« AnteriorContinua »
Only when we left the church a little tinge wives to bring the money, I fancy-not of melancholy seemed to steal over her. nice men." The days were lengthening fast, and some- “ Are you thinking of Mr. Seymour thing of daylight lingered still. She passed Kennedy?” I could not help asking her arm through mine, silently led me up She raised her eyes to mine in amazea path through the plantations, which ment. brought us to the top of a knoll behind the “Of Mr. Seymour Kennedy ? Certainly house. Athelstanes lay below us, a grey not. I was not thinking of any one in mass of building. The red light in the particular.” sitting-rooms was shining out comfortably And therewith we both became silent, in the growing darkness; the cows were and continued so till the butler came in walking in slow procession from the milk with our bedroom candles. ing-shed to the paddock; the garden showed The next morning we started early, slept traces of Lelgarde's design for spring on the road, and before noon on the followbeauties. She turned to me with a rather ing day found ourselves at the little hillwistful smile.
town of Catcombe, the nearest station to "Come and gone! Mine has been a the village of Hollyfield. strange, short reign, has it not ?”
I could not answer. I felt the necessity of being angry with somebody, and thought
CHAPTER X. vindictively of the poor feeble creature, The fly at Catcombe was not to be had, whose selfish weakness had left this legacy but after considerable demur a shandredan of doubt and disappointment behind her, of some sort was obtained, driven by a the unfaithful sister, the undutiful daughter, flushed rustic in fustian and velveteen. the weak wife who dared not own her The population gathered in the street to husband, the cowardly mother who forsook see us start, and we felt ourselves public her sucking child.
characters for once in our lives. But Lel. “ God forgive her!” I said, in as Chris- garde at least forgot herself, almost forgot tian a manner as people generally offer that the errand on which she came, in the loveliprayer.
ness that surrounded us when once we left But Lelgarde answered earnestly, “Yes, the little town. God forgive her !" And silence fell be- From the moment we started we were tween us.
gradually mounting, and before long a Her next words startled me a little. thickly wooded bank rose on our right; on
“Joan, do you remember how they our left was a descent as thickly wooded, brought us here the first day to have a view ending in a little noisy brook that sparkled of the old house? Ah, me! Harry Goldie out into the light, now and then, a dash of may become a great artist, but it is not here white in the tender April green. A long that he will visit me. Come, let us go ascent brought us out on a heathery comhome,” she added immediately, and all the mon, whence we could see all around, over evening she was very silent—the reaction, hill and dale, to the sea; and then we began doubtless, from the morning's excitement. to descend.
She sat on the hearth-rug, as she often I can see no sign of a house, and yet I used to do, gazing into the depths of the suppose Hollyfield is not far off,” said Lel. fire, till I asked if she was reading her garde; and, even as she spoke, there opened fortune there.
out in the glade below a little cluster of “No," she answered, smiling, “I was houses round a church and parsonage. No thinking what silly things day-dreams safer nook could certainly have been chosen are."
wherein to bury a secret. Our driver “ A truism, my dear."
touched his hat, and looked for orders. “Especially when they concern other “ To the parsonage,” said Lelgarde, people. Most likely what one would plan decidedly. for them would be very little to their taste.” She was very pale, her lips compressed, “Probably.”
evidently a little nervous, but self-possessed After a long pause, as if beginning quite nevertheless. For myself, I own I felt as another subject, she said abruptly : if we were pulling the string of a shower.
“I fancy men have a singular dislike to bath. The parsonage, a little ivy-covered any obligation."
thatched cottage, stood close to the church. “They like money, though—no matter yard wall; and at the garden gate we got how they get it,” I said.
out, and walked up to the door. A round“Do they? They do not care for their eyed, rosy-cheeked maid-servant gazed at us
in surprise, and seemed doubtful what to the imploring "please,” and looked into say, when Lelgarde asked if we could her young face with sudden kindness. speak to the clergyman.
“You know him, then ?” he said. “Or to Mrs. to his wife?” she was "No," she answered, blushing a little, obliged to end, not knowing what name to “ but I believe him to be a relation of my mention.
own; I think I know who he is. Unless I “Ha 'ant got n’ar a one,” was the can find him I shall be very, very unanswer; and then, stepping back and happy. " knocking at a door, the damsel proclaimed * You know who he is !” cried the old aloud: “ Zur, zur, if you please, zur, here man, eagerly; then, checking himself, “but be two ladies a come.
