Imatges de pàgina
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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 hershe 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

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 en. what was the matter : I knew better. Itirely, 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, Lel. very 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 away from you.

“ 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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CHAPTER II.

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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.

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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

you
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

pass

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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The light of Translating Articles from ALL THE YEAR Round is reserved by the Authors.

Published at the Office, 26, Wellington St., Strand, Printed by C. Wuring, Beaufort House, Duke St., Lincoln's Tun Fields.

ALL THE YEAR ROUTE

VO

CONDUCTED BY

CHARLES DICKENS

WITH WHICH IS INCORPORATED

HOCSEHOLD WORDS"

99

No.173. New Series.

SATURDAY, MARCH 23, 1872.

PRICE TWOPENCE.

BY THE AUTHOR OF “HESTER'S HISTORY."

CHAPTER XXVII. THE FAGGOTS BURN.

THE WICKED WOODS OF

will Simon, the miser, sảy to all these

changes ?" the words were never spoken, TOBEREEVIL.

and the question was crushed down again in her heart, where it lay; a little pain that would at times throb into a great one.

In the mean time the snow fell often and

the nights were frosty, and the evenings For some days everything went on plea- had become very delightful in the little santly at Monasterlea. May had doubts brown parlour. Ghosts had come into and fears about the bargain that had been season, and Nannie's stories were in fashion concluded between uncle and nephew; but in the kitchen, especially of an evening, seeing that doubts and fears were not re- when Bridget's gossips and sweethearts had lished by Paul, she put them all away from come in to lend a hand with the churning. her, and saw everything in the light by It was just at the close of one of the short which he wished her to look at it. Paul dark days before Christmas, in the midst of paid frequent visits to Tobereevil, and took a high storm, that a new and rough current long walks and rides over the property, came troubling the happy tide of human making himself acquainted with the scene life at Monasterlea. of his future duties; which were first to May had not gone out with Paul that be those of servant, and afterwards those morning, because it was to be a busy day of master. The affairs of Miss Martha's with her, and a busy day it had been. farm were rather neglected for the first There had been butter-making in the mornweek or so, but the old lady was right ing and baking in the afternoon, and the glad to give holiday to her new manager superintendence of these matters belonged for any good reason he could show, and to May. It was all over now, and she was resumed her farming habits till such time expecting Paul; for Paul, as a rule, spent as his various duties could be made to his evenings at Monasterlea. ran side by side. There was no wearying, dressed in a long woollen robe of a soft meanwhile, between the two lovers, of the plum colour, with dazzling white ruffles at joyous intercourse which they now tasted; her throat and wrists. She was standing of the blithe chatter which they carried by the fire, with a piece of needlework in on while roaming over hill and dale. There her hand, but it was too dark to work. was no end to the leases which they granted The shifting light of flames is a pleasant in imagination, the comfortable cottages light to think by, and May was in a reverie, they built as they went along, the half-yearly looking at pictures in her mind, whose debts of rent which they remitted to the colours were as fair as those of a rainbow. long overtaxed families in which the father She looked a picture herself, as the fire had broken a leg, or the mother was in a illumined her dark braids of hair, and all consumption. Such a thing as an eviction the tints, and curves, and dimples of her was to be heard of never more. And if face. Even in repose and by such light May, in the midst of Paul's enjoyment of the face looked full enough of humour, his make-believe power, felt a question and sweetness, and thought, and maybe rising like a trouble within her, “What passion, to make a painter's fame. She

She was

VOL, VII.

173

" And do your

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looked a woman who could make the hap- “Alone !" echoed May. piness of every creature who might come father and mother know it?” near her; but who could possibly break "Perhaps, by this time," said Katherine, her heart. And even at this moment there carelessly. "But

you

know I never ask was trouble for her in the air. The trees leave for what I do. I left a written mes. of Tobereevil were shrieking two miles sage which they will find, no doubt. But away in the wind : and ill-luck came and first they shall have a fright.” knocked at the hall-door at Monasterlea. “How could you be so cruel ?" burst

May went quickly to the door, thinking forth May. it was Paul, and saw ill-luck standing wait- " There, little goody! Hold your tongue ing for admittance. It had a tall, buxom and don't scold,” said Katherine, tossing shape, with a riding-habit fluttering about off her bat. “I choose to punish every the graceful limbs. There was some light one who tyrannises over me. They are very hair streaming from a gleaming face whose safe, since they find I have not drowned beauty shone even through the shadows myself, nor eloped with some bog-trotter, which almost hid it. There was a hat as they will have been wise enough to supsomewhat maltreated by the wind and pose. In the mean time, are you going to sleet, with shrunken feathers streaming be my enemy or my friend ?” after the hair. Ill-luck had come in the

“ "Your friend," said May. “ And I shape of Katherine Archbold.

have no right to scold you, nor to

pry into If

you had spoken to May an hour ago your affairs. Of course I think you wrong. about Katherine, it would have appeared, but I also think you wet and tired. And by her answer, that she had not seen, your horse ? Did any one take your horse?" nor heard, nor thought of that young Katherine laughed. "I let him go at the lady for a period that seemed as long as gate," said she, “and he will trot back seven years. She would have remembered to Camlough.” that she was a person who had ruined And terrify your parents ?”. poor Christopher ; but as Christopher had “Probably,” replied Katherine. “For written several cheerful letters of late, and Heaven's sake don't stare so, but get me seemed to be doing well, May and Paul some dry clothes, as you

said
you

would. had lately made up their minds, in their They will send me some things presently, passion for poverty, that Christopher would, but I have brought nothing with me." in the long run, be much better without May said no more, but led her uneshis money. She would also have remem- pected visitor away to her own chamber. It bered that Katherine was a person who was the very same room in which she bad had laid some claim to Paul's affections, dressed her once before, when they were and she pitied her in this, seeing that Paul children. It was the most whimsical room had no liking for her. It is no untruth to in the house, all nooks and angles, and from assert that, for the past few weeks, she had its sloping ceiling and the many twists in its utterly forgotten her existence, so com- walls, was peculiarly well suited to show | pletely had May been shut up in her own off the gambols of the goblins which frerosy world. And yet here was the splendid light will set capering. It had been made Katherine, standing dishevelled, like a out of a bit of an old sacristry, and there

