Imatges de pÓgina
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went overland to the peninsula of Boothia, Livingstone is even now several years
where he found that the Esquimaux had in younger than Franklin was at the time of
their possession articles of plate once evi- bis death; he has an iron constitution ;
dently belonging to some of Franklin's and so far as mens' speculations are worth
officers. They told a story of two ships anything, we shall see him again.
having been wrecked among the ice, and
of dead bodies presenting signs of having LELGARDE'S INHERITANCE.
been partly eaten by famishing men.

Rae was unable to learn anything further. When IN TWELVE CHAPTERS. CHAPTER I. the direful news reached England an earnest We were sitting over the fire, my sister desire was evinced to follow up the clue- Lelgarde and I, in our London lodgings, not by the Government, who were unwilling she busy with the scraps of velvet and satin to incnr further expenditure, but by Lady which grew, under her fingers, into all sorts Franklin and the public. The overcoming of pretty saleable devices, I leaning back of numberless difficulties at length enabled in an arm-chair, tired out, after a long day Captain M'Clintock, in 1859, to discover, spent in trying to drive the rudiments of on King William's Island, buttons and grammar and arithmetic into unwilling medals once belonging to Franklin's men; little heads. I remember that I was feel. then a skeleton, with scraps of clothing ing very doleful that foggy November around it; then a heap of stones, in which evening—I had heard that some of the was a copper cylinder containing a written families where I daily gave lessons were paper; and around the spot a confused heap going away, and another, on whose payof clothing, stores, and instruments. The ment I had reckoned, had disappointed me, paper, unquestionably authentic, and of in- so that I looked forward with unusual dread tense interest, recorded the fact that Frank- to Monday morning and its weekly bills; lin wintered in 1845-46 at Beechey Island, and as I watched my Lelgarde's slender and in 1846-47 on or near King William's fingers and graceful bending head, it seemed Land; that in June, 1847, Sir John died, more than ever cruel that her young life worn out; that in April, 1848, Captain should be passed in this long grind of Crozier, and the remainder of the crews poverty. Suddenly she looked up and (of whom more than one hundred still spoke: lived) abandoned the ships, which had “Joan, do you recollect what happens been hopelessly locked up in the ice for next Tuesday?” more than a year and a half. Here the “What happened on that day one-andnarrative ended; but it appears pretty twenty years ago, you mean, do yon not?" certain that Crozier and his men meant to I responded, with a recollection of the tiny try, by sledging, boating, and walking, to red morsel which I, a ten years old child, reach some of the trading ports of the Hud- had then held so proudly and carefully in son's Bay Company. Armed with this sad my arms. news, M'Clintock resolved to make a little " What happens next Tuesday? further search. He found a boat mounted you call my coming of age nothing?" on a sledge, portions of two skeletons in Bless her, poor darling! What was the the boat, and near at hand, boots, slippers, use of coming of age with nothing to come watches, guns, books, and various trifling to? But I was not going to sadden her, articles. This was obviously only the be- so I swallowed my sigh as I had swallored ginning of a series of tragic scenes; but plenty before it. She went on: M'Clintock, anxious to make known what “ Joan, I should like to do something on he had discovered, returned to England in my birthday-something grand." 1859. Thirteen years have since elapsed, “If I can get an hour in the afternoon, and a few further discoveries have been we might go to the Kensington Museum," made; but many amongst us, especially I suggested, that being hitherto our wildest his noble-hearted widow, feel that there dream of dissipation. ought still to be other things achieved, in Lelgarde made a little rebellious face, search of Franklin's papers and relics. and shook her head.