I see you want to hear all I can tell you I think Lelgarde began to realise that before you tell your story. It is not much. her quest had its awkwardnesses; but she I came to the parish—let me see- -four-andstood her ground with upraised head and twenty years ago; and at that time I believe quiet, fearless look, a match, as she always young Hamilton was at the farm, a little was, for all merely human encounters. But infant, under Mrs. Hatterick's care. Mrs. we were both relieved, I thi when the Hatterick was a good woman.” clergyman, emerging from his study, proved He paused, musing; there was a misty, to be a venerable, silver-haired gentleman unpractical look in his mild blue eye, which, of benevolent aspect.
connected with the untidy room and the “In what can I serve you? Will you loaded writing - table, made me set him walk in ?” he said, politely; and we entered down as a dreamer and a scribbler more his study, a room in truly bachelor-like than a worker. His next words confirmed disorder, littered with books and papers. my idea. Very shy and uncomfortable he looked, and “I suppose most old people feel that they I could not help feeling that we were pro- have not done as much good in the world bably taken for well-got-up beggars of in- as they might; but this is my case, espetrusive manners.
cially when I think of that
lad. There Lelgarde began, her voice gathering has always been a mystery about him, and firmness as she went on.
perhaps I ought to have made it my busi“I am come to ask if you can give me ness to try to clear it up, and ascertain if any information about a child, at least a there was any wrong-doing in the matter ; youth–I supposema young man”—(the but I am not clever at finding the right rector looked alarmed)—"who was brought moment for beginning things—and then it up, I believe, by some people of the name is too late.” of Hatterick, at a place called the Coombe “You knew him?" I suggested, as he Farm, in your parish ?”
showed signs of going off into a reverie of “Poor Henry Hamilton ?” said the self-reproach. clergyman, looking surprised, and much “Knew him ? Poor lad, he used to come interested.
to me every day from the time he was Lelgarde met the look with one more seven years old to be taught his Latin and eager.
English, and such smatterings in general “ Yes. Oh, that is the person
I as I could give him. Mrs. Hatterick was Where is he?" And she looked ready to a just woman, and while she lived the boy start up and fly to him.
had his due." The old parson shook his head.
“Do you know who paid for his mainte“ If you could tell me that, my dear nance ?” asked Lelgarde. young lady, you would make me a very Somebody paid, and pretty regularly ; happy old man," he said, feelingly. a respectable-looking old person used to
“ Is he dead ?” I found myself asking; come at long intervals to visit the farm ; and I suppose the tone was peculiar ; for but I rather think she was merely an agent both my listeners looked at me in surprise. for other people. I cannot tell. The boy
"No," the old man said-(his name was himself led as happy a life as a boy could Benson, as we found out afterwards)— | lead during his growing-up; even after “no, I trust not; but where he is, or how Mrs. Hatterick died, he held his own well he is faring, God knows-the God of the enough, though Gideon Hatterick is a orphan,” he murmured, almost to himself. rough man.” Will you please tell me about him. It
Why did he go away ?-for I gather is not for nothing that I ask,” Lelgarde that he is gone,” said Lelgarde. said.
“Ah! that is what I blame myself for; He smiled at the childish emphasis on my unhappily dilatory, absent habits," said
Mr. Benson, with a sigh. “Poor youth, he “Oh! how hard ! how unjust !” said
he could bear his life no longer, and had “Did not she-that person-ever give resolved to give up a name to which he any account of the child ?” asked Lelgarde was constantly told that he had probably cagerly.
no right, and plunge into the world, to “She stated, I believe, that both his sink or swim. My dear young lady, may parents were dead, and that this annuity you never feel as I have felt, that
have would be paid as long as no questions let a soul drift away to its ruin, when a were asked. It seemed a common story kind word might have saved it." enough- " He hesitated and coloured like “But surely-surely you have heard of a girl; then went on: “The lad had always him since then ?” Lelgarde said, almost been treated more or less as a gentleman, imploringly. as indeed he deserved to be; he associated She had turned very pale, and looked chiefly with two young nephews of mine, disappointed and weary. who were living with me at that time. I “I lost no time," said Mr. Benson. “I exhorted Gideon Hatterick to keep him in spared no pains. I could not be angry
at the same way for awhile, and let the youth the insolent answers I got from Mrs. Hatlook about him; Gideon was well-to-do, terick. I deserved it all, and more, Heaven and could afford it; and I think he loved knows. But I could find out nothing. The Hamilton; indeed, we all did, for he was a boy had gone off, I suppose had changed noble-natured fellow, and full of talent too, his name, for I could not trace him. One poor lad. Just at that time one of my or two gentlemen had lodged at Hatterick's own dear boys fell sick, and I had to leave the summer before for fishing and sketch. this place to a, curate, and take him to ing, and had taken a good deal of notice, I winter in Italy-he had nobody but me." believe, of the lad; but the Hattericks
“And what happened?” I ventured to either could not or would not remember ask, as the pause grew long.
their names; and when I got them at the “Ah! here comes the sad part. My post-office I had no clue to their addresses." poor young nephew grew worse and worse “But you know their names ?” said my —in the spring I had to leave him there, sister, breathlessly. in foreign soil—my poor lad. The last few “I did know them,” he said, “but there weeks I never left him; I was were several of them, and it is ten years absorbed in him than any human creature ago.” has a right to be in any one exclusive Lelgarde looked thoroughly dispirited. thing. When, after the funeral, I brought The quest seemed abruptly ended, the clue myself to open the packet of letters that lost utterly. She put her bundle of papers had been accumulating, I found one from into Mr. Benson's hands with a few words poor young Hamilton, imploring me to of explanation. give him some advice and help, or at all “Read these," she concluded, “and events a kind word. Gideon Hatterick, I pity me, for I am the mistress of Athel. already knew, had married again, a hard stanes.” grasping woman, not well spoken of in the parish. She hated poor Hamilton, and had
On the 27th of April will be commenced stirred up her husband to consider him a burden, and to treat him as a drudge.
