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Hard Cash by Charles Reade

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ourselves into the learned professions, thank Heaven."

"Excuse me, mamma, there are one or two; for the newspapers say so."

"'Well, dear, there are none in this country, happily."

"'What, not in London?"


"Then what _is_ the use of such a great overgrown place, all smoke, if
there is nothing in it you cannot find in the country? Let us go back to
Barkington this very day, this minute, this instant; oh, pray, pray."

"And so you shall--to-morrow. But you must pity your poor mother's
anxiety, and see Dr. Chalmers first."

"Oh, mamma, not another surgeon! He frightened me; he hurt me. I never
heard of such a thing; oh, please not another surgeon."

"It is not a surgeon, dear; it is the Court Physician."

The Court Physician detected "a somewhat morbid condition of the great
nervous centres." To an inquiry whether there was heart-disease, he
replied, "Pooh!" On being told Sir William had announced heart-disease,
he said, "Ah! _that alters the case entirely._" He maintained, however,
that it must be trifling, and would go no further, the nervous system
once restored to its healthy tone. "O Jupiter, aid us! Blue pill and
Seidhitz powder."

Dr. Kenyon found the mucous membrane was irritated and required soothing.
"O Jupiter, &c."

Mrs. Dodd returned home consoled and confused; Julia listless and
apathetic. Tea was ordered, with two or three kinds of bread, thinnest
slices of meat, and a little blane mange, &c., their favourite repast
after a journey; and whilst the tea was drawing, Mrs. Dodd looked over
the card-tray and enumerated the visitors that had called during their
absence. "Dr. Short-- Mr. Osmond--Mrs. Hetherington--Mr. Alfred
Hardie--Lady Dewry--Mrs. and Miss Bosanquet. What a pity Edward was not
at home, dear; Mr. Alfred Hardie's visit must have been to him."

"Oh, of course, mamma."

"A very manly young gentleman."

"'Oh, yes. No. He is so rude."

"Is he? Ah! he was ill just then, and pain irritates gentlemen; they are
not accustomed to it, poor Things."

"That is like you, dear mamma; making excuses for one." Julia added
faintly, "But he is so impetuous."

"I have a daughter who reconciles me to impetuosity. And he _must_ have a
good heart, he was so kind to my boy."

Julia looked down smiling; but presently seemed to be seized with a
spirit of contradiction: she began to pick poor Alfred to pieces; he was
this, that, and the other; and then so bold, she might say impudent.

Mrs. Dodd replied calmly that he was very kind to her boy.

"Oh, mamma, you cannot approve all the words he spoke."

"It is not worth while to remember all the words young gentlemen speak
now-a-days. He was very kind to my boy, I remember that."

The tea was now ready, and Mrs. Dodd sat down, and patted a chair, with a
smile of invitation for Julia to come and sit beside her. But Julia said,
"In one minute, dear," and left the room.

When she came back, she fluttered up to her mother and kissed her
vehemently, then sat down radiant. "Ah!" said Mrs. Dodd, "why, you are
looking yourself once more. How do you feel now? Better?"

"How do I feel? Let me see: The world seems one e-nor-mous flower-garden,
and Me the butterfly it all belongs to." She spake, and to confirm her
words the airy thing went waltzing, sailing, and fluttering round the
room, and sipping mamma every now and then on the wing.

In this buoyancy she remained some twenty-four hours; and then came
clouds and chills, which, in their turn, gave way to exultation, duly
followed by depression. Her spirits were so uncertain, that things too
minute to justify narration turned the scale either way: a word from Mrs.
Dodd--a new face at St. Anne's Church looking devoutly her way--a piece
of town gossip distilled in her ear by Mrs. Maxley--and she was sprightly
or languid, and both more than reason.

One drizzly afternoon they were sitting silent and saddish in the
drawing-room, Mrs. Dodd correcting the mechanical errors in a drawing of
Julia's, and admiring the rare dash and figure, and Julia doggedly
studying Dr. Whately's Logic, with now and then a sigh, when suddenly a
trumpet seemed to articulate in the little hall: "Mestress Doedd at home

The lady rose from her seat, and said with a smile of pleasure, "I hear a

The door opened, and in darted a grey-headed man, with handsome but
strongly marked features, laughing and shouting like a schoolboy broke
loose. He cried out, "Ah! I've found y' out at last." Mrs. Dodd glided to
meet him, and put out both her hands, the palms downwards, with the
prettiest air of ladylike cordiality; he shook them heartily. "The
vagabins said y' had left the town; but y' had only flitted from the quay
to the subbubs; 'twas a pashint put me on the scint of ye. And how are y'
all these years? an' how's Sawmill?"

"Sawmill! What is that?"

"It's just your husband. Isn't his name Sawmill?"

"Dear no! Have you forgotten?--David."

"Ou, ay. I knew it was some Scripcher Petrarch or another, Daavid, or
Naathan, or Sawmill. And how is he, and where is he?"

Mrs. Dodd replied that he was on the seas, but expect----

"Then I wish him well off 'em, confound 'em oncannall! Halloa! why, this
will be the little girl grown up int' a wumman while ye look round."

"Yes, may good friend; and her mother's darling."

"And she's a bonny lass, I can tell ye. But no freend to the Dockers, I

"Ah!" said Mrs. Dodd sadly, "looks are deceitful; she is under medical
advice at this very----"

"Well, that won't hurt her, unless she takes it." And he burst into a
ringing laugh: but in the middle of it, stopped dead short, and his face
elongated. "Lord sake, mad'm," said he impressively," mind what y' are
at, though; Barkton's just a trap for fanciful femuls: there's a n'oily
ass called Osmond, and a canting cut-throat called Stephenson and a
genteel, cadaveris old assassin called Short, as long as a maypole;
they'd soon take the rose out of Miss Floree's cheek here. Why, they'd
starve Cupid, an' veneseck Venus, an' blister Pomonee, the vagabins."

Mrs. Dodd looked a little confused, and exchanged speaking glances with
Julia. " However," she said calmly, "I _have_ consulted Mr. Osmond and
Dr. Short; but have not relied on them alone. I have taken her to Sir
William Best. And to Dr. Chalmers. And to Dr. Kenyon." And she felt
invulnerable behind her phalanx of learning and reputation.

"Good Hivens!" roared the visitor, "what a gauntlet o' gabies for one
girl to run; and come out alive! And the picter of health. My faith, Miss
Floree, y' are tougher than ye look."

"My daughter's name is Julia," observed Mrs. Dodd, a little haughtily;
but instantly recovering herself, she said, "This is Dr. Sampson,
love--an old friend of your mother's."

"And th' Author an' Invintor of th' great Chronothairmal Therey o'
Midicine, th' Unity Perriodicity an' Remittency of all disease," put in
the visitor, with such prodigious swiftness of elocution that the words
went tumbling over one another like railway carriages out on pleasure,
and the sentence was a pile of loud, indistinct syllables.

Julia's lovely eyes dilated at this clishmaclaver, and she bowed coldly.
Dr. Sampson had revealed in this short interview nearly all the
characteristics of voice, speech, and manner, she had been taught from
infancy to shun: boisterous, gesticulatory, idiomatic; and had taken the
discourse out of her mamma's mouth twice. Now Albion Villa was a Red
Indian hut in one respect: here nobody interrupted.

Mrs. Dodd had little personal egotism, but she had a mother's, and could
not spare this opportunity of adding another Doctor to her collection: so
she said hurriedly, "Will you permit me to show you what your learned
confreres have prescribed her?" Julia sighed aloud, and deprecated the
subject with earnest furtive signs; Mrs. Dodd would not see them. Now,
Dr. Sampson was himself afflicted with what I shall venture to call a
mental ailment; to wit, a furious intolerance of other men's opinions; he
had not even patience to hear them. "Mai--dear--mad'm," said he hastily,
"when you've told me their names, that's enough. Short treats her for
liver, Sir William goes in for lung disease or heart, Chalmers sis it's
the nairves, and Kinyon the mookis membrin; and _I_ say they are fools
and lyres all four."

"Julia!" ejaculated Mrs. Dodd, "this is very extraordinary."

"No, it is not extraordinary," cried Dr. Sampson defiantly; "nothing is
extraordinary. D'ye think I've known these shallow men thirty years, and
not plumbed 'um?"

"Shallow, my good friend? Excuse me! they are the ablest men in your own
branch of your own learned profession."

"Th' ablest! Oh, you mean the money-makingest: now listen me! our lairned
Profession is a rascally one. It is like a barrel of beer. What rises to
the top?" Here he paused for a moment, then answered himself furiously,

This blast blown, he moderated a little. "Look see!" said he, "up to
three or four thousand a year, a Docker is often an honest man, and
sometimes knows something of midicine; not much, because it is not taught
anywhere. But if he is making over five thousand, he must be a rogue or
else a fool: either he has booed an' booed, an' cript an' crawled, int'
wholesale collusion with th' apothecary an' the accoucheur--the two
jockeys that drive John Bull's faemily coach--and they are sucking the
pashint togither, like a leash o' leeches: or else he has turned
spicialist; has tacked his name to some poplar disorder, real or
imaginary; it needn't exist to be poplar. Now, those four you have been
to are spicialists, and that means monomaniues--their buddies exspatiate
in West-ind squares, but their souls dwell in a n'alley, ivery man jack
of 'em: Aberford's in Stomich Alley, Chalmers's in Nairve Court, Short's
niver stirs out o' Liver Lane, Paul's is stuck fast in Kidney Close,
Kinyon's in Mookis Membrin Mews, and Hibbard's in Lung Passage. Look see!
nixt time y' are out of sorts, stid o' consultin' three bats an' a n'owl
at a guinea the piece, send direct to me, and I'll give y' all their
opinions, and all their prescriptions, _gratis._ And deevilich dear ye'll
find 'em at the price, if ye swallow 'm."

Mrs. Dodd thanked him coldly for the offer, but said she would be more
grateful if he would show his superiority to persons of known ability by
just curing her daughter on the spot.

"Well, I will," said he carelessly: and all his fire died out of him.
"Put out your tongue!--Now your pulse!"

Mrs. Dodd knew her man (ladies are very apt to fathom their male
acquaintance--too apt, _I_ think); and, to pin him to the only medical
theme which interested her, seized the opportunity while he was in actual
contact with Julia's wrist, and rapidly enumerated her symptoms, and also
told him what Mr. Osmond had said about Hyperaesthesia.

"GOOSE GREECE!" barked Sampson, loud, clear, and sharp as an irritated
watch-dog; but this one bow-wow vented, he was silent as abruptly.

Mrs. Dodd smiled, and proceeded to Hyperaemia, and thence to the
Antiphlogistic Regimen,

At that unhappy adjective, Sampson jumped up, cast away his patient's
hand, forgot her existence--she was but a charming individual--and
galloped into his native region, Generalities.

