Imatges de pÓgina

as Guy Darrell himself when I saw him last (prouder, indeed)—that he should be so ungrateful to his benefactor! And, indeed, the day may come when he may turn round on you, or on the lame old gentleman, and say, he has been disgraced. Should not wonder at all! Young folks, when they are sweethearting, only talk about roses and angels, and such-like; but when husbands and wives fall out, as they always do sooner or later, they don't mince their words then, and they just take the sharpest thing that they can find at their tongue's end. So you may depend on it, my dear Miss, that some day or other that young Haughton will say, 'that you lost him the old manor-house and the old Darrell name,' and have been his disgrace; that's the very word, Miss; I've heard husbands and wives say it to each other over and over again."

SOPHY.-"Oh, Mr Fairthorn, Mr Fairthorn these horrid words cannot be meant for me. I will go to Mr Darrell-I will ask him how I

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FAIRTHORN.-"Ay; go to Mr Darrell, if you please. He will deny it all; he will never speak to me again. I don't care-I am reckless. But it is not the less true that you make him an exile because you may make me a beggar."

SOPHY (wringing her hands)."Have you no mercy, Mr Fairthorn? Will you not explain?"

FAIRTHORN. “Yes, if you will promise to keep it secret at least for the next six months-anything for breathing-time."

"SOPHY (impatiently).-"I promise, I promise; speak, speak."

And then Fairthorn did speak! He did speak of Jasper Losely-his character his debasement-even of his midnight visit to her host's chamber. He did speak of the child fraudulently sought to be thrust on Darrell-of Darrell's just indignation and loathing. The man was merciless; though he had not an idea of the anguish he was inflicting, he was venting his own anguish. All the mystery of her past life became clear at once to the unhappy girl

all that had been kept from her by protecting love. All her vague conjectures now became a dreadful certainty;-explained now why Lionel had fled her-why he had written that letter, over the contents of which she had pondered, with her finger on her lip, as if to hush her own sighs

all, all! She marry Lionel now! impossible! She bring disgrace upon him, in return for such generous, magnanimous affection! She drive his benefactor, her grandsire's vindicator, from his own hearth! Sheshe-that Sophy who, as a mere infant, had recoiled from the thought of playful subterfuge and tamperings with plain honest truth! She rose before Fairthorn had done; indeed, the tormentor, left to himself, would not have ceased till nightfall.

"Fear not, Mr Fairthorn," she said resolutely, "Mr Darrell will be no exile; his house will not be destroyed. Lionel Haughton shall not wed the child of disgrace! Fear not, sir; all is safe!"

She shed not a tear; nor was there writ on her countenance that CHANGE, speaking of blighted hope, which had passed over it at her young lover's melancholy farewell. No, now she was supported-now there was a virtue by the side of a sorrow-now love was to shelter and save the beloved from disgrace-from disgrace! At that thought, disgrace fell harmless from herself, as the rain from the plumes of a bird. She passed on, her cheek glowing, her form erect.

By the porch door she met Waife and the Morleys. With a kind of wild impetuosity she seized the old man's arm, and drew it fondly, clingingly within her own. Henceforth they, two, were to be, as in years gone by, all in all to each other. George Morley eyed her countenance in thoughful surprise. Mrs Morley, bent as usual on saying something scasonably kind, burst into an eulogium on her brilliant colour. So they passed on towards the garden side of the house. Wheels-the tramp of hoofs, full gallop; and George Morley, looking up, exclaimed, "Ha! here comes Lionel !-and see, Darrell is hastening out to welcome him!"


The Letter on which Richard Fairthorn relied for the defeat of the conspiracy against Fawley Manor-house. Bad aspects for Houses. The House of Vipont is threatened. A Physician attempts to medicine to a mind diseased. A strange communication, which hurries the reader on to the next chapter.

It has been said that Fairthorn had committed to a certain letter his last desperate hope that something might yet save Fawley from demolition, and himself and his master from an exile's home in that smiling nook of earth to which Horace invited Septimius, as uniting the advantages of a mild climate, excellent mutton, capital wine; and affording to Septimius the prospective privilege of sprinkling a tear over the cinder of his poetical friend while the cinder was yet warm; inducements which had no charm at all to Fairthorn, who was quite satisfied with the Fawley Southdowns-held in just horror all wishy-washy light wines-and had no desire to see Darrell reduced to a cinder for the pleasure of sprinkling that cinder with a tear.

