Imatges de pÓgina




" A nervous affection, ma'am; she lost, it constantly recurred, always unmistaklittle by little, the use of her limbs ; my ably the same person. mistress nursed her devotedly, and was “And not Miss Etheldreda,” said Lelthe only person who could manage the garde. “ Could it be this poor Hilda in pocr lady for her good.”

her young days ? If so, I think this artist, Shut up for fifteen years in that room, whoever he was, must have been rather and managed for one's good by that hor- fond of Miss Hilda.” Lelgarde blushed, I rible cold-eyed woman. What a life! But observed, and sighed. “There is somesomething besides struck me in Mrs. Brace- thing sad in looking over these things,” bridge's tone. I wondered if the poor she said, rather, I thought, to account for thing had been mad, and if that inheritance, the sigh. “Poor Hilda was young

and too, threatened my Lelgarde. I turned to merry then, I suppose,


How look at her, and saw her standing, 'quite little she thought what her life was going intent on the old cabinet, with a puzzled, to be!" lost expression on her face, which sur- As she spoke she was incessantly passing prised me.

her fingers over the back

the little recess · Where can I have seen a cabinet like which we were then exploring; a restless this before ?" she asked, knitting her movement which she had been continually brows in perplexity; “I seem to know it repeating ever since we had begun our exquite well. Is there anything in it, Mrs. amination. Bracebridge?"

“It is strange how well I seem to know Mrs. Bracebridge did not know. Mr. this piece of furniture,” she said ; " but I Graves had overhauled and superintended fancy there ought to be some secret drawer the valuing of everything, she said ; and or cupboard here somewhere, only I cannot the key, with several others, had been given find out how to open it.” to Lelgarde. She at once produced the “Ought to be ? What do

you bunch, and selecting the key that fitted, “I cannot explain; that is just what opened the doors, revealing à quaint nest puzzles me; only I feel as if there ought to of pigeon-holes and drawers.

be—just that.” "We will not keep you, Mrs. Brace- Were old recollections reviving, I wonbridge,” she said ; " I have a fancy to look dered; but what an unlikely thing to this over, and this is just the afternoon for awaken them! It was getting too dark it."

to carry our researches further, and the Mrs. Bracebridge demurred, with a glance cold was becoming intense. at the empty grate; but Lelgarde vowed “Come," I said, shall catch our she was not at all cold, and was evidently deaths. Come and get warm.” bent on her search.

“ You disturbed me,” she cried, petu“That is right,” she cried, when we were lantly; “I had just got hold of it. I only left alone; and she eagerly began to ex- seem to want one link more to remember amine the drawers. The result was dis- something." appointing. Miss Hilda, whatever had She started and clung to me; for close, been her woes, had been too wise to write close to us, just behind the cabinet, was a them down for the amusement of future rustle, as of a sweeping dress, and the dull generations. One closely-written manu- thud of some falling body; a gust, at the script book turned out to contain receipts same moment, swept through the room, for cookery and for knitting; there was a and a wild splash of rain against the herbarium, which had come to a standstill window seemed to bring darkness with it. in the middle, an old-fashioned album, also We clung together, like two fools as we ending half-way through, and several were, and Lelgarde shrieked aloud. At sketch-books. These last were rather in that sound Mrs. Bracebridge appeared teresting; they contained graceful, slight with a candle, and I at least grew brave outlines, with no great force about them, at the sight of it. and to many the dates were added, dates “A mouse, I dare say, ma'am," she reof six or seven-and-twenty years ago. Here marked, deferential but contemptuous, in and there was a bolder sketch, of quite a answer to our apologetic statement. different stamp of merit; landscapes, chiefly “No; there is something-something -some scenes in the neighbourhood; and white,” gasped Lelgarde, pointing to the we both noticed that in almost every fore- dark corner. ground the same figure was introduced : Mrs. Bracebridge stooped to examine it. that of a slight girl, not unlike Lelgarde “Yes, indeed, I quite forgot that it had herself, sitting, standing, or on horseback; been put away behind the cabinet. You


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must have shaken it down, ma'am, in pull- a rod of iron all her days. The two faces ing out the drawers.

seemed to me to tell their own story, and " And it is ?”

