Imatges de pÓgina


[ocr errors]


“ 'Twas not I only as see it, ma'am ; ask “Not that I can detect anything seriously Ellen," returned a whimpering voice with amiss, but she is in a highly nervous state, a sniff of injured innocence.

and requires constant cheerful society, “And what was Ellen doing out of her pleasant occupation, exercise without faroom at that time of night?” retorted the tigue;" and with a few directions as to her dame. “ Been down to fetch her prayer. diet he went away. book, had she? A likely story. And It was all very well to prescribe cheermuch good her prayer-book is to her, or to ful society, but where was it to be found ? you either, if it don't teach you better than the neighbours were few; of those few to give the house a bad name in this way.” a sprinkling only had been considered

"I never give the house a bad name, worthy to associate with the house of ma'am.” Another sniff. “But if I was to Atheling, and we had no friends whom we die for it, we did see a white figure walk- could summon from afar to fill our house ing up the stairs along the gallery; and and make it merry. But fortune favoured what's more, it did seem as though it us to some extent, for Mr. Seymour Ken. comed from Miss Hilda's room."

nedy took to coming down to spend Sun“ And it did seem to die away, like, just day at the rectory, or rather part of by that corner where Miss Atheling do Sunday, for he had to start by the evening sleep, and that's the truth; but law, I mail, paying dearly, by two long night never thought no harm by mentioning of journeys, for his few hours of quiet and it,” said another voice, lachrymose like country air. Quiet and country air!" wise.

those were said to be the attractions ; but “ 'Twas not I; 'twas James as said that I had my suspicions that the heiress of about the white lady walking, when the Athelstanes counted for something, too. head of the family were going to die.” He began to haunt the house on Sunday

“What! James saw it too, did he?” afternoons, and certainly brought with him asked Mrs. Bracebridge, sharply, not to a pleasant sense of life and stir, and comsay ferociously.

munion with the outer world. But I did “ Lord forgive you, Mrs. Bracebridge, not, I could not, like him, and I was surfor saying such a thing. How do I know prised to see that Lelgarde was evidently about what James should see?”

attracted by him. In the old London days Well, well, mind your work, and don't her enthusiasm had been an amusement to get chattering with the men; and I'll war- me, though I could not always go along rant you won't see no more white ladies; with it; the bright earnestness with we don't want 'em here, nor no black gen- which she and Harry Goldie would chatter tlemen neither; and just remember this, about music and painting, used to make you Betsy Jane and Ellen; if I hear

any even the dingy November fogs seem cheery; more of it, it's a month's warning to both and here was a man to whom enthusiasm of you, do you see?”

was impossible, who spoke of most things Steps, sniffs, and scoldings died away with a covert sneer, and who patronised ! along the passage, and I turned laughing where Lelgarde was wont to reverence

. to meet Lelgarde's eyes; she had sunk But she did like him; his coming brightened quietly down on the stone seat in the her up wonderfully, and when he had been porch, and fainted dead away.

absent longer than usual she drooped ! visibly.

It was a wild afternoon towards the end It was long before Mrs. Bracebridge and of March; since dawn, a cold blast blowing I succeeded in restoring Lelgarde to con- from the moors had been making the trees sciousness; and it was a relief to me when crack and groan, and every window and the doctor, to whom I sent at once, took chimney-pot set up its own peculiar shriek his place at her bedside. He asked a few or rattle. questions, prescribed a sedative, recom- The rain beat desperately against the mended her to keep quiet, and assured us window, and came fizzing down on the that there was no cause for uneasiness; logs in the wide grate; it was a day to but when he and I were alone, he asked make one shiver, and pity any one who had me if she had been undergoing any strain to be out of doors. Lelgarde evidently felt on her spirits, or if her nerves had received the depressing influence of the weather ; any shock. And when I told him the his- she was languid, and yet restless, and tory of her illness long ago, he said there seemed unable to settle to anything. was the more need for care now.