A comparison : Sir John Franklin, we “Won't that do? What then? Only know from these sad but scanty records, remember, it must be cheap.” died in a little more than two years after “Might we not invite Harry Goldie leaving England for the last time. The to tea " asked Lelgarde, glancing half indomitable Livingstone, we know from timidly, half mischievously in my face. scattered data, was living five years after I tried to look wise. his departure to a very different region. Harry Goldie, my dear, is a young



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man,” I said, severely; at which she broke answer. So down we went in the cold to into one of her rare peals of laughter. the studio belonging to the great artist,

“Nobody can deny that, Joan; but what Mr. Lascelles, to whom Harry had been follows?"

colour-mixer, papil, assistant, almost son, “Why, it follows, my dear, that you for some time before we had come to being a young woman, and I not a very old lodge in the house, now six years ago. To one, I think Harry Goldie will be just as make no acquaintances had been my fixed well taking his tea by himself; and that rule from the moment when my mother's reminds me that you promised not to call death left me in charge of my young sister; him Harry."

yet, before we had been a month in the “Did I? It slips out somehow; but house, we were not only friendly, but income, Joany, ask him to tea, and he shall timate with Harry Goldie. His frank face be Mr. Goldie, and nothing but Mr. Goldie, and pleasant greeting were positive reall the evening. Well, what now ?” freshment; and, by dint of being always in

She was quick to read the objections I the way when he was wanted, and out of did not utter, and her impatient little it when he was not wanted, always on the movement of head and hand drew out look out to do us any neighbourly kindness, more than I had intended to say.

and cheerily grateful to receive any in re“ You see, dear, many an acquaintance turn, Harry Goldie had become quite our that would be suitable enough for me, plain friend. My anxiety was to prevent his Joan Smith, would not do for you, Lel. becoming anything else. garde Atheling: I often feel that?"

The studio was brilliantly lighted, and “ Then I wish you would cease to feel it, the picture stood on its easel in the middle: Joan. What have the hateful Athelings a wonderful picture it was! Its history ever done for me? Have they not cast was this :—Some worthy people, whose me off altogether, and my father before money burnt in their pockets I should think, me? And what for ? Because he chose to had offered two hundred guineas to the marry the woman he loved, and such a painter of the best picture on a given subwoman as our mother!"

ject; the competitors being all young and “ They did not know what she was,” I poor artists, and the money to be spent on said, soothingly. “They only knew who à tour in Italy. The subject was from she was—a Mrs. Smith, the widow of an | Tennyson's song, "Too late—too late,” as army doctor.”

well I knew, seeing that Harry below stairs "Absurd pride !” said Lelgarde. "1 and Lelgarde above had been wailing its call it a sin-a sin I should scorn to be dreary burden everlastingly, till I was fit guilty of.” And up went her little haughty to hang myself. The canvas was dark, head, and she looked as proud as any representing a moonless, starless night; Atheling among them, and twice as beauti- all the light fell from the lamps of the reful, though they were a beautiful race. All treating virgins upon the central figurethe same, I thought she need not have the desolate purposeless figure, quite an fired up so fiercely at the idea of any dis- embodiment of the words "too late." parity between her and our artist fellow- " Where have I seen that before ?” was lodger.

my first thought; and then I saw at a At this moment a hurried knock at the glance that it was the image of Lelgarde. door was followed, before I could say, I looked reproachfully at Harry, but he “Come in,” by the apparition of a wild met my eyes so innocently, that to this day curly head, a young face clad in an untidy I believe he was unconscious of the likebeard, and a paint-bedaubed blouse hang- ness. “Out of the abundance of the heart ing loose on a broad pair of shoulders ; in the mouth speaketh ;” and a painter's fact, Harry Goldie himself, all dirty and brush is his mouth-piece, I suppose. He unkempt, and what Lelgarde called pic- closed the door, and looked, not at the turesque, from his afternoon's painting. picture, but into Lelgarde's eyes.

“I beg pardon again and again," he said, “ Well ?” he said, eagerly. humbly; "but my picture is quite finished She gave a little gasp of surprise. now, and I thought perhaps-just this once “Oh! Harry, it is not a picture, it is an -you would not mind coming down to inspiration. One can only think how one look at it, would you?”

hopes she got to heaven after all.” He spoke to me and looked at Lelgarde; * Please think, besides, that you hope I and there was small use in my demurring, may get to Italy," he cried. for she was on her feet directly, and “Oh, “Oh! you must get the prize; you can't of course we will come !" was her ready fail. Nobody could do better than this.”



