« AnteriorContinua »
out of the sick-room? How she flung her own hands,' and then, oh! dear, what a 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 no illness set in ?" I asked.
longer wondered at the constantly reMrs. 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
"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 room; 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 Etheldreda 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.”
The light of Translating Articles from ALL THE YEAR ROUND is reserved by the Authors.
Published at the Oidoe, 26, Wellington St, Strand, Printed by O. WHITING, Beaufort House, Duke St, Lincoln's Ina Fielda.
THE WICKED WOODS OF
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
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
ought not to be too hasty,” she said to May. merciful harshness and contempt which “ We ought not to blame any
had run through her representations of “I do not say a word against her,” said human nature. May. And she doubled up her little fist The next morning Paul came to breakunder her apron with the mighty effort to fast, and May, as was usual on such control her tongue.
occasions, went tripping over the snow to These remarks were interchanged in the meet him. Paul's high spirits still endured. hall, as Miss Martha, who had stepped out He had not had a fit of gloom since he had for the express purpose of thus relieving become agent to the miser. Naturally the her feelings, met May bearing towards the conversation turned upon
Katherine. parlour that antique silver teapot which “She is a beautiful creature,” said Paul. was the pride of her aunt's heart, followed "She is very beautiful," said May. by Bridget swaying under a tray of good “And friendly,” said Paul. “She rethings which might have nourished a small members quite freshly every circumstance family for a week. May, entering with of my former acquaintance with her. There her teapot, found Paul and Katherine was so little of it one would think she sitting on either side of the hearth, as might have forgotten. With all her flatfriendly as possible, and engaged in lively terers and admirers, of whom we have conversation. Katherine was laughing heard so much, one would hardly expect gaily, and Paul was looking very well that she could have a lively recollection of pleased, seeing that he had succeeded so an insignificant fellow like me.” thoroughly in amusing a pretty and witty “ Paul,” said May, with a sudden and
The visitor was looking dazzling passionate impulse,“ don't let her push me after her madcap ride-glowing and glit- out of your heart. Little and poor as I am tering with all that bewildering light and I can be more to you than she could be." colour which made her beauty so fascinat- “My darling," said Paul, surprised, ing. All traces of the half-weird, half-satiri- “you might as well ask me with that cal vein of humour which she could show wistful face not to give myself over to the to May, had vanished. Her manner to Evil One. You will not let me stray away Paul and Miss Martha was gentle, admir- from you ? This little hand, though small, ing, winning, and deferential, whilst her will hold me.” brilliant chatter brimmed with wit, and her “I do not know that,” said May. “If readiness to be amused was surprising and I saw you willing to go I don't think I delightful. May was scarcely suffered to could bring myself to hold you." add a mite to the conversation, for Kathe- “ You could,” said Paul," and it would rine bad a trick of stealing the words from be as much your duty as if you were her mouth before they were spoken, and of already my wedded wife. No marriage vow gracefully throwing ridicule over every re- can bind us to each other more solemnly mark which she permitted her to make. than we are bound. But of one thing be Yet this was done so cleverly, that nobody certain ; my heart has no room to spare but May felt its meaning or its persistency for any woman besides yourself. Miss
May bore it patiently and with good Archbold is beautiful and charming in a humour. Here, in Paul's presence, the wonderful degree, but she is the last superstitious sense of uneasiness could not woman in the world whom I could assotouch her. She was thoroughly satisfied ciate with a thought of tenderness. You with Paul's love for herself, and did not had much better be jealous of your good fear for a moment that any man or woman Aunt Martha." could destroy or even weaken their mutual “ I used to think that I could not be tenderness and trust. So she laughed with jealous,” said May, “but now I fear that Katherine at every jest that was turned I could, if it were not that I so atterly against herself, and submitted to play the hate and despise the feeling." simpleton with a very lovely grace. The “ Hate and despise it more," said Paul, little parlour rang with merriment that “though that is scarcely worth your evening. Katherine mimicked everybody, while, for I swear to you that provocation visitors, servants, peasants, and aristocrats, shall never come in your way. We want giving vivid pictures of various phases one another my love, and divided we could of life. It was only when the play was not, thrive. I, at least, want you. Any. played out, and her voice hushed for the thing that parted us would be the sure and night, that one might remember, in the complete ruin of Paul Finiston. Then, quietness which succeeded, the vein of un- indeed, would the curse have its will of me.