“What weather ! what a night it will


[ocr errors]

be!” I said, by way of saying something, a white figure to be seen, gliding like, beafter a long silence.

tween my mistress's room and poor Miss Lelgarde, who was lying all her length Hilda's.' along on a couch, sprang up and hurried “In old houses like this there is geneto the window.

rally some such fancy. I suppose there is “What a night indeed!" she repeated, a tradition about some white lady, is there dreamily; " will it ever stop raining ? not ?" And there goes the wind again, oh!" “So they begin to try to make me believe

“Don't stand and watch it; come to the now, ma'am. All I can say is, I never fire,” I said. And she came, leaning heard tell of her before; and as to Miss against the mantelpiece for a moment. Hilda's ghost, it is a shame to say so, poor Then, muttering something that I did not lady, and most disrespectful too. But there hear, she left the room.

is something strange. I do begin to believe It was about an hour later that the door that." stealthily opened, and admitted Mrs. Brace- “ Have you seen the white figure yourbridge with an anxious countenance. Oh, self, Mrs. Bracebridge ?” Miss Smith, I beg your pardon, ma'am; I “Well, ma'am, I cannot altogether deny hoped my mistress might be come in." that I have; but as I were only just pass* She has not been out."

ing along the upper gallery, 'twere but a “Oh, I beg your pardon, ma'am, she glimpse like that I caught. went out nearly an hour ago, which I The old body had evidently made off could hardly believe my eyes as 'twas she ; at the first symptom of the ghost; and but John, who is just come in for the post probably all the maids had done the bag, he met her, ma'am, on the road into same, for on inquiry, I found nobody could Trembleton. Surely she is never going in give a clear account of it, only that it there such a day as this.”

was dressed in true ghost fashion-all in I was aghast. What could the child be white. thinking of ? Almost unable to believe “ Have you missed anything ?” I asked, that she had done so wild a thing, I hurried with scepticism worthy of Mr. Seymour up to her room, but it was empty, and Kennedy. “No ? Then depend upon it Mrs. Bracebridge pointed to her little in somebody is playing a foolish trick. Better door slippers lying on the floor, her apron take no notice, and then it will be no fun on the bed. There could be no doubt that for them to go on with it." she had


There was a step on the stairs, and “Well, we must do our best to prevent Lelgarde opened the door, springing back her catching cold,” I said, stirring up the with one of her violent nervous starts on fire. “It is a pity she has run the risk, seeing that her room was occupied. She for she has not been looking well for some looked ghastly, her colourless face rendered time."

more disconsolate by the loosened hair “No, indeed, ma'am,” said Mrs. Brace- which the rain had plastered against it, bridge. And then, dropping her voice, she her cloak dripping, her hat a dreary mass added, with some hesitation :

of drenched plumage. “I beg your pardon, ma'am, but I hope I wasted no words, but, with Mrs. nobody has gone and worritted my mis- Bracebridge's help, I got her out of her tress. I hope none of the servants has wet things into her dressing-gown, put her been carrying their ridiculous fancies to into an arm-chair close by the fire, and her.”

plied her with hot tea, and then, when the “You mean this fancy about the house housekeeper was gone, I asked her severely being haunted,” I said, smiling; for some what she meant by it. words had passed between Mrs. Brace- "Don't, Joan,” she answered, pettishly, bridge and me on the subject before. “She turning her head away. “I only walked certainly once heard some talk about it the into Trembleton to get something I day she fainted; but she has never alluded wanted.” to it since. Why do you ask ?”

“As if you had no grooms about the “Well, ma'am,” continued the old wo- place; as if the boy were not going to the man, in the same mysteriously low tone, post-office. Lelgarde, you deserve to be “I must confess that there is a deal of talk well whipped and sent to bed.” going on, and 'tis not in my power to stop "Whip me if you like," she said, with a it. The maids, they will have it, that night languid smile, “but for pity's sake don't after night, more nights than not, there is put me to bed. I hate my bed; I hate


the night. And there, it is growing dark it had been a blow, then stretched out her already.

hand for the bottle. I snatched it

away, “Dinner comes first in the order of and dashed it into the fire. Lelgarde things," I said, as I rang for her maid, and burst into tears. left her, marvelling much at her queer “ You are cruel. You do not know ways, and vaguely uneasy at the general what you have done,” she sobbed,

pasaspect of affairs.

sionately. That night we sat up late, for Lelgarde Now I was sure that something was would not go to bed.

seriously amiss, and I determined to get to “Who could sleep,” she said, “ with such the bottom of it. a tempest raving outside ?"

“Lelgarde," I said, very gravely, “ this It was nearly midnight when I wished is very foolish, and it is more foolish still her good-night, and went to my own room, to run the risk of getting into a fatal habit a little way further down the same gallery. to escape from a little nervousness or sleepAs I prepared to wind up my watch, just lessness. _You do not know what yon are before stepping into bed, I found that it doing. Has it never occurred to you

that had stopped; and I thought I would steal it is wrong?"

