Imatges de pÓgina

The trouble was a lion, and Miss Martha drew his last letter from the pocket of her was but a mouse, but a mouse who never apron, and spread it upon her knees, and left off gnawing at the nets and the chains. read it many times. There was not one

On the present occasion Miss Martha word in the whole about coming home. was thinking about Paul. She could not In the mean time May had passed over tell why, but she had thought a great deal the rim of the Golden Mountain, and forabout the young man lately. For the past gotten her own identity in marvelling at few days he had scarcely for a moment been the beauty of the world. This midsummer absent from her mind. She had dreamedeve seemed like to be the first of a new era about him every night, and she had talked in her life. The oxen planted their feet on about little else every day. This was the the steep pavement, the carriage slid slowly more remarkable, as a new event ought from brae to brae, and from hillock to to have sent all her ideas in the direction hillock, moors, fens, and lakes shimmered of Camlough. Miss Martha was fully and burned in the sun, and shifted with aware of the important step that was taken a magical intermingling of lines and hues, when an attractive young girl like May floating off in flecks of blue and silver, was sent to establish a friendly footing in and amethyst and amber, to become mere a house like that of the Archbolds, where pencillings of tinted glory in the distance. she should be admired, and coveted, and In the midst of all this flush of nature on taught the ways of the world. Miss went May like a queen of summer upon a Martha's pride on this point knew no royal progress, with golden weeds brushing bounds. A stray duke might find his way her cheeks, and crimson berries dropping to Camlough, and might want to place his ripe into her hands. Till the castle apcoronet on May's simple brow. Well, and peared in sight, and then a little accident was it for her own desolation upon the occurred. consummation of such an event that Miss A shrill wailing sound had been for some Martha could fret over her knitting ? Was minutes coming from a distance towards it for her own sake that she cherished so the carriage. fierce an enmity towards that imaginary Accustomed to the strange cries of birds duke ? No; there was nothing about that. and shepherds, May, did not mind it; It was Paul who would be defrauded, Paul neither did the coachman nor the drivers who would be wronged. Miss Martha, I of the oxen. At last it arose out of a bush have hinted, was a faithful soul, and she above their heads. had accepted Paul Finiston as the son of " Aye-aye-aye-aye-aye!" her heart. Whilst his mother had lived he This was a human voice, and, moreover, had been nothing to her, but his mother there was a white pocket-handkerchief was dead, and he was second with her waving madly from the point of a very ( now; and Miss Martha's second was far long umbrella. Yet no human being was better than very many people's first. It to be seen. was an object of her life to bring him home “It's a banshee !” murmured one of the from his wandering to pet him, to worship men who led the oxen. “Go | him, to watch over his interests, and con- he said, whacking the animals in trepida1 strain fortune, if it might be, to relinquish tion. her old grudge against his family, and to “Ye idiot! don't ye see it's a lady in shower favours for the future upon this disthress !" thundered down one of the innocent head. And in order that her coachmen from his perch upon the box. heart might not be divided, she would A figure had appeared upon the bank make her first and her second into one above, looming largely against the sky. It precious whole, so that one could not hurt was dressed in a long dark gown, a scarlet the other, whilst she herself must be just to shawl, and a white kerchief over the head both. Thus best would she pay her debt and under the chin. The face was long to the dead Elizabeth. Yet here, and amid and fat, and suffering from recent sunburn. these day-dreams, was May, with all her The arms were waved with tragic appeal sweetness, whirled away into the chances towards the travellers. of the world, and Paul beyond seas, and “It's Mrs. Lee, a lady from the castle, that imaginary duke coming post-haste to miss," said the coachman, touching his hat Camlough. Šo Miss Martha might have to May. “It's likely she wants a sate in guessed very well how for the past few the carriage. Lost herself, I suppose, she days she had been thinking so incessantly has. Ye've no objections, miss? Yes, of Paul. Now, when she was alone, she ma'am, comin', ma'am. Lane me,

on, ye baste !"


her eyes.

to you.

