think there was nothing for it but to drop into some
nice government nest, where, as I have told you, there would be plenty
to get and nothing to do. Any place with much to do would not suit
him, or he it; he was too empty-headed for work requiring talent; you
may have remarked that a man given to Sir Francis Levison's pursuits
generally is.

He dropped into something good, or that promised good--nothing less
than the secretaryship to Lord Headthelot, who swayed the ministers in
the upper House. But that he was a connection of Lord Headthelot's he
never would have obtained it, and very dubiously the minister
consented to try him. Of course a condition was, that he should enter
parliament the first opportunity, his vote to be at the disposal of
the ministry--rather a shaky ministry--and supposed, by some, to be on
its last legs. And this brings us to the present time.

In a handsome drawing-room in Eaton Square, one sunny afternoon, sat a
lady, young and handsome. Her eyes were of violet blue, her hair was
auburn, her complexion delicate; but there was a stern look of anger,
amounting to sullenness, on her well-formed features, and her pretty
foot was beating the carpet in passionate impatience. It was Lady

The doings of the past had been coming home to her for some time now--
past doings, be they good or be they ill, are sure to come home, one
day or another, and bring their fruits with them.

In the years past--many years past now--Francis Levison had lost his
heart--or whatever the thing might be that, with him, did duty for one
--to Blanche Challoner. He had despised her once to Lady Isabel--as
Lord Thomas says in the old ballad; but that was done to suit his own
purpose, for he had never, at any period, cared for Lady Isabel as he
had cared for Blanche. He gained her affection in secret--they engaged
themselves to each other. Blanche's sister, Lydia Challoner, two years
older than herself suspected it, and taxed Blanche with it. Blanche,
true to her compact of keeping it a secret, denied it with many
protestations. "/She/ did not care for Captain Levison; rather
disliked him, in fact." "So much the better," was Miss Challoner's
reply; for she had no respect for Captain Levison, and deemed him an
unlikely man to marry.

Years went on, and poor, unhappy Blanche Challoner remained faithful
to her love.

He played fast and loose with her--professing attachment for her in
secret, and visiting at the house; perhaps he feared an outbreak from
her, an exposure that might be anything but pleasant, did he throw off
all relations between them. Blanche summoned up her courage and spoke
to him, urging the marriage; she had not yet glanced at the fear that
his intention of marrying her, had he ever possessed such, was over.
Bad men are always cowards. Sir Francis shrank from an explanation,
and so far forgot honor as to murmur some indistinct promise that the
wedding should be speedy.

Lydia Challoner had married, and been left a widow, well off. She was
Mrs. Waring; and at her house resided Blanche. For the girls were
orphans. Blanche was beginning to show symptoms of her nearly thirty
years; not the years, but the long-continued disappointment, the
heart-burnings, were telling upon her. Her hair was thin, her face was
pinched, her form had lost its roundness. "Marry /her/, indeed!"
scoffed to himself Sir Francis Levison.

There came to Mrs. Waring's upon a Christmas visit a younger sister,
Alice Challoner, a fair girl of twenty years. She resided generally
with an aunt in the country. Far more beautiful was she than Blanche
had ever been, and Francis Levison, who had not seen her since she was
a child, fell--as he would have called it--in love with her. Love! He
became her shadow; he whispered sweet words in her ear; he turned her
head giddy with its own vanity, and he offered her marriage. She
accepted him, and preparations for the ceremony immediately began. Sir
Francis urged speed, and Alice was nothing loth.

And what of Blanche? Blanche was stunned. A despairing stupor took
possession of her; and, when she woke from it, desperation set in. She
insisted upon an interview with Sir Francis, and evade it he could
not, though he tried hard. Will it be believed that he denied the past
--that he met with mocking suavity her indignant reminders of what had
been between them? "Love! Marriage? Nonsense! Her fancy had been too
much at work." Finally, he defied her to prove that he had regarded
her with more than ordinary friendship, or had ever hinted at such a
thing as a union.

She could not prove it. She had not so much as a scrap of paper
written on by him; she had not a single friend or enemy to come
forward and testify that they heard him breathe to her a word of love.
He had been too wary for that. Moreover there was her own solemn
protestations to her sister Lydia that there /was not/ anything
between her and Francis Levison; who would believe her if she veered
round now, and avowed these protestations were false? No; she found
that she was in a sinking ship; one there was no chance of saving.