." gently to my sister's room, creep cautiously “Is it?” she said, sinking down in a in, and try, without waking her, to ascer- chair in a helpless, nerveless attitude. tain the time by the little travelling-clock “Must I bear on? Is it a sin to try to on her mantelpiece. As I had been very escape


wretchedness? Then God slow in getting to bed, I took it for granted help me; for a more miserable creature that she was already asleep.

Under this does not breathe." impression I opened the door without “But what is your trouble ? Lelgarde, knocking, and was creeping in, when I darling, surely you can tell me anything?" suddenly met Lelgarde, in her dressing- She shouk her head. gown, advancing towards me, but with " At all events, promise me that you such a hurried, detected air that I stopped will play no more foolish tricks with your short, feeling as if I had committed an un- health.” warrantable intrusion.

“Very well,” she said, looking up at me “I beg your pardon,” I said ; and I suddenly, almost fiercely. “I promise ; began explaining my errand, but broke off but you must take the consequences

. If I at sight of what it was that she was trying can get no relief, if I am driven desperate, to put hurriedly out of sight. “Lelgarde, you must be responsible.” what are you doing with a bottle of lan- And there was the wild look of a hunted danum ?"

animal in her eyes, a look that painfully Not trying to kill myself, I assure you,

,” recalled her childish days. I felt a thrill she answered, with a faint smile; "only of real fear, but I stifled all signs of it, and trying a second edition of Mr. Piecroft's spoke in the quiet, authoritative tone that sedative."

had always soothed her. “Child, child, you should never meddle "Nonsense, my dear; nobody thinks of with such edge-tools. Did he tell you the hunting or driving you. Come, we will proper quantity ?"

not part again to-night. It is high time “The chemist at Trembleton did." we were in bed; but first tell me all the

“At Trembleton ?” I stood aghast as troubles-horrible dreams, or not being an idea struck me. “Lelgarde, could that able to sleep, which is it?" be errand out this afternoon ?”

She shook her head, and was silent for * Forgive me, dearest Joany,” she mur. a moment; then, with the same startling mured; “indeed, it would do me less harm suddenness, she exclaimed: than such a night as I should have other- “I will—I will risk your telling me it is wise. Hark!"

all fancy or nonsense; anything is better And as a fresh blast of wind drove the than this. Sit down, Joany, here, close, rain against the window, she shrank as if closer still, and I will tell you all.”

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


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

Published at the omice, 26, Wellington St., Strand, Printed by C. WHITING, Beaufort House, Duke St., Lincoln's lop Fielde.


0.175. NEW SERIES.


satisfaction and unwillingness to gratify her.

She exacted from him a hundred little marks TOBEREEVIE.

of homage, such as May had never looked BY THE AUTHOR OF "HESTER'S HISTORY." for, nor thought of. He became so busy

with her, and so tormented by her, that

he soon found he had very little time to CHAPTER XXIX. PAUL'S TROUBLES BEGIN. attend to his business. He became curiously Days passed, and Katherine had domes changed in a short space of time, his temper icated herself thoroughly at Monasterlea. alternating between bursts of anger at himshe had taken possession of all the best self and her, indulged in generally during hings in the house with the most charming the hours of his absence from her side, and roodwill. The prettiest and most com- unreasoning fits of mirth, which almost inortable furniture had been carried into her variably took possession of him whilst in oom, and she had the warmest seat at the her presence, and left bitterness of heart ire and at the table. The little red couch and exhaustion of body when they passed inder the black archway in the parlour, away. which was covered with Miss Martha's Meanwhile May stood aside patiently, knitting, and cushioned with pillows stuffed not wondering that the brilliant beauty with down off Miss Martha's own geese, should be found more amusing and attracshe had at once made quite her own. She tive than herself. She stifled her heartache, had taken possession of Bridget, so that for was she not sure of Paul's love ? And the handmaiden did little besides attend why need she be jealous, and ungenerous, upon Miss Archbold. The visitor had also and unkind ? Tender trust such as Paul her hostess in thorough subjection, and she felt in her was a thousand times more wrought her will pretty freely upon May, precious than the admiration of a moin spite of that young lady's rebellion ment. Therefore she would be tolerant, against the tyranny of her rule.