ma'am! Oh, begorra, you'll have to come bonnet. Her figure did not seem suited to an' help us, Darby! Press yer weight climbing or jumping, yet to enjoy solitude betune the two of uz, ma'am ! it'll balance on the braes of Camlough climbing and betther. Now, sl-ither down, ma'am, jumping were indispensable accomplishand ye'll come safe to the botthom !” And ments. the tall, stout lady was fairly dragged "You will be quite surprised at finding down the sandstone cliff, and deposited me here,” said Mrs. Lee, answering her panting on the road.

thought. “But, my dear ma'am, a troubled She looked helpless, travel-soiled, and mind will not let a person rest. It walks weary. Tears and dust were mingled in one about. It gets one into scrapes. What

I would give for leave to sit and rest myMy dear ma'am,” she said piteously to self a whole long day, my dear ma'am-I May, "I beg your pardon, but I am obliged could not describe it to you !" to intrude."

May murmured something to the effect “Not at all,” said May. “I shall be that she was sorry to learn that Mrs. Lee glad of a companion.”

was troubled in her mind. “ Thank you, thank you, thank you!" “My dear ma'am,” said Mrs. Lee, gasped Mrs. Lee all round, as the men “ troubled is no word for it. Tortured is once more put their hands under her elbows a more natural expression.” and hoisted her respectfully into the car- This was said with such earnestness, and riage.

with such a face of distress, that May be“A-a-ah !" she groaned, sinking back came sympathising, and looked so. into the seat, and sitting upon May, and “ A-ah! Tortured is the word. And unfurling a large umbrella against the san. there has been no one to confide in here. “My dear ma'am, I am exceedingly obliged The truth is, I am afraid of her ladyship.

We cannot be introduced till we And besides, how could I speak to her on get to the castle. You are particular in such a subject ? I have already appealed these countries, and that is quite proper. to the girl herself, but she is as hard as flint, But in the mean time might we not have a and as wicked as a witch. And Christopher little conversation ?"

is mad and blind. My dear ma'am, my “I should be very glad of it,” said May. son is being ruined before my eyes."

"A-ah !" groaned Mrs. Lee again. "If May at this point got a lively fear that you had been lost on the hills ever since the lady beside her was a little more than breakfast time this morning you would not troubled in her mind. A marriage with be a very entertaining companion. You the beautiful and wealthy Katherine seemed would be hungry and tired, and in bad the strangest disguise in which ruin could humour, like me.

attack a young man. Mrs. Lee's long, smooth face was chiefly “I

hope you are mistaken,” she said. expressive of softness and feebleness. She “Well, well! This is no place for enhad great brown eyes, fall of meek and tering into particulars," Mrs. Lee said, irritating patience. She had a complaining waving her umbrella towards the coachvoice, and her words fell out of her mouth man. “ Another time I will pour out my as if the wires that managed her speaking troubles to you." were out of order. She had come from Here the carriage swept round before America, but it was not very clear to what the castle entrance, and May had hardly country she belonged. She had not the time to protest that she was the very worst smartness of an American, nor the elegance person in the world for a confidante. of an English woman, nor yet the liveliness Figures were scattered on the lawn, watchand humour of an Irishwoman. She was ing for the travellers. Sir John welcomed not exactly coarse or vulgar, but she was May very kindly as his special guest; heavy and unrefined. Her accent was of Lady Archbold gave her the outside of her no nation, and her manners were peculiarly cheek and the tips of her fingers, and Kaher own.

She had been heard to address therine embraced her. The greetings were Sir John as “My dear ma'am.” It seemed made in the midst of laughter. Scouts had odd that this lady should be a guest at been sent to the hills in search of Mrs. Lee. Camlough, but she was Christopher's “Go away, young man,” said that lady mother, and this was Katherine's doing. to the footman, “I will have my own son

May was naturally wondering what to help me out." could have brought this good lady so high Christopher stepped forth with a good up on the hills, alone and without her enough grace, blushing, smiling, and knit

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ting his brows. He was fond of his divided between his fifteen sons and twelve mother, and anxious to be good to her, daughters, the abundant progeny of two but she was apt to try his patience before wives. The first earl's titles fell to his strangers.