I should go down to destruction just as as two children. Katherine had not all the certainly as any Finiston of them all.' wit to herself at the breakfast-table, for
"You must not think that,” said May; May's tongue was so loosened by joy that but instinctively she tightened her hold it did clever work just as prettily as any his arm.
innocent tongue that ever get sent music May was used to this kind of talk, and out of a woman's smiling mouth. she had ceased to be frightened at it. She After breakfast Bridget announced that believed very earnestly in the mystery of a travelling-carriage was on its way
down the Finistons, and the idea was a rapture to the road to Monasterlea. Aunt Martha her that she was thus strong in her weakness vanished to put on her afternoon cap, Kato be a safeguard to Paul. Yet on this special therine was in her room, and May received morning there was something that pressed Lady Archbold in the cottage parlour. on her with a vague fear of danger; and “My daughter is here ?" she said somehow, despise it as she would, the un- eagerly, looking in May's face. easiness was associated with Katherine. “Yes," said May, "since yesterday in The thought of jealousy was indeed a folly the evening." to her, and it was not now jealousy that Lady Archbold was relieved. Her child she felt. The fear was not of sorrow nor at least was safe. But now that her fears of disappointment for herself, but of harm were allayed, the uneasiness that she had for Paul, through whom alone she could be suffered showed itself in irritation and made to suffer. She had no separate in anger. terests, no selfish feelings to be hurt, no “You should not have taken her in; pride to be wounded, no vanity to be stung. you ought not to have kept her here," she She felt herself indeed a part of Paul. said. Why did not yonr aunt send her There was something in the idea of the home to me at once ?” possibility of their being separated, as put “We never thought of such a thing. forth by him at this moment, whilst her We could not have done it. The night own mind was troubled, that struck her was wild; and think of the distance !" with unusual sharpness; as if, indeed, there Lady Archbold moaned a little, and had been some invisible and unholy power, wrung her hands slowly as she held down whose strength was pitted against them, the storm of her indignation. She looked and who would strive to tear them asunder. up with her feverish glance and saw a In the deathly quiet of the winter morn- sympathy in May's eyes which invited her ing they stood still upon the road, and to speak. looked in each other's faces. The Woods “Katherine is not good to me,” she said ; of Tobereevil lay in gaunt masses be- “Katherine is not good to me. Now, fore their eyes, frowning out of a ragged promise me that you will never repeat this shroud of snow. In the snow-time the to any one in the world.” old legend always seemed more real than "I promise," said May; "but, Lady at any other moment, and there was always Archbold, don't be hard upon her. You a ghastliness upon the country while the have spoiled her a little, I dare say.” And white sheeting covered the wicked trees and May took part with Katherine in pity to their roots. The “awful babe of death, the
poor mother who was blaming her. and his frozen mother, seemed to lie stark Ah, that is it, but she might at least and stiff ander every snow-wreath; and remember that it was our love for her that it was easy to imagine that the feeble shred did it. I would give the heart out of my of smoke from one chimney of the man- bosom if only she would love me, and be a sion ascended at that moment from the little tender with her mother. Look at me, blighted hearth-place of the first Paul young girl! I was as proud as the very Finiston. May locked her hands together eagles in the mountains, and yet love for her apon Paul's supporting arm, and her eyes has brought me to this, that I am whimperflashed defiance at the ranks of the wickeding here to you like the beggar that comes woods.
to your gate. I reared her, and fashioned her “I tell you,” she said, as the flame to be a fit wife for a prince, but I would give softened in her eyes, when they met Paul's her cheerfully to the poorest gentleman gaze,“ be they men, women, or demons, that ever yet loved her, and portion her they shall tear me in little pieces before I with every penny and jewel I possess,
if loose my hold of you!"
she would only show me one warm spot After that the mood of both changed, in her breast where I might live and find and they returned to Monasterlea as merry comfort for the remainder of my days.
