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" Shabby gentility " is to social life what " Brummagen 
wares " are to the things they imitate. In both cases there is 
elaborate workmanship bestowed on a worthless material, to 
produce the result which the honest Jew desired, when he 
directed that his mock silver spoons should be " stamped with a 
dog, which was to be made as much like a lion as possible." 

Counterfeits mark a high deg'ree of civilisation, and great 
cultivation of the arts and sciences they represent ; but of all 
the mournful expenditure of human faculty and human energy, 
the struggles of "shabby gentility" are the most deplorable, 
The contrivance, the zeal, the patience, displayed in making the 
results of a sixpence (honest, unpretending coin that it is ! with 
its exact value on the face of it) pass for the result of that 
handsome, truly prosperous piece of money, the half-crown!, 
would suffice to carry a Chancellor of the Exchequer through a 
difficult budget. After all, it is only sixpennyworth of imita- 
tion — the dog made to look like a lion. But the strain, and 
the pain, and the burden of pretence are no mean addition 


to the inevitable load of difficulties laid on the shoulders of all 
the children of men, when they come into this unlucky world — 
unlucky, because it is endowed with the hard name of being a 
wicked one. 

The market town of Dunnington is situated in the heart of 
one of the midland counties, and lies on the main road to 
London. It is a quiet, sleepy little town, and consists of one 
long straggling street, and half another, which runs up a hill, 
at the top of which is the old church, standing in the midst of 
its church-yard, and commanding a view of one of the fairest 
and richest agricultural districts that England can boast; the 
broad meadows studded like parks, with fine old timber and 
hedge-rows, which, in their ample luxuriance, must have been 
the growth of many years. 

Dunnington has neither trade nor manufactures.; but it boasts 
an Inn worthy of the "hostels" of old, which gained for England 
the fame of having the best in the world. It was an old build- 
ing, and might have stood in the time of Shakespeare, from its 
appearance. The house was built round three sides of a large 
yard, the fourth side of which was occupied by stables, which 
extended backwards to some distance. A pair of large coach 
gates afforded admittance from the street. 

The house had a singularly inviting appearance, with its 
dazzling whitewash, and the dark red tiles that paved the 
entrance hall. 

A choice breed of pigeons cooed and sunned themselves among 
the old chimney-stacks, or stepped up and down the moss-grown 


Altogether, this Inn, which bore the sign of the " Metringham 
Arms," on a beam extending across the street, had a look of 
comfort, good cheer, and homely farm-yard rusticity, which 
made it much more attractive than the stately, imposing race of 


hotels which have grown up since the days when the " Metring- 
ham Arms " was in its glory. 

This house was kept by Simon Morley. He was a farmer as 
well as an innkeeper, and held a farm under Lord Metringham, 
who was the chief landowner on that side of the county. 

The rent-days were always kept at the " Metringham Arms," 
which not only made a high festival in the house, but was 
equivalent to a handsome per centage off his rent. 

Simon Morley, from small beginnings, had amassed some 
money, and even possessed a little land of his own. 

He kept dogs, and took out a game license ; he was passion- 
ately fond of field sports, and it was a great sporting neigh- 
bourhood. He was a hard rider, a hard drinker, an excellent 
shot, the best judge of horse-flesh in the whole county ; he was 
a capital companion, told excellent stories, and sang equally 
excellent songs ; he possessed a vein of shrewd caustic wit, and 
was altogether rather a notable character. His social virtues 
might have been the ruin of his prosperity had they not been 
joined to other qualities. He was a hard hand at driving a 
bargain, and an adept in the art of making money ; he had also 
a tight grip to keep what he made, in spite of his apparent 

In appearance he was a portly good-looking man. He wore 
drab breeches, yellow-topped boots, striped waistcoats of a 
pattern long since vanished, and ample coats of broad cloth cut 
sporting wise. 

Mrs. Morley, his wife, had once been a county beauty, and still 
possessed a certain full-blown comeliness. She presided over 
the house, and assisted her husband heart and soul in the busi- 
ness of money-making, which indeed both of them believed to 
be the "chief end of man." 

Under her auspices the fame of the comforts of the house was 


so well established, that most of the travellers who had to pass 
through the town so contrived their journey as either to dine or 
to sleep at the " Metringham Arms." 

There was no great display of plate or china, but the linen 
was sumptuous in its delicate fineness. There was not such 
poultry to be found for ten miles round ; and Mrs. Morley's pork 
pies, covered all over as they were with extraordinary hiero- 
glyphical ornaments of pastry, and her cheesecakes (to which 
those of Prince What's-his-name, in the "Arabian Nights, " 
could not be compared) were famed far and near. The beds 
were all hung with fair white dimity, and the sheets laid up in 
lavender still retained the fragrance of the hedge-rows and 
meadows. To crown all the attractions, there was the motherly 
good-humoured face of Mrs. Morley, as she appeared smiling at 
the entrance of the house to welcome her guests, or to bid them 
farewell ; no wonder they were so numerous and so well con- 
tented ! 

Nothing could be more happy, respectable, or prosperous, 
than the lot of Simon Morley and his Gertrude. 

We must own to one drawback. The " love of money," which 
is " the root of all evil," had struck its fibres into the heart of 
this well-respected couple. They loved money, they desired to 
make money, they respected money more than any other earthly 
thing : it was their only standard of value. 

The people in the neighbourhood were all high Tories, as is 
the custom in purely agricultural districts, and the Morleys 
shared in the traditional respect for the county families, begin- 
ning of course with Lord Metringham, their landlord, who, in 
their eyes, was second only to the king. They had no tempta- 
tion to imitate their betters, nor to struggle into a station above 
their own. 

They were too busy for much visiting. An occasional tea 


party, followed by a sumptuous supper, to which the lawyer, the 
doctor, and the principal shopkeeper of the place were invited, 
and from time to time an appearance at church in the very 
richest satin gown and very handsomest bonnet that money 
could furnish, satisfied all Mrs. Morley's aspirations after social 
distinction ; whilst Simon Morley rode to all the markets round 
on his clever little mare, and combined social amusement with 
profit, by driving hard bargains for his barley and wheat. 

The. only thing that Simon Morley and his wife despised 
was — poverty. Poverty, no matter how gilded by genius, 
education, or connections — poverty was the deadly sin of their 
decalogue. Mrs. Morley reverenced the vicar ; but she looked 
down upon the curate, in spite of his cloth, though she frequently 
sent him presents of game or poultry, and tithings of the good 
things that might be left after a county dinner or rent day. 

This worthy couple were blessed with two children, a son and 
a daughter. The son, Simon Morley trained up after his own 
fashion. Whilst scarcely able to walk, he was set on horseback 
and allowed the run of the stable-yard, mounted on the box 
beside the coachman and post-boys, who delighted in his spirit. 
He trotted on his little pony, beside his father, when he went to 
the neighbouring towns — was taken out coursing, and allowed 
a gun of his own, when other boys were poaching after birds' 
nests and playing at marbles. The only beating on record 
which Simon Morley ever bestowed upon his son was for once 
allowing himself to be thrown by a strange horse : the boy's 
arm was broken by the fall, and his father tended him like a 
nurse until he recovered, and then gave him a hearty chastise- 
ment for being so unskilful. 

The curate instilled a little reading and writing into him, and 
at the age of twelve he was sent to school to finish his educa- 
tion, and to be fitted to assist his father in his business. 


The girl was three years younger than her brother. She was 
named Gertrude after her mother, who regarded her as her own 
peculiar property. With the bringing up of her son she did 
not interfere, but the daughter was the pride of her heart. 

She had not much notion of the value of education for its 
own sake ; but when she found that the three daughters of the 
prosperous haberdasher were sent to a boarding school, she 
determined that her Gertrude should " hold up her head with 
the best of them." Whilst Gertrude was a child she had a 
luxurious nursery, and revelled in an unlimited abundance of 
toys; she was never contradicted, and her white frocks were 
miracles of fine lace and embroidery. She was a clever child, 
giving promise of great beauty, and as spoiled as it was possible 
for a child in circumstances so favourable for encouraging the 
growth of naughtiness. 

At eight years of age she was sent to school " to be taught 
everything," as her mother compendiously phrased it. 

This early removal from the previous indulgences of home 
was in some respects very beneficial to the young Gertrude. 
She had a natural aptitude for receiving instruction, and ac- 
quired a very creditable proficiency in the various accomplish, 
ments taught in the establishment, so that the three Misses Le 
French, who conducted it, considered her, except for the draw- 
back of her vulgar connexions, as a great credit to their school. 

Alas ! with her innocent geography, and history, and tapestry 
work, and French, and music, she imbibed other instructions 
that were not so harmless. She learned that it was "very low 
to keep an inn ; " that when she left school she would occupy a 
very inferior position in the world to that of the Miss de Mont- 
fords, daughters of Sir Thomas de Montford, a baronet whose 
family dated from the time of Henry the Second. One young 
lady, whose father was a rich banker, more than once declared 


with a toss of her head, " that her mamma would take her away 
from the school when she knew that an inn-keeper's daughter 
was received ! " 

These things rankled in the heart of the little Gertrude. At 
first, with the natural independence of childhood, she rebutted 
these impertinences, by declaring that " her papa kept a great 
many more carriages and horses than theirs, and that when she 
went home at the holidays she had a maid to dress her and a 
man-servant to ride behind her on horseback." The great 
check, however, to the superciliousness of her young com- 
panions were the contents of those large parcels of good things 
which generally came to her every week. Everybody can 
recollect the temporary importance which the receipt of a 
* parcel from home " confers on a school girl. 

But, as she grew older, she pondered upon these things. 
Accidentally, she came to the knowledge of the fact, that at 
first the Misses Le French had refused to tarnish the gentility 
of their school by receiving the daughter of an inn-keeper, and 
had only been softened by the payment of double stipend and 
unlimited extras ; even that would scarcely have sufficed, had 
not the interesting appearance of the little Gertrude herself 
made the relaxation in her favour unobjectionable so far as she 
was concerned. 

The thought that she had been received on sufferance was 
gall and wormwood to the poor girl, and cost her many secret 
tears. The three Misses Le French would have risen up in all 
the stately " pomp of virtue," had they been told that there was 
the slightest deficiency in the strict morality and propriety they 
inculcated upon their pupils. But the fact unfortunately re- 
mained, that not one word to prepare her for the difficult duties 
of her lot did Gertrude ever hear — nothing to strengthen her, 
to turn her thoughts from vanity, to teach her the dignity of 


fulfilling her duties in the station of life in which she had been 

When she was seventeen she was to leave school — a finished 
young lady — whom her mother hoped to find a great help and 
comfort to her in keeping the books and giving an eye to the 

The day before " breaking up," after the distribution of the 
prizes, at which Gertrude had carried off the " prize for dancing 
and deportment " and the " prize for music," she was sent for 
by the three Misses Le French into their parlour. 

" We have sent for you, my dear," said the eldest Miss Le 
French, smoothing her delicate lavender-coloured gloves, "to 
give you a little good advice before you leave us. We have 
every reason to be satisfied with your attention to your studies, 
and your general good conduct, since you have been under our 
care ; we are sorry to part with you, and we shall ever retain a 
feeling of interest in your welfare. In the home to which you 
are returning (I would wish to speak with all due respect for 
your worthy parents, who must have made many sacrifices to 
give you so good an education) ; still, in your home you will be 
exposed to many disadvantages, and it is to warn you against 
these that is my object in now speaking to you. Keep yourself 
as much as you can to yourself, and associate as little as possible 
with the inferior persons who come about the house. If it 
should chance that any of your former schoolmates should 
travel your way, I would not advise you to put yourself forward 
to recognise them, but rather keep yourself retired — recollecting 
the essential difference of your stations — for whatever your 
education may have been, never cease to remember that the 
station of your father and mother is the only rightful station 
you can claim; but in the resources of your education, and in 
the exercise of your various accomplishments (which I earnestly 


entreat you to keep up) I have no doubt that you may pass 
your time not unhappily. I should certainly recommend you to 
spend not less than three hours a-day in keeping up your profi- 
ciency on the harp. You might also practice your drawing 
with advantage. I presume your mother will allow you to 
have a private sitting-room, and to that I would advise you to 
confine yourself as much as possible." 

The eldest Miss Le French ceased to speak, and the second 
sister took up the word. 

" I have a little to add to my sister's admirable remarks ; I 
only say to you, be as select as possible in your acquaintance, 
and above all, shun scenes of vulgar gaiety. I think you might 
find it advantageous to join yourself to some visiting, or mis- 
sionary, or sewing society, which is under good patronage. It 
might be the means of making you acquainted with highly 
respectable persons, and be a mode of getting on in society; 
added to which you would have the satisfaction to know that 
you were doing good." 

"And, my dear Miss Morley," said the young Miss Le French, 
" I hope, after the education you have had with us, that I need 
not exhort you to be remarkably guarded in your manners to 
those of the other sex. You are certainly attractive in your 
appearance, which, in your position, will be a source of danger 
to you. It is not a point upon which I can or ought to enlarge, 
—your own good sense will show you what I mean. I only 
say, to be sure of the intentions of any young man you allow to 
address you, and do not be flattered into the belief that a young 
man has any serious intentions unless he tells you so in precise 
terms. I have written your name in this excellent little book, 
which I present to you as a token of remembrance, and I hope 
its admonitions may be of use in times of perplexity." 


Here Miss Louisa Le French gave Gertrude an elegantly 
bound copy of " Dr. Gregory's Advice to his Daughters," to 
which were added " Mrs. Ohapone's Letters." The two elder 
sisters also presented her with a testimony of their regard ; and 
the next day a chaise from the " Metringham Arms " came to 
take Gertrude " home for good." 



When Gertrude arrived at home the house was in a state of 
great bustle ; an earl's travelling carriage had driven up a mo- 
ment before, and the occupants were stopping to dine. All 
Mrs. Morley's faculties were, for the instant, fully engaged, and 
she had only time to bestow a moment's greeting upon Ger- 

Gertrude made her own way to the nursery, which had now 
become her bedroom, where she was left undisturbed, though 
the sounds from below made it evident that her tranquillity was 
not shared by the rest of the house. 

After awhile she proceeded to the sitting-room, which had 
usually been hers during the vacations, but it was now occupied, 
and she again retreated to her bedroom, the only spot which, 
it appeared, she could call her own. 

The last admonitions of Miss Le French rung in her ears 
and rankled in her heart. They had given a definite shape to 
the vague thoughts which had long been stirring within her, 
and she felt a disgust amounting to shame at the home to which 
she had returned. It was twelve months since she had seen it, 
the preceding holidays having been spent at school ; so that all 



the peculiarities of home had lost much of their old familiar 
air, and struck her with an unpleasing sense of novelty. 
Weary of being- alone, and deterred from going in search of 
her mother by the certainty that she would be engaged, Ger- 
trude was reduced to study Miss Le French's parting gift to 
beguile the time. It added to her discomfort, for its admoni- 
tions were all addressed to young women eligibly situated in 
life, in highly refined and fastidious circles. 

At length she was summoned to dinner ; on her way down 
stairs she ran against a valet who was bringing up his master's 
portmanteau, and encountered several ladies' maids who were 
hurrying about in a state of importance. The dinner was laid 
in the little lantern-like bar, which consisted nearly altog-ether 
of windows, having been thus constructed to enable Mrs. 
Morley to cast a look on all sides, upon the doings of the men- 
servants and maid-servants of her establishment. 

Simon Morley was extended in his three-cornered easy chair, 
in his splashed boots and spurs, just as he had come in from 
a long ride. He looked up from his newspaper as Gertrude 

" Why, Ger, how long have you been here ? Nobody ever 
found time to tell me you were at home ; but you might have 
come to look for one. Well, give us a kiss, and tell us what 
they have taught you at school. Have you learned to Parhj- 
voo ? And how did you leave Madam Le French, — any of them 
likely to be married ? " 

Having made these inquiries he seemed to have come to the 
end of all he had to say, and Gertrude, who always felt afraid 
of her father, did not know how to keep up the conversation 
when her brother's entrance made a diversion. 

He was a fine-looking, rather heavy young man, dressed 


something- between a farmer and a sportsman. He had a hearty 
voice, a florid complexion, and provincial accent. 

" Why, bless us, Ger, is that you ? I could not think what 
fine lady my father had with him ! Why, one is afraid to touch 
you." He gave her a hug that nearly dislocated her shoulders, 
and then pushed her away to a little distance to contemplate 
her appearance in detail. 

" And what in the name of wonder do you call this ? " said 
he, taking up the corner of her muslin apron, an elaborate 
specimen of female industry, a trophy of her own needlework 
during three successive half-years. " It beats all I ever saw. 
What is the use of it I would like to know, it comes to pieces 
with a touch ? " As he spoke, he had, all unintentionally, given 
the corner he held a jerk which caused an extensive fracture. 

" Dear — how rough you are ! " said Gertrude pettishly. " I 
wish you would not meddle with me, it is so rude." 

" Come, come, a needle and a thread will make all right, 
and, I am sure, you are not within a few stitches to mend it 
after taking so many to make it; I did not intend mischief." 

But Gertrude, fresh from the unrumpled propriety which the 
Misses Le French exacted from their pupils, was sadly discom- 
posed at the roughness of her father and brother. There had 
never been much companionship between them. Simon Morley 
had always considered Gertrude as his wife's concern ; he had 
never interfered in her bringing up beyond grumbling at the 
amount of her boarding-school bill, the exact total of which, 
however, he never knew, as his wife only told him a partial 
amount, the remainder being supplied from her own dexterous 
economies ; otherwise, Gertrude's education would not have 
reached a second half year. As to her brother, he was older 
than herself, and had always tormented her with the practical 


jokes and mischievous tricks which cubs of boys so much delight 
in inflicting on their sisters; consequently the love between 
them was not very striking" ; in fact, there was a standing feud. 

Mrs. Morley's entrance prevented further dispute; she had 
been detained, to legislate about a bed-room, and the dinner 
was nearly cold before they sat down to it. 

After dinner, Simon Morley went out with his son to look at 
a field of grass which was almost ready for mowing ; and Mrs. 
Morley sat down at her little table in her own corner to balance 
her cash and enter the transactions of the morning into her 
private book. Gertrude was stealing off to her own room, 
when her mother called her back, and bid her bring her work 
and keep her company. Mrs. Morley was far too busy to talk, 
but Gertrude sat still, and that did as well. The afternoon sun 
streamed through the windows, and the room was oppressively 

" Do you always sit here in an afternoon, mother ? " said 
Gertrude at last, looking up from the apron she was mending. 