second son, but he dying without issue, Why do you go roving about the hills they passed to the next surviving brother, like a gipsy, mother ?” he said, deprecat- the ninth son, and he never marrying, they ingly, as she leaned on his shoulder, and came eventually to the tenth son, the father heaved herself slowly to the ground. of the unfortunate earl who ended his mis

"Why?" she said, turning upon him with spent life at Tyburn. meek wrath. “To keep you from harm if I This unhappy nobleman-a man of can. But it seems I might as well stay at violent passions—had a clear intellect and home."

acknowledged abilities, when his brain was Quite as well,” said Christopher, with not sodden with wine and brandy. Then he angry eyes, and then laughed foolishly, and became a madman, whom wealth and power told his mother to go in and dress ; that she only rendered more dangerous. In 1752 was a dear old goose, and made great he married Mary, the daughter of Amos mistakes.

Melville, Esquire. (This lady afterwards

marrieda brother of the Dukeof Argyll.) ToOLD STORIES RE-TOLD.

wards his wife the earl behaved with insane barbarity. A single instance of his ground

less cruelty and ferocity will suffice. Lord In the year 1758 the tongues of Lei- Ferrers's brother and his wife were paying cestershire gossips were busy with the wild a visit at Staunton-Harold, and some disdoings and extraordinary behaviour of pute arose between the two gentlemen. Laurence Shirley, the fourth Earl Ferrers, One day, the countess being absent from who lived at Staunton-Harold, near Ashby- the room, the earl rushed up-stairs with a de-la-Zouch, on the Staffordshire borders large clasp-knife in his hand, and asked a of Leicestershire.

servant whom he met where his lady was. The house of Ferrers boasted the blaest The man replied, “In her own room, blood in Leicestershire, however much it upon which Lord Ferrers ordered him to had corrupted in the person of the turbu- load a brace of pistols and follow him. The lent and savage-tempered master of Staun- man obeyed the order, but, apprehensive ton. The family, sprung from the royal of mischief, put no priming to the pistols. Plantagenets, had fought and governed Lord Ferrers discovering this, swore at him, in England for generations. One sturdy and taking the powder primed the pistols ancestor, struck down beside the king's himself. He then threatened that if the standard at the great battle of Shrews- man did not immediately go and shoot his bury, in the early part of the reign of brother, the captain, he wonld blow his Henry the Fourth, has been immortalised brains out. The servant naturally hesiby Shakespeare. The second baronet of the tating to obey this order, the earl pulled family, Sir Henry Shirley, married one of the trigger of one of the pistols, but the daughters of the last favourite of Eliza-luckily it missed fire. The countess, beth, the Earl of Essex. The son of Henry, coming in at this juncture, threw herself Sir Robert Shirley, was kept close in the on her knees, and begged him to restrain Tower by Cromwell for his obstinate ad his passion. The earl, brandishing the herence to the cause of Charles the First. other pistol, sullenly swore at her, and Sir Robert's second son was summoned to threatened to blow her brains out if she parliament by Charles the Second, in re- continued to vex and thwart him. The ward for his father's loyalty, by the title servant, taking advantage of this lull to of Lord Ferrers, of Chartley, as the de- escape from the room, and running pale scendant of one of the coheiresses of and scared to the captain's bedroom, reRobert, Earl of Essex, the title having ported to him all that had passed. Upon been in abeyance since the head of Essex which the captain very wisely made his fell on the Tower Hill scaffold, and the wife get up and dress herself, and they precedency having been suspended since the both left the house instantly, though it was reign of Edward the First. In 1711, Queen then only two o'clock in the morning. Anne created Robert Lord Ferrers, Vis- On all occasions when annoyed the earl count Tamworth, and Earl Ferrers. This flew into tremendous rages with his sernobleman had ruled over vast domains, but vants, and cuffed and beat them as if they they were much reduced by being sub- had been slaves or convicts. On one oc


casion, some oysters sent from London more beyond his control. Whatever his arriving tainted, the earl ordered one of his fury suggested as such times, he at once men to swear before the magistrates that endeavoured to effect. Taking lodgings at the carrier had confessed to changing the Muswell Hill, he one Sunday, in a momenbarrels. The servant respectfully declining tary caprice, sent off a mounted messenger to take any such oath, the earl burst into post-baste for a favourite mare which he one of his whirlwinds of passion, flew at had intrusted to the care of the landlord of the man, stabbed him in the breast with a a neighbouring inn. The messenger found knife, cut his head with a silver candlestick, the family absent; and, moreover, as the and kicked him so terribly that he suffered boy who kept the keys was also at church, for several years afterwards.

