Imatges de pÓgina

in a very low condition of mind and body. world looked upon with pity, and half her Her maid Willis, whose life was rendered a little world regarded with contempt, had burden to her by the perpetual and always enjoyed a wealth of quiet happiness, such contradictory orders which she was receiv- as was granted but to few of her friends. ing from the invalid, could have vouched From the day she told her story, Gerald's for this; and so could Doctor Asprey, who manner had altered towards her.

He was was in such constant request, and had his not less affectionate ; on the contrary, valuable time so much intruded upon by whenever he was with her she could see his eccentric patient, that he was compelled that he strove to pay her constant atten. to speak out frankly, and to come to an tion, and to be specially loving, both in understanding with her.

language and manner, whenever he ad"Your guineas, my dear Mrs. Entwistle,” dressed her. But the young man was said the great physician, blandly, "are as changed, changed in every way, and, as good to me as any one else's, and if I Mrs. Entwistle thought, very much for the thought I earned them honestly I should worse. The society into which she had not have the smallest scruple in taking introduced him, and in which he had them. Further, I am bound to say that taken such delight, had no longer any were I, as I was some years ago, a strug- charm for him. Formerly his absences from gling man, to whom fees are an object, home were comparatively rare, and on his my scruples would trouble me infinitely return he would generally bring with him less than they do now. But the fact is, some anecdote of the company in which there is a large number of persons anxious his time had been passed; now he was for my advice, to whom I can be of real away constantly from morning till night, service, while to you I can do no possible and, as regarded most of his actions, was good. Your bodily health is certainly no silent as the grave. worse than it was previous to your last

There was

one subject, however, on attack, no worse, that is to say, in itself. which Gerald had spoken to his aunt, and If you suffer yourself to be preyed upon by spoken frankly. That girl, whose acany mental disquietude, you at once put quaintance he had made when he was yourself out of the range of my art. I amongst those theatrical people, and whom cannot minister to a mind diseased, my he had met in London on her way to some dear Mrs. Entwistle, nor should I presume low employment which she had-he had to suggest to you where you would most spoken about her. When he first menprobably receive the necessary consolation.” tioned his accident of encountering with

Thanks, doctor, for your reticence," Rose in the street, narrating at the same said Mrs. Entwistle, with a faint smile. time how he had known her as a child, and “A man of less savoir faire would certainly given her drawing-lessons at Wexeter, Mrs. have recommended me to apply to the Entwistle gave no hint of objection to his incumbent of the parish. However, my renewal of the acquaintance, but, on the mental disquietude, as you term it, is not contrary, expressed a wish that Rose of any great moment, and I will take care should be brought to call upon her, and not to pester you causelessly any more.” patronised her, as we have seen. After

In declaring that the trouble which preyed she had received a visit from the young upon her mind was of no great moment, Mrs. girl, and noticed her rare and delicate Entwistle scarcely spoke the truth. Ever beauty, her simple self-possession, and the since she had revealed to Gerald the history general air of refinement and high breedof her early days, and of the manner in ing which characterised her, more espewhich, for the sake of gratifying her own cially after she had marked the effect which longings for vengeance, she had practised these charms had unmistakably produced upon his father's jealousy, the aspect of upon Gerald, it occurred to Mrs. Entwistle life had changed to her. Other persons that certain relations might eventually would have found such a life passed on an arise between the young people, of which invalid's sofa, whence, as she knew well, she would be supposed to be in ignorance, she would never be carried but to her but which would necessarily prevent her grave, sufficiently blank and colourless. from receiving Miss Pierrepoint in her But from the day on which Gerald Har house. Mrs. Entwistle was a woman of the dinge first took up his abode with her, to world, and of that world which now-a-day that on which she saw the tear steal down is not reticent in its remarks about matters his face, as he listened to the story of his which our ancestors discreetly ignored; so mother's wrongs, the woman, whom all the she took an opportunity of mentioning what