" Ay, to be sure ; where else should I be ? " replied her 
mother, with some surprise. " I had it done up before you 
came back, and made quite a nice place of it, thinking it would 
be pleasant for you. I have quite looked forward to having 
you with me ; now you are come home you can be a deal of 
help, for I have more than I can do sometimes." 

Gertrude was ready to cry; but just then the three dashing 
Miss Slocums entered in a body, and more than filled the little 
room with their fine bonnets and fine manners. 

They were country beauties, and country fortunes, and in 
both capacities considered they had the right to take the lead, 
and lay down the law on all points of manners and fashion to 
the little town of Dunnington. 


The eldest, a tall, well-formed young woman, of two or three 
and twenty, was on the point of marriage with a young farmer, 
who had a little money of his own, and the farm he occupied 
had been held by his fathers before him for several generations. 
He was the best match in the neighbourhood, and had been 
celebrated for his rural gallantries, so that Miss Arabella was 
considered to have achieved a rather brilliant conquest. Miss 
Emma, the second sister, was somewhat of a hoyden (which 
she considered dashing and spirited), — would ride after the 
hounds, and leap a five-barred gate — could row, and play at 
cricket — and was the favourite partner at all the dances and 
merry-makings in the neighbourhood ; she was the type of a 
lionne in higher life. Miss Matilda, the younger, was a pretty, 
fair-looking girl, who was considered by her sisters and the 
rest of the town as decidedly " bookish ; " because she read all 
the tales and poetry she could lay hands upon, and every year 
bought herself a pocket-book containing the words of the songs 
which had been " sung with applause " during the season, and 
extracts from the most moving scenes of some recent novel. 
Her secret aspiration was to receive the homage of a lawful 
lover like those she had read about. These young women and 
Gertrude had played and quarrelled together from their earliest 
years; of late there had been a certain ill-defined jealousy, as 
they fancied Gertrude was getting above them in their preten- 
sions, and they came fully prepared to assert their own supe- 
riority if they found her inclined to dispute it. They were ex- 
tremely curious to see what she would be like after so long a 
sojourn " at boarding-school." 

After the first burst of kisses and exclamations there came a 
pause ; the natural current of their souls could not flow com- 
fortably in the presence of Mrs. Morley. Gertrude was invited 



to come out for a walk, which she gladly did. Once in the 
open fields, beyond the church, there was no end to the out- 
pouring of their souls. Gertrude being a new comer, had to be 
the first listener. She had to hear all the history of the rise 
and progress of Miss Slocum's engagement, — to hear "what 
particular attentions " a handsome young man, who drove his 
own gig and horse, and travelled for his father, was paying 
Miss Emma, — and finally she had to listen to Miss Matilda's 
rapturous description of the charms of a detachment of cavalry 
which had been quartered at Dunnington a few weeks pre- 
viously. On this point all the sisters spoke at once, and united 
in assuring Gertrude that there never were such interesting, 
charming, delightful creatures as the officers, who had not any 
nride in them, but had ordered the band to play a whole half- 
hour beyond the usual time in front of the " Metringham Arms," 
and that two of them had made acquaintance with their father, 
and had come upstairs into the tea-room to look at their draw- 
ings and to hear Matilda play and sing. 

The amount of wisdom in the unrestrained private conversa- 
tion of all young girls is pretty much on an average. The 
.Miss Slocums were not more foolish than the general run of 
good-natured, good-humoured girls, full of youthful spirits, 
unsobered by any of the realities of life ; their communications 
were much the same as those which pass among all girls, gentle 
or simple ; the difference would be found to lie in the tone and 
manner, rather than the matter of discourse. Polly is folly, 
whether delivered in clear silvery tones, with the choicest 
grammar and accent, or with the boisterous manners, noisy 
voices, and strong provincial inflections with which the Miss 
Slocums uttered their opinions. Gertrude was as foolish at 
heart as any girl need be, — the vanity and folly of the con- 


versation did not strike her; but the vulgarity of her com- 
panions did. The refinement she had been taught at school 
had reference only to externals, and went no further than the 
regulation of voice and manner. She was anxious to get home, 
but the Miss Slocums would not hear of her passing their door 
without coming in to speak to their mother, who was an in- 



They found old Mrs. Slocum sitting - in a padded arm-chair, in 
a little stuffy dark back-parlour behind the shop. She was 
knitting a lamb's-wool stocking, her only, and never-ending 

" Here is Gertrude Morley come in to see you mother," said 
Miss Slocum in a loud key, for her mother was deaf. 

" Well, I should never have known her ! My dear Gertrude, 
welcome home ! " and poor Gertrude was nearly stifled in the 
embrace which the fat old lady inflicted upon her. It was not 
a pleasant process, as Mrs. Slocum was always perfumed with 
the odour of camphorated liniment, which she used for her 
rheumatism. She made no pretension to be anything ; she was 
just a good-natured, motherly, vulgar woman, who had helped 
her husband in his shop until he grew rich, and now she aspired 
to nothing beyond the luxury of sitting in the chimney-corner 
of the little back-room, whence she could overlook the shop 
through a little pane of glass in the wall, and knit her lamb's- 
wool stocking without molestation. 

Mr. Slocum, a little pursy man in black velveteen small- 
clothes and grey worsted stockings, came in so soon as he heard 
their voices, and claimed the privilege of old acquaintance to 


welcome Gertrude home with a hearty kiss, and as Gertrude 
had been taught that such things were highly improper, she 
felt very much shocked accordmg-ly. 

" Nay, pretty one, never hang down your head and look shy 
about me," said the old man, cheerily ; " I am an old fellow, 
but I should have made any young one jealous who had seen 
me ! Why, dear heart o' me, all the young chaps in the 
country will be coming courting here, and I shall never keep 
the peace among them all, churchwarden as I am ! Eh, wife ! 
does it not make you feel young again to see all these fine young 
lasses around you ? " 

Mrs. Slocum replied that Miss Gertrude was a very fine 
young lady, and that it would be a great comfort to Mrs. Mor- 
ley to have her at home. 

The Misses Slocum had a large room upstairs, which they 
called the " Tea-room ;" and it was the pride of their hearts, 
for in those primitive days a " tea room" was a great distinction. 

Persons in the said Mrs. Slocum's rank of life generally sat 
in a sort of parlour kitchen, with a morsel of carpet on the red- 
tiled floor, and a few comforts in the shape of arm chairs for 
the old folks, and a large sofa covered with chintz, and stuffed 
with feathers. Even those who possessed " parlours" seldom 
thought of sitting in them except on Sundays ; so that when 
the Misses Slocum after leaving- school turned a large empty 
apartment upstairs into a " tea-room," where they sat every day 
of the week playing on she harpsichord, and looking out of the 
window at everything who went up the street, the whole town 
felt insulted at their pride, and prophesied nothing short of 
bankruptcy to their father. This had not, however, hindered 
several other families, who thought themselves " quite as good 
as the Slocums," from following their example. 
3— » 


When Gertrude bad seen and admired the tea-room and all 
its glories, she was allowed to return home. 

If Gertrude had chosen to make the best of her position, she 
might have found several eligible acquaintances in the town, 
for the average of human nature is pretty much the same every- 
where ; but as they were all more or less wanting in education 
and manner, she considered them all as beneath her notice. 
The people thought her proud and conceited, and " nothing at 
all remarkable for all the money she had cost;" whilst the 
young men declared that she was not to be compared with 
Emma Slocum. After she had been at home about a week, as 
she was one morning preparing to retire, as she usually did, to 
her own room, her mother said : 

" Come, Gertrude, you must not always be playing ; I want 
you to take my place in the bar a little. You must begin to 
give-your mind to something useful after all the money spent on 
you. I can tell you that your father went into one of his pas- 
sions when he heard what the last bill came to — I must say I 
think Miss Le French has charged shamefully — but I pacified 
him by saying what a good girl you were, and how useful you 
would be to me." 

The passionate indignation with which Gertrude heard this 
terrified her mother, who would have yielded the point and 
allowed her to employ herself as she pleased ; but when her 
father found how matters were, he declared with an oath that 
she should help her mother or go out to service, for he would 
harbour no child who thought herself too good to keep com- 
pany with her own father "and mother ; and then he vented the 
remainder of his wrath upon his wife, declaring it to be her 
fault for breeding up her daughter a fine lady, and giving her a 
new-fangled education above her station. He declared that if 


he heard of any more nonsense, or saw any sullenness, he would 
lay his whip across her shoulders, and turn her out of doors. 

Gertrude was terrified at his violence, and completely sub- 
dued. Henceforth she took her appointed place at her mother's 
little table, made out the bills, kept the books, and did every- 
thing that was required of her. She saved her father the 
expense of another servant, which was all he cared for. Her 
mother thought that so long as she was not too much confined, 
and had plenty of handsome clothes, trinkets, and pocket-money, 
that she could not help being happy. She was very proud of 
her, and secretly cherished the hope that she would make a 
great match, and ride in her coach. 

Poor Gertrude was very much to be pitied. Her position, at 
the best, was seriously objectionable for any young woman; but 
she had been so completely unfitted for it by the absurdly un- 
suitable education her mother's vanity had bestowed, that the 
door was opened to many more dangers than would otherwise 
have beset her. 

Gertrude's appearance was too striking not to attract atten- 
tion. She had many adorers ; but she turned a cold ear to them 
all, for none of them could have removed her from the scenes 
she loathed. 

Her mother encouraged her to hold her head high. She was 
not without a secret hope that some young nobleman, as he 
passed through, might fall in love with her daughter and marry 
her; no other solution ever occurred to her unsophisticated 
mind. And as time rolled on, Gertrude grew still more impa- 
tient of her situation ; it seemed to her impossible that she 
could endure it much longer. 



This state of things continued for some time, or rather con- 
tinued to get worse and worse, for Gertrude grew every day 
more wretched and discontented. 

One morning, as she sat down after breakfast to her desk to 
write out a bill " for the gentleman in No. 13," her mother 
entered with an open letter in her hand. 

"Here, Gertrude, read this letter, and tell me what it all 
means. It is franked by Lord Metringham himself, and there 
is a letter enclosed to you which I have not read. Who is Mr. 
Mellish, of Palace House ? " 

"Miss Mellish was a schoolfellow of mine," said Gertrude, 
" and we used to be great friends ; but her father is a very 
proud old man, and forbid her to correspond with me, and I 
thought she had forgotten all about me. What can she have 
to say to me now ? " 

" Well, read these aloud to me, for I cannot well make out 
the writing without my spectacles, which I have put down some- 
where. But do not hurry ; finish what you are doing first." 

As soon as she was at liberty, Gertrude read the letters. The 
first was from Mr. Mellish, written with stately politeness, re- 
questing Mrs. Morley to allow her daughter to come for a few 
weeks to Palace House, to visit his daughter, who was, un- 
happily, confined to her couch by a spinal affection, and who 


had expressed a great desire to have the company of her old 
school companion. It was written in a courtly style, -with many 
flourishes, about the retirement in which her fair daughter would 
have to live whilst with them, and many professions of grati- 
tude for the favour he was entreating ; but there was an affecta- 
tion of urbanity throughout which went far to justify Gertrude's 
report of his being very proud. 

The other letter was from the daughter, written in a natural 
and affectionate strain, entreating Gertrude to come if possible, 
as she was very ill, and wished to see her more than any one 
else in the world. The fact was, that Miss Mellish having 
fallen into a state of confirmed ill health, it had become desirable 
to engage a companion for her, and she had, with infinite diffi- 
culty, persuaded her father to invite Gertrude Morley, her great 
school-friend, to see if she would not be eligible for the situa- 
tion. Of course, nothing was said of this ulterior view in the 
letter of introduction — but as everything in the world could be 
explained if we only knew the reason of it, this is the explana- 
tion of the letters which so much surprised Mrs. Morley and 

When Simon Morley was told of this invitation, he declared 
that " Gertrude should not go, as it would only make her more 
set up and conceited than she already was ; that being brought 
up along with fine folks had made her good for nothing, and 
that with his consent she should go no more amongst them." 

But Mrs. Morley was too proud that her daughter should have 
received such a friendly invitation from real gentlefolks not to 
determine on having it accepted. She saw in it the realisation 
of her dreams for Gertrude's advancement. 

She coaxed, scolded, persuaded, and used all the matrimonial 
sagacity she had gained by so many years' experience, and at 


length carried her point. Gertrude departed in the best chaise 
belonging to the " Metringham Arms," and the Miss Slocums 
giggled and kissed their hands to her from the window of their 
" Tea-room," whilst they " wondered what people could see in 
Gertrude Morley to make such a fuss about her ! " Mr. Mellish 
was to send his own carriage to meet her at the last stage, and 
Mrs. Morley took care that every one in Dunnington should be 
aware of that fact. 

It may easily be conceived that this visit was not likely to 
make Gertrude more content with her condition in life. 
Although, owing to the invalid condition of Miss Mellish, there 
was no gaiety going on at Palace House, yet the visitors who 
from time to time came to the house were so different to her 
associates at home, the tranquil elegance of the domestic en- 
vironments contrasted so forcibly with the constant bustle and 
stall-fed plenty of the home she had left, that her dissatisfaction 
increased to positive disgust, and a determination was formed 
to emancipate herself at all risks. 

Amongst the visitors at Palace House was a young Irishman, 
the son of an old friend of Mr. Mellish. He was a wild, hot- 
brained, rollicking, good-looking young fellow, professing to be 
a barrister, but trusting to his uncle, an Irish Baronet, who had 
once done something for government, to obtain for him some 
appointment which should be an easier mode of getting on in 
the world than plodding at a profession. He was the son of an 
admiral, who had been dead some years, leaving a widow and 
two children slenderly provided with everything except " good 

This young man, Augustus Donnelly by name, had been taught 
that he was divinely handsome, and might make his fortune by 
marrying an heiress. It was the chief article of faith in which 


he had been educated. Perhaps he would have fulfilled his 
destiny if he had not met Gertrude Morley. But his star 
brought him to Palace House during her visit. He saw her, 
fell desperately in love with her, and at the end of a week pro- 
posed to her. Gertrude was not the least in the world in love 
with him ; he was too noisy and too full of spirits. Her taste 
inclined towards sentimental officers and interesting young 
clergymen. Augustus Donnelly, with his florid complexion, 
laughing eyes, and boisterous spirits, did not touch her fancy in 
the least, and it is probable that she would have rejected him 
— if the post that morning, which had brought her a sudden 
recal home to assist her mother in the preparations for an 
election dinner, had not made Mr. Donnelly seem the better 

He knew that his prospects in life would not stand parental 
inquiry, and he was far too deeply in love to think with compo- 
sure of any opposition : he pleaded for an elopement. At first 
Gertrude refused to listen to this, but in her secret heart she 
feared that if he once saw her home and her relations he might 
withdraw from the connexion : it seemed her only chance of 
escape. She hesitated, and at last consented. The next day she 
left Palace House, in spite of all entreaties to prolong her stay. 
Augustus Donnelly having borrowed fifty pounds from a friend, 
" to enable him to run away with an heiress," met her at the 
end of the first stage, and they rushed off to matrimony and 
Gretna Green together. 

Poor Gertrude was not quite seventeen, which must be taken 
as her excuse. 



Mrs. Morley was immersed in the preparations for an elec- 
tion dinner, which, was to be held at the " Metringham Arms " 
the next day, and when the post-boy, who had been sent with a 
chaise to meet Gertrude at the last stage, returned without her, 
Mrs. Morley was excessively provoked at her daughter's thought- 
lessness in neglecting her summons at such an important time ; 
but she was not thrown into the anxiety that might have been 
expected. She fancied that Gertrude had been persuaded at 
the last minute to remain for some party — and, after a few ex- 
pressions of impatience at her daughter's inordinate love of 
pleasure, she hurried away to the kitchen, where her presence 
was imperatively called for. 

The next morning the house was full of bustle ; as early as 
nine o'clock the guests beg-ari to arrive, although the dinner 
was not to take place until two, and Mrs. Morley was at her 
wits' end what to do with them in the meantime ; the yard was 
already almost filled with their different vehicles, and the quiet 
street thronged with loungers. To add to the complication, it 
was market-day, also. In the midst of the bustle, the lame 
postman brought in a letter, which Mrs. Morley, busy as she 
was, opened directly. It came from Gertrude, and told, in a 
a few cold words, of her flight and intended marriage, " to get 
away from home," as she expressed it. 


Poor Mrs. Morley fainted on reading the letter. 

She was lifted to a sofa in the little bar, and her husband, 
who was out in the field superintending the arrangement of the 
dinner-table in the marquee, was summoned home by the in- 
telligence that " Missis was took very bad indeed, and perhaps 
dead by that time." 

It was fortunate for Mrs. Morley that her condition excited 
her husband's commiseration, and turned his wrath into another 
channel, for his fits of passion were terrible ; when he had read 
the letter, it needed the sight of his wife, in a swoon that looked 
like death, to stop the current of curses and reproaches that 
rose to his lips. He put a degree of restraint upon himself, 
which, for such a violent tempered man, was wonderful. He 
did not speak a single word, but lifted his wife from the sofa, 
and carried her upstairs. 

At length she opened her eyes. 

" Oh, Simon, do you know all, and have you sent to stop her ? 
I'll go and fetch her back myself, — you shall not keep me here. 
A man she hardly knows, — a swindler, perhaps ! " 

She attempted to rise, but fell back on the bed, from weak- 

" This is a bad job, for sure, mistress ; you will have a sore 
heart enough without any words of mine. Maybe it is a judg- 
ment on the pride that bred her up above her station. But I 
will never bring it up against you. Only never speak her name 
to me, nor ask me to forgive her ; for, as I am a living man, I 
never will ; and let her keep out of my road, or I might do 
that I would be sorry for after." 

Mrs. Morley was more frightened by her husband's un- 
wonted calmness than she would have been by the most violent 



" Oh, Simon ! Simon ! " she screamed ; " what are you after ? 
You are thinking- something- dreadful, — I see it by your face. 
It is all my fault ; — I taught her to be proud, and I am the 
cause of this day's shame. Beat me if you will, but forgive 

" She wants no forgiveness of mine ; — she cares nothing for 
us ;- — she has cast off her parents. Let her drop ; never speak 
about her again." 

Poor Mrs. Morley's passion of grief was terrible to witness, 
but it only hardened her husband's heart against the daughter, 
who was the cause of it. But time was getting on, and the 
dinner hour approached ; the confusion below was increasing ; 
business must be attended to, whether his daughter had run 
away or not ; — so leaving his wife to the care of Mrs. Slocum, 
who had. been summoned in the emergency, he went about the 
necessary business of the day to all appearance as though no- 
thing had happened. It was remarked, however, that although 
he drank hard, it seemed that day to take no effect upon him. 