The letter in question was addressed to Lady Montfort. Unscrupulously violating the sacred confidence of his master, the treacherous wretch, after accusing her, in language little more consistent with the respect due to the fair sex than that which he had addressed to Sophy, of all the desolation that the perfidious nuptials of Caroline Lyndsay had brought upon Guy Darrell, declared that the least Lady Montfort could do to repair the wrongs inflicted by Caroline Lyndsay, was. not to pity his master!-that her pity was killing him. He repeated, with some grotesque comments of his own, but on the whole not inaccurately, what Darrell had said to him on the subject of her pity. He then informed her of Darrell's consent to Lionel's marriage with Sophy; in which criminal espousals it was clear, from Darrell's words, that Lady Montfort had had some nefarious share. In the most lugubrious colours he brought before her the consequences of that marriage-the extinguished name, the demolished dwell

ing-place, the renunciation of native soil itself. He called upon her, by all that was sacred, to contrive some means to undo the terrible mischief she had originally occasioned, and had recently helped to complete. His epistle ended by an attempt to conciliate and coax. He revived the image of that wild Caroline Lyndsay to whom He had never refused a favour; whose earliest sums he had assisted to cast up-to whose young idea he had communicated the elementary principles of the musical gamut-to whom he had played on his flute, winter eve and summer noon, by the hour together; that Caroline Lyndsay who, when a mere child, had led Guy Darrell where she willed, as by a thread of silk. Ah, how Fairthorn had leapt for joy when, eighteen years ago, he had thought that Caroline Lyndsay was to be the sunshine and delight of the house to which she had lived to bring the cloud and the grief! And by all these memories, Fairthorn conjured her either to break off the marriage. she had evidently helped to bring about, or failing that, to convince Guy Darrell that he was not the object of her remorseful and affectionate compassion!

Caroline was almost beside herself at the receipt of this letter. The picture of Guy Darrell effacing his very life from his native land, and destroying the last memorials of his birthright and his home-the conviction of the influence she still retained over his bleak and solitary existence-the experience she had already acquired that the influence failed where she had so fondly hoped it might begin to repair and to bless, all overpowered her with emotions of yearning tenderness and unmitigated despair. What could she do? She could not offer herself, again to be rejected. She could not write again, to force her penitence upon

the man who, while acknowledging his love to be unconquered, had so resolutely refused to see, in the woman who had once deceived his trust the Caroline of old! Alas, if he were but under the delusion that her pity was the substitute, and not the companion of love, how could she undeceive him? How say how write "Accept me, for I love you?" Caroline Montfort had no pride of rank, but she had pride of sex; that pride had been called forth, encouraged, strengthened, throughout all the years of her wedded life. For Guy Darrell's sake, and to him alone, that pride she had cast awaytrampled upon; such humility was due to him. But when the humility had been once in vain, could it be repeated--would it not be debasement? In the first experiment she had but to bow to his reproach-in a second experiment she might have but to endure his contempt. Yet how, with her sweet, earnest, affectionate nature-how she longed for one more interview-one more explanation! If chance could but bring it about; if she had but a pretext-a fair reason apart from any interest of her own, to be in his presence once more! But in a few days he would have left England for ever--his heart yet more hardened in its resolves by the last sacrifice to what it had so sternly recognised to be a due to others. Never to see him more never to know how much in that sacrifice he was suffering now would perhaps suffer more hereafter, in the reaction that follows all strain upon purpose-and yet not a word of comfort from her — her who felt born to be his comforter!