she bad in her mind to Gerald, and re- better disposed towards the person of ceived a reply which, both in words and his choice. She felt herself in duty bound meaning, was stronger and sterner than to request Gerald to bring Rose constantly anything which she had yet heard from to her house, by which means she herself his lips. Mrs. Entwistle shrugged her saw far more of her nephew than she other. shonlders ; her nephew was a purist, she wise would have done. For the lovesupposed, and the young men of the pre- making between Gerald and Rose at this sent day, if he were to be taken as an ex- period of their career was by no means so ample, were notably different from those of offensive as such proceedings are generally her time. His friendship with this young supposed to be; and their meetings were girl was, she supposed, one of those queer usually held in Mrs. Entwistle's boudoir, fancies which were part and parcel of his where they sat by the side of the invalid's artistic nature. It never occurred to her sofa. Mrs. Entwistle had bitterly opposed for one moment that George Heriot, no Gerald's plan for going down to Springlonger an outcast, but, though not yet re- side, and acquainting his father with the stored to his position and his name, yet details of the story which she had told him, well placed before the world as her adopted not merely because it would incense Sir heir, could ever intend to offer marriage to Geoffry against her and place her character Rose Pierrepoint, an unknown person, who in a most disadvantageous light—as for earned her living by her own labour, and that she cared nothing—but the result of when Gerald announced to her that he had the interview, whatever it might be, might proposed, and been accepted by this same have the effect of hastening Gerald’s mar"young person," and was only awaiting riage. For if Sir Geoffry, believing what the result of his interview with his father was told him, and repenting of his former to carry the project into execution, Mrs. rigorous conduct, clasped his son to his heart Entwistle was furious. It is probable that and reinstated him in his position, he would in her rage she might have ordered her be too glad in the excess of his joy to agree nephew to quit the house, had not Gerald to anything his son wished, and to accept in the same speech announced to her, with as daughter-in-law no matter who might all expressions of gratitude for her past be proposed. While, on the other hand, kindness, hiş intention of being solely self- should the attempt at reconciliation prove reliant for the future, and of seeking his a failure, there was the chance that Gerald fortune in a foreign country. Then her love in his fury would instantly ally Rose's fate for the boy, which had been growing up with his own, and forgetful of the promise for the last few years, increasing year by which he had made to remain with his year as his manhood developed, asserted aunt until her death, would start off with itself with fullest force, and in the bitter- his wife to seek their fortune in a new ness of her despair at the idea of part. land. And although her fears had not been ing from him, the proud woman humbled verified, Mrs. Entwistle was still not withherself to pour forth a plaint which no one out alarm. She had seen how much Gerald could have listened to unmoved. Why had taken to heart the rebuff and the insult should his marriage, which ought to be a he had received. She had noticed-she joy to them both, prove a source of sorrow could not help noticing and grieving over to ber? What necessity was there for him —the change in his appearance and manner, to go away? Could he not bring his wife the loss of the fire and energy which to that house, which for years he had formerly characterised his every thought looked upon as his home, where she should and movement, the dull, moody, brooding be received as a daughter, and of which state into which he had fallen, and from she should be made the mistress ? Ah, which even Rose's companionship somewould he not wait by her a very, very times failed to rouse him. He had told her little time longer, until—until—and then for in all his communications with her her voice broke, and Gerald, profoundly Gerald was consistently frank—that his touched, whispered that her wishes should one great aim in life was to be reconciled to

his father, that he had told Rose as much, But when this excited emotion, which and that she had given him fresh hope. It lasted for a very short period with Mrs. appeared that Rose – how, or through Entwistle, had passed away, she found whom, she would not say—had the means herself not one whit more inclined to ap- of bringing certain influence to bear upon prove of what she held to be her nephew's Sir Geoffry Heriot, and this influence was intention of mésalliance, not one atom to be strongly exercised in Gerald's favour.

be obeyed.

- Your

Mrs. Entwistle, being really in her heart secret of which you guard so jealously, has extremely doubtful of the existence of any not yet been able to prevail upon Sir such power as that described by her Geoffry to grant his son that interview nephew, at first endeavoured to inveigle upon which Gerald counts so much ?” Rose into a discussion in which a judicious No, it has not.” series of cross-questioning might either “It,'repeated Mrs. Entwistle, with a have exposed the pretence, or elicited from sarcastic inflection of her voice. her the source and means of her influence prudence, especially for so young a person, with Sir Geoffry. Finding this to be a is quite wonderful. By saying 'it,' you total failure, and utterly discomfited by the commit neither yourself nor any one else. quiet manner in which the girl parried all If any other man than Geoffry Heriot her attacks, Mrs. Entwistle was reduced to had been in question, I would have wagered uttering small scraps of sarcastic doubt, you had said she.'" and even of these she was compelled to be “I am forbidden to state the means by chary in her nephew's presence.

which I am in hopes of winning Sir Geoffry See her now, stretched out on the sofa, to our side, and as you are aware, Mrs. her head thrown back, her thin hand, still Entwistle, Gerald, who is equally ignorant clasping the light fire-screen, fallen pas. as everybody else about them, absolves me sively by her side. Doctor Asprey may he from telling him. right; that dull, dead, white complexion, “I am aware of that, Rose,” said Mrs. those hollow cheeks, those puckered lips, Entwistle, with a repetition of her former may belong to what has become her normal hesitation, “and I am sure I do not desire state, but it is a grewsome aspect never- | to press you upon the subject. It will be theless, and one suggestive of dire illness, sufficient for us to know the name of our if not of immediately impending dissolu- benefactor when-well, when we have de tion, to the uninitiated beholder.