the stable where the mare was could not In 1756, the earl's temper was again at be entered. On hearing this, the earl blood heat. At the Derby races he cruelly blazed up into madness, snatched up a

a mare (then in foal) against the swordstick, and, arming two of his serhorse of a Captain M. for fifty pounds, vants with guns and sledge-hammers, and won.

In the evening over the wine, hurried away to the inn. There meeting the captain, laughing about the earl's mare, the landlord, the earl wounded him with offered to run his horse against her again his sword-cane, knocked down the frightat the end of seven months. Lord Ferrers, ened landlady, broke down the stable-doors, enraged at what his wild temper at once and carried off the mare in maniacal trisuspected to be a prearranged insult, in- umph. Yet in this same inn the earl frestantly, though it was three o'clock in the quently lodged, revelling with the village morning, left Derby, and posted to his seat topers, alternately threatening and treating at Staunton-Harold. The next morning, them; drinking scalding coffee out of the as soon as he awoke, he tore at his bed- spout of a coffee-pot; breaking rows of room bell, and called for his groom. He glasses, and often threatening to smash the asked how Captain M. came to be told that landlord's bureau and throttle the land. the mare that ran at Derby was in foal. lady. In calmer moments he was desponThe groom denied that he had ever told dent, lamented his fits of rage, and begged any one about the mare. The next day people not to be offended with his ways. the earl waited in vain for the captain and In 1760, the trustees under the act of the rest of his Derby friends, whom he had separation proposed Mr. Johnson, the earl's insulted, and who naturally refused to ex- steward, as the receiver of rents for the pose themselves to fresh annoyances. Lord countess's use. This Mr. Johnson had been Ferrers, enraged at finding that no one bred up in the family from his youth, and came, fell on his footmen, and, rushing was distinguished for his regularity in ac. among them furious as Herod among the counts, for his general respectability and innocents, kicked and horsewhipped them tried fidelity. With an instinctive presenti. all round, and threw everything at them ment of evil, Johnson at first declined the that he could lift.

trust, till specially urged to take it by his The natural end of the earl's mad rages master, for at this time Johnson stood very was the divorce sued for and obtained by high in the earl's opinion. They soon, howhis long-suffering wife in 1758. Horace ever, became the deadliest of enemies, for Walpole, writing to his crony and gossip, Johnson refusing to in any way falsify the Sir Horace Mann, then at Florence, dilates accounts, the earl swore at him for having of course upon the earl's divorce, and men- been a witness for the countess at the trial tions some particulars of the earl's extra- for divorce, and for having lent his unordinary conduct on the occasion, when he happy wife in her need fifty pounds. dared not throw boot-jacks at the counsel, The earl soon began to accuse Johnson or decanters at the judges. He did not of treachery, especially of having combined attend the trial, in fact, at all, but, probably with the trustees to disappoint him of a to affect a contemptuous indifference, rode contract for certain coal mines; he also atthe same day to Hertford assizes, to prose- tempted with might and main to turn him cute Page, a well-known highwayman, who out of an advantageous farm, half a mile had recently robbed him.

from Staunton - Harold, which he held The disgrace and vexation attending the under his lordship, but the trustees renew. divorce seem to have pushed the earl just ing the lease, the earl was baffled. This that step further which tumbled him over repulse raised the madman's passions to the precipice of madness. His paroxysms the last degree. Fired with drink, he now of passion grew more frequent and still bent himself to murder. With all the canning of insanity the earl behaved to