"Antiphlogistic! Mai--dear--mad'm, that one long fragmint of ass's jaw
has slain a million. Adapted to the weakness of human nature, which
receives with rivirince ideas however childish, that come draped in
long-tailed and exotic words, that aasimine polysyllable has riconciled
the modern mind to the chimeras of th' ancients, and outbutchered the
guillotine, the musket, and the sword: ay, and but for me

Had barred the door
For cinturies more

on the great coming sceince, the sceince of healing diseases, instead of
defining and dividing 'em and lengthening their names and their durashin,
and shortening nothing but the pashint. Th' Antiphlogistic Therey is
this: That disease is fiery, and that any artificial exhaustion of vital
force must cool the system, and reduce the morbid fire, called, in their
donkey Latin 'flamma,' and in their compound donkey Latin 'inflammation,'
and in their Goose Greece, 'phlogosis,' 'phlegmon,' &c. And accordingly
th' Antiphlogistic Practice is, to cool the sick man by bleeding him,
and, when blid, either to rebleed him with a change of instrument, bites
and stabs instid of gashes, or else to rake the blid, and then blister
the blid and raked, and then push mercury till the teeth of the blid,
raked, and blistered shake in their sockets, and to starve the blid,
purged, salivated, blistered wretch from first to last. This is the
Antiphlogistic system. It is seldom carried out entire, because the
pashint, at the first or second link in their rimedial chain, expires; or
else gives such plain signs of sinking, that even these ass-ass-ins take
fright, and try t' undo their own work, not disease's, by tonics an'
turtle, and stimulants: which things given at the right time instead of
the wrong, given when the pashint was merely weakened by his disorder,
and not enfeebled by their didly rinmedies, would have cut th' ailment
down in a few hours."

"Dear me," said Mrs. Dodd; "and now, my good friend, with respect to _my

"N' list _me!_" clashed Sampson; "ye're goen to fathom th'
antiphlogistics, since they still survive an' slay in holes and corners
like Barkton and d'Itly; I've driven the vamperes out o' the cintres o'
civilisation. Begin with their coolers! Exhaustion is not a cooler, it is
a feverer, and they know it; the way parrots know sentences. Why are we
all more or less feverish at night? Because we are weaker. Starvation is
no cooler, it is an inflamer, and they know it--as parrots know truths,
but can't apply them: for they know that burning fever rages in ivery
town, street, camp, where Famine is. As for blood-letting, their prime
cooler, it is inflammatory; and they know it (parrot-wise), for the
thumping heart and bounding pulse of pashints blid by butchers in black,
and bullocks blid by butchers in blue, prove it; and they have recorded
this in all their books: yet stabbed, and bit, and starved, and
mercuried, and murdered on. But mind ye, all their sham coolers are real
weakeners (I wonder they didn't inventory Satin and his brimstin lake
among their refrijrators), and this is the point whence t' appreciate
their imbecility, and the sairvice I have rendered mankind in been the
first t' attack their banded school, at a time it seemed imprignable."

"Ah! this promises to be very interesting," sighed Mrs. Dodd; "and before
you enter on so large a field, perhaps it would be as well to dispose of
a little matter which lies at my heart. Here is _my poor daughter_----"

"NLISSMEE! A human Bean is in a constant state of flux and reflux; his
component particles move, change, disappear, and are renewed; his life is
a round of exhaustion and repair. Of this repair the brain is the
sovereign ajint by night and day, and the blood the great living
material, and digestible food th' indispensible supply. And this balance
of exhaustion and repair is too nice to tamper with: disn't a single
sleepless night, or dinnerless day, write some pallor on the face, and
tell against the buddy? So does a single excessive perspiration, a
trifling diary, or a cut finger, though it takes but half an ounce of
blood out of the system. And what is the cause of that rare ivint--which
occurs only to pashmints that can't afford docking--Dith from old age?
Think ye the man really succumms under years, or is mowed down by Time?
Nay, yon's just Potry an' Bosh. Nashins have been thinned by the lancet,
but niver by the scythe; and years are not forces, but misures of events.
No, Centenarius decays and dies bekase his bodil' expindituire goes on,
and his bodil' income falls off by failure of the reparative and
reproductive forces. And now suppose bodil' exhaustion and repair were a
mere matter of pecuniary, instead of vital, economy: what would you say
to the steward or housekeeper, who, to balance your accounts and keep you
solvent, should open every known channel of expinse with one hand, and
with the other--stop the supplies? Yet this is how the Dockers for thirty
cinturies have burned th' human candle at both ends, yet wondered the
light of life expired under their hands."

"It seems irrational. Then in _my daughter's_ case you would----"

"Looksee! A pashint falls sick. What haps directly? Why the balance is
troubled, and exhaustion exceeds repair. For proof obsairve the buddy
when Disease is fresh!

And you will always find a loss of flesh

to put it economikly, and then you must understand it, bein a

Whativer the Disease, its form or essence,
Expinditure goes on, and income lessens.

But to this sick and therefore weak man, comes a Docker purblind with
cinturies of Cant, Pricidint, Blood, and Goose Greece; imagines him a
fiery pervalid, though the common sense of mankind through its
interpreter common language, pronounces him an 'invalid,' gashes him with
a lancet, spills out the great liquid material of all repair by the
gallon, and fells this weak man, wounded now, and pale, and fainting,
with Dith stamped on his face, to th' earth, like a bayoneted soldier or
a slaughtered ox. If the weak man, wounded thus, and weakened, survives,
then the chartered Thugs who have drained him by the bung-hole, turn to
and drain him by the spigot; they blister him, and then calomel him: and
lest Nature should have the ghost of a chance to conterbalance these
frightful outgoings, they keep strong meat and drink out of his system
emptied by their stabs, bites, purges, mercury, and blisters; damdijjits!
And that, Asia excipted, was profissional Midicine from Hippocrates to
Sampsin. Antiphlogistic is but a modern name for an ass-ass-inating
rouutine which has niver varied a hair since scholastic midicine, the
silliest and didliest of all the hundred forms of Quackery, first
rose--unlike Seeince, Art, Religion, and all true Suns--in the West; to
wound the sick; to weaken the weak; and mutilate the hurt; and thin

The voluble impugner of his own profession delivered these two last words
in thunder so sudden and effective as to strike Julia's work out of her
hands. But here, as in Nature, a moment's pause followed the thunderclap;
so Mrs. Dodd, who had long been patiently watching her opportunity,
smothered a shriek, and edged in a word: "This is irresistible; you have
confuted everybody, to their heart's content; and now the question is,
what course shall we substitute?" She meant, "in the great case, which
occupies me." But Sampson attached a nobler, wider, sense to her query.
"What course? Why the great Chronothairmal practice, based on the
remittent and febrile character of all disease; above all, on

The law of Perriodicity, a law
Midicine yet has wells of light to draw.

By Remittency, I mean th' ebb of Disease, by Perriodicity, th' ebb and
also the flow, the paroxysm and the remission. These remit and recur, and
keep tune like the tides, not in ague and remittent fever only, as the
Profission imagines to this day, but in all diseases from a Scirrhus in
the Pylorus t' a toothache. And I discovered this, and the new path to
cure of all diseases it opens. Alone I did it; and what my reward?
Hooted, insulted, belied, and called a quack by the banded school of
profissional assassins, who, in their day hooted Harvey and
Jinner--authors too of great discoveries, but discoveries narrow in their
consequences compared with mine. T' appreciate Chronothairmalism, ye must
begin at the beginning; so just answer me--What is man?"

At this huge inquiry whirring tip all in a moment, like a cock-pheasant
in a wood, Mrs. Dodd sank back in her chair despondent. Seeing her _hors
de combat,_ Sampson turned to Julia and demanded, twice as loud, "WHAT IS
MAN?" Julia opened two violet eyes at him, and then looked at her mother
for a hint how to proceed.

"How can that child answer such a question?" sighed Mrs. Dodd. "Let us
return to the point."

"I have never strayed an inch from it. It's about 'Young Physic.'"

"No, excuse me, it is about a young lady. Universal Medicine: what have I
to do with that?"

"Now this is the way with them all," cried Sampson, furious; "there lowed
John Bull. The men and women of this benighted nashin have an ear for
anything, provided it matters nothing: talk Jology, Conchology,
Entomology, Theology, Meteorology, Astronomy, Deuteronomy, Botheronomy,
or Boshology, and one is listened to with rivirence, because these are
all far-off things in fogs; but at a word about the great, near, useful
art of Healing, y'all stop your ears; for why? your life and
dailianhourly happiness depend on it. But 'no,' sis John Bull, the
knowledge of our own buddies, and how to save our own Bakin--Beef I
mean--day by day, from disease and chartered ass-ass-ins, all that may
interest the thinkers in Saturn, but what the deevil is it t' _us?_ Talk
t' _us_ of the hiv'nly buddies, not of our own; babble o' comets an'
meteors an' Ethereal nibulae (never mind the nibulae in our own skulls).
Discourse t' us of Predistinashin, Spitzbairgen seaweed, the last novel,
the siventh vile; of Chrisehinising the Patagonians on condition they are
not to come here and Chrischinise the Whitechapelians; of the letter to
the _Times_ from the tinker wrecked at Timbuctoo; and the dear
Professor's lecture on the probabeelity of snail-shells in the backyard
of the moon: but don't ask us to know ourselves--Ijjits!!"

The eloquent speaker, depressed by the perversity of Englishmen in giving
their minds to every part of creation but their bodies, suffered a
momentary loss of energy; then Mrs. Dodd, who had long been watching
lynx-like, glided in. "Let us compound. You are for curing all the world,
beginning with Nobody. My ambition is to cure _my girl,_ and leave
mankind in peace. Now, if you will begin with _my Julia,_ I will submit
to rectify the universe in its proper turn. Any time will do to set the
human race right; you own it is in no hurry: but _my child's_ case
presses; so do pray cure her for me. Or at least tell me what her
Indisposition is."

"Oh! What! didn't I tell you? Well, there's nothing the matter with her."

At receiving this cavalier reply for the reward of all her patience, Mrs.
Dodd was so hurt, and so nearly angry, that she rose with dignity from
her seat, her cheek actually pink, and the water in her eyes. Sampson saw
she was ruffled, and appealed to Julia--of all people. "There now, Miss
Julia," said he, ruefully; "she is in a rage because I won't humbug her.
Poplus voolt decipee. I tell you, ma'am, it is not a midical case. Give
me disease and I'll cure 't. Stop, I'll tell ye what do: let her take and
swallow the Barkton Docks' prescriptions, and Butcher Best's, and canting
Kinyon's, and after those four tinkers there'll be plenty holes to mend;
then send for me!"

Here was irony. Mrs. Dodd retorted by _finesse._ She turned on him with a
treacherous smile, and said: "Never mind doctors and patients; it is so
long since we met; I do hope you will waive ceremony, and dine with me
_en ami._"

He accepted with pleasure; but must return to his inn first and get rid
of his dirty boots and pashints. And with this he whipped out his watch,
and saw that, dealing with universal medicine, he had disappointed more
than one sick individual; so shot out as hard as he had shot in, and left
the ladies looking at one another after the phenomenon.

"Well?" said Julia, with a world of meaning.

"Yes, dear," replied Mrs. Dodd, "he _is_ a little eccentric. I think I
will request them to make some addition to the dinner."

"No, mamma, if you please, not to put me off so transparently. If I had
interrupted, and shouted, and behaved so, you would have packed _me_ off
to bed, or somewhere, directly."

"Don't say 'packed,' love. Dismissed me to bed."

"Ah!" cried Julia, "that privileged person is gone, and we must all mind
our P's and Q's once more."

Mrs. Dodd, with an air of nonchalance, replied to the effect that Dr.
Sampson was not her offspring, and so she was not bound to correct his
eccentricities. "And I suppose," said she, languidly, "we must accept
these extraordinary people as we find them. But that is no reason why
_you_ should say 'P's and Q's,' darling."

That day her hospitable board was spread over a trap. Blessed with an
oracle irrelevantly fluent, and dumb to the point, she had asked him to
dinner with maternal address. He could not be on his guard eternally;
sooner or later, through inadvertence, or in a moment of convivial
recklessness, or in a parenthesis of some grand Generality, he would cure
her child: or, perhaps, at his rate of talking, would wear out all his
idle themes, down to the very "well-being of mankind;" and them Julia's
mysterious indisposition would come on the blank tapis. With these secret
hopes she presided at the feast, all grace and gentle amity. Julia, too,
sat down with a little design, but a very different one, viz., of being
chilly company; for she disliked this new acquaintance, and hated the
science of medicine.

The unconscious Object chatted away with both, and cut their replies very
short, and did strange things: sent away Julia's chicken, regardless of
her scorn, and prescribed mutton; called for champagne and made her drink
it and pout; and thus excited Mrs. Dodd's hopes that he was attending to
the case by degrees.

But after dinner, Julia, to escape medicine universal and particular,
turned to her mother, and dilated on treachery of her literary guide, the
_Criticaster._ "It said 'Odds and Ends' was a good novel to read by the
seaside. So I thought then oh! how different it must be from most books,
if you can sit by the glorious sea and even look at it. So I sent for it
directly, and, would you believe, it was an ignoble thing; all
flirtations and curates. The sea indeed! A pond would be fitter to read
it by; and one with a good many geese on."

"Was ever such simplicity!" said Mrs. Dodd. "Why, my dear, that phrase
about the sea does not _mean_ anything. I shall have you believing that
Mr. So-and-So, a novelist, can _'wither fashionable folly,'_ and that _'a
painful incident'_ to one shopkeeper has _'thrown a gloom'_ over a whole
market-town, and so on. Now-a-days every third phrase is of this
character; a starling's note. Once, it appears, there was an age of gold,
and then came one of iron, and then of brass. All these are gone, and the
age of 'jargon' has succeeded."

She sighed, and Sampson generalised; he plunged from the seaside novel
into the sea of fiction. He rechristened that joyous art Feckshin, and
lashed its living professors. "You devour their three volumes greedily,"
said he, "but after your meal you feel as empty as a drum; there is no
leading idea in 'um; now there always is--in Moliere; and _he_
comprehended the midicine of his age. But what fundamental truth d'our
novelists iver convey? All they can do is pile incidents. Their customers
dictate th' article: unideaed melodrams for unideaed girls. The writers
and their feckshins belong to one species, and that's 'the
non-vertebrated animals;' and their midicine is Bosh; why, they bleed
still for falls and fevers; and niver mention vital chronometry. Then
they don't look straight at Nature, but see with their ears, and repeat
one another twelve deep. Now, listen me! there are the cracters for an
'ideaed feckshin' in Barkington, and I'd write it, too, only I haven't

At this, Julia, forgetting her resolution, broke out, "Romantic
characters in Barkington? Who? who?"

"Who _should_ they be, but my pashints? Ay, ye may lauch, Miss Julee, but
wait till ye see them." He was then seized with a fit of candour, and
admitted that some, even of his pashints, were colourless; indeed, not to
mince the matter, six or seven of that sacred band were nullity in
person. "I can compare the beggars to nothing," said he, "but the
globules of the Do-Nothings; dee----d insipid, and nothing in 'em. But
the others make up. Man alive, I've got 'a rosy-cheeked miser,' and an
'ill-used attorney,' and an 'honest Screw'--he is a gardener, with a head
like a cart-horse."

"Mamma! mamma! that is Mr. Maxley," cried Julia, clapping her hands, and
thawing in her own despite.

"Then there's my virgin martyr and my puppy. They are brother and sister;
and there's their father, but he is an impenetrable dog--won't unbosom.
Howiver, he sairves to draw chicks for the other two, and so keep 'em
goen. By-the-bye, you know my puppy?"

"We have not that honour. Do we know Dr. Sampson's puppy, love?" inquired
Mrs. Dodd, rather languidly.

"Mamma!--I--I--know no one of that name."

"Don't tell me! Why it was he sent me here told me where you lived, and I
was to make haste, for Miss Dodd was very ill: it is young Hardie, the
banker's son, ye know."

Mrs. Dodd said good-humouredly, but with a very slight touch of irony,
that really they were very much flattered by the interest Mr. Alfred
Hardie had shown; especially as her daughter had never exchanged ten
words with him. Julia coloured at this statement, the accuracy of which
she had good reason to doubt; and the poor girl felt as if an icicle
passed swiftly along her back. And then, for the first the in her life,
she thought her mother hardly gracious; and she wanted to say _she_ was
obliged to Mr. Alfred Hardie, but dared not, and despised herself for not
daring. Her composure was further attacked by Mrs. Dodd looking full at
her, and saying interrogatively, "I wonder how that young gentleman could
know about your being ill ?"

At this Julia eyed her plate very attentively, and murmured, "I believe
it is all over the town: and seriously too; so Mrs. Maxley says, for she
tells me that in Barkington if more than one doctor is sent for, that
bodes ill for the patient."

"Deevelich ill," cried Sampson heartily.

"For two physicians, like a pair of oars,
Conduck him faster to the Styjjin shores."*

* Garth.

Julia looked him in the face, and coldly ignored this perversion of Mrs.
Maxley's meaning; and Mrs. Dodd returned pertinaciously to the previous
topic. "Mr. Alfred Hardie interests me; he was good to Edward. I am
curious to know why you call him a puppy?"

"Only because he is one, ma'am. And that is no reason at all with 'the
Six.' He is a juveneel pidant and a puppy, and contradicts ivery new
truth, bekase it isn't in Aristotle and th' Eton Grammar; and he's such a
chatterbox, ye can't get in a word idgeways; and he and his
sister--that's my virgin martyr--are a farce. _He_ keeps sneerin' at her
relijjin, and that puts _her_ in such a rage, she threatens 't' intercede
for him at the throne."

"Jargon," sighed Mrs. Dodd, and just shrugged her lovely shoulders. "We
breathe it--we float in an atmosphere of it. My love?" And she floated
out of the room, and Julia floated after.

Sampson sat meditating on the gullibility of man in matters medical. This
favourite speculation detained him late, and almost his first word on
entering the drawing-room was, "Good night, little girl."

Julia coloured at this broad hint, drew herself up, and lighted a
bedcandle. She went to Mrs. Dodd, kissed her, and whispered in her ear,
"I hate him!" and, as she retired, her whole elegant person launched
ladylike defiance; under which brave exterior no little uneasiness was
hidden. "Oh, what will become of me!" thought she, "if _he_ has gone and
told him about Henley?"

"Let's see the prescriptions, ma'am," said Dr. Sampson.

Delighted at this concession, Mrs. Dodd took them out of her desk and
spread them earnestly. He ran his eye over them, and pointed out that the
mucous-membrane man and the nerve man had prescribed the same medicine,
on irreconcilable grounds; and a medicine, moreover, whose effect on the
nerves was _nil,_ and on the mucous membrane was not to soothe it, but
plough it and harrow it; "and did not that open her eyes?" He then
reminded her that all these doctors in consultation would have contrived
to agree. "But you," said he, "have baffled the collusive hoax by which
Dox arrived at a sham uniformity--honest uniformity can never exist till
scientific principles obtain. Listme! To begin, is the pashint in love?"

The doctor put this query in just the same tone in which they inquire
"Any expectoration?" But Mrs. Dodd, in reply, was less dry and
business-like. She started and looked aghast. This possibility had once,
for a moment, occurred to her, but only to be rejected, the evidence
being all against it.

"In love?" said she. "That child, and I not know it!"

He said he had never supposed that. "But I thought I'd just ask ye; for
she has no bodily ailment, and the passions are all counterfeit diseases;
they are connected, like all diseases, with cerebral instability, have
their hearts and chills like all diseases, and their paroxysms and
remissions like all diseases. Nlistme! You have detected the signs of a
slight cerebral instability; I have ascertained th' absence of all
physical cause: then why make this healthy pashint's buddy a test-tube
for poisons? Sovereign drugs (I deal with no other, I leave the nullities
to the noodles) are either counterpoisons or poisons, and here there is
nothing to counterpoison at prisent. So I'm for caushin, and working on
the safe side th' hidge, till we are less in the dark. Mind ye, young
women at her age are kittle cattle; they have gusts o' this, and gusts o'
that, th' unreasonable imps. D'ye see these two pieces pasteboard? They
are tickets for a ball,

In Barkton town-hall."

"Yes, of course I see them," said Mrs. Dodd dolefully.

"Well, I prescribe 'em. And when they have been taken,

And the pashint well shaken,

perhaps we shall see whether we are on the right system: and if so, we'll
dose her with youthful society in a more irrashinal form; conversaziones,
cookeyshines, et citera. And if we find ourselves on the wrong _tack_ why
then we'll hark _back._

Stick blindly to 'a course,' the Dockers cry.
But it does me harm: _Then_ 'twill do good _by-and-bye._
Where lairned ye that, Echoes of Echoes, say!
The killer ploughs 'a course,' the healer _'feels his way.'_"

So mysterious are the operations of the human mind, that, when we have
exploded in verse tuneful as the above, we lapse into triumph instead of
penitence. Not that doggrel meets with reverence here below--the statues
to it are few, and not in marble, but in the material itself--But then an
Impromptu! A moment ago our Posy was not: and now is; with the speed, if
not the brilliancy, of lightning, we have added a handful to the
intellectual dust-heap of an oppressed nation. From this bad eminence
Sampson then looked down complacently, and saw Mrs. Dodd's face as long
as his arm. She was one that held current opinions; and the world does
not believe Poetry can sing the Practical. Verse and useful knowledge
pass for incompatibles; and, though Doggrel is not Poetry, yet it has a
lumbering proclivity that way, and so forfeits the confidence of grave
sensible people. This versification, and this impalpable and
unprecedented prescription she had waited for so long, seemed all of a
piece to poor mamma: wild, unpractical, and--"oh, horror!

Sampson read her sorrowful face after his fashion. "Oh, I see, ma'am,"
cried he. "Cure is not welcome unless it comes in the form consecrated by
cinturies of slaughter. Well, then, give me a sheet." He took the paper
and rent it asunder, and wrote this on the larger fragment:

Rx Die Mercur. circa x. hor: vespert:
eat in musca ad Aulam oppid:
Saltet cum xiii canicul:
praesertim meo. Dom: reddita,
6 hora matutin: dormiat at prand:
Repetat stultit: pro re nata.

He handed this with a sort of spiteful twinkle to Mrs. Dodd, and her
countenance lightened again. Her sex will generally compound with whoever
can give as well as take. Now she had extracted a real, grave
prescription, she acquiesced in the ball, though not a county one; "to
satisfy your whim, my good, kind friend, to whom I owe so much."

Sampson called on his way back to town, and, in course of conversation,
praised nature for her beautiful instincts, one of which, he said, had
inspired Miss Julee, at a credulous age, not to swallow "the didly
drastics of the tinkering dox."

Mrs. Dodd smiled, and requested permission to contradict him; her
daughter had taken the several prescriptions.

Sampson inquired brusquely if she took him for a fool.

She replied calmly: "No; for a very clever, but _rather_ opinionated

"Opinionated? So is ivery man who has grounnds for his opinin. D'ye
think, because Dockers Short, an' Bist, an' Kinyon, an' Cuckoo, an'
Jackdaw, an' Starling, an' Co., don't know the dire effecks of calomel
an' drastics on the buddy, I don't know't? Her eye, her tongue, her skin,
her voice, her elastic walk, all tell _me_ she has not been robbed of her
vital resources. 'Why, if she had taken that genteel old thief Short's
rimidies alone, the girl's gums would be sore,

And herself at Dith's door."

Mrs. Dodd was amused. "Julia, this is so like the gentlemen; they are in
love with argumeunt.They go on till they reason themselves out of their
reason. Why beat about the bush; when there she sits?"

"What, go t' a wumman for the truth, when I can go t' infallible

"You may always go to my David's daughter for the truth," said Mrs. Dodd,
with dignity. She then looked the inquiry; and Julia replied to her look
as follows: first, she coloured very high; then, she hid her face in both
her hands; then rose, and turning her neck swiftly, darted a glance of
fiery indignation and bitter reproach on Dr. Meddlesome, and left the
apartment mighty stag-like.

"Maircy on us!" cried Sampson. "Did ye see that, ma'am? Yon's just a
bonny basilisk. Another such thunderbolt as she dispinsed, and ye'll be
ringing for your maid to sweep up the good physician's ashes."

Julia did not return till the good physician was gone back to London.
Then she came in with a rush, and, demonstrative toad, embraced Mrs.
Dodd's knees, and owned she had cultivated her geraniums with all those
medicines, liquid and solid; and only one geranium had died.

There is a fascinating age, when an intelligent girl is said to fluctuate
between childhood and womanhood. Let me add that these seeming
fluctuations depend much on the company she is in: the budding virgin is
princess of chameleons; and, to confine ourselves to her two most piquant
contrasts, by her mother's side she is always more or less childlike;
but, let a nice young fellow engage her apart, and, hey presto! she shall
be every inch a woman: perhaps at no period of her life are the purely
mental characteristics of her sex so supreme in her; thus her type, the
rosebud, excels in essence of rosehood the rose itself.

My reader has seen Julia Dodd play both parts; but it is her child's face
she has now been turning for several pages; so it may be prudent to
remind him she has shone on Alfred Hardie in but one light; a young but
Juno-like woman. Had she shown "my puppy" her childish qualities, he
would have despised her--he had left that department himself so recently.
But Nature guarded the budding fair from such a disaster.

We left Alfred Hardie standing in the moonlight gazing at her lodging.
This was sudden; but, let slow coaches deny it as loudly as they like,
fast coaches exist; and Love is a Passion, which, like Hate, Envy,
Avarice, &c., has risen to a great height in a single day. Not that
Alfred's was "Love at first sight;" for he had seen her beauty in the
full blaze of day with no deeper feeling than admiration; but in the
moonlight he came under more sovereign spells than a fair face: her
virtues and her voice. The narrative of their meeting has indicated the
first, and as to the latter, Julia was not one of those whose beauty goes
out with the candle; her voice was that rich, mellow, moving organ, which
belongs to no rank nor station; is born, not made; and, flow it from the
lips of dairymaid or countess, touches every heart, gentle or simple,
that is truly male. And this divine contralto, full, yet penetrating,
Dame Nature had inspired her to lower when she was moved or excited,
instead of raising it; and then she was enchanting. All unconsciously she
cast this crowning spell on Alfred, and he adored her. In a word, he
caught a child-woman away from its mother; his fluttering captive turned,
put on composure, and bewitched him.

She left him, and the moonlight night seemed to blacken. But within his
young breast all was light, new light. He leaned opposite her window in
an Elysian reverie, and let the hours go by. He seemed to have vegetated
till then, and lo! true life had dawned. He thought he should love to die
for her; and, when he was calmer, he felt he was to live for her, and
welcomed his destiny with rapture. He passed the rest of the Oxford term
in a soft ecstasy; called often on Edward, and took a sudden and
prodigious interest in him; and counted the days glide by and the happy
time draw near, when he should be four months in the same town with his
enchantress. This one did not trouble the doctors; he glowed with a
steady fire; no heats and chills, and sad misgivings; for one thing, he
was not a woman, a being tied to that stake, Suspense, and compelled to
wait and wait for others' actions. To him, life's path seemed paved with
roses, and himself to march in eternal sunshine, buoyed by perfumed

He came to Barkington to try for the lovely prize. Then first he had to
come down from love's sky, and realise how hard it is here below to court
a young lady--who is guarded by a mother--without an introduction in the
usual form. The obvious course was to call on Edward. Having parted from
him so lately, he forced himself to wait a few days, and then set out for
Albion Villa.

As he went along, he arranged the coming dialogue for all the parties.
Edward was to introduce him; Mrs. Dodd to recognise his friendship for
her son; he was to say he was the gainer by it; Julia, silent at first,
was to hazard a timid observation, and he to answer gracefully, and draw
her out and find how he stood in her opinion. The sprightly affair should
end by his inviting Edward to dinner. That should lead to their
uninviting him in turn, and then he should have a word with Julia, and
find out what houses she visited, and get introduced to their
proprietors. Arrived at this point, his mind went over hedge and ditch
faster than my poor pen can follow; as the crow flies, so flew he, and
had reached the church-porch under a rain of nosegays with Julia--in
imagination--by then he arrived at Albion Villa in the body. Yet he
knocked timidly; his heart beat almost as hard as his hand.

Sarah, the black-eyed housemaid, "answered the door."

"Mr. Edward Dodd?"

"Not at home, sir. Left last week."

"For long?"

"I don't rightly know, sir. But he won't be back this week, I don't

"Perhaps," stammered Alfred, "the ladies--Mrs. Dodd--might be able to
tell me."

"Oh yes, sir. But my mistress, she's in London just now."

Alfred's eyes flashed. "Could I learn from Miss Dodd?"

"La, sir, she is in London along with her ma; why, 'tis for her they are
gone; to insult the great doctors."

He started. "She is not ill? Nothing serious?"

"Well, sir, we do hope not. She is pinning a bit, as young ladies will."

Alfred was anything but consoled by this off-hand account; he became
alarmed, and looked wretched. Seeming him so perturbed, Sarah, who was
blunt but good-natured, added, "But cook she says hard work would cure
our Miss of all _she_ ails. But who shall I say was asking? For my work
is a bit behind-hand."

Alfred took the hint reluctantly, and drew out his card-case, saying,
"For Mr. Edward Dodd." She gave her clean but wettish hand a hasty wipe
with her apron, and took the card. He retired; she stood on the step and
watched him out of sight, said "Oho!" and took his card to the kitchen
for preliminary inspection and discussion.

Alfred Hardie was resolute, but sensitive. He had come on the wings of
Love and Hope; he went away heavily; a housemaid's tongue had shod his
elastic feet with lead in a moment; of all misfortunes, sickness was what
he had not anticipated, for she looked immortal. Perhaps it was that fair
and treacherous disease, consumption. Well, if it was, he would love her
all the more, would wed her as soon as he was of age, and carry her to
some soft Southern clime, and keep each noxious air at bay, and prolong
her life, perhaps save it.

And now he began to chafe at the social cobwebs that kept him from her.
But, just as his impatience was about to launch him into imprudence, he
was saved by a genuine descendant of Adam. James Maxley kept Mr. Hardie's
little pleasaunce trim as trim could be, by yearly contract. This
entailed short but frequent visits; and Alfred often talked with him; for
the man was really a bit of a character; had a shrewd rustic wit, and a
ready tongue, was rather too fond of law, and much too fond of money; but
scrupulously honest: head as long as Cudworth's, but broader; and could
not read a line. One day he told Alfred that he must knock off now, and
take a look in at Albion Villee. The captain was due: and on no account
would he, Maxley, allow that there ragged box round the captains
quarter-deck: "That is how he do name their little mossel of a lawn: and
there he walks for a wager, athirt and across, across and athirt, five
steps and then about; and I'd a'most bet ye a halfpenny he thinks hisself
on the salt sea ocean, bless his silly old heart."

All this time Alfred, after the first start of joyful surprise, was
secretly thanking his stars for sending him an instrument. To learn
whether she had returned, he asked Maxley whether the ladies had sent for
him. "Not they," said Maxley, rather contemptuously; "what do women-folk
care about a border, without 'tis a lace one to their nightcaps, for none
but the father of all vanity to see. Not as I have ought to say again the
pair; they keep their turf tidyish--and pay ready money--and a few
flowers in their pots; but the rest may shift for itself. Ye see, Master
Alfred," explained Maxley, wagging his head wisely, "nobody's pride can
be everywhere. Now theirs is in-a-doors; their with-drawing-room it's
like the Queen's palace, my missus tells me; she is wrapped up in 'em, ye
know. But the captain for my money."

The sage shouldered his tools and departed. But he left a good hint
behind him. Alfred hovered about the back-door the next day till he
caught Mrs. Maxley; she supplied the house with eggs and vegetables.
"Could she tell him whether his friend Edward Dodd was likely to come
home soon?" She thought not; he was gone away to study. "He haven't much
head-piece, you know, not like what Miss Julia have. Mrs. and Miss are to
be home to-day; they wrote to cook this morning. I shall be there
to-morrow, sartain, and I'll ask in the kitchen when Master Edward is
a-coming back." She prattled on. The ladies of Albion Villa were good
kind ladies; the very maid-servants loved them; Miss was more for
religion than her mother, and went to St. Anne's Church Thursday
evenings, and Sundays morning and evening; and visited some poor women in
the parish with food and clothes; Mrs. Dodd could not sleep a wink when
the wind blew hard at night; but never complained, only came down pale to
breakfast. Miss Julia's ailment was nothing to speak of, but they were in
care along of being so wrapped up in her, and no wonder, for if ever
there was a duck----!"

Acting on this intelligence, Alfred went early the next Sunday to St.
Anne's Church, and sat down in the side gallery at its east end. While
the congregation flowed quietly in, the organist played the _Agnus Dei_
of Mozart. Those pious tender tones stole over his hot young heart, and
whispered, "Peace, be still!" He sighed wearily, and it passed through
his mind that it might have been better for him, and especially for his
studies, if he had never seen her. Suddenly the aisle seemed to lighten
up; she was gliding along it, beautiful as May, and modesty itself in
dress and carriage. She went into a pew and kneeled a minute, then seated
herself and looked out the lessons for the day. Alfred gazed at her face:
devoured it. But her eyes never roved. She seemed to have put off
feminine curiosity, and the world, at the church door. Indeed he wished
she was not quite so heavenly discreet; her lashes were delicious, but he
longed to see her eyes once more; to catch a glance from them, and, by
it, decipher his fate.

But no; she was there to worship, and did not discern her earthly lover,
whose longing looks were glued to her, and his body rose and sank with
the true worshippers, but with no more spirituality than a piston or a

In the last hymn before the sermon, a well-meaning worshipper in the
gallery delivered a leading note, a high one, with great zeal, but small
precision, being about a semitone flat; at this outrage on her
too-sensitive ear, Julia Dodd turned her head swiftly to discover the
offender, and failed; but her two sapphire eyes met Alfred's point-blank.

She was crimson in a moment, and lowered them on her book again, as if to
look that way was to sin. It was but a flash: but sometimes a flash fires
a mine.

The lovely blush deepened and spread before it melted away, and Alfred's
late cooling heart warmed itself at that sweet glowing cheek. She never
looked his way again, not once: which was a sad disappointment; but she
blushed again and again before the service ended, only not so deeply. Now
there was nothing in the sermon to make her blush: I might add, there was
nothing to redden her cheek with religious excitement. There was a little
candid sourness--oil and vinegar-- against sects and Low Churchmen; but
thin generality predominated. Total: "Acetate of morphia," for dry souls
to sip.

So Alfred took all the credit of causing those sweet irrelevant blushes;
and gloated: the young wretch could not help glorying in his power to
tint that fair statue of devotion with earthly thoughts.

But stay! that dear blush, was it pleasure or pain? What if the sight of
him was intolerable?

He would know how he stood with her, and on the spot. He was one of the
first to leave the church; he made for the churchyard gate, and walked
slowly backwards and forwards by it, with throbbing heart till she came

She was prepared for him now, and bowed slightly to him with the most
perfect composure, and no legible sentiment, except a certain marked
politeness many of our young ladies think wasted upon young gentlemen;
and are mistaken.

Alfred took off his hat in a tremor, and his eyes implored and inquired,
but met with no further response; and she walked swiftly home, though
without apparent effort. He looked longingly after her; but discretion

He now crawled by Albion Villa twice every day, wet or dry, and had the
good fortune to see her twice at the drawing-room window. He was constant
at St. Anne's Church, and one Thursday crept into the aisle to be nearer
to her, and he saw her steal one swift look at the gallery, and look
grave; but soon she detected him, and though she looked no more towards
him, she seemed demurely complacent. Alfred had learned to note these
subtleties now, for Love is a microscope. What he did not know was, that
his timid ardour was pursuing a masterly course; that to find herself
furtively followed everywhere, and hovered about for a look, is apt to
soothe womanly pride and stir womanly pity, and to keep the female heart
in a flutter of curiosity and emotions, two porters that open the heart's
great gate to love.

Now the evening before his visit to the Dodds, Dr. Sampson dined with the
Hardies, and happened to mention the "Dodds" among his old patients: "The
Dodds of' Albion Villa?" inquired Miss Hardie, to her brother's no little
surprise. "Albyn fiddlestick!" said the polished doctor. "No! they live
by the water-side; used to; but now they have left the town, I hear. He
is a sea-captain and a fine lad, and Mrs. Dodd is just the best-bred
woman I ever prescribed for, except Mrs. Sampson."

"It _is_ the Dodds of Albion Villa," said Miss Hardie. "They have two
children: a son; his name is Edward; and a daughter, Julia; she is rather
good-looking; a Gentleman's Beauty."

Alfred stared at his sister. Was she blind? with her "rather

Sampson was quite pleased at the information. "N' listen me! I saved that
girl's life when she was a year old."

"Then she is ill now, doctor," said Alfred hastily. "Do go and see her!
Hum! The fact is, her brother is a great favourite of mine." He then told
him how to find Albion Villa. "Jenny, dear," said he, when Sampson was
gone, "you never told me you knew her."

"Knew who, dear?"

"Whom? Why Dodd's sister."

"Oh, she is a new acquaintance, and not one to interest you. We only meet
in the Lord; I do not visit Albion Villa; her mother is an amiable

"Unpardonable combination!" said Alfred with a slight sneer. "So you and
Miss Dodd meet only at church!"

"At church? Hardly. She goes to St. Anne's: sits under a preacher who
starves his flock with moral discourses, and holds out the sacraments of
the Church as the means of grace."

Alfred shook his head good-humouredly. "Now, Jenny, that is a challenge;
and you know we both got into a fury the last time we were betrayed into
that miserable waste of time and temper, Theological discussion. No,

Let sects delight to bark and bite
For 'tis their nature to;
Let gown and surplice growl and fight,
For Satan makes them so.

But let you and I cut High Church and Low Church, and be brother and
sister. Do tell me in English where you meet Julia Dodd; that's a dear;
for young ladies 'meeting in the Lord' conveys no positive idea to my

Jane Hardie sighed at this confession. "We meet in the cottages of the
poor and the sick, whom He loved and pitied when on earth; and we, His
unworthy servants, try to soothe their distress, and lead them to Him who
can heal the soul as well as the body, and wipe away all the tears of all
His people."

"Then it does you infinite credit, Jane," said Alfred, warmly. "Now, that
is the voice of true religion; and not the whine of this sect, nor the
snarl of that. And so she joins you in this good work? I am not

"We meet in it now and then, dear; but she can hardly be said to have
joined me: I have a district, you know; but poor Mrs. Dodd will not allow
Julia to enlist in the service. She visits independently, and by fits and
starts; and I am afraid she thinks more of comforting their perishable
bodies than of feeding their souls. It was but the other day she
confessed to me her backwardness to speak in the way of instruction to
women as old as her mother. She finds it so much easier to let them run
on about their earthly troubles: and of course it is much _easier._ Ah!
the world holds her still in some of its subtle meshes."

The speaker uttered this sadly; but presently, brightening up, said, with
considerable _bonhomie,_ and almost a sprightly air: "But she is a dear
girl, and the Lord will yet light her candle."

Alfred pulled a face as of one that drinketh verjuice unawares; but let
it pass: hypercriticism was not his cue just then. "Well, Jenny," said
he, "I have a favour to ask you. Introduce me to your friend, Miss Dodd.
Will you?"

Miss Hardie coloured faintly. " I would rather not, dear Alfred: the
introduction could not be for her eternal good. Julia's soul is in a very
ticklish state; she wavers as yet between this world and the other world;
and it won't do; it won't do; there is no middle path. You would very
likely turn the scale, and then I should have fought against her
everlasting welfare--my friend's."

"What, am I an infidel?" inquired Alfred angrily. Jane looked distressed.
"Oh no, Alfred; but you are a worldling."

Alfred, smothering a strong sense of irritation, besought her to hear
reason; these big words were out of place here. "It is Dodd's sister; and
he will introduce me at a word, worldling as I am."

"Then why urge me to do it, against my conscience?" asked the young lady,
as sharply as if she had been a woman of the world. " You cannot be in
_love_ with her, as you do not know her."

Alfred did not reply to this unlucky thrust, but made a last effort to
soften her. "Can you call yourself my sister, and refuse me this trifling
service, which her brother, who loves her and esteems her ten times more
sincerely than you do, would not think of refusing me if he was at home?"

"Why should he? He is in the flesh himself; let the carnal introduce one
another. I really must decline; but I am very, very sorry that you feel
hurt about it."

"And I am very sorry I have not an amiable worldling for my sister,
instead of an unamiable and devilish conceited Christian." And with these
bitter words, Alfred snatched a candle and bounced to bed in a fury. So
apt is one passion to rouse up others.

Jane Hardie let fall a gentle tear: but consoled herself with the
conviction that she had done her duty, and that Alfred's anger was quite
unreasonable, and so he would see as soon as he should cool.

The next day the lover, smarting under this check, and spurred to fresh
efforts, invaded Sampson. That worthy was just going to dine at Albion
Villa, so Alfred postponed pumping him till next day. Well, he called at
the inn next day, and if the doctor was not just gone back to London!

Alfred wandered disconsolate homewards.

In the middle of Buchanan Street, an agitated treble called after him,
"Mr. Halfred! hoh, Mr. Halfred!" He looked back and saw Dick Absalom, a
promising young cricketer, brandishing a document and imploring aid. "Oh,
Master Halfred, dooce please come here. I durstn't leave the shop."

There is a tie between cricketers far too strong for social distinctions
to divide, and, though Alfred muttered peevishly, "Whose cat is dead
now?" he obeyed the strange summons.

The distress was a singular one. Master Absalom, I must premise, was the
youngest of two lads in the employ of Mr. Jenner, a benevolent old
chemist, a disciple of Malthus. Jenner taught the virtues of drugs and
minerals to tender youths, at the expense of the public. Scarcely ten
minutes had elapsed since a pretty servant girl came into the shop, and
laid a paper on the counter, saying, "Please to make that up, young man."
Now at fifteen we are gratified by inaccuracies of this kind from ripe
female lips: so Master Absalom took the prescription with a complacent
grin; his eye glanced over it; it fell to shaking in his hand, chill
dismay penetrated his heart; and, to speak with oriental strictness, his
liver turned instantly to water. However, he made a feeble clutch at
Mercantile Mendacity, and stammered out, "Here's a many ingredients, and
the governor's out walking, and he's been and locked the drawer where we
keeps our haulhoppy. You couldn't come again in half an hour, Miss, could
ye?" She acquiesced readily, for she was not habitually called Miss, and
she had a follower, a languid one, living hard by, and belonged to a
class which thinks it consistent to come after its followers.

Dicky saw her safe off, and groaned at his ease. Here was a prescription
full of new chemicals, sovereign, no doubt, _i.e.,_ deadly when applied
Jennerically; and the very directions for use were in Latin words he had
encountered in no prescription before. A year ago Dicky would have
counted the prescribed ingredients on his fingers, and then taken down an
equal number of little articles, solid or liquid, mixed them, delivered
them, and so to cricket, serene; but now, his mind, to apply the
universal cant, was "in a transition state." A year's practice had
chilled the youthful valour which used to scatter Epsom salts or oxalic
acid, magnesia or corrosive sublimate. An experiment or two by himself
and his compeers, with comments by the coroner, had enlightened him as to
the final result on the human body of potent chemicals fearlessly
administered, leaving him dark as to their distinctive qualities applied
remedially. What should he do? Run with the prescription to old Taylor in
the next street, a chemist of forty years? Alas! at his tender age he had
not omitted to chaff that reverend rival persistently and publicly.
Humble his establishment before the King Street one? Sooner perish drugs,
and come eternal cricket! And after all, why not? Drummer-boys, and
powder-monkeys, and other imps of his age that dealt destruction, did not
depopulate gratis; Mankind acknowledged their services in cash: but old
Jenner, taught by Philosophy through its organ the newspapers that
"knowledge is riches," was above diluting with a few shillings a week the
wealth a boy acquired behind his counter; so his apprentices got no
salary. Then why not shut up the old rogue's shutters, and excite a
little sympathy for him, to be followed by a powerful reaction on his
return from walking; and go and offer his own services on the
cricket-ground to field for the gentlemen by the hour, or bowl at a
shilling on their balls?

"Bowling is the lay for me," said he; "you get money for that, and you
only bruise the gents a bit and break their thumbs: you can't put their
vital sparks out as you can at this work."

By a striking coincidence the most influential member of the cricket club
passed while Dick was in this quandary.

"Oh, Mr. Halfred, you was always very good to me on the ground--you
couldn't have me hired by the club, could ye? For I am sick of this
trade; I wants to bowl."

"You little duffer!" said Alfred, "cricket is a recreation, not a
business. Besides, it only lasts five months. Unless you adjourn to the
anitipodes. Stick to the shop like a man, and make your fortune."

"Oh, Mr. Halfred," said Dick sorrowfully, "how can I find fortune here?
Jenner don't pay. And the crowner declares he will not have it; and the
Barton _Chronicle_ says us young gents ought all to be given a holiday to
go and see one of us hanged by lot. But this is what have broke this
camel's back at last; here's a dalled thing to come smiling and smirking
in with, and put it across a counter in a poor boy's hand. Oh! oh! oh!"

"Dick," said Alfred, "if you blubber, I'll give you a hiding. You have
stumbled on a passage you can't construe. Well, who has not? But we don't
shed the briny about it. Here, let me have a go at it."

"Ah! I've heard you are a scholard," said Dick, "but you won't make out
this; there's some new preparation of mercury, and there's musk, and
there's horehound, and there's a neutral salt: and dal his old head that
wrote it!"

"Hold your jaw, and listen, while I construe it to you. _'Die Mercurii,_
on Wednesday--_decima hora vespertina,_ at ten o'clock at night--_eat in
Musca:'_ what does that mean? _'Eat in Musca?'_ I see! this is modern
Latin with a vengeance. 'Let him go in a fly to the Towns-hall. _Saltet,_
let him jump--_cum tredecim caniculis,_ with thirteen little
dogs--_praesertim meo,_ especially with my little dog.' Dicky, this
prescription emanates from Bedlam direct. _'Domum reddita'_--hallo! it is
a woman, then. 'Let _her_ go in a fly to the--Town-hall, eh?' 'Let _her_
jump, no, dance, with thirteen whelps, especially mine.' Ha! ha! ha! And
who is the woman that is to do all this I wonder?"

"Woman, indeed!" said a treble at the door! "no more than I am; it's for
a young lady. O jiminy!"

This polite ejaculation was drawn out by the speaker's sudden recognition
of Alfred, who had raised his head at her remonstrance, and now started
in his turn; for it was the black-eyed servant of Albion Villa. They
looked at one another in expressive silence.

"Yes, sir, it is for my young lady. Is it ready, young man?"

"No, it ain't: and never will," squealed Dick angrily "It's a vile 'oax;
and you ought to be ashamed of yourself bringing it into a respectable

Alfred silenced him, and told Sarah he thought Miss Dodd ought to know
the nature of this prescription before it went round the chemists.

He borrowed paper of Dick and wrote:

"Mr. Alfred Hardie presents his compliments to Miss Dodd, and begs leave
to inform her that he has, by the merest accident, intercepted the
enclosed prescription. As it seems rather a sorry jest, and tends to
attract attention to Miss Dodd and her movements, he has ventured with
some misgivings to send it back with a literal translation, on reading
which it will be for Miss Dodd to decide whether it is to circulate.

"'On Wednesday, at ten P.M., let her go in a fly to the Town-hall, and
dance with thirteen little {little dogs, puppies, whelps,} especially
with mine: return home at six A.M. and sleep till dinner, and repeat the
folly as occasion serves.'"

"Suppose I could get it into Miss's hands when she's alone?" whispered

"You would earn my warmest gratitude."

"'Warmest gratitude!' Is that a warm gownd, or a warm clock, I wonder?"

"It is both, when the man is a gentleman, and a pretty, dark- eyed girl
pities him and stands his friend."

Sarah smiled, and whispered, "Give it me; I'll do my best."

Alfred enclosed the prescription and his note in one cover, handed them
to her, and slipped a sovereign into her hand. He whispered, "Be

"I'm dark, sir," said she: and went off briskly homewards, and Alfred
stood rapt in dreamy joy, and so self-elated that, had he been furnished
like a peacock, he would have instantly become a "thing all eyes," and
choked up Jenner's shop, and swept his counter. He had made a step
towards familiarity, had written her a letter; and then, if this
prescription came, as he suspected, from Dr. Sampson, she would perhaps
be at the ball. This opened a delightful vista. Meantime, Mrs. Dodd had
communicated Sampson's opinion to Julia, adding that there was a
prescription besides, gone to be made up. "However, he insists on your
going to this ball."

Julia begged hard to be excused: said she was in no humour for balls: and
Mrs. Dodd objecting that the tickets had actually been purchased, she
asked leave to send them to the Dartons. "They will be a treat to Rose
and Alice; they seldom go out: mamma, I do so fear they are poorer than
people think. May I?"

"It would be but kind," said Mrs. Dodd. "Though really why my child
should always be sacrificed to other people's children----"

"Oh, a mighty sacrifice!" said Julia. She sat down and enclosed the
tickets to Rose Darton, with a little sugared note. Sarah, being out,
Elizabeth took it. Sarah met her at the gate, but did not announce her
return: she lurked in ambush till Julia happened to go to her own room,
then followed her, and handed Alfred's missive, and watched her slily,
and being herself expeditious as the wind in matters of the heart, took
it for granted the enclosure was something very warm indeed; so she said
with feigned simplicity, "I suppose it is all right now, miss?" and
retreated swelling with a secret, and tormented her fellow-servants all
day with innuendoes dark as Erebus.

Julia read the note again and again: her heart beat at those few
ceremonious lines. "He does not like me to be talked of," she said to
herself. "How good he is! What trouble he takes about me! Ah! _he will be

She divined rightly; on Wednesday, at ten, Alfred Hardie was in the
ball-room. It was a magnificent room, well lighted, and at present not
half filled, though dancing had commenced. The figure Alfred sought was
not there; and he wondered he had been so childish as to hope she would
come to a city ball. He played the fine gentleman; would not dance. He
got near the door with another Oxonian, and tried to avenge himself for
her absence on the townspeople who were there by quizzing them.

But in the middle of this amiable occupation, and indeed in the middle of
a sentence, he stopped short, and his heart throbbed, and he thrilled
from head to foot; for two ladies glided in at the door, and passed up
the room with the unpretending composure of well-bred people. They were
equally remarkable; but Alfred saw only the radiant young creature in
flowing muslin, with the narrowest sash in the room, and no ornament but
a necklace of large pearls and her own vivid beauty. She had altered her
mind about coming, with apologies for her vacillating disposition so
penitent and disproportionate that her indulgent and unsuspecting mother
was really quite amused. Alfred was not so happy as to know that she had
changed her mind with his note. Perhaps even this knowledge could have
added little to that exquisite moment, when, unhoped for, she passed
close to him, and the fragrant air from her brushed his cheek, and seemed
to whisper, "Follow me and be my slave."


HE did follow her, and, convinced that she would be engaged ten deep in
five minutes, hustled up to the master of the ceremonies and begged an
introduction. The great banker's son was attended to at once. Julia saw
them coming, as her sex can see, without looking. Her eyes were on fire,
and a delicious blush on her cheeks, when the M. C. introduced Mr. Alfred
Hardie with due pomp. He asked her to dance.

"I am engaged for this dance, sir," said she softly.

"The next?" asked Hardie timidly.

"With pleasure."

But when they had got so far they were both seized with bashful silence;
and just as Alfred was going to try and break it, Cornet Bosanquet, aged
18, height 5 feet 4 inches, strutted up with clanking heel, and, glancing
haughtily up at him, carried Julia off, like a steam-tug towing away some
fair schooner. To these little thorns society treats all anxious lovers,
but the incident was new to Alfred, and discomposed him; and, besides, he
had nosed a rival in Sampson's prescription. So now he thought to
himself, "that little ensign is 'his puppy.'"

To get rid of Mrs. Dodd he offered to conduct her to a seat. She thanked
him; she would rather stand where she could see her daughter dance: on
this he took her to the embrasure of a window opposite where Julia and
her partner stood, and they entered a circle of spectators. The band
struck up, and the solemn skating began.

"Who is this lovely creature in white?" asked a middle-aged solicitor.
"In white? I did not see any beauty in white," replied his daughter. "Why
there, before your eyes," said the gentleman, loudly.

"What, that girl dancing with the little captain? I don't see much beauty
in her. _And_ what a rubbishing dress."

"It never cost a pound, making and all," suggested another Barkingtonian

"But what splendid pearls!" said a third: "can they be real?"

"Real! what an idea!" ejaculated a fourth: "who puts on real pearls as
big as peas with muslin at twenty pence the yard?"

"Weasels!" muttered Alfred, and quivered all over: and he felt to Mrs.
Dodd so like a savage going to spring, that she laid her hand upon his
wrist, and said gently, but with authority, "Be calm, sir! and oblige me
by not noticing these people."

Then they threw dirt on her bouquet, and then on her shoes, while she was
winding in and out before their eyes a Grace, and her soft muslin
drifting and flowing like an appropriate cloud round a young goddess.

"A little starch would make it set out better. It's as limp as a towel on
the line."

"I'll be sworn it was washed at home."

"Where it was made."

"I call it a rag, not a gown."

"Do let us move," whispered Alfred.

"I am very comfortable here," whispered Mrs. Dodd. "How can these things
annoy my ears while I have eyes? Look at her: she is the best-dressed
lady in the room; her muslin is Indian, and of a quality unknown to these
provincial shopkeepers; a rajah gave it us: her pearls were my mother's,
and have been in every court in Europe; and she herself is beautiful,
would be beautiful dressed like the dowdies who are criticising her: and
I think, sir, she dances as well as any lady can encumbered with an Atom
that does not know the figure." All this with the utmost placidity.

Then, as if to extinguish all doubt, Julia flung them a heavenly smile;
she had been furtively watching them all the time, and she saw they were
talking about her.

The other Oxonian squeezed up to Hardie. "Do you know the beauty? She
smiled your way.

"Ah!" said Hardie, deliberately, "you mean that young lady with the court
pearls, in that exquisite Indian muslin, which floats so gracefully,
while the other muslin girls are all crimp and stiff; like little pigs
clad in crackling."

"Ha! ha! ha! Yes. Introduce me."

"I could not take such a liberty with the queen of the ball."

Mrs. Dodd smiled, but felt nervous and ill at ease. She thought to
herself, "Now here is a generous, impetuous thing." As for the hostile
party, staggered at first by the masculine insolence of young Hardy, it
soon recovered, and, true to its sex, attacked him obliquely, through his
white ladye.

"Who _is_ the beauty of the ball ?" asked one, haughtily.

"I don't know, but not that mawkish thing in limp muslin."

"I should say Miss Hetherington is the belle," suggested a third.

"Which is Miss Hetherington?" asked the Oxonian coolly of Alfred.

"Oh, she won't do for us. It is that little chalk-faced girl, dressed in
pink with red roses; the pink of vulgarity and bad taste."

At this both Oxonians laughed arrogantly, and Mrs. Dodd withdrew her hand
from the speaker's arm and glided away behind the throng. Julia looked at
him with marked anxiety. He returned her look, and was sore puzzled what
it meant, till he found Mrs. Dodd had withdrawn softly from him; then he
stood confused, regretting too late he had not obeyed her positive
request, and tried to imitate her dignified forbearance.

The quadrille ended. He instantly stepped forward, and bowing politely to
the cornet, said authoritatively, "Mrs. Dodd sends me to conduct you to
her. With your permission, sir." His arm was offered and taken before the
little warrior knew where he was.

He had her on his arm, soft, light, and fragrant as zephyr, and her cool
breath wooing his neck; oh, the thrill of that moment! but her first word
was to ask him, with considerable anxiety, "Why did mamma leave you?"

"Miss Dodd, I am the most unhappy of men."

"No doubt! no doubt!" said she, a little crossly. She added with one of
her gushes of naivete, "and I shall be unhappy too if you go and
displease mamma."

"What could I do? A gang of snobbesses were detracting from--somebody. To
speak plainly, they were running down the loveliest of her sex. Your
mamma told me to keep quiet. And so I did till I got a fair chance, and
then I gave it them in their teeth." He ground his own, and added, "I
think I was very good not to kick them."

.Julia coloured with pleasure, and proceeded to turn it off. "Oh! most
forbearing and considerate," said she. "Ah! by the way, I think I did
hear some ladies express a misgiving as to the pecuniary value of my
costume; ha! ha! Oh--you--foolish!--Fancy noticing that! Why it is in
little sneers that the approval of the ladies shows itself at a ball, and
it is a much sincerer compliment than the gentlemen's bombastical
praises: 'the fairest of her sex,' and so on; that none but the 'silliest
of her sex' believe."

"Miss Dodd, I never said the fairest of her sex. I said the loveliest."

"Oh, that alters the case entirely," said Julia, whose spirits were
mounting with the lights and music, and Alfred's company; "so now come
and be reconciled to the best and wisest of her sex; ay, and the
beautifullest, if you but knew her sweet, dear, darling face as I do.
There she is; let us fly."

"Mamma, here is a penitent for you, real or feigned, I don't know which."

"Real, Mrs. Dodd," said Alfred. " I had no right to disobey you and risk
a scene. You served me right by abandoning me; I feel the rebuke and its
justice. Let me hope your vengeance will go no further."

Mrs. Dodd smiled at the grandiloquence of youth, and told him he had
mistaken her character. "I saw I had acquired a generous, hot-headed
ally, who was bent on doing battle with insects; so I withdrew; but so I
should at Waterloo, or anywhere else where people put themselves in a

The band struck up again.

"Ah!" said Julia, "and I promised you this dance; but it is a waltz and
my guardian angel objects to the _valse a deux temps._"

"Decidedly. Should all the mothers in England permit their daughters to
romp and wrestle in public, and call it waltzing, I must stand firm till
they return to their senses."

Julia looked at Alfred despondently. He took his cue and said with a
smile, "Well, perhaps it is a little rompy; a donkey's gallop and then
twirl her like a mop."

"Since you admit that, perhaps you can waltz properly?" said Mrs. Dodd.

Alfred said he ought; he had given his whole soul to it in Germany last

"Then I can have the pleasure of dropping the tyrant. Away with you both
while there is room to circulate."

Alfred took his partner delicately; they made just two catlike steps
forward, and melted into the old-fashioned waltz.

It was an exquisite moment. To most young people Love comes after a great
deal of waltzing. But this pair brought the awakened tenderness and
trembling sensibilities of two burning hearts to this their first
intoxicating whirl. To them, therefore, everything was an event,
everything was a thrill--the first meeting and timid pressure of their
hands, the first delicate enfolding of her supple waist by his strong arm
but trembling hand, the delightful unison of their unerring feet, the
movement, the music, the soft delicious whirl, her cool breath saluting
his neck, his ardent but now liquid eyes seeking hers tenderly, and
drinking them deep, hers that now and then sipped his so sweetly--all
these were new and separate joys, that linked themselves in one soft
delirium of bliss. It was not a waltz it was an Ecstasy.

Starting almost alone, this peerless pair danced a gauntlet. On each side
admiration and detraction buzzed all the time.

"Beautiful! They are turning in the air."

"Quite gone by. That's how the old fogies dance."

Chorus of shallow males: "How well she waltzes."

Chorus of shallow females: "How well he waltzes."

But they noted neither praise nor detraction: they saw nothing, heard
nothing, felt nothing, but themselves and the other music, till two
valsers _a deux temps_ plunged into them. Thus smartly reminded they had
not earth all to themselves, they laughed good-humouredly and paused.

"Ah! I am happy!" gushed from Julia. She hushed at herself, and said
severely, "You dance very well, sir." This was said to justify her
unguarded admission, and did, after a fashion. "I think it is time to go
to mamma," said she demurely.

"So soon? And I had so much to say to you."

"Oh, very well. I am all attention."

The sudden facility offered set Alfred stammering a little. "I wanted to
apologise to you for something--you are so good you seem to have
forgotten it--but I dare not hope that--I mean at Henley--when the beauty
of your character, and your goodness, so overpowered me, that a fatal

"What do you mean, sir?" said Julia, looking him full in the face, like
an offended lion, while, with true feminine and Julian inconsistency her
bosom fluttered like a dove. "I never exchanged one word with you in my
life before to-day; and I never shall again if you pretend the contrary."

Alfred stood stupified, and looked at her in piteous amazement.

"I value your acquaintance highly, Mr. Hardie, now I have made it, as
acquaintances are made; but please to observe, I never saw you
before--scarcely; not even in church."

"As you please," said he, recovering his wits in part. "What you say I'll
swear to."

"Then I say, never remind a lady of what you ought to wish her to

"I was a fool, and you are an angel of tact and goodness."

"Oh, now I am sure it is time to join mamma," said she in the driest,
drollest way. _"Valsons._"

They waltzed down to Mrs. Dodd, exchanging hearts at every turn, and they
took a good many in the space of a round table, for in truth both were
equally loth to part.

At two o'clock Mrs. Dodd resumed common-place views of a daughter's
health, and rose to go.

Her fly had played her false, and, being our island home, it rained
buckets. Alfred ran, before they could stop him, and caught a fly. He was
dripping. Mrs. Dodd expressed her regrets; he told her it did not matter;
for him the ball was now over, the flowers faded, and the lights darkness

"The extravagance of these children!" said Mrs. Dodd to Julia, with a
smile, as soon as he was out of hearing. Julia made no reply.

Next day she was at evening church: the congregation was very sparse. The
first glance revealed Alfred Hardie standing in the very next pew. He
wore a calm front of conscious rectitude; under which peeped sheep-faced
misgivings as to the result of this advance; for, like all true lovers,
he was half impudence, half timidity; and both on the grand scale.

Now Julia in a ball-room was one creature, another in church. After the
first surprise, which sent the blood for a moment to her cheek, she found
he had come without a prayer-book. She looked sadly and half
reproachfully at him; then put her white hand calmly over the wooden
partition, and made him read with her out of her book. She shared her
hymn-book with him, too, and sang her Maker's praise modestly and
soberly, but earnestly, and quite undisturbed by her lover's presence. It
seemed as if this pure creature was drawing him to heaven holding by that
good book, and by her touching voice. He felt good all over. To be like
her, be tried to bend his whole mind on the prayers of the church, and
for the first time realised how beautiful they are.

After service he followed her to the door. Island home again, by the
pailful; and she had a thick shawl but no umbrella. He had brought a
large one on the chance; he would see her home.

"Quite unnecessary; it is so near."

He insisted; she persisted; and, persisting, yielded. They said but
little; yet they seemed to interchange volumes; and, at each gaslight
they passed, they stole a look and treasured it to feed on.

That night was one broad step more towards the great happiness, or great
misery, which awaits a noble love. Such loves, somewhat rare in Nature,
have lately become so very rare in Fiction that I have ventured, with
many misgivings, to detail the peculiarities of its rise and progress.
But now for a time it advanced on beaten tracks. Alfred had the right to
call at Albion Villa, and he came twice; once when Mrs. Dodd was out.
This was the time he stayed the two hours. A Mrs. James invited Jane and
him to tea and exposition. There he met Julia and Edward, who had just
returned. Edward was taken with Jane Hardie's face and dovelike eyes;
eyes that dwelt with a soft and chastened admiration on his masculine
face and his model form, and their owner felt she had received "a call"
to watch over his spiritual weal. So they paired off.

Julia's fluctuating spirits settled now into a calm, demure, complacency.
Her mother, finding this strange remedial virtue in youthful society,
gave young parties, inviting Jane and Alfred in their turn. Jane
hesitated, but, as she could no longer keep Julia from knowing her
worldly brother, and hoped a way might be opened for her to rescue
Edward, she relaxed her general rule, which was to go into no company
unless some religious service formed part of the entertainment. Yet her
conscience was ill at ease; and, to set them an example, she took care,
when she asked the Dodds in return, to have a clergyman there of her own
party, who could pray and expound with unction.

Mrs. Dodd, not to throw cold water on what seemed to gratify her
children, accepted Miss Hardie's invitation; but she never intended to
go, and at the last moment wrote to say she was slightly indisposed. The
nature of her _indisposition_ she revealed to Julia alone. "That young
lady keeps me on thorns. I never feel secure she will not say or do
something extravagant or unusual: she seems to suspect sobriety and good
taste of being in league with impiety. Here I succeed in bridling her a
little; but encounter a female enthusiast in her own house? _merci!_
After all, there must be something good in her, since she is your friend,
and you are hers. But I have something more serious to say before you go
there: it is about her brother. He is a flirt: in fact, a notorious one,
more than one lady tells me."

Julia was silent, but began to be very uneasy; they were sitting and
talking after sunset, yet without candles. She profited for once by that
prodigious gap in the intelligence of "the sex."

"I hear he pays you compliments, and I have seen a disposition to single
you out. Now, my love, you have the good sense to know that, whatever a
young gentleman of that age says to you, he says to many other ladies;
but your experience is not equal to your sense; so profit by mine. A girl
of your age must never be talked of with a person of the other sex: it is
fatal; fatal! but if you permit yourself to be singled out, you will be
talked of, and distress those who love you. It is easy to avoid
injudicious duets in society; oblige me by doing so to-night." To show
how much she was in earnest, Mrs. Dodd hinted that, were her admonition
neglected, she should regret for once having kept clear of an enthusiast.

Julia had no alternative; she assented in a faint voice. After a pause
she faltered out, "And suppose he should esteem me seriously?"

Mrs. Dodd replied quickly, "Then that would be much worse. But," said
she, "I have no apprehensions on that score; you are a child, and he is a
precocious boy, and rather a flirt. But forewarned is forearmed. So now
run away and dress, sweet one: my lecture is quite ended."

The sensitive girl went up to her room with a heavy heart. All the fears
she had lulled of late revived. She saw plainly now that Mrs. Dodd only
accepted Alfred as a pleasant acquaintance: as a son-in-law he was out of
the question. "Oh, what will she say when she knows all?" thought Julia.

Next day, sitting near the window, she saw him coming up the road. After
the first movement of pleasure at the bare sight of him, she was sorry he
had come. Mamma's suspicions awake at last, and here he was again; the
third call in one fortnight! She dared not risk an interview with him,
ardent and unguarded, under that penetrating eye, which she felt would
now be on the watch. She rose hurriedly, said as carelessly as she could,
"I am going to the school," and tying her bonnet on all in a flurry,
whipped out at the back-door with her shawl in her hand just as Sarah
opened the front door to Alfred. She then shuffled on her shawl, and
whisked through the little shrubbery into the open field, and reached a
path that led to the school, and so gratified was she at her dexterity in
evading her favourite, that she hung her head, and went murmuring,
"Cruel, cruel, cruel!"

Alfred entered the drawing-room gaily, with a good-sized card and a
prepared speech. His was not the visit of a friend, but a functionary;
the treasurer of the cricket-ground come to book two of his eighteen to
play against the All-England Eleven next month. "As for you, my worthy
sir (turning to Edward), I shall just put you down without ceremony. But
I must ask leave to book Captain Dodd. Mrs. Dodd, I come at the universal
desire of the club; they say it is sure to be a dull match without
Captain Dodd. Besides, he is a capital player."

"Mamma, don't you be caught by his chaff," said Edward, quietly. "Papa is
no player at all. Anything more unlike cricket than his way of making

"But he makes them, old fellow; now you and I, at Lord's the other day,
played in first-rate form, left shoulder well up, and achieved--with
neatness, precision, dexterity, and despatch--the British duck's-egg.

_"Misericorde!_ What is that?" inquired Mrs. Dodd.

Why, a round O," said the other Oxonian, coming to his friend's aid.

"And what is that, pray?"

Alfred told her "the round O," which had yielded to "the duck's egg," and
was becoming obsolete, meant the cypher set by the scorer against a
player's name who is out without making a run.

"I see," sighed Mrs. Dodd. "The jargon of the day penetrates to your very
sports and games. And why British?"

"Oh, 'British' is redundant: thrown in by the universities."

"But what does it mean?"

"It means nothing. That is the beauty of it. British is inserted in
imitation of our idols, the Greeks; they adored redundancy."

In short, poor Alfred, though not an M. P., was talking to put off time,
till Julia should come in: so he now favoured Mrs. Dodd, of all people,
with a flowery description of her husband's play, which I, who have not
his motive for volubility, suppress. However, he wound up with the
captains "moral influence." "Last match," said he, "Barkington did not do
itself justice. Several, that could have made a stand, were frightened
out, rather than bowled, by the London professionals. Then Captain Dodd
went in, and treated those artists with the same good-humoured contempt
he would a parish bowler, and, in particular, sent Mynne's over-tossed
balls flying over his head for five, or to square leg for four, and, on
his retiring with twenty-five, scored in eight minutes, the remaining
Barkingtonians were less funky, and made some fair scores."