rived any benefit from it.” A light firm step in the passage outside, At this juncture Gerald entered the and hearing it the invalid at once changes room, and after bending over his aunt's her attitude, manages by an effort to prop sofa, and greeting Rose, he threw himself herself into a less recumbent position, and into a chair, and sat with his hands plunged takes up a book which she had let fall by into his pockets, silent and moody, waiting her side on the sofa. A vain pretence this, to be spoken to, so unlike the Gerald as she recognises immediately by putting Hardinge of a few months previous. it back again, the dusk having supervened “It is useless to ask you whether you since she fell into her reverie, and there have any news, Gerald, I suppose ?” said being no longer daylight sufficient to read Mrs. Entwistle. by. Onward comes the footstep, and her “None at all,” he replied. “No news brow grows more stern. Her eyes are now would have any interest to me, unless closed when the door opens, remain closed it came through Rose here, and I know she until the incoming figure, Rose Pierrepoint, has none, or she would have rushed at me dressed in a neat hat and veil, with a long with it directly she came in.” dark cloak, is standing beside her.

"You judge rightly, Gerald," said Rose. Then she opens them wearily, says “I have heard nothing-nothing at all." wearily, “It is you-Rose?” with a marked Our dear Rose's oracle takes a long hesitation before the utterance of the chris- time for deliberation," said Mrs. Entwistle, tian name.

clipping out the words between her lips. “ It is I, Mrs. Entwistle! I feared to * Let us trust that when it is induced to disturb you, as I thought you were asleep.” speak its utterances may be favourable.”

No, I read until I could see no longer, “Whether it speaks or not, matters very and then I closed my eyes, principally, I little to me now,” said Gerald. “Not, fancy, to keep myself from glaring into the dear one,” he added, extending his hand to fire and seeing uncomfortable visions there. Rose, “ that I mean to be in the least degree You have brought Gerald with you ?”

unkind to you.

I know all that you have “No, I thought to find him here." done has been for the best, and in the be

Have you any news for him ?” asked lief that you would be able to carry out all the invalid, suddenly turning her face to- you hoped. But I find I cannot exist wards her companion.

under this mental pressure any longer, and "None at all,” said the young girl, I fear, unless some result, no matter shaking her head sadly.

whether favourable or unfavourable, be " Then your mysterious influence, the speedily arrived at, my mind will give way.


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There is no torture, to me, at least, to which you have raised up before me; and equal this agony of suspense.'

I still think it right to go through with "What do you propose to do, then ?” the task which I have set myself, and to asked Mrs. Entwistle, anxiously.

attempt at least to perform what I still "To make one more effort to see my conceive to be my duty. If I fail, we father, and set myself right with him. If three shall not be the less strongly knit I succeed, my one aim in life will be ac- together. If I succeed—" complished; if I fail, I shall be able to “ If you succeed, you will regain your settle myself down with the conviction that father's love, but you will not permit him, I, as a mortal, had done my best, and that however much cause he may have, to teach the fates were against me.”

you to hate me,” said Mrs. Entwistle in a “Will you not let me try once more to broken voice. “ You will have to bear see whether I cannot help, you ?” said with me for such a very little time.” Rose; “I am sure that

“ I am not likely to forget," said Gerald, “I am sure that you have done all you kissing her cheek, “that when I was forcan, my dear child, and that any further saken by him, you proved my friend." attempt would be useless. Indeed, I would “ When do you intend going to Springrather come upon my father, taking him side, Gerald ?" asked Rose. as unprepared even as I did last time, than “ If your friend is not able to gain me that he should imagine I was currying an interview this week, which I fear there favour with his friends to influence him in is now little chance, I shall certainly go on my behalf.”

Monday next.” “ If you would take the advice of one Monday next," repeated Rose to herwho bas seen much more of the world than self; " that would give me plenty of time to you, and who knows the tempers of men in write again to Madge, if she felt that her general, and of Geoffry Heriot in parti. intercession could now do us any good.” calar," said Mrs. Entwistle, “you will think twice before you act on that deter- Just about the time that Gerald Harmination. So far as you are aware, no- dinge announced his determination to his thing has transpired since your previous two companions, Mr. Philip Vane rang at visit to your father to warrant you in an. the outer door of the house in Piccadilly, ticipating any better reception than you in which Mr. Delabole's chambers were then experienced. We, who are devoted situate. Admitted by the hall-porter, who to you, Rose and I, can judge of the effect rang a bell on hearing for whom inquiry which that former visit had upon you. You was made, Mr. Vane ascended to the first cannot yourself pretend to be ignorant floor, where he was received by Fritz, and of, you cannot pretend to deny, that since informed that Mr. Delabole expected him. then you are a completely changed man, The valet added that his master was dressand you owe it as much to us as well as to ing for dinner, but that he had given orders yourself