Next morning, Mrs. Morley was seen going about as usual. 

The talking and gossiping from one end of Dunnington to 
the other was great. There was no ill-will towards poor Mrs. 
Morley in all the wise sentences that were pronounced against 
her and her mode of bringing up her daughter ; but, in a small, 
stagnant country town, gossip and scandal is the salt of life, 
and it was too much to expect from human nature that such an 
event as an elopement should take place without giving rise to 
more commentaries than ever were written on a disputed text. 

The next Saturday, however, amongst the announcements in 
the " County Courier," appeared the following : " Married, on 
the 3rd instant, at Gretna Green, and afterwards by the Rev. 
James Price, Augustus Donnelly, Esq., son of the late Rear- 


Admiral Donnelly, and nephew of Sir Mortimer O'Grady, of 
Kilshire Castle, in the County of Tipperary, to Gertrude, only 
daughter of Mr. Simon Morley, of Dunnington, Hunts." 

" La ! " said Miss Matilda Slocum, throwing down the paper, 
" so Gertrude Morley is really married after all, and to the 
nephew of a baronet ! What would her father and mother 
have more, that they take on so about it ? " 

" Depend upon it," said her eldest sister, who was diligently 
stitching at some article for her own trousseau — " depend upon 
it, that there is more in it than we know. It is not likely that 
a gentleman should run away to marry a girl, when he might 
have had her quietly for asking." 

" He must have been very much in love," sighed Miss 
Matilda. " I wonder whether she came down a rope ladder on 
a moonlight night." 

" Do not let your mind run upon such things, I desire — 
they sound very unbecoming from a young woman," replied her 
sister, sententiously ; who, being on the point of marriage her- 
self, thought it due to her position to assume the airs of a 
matron elect. 

" I wonder how many horses they had to their carriage," 
said Miss Emma Slocum. " It must have been famous fun ! — 
much better than we shall have at your wedding. I wish Ger- 
trude's father would forgive her, and then she would come home, 
and we should hear all about it. The first time I see Mr. 
Morley I shall tell him that he ought." 

"I beg, girls," said their mother, looking up from her knit- 
ting, " that you will, all of you, hold your foolish tongues, and 
never make any remark either to Mr. or Mrs. Morley. You 
are young, giddy things, and cannot know the hurt it gives to 
fathers and mothers when their children are unkind. Mrs. 


Morley was over proud in bringing up her daughter above her 
place ; but it has come home to her now, poor soul. I have 
seen all along how it would be. Gertrude despised her home, 
and looked down on her parents because they were just common, 
homely people ; — I have seen it in her face this long while that 
she would go through fire and water to get away, and a fine 
hand she has made of it, I'll be bound. She ran away to be 
married ; but I am much mistaken if, before six months are 
over, she would not run further and faster to be unmarried 
again. She has despised and thrown off her own father and 
mother — and many a sore heart she will feel for it before she 

Mrs. Slocum replaced the spectacles which she had taken off, 
and resumed her knitting. She had felt very jealous of Mrs. 
Morley, and she had been offended, at the high manners of her 
daughter ; but now that her self-love had been appeased by the 
event, all her natural kind-heartedness returned, and she sym- 
pathized none the less warmly " that she had always foreseen 
the end." 

Gertrude's name was never mentioned at home. She had 
written one letter, begging, in a light, airy style, to be forgiven, 
and excusing herself on the ground that " she was not happy 
at home." 

Poor Mrs. Morley would fain have taken all the blame upon 
herself, and tried to intercede with her husband ; but, after the 
first attempt, she never ventured to speak on the subject again. 
Simon Morley was not a man to trifle with. 

Her mother sent Gertrude all the clothes she had left at 
home, and she smuggled amongst them whatever she could 
think of that was likely to be useful. Also, she wrote a letter 
which was nearly illegible from the tears that dropped upon it, 


telling her to write no more till lier father should be softened. 
She enclosed a ten-pound note, which Simon Morley discovered, 
and his wife had to endure the most terrible anger he had ever 
shown since their marriage. 

After this, things went on at the " Metringham Arms" appa- 
rently much as usual. A handsome, buxom young woman was 
engaged to assist Mrs. Morley. The prosperity of the house 
increased, and Simon Morley had the reputation of being a rich 
man, and was respected accordingly. 

Bat poor Mrs. Morley never properly held up her head after- 
wards. She never spoke of her daughter, but she mourned 
after her. She still went about the house as usual, and kept it 
going, from long habit ; but the spirit of old times was gone. 

Gradually her health declined ; and when her son, who had 
fallen in love with her good-looking assistant, formally desired 
the consent of his parents to marry her, Mrs. Morley persuaded 
her husband to give up the " Metringham Arms " to the young 
couple, and to retire himself to a pretty little farm he had 
recently purchased. To this he at length agreed ; and, after a 
gay wedding at the parish church, the old Mr. and Mrs. Morley 
resigned the house, and Mr. and Mrs. Simon Morley the younger 
feigned in their stead. 

This took place about two years after Gertrude's elopement. 



It may sound immoral, but it is no less a matter of fact, that 
the idle and good-for-nothing who hang about in the world ex- 
pecting " strokes of fortune," generally receive them. Those 
who become burdens on their friends — who are always in want 
of "just a few pounds," to enable them to go to America, to 
India, or to Heaven, to take possession of a " most excellent 
situation " — are always those who will be found to have had the 
most remarkable instances of " good luck " in the course of 
their life ; but then they have never been any the better for it. 

Those who trust to prosaic, plodding industry and their own 
exertions, meet with all manner of difficulties, but seldom or 
never with a genuine stroke of " good luck." They shape their 
lives according to the natural laws of cause and effect — they 
reap what they have honestly sown. Whereas the "good 
luck " and " strokes of fortune," when practically interpreted, 
mean only receiving what has not been earned, and in most 
cases not deserved, — and, like the seed in the parable, which 
fell where there was stony ground, " having no root, dried up 
and withered away." Augustus Donnelly, the husband of Ger- 
trude, was always on the look out for " good luck." 

He had always intended to make his great stroke of fortune 
by marrying an heiress, but he had married Gertrude instead ; 


bo thai avenue to prosperity was closed against him. But> to 
do him justice, he was so desperately in love with his wife, that 
he never gave a thought to what he had missed. When ha 
found that her father was a rich innkeeper, it was certainly a 
severe shock to his family pride, — for he had more than an 
Irishman's ordinary contempt for trade and low connections. 
He comforted himself by reflecting on the great convenience it 
would be to have a rich father-in-law, who, of course, would be 
only too glad to pay handsomely for the honour his family had 
received in his name and self. He accordingly wrote, in a con- 
descending style, to Simon Morley, inquiring what settlement 
he was prepared to make on his daughter, talked largely of his 
family and connexions, and begged him to say by return of 
post when he should order his man of business to meet Mr. 
Morley's solicitor, and concluded by expressing his intention of 
very nhortly bringing his fair bride to plead in person for 
restoration of her father's favour ! 

The effect of such a letter upon Simon Morley may be con- 
ceived. He did not mention it to his wife. If he had, Mrs. 
Morley would have been at no loss to explain the terrible 
humonr he came home in that night, which exceeded all she had 
ever known in the course of her matrimonial experience, and 
which she attributed to a bad day's sport, and his favourite 
mare going lame. If she had seen her husband that day, she 
would have known how the poor mare came to be lame. 

Mr. Augustus Donnelly did not show his wife the answer to 
his letter ; neither did he tell her that he had ever written to 
her father. If Gertrude had known this, she would have 
known also why her husband spoke unkindly to her for the first 
time, and why he was so extremely sarcastic in his reflections 
upon " low money-getting people." 


As the advantages of this marriage seemed rigidly limited to 
bestowing a beautiful wife upon him, and nothing else, Mr. 
Augustus once more opened his mouth to Fortune, in the hopo 
that she would put something into it. 

In the meantime, he did not see very clearly how they were 
to get away from Scotland. The fifty pounds he had last bor. 
rowed was all spent, and they were living on credit at a little inn 
in a country town, until his uncle should do something for him, 
or until something turned up. The inn was a naked, hungry, 
looking red-brick house, — neither clean nor comfortable. The 
town was small ; and as they knew no one, they were reduced 
to the society of each other. Under these circumstances, the 
charming' spirits of Mr. Augustus Donnelly flagged considerably; 
and though he became much more grave and silent, his wife did 
not find him any the more agreeable for the change ; and except 
for the gentility of being a visitor, she was still living in an 
inn, without any of the comforts she had enjoyed at home. But 
Gertrude endured stoically, and hoped for better things. 

At the end of a week, the landlady, waiter, and -servants 
began to behave very coolly, not to say insolently, to their 
guests in the three-cornered parlour, — and Mr. Augustus began 
seriously to look about for ways and means. 

A clatter in the stable-j r ard drew him from the window, 
whence he was watching two dogs fighting, and caused him to 
hasten to the spot, whistling as he went — ■ 

" dear, -what can the matter be ! " 

He found the commotion was occasioned by the arrival of a 
shooting party on their way from the moors. Amongst them 
Augustus found Lord Southend, an old college friend, very rich 
and very good-natured, who had helped Augustus more tha,n 


Once ; but ho lilced him, and though he foresaw an inroad on hia 
purse, it did not prcvont his greeting him very cordially. 

When he heard the story of his runaway marriage, and how 
he and his bride were actually in pawn for their bill, he laughed, 
declared it better sport than anything he had met with on the 
moors, saw Gortrude, declared she was handsome enough to 
excuse a man's doing a more desperate thing for her sake, — 
lent him money " to get away from that cursed hole," — and 
carried him off to dine afc a bachelor's party in the neighbour- 

Gertrude was, of course, alone all day. Her mother's letter, 
which had followed them from place to place, arrived about an 
hour after her husband's departure. For the first time her un- 
dutiful and unkind behaviour to her mother smote upon her 
conscienca, and she wept bitterly. She would have written 
words of repentance, but the conclusion of the letter, " do not 
answer this — it would only aggravate your father and bring 
anger upon me, which I could ill bear just now," drove her 
away from this sorrowful consolation. She thought of writing 
to Mrs. Slocum, and to send a message by that means to her 
mother ; but though somewhat softened, Gertrude's pride was 
still too strong to allow her to communicate to any of her old 
acquaintance until she could give a more flourishing account of 
herself. " Those Misses Slocum would only triumph over me : 
I will wait until Augustus obtains the government situation he 
is expecting ; and besides, after all, my mother would rather 
not hear from me just yet." 

The thought of the Misses Slocum hardened her flagging 
resolution, and all her hatred to Dunnington returned with re- 
aewed strength. 

Mr. Augustus Donnelly did not return from his dinner-party 


until earlj the next morning, and then it was in tha condition 
that " choice spirits " generally are when they have been enjoy- 
ing themselves for many hours in each other's sooiety. He, 
however, told Gertrude that Lord Southend bad offered to give 
them both a place in his carriage — that he intended to drop 
Gertrude with hiu mother and sister, and to go on himself to 
London, to look after the situation his uncla said had as good 
as been promised for him. 

Gertrude was too thankful to get away, to realise the part 
allotted to her in this scheme. Her husband had been lucky at 
cards — so that, with the loan from his friend, he was pretty 
well in cash, even after defraying their bill ; and he bid Ger- 
trude " keep the money her mother had sent, to make a figure 
before his relations." 



TnEY departed that day, and Gertrude had the satisfaction of 
travelling in company with a real lord, and in a barouche like 
those which used to change horses at the " Metringham Arms;" 
but she did not find herself very happy— the thought of the 
mother-in-law and sister-in-law she was about to encounter 
weighed on her spirits, and she wondered how they would be 
pleased at having her "dropped" go unceremoniously amongst 

They stopped ono night on the road (Lord Southend of course 
paying all the expenses), and about the middle of the next day 
arrived at the little clean old-fashioned town, unpolluted by 
trade or manufactures, where it had seemed good to the Dowager 
Mrs. Donnelly and her daughter to take up their abode. 

The earl himself alighted at the chief hotel, and engaged 
Augustus to dine with him after he had paid his respects suffi- 
ciently to bis people at home. He shook hands with Gertrude, 
and told her that he hoped she would soon come to London and 
shine as became her beauty. 

The carriage stopped a few moments afterwards before a 
large old-fashioned stone house, full of dismal-looking windows, 
in a street where the grass grew up luxuriantly among»t the 


stones. A double flight of stone steps led up to the door, gar- 
nished with iron studs and aa immense brass knocker, which 
seemed capable of beating it down, as it sounded a thundering 1 
accompaniment to the sepulchral peal of the bell, which rever- 
berated through the house at the summons of the aristocratic 
supercilious footman. 

" You surely are not going to leave me here, Augustus?" 
said Gertrude, frightened at the noise they made, and sick with 
anticipation of the introduction that awaited her. 

" Do not be childish, Gertrude, I desire," replied her husband ; 
" you are only going to see my mother." 

The door was by this time opened by a small footboy in some- 
what faded livery and clumsy shoes. Augustus sprang out of 
the carriage and assisted the trembling Gertrude. 

" Tell your mistress that her son and his lady are here, and 
then see to getting the luggage. You had best send for some 
one to help you." 

"Yes, sir. If you please, sir, what name shall I say, sir? 
Missis did s-ay she was not at home, sir." 

" Do as I bid you, and be off with you," replied Mr. Augustus, 

K Please to coma this way, sir," said the boy, submissively, 
leading the way across a large hall, paved in black and white, 
and ushering them into the drawing-room — a lofty room with 
walla painted lead colour, and windows hung with drab moreen 
curtains trimmed with borders of black cotton velvet ; a gilt 
mirror over the chimney-piece was surmounted by a black eagle, 
holding a festoon of glass drops from his beak ; girandoles, fes- 
tooned in a similar manner, stood upon the mantel-shelf; the 
hearth-rug was turned back, and the small hard-stuffed settea 
was thriftily covered with a duster, whilst an array of 


black cane chairs, with gilt knobs, stood in order against the 

" This room does not look as if it saw much company ! " said 
Mr. Augustus, looking round; and it isn't myself that would 
trouble it if I staid hero. What is it you are crying for at all? " 
said he, turning to his wife, "just when you ought to look like 
the pretty creature you are, to do me credit." 

Farther exhortation was cut short by the entrance of the 
Dowager Mrs. Donnelly herself. Mr. Augustus embraced his 
mother very dutifully, and before she had time for more than a 
look of astonishment, took the hand of poor Gertrude, who was 
ready to sink into the ground, and said, " This is the new 
daughter I have brought to surprise you. She will keep up the 
character of the Donnellys for having none but handsome 
women in the family. She feels a little bashful just now, at 
coming amongst strangers." 

Mrs. Donnelly turned with the air of a Roman matron to- 
wards Gertrude, and deposited a dignified kiss upon her cheek, 
saying — 

" I trust you will have no cause to regret the day you entered 
our family; but although elopements have received the sanction 
of numerous examples in high society, yet I must confess it is 
not the mode in which I would have desired my son to receive 
his wife." 

" There now, that's enough," said Mr. Augustus, impatiently. 
" Can you not tell her that yon are glad to see her, and no more 
about it. It might be the first runaway match in the family, 
but didn't Sir Tiberius O'Connor run away with our great aunt, 
Judith (and she on the eve of marrying another), and have I 
not heard you call her the mirror of the family ? What is tho 
use of being so hard on your own lawful daughter-in-law." 


" I owe it to Our sex, Augustus, to protest against whatever 
bears the shadow of impropriety. A young woman cannot keep 
her reputation too spotless ; but having 1 said thus much, I trust 
that we shall none of u$ have reason to regret the step that she 
hag taken." 

If Gertrude had not been brought to her in an earl's travel- 
ling carriage, Mrs. Donelly's reception of her daughter-in-law 
would have been much more severe ; but as Gertrude was in 
the odour of good company, Mrs. Donnelly permitted her rigid 
propriety to relax, and invited them into the breakfast-room, 
where there was a fire. 

This was not one of her days for being visible to callers. 
The sound of the carriage had disturbed her in the midst of 
some very homely employments, and she had hastily retired to 
improve her somewhat negligS toilet. A gown of dashed black 
satin, which had once been a gala dress, as proved by the traces 
of bugles and embroidery which lingered upon it, had been 
smartened up by the addition of a large brooch, like a tomb- 
stone, bearing the miniature of the deceased admiral in the full 
splendour of his naval uniform ; a gauze cap, that might have 
been cleaner, but which could not have been finer, covered the 
locks of her auburn toupee, and her thick white stockings were 
cased in strong stuff shoes. She was a portly, stately dame of 
fifty. At the first glance, she looked to be a kind, motherly 
woman ; but there was a certain hard self-complacency about 
her face that afforded little hope of any spontaneous warmth ; 
a stereotyped sweetness in her smile, and a hard grey eye that 
never joined in it at all, She was extremely affable, for she had 
tha fixed idea that being of a distinguished family she must 
behave accordingly. Her fortune was narrow, but her manners 
were ample, to compensate for it. 


Gertrude, who had been often told by her husband that his 
mother was the most distinguished ornament of the Court at 
Dublin, and the " life and soul of every party at the Castle," 
was greatly impressed by this elaborate suavity, and followed 
her mother-in-law, as she glided from the drawing-room, with 
the implicit reverence due to the great lady she believed her 
to be. 

42 the sorrows or ceshlitt. 


The room to which they were now introduced was much 
smaller than the one they had quitted. The furniture was old, 
and the carpet wanted mending ; but there was a small dusty 
fire, and the 'evidences of being inhabited, so that its appearance 
was not so desolate. 

By the time that Gertrude had taken off her bonnet, Miss 
Sophia Donnelly, who had been out paying a round of calls, 
returned. She was a tall, large-featured young woman, with 
her hair (which was more red than auburn) arranged in large 
curls on each side of her face. She was very showily attired, 
and her manners and bearing were intended to represent a 
highly-bred, fashionable lady — indeed, she had no doubt that 
they did — but Gertrude thought she was hard and insolent, 
and not to be compared to her mother. 

Miss Sophia was very glad to see her brother, and she pre- 
sented her cheek to Gertrude with an air of supercilious cold- 
ness which was quite sincere and natural. 

After these greetings had subsided, Mrs. Donnelly beckoned 
her daughter out of the room to a domestic conference. 

Mr. Augustus Donnelly had taken his mother by surprise' 
and surprises are always hazardous, and seldom pleasant — ihey 
never fall at the right time. 


It was Wednesday, when Mrs. Donnelly always gave what she 
called a " scrap dinner " to her household. Indeed, though lira. 
Donnelly talked a great deal about " Irish hospitality," there 
were more " banian-days " than festivals in her calendar — as all 
the servants who had ever lived with her could testify. 