A NEW SERIAL STORY,
He was sent out to labour in the fields, and, worse than that, he was every hour taunted
THE YELLOW FLAG. with his dependent position, with what they
By EDMUND YATES, believed to be the disgrace of his birth.” Author of “BLACK SHEEP," "NOBODY'S FORTUNE," &c. 1:
The light of Translating Articles from ALL THE YEAR Round is reserred by the Authors.
Published at the Unice. 26, Wellington St., Strand. Printed by C. WHITING, Beaufort llouse, Duke St., Lincoln's Ion Fielda.
The girl sat down on a fallen tree to have accumulated a store of firing to pre. watch for the first appearance of a human sent to some kindly householder, at whose figure in the distance. The past three fireside she was used to sit. Her work months had left their traces upon May. done for the present, she washed her hands Her face was always pale now, except and feet in the brown bog-water, and put when a blush or a spring wind made it on her old cloak, which had been laid aside bloom for a passing moment. Her eyes carefully, and picked up her stick, and had grown larger and darker, and had a began to climb the bank, that she might look of hidden suffering. Pauses like this rest in the grove a little before beginning were very difficult to her, for she could her evening journey to seek a shelter for not afford much brooding when in trouble, the night. Old women can love pretty was not given to tears, and did not do places as well as young girls, and May's what women call fretting. Grief dealt fallen tree was a favourite resting-place for so hardly with her that for life's dear sake Bid, who might often be found there on fine she was driven into resistance. .
days, knitting busily in the solitude. This was not the romantic sorrow of the Bid felt a little uneasy as she climbed girl of a year ago, whose lover had gone the bank, for as she tied on her cloak she away, but the quiet woe of a woman who had heard a sigh float past her ear across had sworn to be faithful. Grief that is the loneliness and silence of the bog. It most unselfish is always hardest to bear. seemed as if the wind had bent the bog. A selfish heart will comfort itself with the blossoms, and they had whispered, “My little merciful compensations which life is heart is broken." No sound heard here ever providing, but the heart that aches need be surprising, where the air was full for another cannot even relish peace while of spirits, but Bid did not quite like to be evil has hold of the one beloved. May the confidante of creatures of whom she plucked violets for occupation, and made knew not the dwelling - place, nor the them up into nosegays, and wound them nature. The very bending and bowing of together in wreaths; one she would give the ranks and files of white fleecy blossoms to Paul for his button-hole, and she would that rocked themselves towards her like wear another in her bosom. But she living things in trouble made the old creawould not give any to Katherine. She and ture shiver, and almost believe that they Paul should share at least a wreath of had spoken. She crept up the bank, and violets between them.
crossed herself as she set foot in the little At this childish work her heart eased grove; but superstition filed like a bat at itself a little, till, looking up, she blink of daylight when she saw a fellow. figures in the distance among the trees— creature lying prone on the earth. Paul and Katherine ; but they were not Bid knew the girl from the abbey. Not coming quite her way. The flowers fell once, nor twice, but many scores of times from her fingers ; her hands dropped in had she been warmed and fed by her in her lap. She had told Paul in the morn- the kitchen at Monasterlea, and the old ing that she would, if possible, meet him woman was afflicted at this piteous sight. at this spot, but he had met Katherine She knew now whose heart was broken. instead, and she was leaning on his arm. Bid was shrewd and sympathetic; there It seemed to May that they were walking was not a love-story in the country that as lovers walk. She sighed a little, and she did not know of, and she had early then the blow descended on her heart, her scented trouble when things got amiss with senses went away, and she fell from her Paul and his promised wife. She had seat, and lay, forgetful of all trouble, among called Katherine a witch before that young the primroses.
lady had been a week at Monasterlea ; and a At the other side of the bank, and right few minutes since she had descried this witch behind the great thorn, an old woman was and May's lover coming out of the woods. toiling down in a cutting of the ugly bog. “Heart's blood of the hope of the She was the person known in the country counthry!" murmured the old woman,
Bid the thraveller,” and she had been making a kind of mournful song as she busy since daybreak cutting long sods of chafed the girl's cold fingers. “Ye brought the black reeking turf, and setting them throuble on yer head when ye promised this up on their ends together in little stacks. bit o' a hand to a Finiston. Sure the devil By-and-bye she would come back to them, that is tackled wid Paul has took a woman's and spread them out to get thoroughly shape this time! But ye'll rise out o' ber, dried, and against autumn she would avourneen-ye'll rise out o' her yet!"