But one chance did she determine to try--an appeal to Alice. Blanche
Challoner's eyes were suddenly and rudely opened to the badness of the
man, and she was aware now how thoroughly unfit he was to become the
husband of her sister. It struck her that only misery could result
from the union, and that, if possible, Alice should be saved from
entering upon it. Would she have married him herself, then? Yes. But
it was a different thing for that fair, fresh young Alice; /she/ had
not wasted her life's best years in waiting for him.

When the family had gone to rest, and the house was quiet, Blanche
Challoner proceeded to her sister's bedroom. Alice had not begun to
undress; she was sitting in a comfortable chair before the fire, her
feet on the fender, reading a love letter from Sir Francis.

"Alice, I am come to tell you a story," she said quietly. "Will you
hear it?"

"In a minute. Stop a bit," replied Alice. She finished the perusal of
the letter, put it aside, and then spoke again. "What did you say,
Blanche? A story?"

Blanche nodded. "Several years ago there was a fair young girl, none
too rich, in our station of life. A gentleman, who was none too rich
either, sought and gained her love. He could not marry; he was not
rich, I say. They loved on in secret, hoping for better times, she
wearing out her years and her heart. Oh, Alice! I cannot describe to
you how she loved him--how she has continued to love him up to this
moment. Through evil report she clung to him tenaciously and tenderly
as the vine clings to its trellis, for the world spoke ill of him."

"Who was the young lady?" interrupted Alice. "Is this a fable of
romance, Blanche, or a real history?"

"A real history. I knew her. All those years--years and years, I say--
he kept leading her on to love, letting her think that his love was
hers. In the course of time he succeeded to a fortune, and the bar to
their marriage was over. He was abroad when he came into it, but
returned home at once; their intercourse was renewed, and her fading
heart woke up once more to life. Still, the marriage did not come on;
he said nothing of it, and she spoke to him. Very soon now, should it
be, was his answer, and she continued to live on--in hope."

"Go on, Blanche," cried Alice, who had grown interested in the tale,
never suspecting that it could bear a personal interest.

"Yes, I will go on. Would you believe, Alice, that almost immediately
after this last promise, he saw one whom he fancied he should like
better, and asked her to be his wife, forsaking the one to whom he was
bound by every tie of honor--repudiating all that had been between
them, even his own words and promises?"

"How disgraceful! Were they married?"

"They are to be. Would you have such a man?"

"I!" returned Alice, quite indignant at the question. "It is not
likely that I would."

"That man, Alice is Sir Francis Levison."

Alice Challoner gave a start, and her face became scarlet. "How dare
you say so, Blanche? It is not true. Who was the girl, pray? She must
have traduced him."

"She has not traduced him," was the subdued answer. "The girl was

An awkward pause. "I know!" cried Alice, throwing back her head
resentfully. "He told me I might expect something of this--that you
had fancied him in love with you, and were angry because he had chosen

Blanche turned upon her with streaming eyes; she could no longer
control her emotion. "Alice, my sister, all the pride is gone out of
me; all the reticence that woman loves to observe as to her wrongs and
her inward feelings I have broken through for you this night. As sure
as there is a heaven above us, I have told you the truth. Until you
came I was engaged to Francis Levison."

An unnatural scene ensued. Blanche, provoked at Alice's rejection of
her words, told all the ill she knew or heard of the man; she dwelt
upon his conduct with regard to Lady Isabel Carlyle, his heartless
after-treatment of that unhappy lady. Alice was passionate and fiery.
She professed not to believe a word of her sister's wrongs, and as to
the other stories, they were no affairs of hers, she said: "what had
she to do with his past life?"

But Alice Challoner did believe; her sister's earnestness and
distress, as she told the tale, carried conviction with them. She did
not very much care for Sir Francis; he was not entwined round her
heart, as he was round Blanche's; but she was dazzled with the
prospect of so good a settlement in life, and she would not give him
up. If Blanche broke her heart--why, she must break it. But she need
not have mixed taunts and jeers with her refusal to believe; she need
not have /triumphed/ openly over Blanche. Was it well done? Was it the
work of an affectionate sister! As we sow, so shall we reap. She
married Sir Francis Levison, leaving Blanche to her broken heart, or
to any other calamity that might grow out of the injustice. And there
sat Lady Levison now, her three years of marriage having served to
turn her love for Sir Francis into contempt and hate.

A little boy, two years old, the only child of the marriage, was
playing about the room. His mother took no notice of him; she was
buried in all-absorbing thought--thought which caused her lips to
contract, and her brow to scowl. Sir Francis entered, his attitude
lounging, his air listless. Lady Levison roused herself, but no
pleasant manner of tone was hers, as she set herself to address him.