On this especial day, the " scraps " were unusually scanty. 
A very small portion of potato-bash, and the crusts of the week 
boiled into what Mr3. Donnelly termed " a most nutritions bread 
pudding 1 ," was the dinner she had decreed for herself and her 
household — consisting" of her daughter, two maid-servants, and 
the footboy before-mentioned. The addition of two hungry 
persons would increase the scarcely to a famine. 

" My dear child," began Mrs. Donnelly, " was there ever any- 
thing so unlucky ? Nothing in the house ! What is to be 

".It is just like Augustus!" said Miss Sophia. "He was 
always thoughtless ! Who was his wife — do you know ? I will 
get out the best plate, at any rate, and then the dinner itself 
will be of little consequence, — that is, if she has been accus- 
tomed to good society." 

" Well, but we must have something to eat," rejoined the 

" They may make out with anything in the kitchen," replied 
Miss Sophia. " Porridge and treacle, if there is nothing else. 
And as for ourselves, with what there is, and a few tarts from 
the pastrycook's, we shall do very well." 

" But there will not be enough for us, my love," replied her 
mother, shaking her head. 

" Then let the cook prepare a few eggs, after that receipt 
Lady Killaloo gave you, — only she need not use above half the 
quantity of butter. I do not see what more is required. I will 


lay tlie cloth myself, and you will see that it will look quit a 
stylish little dinner. Nothing can bo so vulgar as a heavy 
over-loaded table." 

" Xou are such a dear contriving creature,'' said her mother, 
kissing" her. " What a treasure you will be to somebody ! " 

If Gertrude had desired style, she certainly ought to have 
been satisfied with her present position. The dinner was served 
in due time, Lady Killaloo's eggs at the top, and the potato- 
hash at the bottom of the table, but each served up in a plated 
dish ; and the spoons, forks, and the silver waiter, on which 
everything was handed, were emblazoned with the Donnelly 
crest wherever it could bo placed. The footboy had been made 
to put on his best coat, and the crest was also on all his battens. 
Nothing could be more hospitable than the manner in which 
Mrs. Donnelly presided over the table; and as, luckily, Ger- 
trude was too much agitated by her novel position to have any 
appetite, and her husband having the prospect of a dinner with 
Lord Southend was too prudent to spoil it by partaking too 
heartily of his mother's family fare, there was a small remainder 
sent away to the kitchen. 

After a tumbler of punch, made of genuine " potheen " 
(which was the only article of which Mrs. Donnelly was really 
liberal), Mr. Augustus declared he was due at the " Elephant," 
where Southend was waiting dinner for him, — adding, in an 
olf-hand manner : 

" I shall take a run up to town with him, and leave Gertrude 
here to keep you company, till I have looked about me, and 
found something to settle down upon. Southend Bays there is 
a place in the Treasury which would be just the thing for me, 
and that it is in his father's gift." 

At this announcement, Gertrude's eyes filled with tears ghe 


could not restrain. Mrs. Donnelly's brow clouded oyer, though 
she attempted to look amiable ; she thought of the increase to 
her household expenditure, and the burden to her resources 
which her daughter-in-law seemed likely to prove. Miss 
Sophia, who already felt the anti-pathetic affinity of a sister-in- 
law, was indignant at the imposition, and thought that she had 
much better pay a visit to her own relations. 

" Why how cast down you all seem at my proposal ! " said 
Augustus. " "What can any of you suggest better I would like 
to know ? " 

Mrs. Donnelly cleared her throat, and for a moment seemed 
somewhat embarrassed, but speedily recovering her usual bland 
complacency, she said, — 

" There are several things to be considered, my dear Augustus, 
which you seem to forget. I am charmed with our dear Ger- 
trude, and am willing to consider her as a daughter of my own. 
If we were rich she should be welcome as the flowers in May ; 
but my income is not large, and every farthing I can save goes 
to make a portion for your sister. Another inmate, however 
charming, will be a great additional expense. For a few days 
I will rejoice to hare her ; but if she is to remain longer " 

" Oh, if it is the bite and the sup you grudge to the wife of 
your only son, it is no obligation she shall lie under, or mo 
either," interrupted Augustus, furiously. "Her own people 
have turned their backs on her, for having fancied me without 
their leave, and now you are haggling and screwing to make 
a profit out of her ! I am ashamed for the credit of the 

" I do not see what reason the friends of any young person 
have to cast her off for entering into our family," interposed 
his sister, haughtily. " They must be people utterly ignorant 


of tha value of good connexions. Money may ba picked up 
by the road-side, but an old family, like ours, is getting rarer 
every day ; and any young woman in the land might think her- 
self honoured by an alliance -with us." 

" Faith then, Sophy clear, I wish you would take a walk and 
pick up a little of that same money you speak of by the road- 
side I ha-re not found the* lane yet that is pared with gold ; 
and 1 am doubting it is a long way till I get to the turning. 
Gertrude's father there is rolling in wealth, but not a penny or 
a halfpenny of it will he giva us ; and till I get the little place 
I have in prospect, it is not much of that same money you so 
despise I shall have to bless myself with. When I have it, 
what conies for me come3 for you ; and neither I nor Gertrude 
will count the days you stop with us, nor talk of payment 
either ; so you will not lose what you spend on us. Gertrude 
must stay here— I cannot take her with me." 

Gertrude sat by, listening with burning cheeks, ready to sink 
into the earth whilst this discours; went on. But there was no 
resource — shs had brought it on herself. At last she said, in a 
faltering voice, scarcely audible,— 

" I am not without money altogether. Perhaps this will pay 
for me until my husband has a home to receive me," and sho 
laid on tho table the ten-pound note which her mother had 

Everybody felt awkward at this straightforward proceeding. 
Mrs. Donnelly became entangled by a long explanatory sen- 
tence, owing to the difficulty of saying what should mean at 
once both Yes and No. 

Miss Donnelly looked contemptuously at her, as a person 
utterly destitute of manner and tact. 

Mr. Augustus Donnelly hai the grace to feel ashamed of him- 


self for half a second ; but on looking afc his watch, he saw that 
hi3 tim9 was up, and that " it was impossible to keep Southend 
waiting." Ha rose hastily, kissed Gertrude, bid her take care 
of herself, and that he would soon write for her to join him ; 
bado a somewhat cold adieu to his mother and sister, and de- 
parted — leaving orders that his portmanteau should be packed 
and sent after him to the "Elephant" in the course of a couple 
of hours. 

Heavily and sadly passed the evening to poor Gertrude, 
Mrs. Donnelly entertained her with histories of bygone festivi- 
ties at Dublin Castle in which she had played a distinguished 
part, and gave her an account of all the stylish families with 
whom she and her daughter were on visiting term's. 

Miss Donnelly brought out a little book of vellum, bound in 
crimson velvet, -wherein she had occupied her leisure hours in 
emblazoning the arms of the Donnelly family, from the earliest 
tradition to the present time, with the quarterings of their dif- 
ferent intermarriages. This book was the solace of her leisure 
hours. She now brought it, and inquired of Gertrude what 
was her father's crest, and what arms he bore, that she might 
enter them into the " family-book." 

" The Metringham Arms," said Gertrude, confusedly. 

" Ah ! then you are a branch of the Metringham family ? " 
said the lady, with a smile of complacency. " I thought the 
family name had been Cressy ? you are connected through a 
female branch perhaps ? " 

" My father is* a tenant of Lord Metringham's, and our house 
is called the ' Metringham Arms,' " said Gertrude, desperately. 

Mother and daughter exchanged looks of dismay. Miss 
Sophia Donnelly closed the book, saying, coldly, " Of course, 
then, you have no heraldic bearings at all {"' 


There ensued an awkward pause. At length. Mrs. Donnelly 
inquired whether Gertrude would not like to retire to rest, after 
the fatigues of the day ? 

" I will show you the chamber which it to be your own ; " 
and lighting a small end of candle stuck into a plated candle- 
stick, she conducted Gertrude to a largo cold-looking bedroom, 
with a scrap of carpet round a large hearse-like bedstead. An 
old-fashioned worm-eaten toilet-glass, a relict of the prosperity 
of the Donnellys, stood in the bow window, and faded chalk 
drawings of some ancient children of the Donnelly race adorned 
the walls. Comfort was left unattempted. 

Trusting that she would sleep well, Mrs. Donnelly kissed her 
with considerable stateliness of manner, and withdrew, leaving 
Gertrude to meditate on the advantages of the " unexception- 
able connexion " she had formed, 

"Good heavens! that Augustus, who might have married 
anybody, should have formed such a mesalliance!" exclaimed 
Miss Sophia, when alone with her mother. 

tub sor.KO'.vs of g^xtilitt. 49 


When Gertrude awoke the next morning she had a vague 
feeling of unhappiness ; the recollection of the events of the 
preceding day gradually became more distinct. She thought 
that Augustus had not been kind to leave her a stranger 
amongst his own people, and, in a manner, dependent upon 
them ; and when she recollected how much both his mother and 
sister looked down upon all " who did not belong to a good 
family," the thought of her own deficiencies in that respect 
made her afraid of meeting them again. It weighed upon her 
like a crime, that she was " the daughter of an innkeeper ; " 
and though she would thankfully have changed her father into 
a Marquis, the fact remained the same. It was an error of 
Destiny, quite beyond her power to remedy. 

Under such a weight of real unhappiness and fancied igno- 
miny, the poor girl was quite crushed. She, however, met her 
Borrows in the established feminine way, and wept bitterly ; an 
inarticulate protest against them which eased her mind con- 
siderably, and when she could cry no longer 6he got up and 
dressed herself. 

When she descended to the breakfast-parlour no one was 
there. The aspect of the breakfast-table was very different to 
what she had been accustomed to at home. The flimsy table- 


cloth, in want both of darning and washing, — the tarnished 
spoons and tea-pot (for Mrs. Donnelly seldom allowed her plate 
to be cleaned, for fear of wearing it), — and the half-cut loaf, 
stale and dry, — looked anything but an inviting breakfast-table 
The fire that struggled in the grate was made chiefly of dusty, 
half-burned cinders, which Gertrude was trying to coax into a 
blaze when her august mother-in-law entered. If there was 
one thing that Mrs. Donnelly disliked more than another, it was 
to see any one meddle with her fires ; Gertrude had, unwittingly, 
added another sin to the previous list of her offences. Mrs. 
Donnelly greeted her with stately politeness, and hoped she had 
rested well. Miss Sophia coldly wished her good morning, and 
they all sat down to breakfast. 

The morning costume of the ladies consisted of very dingy 
old silk dresses, — for they economised greatly upon their wash- 
ing bilb, and the dresses that had become too old and too 
shabby to meet the eyes of men and angels were condemned to 
be worn " the first thing in the morning," by way of gettino- 
the wear out of them to the uttermost farthing. Gertrude in 
her pretty, fresh-looking, chintz morning-wrapper, and her un- 
deniable gracefulness and beauty, was as great a contrast to 
them as possible. Both the ladies were constrained to own to 
themselves that " she looked very stylish certainly," and that no 
one could have guessed that she had been a barmaid in her 
father's inn. But they liked her none the better for that : it did 
not wash out the original sin of her low birth. If she had 
been the ugliest and poorest of patrician daughters, they would 
have knelt down and worshipped her. The same feelin^ was at 
work in Gertrude : it hindered her from feeling any comfort in 
her own advantages, and equally prevented her appreciating the 
dirt and discomfort which surrounded her stylish connexions. 


The two ladies had conversed till deep in the night a3 to the 
best mode of meeting 1 the terrible blow which this marriage had 
given to the Donnelly family; whether Gertrude was to be 
degraded to the condition of a disgraced relative, and treated 
as a misfortune, or whether it would be more " Creditable to the 
family" to make the best of the match which their "dear 
chivalrous Augustus had been led into." 

" So generous of him to marry her, and so uncalled for," 
said Miss Sophia, indignantly ; " for surely people in that class 
could never have expected it from a man in the position of 
Augustus I " 

" No, my dear," said her mother, majestically; "you allow 
your feelings to carry you too far. If this poor young creature 
confided herself to his honour, he would have been no true Don- 
nelly if he had deceived her. I feel the misfortune of this con- 
nexion as much as you do, but I would not have owned him for 
my son if he had acted dishonourably." 

" I hope she will not fancy that she has come into the family 
as an equal," said Miss Sophia. 

" That she never can," rejoined Mrs. Donnelly, with dignity ; 
" but as Christians, and as reasonable beings, we must make the 
best of this unfortunate occurrence." 

So it was decided, that no matter how she had entered, Ger- 
trude being now, at all events, a member of the Donnelly 
family, must be endowed to the world with Donnelly virtues, 
and boasted of accordingly. But, as poor Gertrude found, this 
did not include either comfort or consideration for her in 

This day being the day on which, in every week, Mr3. Don- 
nelly was visible to callers, a fire was ordered to be lighted in 
the drawing-room j and whilst Miss Sophia proceeded to ar- 



ranga the room for company, Mrs. Donnelly offered to take 
Gertrude over the house. 

" I make a point, my dear, of looking minutely into my 
domestic matters, and, as you have had no experience, you may 
learn something 1 from seeing- the arrangements of an old house- 
keeper lika myself. Our housekeeping is, as I may gay, tradi- 
tional ; for the Donnellys hare been a family sines the days of 
the old kings of Ireland, and in a parchment which is still in 
our possession, there is recorded the hospitality which one of 
our ancestors offered to the last King of Ulster. Although 
time and change hare somewhat impoverished us, we can yet 
giro a true Irish welcome to our friends ; ' hospitality and no 
formality' is, as it erer ha3 been, our boast." 

Mrs. Donnelly wa3 unconsciously mollified by the respectful 
reverence with which Gertrude listened to all the claims she 
put forth on behalf of her family, and it was not without a cer- 
tain graciousness that she conducted Gertrude over the large, 
dreary, haunted- looking mansion, which serred as a oasket for 
the dignity of Mrs. Donnelly. 

Some of the rooms were unfurnished, and those in use were 
fitted up much in the style of the room appropriated to Ger- 
trude. An air of dinginess pervaded everything, but every 
article of furniture was placed in an attitude of pretension so as 
to show its good qualities to the best advantage, and there was 
not a chair, or table, or chest, upon which Mrs. Donnelly did 
not expatiate with the eloquence of an auctioneer. A heaTy, 
carved, black oak cabinet was thu object of her peculiar ad- 
miration ; first, it was made af " bog oak," found on the Don- 
nelly estate, before it was confiscated ; in the next place, it bore 
the date of 1572, and Mrs. Donnelly showed Gertrude how the 
family arms were carved upon it. There was not a cracked 


china cup, or old japan box, or rickety chest of drawers, which 
was not displayed to Gertrudo's eyes as something especially 
rare and precious, with a family legend attached to it, until she 
almost believed that Mrs. Donnelly must, somehow, belong to 
the royal family. 

When they had gone through all the rooms, Mrs. Donnelly 
said, with great affability, " And now, my dear, we will proceed 
to the kitchen ; there is nothing derogatory in being a vigilant 
housekeeper. I make a point of looking into every item of my 
domestic expenditure. I have known ladies of the highest birth 
who did the same ; my old friend Lady Sarah Lazenby, now 
Countess of Rosherville, in the county of Tipperary, always goes 
round Castle Rosherville every day, and not a fire is ever 
lighted, or a poiato boiled, without her knowledge." 

" Is she not very stingy ? " asked Gertrude. 

" That which is a virtue, and highly becoming in persons 
who have a position in the world, often looks quite otherwise 
in those of inferior station," replied Mrs. Donnelly, severely ; 
" and allow me to add, that a young person in your rank of life 
ought not, oven in thought, to question what is done by one so 
much above you." 

Gertrude had a distinct recollection of this Countess of 
Rosherville, who had stopped at the " Metringham Arms " 
some months previously, with a carriage full of children and 
nurses whom she had installed in the best parlour, and declin- 
ing dinner, luncheon, or any meal called by a name, sent out a 
bottle of weak broth which had been brought in the pocket of 
the carriage to be warmed for their refreshment; and, like the 
old woman " who lived in a shoe," gave it to them without any 

One of Poor Richard's proverbs says that " A fat kitchen 

51- 'j'iie sokeonvs of gextx'.ty: 

mates a loan will." Mrs. Donnelly's kitchen -would Lave no 
such result to answer for ; it was bare, and lean, and pinched, 
to the last degree. 

Mrs. Donnelly peered into the cupboards and paus vitli the 
dignity of a priestess ; she went to the coal-cellar and portioned 
out the coals for the day's consumption, and then counted the 
potatoes for dinner. 

Gertrude, accustomed to liberal housekeeping, was astonished 
to see everything put under lock and key, even to the crusts of 
bread left from the morning's breakfast. 

" It is in this department, my dear Gertrude, that economy 
may be best shown. A lady who is judicious in the manage- 
ment of her kitchen may make fifty pounds go as far as a 
hundred would go in the hands of others. Always have some- 
thing to show for your money." 

Gertrude observed that the sides of the kitchen-floor were 
curiously speckled with pipe-clay to imitate marble. 

" Ah ! " said Mrs. Donnelly, complacently, " that is an idea of 
my own. I tell the girl when she has done her work that she 
may amuse herself by marbling the floor ; it has a pretty effect, 
and is a nice little employment for her." 

" Does she like to do it ? " asked Gertrude, simply. She was 
again unlucky in her question. 

" Persons in our class never ask servants what they like," 
replied her mother-in-law, loftily, and turned away to give 
orders for dinner, 



The domestic affairs being despatched, Mrs. Donnelly pro- 
ceeded to her room to dress for receiving company, and in due 
time reappeared, all bland and smiling, in a handsome flowered- 
silk gown and a stately turban, with the brooch which con- 
tained the likeness of the departed admiral, in fall uniform, 
reposing upon her matronly bosom; while her bony fingers 
were adorned with sundry large ancestral-looking rings of some 

Miss Sophia had in the meanwhile arranged the room to its 
best advantage, and it certainly looked much more comfortable 
than on the previous day. The sofa and chairs were uncovered ; 
sundry cushions covered with old brocade were displayed. A 
filagree card-box and some old-fashioned silver to}"S were laid 
out where they could best be seen; a screen, worked in co- 
loured silks by Miss Sophia herself, had been placed in an 
advantageous perspective ; the book of heraldry was of course 
in full sight, and Miss Sophia, in a pea-green lustre, sat before 
a work-box in the form of a cottage, working the Donnelly 
crest (a wild-cat rampant with long whiskers proper), in its 
lawful colours, on a kettle-holder. Gertrude seated herself, and 
be°-an to embroider a muslin flounce with an elaborate pattern 
of sprigs and eylet-holes. 