I could understand how each sister had “ Poor Miss Hilda's picture, ma'am, that unconsciously helped to make the other is all.”

what she had been. There was a bright

smile on the painted lips-a laugh in the LELGARVE and I had dined, and were sit- pretty blue eyes; and yet "Poor young ting by the drawing-room fire afterwards, thing !" were the words which rose to my when my sister said, giving a shrinking lips as I looked. look into all the dark corners :


you may say that, ma'am,” re" Joan, I hate that dreary room opposite. sponded Mrs. Bracebridge, with a sigh

, I shall have it locked up again, and Mrs. rather a leading sigh, I thought, as if she Bracebridge shall keep the key."

longed to be asked what she was sighing “So as to turn it into a haunted chamber for. Lelgarde did what answered the purat once! My dear, before it had been shut pose, in exclaiming : up a week, you would have ghosts, and Why was this lovely picture never rumours of ghosts, demoralising the whole finished and framed ? And oh! who could establishment! You would never keep a have done that?” For right across the servant, depend upon it."

canvas, barely sparing the face, was a “ It has given me the horrors,” she broad rough splash of colour, as if an answered, with a shiver.

angry or careless hand had dashed aside a “ Because we were geese enough to be wet brush, not recking where it went. frightened at nothing. Come, Lelgarde, “Ah! it is a long story,” said the old let me advise you. Have a fire lighted woman, evidently dying to tell it. there; open all the windows, do it up with “If it is a doleful one, pray let it wait a set of Cretonne chintz, all over blue and till to - morrow,” I said ; but Lelgarde scarlet dickey-birds; ask the seven vicar- waved me aside, impatiently, and, pointage children to tea there, and let them ing to an arm-chair, make themselves ill with plum-cake, and " Then sit down and tell it, Mrs. Bracegreasy with bread-and-butter, and you bridge,” she said, “and let me pour you will find Miss Hilda's ghost is laid in no out a cup of tea meanwhile.

You see," time."

she added, with her pretty graciousness, The door opened slowly, causing Lel“you belong so completely to this place,

" garde to jump almost into my arms. so much more than I do; and whatever “I beg your pardon, ma'am, if I startled you know about the family, I think I

said Mrs. Bracebridge, advancing I ought to know: so please begin." out of the shadow with a large square of “I will pour out the tea," I said, and canvas in her arms; "you desired me to betook myself to the massive silver salver bring this for you to look at after dinner- and teapot, much amused at Lelgarde poor Miss Hilda's picture.”'

taking the high moral tone, to choke any “ Tiresome old woman !" I thought, “as qualms of conscience at gratifying her if we had not had enough of Miss Hilda for curiosity by a gossip with the old servant. one day;" but the housekeeper was only " It is going on for seven-and-twenty obeying Lelgarde’s orders, and I could say years, ma'am, since Miss Atheling's por: nothing, so we proceeded to look at the trait was taken and this one commenced, portrait. We both exclaimed with sur. Mrs. Bracebridge solemnly began, “and prise at seeing its unfinished state: the the gentleman as took both was a Jr. drapery of the head and shoulders was Hamilton, one of them artist gentlemen merely sketched out, not coloured at all. from London. The old squire was living The face only was complete, and the hair then, you are aware, ladies, and he had again died away into indistinctness, in a this young gentleman down for the sumway that gave a strange ghastly look to the mer months—which many wondered as he features--high, delicate features, so like liked to do so—to take the young ladies' Miss Atheling's, that the difference of portraits, and to give Miss Hilda less mus, expression was the more striking. For and to make drawings about the place." this was a gentle face, so sweet that one “How old were my cousins at this time?” half forgave its utter weakness. I quite Lelgarde asked from the shadowy corner forgave it, when I thought of the hard, where she sat intently listening. stern face hung in the hall, and recollected Let me see: Miss Atheling would have that Etheldreda was many years older than been over thirty, and Miss Hilda, I mind her sister, and had doubtless ruled her with me, was just of age. I was lately come,


before we

then, myself, and was head housemaid her room; and her face, ladies-it was under the old housekeeper-nurse, as she terrible.” was mostly called, having nursed both the "And what happened ?" ladies, and the little brothers as died be- “Mr. Hamilton left the house that very tween."

hour, and the portrait was buddled away "Was she here, when I—" Lelgarde in a lumber-room, and there it stayed tiil hesitated, knitting her brows as if in a long, long afterwards. I saw it one day, painful effort to remember.

Miss Hilda's room,

put away

behind “She was, ma’am; but she had then the cabinet; I suppose nurse must have for some years been Miss Hilda's attend- brought it down at her request, poor lady.” ant, and Miss Atheling had been pleased “And what did my cousin do to her to put me in her place, as housekeeper. I sister ?" asked Lelgarde, with dilated eyes, need not tell you, ladies,” she went on, as if she expected to hear that she had " that there is, and always will be, gossip tortured her. in the servants' hall, let the upper servants “ Her look was enough to cow Miss check it as they may; and it was not long Hilda, ma'am, at any time; beyond that,

were all talking about Miss I never heard that the poor young lady Hilda and Mr. Hamilton.”

was punished; I am sure Miss Atheling's Lelgarde and I thought of the sketch- one wish was to keep it all from folk's book, and exchanged glances.