, to think over and weigh well what to be told of Mr. Vane's arrival. might be the result of a repetition of such Indeed, Philip Vane had scarcely seated insults."

himself in an easy-chair, and taken up

the While she was speaking these words, evening paper, in which he turned by force Mrs. Entwistle managed to raise herself of habit to the money article (though he upon her elbow, and emphasised her speech had come straight from the City, and was with telling gesture

. Her cheeks were probably at least as well informed about flushed, and her voice rang out in tones what had been going on there as the such as Gerald had never heard it utter. writer), when Mr. Delabole's jolly voice When, as she ceased speaking, she fell back was heard from the inner room; and Fritz faint with the exertion, Gerald rose from having opened the door of communication, his chair, and quickly crossing the room, Philip passed through and found his friend canght her in his arms and pressed his lips in a gorgeous dressing-room, with his short upon her forehead.

black hair standing straight on end await“ I should be base, indeed,” he said, “if ing the attention of the valet. I did not recognise and appreciate the loving What a luxurious dog it is,” said Philip kindness which not merely prompts those Vane, sardonically, after he and his friend words, but which has watched over and had exchanged greetings. “He is absonurtured me so long. But I have thought lutely too rich and too idle to brush his over all you have just desired me to reflect own hair !" apon; I have pictured to myself the scene “Not at all, dear boy, not at all,” said

" We

Cannot pos

trip ?"

Mr. Delabole. “He is never too rich or doctor, how are you, and where do you too idle to comb anybody else's hair, if he bring all that dust from ?” thinks they want it done for them, and to " From the Great Western Railway use a particularly small-toothed rasper for generally,” said Doctor Asprey, who looked the occasion. As for his own hair, the man- tired and travel-stained : “I just looked liness of his figure is so much developed, in on my way home from the station to that he finds he cannot get conveniently at see if you were going to dine at the halfthe back of his head, and is obliged to call yearly audit of the Friendly Grasp toin artificial aid."

morrow ?” “You sent me a line to the City, saying Certainly,” said Mr. Delabole. you wished to see me here. I presume you shall meet there. But where have you have something of more importance than come from ?” your hair to talk to me about ?”

“From Springside. My old fellow. My hair is of the utmost importance student, Chenoweth, who was with me at to me, my dear Philip,” said Mr. Delabole, St. Vitus, and is now in leading practice at placidly, “but I do not expect you to take Springside, telegraphed to me for a consul. equal interest in it. That will do, Fritz; tation, and I went down yesterday.” if you will put out the rest of the things I “Who is your patient, doctor ?" shall not want you any more.

Now," he “An old Indian officer, a certain Sir continued, when the valet had left the room, Geoffry Heriot. A man of mark in his “I can tell you what I wanted to see you time, I believe, though his time is nearly about, as it is not my habit to chatter over now.” before servants. You recollect the con- “ You consider it a bad case, then?” versation we had at the office immediately

“ Coaldn't well be worse. after my return from my little country sibly live more than a few days—heart

disease and other complications. Well, I “I am not likely to forget it,” said Philip must be going ; we shall meet to-morrow. Vane.

Good-night, Mr. Vane." And the doctor “You will recollect my mentioning to took his departure. you the necessity of our getting Mr. Irving “You heard what he said,” said Delato join us, and the impossibility of our bole, as soon as the door had closed; "the doing so unless he saw his friend Sir Geoffry old man cannot live. This reduces the Heriot's signature to our registered memo- risk to nil. The signature would be suprandum of association?"

posed to have been obtained while we were “I recollect it perfectly.”

at Springside. Luckily there was “That signature is not yet there, I think," lawyer, nor any one else in Sir Geoffry's said Mr. Delabole, pausing in the act of confidence. Do you see your way to it tying his cravat, and looking round at his now ?” friend.

“Certainly more clearly than I did," "See here, Delabole,” said Philip Vane, said Philip Vane, in a firm voice. under his breath. “Do you know what you are asking me to do ?” "To help yourself to a handsome wife

EXTRA DOUBLE NUMBER FOR with sixty thousand pounds. Nothing fur

CHRISTMAS, 1871, ther that I know of."

“You have a hold over me in that matter, and you know it,” said Vane, “but be

SLAVES OF THE LAMP. careful how you

“ Doctor Asprey is at the door," said Now ready, price 5s. 6d., bound in green cloth, Fritz. “Will you see him ?”

THE SIXTH VOLUME “By all means,' said Mr. Delabole.

OF THE NEW SERIES OF “Show him up.” Then turning to Vane, he said, “Mind you sit him out. This

ALL THE YEAR ROUND. matter must be decided to-night. Well,

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