"I want some money," she said.

"So do I," he answered.

An impatient stamp of the foot and a haughty toss. "And I must have
it. I /must/. I told you yesterday that I must. Do you suppose I can
go on, without a sixpence of ready money day after day?"

"Do you suppose it is of any use to put yourself in this fury?"
retorted Sir Francis. "A dozen times a week do you bother me for money
and a dozen times do I tell you I have got none. I have got none for
myself. You may as well ask that baby for money as ask me."

"I wish he had never been born!" passionately uttered Lady Levison;
"unless he had had a different father."

That the last sentence, and the bitter scorn of its tone, would have
provoked a reprisal from Sir Francis, his flashing countenance
betrayed. But at that moment a servant entered the room.

"I beg your pardon, sir. That man, Brown, forced his way into the
hall, and--"

"I can't see him--I won't see him!" interrupted Sir Francis backing to
the furthest corner of the room, in what looked very like abject
terror, as if he had completely lost his presence of mind. Lady
Levison's lips curled.

"We got rid of him, sir, after a dreadful deal of trouble, I was about
to say, but while the door was open in the dispute, Mr. Meredith
entered. He has gone into the library, sir, and vows he won't stir
till he sees you, whether you are sick or well."

A moment's pause, a half-muttered oath, and the Sir Francis quitted
the room. The servant retired, and Lady Levison caught up her child.

"Oh, Franky dear," she wailed forth, burying her face in his warm
neck. "I'd leave him for good and all, if I dared; but I fear he might
keep you."

Now, the secret was, that for the last three days Sir Francis had been
desperately ill, obliged to keep his bed, and could see nobody, his
life depending upon quiet. Such was the report, or something
equivalent to it, which had gone in to Lord Headthelot, or rather, to
the official office, for that renowned chief was himself out of town;
it had also been delivered to all callers at Sir Francis Levison's
house; the royal truth being that Sir Francis was as well as you or I,
but, from something that had transpired touching one of his numerous
debts, did not dare to show himself. That morning the matter had been
arranged--patched up for a time.

"My stars, Levison!" began Mr. Meredith, who was a whipper-in of the
ministry, "what a row there is about you! Why, you look as well as
ever you were."

"A great deal better to-day," coughed Sir Francis.

"To think that you should have chosen the present moment for skulking!
Here have I been dancing attendance at your door, day after day, in a
state of incipient fever, enough to put me into a real one, and could
neither get admitted nor a letter taken up. I should have blown the
house up to-day and got in amidst the flying debris. By the way, are
you and my lady /two/ just now?"

"Two?" growled Sir Francis.

"She was stepping into her carriage yesterday when they turned me from
the door, and I made inquiry of her. Her ladyship's answer was, that
she knew nothing either of Francis or his illness."

"Her ladyship is subject to flights of distemper," chafed Sir Francis.
"What desperate need have you of me, just now? Headthelot's away and
there's nothing doing."

"Nothing doing up here; a deal too much doing somewhere else. Attley's
seat's in the market."


"And you ought to have been down there about it three or four days
ago. Of course you must step into it."

"Of course I shan't," returned Sir Francis. "To represent West Lynne
will not suit me."

"Not suit you? West Lynne! Why, of all places, it is most suitable.
It's close to your own property."

"If you call ten miles close. I shall not put up for West Lynne,

"Headthelot came up this morning," said Mr. Meredith.

The information somewhat aroused Sir Francis. "Headthelot? What brings
him back?"

"You. I tell you, Levison, there's a hot row. Headthelot expected you
would be at West Lynne days past, and he has come up in an awful rage.
Every additional vote we can count in the House is worth its weight in
gold; and you, he says are allowing West Lynne to slip through your
fingers! You must start for it at once Levison."

Sir Francis mused. Had the alternative been given him, he would have
preferred to represent a certain warm place underground, rather than
West Lynne. But, to quit Headthelot, and the snug post he anticipated,
would be ruin irretrievable; nothing short of outlawry, or the queen's
prison. It was awfully necessary to get his threatened person into
parliament, and he began to turn over in his mind whether he /could/
bring himself to make further acquaintance with West Lynne. "The thing
must have blown over for good by this time," was the result of his
cogitations, unconsciously speaking aloud.