" Mamma," said Miss Sophia, " I thought that Mrs. Augustas 
had gone up to dres3 -when you went. We shall hare a host of 
callers thi3 morning; I dare say Lady Elrington will be in 
town to-day, and she never conies without paying us a visit." 

Gertrude looked up and coloured. 

" It cannot be expected, my dear," said the old lady, " that 
you should know the points of dress and etiquette which are re- 
quired by the society in which we move. I ought to have told 
you what to do ; but there is yet tima for you to put on any 
little simple dress, not quite so matins as the one you wear. 

Gertrude felt extremely annoyed at the tone of both the 
ladies ; but she rose without speaking to do her mother-in-law's 
bidding. As she left the room she heard Miss Sophia say — 

rt I hope she will not make herself look like a bar-maid." 

When Gertrude returned shs found several visitors seated in 
the drawing-room, to whom the old lady formally presented her, 
saying, with much dignity, " My daughter-in-law, Mr3. Augustus 

Fresh visitors followed in quick succssiion — for the arrival 
of the "bride" the previous day had already been reported all 
over th« town, and everybody cams to sea what she was like ; 
the moat contradictory reports were afloat concerning the young 
lady whom Mr. Augustus Donnelly had married. The visitors 
chiefly consisted of the wives and daughters of professional men, 
for Springfield being an assize town, lawyers and physicians 
made the staple of the genteel portion of the population. There 
were a few widows of good family with narrow jointures, and 
one or two members of families of some consideration in the 
neighbourhood, who came with great Sclat in their carriages. 
Altogether the Donnellys had not held such a brilliant levee for 
many months, The conversation turned upon general news, 


scandal, and the concerns of their neighbours generally. Ger- 
trude was struck with the similarity of all she heard with the 
daily occurrences of Dunnington, but then she had the comfort 
of knowing that she was admitted to sit in a highly select 
society, and that everybody she saw would certainly have felt 
insulted had they known they were in company with an inn- 
keeper's daughter. 

Mrs. Donnelly was detailing, with great emphasis, the shame- 
ful ingratitude of Mrs. Pelly's cook, who had refused to delay 
her marriage with the butcher until Christmas to oblige her 
mistress — when she was interrupted by the announcement of 
Lady Elrington — ths grand person in the neighbourhood ! 

A thin cross-looking old lady, dressed in a style of many 
years back, came tottering into the room on an ebony crutch 
stick. Mrs. Donnelly and her daughter received here with 
great cmpressement, and she was placed in an easy chair beside 
the fire. Gertrude was not presented to her, but the quick rest- 
less eye of the old lady soon discovered her. 

"Who is thatP" sha asked, tapping her snuff-box — "a 
visitor ? " 

" That ia my daughter-in-law ; the young person with whom 
my poor dear enthusiastic Augustus ran away. They came 
from the north yesterday with Lord Southend. Augustus had 
business in London, and we prevailed upon him to leave his 
young wife with us for a little time. I had great difficulty, I 
assure you, for it is a most romantiG attachment on both 

" That is all as it should be," said the old lady. " She is a 
pretty young creature, and has begun her cares early. Of what 
family is she ? " 

Mrs. Donnelly felt this to be a most impertinent question, but 


Lady Elrington was a privileged person, and besides Mrs. Don- 
nelly's chief objection was, that she could not answer it with 
satisfaction. Had Gertrude been a member of a noble family 
she would have volunteered the information ; as it was, she 
replied with an air of reserve : " My son met with Miss Morley 
at Palace House, where she was on a visit to Miss Mellish. 
Sha comes, I believe, from one of the midland counties ; she is 
in great disgrace with her own family, and I have not liked to 
distress her with enquiries." Lady Ellington did not trouble 
herself to listen to Mr3. Donnolly, but beckoning Gertrude to 
coma and eit beside her, she began a skilful cross-examina- 

Mn. Donnelly and Mis3 Sophia were in a fever of anxiety 
lest the fatal fact of the " Metringham Arms " should be elicited, 
for Lady Elrington was an inveterate gossip, and seldom failed 
to ferret out anything she wished to ascertain about her neigh- 
bours. Poor Gertrude was sadly embarrassed ; she felt more 
acutely than ever the disgrace of coming out of an inn, her 
morbid susceptibility on that point having become exaggerated 
by the twenty-four hours she had passed under her mother-in- 
law's roof. She had not the hardihood necessary to deny, nor 
the moral courage to assert the fact ; she felt inclined to cry, 
and it would no doubt have ended in that, if Mrs. Donnelly had 
not come to her rescue with a piece of news which she had 
boldly improvised for the occasion. 

" Have you hearl that young Frederick Hindmarsh is going 
to marry old Mrs. Ulverstone ? He declares as a reason that 
he is tired of going to law with her, and will try if going to 
church will answer any better ; but they are keeping it a great 

"Gopdness gracious! you do Mot mean to tell me that for a 


foot?" said the old lady, relinquishing Gertrude and turning 
briskly round to Mrs. Donnelly. 

" Indeed I do," replied the unabashed matron. " My cook 
had it from the Hindmarsh's coachman, and it is my opinion 
that many would do a more desperate thing to keep a fine slice 
of an estate in the family." 

" Well ! what will the world come to ? It is a disgrace to 
society ! Why, she is old enough to be his great-grandmother ! " 

There was, as everybody well knew, a deadly feud between 
Lady Elrington and Mrs. Ulverstone. Mrs. Donnelly had effec- 
tually diverted her attention from Gertrude. After a few more 
exclamations, Lady Elrington luckily heard one of her horses 
cou«h. — a sound to which she was nervously alive. She rose 
briskly to her feet, saying, " Why did you not tell me all this 
before ? I must go now, for ' Bob ' is coughing ; but mind you 
collect all the information you can about this match, and tell 
me everything;" and with hasty adieus she departed, to the 
great relief of all the three ladies. 

This was the last of their visitors, and the performance being 
now concluded, everthing about the house subsided to its ordi- 
nary condition. The boy retired into his old livery — Mrs. 
Donnelly mounted the black dress which she was in the process 
of " wearing out " — Miss Sophia carefully covered up the draw- 
inj-room furniture, removing the email objects which adorned 
it, and then exchanged her pea-green lustre for the dyed silk 
fia usually wore in the house of an afternoon. They met again 
in the little breakfast-room to dine, as well as they could, on 
Mrs. Donnelly's household fare. 

When the cloth was removed, and the door shut upon the 
footboy, Mrs. Donnelly, who was very particular " not to speak 
Of anything before the servants" (which, however, did not 


hinder them from knowing everything that passed in the par- 
lour), turned to Gertrude, with an air that would have become 
the mother of the Gracchi, and said — 

" I do not doubt, my dear, but that you suffered a3 much aa 
ourselves during your interview this morning with Lady El- 
rington. Her curiosity was not unnatural, and I, as the mother 
of your husband, wish to be informed more fully about the con- 
nexion my son so hastily formed. I must know all, in order to 
decide what to tell our friends, when they inquire to whom 
Augr.3fcu3 Donnelly is married." 

"I don't think we hare many relations," said Gertrude, "and 
I hare heard my mother say that it was a great comfort when 
married people had no relations to interfere with them, and that 
she and my father had lived happily for that very reason. I 
believe my grandfather was farm-servant to Squire Clifden for 
many years, who set him up in a little road-side inn, and let 
him some land, and he made a great deal of money for one in 
his situation. My father has always boasted that he has been 
lucky in the world — my mother's father was a farmer." 

" Many of our old English families have fallen into the rank 
of yeomen," observed Miss Sophia, " from becoming impo- 
verished by the Cru3adea and the Civil Wars — some of those 
yeoman families can show a clear genealogy for more than five 
hundred year3." 

'• I wish we could," said Gertrude, humbly ; but I never heard 
that wa belonged to anybody." 

" Have you no relations whom we might own without a 
blush?" rejoined Miss Sophia. 

" My father and my mother are the best off in the world of 
all their relations. There was an aunt of my mother's, who 
used to take in sewing — she had been a housemaid in some gen. 


tlernan's family ; and my father had an only brother, who went 
to sea, where he was lost." 

"It is altogether a most disastrous connexion," said Miss 
Sophia, in a tone of despair. " I do not see what we can do 
better than be extremely grieved about it, and treat it as the 
misfortune which it really is. Augustus ought to have remem- 
bered what was due to his family — it will be the ruin of all his 
prospects in life ; and it is quite enough to exclude us from good 
society. We cannot insult our friends by forcing them to 
accept Gertrude ; and I think we must decline visiting while 
she remains with us." 

" My daughter is a fanatic about gentle blood," said Mrs. 
Donnelly. " She sees the evil of this connexion in an exagger- 
ated light. I confess that, with me, good character is the first 
requisite ; and if you prove well conducted and well disposed, I 
trust I have too much the feelings of a Christian and a p-entls- 
woman to visit upon your head the misfortune of your lowly 
birth. For our own sakes we shall speak of you as little as 
possible ; and if you go into society with us, remember that you 
have no claims of your own to such a distinction, and never for- 
get that you have beon raised from your proper station by your 
husband's generosity. It is as well, perhaps, that your own 
family have cast you off; for, of course, there could be no asso- 
ciation between us and them." 

" Then you intend to allow her to visit with us ? " said Miss 
Sophia, discontentedly. 

" Yes, my love. She is known to be under our roof. Some 
of our friends have already seen her. As the wife of Augustus, 
she will be noticed out of respect to us. When Sir John 
Matching ran away from home, and married an obscure young 
Woman, whose family was even more objectionable than Ger- 


trade's, his mother took her by the hand. I recollect her saying 
to me, with tears in her eye3, — ' Mrs. Donnelly, I would give all 
my jointure that the girl were dead ; but it is bad policy to 
tread down our Own connexions.' Poor woman! it nearly 
broke her heart. Many and many a time she came to weep 
over her griefs with me. I was her dearest friend." 

" There ought to bo a law making such marriages invalid," 
said Miss Sophia, with a spiteful look at Gertrude. 

Gertrude's tears were by this time falling fast — humiliated, 
helpless, and miserable, she could not defend herself against 
the contumely heaped upon her. She rose to take refuge in her 
own room, saying, between her sobs, "I hope Augustus will 
soon have a home to take me to — I would never have married 
him if I had thought it would come to this." 

" Poor young creature ! " said Mrs. Donnelly. " She seems 
acutely sensible of her unfortunate origin. I am sorry for 

" I can feel no sympathy for sorrow which people like her 
bring upon themselves by intruding where they have no right. 
She seems to bo a most ill-regulated young woman. I \yoncler 
how Augustus could become so infatuated with her." 

Poor Gertrude, after crying till she could cry no longer, sat 
down and wrote an indignant letter to her husband, entreatino- 
him to send for her directly, " as she neither could nor would 
put up with such insulting treatment." When it was finished 
a most unexpected difficulty presented itself; — she did not know 
how to address it. Augustus had left her no direction ! 

She was in this dilemma when she was summoned to tea. 
There was a dull and sullen respite to her annoyances • no one 
spoke. Mrs. Donnelly told no more histories of her triumphs 
at the Viceregal Court; Miss Sophia was engrossed in her 


work, and Gertrude in her own thoughts. She was meditating 
a bold resolve how to speak to her mother-in-law about her 
board and lodging. This she effected with an address of which 
she had believed herself not capable. 

Mrs. Donnelly, who feared she had allowed the moment for 
making a bargain to escape, was restored to a comfortable 
frame of mind by the prospect of having ten additional shillings 
a-wcek to go upon for house-keeping. As Gertrude was an 
inevitable misfortune to the family, she felt this as a small con- 
solation, and she wished her daughter-in-law good night with 
something of the blandness with which she treated the world in 

l. j t;i2 so:;r..j',vs c? GExnuxY. 


People who will not bear a little will be obliged in the end 
to bear a great deal. Gertrude did not know this aphorism, 
but she was in the course of working out the truth of it by 
painful and practical experience. 

She had been unhappy at horns because she had a disgust 
to the natural duties entailed upon her there. For this her 
mother was in some degree to blame, by the unsuitable and 
showy education she had given her daughter. But everybody 
must bear in their own persons the results of their own doings, 
lucky if thoir own follies are not complicated and aggravated 
by tha misdoings of others. Nature rigidly exacts natural 
effects from their legitimate causes, without inquiring who is ti 
blame; therefore, making excuses, and laying the fault on 
others (although it may be a soothing process to human nature), 
is of no avail, except as a cordial to the self-love that would 
otherwise be too mortally wounded. 

To release herself from the annoyances of home, Gertrude 
had eloped with and married Mr. Augustus Donnelly, whom she 
scarcely knew, and whom she did not love at all, whereby she 
mortgaged her whole future life, incurred difficulties, duties, and 
responsibilities of the most serious nature. That whole future 
life, supposing her to have become possessed of wisdom and 


patience by special miracle, would only hare enabled her to 
struggle till death to correct the one g'reat cardinal mistake sha 
had made on starting 1 , without ever being able to do so. For it 
is to be observed, that in all matters of life and morals, a thou- 
sand small things are not equivalent to one greai thin^, how- 
ever different the caso may be in arithmetic. 

It is doubtless very pathetic to see amiable pei'sons merito- 
riously struggling against the consequence of some bygone 
folly; but if people could once for all convince themselves that 
Nature never indulges in pathetic emotions, but sternly executes 
her own laws, they would perhaps be more careful how they 
infringed them. 

To return, howerer, to Gertrude. 

Several days passed, during which she heard nothing from 
Augustus, and she did not like to ask either Mrs. Donnelly or 
Miss Sophia for his address, lest they should fancy she wished 
to complain. In the meanwhile 6he had " appeared at church " 
— which in a country place is equivalent to being presented at 
Court — and numerous invitations to social tea drinkings and 
evening parties, together with a few set dinner parties, had 
followed. Mrs. Donnelly had no reason to complain that her 
acquaintance and friends were remiss in their attentions. But 
all the consoling influence of this neighbourly consideration was 
blunted, not to say embittered, by the consciousness that Ger- 
trude was not, and never" could or would be, a credit to the 
family ; whilst Miss Sophia was further aggravated by seeing 
her plebeian sister-in-law not only take precedence of her, but 
enjoy a great deal more attention and popularity than had ever 
fallen to her own lot. Gertrude was a novelty, and with her 
graceful appearance, pleasing manners, and accomplishments 
(which were much rarer in those days even in respectable 


society than they are now), sho had a great success : if her con- 
fidence in herself had not been so mercilessly trodden down at 
home, she might have become a leader in the set to which she 
was now introduced. Bat her triumphs abroad were bitterly 
expiated at home. 

It was in vain that Gertrude endeavoured by her submissive 
behaviour, and by all manner cf little- ingratiating ways, to 
propitiate her contemptuous relatives. One-tenth part of this 
forbearance and gentleness, if it had been exerted at home 
towards her own parents, would not only have gladdened their 
hearts, but would have sufficed to turn away all the more prac- 
tical and obvious objections to her position. As it was, they 
wasted their sweetness en the desert air — so far as her august 
mother and sister-in-law were concerned. 

It was in vain that sho painted a velvet cushion for the book 
of heraldry, and presented -diss Sophia with an elaborately 
worked set of India muslin robings. Equally in vain was it 
that she made a beautiful filagree tea-caddy for Mrs. Donnelly, 
with the observation that it was the pattern of one which the 
Duchess of Leith had given to Miss Mellish. It only provoked 
a disconsolate regret that Gertrude's connexion with the aris- 
tocracy should be of so shadowy a nature. All her attempts at 
conciliation were treated as mere matters of course — a tribute 
from her inferiority to which they were entitled. 

People who live in a constant strain to catch hold of a rank 
in life above their natural standing, cannot afford to indulge in 
any kind-heartedness ; they are victims to a social strappado — 
they have nothing solid to stand upon, and are painfully sus- 
pended from above. A weight like Gertrude attached to the 
Donnelly pretensions was a cruel aggravation of their difficul- 
ties. No wonder Mrs. Donnelly's natural blandness of demeanour 
failed at such a stretch, 


" I wonder," said Miss Sophia, snecringly, " that you have 
never thought it worth while to keep up your acquaintance with 
this Miss Mellish. If she invited you to stay with her under 
your former objectionable circumstances, she would be more 
likely, I should think, to do so now that they exist no longer, 
and you are become a member of respectable society." 

" I wrote to Miss Mellish whilst we were in the north," replied 
Gertrude, meekly, " but her father returned the letter unopened, 
and requested me not to write again. I felt it a good deal, but 
I know it was not her doing." 

" No doubt Mr. Mellish felt like a father," said Mrs. Donnelly, 
sentimentally. " He, with his old family descent, would be 
keenly alive to the desecration of an unequal alliance, and I own 
that I feel obliged to him for his sympathy with us." 

"But," persisted Miss Sophia, "now that we have so gener- 
ously received you, and countenanced you, he need not feel the 
objection that was quite natural, and even laudable, whilst you 
were a mere adventuress, and it was doubtful even whether your 
marriage would be valid. My opinion is, that you should write 
again to Miss Mellish, and enclose it in an humble letter to her 
father representing this." t 

" It would be of no avail," replied Gertrude, sadly ; " for Mr. 
Mellish declared that it was the want of respect I had shown 
towards my own parents which had decided him thus to break 
off my acquaintance with his daughter. Besides," added she, 
with more spirit than she had hitherto shown, "I would not 
write again under any circumstances, after he had once said he 
did not choose his daughter to continue the acquaintance." 

"Then I must say," rejoined Miss Sophia, with emphasis, 
" that you show wonderfully little idea of what you owe to us, 
and extreme indifference to the only compensation in your power 


for the disgrace you have brought upon us. Bat I do not wonder 
at the course Mr. Mellish has pursued, for you are the very last 
person with whom I would desire a sister or relative of mine to 
associate. It is our great and lamentable misfortune that the 
law of the land has given you the right to bear our name." 

Miss Sophia petulantly opened the book of heraldry, and 
began to work at an illuminated index — an idea that she had 
picked up at Lady Elrington's, where they had all dined the 
preceding week. She did not deign to speak to Gertrude again 
for the remainder of that day. 



We ought to have stated that Gertrude received several 
letters from her husband during this period : the first had come 
about a week after his departure. They were all to much the 
same purport, viz., that he adored her, and only endured his life 
in the hope of being soon re-united to her ; but that, as he had 
not yet obtained the situation, he could not send for her. He, 
however, seemed to be finding many distractions, from his inci- 
dental mention of races, excursions, water-parties, &o. 

In his later letters he told her that he had something in pros- 
pect, that Southend was moving heaven and earth in his favour, 
and that there was no doubt that he would have something 
given to him soon; adding, with exquisite fatuity, ''but, of 
course, unless it is something worth having, I shall refuse to 
accept it." 

In conclusion, he always begged Gertrude to take care of her- 
self, and to stint herself in nothing. But he did not send her 
any money, and her pecuniary resources were rapidly dwindling 
away under the payment of her weekly stipend, and frequent 
small loans to her mother-in-law, which were never repaid ; to 
say nothing of various petty expenses to which she was sub- 

When she had inhabited this domestic purgatory for about 


two months, Gertrude 0119 fine morning received a letter bearing 
a large handsome official seal. This time it was a letter worth 
its postage ! It announced that the incomparable Augustus had 
at length received a place adequate to his merits — a delightful 
" situation under government " with a salary of six hundred 
pounds a-year, and many perquisites, whilst the duties were 
nothing to speak of. The letter was fall of expressions of 
delight at the prospect of being re-united to his adored Gertrude, 
whom he entreated to come to him without delay. A postscript 
was added, which was characteristic enough of the man : 

" If you want money, let me know, and I will send you some. 

" Lord Southend has agreed to let us have a house of his in 
Queen Square, rent free : and I am busy getting it ready for 
you. It has been a long while empty, and would be all the 
better for paint and whitewash ; but it will serve our purpose 
till something else offers." 

The fact was, that Augustus had been on the point of enclosing 
Gertrude a five-pound note, but on second thoughts he had recol- 
lected that he was going to Tmibridge with Lord Southend and 
a few others, and that the money would be very handy. So he 
altered the enclosure he was about to make for the postscript 
wc have recorded. The passage about the house was quite true ; 
but he intended Gertrude to infer that he was investing his 
money in furniture, which was not true, for he was ordering it 
in upon credit. 

Tho receipt of this letter changed at once the aspect of Ger- 
trude's fortune. The news it contained made a pleasant excite- 
ment, and gratified the maternal pride of Mrs. Donnelly's heart 
and revived her hopes. Augustus had received a " government 
situation ; " he was amongst people who appreciated his merits • 
he would, after all, restore the fortunes of his family, and it 


would be charming to be invited to make her home of his house 
in London! 

A3 these ideas passed through her mind, she wished that she 
had not been quite so parsimonious in her housekeeping 1 , nor so 
severe in her strictures upon her son's wife, of whose power to 
prevent the realisation of her London dreams she became sud- 
denly aware. 

Under the combined influence of all these motives, she grew 
expansive and affectionate towards her " dear Gertrude," as she 
called her twice in a quarter of an hour. 

As to Miss Sophia, to do her justice, it must be confessed 
that she did not become more amiable in the least; in fact, 
she was suffering under such strong spasms of envy and 
jealousy, that amiability would have been a very uncommon 

London was the subject of Miss Sophia's deepest thoughts by 
day and night ; to pass " a season in London " had been the 
great object of her desire all her life — at least ever since she 
had arrived at years to know all the meaning- contained in the 
phrase, and it was a very long time since she had acquired this 
knowledge. She believed herself peculiarly formed to shine in 
society, and she made no doubt of achieving great triumphs, 
and forming an alliance worthy of her illustrious name and 
descent, if she had a career once opened to her talents. Now 
when, by a stroke of good fortune, such a consummation was 
brought within sight — almost within her reach — she, Sophia 
Donnelly, by some unaccountable mistake, was left to vegetate 
in the genteel obscurity of a country town ; whilst Gertrude, 
who had no claims, who was scarcely good enough to be her 
lady's maid, was called from her very side to live in the para- 
dise of London, and preside over an establishment of her own ! 


It was enough to break her heart, and in those days of tight 
lacing it did make her feel very poorly indeed. 

"Upon my word you are an extremely fortunate young 
woman," gaid she, in a tone impossible to describe ; and with a 
look of lofty detestation at Gertrude, ehe swept out of the room. 

Gertrude was, however, too enchanted at the prospect of her 
liberation to care either for the civilities of her mother-in-law 
or for the spite of her sister. Her newly-announced prosperity 
made her tolerant ; she bore no malice for past affronts — she 
thought only how she might the soonest leave her present 

She wrote to Augustus telling him how happy hia letter had 
made her, and modestly requesting him to send her a little 
money, explaining how it happened that she had spent her 

Augustus bestowed a very unfilial epithet upon his mother ; 
but as he had now become as impatient to see Gertrude again 
as a spoiled child for a promised toy, he wasted no time in un- 
profitable words. The money he had originally intended to 
send her had been nearly spent, and the first instalment of his 
salary was not due — but this did not materially embarrass him, 
for borrowing money seemed quite as natural as to have it law- 
fully belong to him. He only paused to think which of his 
friends he ha.l not applied to for the longest period, and went 
to him. The sua of his success had not yet Bet. His friend 
consented to lend him the means of sending for his wifo, on the 
promise that he should be repaid the first quarter day. Au- 
gustus had many similar engagements to meet, but he firmly 
believed in the mysterious and unlimited powers of his " salary," 
and he did not understand the laws of arithmetic. 

Part of the money he immediately despatched to Gertrude, 


and strolling along- after putting the letter in the post he saw 
a shawl that took his fancy, and ha bought it aa a surprise for 
Gertrude on her arrival. 

The house which Lord Southend had placed at the disposal 
of his friend was a large gloomy mansion. It had been long 
untenanted, and was much too large for them, to say nothing of 
its being out of repair ; but Augustus did not much trouble him- 
self about the dilapidations that were out of sight. The first 
floor was in pretty good condition, and it was all they would 
need. Hq went to a broker, and desiring him to famish the 
first floor, a garret, and kitchen, in ths best style, ha philoso- 
phically abandoned the remainder of the dwelling. 

Female eyes might hare seen many deficiences, but when the 
rooms had been well scoured, and the walls cleaned, and the 
venerable cobwebs removed which had hung on them so long 
with immunity, and the broker had laid down the carpets, and 
brought in a supply of furniture, which, though old and of 
various fashions, had still a certain air of g-ood society lingering 
about the various articles ; and when the windows were cleaned, 
and the daylight could find its way through the heavy and some- 
what worm-eaten frames, the improvement was so great that 
Augustus thought the place a perfect paradise, and Lord 
Southend, who occasionally strolled in to see how Augustus was 
getting on, said, " that he had no idea the old ruin could havo 
been made so pleasant," and declared his intention of coming 
very often to see him when he was settled. 

Lord Southend was very rich, and very good-natured, but it 
was with a half disdainful, impassive generosity, that took no 
note of what it did, or what it gave. Many people lived in his 
prosperity, like mites in a cheese, and he hardly knew it. But 
he had a real liking for Augustus, he had taken a good deal of 


trouble to get him placed in his situation, and had conferred 
many benefits on him. Originally he had liked Augustus, be- 
cause he amused him; but gradually he had grown to feel 
attached to him, because he was the work of his own hands. 
Augustus was gentlemanlike, also he was an agreeable com- 
panion ; he wa3 easy to help, and had the rare merit of accept- 
ing favours gracefully — therein lay his chief talent. In spite 
of his propensity to borrow money, and to expect his friends to 
make his fortune, he was never felt as the burden which neces- 
sitous people nearly always are to those on whom they hang. 
He was not a bore ; he had many friends who rather liked to 
help him ; but Lord Southend was the sheet-anchor of his 

At length all the preparations were completed. The establish- 
ment consisted of a middle-aged, respectable female servant, 
recommended by the housekeeper at Southend House, and a 
boy who cleaned the knives and shoes, and brushed the clothes 
of Augustus, and wore the species of livery which it had pleased 
the tailor to invent for him. 

Augustus, who had never enjoyed anything in his life so much 
as furnishing this hou-e, was as impatient as a child for Ger- 
trude to arrive, that she might see all that had been done. 

Gertrude did not delay the preparations for her departure. 
Thanks to the newly developed benevolence of her mother-in- 
law, the last days of her sojourn were much pleasanter than tho 
first. The prospect of getting rid of an unwelcome guest al- 
ways stimulates one's almost extinct sentiment of hospitality 
into a vivacity that i3 quite wonderful. 

Mrs. Donnelly not only assisted Gertrude in her packing, 
but she made her a present of an old naval trunk that had be- 
longed to her husband, with the inevitable Donnelly arms 


painted on the lid. Also, by way of setting her np in house- 
keeping, she gave her a pair of scales — a cookery book, entitled 
"Frugality and Elegance" — some pickles, made on a principle 
of her own, that is to say, with salt and water, instead of vine- 
gar, and some preserves made with molasses instead of sugar, 
and much good advice how to behave as became a Connelly. 
She was not bad at heart, this old lady. If she had been rich, 
or even easy in her circumstances, she would have been very 
kind in her way to all who would have allowed her family pre- 
tensions ; but her fortune was very threadbare, she lived in a 
constant struggle for ways and means to keep " cloth of gold 
and cloth of frieze" together; and all her energies were needed 
to take care of herself and her daughter. 

A3 to Miss Sophia, when she came to reflection she became, 
if not gracious, at least le33 insolent, and even went so far as 
to present Gertrude with a fan, by way at once of atonement 
and propitiation. 

At length the day of her departure came, and Gertrude took 
her place in the mail which was to carry her to London. 

Augustus was waiting for her when the coach stopped at the 
end of the journey. He was transported with delight, and 
wondered more than ever how he had endured living apart 
from her so long. Gertrude on her side was very glad to see 
him again ; and when they arrived at the house, and she saw 
it looking so cheerful, with good fires in all the rooms, and 
lighted up as if for an illumination, and the table which he had 
laid for supper with his own hands — it was such a contrast to 
all she had left behind, that she felt a regard for her husband 
she had never felt before. 

Tired as she was with her long journey, Augustus made her 
go over the rooms, and pointed out all their charming' pecu- 


liarities ; whilst Gertrude praised everything, and found every, 
thing perfect. Until that moment she did not know how very 
miserable she had been ; and she felt like one in a dream, or 
rather without knowing whether the past or the present were 
the reality. 

thb sonaoTO o? aawnLnr. ff 


The nest morning rose in a London fog, and the glowing 
cheerfulness of the previous evening w T as quenched in the thick 
yellow clammy atmosphere which penetrated every corner of 
the house and every pore of the skin. The bed-room grate was 
filled with the ashes of the burned out fire, and the floor was 
encumbered with open trunks, the contents of which were 
strewn about in every direction ; but Gertrude had too much 
cause of thankfulness within her heart to feel her spirits de- 
pressed by the thickest and heaviest fog which ever perplexed 
the streets. She dressed herself in high spirits, and the break- 
fast passed over as pleasantly as the supper had done — indeed, 
the fog was a source of wonder to her, and she made her hus- 
band " laugh consumedly " by her astonishment at such a na- 
tural phenomenon. 

Augustus must have had a vague notion that his wife had not 
been happy under his paternal roof; but as he did not want the 
trouble of knowing disagreeable details, if any there were, he 
contented himself with asking her carelessly how she got along 
with his mother and sister. 

Gertrude felt too happy to care about past grievances ; and 
it was much to her credit that, instead of trying to excite his 


sympathy, she replied quietly, " Oh ! pretty well, except some- 
times" — and then be^an to talk of something else. 

After breakfast she had to see the house again ; it did not 
look to great advantage in the fog — but Gertrude was deter- 
mined to be pleased, and only begged him to lock the doors of 
the empty rooms, " that they might not harbour thieves ! " 
Then she descended into the kitchen — her own kitchen ! To all 
women — young- married women especially — the " kiiclien" has 
a deeper sound of pride and sovereignty than the drawing- 
room. She ordered dinner for the first time in her own house, 
and did her best to dazzle the eyes of the respectable, but some- 
what consequential, servant, by her display of housekeeping 
wisdom, which, of course, did not impose upon her in the least; 
but the good looks and gentle manners of Gertrude propitiated 
her good-will, though, naturally, sho much preferred "the 
master," whom she had already pronounced to be a "real 
gentleman." She thought Gertrude " very young to have the 
care of a house," and prophesied that " she was sure to be im- 
posed upon in London ; but she was a nice little body, who gave 
herself no airs, and who had been used to liberal ways." 

The remainder of the morning was occupied in unpacking 
and in establishing herself at iiomi;. Augustas forgot all about 
the office and his own business there, to remain at home with 
Gertrude, and help her in her arrangements. He was as full of 
spirits as a schoolboy ; the charm of having " a house of his 
cwn" had already begun to work. He developed the most 
wonderful talent as a carpenter ; lie knocked up a set of shelves 
for the "store-room," and transferred two old boxes into beauti- 
ful foot-stools. There was no end to the genius he showed, 
and it all was accompanied by the most beautiful schemes for 
making Gertrude "the happiest woman in the world." She 


was to have " everything she wished for ;" and encouraged to 
think of everything she would like best ! 

In the afternoon the fog cleared off, and one of the friends of 
Augustus called, curious to see what Gertrude was like, but 
ostensibly to bring tickets for the theatre. 

Gertrude had never seen a play in her life, and was half wild 
with delight at the prospect of going to one. Her unbounded 
and unsophisticated admiration of all she saw greatly amused 
her two companions. 

Gertrude- was not remarkably clever, but she was natural 
and unpretending, and extremely good-tempered, which is 
always a stock-in-trade of agreeableness sufficient to make a 
woman very popular with nine out of every ten people she 
meets ; added to this, there was with Gertrude a certain 
straightforward way of saying and doing everything that 
gave an impress of character and piquancy to what might 
otherwise have been insipid. 

The consequence was that Gertrude became a great favourite 
with all her husband's friends. 

Gertrude had often thought of her mother : the recollection 
of her own neglect and disobedience lay an unacknowledged 
weight upon her heart, and had aggravated all her sufferings 
under Mrs. Donnelly. Still she was not come to her right 
mind ; and she had delayed writing to Mrs. Slocum (the only 
channel ever left open) until she could send news of herself 
which should command the respect and envy of the Misses 
Slocum. Her mother's anxiety was of secondary importance 
compared with what <: these Slocums " would think of her 
position ! Now, however, that she was installed in a house of 
her own, and her husband had a " situation un,ler government," 
her vanity raised no more obstacles, and her first employment 


was to write her mother a long latter, umder cover to Mrs. 

Tkere ensued a few very happy months in the life of Ger- 

Augustus was fond of his wife, and very proud of her, and 
with husbands, their estimation of their wives goes a great 
deal by the degree of pride they are able to take in them. 

He spent all his time at home, when not at his business, and 
knew no pleasure but that of taking her about to see all the 
sights of London : he went nowhere without her, and bid fair 
to become quite a domestic character. 

Careless as had been his own habits, he showed discretion in 
the associates he introduced to his wife. They were mostly 
young men, like himself, for during his baehelor-life he had not 
had occasion to cultivate female society ; but they all treated 
Gertrude with great respect, and showed hor much kindness 
in many ways. 

Sho made the house very pleasant, and those who had the 
?;;/;■?.! to it liked to go there. It certainly was a questionable 
position for a young woman to be placed in ; but Gertrude had 
never been brought up in society, and she did not know but 
what it was the most natural thing in the world for her hus- 
band to bring his bachelor-friends homo. She never dreamed 
that it was possible for a " married woman " to flirt, or to en- 
ileavour to attract any man's attention except her husband's. 
She had a vague idea that, sooner or later, every woman, " after 
she was married," settled down into something like her mother 
3r old Mrs. Slocum. Meanwhile, she conducted herself with a 
jertain unconcious prudence, an instinctive delicacy and modesty, 
diat effectually kept her from any practical danger that might 
aave arisen from her exposed position. However essential 


an " accomplished seducer " or an " insidious villain " may be 
to novels, still many women pass through life as entirely 
unmolested by them as by the wild beasts in Wombwell's 
menagerie. Gertrude, happily, was ignorant of their existence. 
The real danger that beset both her and her husband was the 
prosaic one of running into debt, and spending a great deal 
more money than they could afford. 

The charming dinners and little suppers, which they gave 
abundantly, and their excursions and parties to the Play, ran 
away with all the salary due to Augustus for the first quarter ; 
and, of course, the debts previously contracted had to stand over 
for their hope of liquidation to the next quarter-day. The loans 
were all luckily from friends who did not press for payment, 
and the chiof creditor was the broker from whom the furnifcuro 
had been hired, and ha was pacified by a small instalment and a 
promissory note. They had three more months before them. 

But this pleasant state of things came to an end, and, like 
many other misfortunes, arrived in the disguise of something 
highly fortunate. 



Wheit Lord Southend's mother arrived in London for the 
season, her son told her the history of Augustus and his wife, 
and entreated her notice and protection for Gertrude. 

Old Lady Southend was, in her way, as proud of her rank and 
birth as Mrs. Donnelly herself; and much as she loved her son, 
would sooner have seen him dead than the victim of a Viesal- 
liance; but she was too lofty and too self-sustained to need any 
support for her pretensions from external aid. She had no fear 
of compromising her dignity by admitting persons of a lower 
station into her society, if sue happened to like them. She 
never forgot that she was "Lady Southend;" and whatever she 
chose to do was right in her own eyes. She was, moreover, 
though abundantly whimsical and impertinent, rather kind- 
hearted than otherwise, and did not want for good sense. 

When her son made his petition in behalf of Gertrude, she 
made no difficulty ; she liked to know who and what the people 
were with whom her son frequented, but she \evy sensibly told 
him that he was doing his present proteges no real kindness in 
introducing them to society above their ways and means. 
"However," she added, "that is their concern; you shall never 
make a request to me in vain. I will see the wife ; and if she 
is inoffensive, and not vulgar, I will try what I can do with her. 


Let her call on me to-morrow at twelve o'clock." This message 
was duly conveyed, and received by Augustus and Gertrude with 
becoming gratitude. 

The next morning Gertrude dressed herself with great care. 
At her earnest request Augustus stopped at home to give his 
opinion and advice as to what she should wear. When her 
toilet was completed, he declared she looked like an angel, and 
handed her into the glass coach which he had been to fetch 

Gertrude felt terribly nervous when she was ushered into the 
old lady's dressing-room ; but the visit passed over better than 
she expected. Lady Southend understood all about her at a 
glance ; but she was pleased with her appearance, and with her 
unaffected manner of replying to all the questions she was 
asked. After an audience of half-an-hour Gertrude was 
graciously dismissed. 

Augustus was waiting to receive her on her return home. 

"Well, and how did you get on ?" he asked, impatiently. 

" Very well, indeed. She is as plain as possible in all her 
ways, and I felt as much at my ease as if I had known her all 
my life, I wonder why she is said to be so proud ; she did not 
show herself so to me. I don't think she is the grand court 
lady your mother is, for e-xample." 