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“Ah! I am not so sure about that; but which often struck me as remarkable in at all events, you wish me good luck, do one, in other respects, so boyishly frank. you not, Miss Atheling, and Miss Smith?” Perhaps Lelgarde's feelings were keeping

Miss Smith came in rather lamely, it pace with mine, for she grew pale and must be confessed; but I forgave him, and silent, played with her food, and presently heartily wished him good luck. I did so left the table, and went, with a little shiver, want him to go quite away.

to the fire. When will you know about it?” I “I feel as if something were going to asked.

happen to-night,” she said, and the post“ On Tuesday.”

man's 'knock at that moment made her "Tuesday?" cried Lelgarde. " That is jump. We all laughed. my birthday. My birthday is sure to bring “I wonder you have not left off being you good luck: don't you think so ?” excited about the postman,” I said ; “ you

She held out her hand to him, frankly. know he never brings anything for us. It was high time to be gone, and so I I had scarcely done speaking, when the remarked, looking reproof at my foolish servant entered with a letter: still more child, who answered with a little toss, marvellous, a letter for Lelgarde. which said, “I will if I choose,” and so “Now, who can this be from ?" she we bade good-night to Harry Goldie, and said, turning it over, as people do, before climbed up the long flight of stairs to our resorting to the simple expedient of openthird story.

ing it. “What a stiff hand. It looks like Tuesday came, and it is unnecessary to a bill.” say that Harry Goldie came with it; of “No, thank goodness, it can't be that," course, Lelgarde had her own way. When I said, hastily. Lelgarde, my dear, what I returned from my day's work, I found is the matter?” her in her one white dress, poor child, For Lelgarde, glancing over it, had fitting about the tea-table, putting little turned deadly white, and sunk down on a finishing touches to its adornment, colour-chair. ' Harry Goldie sprang towards her, ing and turning white again, fifty times in as if eager to defend her from something a minute, in that excitable way of hers. or somebody. I snatched the letter which Presently, a peal at the door-bell made her fell from her hand, saying: “I think it start.

must be a mistake.” I took it, I read it: There he is ! how glad I am! I know no, thank God, it was

no mistake. I he has the prize.”

knew in a moment that what I had someHow can you possibly tell ?”

times dwelt upon

as a too improbable “How could any one possibly doubt, vision, had become a reality; that my Joan ? It was not a disappointed man, Lelgarde's poverty was over; her proper I am sure, that gave that pull at the bell. place was secured to her. The letter was ! But I will make assurance sure.

from Mr. Graves, the family lawyer of the " My dear! not out the public Athelings, and in it he informed Lelgarde stairs. But she was off, and far below that Miss Atheling having died intestate, I heard the eager question and the cheery and having survived her sister and coanswer, and then up they came, Harry heiress, Miss Hilda Atheling, the estate sending his voice before him:

and house of Athelstanes, together with a “ All right, Miss Smith; wish me joy, I rent-roll of some thousands a year, bei! am off on Monday."

came hers, as heir-at-law.

I have a vague I did wish him joy heartily, and it was recollection of what followed. I remember not all because he was going, either; nay, hugging my Lelgarde, and seeing her as I sat behind the teapot, and saw him cry and laugh in turns, and I remember, as making frightful inroads on the bread-and- in a dream, the face of Harry Goldie, lookbutter, I began to reflect how dull the ing as if he thought the truest kindness house and the world in general would be, would be to procure me a strait-waistcoat when his bright face was gone. Besides, and medical assistance instantly. But when I pitied the lad; it was sad to think that I had explained it all to him, his honest there were no parents, no brothers and face grew blanker still; he tried to mumble sisters, to share in his gladness: only we, out some congratulations, and broke down. who, after all, were nothing to him. Be. “I had no idea this was likely to hapyond the fact that he was an orphan, and pen,” he said, ruefully. owed everything to Mr. Lascelles' kind- “Who could have any idea of it?” cried ness, Harry had never let out a word about Lelgarde, “who could suppose that, after lis antecedents or belongings, a reserve all her denunciations, my old cousin Ethel.