"I can understand your reluctance to appear at West Lynne," cried Mr.
Meredith; "the scene, unless I mistake, of that notorious affair of
yours. But private feelings must give way to public interests, and the
best thing you can do is to /start/. Headthelot is angry enough as it
is. He says, had you been down at first, as you ought to have been,
you would have slipped in without opposition, but now there will be a

Sir Francis looked up sharply. "A contest? Who is going to stand the

"Pshaw! As if we should let funds be any barrier! Have you heard who
is in the field?"

"No," was the apathetic answer.


"Carlyle!" uttered Sir Francis, startled. "Oh, by George, though! I
can't stand against him."

"Well, there's the alternative. If you can't, Thornton will."

"I should run no chance. West Lynne would not elect me in preference
to him. I'm not sure, indeed, that West Lynne would have me in any

"Nonsense! You know our interest there. Government put in Attley, and
it can put you in. Yes, or no, Levison?"

"Yes," answered Sir Francis.

An hour's time, and Sir Francis Levison went forth. On his way to be
conveyed to West Lynne? Not yet. He turned his steps to Scotland Yard.
In considerably less than an hour the following telegram, marked
"Secret," went down from the head office to the superintendent of
police at West Lynne.

"Is Otway Bethel at West Lynne? If not; where is he? And when will he
be returning to it?"

It elicited a prompt answer.

"Otway Bethel is not at West Lynne. Supposed to be in Norway.
Movements uncertain."



Mr. Carlyle and Barbara were seated at breakfast, when, somewhat to
their surprise, Mr. Dill was shown in. Following close upon his heels
came Justice Hare; and close upon his heels came Squire Pinner; while
bringing up the rear was Colonel Bethel. All the four had come up
separately, not together, and all four were out of breath, as if it
had been a race which should arrive soonest.

Quite impossible was it for Mr. Carlyle, at first, to understand the
news they brought. All were talking at once, in the utmost excitement;
and the fury of Justice Hare alone was sufficient to produce temporary
deafness. Mr. Carlyle caught a word of the case presently.

"A second man? Opposition? Well, let him come on," he good-humoredly
cried. "We shall have the satisfaction of ascertaining who wins in the

"But you have not heard who it is, Mr. Archibald," cried Old Dill,

"Stand a contest with /him/?" raved Justice Hare. "He--"

"The fellow wants hanging," interjected Colonel Bethel.

"Couldn't he be ducked?" suggested Squire Pinner.

Now all these sentences were ranted out together, and their respective
utterers were fain to stop till the noise subsided a little. Barbara
could only look from one to the other in astonishment.

"Who is this formidable opponent?" asked Mr. Carlyle.

There was a pause. Not one of them but had the delicacy to shrink from
naming that man to Mr. Carlyle. The information came at last from Old
Dill, who dropped his voice while he spoke it.

"Mr. Archibald, the candidate who has come forward, is that man

"Of course, Carlyle, you'll go into it now, neck and crop," cried
Justice Hare.

Mr. Carlyle was silent.

"You won't let the beast frighten you from the contest!" uttered
Colonel Bethel in a loud tone.

"There's a meeting at the Buck's Head at ten," said Mr. Carlyle, not
replying to the immediate question. "I will be with you there."

"Did you not say, Mr. Dill, that was where the scoundrel Levison is--
at the Buck's Head?"

"He was there," answered Mr. Dill. "I expect he is ousted by this
time. I asked the landlord what he thought of himself, for taking in
such a character, and what he supposed the justice would say to him.
He vowed with tears in his eyes that the fellow should not be there
another hour, and that he should never have entered it, had he known
who he was."

A little more conversation, and the visitors filed off. Mr. Carlyle
sat down calmly to finish his breakfast. Barbara approached him.

"Archibald, you will not suffer this man's insolent doings to deter
you from your plans--you will not withdraw?" she whispered.

"I think not, Barbara. He has thrust himself offensively upon me in
this measure; I believe my better plan will be to take no more heed of
him than I should of the dirt under my feet."

"Right--right," she answered, a proud flush deepening the rose on her

Mr. Carlyle was walking into West Lynne. There were the placards, sure
enough, side by side with his own, bearing the name of that wicked
coward who had done him the greatest injury one man can do to another.
Verily, he must possess a face of brass to venture there.

"Archibald, have you heard the disgraceful news?"

The speaker was Miss Carlyle, who had come down upon her brother like
a ship with all sails set. Her cheeks wore a flush; her eyes
glistened; her tall form was drawn up to its most haughty height.

"I have heard it, Cornelia, and, had I not, the walls would have
enlightened me."

"Is he out of his mind?"

"Out of his reckoning, I fancy," replied Mr. Carlyle.

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest