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pleased to see the affectionate face which was lifted to his. He bent from the hobby to give the panting, barking creature a hearty greeting, made of alternate stroking and repressive pats; then, with no uncertain grip upon the reins, sped on to Bridlington.
THE VISIT TO BRIDLINGTON
reddened to find how light the purse was. John, too, reddened; then, on a well-inspired impulse, he held out his hand, and made Parson proud and happy by accepting his contribution. He did more. Parson was the owner of a sturdy Irish horse, the merits of which he never wearied of extolling. It was not beautiful, but was untiring. He now mentioned this fact again to John.
"Well, Parson!” said John.
"Why, brother, my thought was," Parson answered, “an' you would ride the hobby, the journey to London would be made the easier."
John said nothing, but strode towards the stables. The hobby was soon saddled, and, mounted on her, he bade his brother adieu.
“You are not going to London the nearest way, brother," Parson demurred, as the rider set off. John laughed. He was
going to London vid Bridlington, which was certainly not the nearest way. He made no answer, but urged the hobby forward. When out of sight of Bucklands he slackened speed, and for a space rode slowly, with eyes fixed in a blind stare. His hands mechanically retained hold of the reins, but the brain that should have guided them was dormant, and, for the time being, numbed by an overwhelming sense of his outcast condition which suddenly came upon him, the disinherited heir of Bucklands rode like one in a dream. The hobby the while made good her master's opinion of her, by stepping on wisely and warily.
How long John England might have remained in reverie, it is impossible to say. As events took their course, he was suddenly startled by a loud bark. The southern hound was alongside of him. She was his property, but it had not entered his thoughts to take her with him to London, and their connection was one of such comparative newness that he was as much surprised as
The Bridlington of to-day, with its railway station, its town hall, commercial exchange, dissenting chapels, banks and hat factories, was a thing undreamt of a hundred years ago, when little more than one long street composed the market town which was to attain to such affluence, and where so many new houses were to be built, while what remained of the noble priory, that of old housed what was here most honored, was to crumble more and more away.
Among the influences which effected the change of old Bridlington to new Bridlington, that exerted by "the Quay" was a major one. The high estimation in which this place came to be held had a reflex action upon the neighboring townlet, and as John England rode through Bridlington on his way to the Quay, he had abundant opportunity to notice, if his observing faculties had been more awake than they were, that the maxim that the times change and we change with them, was finding man. ifold illustration in regions not far remote from Bucklands.
John's mood was not one which inclined him to meditate upon that thing, and he rode at a quick canter through the town, only again slackening speed as he came in sight of the sea. It was quiet and sunlit. While not a man who habitually made an augur of Nature, John was conscious of interpreting this fact as boding good to him. His sur
prise and mortification were the greater at a communication made to him on his presenting himself at the house which was the summer abode of Penelope, nominally under the protection of her grandmother, a lady whose advanced age and great infirmity made the young girl to all intents and purposes her own mistress.
On being ushered into a room in which the old and the young gentlewoman sat, John learnt from the latter that Alce was deeply offended, and had signified her fixed intention to hold aloof from a family, the head of which had subjected her to gross insult.
Penelope, who was still in her riding habit, and who sat on a hassock at her grandmother's feet, tenderly holding the hand of the old lady, spoke with face averted from her, and using a low voice, as who should say: "Spare we these white hairs with the quarrels of us young folk.” John, the while, who stood full in view of the old lady, was not able so to disguise his face that she did not notice the great distress in it.
“Is anything gone wrong, John?" she quavered. “Is this girl unkind?"
"No ma'am," John answered. “Penelope is always kind."
"I think he is so," the old lady ansented, and she added, as she closed her eyes—“I am very sleepy."
Penelope laughed. It was evidently her grandmother's intention to efface her presence as much as might be.
"Well, Gran'am hears little, and will now see nothing," the girl then said, "so I will tell you all, John. Alce is in a prodigious pet, and your thinking she would see you now is the most stupid thing that even a man could imagine." The man thus trounced winced.
"You may, therefore, go back to Bucklands,” Penelope added, quietly.
"Bucklands is my home no more,” John said, equally quietly.
Penelope, with a start, requested that he would be more explicit, and he gave
her as briefly as might be an account of what had happened. He also informed her of his intention to go to London. “How came you here?”' the girl asked. "On Parson's hobby.”
“Are you going to London on Parson's hobby?”
“Lest I be killed with a fall from Parson's hobby," was the ironical an. swer; and John, who was going on foot to London to save expense in certain directions, added:
"Have you any more questions to ask, Penelope ?"
“Yes," the girl replied, bravely. "Is there anything I can do for you, John, that your fine gentleman's pride and delicacy will not kick at?”