, storm-sprite, at the door of her little home. was a rather grim and sorrowful ghost of

“Let me in, and don't look so amazed a sculptured crucifix in bas-relief on the to see me,

cried Katherine, in the light, wall, all chipped and almost worn away amused tone which she had always used by time; besides some cherubs' heads with with May. “For goodness sake shut the curly locks and round cheeks, broken noses door, and give me a welcome. I think I and pouting lips, clustered under the deserve one after riding so far to see slantings in the corners of the ceiling

In the midst of these relics flourished all “I beg your pardon,” said May, “do the little niceties which a girl loves to come in to the fire. Oh, dear, how wet gather round her in her own particular you are, and how splashed with snow and sanctum. The guest having been arrayed mud! You must change your clothes im- in the prettiest gown she possessed, and mediately. And who has come with you ? placed in a comfortable chair at the hearth, There is somebody still outside in the May went down on her knees to make the cold."

fire burn more brightly. Bridget brongki “There is nobody,” said Katherine; “I fresh fuel, and took a message to Miss came alone.”

Martha.

you.”

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Charles Dickens.)

THE WICKED WOODS OF TOBEREEVIL.

[March 23, 1872.) 387

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" Allow me,” said Katherine, and she overreached her. Turning her eyes

from took the little bundles of sticks from the fire she saw Katherine's defiant face Bridget's hand, and fed the flames with shining through the glamour made by the them, from time to time, as she talked. up-springing of the flames, and the downMay sat on the hearth-rug and listened to pressing of the shadows around her glitterher talking

ing golden head. At the same moment she “You wonder, I suppose, what brought heard the muffled sound of Paul's voice and me away from home in such a hurry, and steps in the outer hall. The sound seemed what made me come here to give my com- dim and far away, and did not break cheerpany to you? You are dying with curiosity, fully upon the strange mood that had beand yet you are too polite to ask."

fallen her. Instead of that it mixed itself up Here Katherine cast a stick upon the with a sense of approaching danger which blazing fire.

she was powerless to avert. The danger You see my father and mother have had come with Katherine, and was wrapped pleased themselves to be angry with me. up in her; belonged to Katherine, and They are quite out of humour because I would work through her. She was the wish to amuse myself. It is beyond all instrument of all the evil that was in reason their wanting to dictate to me. truth haunting Paul. She had come as They sulked at me for a week about that ill-luck to Monasterlea. Christopher. By the way, he came here Sympathy with Paul's troubles was and made a fuss, did he not?”

making May superstitious. She was atHe came here and nearly died,” said tacked by this terror as by a fit of sudden May.

sickness; and making an effort to shake Katherine shrugged her shoulders and it off sprang up kneeling on the hearth. looked complacent, and another stick was “ Hark !" said Katherine, dropping the tossed into the flames.

faggots and holding up her jewelled finger. "Well, I can't help it. If people will “There is the lover.

There is the lover. Is he not the lover ? be so silly, I am not to be held accountable. How angry you were that day when I It was a pity to lose the money, but I did showed you to yourself! How you denot think of that. People begin to think nied my penetration! Well, was I not of money when they grow a little older. right? Has not all that I predicted come

I When one has had all that one could fancy to pass ?” it is not easy to learn prudence; and Sir No,” said May; "you were altogether John and Lady Archbold need not try to wrong.' teach me now.

I could not bring them to · Hey-day! What is that? Are you their senses without giving them a fright. not engaged to the handsome Paul ?” They shall be frightened for twelve hours; Yes, but I would rather not talk till my maid shall find a letter, as if by about it.” the merest chance. And then they will send

away

with you !” said Katherine. my trunks. They shall be very anxious to “You are as prim as an old maid. When see me before they get me back again.” are you to be married ?"

May was silent. With all her wish to be “Oh, I do not know. There is much hospitable she could not find in her heart to be done first.” that she was glad of the chance that had “Is there, indeed. And you are both bronght Miss Archbold to Monasterlea. good and patient ?" Katherine, meantime, fed the flames with a “We are both very happy,” said May, lavish hand, and the fire leaped and burned simply. with a good roar in the chimney; and May " How nice to be looking on at such a looked up and suddenly saw that the stick's pretty pair of lovers!” said Katherine. which the visitor held in her lap were those “So patient and so happy, in spite of a very wicked faggots which she herself had long, long engagement with a vague, vague hidden out of sight and forgotten. It was ending ! That is what I shall be doing not at all wonderful that Bridget should while I am here. It will interest me exhave found them and turned them to ac- tremely. You must introduce me to your count; but May did not like to see them Paul. I shall be civil to him for your sake, in Katherine's hands. A strange fit of and he will like me I dare say. Perhaps superstitious bewilderment came upon her; he will remember having seen me before.” she saw impish spirits dancing through the “He remembers you,” said May, mefames, and clambering up the smoke-lad- chanically, with her eyes on a half-burnt ders and mocking at her as if they had faggot between the bars.

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