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dreda would have forgotten to make her smitten me for letting the child unconsciwill. Or was it, I wonder, that when it ously utter a falsehood. Lelgarde had been came to the point, she could not bear to at Athelstanes, though all recollection of separate Athelstanes from Atheling." that visit, and, indeed, of almost every other

“Is it a very grand place ?” asked poor occurrence of the first eight years of her Harry, dolefully.

life, had been swept away in a long, linger“I never was there,” Lelgarde answered. ing, nervous fever, which had seemed at And there was a silence, broken at last the time to threaten either life or reason. by Harry, who rose and wished us good- Thankful had my mother and I been to night.

have our darling restored to us with no Perhaps it had better be good-bye, too,” worse consequences than this loss of mehe said, and for the first time in his life, I mory, and a train of nervous terrors, sleepshould think, he looked and spoke awk. walking, frightful dreams, all the midnight wardly; " you will probably be very busy.” miseries so well known to children and

“Not too busy to see you,” replied Lel- invalids. These last ill effects passed away garde, holding out her hand; and so he in time, but the period preceding her illtook it-very gingerly, I noticed, not with ness remained a blank to Lelgarde, a blank an objectionable pressure this time, and which we were advised not to endeavour to she went on : “Our good fortune has disturb. But now it seemed to me that found us both out on the same day. Will awkward complications might arise from you come and see me at Athelstanes when her ignorance of that stay at Athelstanes, you come back a great artist ?”

and, for the first time, I proposed to tell Yes,” he cried, eagerly, with colour her of her illness, and of what had gone rising, “ yes, that is a bargain. When I before. We were to pay a visit to Mr. come back a great artist, I will come and Graves at twelve o'clock, and I resolved to see you."

speak before that; so, as we sat at breakHe looked at her-she at him.. It was fast, I began. high time for me to interfere.

My dear, I am going to tell you

what “Good-night, Mr. Goldie,” I said, with will surprise you very much; you have emphasis. He relapsed into awkwardness, been at Athelstanes before.” bowed, and was gone.

She looked at me in amazement. Lelgarde was in flighty spirits, chatter- Oh! never, I

assure you, Joan; how ing and laughing over her new prospects, could I?” turning them and herself into ridicule, her “Just after your father died, when you cheeks so hot all the time, and her hands were between seven and eight years old. so chilly, that I never rested till I had coaxed You know all his history.” her to come to bed. It was far on in the “Yes, how he was in the army, and those night when I woke with a start, to see her, two dreadful Miss Athelings and their by the light from the street lamps below, father were his only relations, and would kneeling by the bed with her face hidden. take no notice of him after he married our It brought a painful recollection of a cer- dear mother." tain morbid phase of her childhood; but “True; but after his death, mother got she was quite herself now, as I soon per. a letter from the eldest Miss Athelingceived-quite herself, but crying bitterly. the old squire had been dead some years I called her softly by name, and she rose then-offerin. to adopt you, and make you and flung herself down by me, and hid their heires, on one condition, that our her face on my shoulder. ' I did not ask mother would promise to give you up enwhat was the matter : I knew better. I tirely, and never see you again. only drew my child into my arms, and Lelgarde coloured scarlet. soothed and kissed her, till her sobs abated, “Do not tell me that mamma agreed to and she lay exhausted; then she whis- that,” she said, in a choked voice. pered: “Do not mind, Joany, I ought to be " It was for your sake if she did, Lelvery thankful-I am: but the old life has garde; and so you need not look so fierce been very pleasant, and I do not like to about it: she thought, and, indeed, I say good-bye to it for ever."