But this marriage, that cost him so much, must that be? Could she dare, even for his sake, to stand between two such fair young lives as those of Lionel and Sophy-contide to them what Fairthorn had declared -appeal to their generosity? She shrack from indicting such intolerable sorrow. Could it be her duty In her inability to solve this last problem, she betbought herself of Alban Morley; here, at least, he might give advice-fer suggestion. She wht to his house, entreating him to al Her messenger was

some hours before he found the Colonel, and then brought back but a few hasty lines-"Impossible to call that day. The CRISIS had come at last! The Country, the House of Vipont, the British Empire, were trembling in the balance. The Colonel was engaged every moment for the next twelve hours. He had the Earl of Montfort, who was intractable and stupid beyond conception, to see and talk over; Carr Vipont was hard at work on the materials for the new Cabinet- Alban was helping Carr Vipont. If the House of Vipont failed England at this moment, it would not be a CRISIS, but a CRASH! The Colonel hoped to arrange an interview with Lady Montfort for a minute or two the next day. But perhaps she would excuse him from a journey to Twickenham, and drive into town to see him; if not at home, he would leave word where he was to be found."

By the beard of Jupiter Capitolinus, there are often revolutions in the heart of a woman, during which she is callous to a CRISIS, and has not even a fear for a CRASH!

The next day came George's letter to Caroline, with the gentle message from Darrell; and when Dr Fwhose apprehensions for the state of her health Colonel Morley had by no means exaggerated, called in the afternoon to see the effect of his last prescription, he found her in such utter prostration of nerves and spirits, that he resolved to hazard a dose not much known to great ladies, viz., three grains of plain-speaking, with a minim of frightening.

"My dear lady," said he, "yours is a case in which physicians can be of very little use. There is something on the mind which my prescriptions fail to reach; worry of some sort-decidedly worry. And unless you yourself can either cure that, or will make head against it, worry, my dear Lady Montfort, will end, not in consumption-you are too finely formed to let worry eat holes in the lungs-no; but in a confirmed aneurism of the heart, and the first sudden shock might then be immediately fatal. The heart is a noble organ-bears a great dealbut still its endurance has limits.

Heart complaints are more common than they were-over-education, and over-civilisation, I suspect. Very young people are not so subject to them; they have flurry, not worry -a very different thing. A good chronic silent grief of some years' standing, that gets worried into acute inflammation at the age when feeling is no longer fancy, throws out a heart disease which sometimes kills without warning, or sometimes, if the grief be removed, will rather prolong than shorten life, by inducing a prudent avoidance of worry in future. There is that worthy old gentleman who was taken so ill at Fawley, and about whom you were so anxious; in his case there had certainly been chronic grief; then came acute worry, and the heart could not get through its duties. Fifty years ago doctors would have cried, apoplexy!' nowadays we know that the heart saves the head. Well, he was more easy in his mind the last time I saw him, and, thanks to his temperance, and his constitutional dislike to self-indulgence in worry, he may jog on to eighty, in spite of the stethoscope! Excess in the moral emotions gives heart-disease; abuse of the physical powers, paralysis; both more common than they were -the first for your gentle sex, the socond for our rough one. Both, too, lie in wait for their victims at the entrance into middle life. I have a very fine case of paralysis now; a man built up by nature to live to a hundred-never saw such a splendid formation-such bone and such muscle. I would have given Van Amburgh the two best of his lions, and my man would have done for all three in five minutes. All the worse for him, my dear lady-all the worse for him. His strength leads him on to abuse the main fountains of life, and out jumps avenging Paralysis and fells him to earth with a blow. Tis your Hercules that Paralysis loves; she despises the weak invalid, who prudently shuns all excess. And so, my dear lady, that assassin called Aneurism lies in wait for the hearts that abuse their own force of emotion; sparing hearts that, less vital, are thrifty in waste and

supply. But you are not listening to me! And yet my patient may not be quite unknown to your ladyship; for in happening to mention, the other day, to the lady who at tends to and nurses him, that I could not call this morning, as I had a visit to pay to Lady Montfort at Twickenham, she became very anxious about you, and wrote this note, which she begged me to give you. She seems very much attached to my patientnot his wife nor his sister. She interests me ;-capital nurse-cleverish woman too. Oh! here is the note."

Caroline, who had given but little heed to this recital, listlessly received the note-scarcely looked at the address and was about to put it aside, when the good doctor, who was intent upon rousing her by any means, said, No, my dear lady, I promised that would see you read the note; besides, I am the most curious of men, and dying to know a little more who and what is the writer."