knowledge, and specially the old squire. "You see, Miss Atheling never seemed And in the autumn they all went to Lonto think of Miss Hilda as anything but a don for Mr. Atheling's health, and stayed child; and sure she did look like it, and away the whole winter.” always took it as natural that she should Did

you go with them ?” be treated as such—she was

so meek

"No, ma'am, only Miss Atheling's maid, spirited ; and certainly nothing, in a gene- and one or

or two men-servants, as they ral way, could have happened to her, even stayed at a hotel. And nurse went too, to the altering of the way she dressed her and that was the beginning of her being hair, but what Miss Atheling should know about Miss Hilda ; for the maid, she had of it. But just that summer it fell out enough to do with helping Miss Atheling that the squire began of the illness which attending upon the squire : oh! he was a carried him off later-some terrible com- great sufferer.” plaint in his inside.”

“Did he die in London ? I forget," " And Miss Atheling was with him a asked Lelgarde. great deal, I suppose,” I said, hastily, as “Oh, no, ma'am, they all came back in the old woman seemed inclined to plunge early spring; and Miss Hilda, she looked into unpleasant details.

almost as like to die as her father; all the “Night and day, ma'am ; and all that spirit seemed to have gone out of her: time Mr. Hamilton was thought to be days and days she never stirred from her busy making his sketches about the place, room: but Miss Atheling was that wrapped and Miss Hilda practising her music, and up in the squire, that she saw nothing all that, in the room yonder, which was else. At last nurse told her that poor

Miss then called the schoolroom. But we ser- Hilda must have mild sea-air, which had tants, ma'am, could have told a different saved her from a decline before, and might tale."

again ; leastways nothing else would. And " It was a pity you did not,” said I, so at last she got leave to take her quite virtuously.

away by the seaside, down somewhere in It was nurse's place, ma’am, she being Devonshire. I could see that it angered my the housekeeper, not ours ; and nurse could poor mistress that she could not go

with refuse nothing to Miss Hilda, not if it had her, and she was angry too, maybe, that been a knife to cat her own throat, we Miss Hilda would not rather stay at home often used to say. Well, the rights of it and die, than go so far away when her I cannot tell you, ladies, for I was never father might be dying any moment ; but made acquainted with it; but one day, it there, there was no denying how ill she is certain that Miss Atheling came into the was—and she let her

go. schoolroom, and found Mr. Hamilton paint


away when the squire died ?” ing her sister's portrait, or, maybe, pre- 'No, ma'am, he seemed to rally for a tending to paint it; and what passed I bit, and it was not till quite the end of the cannot say—for Miss Atheling was not one summer that he died; and, as it fell out, to make any noise about her anger; but I the very day poor Miss Hilda came home. met her in the hall, taking Miss Hilda to Shall I ever forget her face when she came

“ Was

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out of the sick-room? How she flung her own hands,' and then, oh! dear, what self down, and called herself wicked and cry Miss Hilda did give, and, poor young undutiful, blaming herself, no doubt, for lady, she went off into one of those terrible having been away ; unless, poor lady, she hysteric fits which grew upon her more had anything else to reproach herself with. and more—not that my mistress would Nurse was as close as the grave; but I ever have done such a wicked thing." know folks did talk-"

I should think not," I said, as a vivid She hesitated; and I saw 110 occasion to picture of Miss Atheling ascending the rake up dead and gone scandal for Lel- gallows in a black satin gown rose before garde's innocent ears; though I had long me, and made me laugh; but a Woman been thinking that if these were Atheling who was in the habit of uttering such manners, one might as well be Smith. threats as those must have been a very un

“And how soon did Miss Hilda's long pleasant person to live with, and I do illness set in ?” I asked.

longer wondered at the constantly is Mrs. Bracebridge shook her head; and, curring “poor Miss Hilda." for the first time, the tears came into her “And her health got worse and worse, I eyes.

suppose ?” asked Lelgarde. " Ah ! ma'am, it was at that very time; Worse and worse; with those hysteric the very week her papa was buried; but fits, if they was hysteric, and one thing 'twasn't that, 'twas the sudden shock as and another, till she had no use of her did it.”

limbs; though the doctors, and law! she • What shock?”

had doctors enough to have killed a whole “That Mr. Hamilton's death, ma'am ; hospital full, would have it 'twere only he was killed somewhere in those snow- nervous suppression !" mountains where the gentlefolks is always Depression, was not it ?” meeting with their deaths; and Miss Hilda, 'Very likely, ma'am, or it might have she read it on the newspaper, without a been both, and a hundred other things as word to prepare her. There is no doubt well, I am sure. Nurse could have told she was much attached to him, poor young you more than I, for she was always with lady.”