“Down on your other knee,” roared the the faithful steward with great affability, earl, so loud as to be heard in the kitchen. and transacted business with him without “Down, and declare what you have done reproaches or angry remonstrances. The against Lord Ferrers. Your time is come. family at Staunton-Harold, during this You must die.” fatal lull, consisted of Mrs. Clifford, the Then he fired. The pistol-ball entered the earl's mistress, her four daughters, three steward's body just under the last false rib, men-servants, an old man, a boy, and three and penetrated the bowels. Johnson did not maids. On Sunday, January the 13th, fall, but, pale and suffering, staggered to a 1760, the earl rode up quietly to the door seat, uttering groans and appeals for mercy, of Johnson, who lived about half a mile Lord Ferrers drew out a second loaded from the hall, and, with his usual brusque pistol, still shouting to the dying man to voice and manner, desired him to come to sign the paper, but did not fire again. In Staunton between three and four o'clock about twenty minutes or so he grew calm in the afternoon of the following Friday. enough to unlock the door, go into the On the day named, just after the two passage and call out, " Who is there?” o'clock dinner of the family, Lord Ferrers to the frightened women who had huddled went into the still-house, a semi-detached together for safety in the wash-house. On building, where Mrs. Clifford and the chil- the boldest and most compassionate of them dren lodged, and sent her for a walk to coming to where the wounded man satz. her father's house, two miles off. He then pressing his side and groaning, he sent her sent all the men-servants away on some at once for some one to help in getting fool's errand or other. Mrs. Clifford and the steward up-stairs to bed. Lord Ferrers, the children were not to return till half- who, wonderful to relate, was perfectly past five. He had a clear field in which to sober, now despatched a mounted mescarry out his no doubt long-matured pur senger for Mr. Kirkland, a surgeon of pose. The three maids could not stay his Ashby-de-la-Zouch, two miles distant, and arm, and would be too frightened even to then went himself up to the wounded spread an alarm in the outbuildings. man, whom the maid was tending, and

At the appointed hour the unconscious asked him how he found himself. The steward arrived at the house prepared for steward faintly replied that he was dying, his slaughter. Elizabeth Burgham, the and begged his murderer to send for his maid, smilingly let him in, and showed him children. Lord Ferrers at once sent for the to the door of his lordship's room.

steward's daughter. On her arrival Lord Lord Ferrers sallenly came to the door, Ferrers sent one of the maids up with her and ordered the steward to go and wait in to her father's room, and soon after followed the still-house. In about ten minutes Lord himself, in great perturbation, being now Ferrers came out, called the steward into fully conscious of the danger. Johnson keing bis room, and at once, to his surprise, nearly insensible, Lord Ferrers pulled down locked the door, and took out the key. the clothes and sponged the orifice of the Hitherto Johnson had felt no alarm; but wound with arquebusade water. Then he now he saw the earl's face darken, and his went down-stairs, and drank himself drunk brow knit, as the earl turned on him with great draughts of beer.

The mesangrily, ordering him at once to pay cer senger soon after returned with the surtain disputed sums, and, after curses and geon, to whom Lord Ferrers frankly conthreats, producing a prepared paper, "a con- fessed his violence, but said he thought fession of villany,” as he called it, which Johnson was more frightened than hurt. he insisted on Johnson then and there sign- "I intended,” he said, “ to have shot ing. The steward refused to sign any such him dead, for he was a villain, and deserved document, and, half angry, half alarmed, to die; but now I have spared his life, I. expostulated and declared his innocence desire you to do what you can for him.” of any evil intention against his lordship. He also declared that no one should lay But the madness of revenge had entire bands on him, and that he would shoot

over that infirm and fierce dead whoever attempted it. Mr. Kirkland, nature. The earl, snatching a loaded pistol knowing the man's fiery temper, and seefrom the deep side-pocket of his square-cut ing that he was partly drunk, assured him laced coat, cocked it and presented it, that there was no danger, and that no shouting, "Kneel down."

violence would be offered him. On the The astonished man, afraid to refuse, surgeon probing the wound, Lord Ferrers. knelt on one knee.

produced the pistol, described the direc

role now

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