John laughed, despite himself; then he said, echoing the sarcastic phrasing of the blunt, kind girl:
“Yes, there are three things you can do for me, Penelope, that my fine gen. tleman's pride and delicacy will not kick at. These are, firstly, that you will let your man in York take his hobby ba to Parson-I will ride with her to York and leave her at your stables there; secondly, that you will make my peace with Parson that the hobby was not rode by me to London; and, thirdly, that you will keep Sweetlips-the southern hound-who has followed me from Bucklands. She is of a rare breed and merits better care than I can give her till I have made my fortune."
"She is herself worth much," Penelope said, tentatively.
“I know it,” was answered, shortly. Penelope decided not to make an offer to purchase Sweetlips, and vainly racked her brain to evolve some other method of transferring some of her excess of wealth to the poor fellow who contemplated going afoot to London.
She could think of none that would not eyes softened) "that you are not dead give dire offence, and exclaimed, petu- of weariness.” lantly:
“May I, indeed, Penelope, write to “I am glad I am not a gentleman, you?” John asked, with an overjoyed John, for they are the most ridiculous expression. creatures."
"Why, yes, and-since you are going John bowed.
so far away, John, I will not hide from “I am glad you are a lady, Penelope,” you what my heart feelingly tells me" he said, "for if you were a gentleman -Penelope used this fine flower of I could not let you call me a most ridic- speech with no abatement of her nat. ulous creature."
uralness—"which is that Alce may yet “Are you angry, John?” was asked. be yours, for we young ladies,"
"Angry!" John exclaimed. “Am I a Here a wafture of the hand was used fool, Penelope, that I should misunder- to give the idea of young feminine mostand a most generous and amiable bility. young lady?”
John, of set purpose, wore a look of The girl thus singularly be-epitheted blank non-comprehension. looked relieved. Then she said:
“Fy, John,” came the angry ejacula"How long is, John, the journey tion, "must one spell Constantinople' from York to London?"
to the last letter before you gentlemen “'Tis not two hundred miles,” John will understand that 'Constantinople' is answered, rightly concluding that Pene- being spelled ?" lope would not divine from this answer John smiled. Then he bent over the that it was two hundred miles minus girl's hand and kissed it. three. “It has been gone on foot and Mrs. Steptoe, who, from feigning back in six days,” he added.
slumber, had fallen into an actual sleep, Penelope, in conformity with her at this moment opened her eyes. character of amiable young lady, ex- "Well, children?" she said. pressed the gratification which it af- It was the wish of Mrs. Steptoe's forded her that John would only have heart that her granddaughter should be half this footing to perform. “Where John England's wife, and her voice exwill you rest?" she asked.
pressed a trembling excitement. “At Ferrybridge, at Grantham, and “What has had place?" she asked. at Eaton," John answered, naming the "Nothing has had place, but that John principal halting-places on the great is going to London," Penelope anroad from York to London.
swered, “and has said good-bye to me, “You will see a great part of the and will say good-bye to you, Gran'. world,” Penelope exclaimed. Under am." the timid guardianship of her grand- The old lady's face fell sadly, and mother, she had herself never been al- she asked John, anxiously, how long he lowed to travel farther than York. purposed sojourning in a city where “When you have gotten to each of these gentlemen, 'twas said, were miserably places,” she added, “I pray you will drawn into the eddy of worldly dissiwrite to us, and do not tease us with pation. ruined abbeys and Gothic castles-we John looked at the woebegone face; are no antiquarians—though, indeed, then kissed the old lady affectionately, Alce is full of Roman
assuring her that he meant to sojourn Druidical circles" (John pricked his no longer than need was in that perilears), “but tell us plainly what has ous city, and giving her his promise to happed to you, and" (the girl's bright keep his honor bright.
“Do you not love John, my dear?" The old lady, in that deep anger which Mrs. Steptoe asked of her granddaugh- results when there is a-going “agley"! ter after his exit.
of what seems the best-laid schemes “No, Gran'am," was answered.
of men and mice, lifted a trembling “And who is it you love?" the old finger, and said: lady asked, testily.
“Whichever of you becomes John “What, Gran'am, do you mean by England's wife I will dower"-a pause 'love'?" the girl queried, with her chin here gave solemn emphasis to words a little pertly tilted.
which the speaker eventually made "The passion of that name, my dear,” good—“and though the wealth assured her grandmother answered, eyeing to you is thought considerable, Penequietly the chin.
lope, this is in part because you are “This John England has for Alce and accounted my heiress, and with what she for him," Penelope replied.
should derive to you from me would "Then I will dower Alce, and will be the richest woman in Yorkshire, not dower you,” Mrs. Steptoe said, “for which you will not be if I shall make as you know, my wish was always that Alce my heiress." a granddaughter of mine should marry "I do not, Gran'am, ambitionate to John England, and with her wealth re- be the richest woman in Yorkshire," the pair Bucklands."