But, oh me! how she wounds this poor “Lady Archbold is here, and wants to aching heart!”
see you." “She does not mean it,” said May, still " Lady Archbold already! Nonsense. pleading for the mother's heart rather than Well, we must allow that the old lady has for the daughter. “She will be sorry when been pretty active. I shall go to her preyou talk to her. She is wilful and impul. sently, when I have finished dressing my sive, but she will be wiser by-and-bye. hair. I wonder what she has come for."
Ah, you do not know her. By-and- “She hopes you will return with her," bye I shall grow as cold and indifferent as said May. she is. I shall be harsh with her, for she • Then her hopes are vain, my dear, will have turned all my love into bitterness. for you are not going to get rid of me But she will soon be freed from me, for so quickly. Your good Aunt Martha has I shall die. In the mean time, I came invited me to stay here as long as it suits bere to bring her back with me to Cam- my humour; and it very much suits my lough."
humour to take advantage of her kind. "I am afraid she will not go,” said May, ness. So you may tell Lady Archbold, knowing that Katherine had a great mind without waiting till I am ready, that to stay at Monasterlea.
she can trot the fat horses back to Cam. Ah, will not go!” panted Lady Arch- lough when she likes.” And Katherine bold. “Perhaps, Miss Mourne, you sym- swept a glittering braid upward as she pathise with her in this. Perhaps you spoke, and added its weight to the golden wish to keep her against my will
. You coronet which she was building up on her will repent it if you do. Mind, I say to head. you, you shall repent it !”
“I cannot take that message,” said May. “I do not sympathise with her,” said “I should go to her at once if I were May, “nor wish to keep her here. But if you.” she insists on staying we cannot drive her But you are not me,” said Katherine, away.”
with complacency, and she surveyed May "But you ought to drive her away,” all over with a slight sweeping glance
, and flashed forth Lady Archbold, whose passion with a faint smile upon her lip, as if to say, rose against opposition. “You have a “How audacious to suggest such a comlover, I am told, and you had better look to parison !” “However, I will go to her now, it. You will not stand beside my Kathe- and I will beg of you to have my trunks rine. If you persist in keeping her by you, carried here in the mean time.” your lover will not be your lover many days. “I believe there are no trunks," said She will delight in taking him from you; in May;
“I have not seen any." breaking both his heart and yours.
“No trunks !" cried Katherine, and her May grew a little pale at the coarse way brows lowered, and an expression of rude in which so sacred a subject was handled. anger gloomed out and extinguished the
“I don't think that will be in her beauty in her face. “I think Lady Archpower,” she said.
bold would not come here without the “You think so, do you? Well, I have trunks." warned you to keep watch over your pro- But evidently she admitted the idea that perty."
the trunks had not been brought, for her “ Lady Archbold,” said May, "you do face did not brighten as she took her way not understand me. I shall neither watch to the parlour. nor fear."
The door was closed upon mother and “You are a fool,” said Lady Archbold, daughter. By-and-bye sounds were heard "a great fool, but an honest one. Oh me! from the room ; echoes of voices speaking oh me! Will not my child come to speak in high-pitched tones, vibrating with pas, to me?"
sion. Afterwards there was silence, and “She does not know you are here,” said then low murmurs and sobbing. Aunt May. “I will go at once and send her to Martha came creeping softly into her niece's
And she hurried away, leaving the room. mother rocking herself sorrowfully in her May, this is dreadful! That harsh, chair, and making again that slow wring- haughty' woman will break the bright ing movement with her hands, as if she young creature's heart. would force back the tide of bitterness that poor child sobbing through the wall!” was always seething in her breast.
“Are you sure it is she who is sobbing?" May went and knocked at Katherine's asked May. door.
'My dear, come into the store-room,
Only to hear the