thought too, that she

had no right to take such a chance



“ Did I go there then? I have quite All that night I lay awake and thought forgotten it." hard. When Lelgarde had answered to Yes, poor little thing, you went. Miss Harry Goldie's question about Athelstanes, Atheling sent her housekeeper to fetch “I was never there," my conscience had | you, and we made up our minds that we



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had given you up entirely; but, my dear, stand that nothing more could be expected have you really no recollection whatever?” from her; and, since then, we have lived

“None," she answered, “none-I think,” by our work, and a happy life on the whole frowning as if the effort to remember gave has it not been, my pet ?" her pain.

Lelgarde was musing deeply. “When some weeks passed, and we heard “Why was I never told this before ?" nothing of you, I could not rest without she asked at length. seeing if you were well and happy. I was “My darling, because we were advised under no pledge, whatever my mother to let your memory go to sleep as it was might be; so off I set for Athelstanes- inclined to do. Nobody thought then that a weary journey, all the way into York- you would ever have to go to Athelstanes shire—the last part by coach. It was again.” Providence that sent me there certainly. I I did not care to tell her that for months arrived in the evening, and the coach set after her illness any momentary awakening me down at the corner of a lane, from of recollection would bring on a fit of which I had to walk to the village inn.” nervous terror. The doctor said that there

"Joan, how brave you were! You could had evidently been some cruel shock to the not have been more than seventeen." nerves, and beyond that we could discover

“Who would hurt me, do you suppose ? nothing. If I was not old enough, I was at least " Then," said my sister, shivering, "it ugly enough to take care of myself. As I was what caused my illness, and not the trudged along in the dusk-it was winter illness itself, that has left me such a silly, -I saw a little figure coming towards me easily-cowed creature, afraid of the dark, all alone, a little mite carrying a bundle.” afraid of my own shadow. I have to thank

“Was it I? What could I be doing ?” my cousin Etheldreda for a great deal of

“When you saw me, you were in my very severe suffering." arms in a moment, clutching my neck, “I hope God has--forgiven her,” I said, sobbing, shaking all over.


am running but I am not sure that I meant that away,' you said. “I am running to you exactly. and mamma. I cannot stay here they “And my Cousin Hilda," Lelgarde went frighten me to death!' And, Lelgarde, on, “why, as they were co-heiresses, did whenever I hear the word terror, I think she never appear in the matter at all ?" of your face then.”

“My impression is that Miss Hilda was “ Don't talk about that,” she interrupted, a great invalid at that time, though it was hurriedly, turning very pale, “I know the not until several years afterwards that we feel of it-I don't care to hear about it. heard by chance of her death. She must have What did

do ?"

died comparatively young, for I know she “Do ? I just gathered you up in my was many years younger than her sister, arms, and carried you back to the end of and Miss Atheling can hardly have been the lane. I had heard that the up-coach much over fifty." would


there in an hour's time, and by “What a colourless, grim, grey life theirs noon next day we were with mamma again has been!” said Lelgarde. Joan, you in the old lodgings that we lived in till she ought to have told me this before, or for died."

ever held your peace. You have given me “That is my brave old Joan ! And a horror of the thought of my new home.” then?"

So I had done what I hated, only to be “ Then came your fever, my poor little told that I had better have left it alone : and woman; you were in a fearful state by there was my darling, white and shaky as the time we reached London. Indeed, you she used to be in those miserable childish must have been in the first stage of it when days. I met you, otherwise I doubt if any ill- * Well,” I said, as cheerily as I could, usage could have driven such a timid thing the colourless, grim, grey life is at an end as you were into the desperate act of run- now; you are going to introduce a new ning away

régime; and, as a beginning, make haste " What did Miss Atheling say? What and get ready to go and talk wisely to had she done to me?”

your man of business. How grand that “Miss Atheling simply gave us to under-sounds !”

Go on.



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