girl said, softly. The answer to this was obvious. "Do not you?” the old lady exPenelope had inherited considerable claimed, and added, "Perhaps, too, you riches from her father, and would not do not ambitionate to be the most adbe impoverished by her grandmother's mired young lady in Yorkshire, which action; on the other hand, Alce, who I see your cousin Alce is become.” had no fortune, would be greatly bene- “Is John England, Gran'am, all the fited by being dowered by Mrs. Step- admirers in Yorkshire?” the girl asked, toe. With charming tact Penelope did with some temper. She was entirely not put this case, but said, as she fancy-free, and did not desire John lowered her head:
England's admiration, but she had so “I am sorry, Gran'am, to disoblige long been the most admired young lady you, but indeed I love not John Eng- in Yorkshire that she could not forego land, and be loves not me."
that title quite calmly, and, while will"Loves!" the old lady exclaimed, and ing to cede the first place in one heart now, in her turn, put a question which to Alce, was not willing to cede to her was, with a slight variation, the one be- the first place in every heart. fore put by her granddaughter. “What “Who will you name as deserving to is your notion of love, Penelope ?” rank with John England, a most hand
"A flame," Penelope answered, "a--a some young gentleman and a most virvirtuous flame."
tuous, whom all we hereabout always The amendment on conventional lines hoped to see your husband, Penelope ?" was a happy idea. "Virtuous" is a “Heart, every summer finds handgood word, but the fact is that Pene- some young gentlemen hereabout!” lope put rather more stress on "flame." Penelope exclaimed. Her grandmother indulgently ignored "And virtuous?" that circumstance, and said:
“Very like," the girl replied. "Sure, one could feel a virtuous flame "You are, miss, a simpleton.” for John, Penelope."
Mrs. Steptoe said this very coldly; “Ay, Gran'am, but 'twere sure a pity then she added: it-two did this," objected Penelope. “I have not patience to see you longer, and have not power to leave you, so hand, marriage being a great ceremony, desire you will leave me.”
she pardonably felt that a sine qud “You are, Gran'am, very angry,” the non in her case was that her heart girl said, sorrowfully.
should be given to the gentleman to "I am so, Penelope,” was answered. whom she gave her hand, and her heart "Your not marrying John England is at this time, far from being given to what I never inferred could happen." any gentleman, was filled with love for
"He has, Gran'am, not asked me," two gentlewomen, her grandmother Penelope answered, with suspicious de- and her cousin Alce. To her cousin mureness.
Alce she now carried her distress. "This is your fault, Penelope,” Mrs. It was not an easy matter to acSteptoe said. “The young lady must quaint Alce with what had happened give the occasion.”
without making her feel that she was This Georgian sentiment did not in- in a measure to blame, and Penelope, cense Penelope to the extent that it avoiding the personal, had recourse to might incense a young Victorian gentle- the abstract. woman, and without cavilling with the “ 'Tis remarkable,” she said, "how not dictum in the abstract she said, con- securing their own wills can inhuman. fining herself to the consideration of it ize the hearts of those persons most as applied to her individual case:
cried up for their tenderness, mammas “If there were twenty John Englands, and—” she paused, and used significant Gran'am, and there is, I suppose, only stress—"grandmammas." one" (the addendum was made in a Penelope so seldom led up to the ac. tone of ironical regret), “I would give tual through the abstract, that Alce for none of them the occasion to marry me, a moment looked nonplussed. Then because"
she said: There was a pause. Mrs. Steptoe's "You have had a quarrel with Granface said “Proceed."
'am, Penelope." "Because my heart is not engaged," “The greatest I ever had," was anPenelope proceeded.
swered. "You are grown romantic,” Mrs. Step- Alce's face expressed extreme shock. toe answered, "and I now see you are Mrs. Steptoe and her granddaughter resolved to marry without taking the Penelope, openly her favorite, did not judgment of your best friend in the always agree, and Alce had witnessed choice. This is the new fashion with altercations between them, which to young ladies who are come to revolt her had appeared to touch the outer against the counsels of the sober and limit of the seemly. prudent part of their family, their "You was very pert, I fear, Penemammas and grandmammas. Did not lope," she surmised. I say, Penelope, you might leave me? “Nay, 'twas not our usual kind of Your company was never less agree- quarrel," Penelope answered the kind able to me."
of quarrel to which she referred being The tears flushed Penelope's eyes, one in which she generally came of and she took her departure silently. worst, by reason of pitting young im. The good head that went with her good pertinence against the venerable wisheart enabled her to see that her dom of her kinswoman-"I was scarce grandmother's anger had its foundation pert at all." in strong love of her, and, as she had “This was strange," Alce said, with confessed, she was heartily sorry to dis- more candor than clemency. oblige her kinswoman. On the other “ 'Tis true," came the quiet assevera