Mrs. Dodd smiled a little ironically at this tirade, but said she thought
she might venture to promise Mr. Dodd's co-operation, should he reach
home in time. Then, to get rid of Alfred before Julia's return, the
amiable worldling turned to Edward. "Your sister will not be back, so you
may as well ring the bell for luncheon at once. Perhaps Mr. Hardie will
join us."

Alfred declined, and took his leave with far less alacrity than he had
entered; Edward went down-stairs with him.

"Miss Dodd gone on a visit?" asked Alfred, affecting carelessness.

"Only to the school. By-the-bye, I will go and fetch her."

"No, don't do that; call on my sister instead, and then you will pull me
out of a scrape. I promised to bring her here; but her saintship was so
long adorning 'the poor perishable body,' that I came alone."

"I don't understand you," said Edward. "I am not the attraction here; it
is Julia."

"How do you know that? When a young lady interests herself in an
undergraduate's soul, it is a pretty sure sign she likes the looks of
him. But perhaps you don't want to be converted; if so, keep clear of
_her._ 'Bar the fell dragon's blighting way; but shun that lovely

"On the contrary," said Edward calmly, " I only wish she could make me as
good as she is, or half as good."

"Give her the chance, old fellow, and then it won't be your fault if she
makes a mess of it. Call at two, and Jenny will receive you very kindly,
and will show you you are in the 'gall of bitterness and the bond of
iniquity.' Now, won't that be nice?"

"I will go," said Edward gravely.

They parted. Where Alfred went the reader can perhaps guess; Edward to

"Mamma," said he, with that tranquillity which sat so well on him, "don't
you think Alfred Hardie is spoony upon our Julia?"

Mrs. Dodd suppressed a start, and (perhaps to gain time before replying
sincerely) said she had not the honour of knowing what "spoony" meant.

"Why, sighs for her, and dies for her, and fancies she is prettier than
Miss Hardie. He must be over head and ears to think that."

"Fie, child! " was the answer. "If I thought so, I should withdraw from
their acquaintance. Excuse me; I must put on my bonnet at once, not to
lose this fine afternoon."

Edward did not relish her remark: it menaced more Spoons than one.
However, he was not the man to be cast down at a word: he lighted a
cigar, and strolled towards Hardie's house. Mr. Hardie, senior, had left
three days ago on a visit to London; Miss Hardie received him; he passed
the afternoon in calm complacency, listening reverently to her
admonitions, and looking her softly out of countenance, and into earthly
affections, with his lion eyes.

Meantime his remark, so far from really seeming foolish to Mrs. Dodd, was
the true reason for her leaving him so abruptly "Even this dear slow
Thing sees it," thought she. She must talk to Julia more seriously, and
would go to the school at once. She went up-stairs, and put on her bonnet
and shawl before the glass; then moulded on her gloves, and came down
equipped. On the stairs was a large window, looking upon the open field;
she naturally cast her eyes through it in the direction she was going,
and what did she see but a young lady and gentleman coming slowly down
the path towards the villa. Mrs. Dodd bit her lip with vexation, and
looked keenly at them, to divine on what terms they were. And the more
she looked the more uneasy she grew.

The head, the hand, the whole body of a sensitive young woman walking
beside him she loves, betray her heart to experienced eyes watching
unseen; and especially to female eyes. And why did Julia move so slowly,
especially after that warning ? Why was her head averted from that
encroaching boy, and herself so near him? Why not keep her distance, and
look him full in the face? Mrs. Dodd's first impulse was that of
leopardesses, lionesses, hens, and all the mothers in nature; to dart
from her ambush and protect her young; but she controlled it by a strong
effort; it seemed wiser to descry the truth, and then act with
resolution: besides, the young people were now almost at the shrubbery;
so the mischief if any, was done.

They entered the shrubbery.

To Mrs. Dodd's surprise and dismay, they did not come out this side so
quickly. She darted her eye into the plantation; and lo! Alfred had
seized the fatal opportunity foliage offers, even when thinnish: he held
Julia's hand, and was pleading eagerly for something she seemed not
disposed to grant; for she turned away and made an effort to leave him.
But Mrs. Dodd, standing there quivering with maternal anxiety, and hot
with shame, could not but doubt the sincerity of that graceful
resistance. If she had been quite in earnest, Julia had fire enough in
her to box the little wretch's ears. She ceased even to doubt, when she
saw that her daughter's opposition ended in his getting hold of two hands
instead of one, and devouring them with kisses, while Julia still drew
her head and neck away, but the rest of her supple frame seemed to yield
and incline, and draw softly towards her besieger by some irresistible

"I can bear no more!" gasped Mrs. Dodd aloud, and turned to hasten and
part them; but even as she curved her stately neck to go, she caught the
lovers' parting; and a very pretty one too, if she could but have looked
at it, as these things ought always to be looked at: artistically.

Julia's head and lovely throat, unable to draw the rest of her away,
compromised: they turned, declined, drooped, and rested one half moment
on her captor's shoulder, like a settling dove: the next, she scudded
from him, and made for the house alone.

Mrs. Dodd, deeply indignant, but too wise to court a painful interview,
with her own heart beating high, went into the drawing-room, and there
sat down, to recover some little composure. But she was hardly seated
when Julia's innocent voice was heard calling "Mamma, mamma!" and soon
she came bounding into the drawing-room, brimful of good news, her cheeks
as red as fire and her eyes wet with happy tears; and there confronted
her mother, who had started up at her footstep, and now, with one hand
nipping the back of the chair convulsively, stood lofty, looking
strangely agitated and hostile.

The two ladies eyed one another, silent, yet expressive, like a picture
facing a statue; but soon the colour died out of Julia's face as well,
and she began to cower with vague fears before that stately figure, so
gentle and placid usually, but now so discomposed and stern.

"Where have you been, Julia?"

"Only at the school," she faltered.

"Who was your companion home?"

"Oh, don't be angry with me! It was Alfred."

"Alfred! His Christian name! You try my patience too hard."

"Forgive me. I was not to blame this time, indeed! indeed! You frighten
me. What will become of me? What have I done for my own mamma to look at
me so?"

Mrs. Dodd groaned. "Was that young coquette I watched from my window the
child I have reared ? No face on earth is to be trusted after this. 'What
have you done' indeed? Only risked your own mother's esteem, and nearly
broken her heart!" And with these words her own courage began to give
way, and she sank into a chair with a deep sigh.

At this Julia screamed, and threw herself on her knees beside her, and
cried "Kill me! oh, pray kill me! but don't drive me to despair with such
cruel words and looks!" and fell to sobbing so wildly that Mrs. Dodd
altered her tone with almost ludicrous rapidity. "There, do not terrify
me with your impetuosity, after grieving me so. Be calm, child; let me
see whether I cannot remedy your sad imprudence; and, that I may, pray
tell me the whole truth. How did this come about?"

In reply to this question, which she somewhat mistook, Julia sobbed out,
"He met me c-coming out of the school, and asked to s-see me home. I said
'No thank you,' because I th-thought of your warning. 'Oh yes!' said he,
and _would_ walk with me, and keep saying he loved me. So, to stop him, I
said, 'M-much ob-liged, but I was b-busy and had no time to flirt.' 'Nor
have I the in-inclination,' said he. 'That is not what others say of
you,' said I--you know what you t-told me, mamma--so at last he said
d-did ever he ask any lady to be his wife? 'I suppose not,' said I, 'or
you would be p-p-private property by now instead of p-public.'"

"Now there was a foolish speech; as much as to say nobody could resist

"W-wasn't it? And n-no more they could. You have no idea how he makes
love; _so_ unladylike: keeps advancing and advancing, and never once
retreats, nor even st-ops. 'But I ask _you_ to be my wife,' said he. Oh,
mamma, I trembled so. Why did I tremble? I don't know. I made myself cold
and haughty; 'I should make no reply to such ridiculous questions; say
that to mamma, if you dare!' I said."

Mrs. Dodd bit her lip, and said, "Was there ever such simplicity?"

"Simple! Why that was my cunning. You are the only creature he is afraid
of; so I thought to stop his mouth with you. But instead of that, my lord
said calmly, 'That was understood; he loved me too well to steal me from
her to whom he was indebted for me.' Oh, he has always an answer ready.
And that makes him such a p-pest."

"It was an answer that did him credit."

"Dear mamma! now did it not? Then at parting he said he would come
to-morrow, and ask you for my hand; but I must intercede with you first,
or you would be sure to say 'No.' So I declined to interfere: 'W-w-what
was it to me?' I said. He begged and prayed me: 'Was it likely you would
give him such a treasure as Me unless I stood his friend?' (For the
b-b-brazen Thing turns humble now and then.) And, oh, mamma, he did so
implore me to pity him, and kept saying no man ever loved as he loved me,
and with his begging and praying me so passionately--oh, so
passionately--I felt something warm drop from his poor eyes on my hand.
Oh! oh! oh! oh!--What could I do? And then, you know, I wanted to get
away from him. So I am afraid I did just say 'Yes.' But only in a
whisper. Mamma! my own, good, kind, darling mamma, have pity on him and
on me; we love one another so."

A shower of tender tears gushed out in support of this appeal and in a
moment she was caught up with Love's mighty arms, and her head laid on
her mother's yearning bosom. No word was needed to reconcile these two.

After a long silence, Mrs. Dodd said this would be a warning never to
judge her sweet child from a distance again, nor unheard. "And
therefore," said she, "let me hear from your own lips how so serious an
attachment could spring up. Why, it is scarcely a month since you were
first introduced at that ball."

"Mamma," murmured Julia, hanging her head, "you are mistaken; we knew
each other before."

Mrs. Dodd looked all astonishment.

"Now I _will_ ease my heart," said Julia, impetuously, addressing some
invisible obstacle. "I tell you I am sick of having secrets from my own
mother." And with this out it all came. She told the story of her heart
better than I have; and, woman-like, dwelt on the depths of loyalty and
delicate love she had read in Alfred's moonlit face that night at Henley.
She said no eloquence could have touched her like it. "Mamma, something
said to me, 'Ay, look at him well, for that is your husband to be.'" She
even tried to solve the mystery of her _soi-disant_ sickness: "I was
disturbed by a feeling so new and so powerful,* but, above all, by having
a secret from you; the first--the last."

*Perhaps even this faint attempt at self-analysis was due to the
influence of Dr. Whately. For, by nature, young ladies of this age seldom
turn the eye inward.

"Well, darling, then why have a secret? Why not trust me, your friend as
well as your mother?"

"Ah! why, indeed? I am a puzzle to myself. I wanted you to know, and yet
I could not tell you. I kept giving you hints, and hoped so you would
take them, and make me speak out. But when I tried to tell you plump,
something kept pull--pull--pulling me inside, and I couldn't. Mark my
words! some day it will turn out that I am neither more nor less than a

Mrs. Dodd slighted this ingenious solution. She said, after a moment's
reflection, that the fault of this misunderstanding lay between the two.
"I remember now I have had many hints; my mind must surely have gone to
sleep. I was a poor simple woman who thought her daughter was to be
always a child. And you were very wrong to go and set a limit to your
mother's love: there is none--none whatever." She added: "I must import a
little prudence and respect for the world's opinion into this new
connection; but whoever you love shall find no enemy in me."

Next day Alfred came to know his fate. He was received with ceremonious
courtesy. At first he was a good deal embarrassed, but this was no sooner
seen than it was relieved by Mrs. Dodd with tact and gentleness. When her
turn came, she said, "Your papa? Of course you have communicated this

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