" Yon see my mother feels herself obliged to keep up her 
dignity, or else people would not know who she is ; while every- 
body knows that her ladyship is her ladyship." 

Shortly afterwards Gertrude and Augustus received an invi- 
tation to an assembly at Southend House, which involved the 
necessity of a new dress for Gertrude, and a new waistcoat, of 
the most expensive fashion, for Augustus, and a great expendi- 
ture for a coach to take them and bring them back. 


The assembly was large and dull. Gertrude was acquainted 
with no one. Lady Southend was too busy to pay much atten- 
tion to her. Lord Southend spoke to her when she came in, 
and presented a partner to her, but he himself was obliged to 
be elsewhere. Augustus was at a card-table, playing much 
higher than he ought to have done ; and Gertrude, when the 
dance was over, sat down in a distant corner between two fat 
old ladies covered with diamonds. They looked at her as 
though surprised at her intrusion, but preserved a lofty silence. 
Gertrude ventured a timid observation ; but instead of a reply 
she obtained a look which effectually silenced her, and left the 
feeling that she had committed gome unpardonable breach of 

She sat looking at the moving brilliant crowd before her, — 
looking at the rooms and the decorations, — repeating to herself, 
to fix it as a fact upon her memory, which was not hereafter to 
be denied, that she was at " Southend House," — at " Lady 
Southend's assembly," — a member of the same company with 
Lords, Dukes, Countesses, and even Princesses for anything she 
knew to the contrary ! She thought of Mrs. Donnelly and Miss 
Sophia ; and in fancying to herself all that they would say and 
think if they could see her there, she disguised the dulness of 
the present moment, and the very little real satisfaction she 
enjoyed in this realisation of all ber most ambitious dreams. 

Our dreams and desires, when they seem to be the most 
completely realised, generally come to ns with some essential 
element omitted, which makes them consequently fall very flat 
and savourless. Gertrude's secret day-dreams had been to mix 
in good society, — to go to the balls and parties of persons of 
real quality and distinction. Here she was, in the midst of a 
party of the elite of the land ! She was in the very best society 


possible, and yet she found it dull, and she was doing anything 
but enjoying herself. She felt overlooked and neglected, and 
neglect ia neglect ; however extenuating the circumstances, the 
effect is equally unpleasant. Gertrude, in her reveries and air 
castles, had never contemplated such an accident ! 

At length Augustus came to seek her ; the evening was at 
an end, it was time to go home. He looked flushed and vexed, 
he had lost a great deal of money, he had drunk more wine 
than he ought to have done, and had got into a dispute. With 
some difficulty they gained their coach ; and wearied and dis- 
satisfied with their debut in fashionable life, they retired to rest 
almost without speaking to each other. Gertrude was only 
jaded, but Augustus was sulky. 

In a day or two, however, the actual honour and glory of 
baving spent an evening in each high society expanded in full 

Gertrude took occasion to write to her august mother-in-law 
a full account of their visit, adding, for the benefit of Miss 
Sophia, a graphic description of the different dresses, the style 
in which the ladies wore their hair, not failing to celebrate with 
raptures the superb diamonds and other jewels which had 
flashed upon her eyes. 

This letter waa intended to be a sort of mild revenge for all 
the contumely which she had endured at the hands of the ladies 
to whom it wa9 addressed. She knew it would be gall and 
wormwood to Miss Sophia, and she therefore added every detail 
she could recollect, speaking of it, at the same time, in a calm 
unexcited tone, as if the ordinary tenour of her life lay in the 
ranks of the aristocracy. She spoke familiarly of Lord Southend 
" sitting in her drawing-room and poking all the fire out of the 
grate," and added a variety of little incidents about the tickets 


brought to her for the opera, and her unlimited command of 
boxes for the theatre. 

She had to pay dearly for this little vengeance, though, to be 
sure, the event must have come sooner or later, but it certainly 
brought about the crisis much sooner than it would otherwise 
have occurred. 

Mrs. Donnelly read the letter through with compressed lips, 
and then handed it to her daughter, only observing, " Upon my 
word, it will be well if that young woman's head be not turned 
at iue rate she seems going on." 

Miss Sophia read it, and burst fairly into tear3, exclaiming 
between her sobs : — 

" The mode in which she speaks of things and persons so 
much above her, is perfectly audacious ! It is really too bad to 
see such advantage's falling to the lot of a low creature who has 
disgraced our family, whilst WE, its natural representatives, are 
buried in this obscure hole, seeing no one, hearing nothing, and 
going nowhere. Really, ma'am, I do not see but that we have 
as good a right to live in London as Augustus and his precious 
wife ! " 

" Gently, my dear, gently," replied her mother. " Tou are 
such a dear impulsive creature ! It is the dearest wish of my 
heart to see you in the metropolis, moving in the circle to which 
you were born, and admired as you ought to be ; but leave me 
to manage with your brother. Unless v, - e act with judgment, 
his wife will have influence enough with him to keep such a 
formidable rival as you would be at a distance. You must 
make your calls without me to day ; you can excuse me to our 
friends on the plea of illness." 

Miss Sophia suffered herself to be comforted, and departed on 
her round of morning calls, taking with her, however, Ger- 


trade's letter, with which she failed not to edify hei' audience, 
and to impress upon them that her brother and his wife were 
persons of importance in the very best circles of society ! Lady 
Southend's party did plenty of duty. 

" How far a little candle shed its rays ! 
So shines a good deed in this naught}' world." 



About a fortnight after the foregoing incident, as Augustus 
and Gertrude were at breakfast, a letter arrived from Mrs. 
Donnelly to her son. She spoke pathetically of her " failing 
health," and her desire to procure better medical advice than 
their town afforded; she declared her intention of coming up 
to London, with Sophia, if she could succocd in lotting her house 
for the term of her absence, and begged Augustus to inquire 
about lodgings for them. 

" I tell you what," said Augustus, helping himself to a middle 
piece of buttered toast, and tossing the letter to Gertrude, " a 
capital idea has just struck me; there is room enough in this 
house for all of U3 without quarrelling ; and if my mother were 
to let her house and to bring her furniture here, we might send 
this we aro using back to tho broker ; wo are paying a tremen- 
dous price for the use of it, I can tell you ; the man sent in his 
bill again yesterday. It is a most extravagant way of going to 
work; I would never hire furniture again." 

Poor Gertrude could only gasp out, " You surely do not meau 
your mother and sister to live with us here ! " 

" And why not, pray ? " 

" Oh, no, please not, dear Augustus, it will be so dreadful." 

" If you will assign any good reason that it should not be as 


I wiah, I will attend to you ; but you seem to have no idea of 
the necessity of economy, and to indulge in nothing but your 
own fancies." 

" Indeed, I don't care how saving we are, and I will try to 
be so ; but you do not know what it is to live with your mother, 
or you would not talk of having her to live with us." 

This was the nearest approach to a complaint Gertrude had 
ever made ; but it had no effect upon her husband, who just 
then was possessed solely by the idea of the wonderful advan- 
tage of having furniture without paying for it. He desired 
Gertrude " not to. be foolish," and went off to his office, where, 
in the natural course of thing3, not having much to do, with 
the precipitancy of a procrastinating man, he wrote off to his 
mother proposing that she should bring her furniture to London, 
and that they should all live together." 



"A letter from London, ma'am ; elevenpence, if yon please," 
said Mrs. Donnelly's foot-boy, entering 1 the breakfast-rooni with 
the missive in question on a silver waiter. 

" Postage is very expensive," said Miss Sophia, querulously ; 
" I hope it is not one of Gertrude's flimsy, vain letters, about 
her visits and grand parties at home and abroad. It is wonder- 
ful to see the audacity of that young woman ; she mixes in good 
society as though she had been born to it. She will bring 
Augustus to the Gazette for his foolish indulgence of all her 

Mrs. Donnelly had been reading her letter, unheeding the 
pearls and diamonds which which were distilling from the lips 
of her fair daughter ; she now looked up and said, "What is it, 
my dear ? What has annoyed you ? Kead this to comfort you, 
and tell me if I am not a good general where the interest of 
my darling Sophia is concerned." 

Miss Sophia read her brother's letter with a satisfaction that, 
in spite of her efforts, showed itself upon her countenance ; she 
was provoked at feeling so pleased. 

" You observe," said she, " that Gertrude does not appear in 
all this : depend upon it, she will do all in her power to hinder 


our going to live in London. She hates us, of that I am con- 

" Ko, my dear, to do Gertrude justice, she has never failed in 
the due respect she owes both to you and to me. I am inclined 
to think that, inexperienced as she is, she has got embarrassed 
amongst the details of housekeeping. A young creature out 
of the schoolroom, how should she know any better ! The 
heart of poor Augustus was always in the right place ; he 
would be glad to have his poor old mother to give an eye to 
his household affairs. I do not deny that it will be for his ulti- 
mate benefit, but I own I am pleased that he wishes us to share 
his home and his prosperity." 

" And are we to be under the dominion of Gertrude ? " asked 
Miss Sophia, sharply ; " it will be more than I can endure with 
composure to see her at the head of the family, whilst you, 
ma'am, are to be made a mere cypher; for my part, I see little 
to rejoice at in the arrangement." 

" Gently, my dear. Of course I am not going to leave my 
own peaceful and well loved home to live with two young 
people like Augustus and Gertrude without some distinct under- 
standing of our relative position. You may depend upon it 
that I shall consult both your dignity and my own." 

" When do you suppose we shall go ? " said Miss Sophia 
abruptly, after a pause. 

" It will take some time to arrange my affairs here, and we 
had better not seem too eager to agree to the proposal. Many 
things will have to be settled before we come to any definite 
conclusion ; I shall, however, write to your brother by the next 

Mrs. Donnelly piqued herself upon her powers of diction, and 
certainly it was not always easy to discover what she meant by 


■what she sail. She wrote ft letter to Augustus, dilating upon 
the charms of the town of Springfield, the beauty of the sur- 
rounding neighbourhood, the pleasant society, the extreme 
respect and esteem which she enjoyed, and the charm that 
everybody found in the conversation, manners, and elegant 
accomplishments of -diss Sophia ; of the great convenience and 
spaciousness of her house (vrliieh was her own) ; of the small 
expense at which she was able to keep up an equality with the 
best families in the county — in fact, it was an elaborate essay 
on the blessings and comforts that surrounded the mother of 
Augustus, suggesting the question, what equivalent he could 
offer that she should leave all this paradise of advantages to 
live in noisy, dark, smoky London? She nattered his vanity 
as a man, praised his conduct as a son, enlarged on her own 
affection as a mother, and, in conclusion, regretted gently, but 
very gently, that a man like him should not have a wife in every 
respect worthy of him, anl capable of appreciating him as he 

The old lady, to do her justice, was quite sincere in her flat- 
tery — she candidly bel level that her son Augustus and her 
daughter Sophia were peculiar specimens of human perfection ; 
but the flattery, in this instance, was employed to carry a point 
upon which she had set her heart, and was not an overflow of 
maternal affection, as she intended Augustus to believe. 

The letter despatched, she awaited the result, like a spider in 
her web, with confidence and composure. Poor Gertrude, in 
the meanwhile, was not inactive. The prospect of having her 
mother-in-law and sister-in-law for permanent inmates was too 
dreadful for her not to use all means to avert it. All the com- 
fort of her future life was at stake. She divined that she 
should obtain nothing by appealing to her husband's justice or 


to his affeotion, or to any quality the exorcise of which entailed 
the smallest sacrifice of his own convenience. Lord Southend 
called in whilst she was disconsolately thinking what she should 
say to Augustus to persuade him not to make her so very miser- 
able. He had always been very kind to Gertrude ; he had a frank 
and cordial regard for her, and wondered how she could ever 
have been so much in love with hia friend Augustus as to make 
a runaway match with him. Finding her this afternoon in low 
spirits, he good-naturedly endeavoured to find out the cause. 
Gertrude, with the impulsive straightforwardness which was 
the chief feature of her character, told him the terrible inflic- 
tion that was impending. 

Lord Southend felt very sorry for her, and was insensibly 
flattered by being so frankly taken into hor confidence. He 
promised to talk to Augustus, and to dissuade him from his 
project. He exhorted Gertrude to keep np hor spirits, and 
finally delivered the message he had brought from his mother, 
to the effect that she would call for Gertrude that evening to 
go the theatre to see Mrs. Siddons. 

This was very effectual distraction to her thoughts for the 
time being. Augustus came in — he was in high good humour 
— delighted to hear of the invitation. He was always pleased 
to have Gertrude noticed by Lady Southend, or by any one 
whom he considered a person of importance. Gertrude felt the 
advantage, and determined to use it. 

Lady Southend called for her at the appointed time, and 
brought her back Augustus was at home — he came to the 
door to receive Gertrude, and to make his bow to her ladyship 
— his vanity was gratified — and Gertrude shone with the 
reflected lustre of Lady Southend's favour. Gertrude's virtues 
had never produced half the effect of this visit to the theatre 


with Lady Southend. Gertrude was not given to metaphysics, 
she accepted facts as she found them. 

There was a bright fire, and a nice little supper all ready. 
After supper Mr. Augustus mixed himself a tumbler of whisky 
toddy — and Gertrude, feeling this to be a propitious moment, 
led the conversation to the projected introduction of Mrs. 
Donnelly into their household. 

She told him of the life she had led with his mother, she de- 
scribed their " sitting for company," and the domestic eclipse 
afterwards, the genteel card and supper parties, and the house- 
hold fasts that succeeded ; but she made it amusing- rather than 
pathetic. She spoke also of the contumely to which she herself 
had been subjected — but she touched lightly on this, for 
Augustus had an idea of his mother's dignity that was won- 
derful, and she had impressed Gertrude herself with the idea 
that she was the very type and ideal of a great lady — faith is 
a great solvent, the toughest and stubbornest facts — of contrary 
facts, melt under its influence like wax. 

About his sister she was less reserved — there is a natural 
enmity between sisters-in-law — they always speak candidly of 
each other. 

The result was, that by the time Mr. Augustus had 
come to the end of his second tumbler he saw matters in 
quite a different point of view to what they had appeared 

""Well, my dear girl!" said he, rising, "you shall never be 
made miserable by me or mine — you are a good girl, and I am 
proud of you. You shall keep the money, and manage every- 
thing as you please. Lord Southend says you are the most 
prudent woman he knows." 

" Well, then, dear Augustus," interrupted Gertrude, anxious 


to bring him back to the main question, " you promise me that 
your mother shall not come to live with us ? " 

" You may set your mind at resfc about that — I will write 
again to tell her we have changed our plans." 

"Write again to her! Oh, Augustus, surely you have not 
written already without talking the matter over," said poor 
Gertrude, in dismay. 

" Why, you see I had half-an-hour at the office to spare, and 
I thought it might as well be done at once as put off. I owed 
Vze old lady a letter, besides. I only sounded her upon the 
subject; but I will write again to-morrow, I promise, or you 
may do so yourself. My dear Gertrude, you are a sensible 
woman, and if every wife could talk to her husband as rationally 
as you do, there would be more happy marriages." 

Gertrude was not altogether re-assured even by this compli- 
ment. She felt a misgiving as to the effect of her husband's 
letter ; but it was clearly of no use to say more just then — so 
resolving that her first occupation the next day should be to 
write to her majestic mother-in-law, she lighted her bed candle 
and went up stairs. 



Lettbrs took longer to travel in those days ; Gertrude's letter 
crossed Mrs. Donnelly's. Mr. Augustus had already slightly 
relapsed from his faith in his wife's opinion ; his mother's letter 
appealed to all his Treak points ; a fit of filial devotion came 
orer him, and he thought it would be an admirable compromise 
to invite his mother and sister for a long visit. 

" See, Gertrude," said he, " my mother seems to have as little 
wish to give up her bouse to live with us, as you can have that 
she should do so ; read it for yourself. But I tell you what, wo 
ought to invito the old lady and Sophia to come for a visit : I 
should be unnatural if I did not. I will write her an affec- 
tionate letter, and say we both hope to see them for a3 long as 
they can make it convenient — what do you say to that?" 

Gertrude could have said a great deal; but she bad tho 
prudence to be silent. It was not " a time to speak." 

Poor Gertrude, with her innocent stratagems, was no match 
for Mrs. Donnelly's determination. Fortune was against her too. 

It happened (providentially, as Mrs. Donnelly deemed it; but 
quite the reverse, as Gertrude viewed the matter) that a lady of 
Mrs. Donnelly's acquaintance wrote at this time to inquire into 
the probability of Bucces3 there would be for a first-rate 
Boarding-school for young ladies at Springfield. 


Mrs. Donnelly immediately wrote to intimate that a first-rate 
Boarding-school was the one thing needed to put the finishing 
touch to the prosperity of Springfield. She enumerated at 
least a dozen families who were ardently desirous to see the 
advent of an accomplished school-mistress. She dwelt on all 
the advantages of the situation, declared that a competent 
person would find at once an opening both to fame and fortune, 
and concluded by offering to let her own house at a moderate 
rent, as she was about to accept the invitation of her son to go 
up to London to superintend his house, as his young wife was 
delicate and unequal to the fatigue! This letter brought the 
answer she desired. The lady allowed herself to be persuaded; 
she agreed to take Mrs. Donnelly's house on a lease, and Mrs. 
Donnelly showed herself an admirable hand at driving a bar- 
gain. Several weeks of necessity elapsed whilst this affair was 
pending, during which, as Gertrude received no reply to her 
letter, she had begun to flatter herself that her invitation had 
been dismissed, and that her mother-in-law was afraid of the 
long journey: she never referred to the subject, from a vague 
fear of bringing some reality upon herself. One day Augustus 
said, " By-the-bye, it is strange my mother has taken no notice 
of your letter. I wonder whether it reached her." 

" Oh yes," said Gertrude, faintly, " I have no fear about that. 
I dare say, now we have spoken of it, that we shall hear very 

Two days afterwards, a letter addressed to Augustus, in the 
well-known handwriting of Mrs. Donnelly, sealed with the 
enormous coat of arms in a lozenge, was lying on the breakfast 
table when they came down stairs. It was short and to the 
purpose, and left no room for any hope or illusion. She stated 
that she had " re-considered her dear son's proposal — that an 


advantageous opportunity to let her house having offered, she 
had felt it her duty to accept it, and that she felt happy at the 
prospect of spending the evening of her days in the midst of 
her dear children." 