Caroline broke the seal and read as follows:

"If Lady Montfort remembers Arabella Fossett, and will call at Clare Cottage, Vale of Health, Hampstead, at her ladyship's earliest leisure, and ask for Mrs Crane, some information, not perhaps important to Lady Montfort, but very important to Mr Darrell, will be given."

Lady Montfort startled the doctor by the alertness with which she sprang to her feet and rang the bell.

"What is it?" asked he.

"The carriage immediately," cried Lady Montfort as the servant entered.

Ah! you are going to see the poor lady, Mrs Crane, eh? Well, it is a charming drive, and just what I should have recommended. Any exertion will do you good. Allow me; why, your pulse is already fifty per cent better. Pray, what relation is Mrs Crane to my patient?"

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"I really don't know; pray excuse me, my dear Dr F

Certainly; go while the day is fine. Wrap up a close carriage, mind;-and I will look in to-mor


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Wherein is insinuated the highest compliment to Woman ever paid to her sex by the Author of this work.

Lady Montfort has arrived at Clare Cottage. She is shown by Bridgett Greggs into a small room upon the first floor; folding-doors to some other room, closely shut-evidences of sickness in the house ;-phials on the chimney-piece-a tray with a broth basin on the table-a saucepan on the hob-the sofa one of those that serve as a bed, which Sleep little visits, for one who may watch through the night over some helpless sufferer a woman's shawl thrown carelessly over its hard narrow bolster-all, in short, betraying that pathetic untidiness and discomfort which says that a despot is in the house to whose will order and form are subordinate; the imperious Tyranny of Disease establishing itself in a life that, within those four walls, has a value not to be measured by its worth to the world beyond. The more feeble and helpless the sufferer, the more sovereign the despotism the more submissive the servitude.

In a minute or two one of the folding-doors silently opened, and as silently closed, admitting into Lady Montfort's presence a grim woman in iron-grey.

Caroline could not, at the first glance, recognise that Arabella Fossett, of whose handsome, if somewhat too strongly defined and sombre countenance, she had retained a faithful reminiscence. But Arabella had still the same imposing manner which had often repressed the gay spirits of her young pupil; and as she now motioned the great lady to a seat, and placed herself beside, an awed recollection of the schoolroom bowed Caroline's lovely head in mute respect.

MRS CRANE. "You too are changed since I saw you last,-that was more than five years ago, but you are not less beautiful. You can still be loved;-you would not scare away the man whom you might desire to save. Sorrow has its partialities. Do you know that I have




a cause to be grateful to you, without any merit of your own? In a very dark moment of my life-only vindictive and evil passions crowding on me-your face came across my sight. Goodness seemed there so beautiful - and, in this face, Evil looked so haggard! Do not interrupt I have but few minutes to spare Yes; at the sight of that face, gentle recollections rose up. had ever been kind to me; and truthful, Caroline Lyndsay-truthful. Other thoughts came at the beam of that face, as other thoughts come when a strain of unexpected music reminds us of former days. I cannot tell how, but from that moment a something more like womanhood than I had known for years, entered into my heart. Within that same hour I was sorely tried-galled to the quick of my soul. Had I not seen you before, I might have dreamed of nothing but a stern and dire revenge. And a purpose of revenge I did form. But it was not to destroy-it was to save! I resolved that the man who laughed to scorn the idea of vows due to me-vows to bind life to life-should yet sooner or later be as firmly mine as if he had kept his troth; that my troth at least should be kept to him, as if it had been uttered at the altar. Hush, did you hear a moan?-No! HE lies yonder, Caroline Lyndsay-mine, indeed, till the grave us do part. These hands have closed over him, and he rests in their clasp, helpless as an infant." Involuntarily Caroline recoiled. But looking into that careworn face, there was in it so wild a mixture of melancholy tenderness, with a resolved and fierce expression of triumph, that, more impressed by the tenderness than by the triumph, the woman sympathised with the woman; and Caroline again drew near, nearer than before, and in her deep soft eyes pity alone was seen. Into those eyes Arabella looked as if spellbound, and the darker and

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