and await, however longingly, the happy But Katherine's attentions were chiefly hour when Katherine should take her way devoted to Paul, and to no one else did back to Camlough. But as weeks went she care to be agreeable. All through the by, and Paul's strange unhappiness indark winter days, in the quiet little cot- creased, all thought of her own pain passed tage, she was restless and troublesome, and away, and keen fear for his welfare caused sorely tried the patience of her enter- her a misery far more sharp than she had tainers ; but when the evening brought yet suffered. It was but a short time since Panl her mood was sure to change. She he had begged her to save him from anytook as much pains to amuse May's lover thing that should look to her like the beas though her life had depended on his ginning of that evil which he believed to being merry. And Paul was glad to be lie in wait for him. And it seemed to her amused, though he did not like Katherine. now that it was time to be up and doing

He did not like Katherine, and yet it for his sake. was certain that she exercised an extra- One night the three young people were ordinary influence over his actions. She sitting late over the fire. The keeping of absorbed his attention, in spite of his dis- late hours made one of the changes which




[ocr errors]

Katherine had introduced into the house. is a view of the matter which I did not She loved to amuse herself a long way into take before. But then-suppose I turn the night, though the servants grumbled, into a miser, and some bolder kinsman and even Miss Martha was dissatisfied. comes forward and murders me? It might The mild old lady had been obliged to be wiser to take the thing into my own yield the point. She might go to bed her hands." self when her eyes would not keep open, “Nonsense!” said Katherine. “I forbid but midnight often found the three young you to ruin yourself by anything so silly. heads bent together over the fire. May on Have a little patience, and don't believe in such occasions would be as merry as her bogies. The old man will die, and you guest. She would have laugh for laugh will get possession of all the wealth. You and jest for jest with Katherine; and she will leave this mouldy place, and become would not be disheartened even when a great man in England, where taste and she found that Paul would listen to the money are appreciated. You are cultivated stranger, and would give little heed to her. and accomplished. You can have your will

• Tell me about Tobereevil,” said Kathe- of all the good things of the world. You rine to Paul. “I have heard scraps of the may marry the handsomest woman of your history, but I want to know it all. There time—but, oh, I forgot! I beg your percould not be a better time for an uncom- don!” and Katharine glanced at May, and fortable story.”

laughed in make-believe confusion. Paul's face darkened, as he gloomily But May was bravely at her post, and prepared to comply with her request. He out-laughed her. went steadily through the whole of the “Go on, please,” she said, blithely. "Go wild tale, passing from one lean hero to on and finish the story. We must let another amongst his ancestors, till he nothing interfere with the hero's grandeur. finished with Simon, the present terror of You must wed him to a princess-unless

, the country.

indeed, you can find an unmarried queen. 'Oh, dear!" said Katherine, when he You are bound not to stop until you

hare had done. “And you are the next-of-kin. placed him on a throne.” Why the end of it is that you will be the “I am bound to no such thing!" said richest man in Ireland.”

Katherine, pettishly. " And he shall not “That is it,” said Paul; “and there will go on a throne, for kings are wretched not be many wealthier elsewhere. I have creatures.” lately been calculating the old man's wealth. Well,” said May, " that does not prove Think of the accumulation during many that your hero may not be a king. You have hundreds of years !

not done anything for him yet to prevent He said this with his brow bent and his his being a very wretched creature

. But eyes on the fire, and a look in his face which all I say is this, that I hope he will be May had never seen there before.

allowed to look after his poor subjects "What is this old man like?” asked in these parts. There is a long account Katherine, who had lost all her levity, and due to them from the forefathers of his become for once grave and earnest. "Is majesty.

We will include the settling he very old ? Is he in good health? Is of this amongst the pleasures you have he likely to die soon ?”

mentioned.” “ That is as may be,” said Paul, grimly. Katherine laughed a cynical laugh. “No, “He may live long enough unless some one indeed!” she said, “no such thing! My interfere to help him out of the world be hero shall send Tobereevil to the hammer

, fore his time. You know it is on the cards He shall fly from this land of beggars and that I, being his kinsman, may do him that of bogs. He shall revel in his inheritance

, good office.

not squander it for nothing." you could never be so silly !” cried “We talk about my hero,' and 'my Katherine, eagerly. “You would be pro- hero,'” said May, smilingly, " but the heir hably found out, and if you did escape of Tobereevil must declare for himself. Let punishment, there would still be a great him speak and say if he will turn his back deal of trouble and unpleasantness. Be- upon his people.” sides, if you are of a superstitious turn of Both bright pairs of eyes were turned on mind, as I strongly suspect you to be, it Paul, May's with more eagerness ard might interfere with the enjoyment of your anxiety lurking in them than their own happiness.”

cared that they should betray. Paul grew “That is true," said Paul, dryly. “It troubled and embarrassed under their gaze.

“ But

« AnteriorContinua »