her night and day; and so it went on for “I dare say her sister was sorry for nigh fifteen years, and then poor nurse, them,” said Lelgarde, her voice sinking as who had been failing for some time with the she uttered this improbable conjecture, heart complaint, she was taken for death, "Well, ma'am, my mistress thought a suddenly, in Miss Hilda's very


and great deal of the honour of the family; Miss Hilda, she never spoke afterwards, perhaps it was a blessing looked at so; but and was dead within the week.” naturally Miss Hilda could not be expected "Thank you; it is a sad story, but I to see it. However, I should not talk, think I ought to know it,” said Lelgarde, for whatever words they had 'twas never morally again, as she rose to dismiss the before their servants. Only once I did—I old woman. Mrs. Bracebridge had cartsied did chance to hear"-(Mrs. Bracebridge herself to the door, when my sister, who became rather confused)—"just an angry had stood fixedly gazing on the picture, word or two. Miss Ethéldreda was telling turned suddenly towards her. her how she ought to be ashamed to give “You are sure Miss Hilda had quite lost way-how she ought rather to give thanks the use of her limbs,” she asked, abruptly, on her bended knees—that it might be this “Oh! entirely, ma'am, she never left was an imposition of Providence."

her couch for many years. "Interposition ?" I suggested.

Lelgarde looked at her dreamily, and “Just so, ma'am, to save her and the passed her hand over her forehead, as if family from disgrace. “Disgrace!' Miss only half awake. Hilda did cry out then. I never heard her " Then she could not walk about the speak up so proud, though her voice was house? It was impossible, was it ?" all of a shake; and then my mistress, she “I suppose so, ma'am," said the old went on talking, but she would always woman, evidently surprised. hush her voice when she was in anger ; “Yes,” returned Lelgarde, in the same and all I heard was something about seeing lost, dreamy manner, “ Yes, I suppose so, her sister dead at her feet-and then dis- yes, of course it must have been out of the tinct came the words, ‘killed him with my question.'

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bold as had never yet been let loose upon

it out of the clouds and caves of the upper TOBEREEVIL.

mountains. And whilst the storm was BY THE AUTHOR OF "HESTER'S HISTORY."

raging Sir John took occasion to announce
his intention of staying at Camlough all the

year, without going to London, as usual, CHAPTER XXVIII. MISS ARCHBOLD'S TRUNKS for the season. He would hide himself in ARRIVE,

his fastnesses on pretence of making imTHERE is a secret now to be told which provements, and ponder the means of savmust be whispered low, for the winds may ing the splendour of his fame. Meanwhile not hear that Sir John Archbold, the he would only have such visitors as it wealthy, was fast becoming impoverished; might please him to invite. Katherine that his princely magnificence and hospi- must content herself with simplicity and tality had brought the once overflowing seclusion, for the gloom of fear had made contents of his purse to a low ebb; and that the father stern towards this daughter, his own extravagance, helped by that of who had almost worn out his affection by his wife, and especially that of his daughter, the constant display of her selfishness and now threatened to sweep him to ruin un- folly. less some speedy change were effected in the Now Katherine's newest whim had been management of his affairs. His pride to pay a visit, uninvited, to Monasterlea. could not brook confession to the world; Miss Martha was amazed at the young the world that had visited at his palace of lady's condescension and friendliness, and delight, built up amongst mountains which remarked to Paul that it was quite wonderhis will alone had made accessible to man. ful to see how some people would turn out He had seated luxury on a throne on the well, no matter how the world tried to spoil very summit of the wilderness; and now them. As for that story about Christopher, the thought of falling from his eyrie, and she had long since thought that the poor building himself a lower nest, was like girl had been blamed very unfairly. Why the bitterness of death. Sickening with should she have been bound to marry such bitterness, he had tolerated the woo-Christopher? May had found it very hard ing of his child by Christopher Lee, for to be asked to do so in order to save the money was great and desirable in his eyes. young man's fortune, and she had no doubt Katherine, however, had chosen to dismiss that Katherine had found it every bit as Christopher, and she must now be warned hard. One could not form a just opinion of the shallowness of that purse which she upon any matter of the kind until one had had hitherto believed to be deep as the thought about it a little, and heard both Atlantic. The secret of the decadence of sides of the story. And Aunt Martha, the Camlough wealth was whispered to her when she

saw Katherine's beautiful face fearfully by the now unhappy mother, who in her parlour, asking a welcome with behad reared her to be selfish and greedy, seeching smiles, thought that she had at and without heart.

To this mother's last ample evidence that Miss Archbold whisper there had succeeded a storm; such had been hardly used. a tempest had shaken the house of Arch- “It proves to me, my dear, that we



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