<; Well, there is nothing- for it now, 1 ' said Mr. Augustus, 
giving Gertrude his mother's letter, '" and perhaps, after all, it 
may be for the best — who knows ; anyhow we shall have the 
furniture, which will be a great saving. Do you know we are 
paying at the rate of eighty pounds a year for these sticks of 
things? I tell you what, my dear girl, you must be more 
frugal; our expenses are terrible. I am sure I don't know how 
the money goes." 

" Does your mother intend to pay us for their board r " asked 

"Good heavens, how vou talk," said Mr. Augustus, indig- 
nantly ; '' do you think I am goinq - to charge my own mother 
and sister for every bit they put into their mouths — where did 
you get such notions I would like to know r " 

" But in that case, our expenses would be increased instead of 

" How do you make that out ? What is enough for one is 
enough for two, as everybody knows." 

" But you will find that more in the house will make a great 
difference. My mother used to say " 

" Your mother ! " said Mr. Augustus, scornfully ; " and do you 
consider that anything your mother could ever say would apply 
to mine? Your mother never gave you sixpence towards 
housekeeping, nor a stool nor a chair towards furnishing ; you 
never brought me a farthing of money You talk because I 
think it right to have my own mother and sister to live with me — 
what is it to you if I choose to spend my money on them ? " 


Poor Gertrude was crying too bitterly to reply. Possibly it 
was the only answer her husband would have understood. He 
had never seen her cry in that way before. 

But it was not about him or his unkindness she was weeping 1 ; 
it was the sharp sting of her own conscience which gave bitter- 
ness to her husband's words. She had despised her father and 
mother, and now there was no eye to pity her ; whatever 
happened, she had deserved everything; it was her own dis- 
obedience that had brought her mother into contempt : it was 
the bitterest moment she had yet known. Mr. Augustus felt 
very awkward : he had not intended his words to mean anything 
beyond the ill-temper of the moment. 

" Come, come, Ger., don't take on in that way. I am very 
sorry if I hurt you : I did not mean it. Come, come, this is our 
first real quarrel ; you must forgive and forget. There, that 
■will do — give me a kiss, and wipe your eyes." 

Bat that was not so easily done. With a strong effort of self- 
control, however, she rose and left the breakfast-table — she 
went to her own room and struggled to recover her composure. 
In a short time she returned. Her husband had begun to feel 
uncomfortable ; but when she came back so quietly, he thought 
it was only an ordinary fit of temper, because she had been 
contradicted, and by a natural revulsion of sentiment, he 
applauded himself for his firmness, and instead of apologising 
or endeavouring to soothe her feelings, he only said : 

" I hope you are in a better humour, and capable of listening 
to reason. I will write myself to my mother to settle this 
business; but it will look more respectful if you write also, and 
say that you entirely approve of the arrangement, and thank 
her for the sacrifice she must have made in giving up her 


And so it was arranged. Mrs. Donnelly proposed to pay for 
an extra servant. This and the use of her furniture was to be 
considered an equivalent to all other expenses. 

Gertrude still hoped that something might occur to prevent 
them coming, — pleasant things that seem certain are so often 
hindered from coming to pass. But all went on rapidly and 
smoothly; not a single hitch occurred in any of the arrange- 
ments. Gertrude's heart died within her -when packages after 
packages of heavy furniture began to arrive, and all the ready 
money in the house was consumed to pay for the carriage. 

Every chair and table, as it emerged from its wrappings, 
was associated in Gertrude's mind with the dreary time of her 
purgatory. When their own things had been sent back to the 
broker, and Mrs. Donnelly's furniture arranged in their stead, 
it looked like a bad dream come true. Her own pleasant home 
was gone, and her mother-in-law's household gods stood in its 
place. Things went on in their appointed course ; shortly after 
the furniture 'had all arrived, Mrs. Donnelly and her daughter 
contrived to be brought up to town themselves by old Lady 



All Gertrude's anticipations of discomfort were more than 
realised, and that very speedily. 

For the first few days Gertrude continued to direct the house 
and to give the orders as usual ; Mrs. Donnelly having her 
faculties strictly engaged in taking possession of her new 
dwelling, and making herself as comfortable in it " as she owed 
it to herself to be." She was very fond of talking of what 
" she owed to herself;" and, to do her justice, she was very 
scrupulous in her attempts to discharge this debt. 

It was a delicate question of precedence as to which of the 
two ladies belonged the lawful right of administering the affairs 
of the household. Mrs. Donnelly had agreed to contribute a 
certain quota to the domestic expenses ; the use of her furniture 
being a set-off against her immunity from rent and taxes ; but 
it had been left undecided who was to manage the funds. 

The first day, when they were all sitting down to dinner, 
Gertrude unwarily offered the head of the table to her mother- 
in-law, who took it without hesitation, saying, with an amiable 

" I am not quite sure that I have a right to this place, but I 
have been so accustomed to preside over my family, that I do 


not think I could dine in comfort at any other part of the 

" And indeed, ma'am," said Miss Sophia, as she took -without 
scruple the best seat next the fire, " I am sure that your chil- 
dren would be sorry to see you give place for any new comer 

Augustus looked for a moment as if he did not quite under- 
stand why Gertrude should be deposed in her own house, but 
he did not like to interfere with his mother, so he only shrugged 
his shoulders and said, — " Settle it amongst yourselves ;" at the 
same time drawing a chair for Gertrude close beside himself, 
and taking hold of her hand. He felt obliged to Gertrude for 
submitting quietly, and not involving him in any dispute ; for 
Mr. Augustus Donnelly loved an easy life, and hated trouble 
more than anything else in the world. 

During dinner Mrs. Donnelly looked at all the dishes with 
critical eyes, and enquired pleasantly of Gertrude, " whether she 
had expected company to dinner ? " 

Gertrude blushed; she felt that her mother-in-law thought 
her extravagant. 

" Gertrude knows I like a good dinner, and always gives me 
one ; I see nothing out of the way in this," said Augustus. 

Mrs. Donnelly compressed her lips and made a stately motion 
with her head, as though to say she was more than answered ; 
but in a little while she returned to the attack : — 

"If you have any bread not quite so new as this I shall 
be glad of it. Do you generally use bread that is quite 

Again Gertrude felt that, in spite of the bland smile which 
accompanied this speech, her mother-in-law saw another defect 
in her housekeeping. None but young housekeepers know the 


refined cruelty of questions like these, from those who are con- 
sidered experienced managers. 

" Do your servants help themselves ? " asked Mrs. Donnelly, 
towards the close of dinner ; " or do you cut off what you con- 
sider proper for them ? In establishments where there is not 
a confidential housekeeper to take the head of the second table, 
it is quite customary for the mistress to carve for the kitchen ; 
by this means all waste is prevented, and the joint is not ren- 
dered unsightly by unskilful carving. Lady Rosherville, when 
in Ireland, always cuts the meat for the servants' dinner, and 
she has told me that she effects an immense saving by so doing ; 
for, if left to themselves, servants will eat none but the choicest 

Gertrude replied that Margaret always seemed very careful ; 
but she felt that her mother-in-law looked upon her as very in- 
competent to manage a house. 

For three days Gertrude went about with the eye of Mrs. 
Donnelly upon her, following in silence all she did, till Gertrude 
felt quite nervous and lost all confidence in herself. On the 
fourth day after her arrival, Mrs. Donnelly said, with a pleasant 
smile, " My dear Gertrude, you have never invited me to see 
your kitchen, and I own, that to an old-fashioned housekeeper 
like myself the kitchen is by far the most interesting depart- 
ment of the house ; though young people like you, naturally do 
not much care to enter it." 

Gertrude, of course, acquiesced ; and the old lady, tying a 
green silk calash over her head, descended to the kitchen, cast- 
ing her cold grey scrutinising eyes into every quarter, but say- 
ing nothing. At length, when they entered the pantry, she 
triumphantly pointed out a dish of cold potatoes, saying mildly, 
<! I told you, my dear, that I thought you cooked more than were 


needed ; if these are fried with a little butter or dripping, they 
will be delicious, and they will be amply sufficient. By the 
way, what shall you do with the bones of that fine fish we had 
yesterday ? " 

Gertrude looked confused, but at length replied, " I suppose 
they are thrown away." 

" You are a dear, inexperienced creature ! " said the old lady, 
tapping Gertrude's cheek with her bony finger. " I see that I 
shall have to give you some lessons in the science of economy ; 
I have a receipt for making a charmingly delicious soup from 
cold fish bones and broken remnants. I have often tasted 
it when on a visit to Lady Killaloo ; she is an admirable 
house-wife, and turns everything to profit; — but it is vei-y 
cold to stand here, and I begin to feel my poor rheu- 
matism growing worse ; I will leave you to give your own 

" If you please, ma'am," said the servar 1 -. when the tapping 
of the old lady's shoes had ceased, " I should be gl^l to know 
who is going to be my mistress ; I can do very well with you, 
and against master I have not a word to say, I could live with 
you both with the greatest pleasure, — but I am not going to be 
overlooked, nor have my pantry pryed into by that old lady. I 
was not engaged for her ; I have been a servant thirteen years, 
and I have never been used to such ways." She put down a 
tea-cup she had been washing, and gave her head a jerk which 
was meant to give emphasis to her words. 

" Oh, dear Margaret," said Poor Gertrude, in a despairing 
tone, " I have enough to vex me, don't add to it ; I am myself 
obliged to give in to Mrs. Donnelly. You know she is your 
master's mother." 

" I am sure I don't wish to be unaccommodating, but right 


is right, and if you choose to let yourself be put upon, it is no 
reason why I should, and I won't either." 

Gertrude felt that her troubles were only beginning, and she 
was not mistaken. Old Mrs. Donnelly had changed her manner 
towards her daughter-in-law, and now treated her with a gra- 
cious amiability which presented no flaw in its varnish, yet she 
was not the less indignant to see the root Gertrude had taken 
in her own house, and the ascendancy she was acquiring over 
her husband. She felt that unless she made an immediate 
struggle, she and her daughter Sophia would be reduced to 
secondary personages, a thing not to be contemplated. 

She contrived to be alone with her son, and began to praise 
Gertrude. She declared that she loved her as a daughter, and 
expanded upon the happiness of being all united in one family. 
She then gently, but distinctly, imputed to Gertrude a dangerous 
ignorance of domestic affairs, and hinted at the waste and use- 
less extravagance which went on in the house. 

All men are sensitively alive to the expenses of housekeeping, 
and have wonderful theories of economy, by which money is to 
be saved, without perceptibly curtailing any of the comforts or 
luxuries which are only to be had for money; they are always 
ready to believe that with : ' good management " a house may be 
kept in luxury on " next to nothing." Accordingly, when his 
mother discoursed on the wonders of economy, Augustus lent a 
willing ear. 

People generally keep their virtues at the expense of their 
neighbours, and Augustus, who did not know how to deny him- 
self anything, was penetrated at the idea of Gertrude's extrava- 
gance, and said that he "had always thought she spent more 
money than there was any occasion for." 

Mrs. Donnelly pursued her advantage. She affected to desire 


for herself "nothing but an easy chair by the chimn ey-covner, 
and to be allowed to nurse herself in peace." She spoke plain- 
tively of her infirmities, and said that when she gave up her 
own house, it was to be relieved from domestic anxieties, and re- 
leased from all household cares. 

Mr. Augustus was fully awakened to the inestimable advan- 
tage of having a woman like his mother at the head of affairs, 
and the more she seemed disposed to decline, the more urgent 
he was that she should accept the post. 

" But, my dear son," said she, at length, as if yielding to his 
importunity, " your wife will feel hurt, and I confess I should 
not wish her to dislike me. I only wish to live quietly, and to 
have the love of my children. The Donnellys were always a 
united family." 

" I will settle it all with Gertrude," said Mr. Augustus, 
majestically. " She will not make any objections when I tell 
her that it is my wish she should resig-n the housekeeping to 
you ; as, indeed, it is only proper, seeing that you arc the head 
of the house." 

Mr. Augustus went immediately to find his wife, and told 
her what he had resolved upon, in that indescribable tone of 
precipitate authority which husbands often assume to carry a 
point upon which discussion might bring defeat. 

" Bat " began Gertrude, when she understood the pro- 

l: Now, my dear Gertrude," interrupted he, " do not be foolish. 
I am sure you do not care a straw for ordering the dinner 
and keeping the keys, which, by the way, you are always 

" I only mislaid them once," said Gertrude. 

" No matter, it will be much better for all of us that my 


mother should have the ordering of everything ; she is used to 
it, and will do it much better than you." 

" Then have I made you uncomfortable, and managed badly ?" 
said poor Gertrude, tearfully. 

" Oh no, I don't say that ; only you have spent a great deal 
of money, and my mother can make it all right." 

There was nothing for Gertrude but submission, and from 
that day Mrs. Donnelly assumed "the power of the keys," and 
conducted herself in all respects as the supreme mistress of the 

Gertrude submitted. Necessity teaches this wisdom to the 
most stubborn-hearted, only it takes more pressure to break the 
will of some than of others, but we may be assured that there 
is neither dignity nor discretion in standing a siege against 
what must be done sooner or later. 

There is all the difference in the world between the rational 
wisdom of accepting the duties imposed upon us by circum- 
stances and endeavouring to discharge them faithfully, and the 
being sullenly and stubbornly broken by the pressure of events, 
struggling blindly and stupidly like a wild beast in a net. In 
one case, real good is brought out of apparent evil ; in the 
other, it is only the beginning of sorrows, the yielding of a 
driven beast to torture and blows, of which he knows not the 

Gertrude submitted, as we have said, but she had not yet 
learned to look at her troubles as a lesson of which she had to 
learn the significance ; she saw no farther than her mother-in- 
law's tyranny and her husband's weakness. 

In the meanwhile Mrs. Donnelly carried things with a mag- 
nificent hand. To be sure, it may be remarked, in passing, that 
she was engaged in a constant warfare with servants ; not one 


could be induced to stay a month in the house ; but as she had 
augmented the household by another domestic, they were not 
often left altogether without one. Mr3. Donnelly, however, 
never failed to attribute these domestic broils to her superior 
surveillance, and her vigilant attention to the good of the 
family, which brought evils to light which otherwise might 
have slumbered undetected. 

The whole social system was also revised. Instead of the 
improvised parties and pleasant little suppers, Mrs. Donnelly, 
who had fished up some old acquaintances, as dreary and stately 
as herself, now gave solemn weekly receptions, in imitation of 
those in fashionable life. 

There was an air of mildewed pretension about these parties, 
which effectually took all life and enjoyment out of them ; — 
there were card-tables, conversation, and refreshments, which 
were rigidly " stylish," both in their material and in the manner 
of being served. Mrs. Donnelly was quite as particular that 
her jellies, and custards, and pastry, should be from a confec- 
tioner who had received the sanction of good society, as that 
her guests should, one and all, be irreproachable on the score 
of gentility. They were very Pharisees in the rigour with 
which they observed the tests of belonging to an exclusively 
select circle." They none of them cordially liked each other, 
because the height of their social, ambition was to be, or to be 
thought to be, intimate with people of a higher position in the 
world than themselves ; it stood to reason that they could not 
sit down and be comfortable amongst each other ; when Mrs. 
Donnelly was making excuses to herself for knowing Mrs. 
Mackintosh, because "Mrs. Mackintosh, although looking vulgar, 
was the daughter of the Honourable Mrs. Irving, and was often 
invited to spend Christmas with some of her high relations," 


Mrs. Irving made very similar excuses to herself for frequent- 
ing Mrs. Donnelly ; everybody who went to the house had some 
pretension, and made the most of it. 

Lord Southend was persuaded once or twice to look in upon 
these gatherings ; but the profuse urbanity of his reception by 
Mrs. Donnelly quite suffocated his good-nature ; in fact, he 
never would have gone there thrice if it had not been for the 
wicked amusement of seeing Miss Sophia's industrious attempt 
to catch him in her toils. 

This estimable young lady, although so keenly alive to the 
misery entailed on families by an unequal marriage, a misfortune 
which, as she had suffered from it herself, ought to have quick- 
ened her sensibilities, perhaps sought to make reprisals upon 
fate, or to efface the stain her family had received ; or, possibly, 
from purely and simply the desire to make a good match for 
herself; — at any rate, without troubling her head about the 
grief and despair it would cause Lord Southend's noble mother, 
Miss Sophia deliberately laid herself out to captivate that noble- 
man, and spared no charm or seduction within her power to in- 
duce him to lay his heart and his title at her feet. She came up 
to London penetrated with this design, and, to do her justice, 
she did not shrink from prosecuting it to the best of her 

Perseverance will work wonders; but Lord' Southend had a 
mother on one side and a mistress on the other, who, from 
different motives, watched very jealously the female society he 
frequented. Miss Sophia did not know this, and worked her 
spider's webs with unflagging energy. 

The young men who had been in the habit of calling without 
any ceremony, and making little parties of pleasure, in which 
Gertrude was always included, found themselves disturbed from 


the pleasant footing they had enjoyed. Certain days in the 
week no visitors at all were admitted, and when they were re- 
ceived they found it almost as formidable to face Mrs. Donnelly, 
sitting in state for the receipt of calls, as to be presented at a 
levee, to say nothing of not ever being able to have a word 
with Gertrude, who, silent and overshadowed in what used to 
be the pleasant parlour of old, but which was now transformed 
into a state drawing-room, seemed reduced to a cypher, and to 
have lost all the unaffected gaiety of heart which had made her 
such a pleasant companion. The terrible Miss Sophia, with 
her etiquette graces and stiffened affability, was always in the 
foreground, and ready to intercept all the attention destined to 

To make amends, they were invited to dinner-parties, all 
conducted according to the rubric of the established order of 
those things. The expensive display ot these dinners was ex- 
piated and ransomed by Mrs. Donnelly's economies on the com- 
forts of the family for many days after. 

Anybody who takes the trouble to give dinners may find 
plenty of guests to come and eat them ; however much the 
young men might have preferred the old order of things, still 
they were not the less willing to come to these dinner-parties 
when they were invited. Augustus liked the novel importance 
of sitting at the head of his own table, and seeing the regu- 
larity with which the courses succeeded each other, and the 
precise propriety with which each dish stood in its rig-ht posi- 
tion. He felt proud at being the head of the Donnelly family, 
and as he instinctively dined out for a week after these " family 
dinners," he, by that means, avoided the reaction of his mother's 
hospitality. He knew by instinct how long the recoil would 


Tickets for the theatre, for concerts, and other amusements 
were still occasionally brought in ; but Mrs. Donnelly cleverly 
contrived that Sophia should be the one to profit by them. 

" The dear girl has been so closely confined to the house by 
her attendance upon me during my illness, that I am anxious 
she should have some little recreation ; indeed, it is absolutely 
needful for her health. I am sure Gertrude will not refuse to 
stay at home with me ; my book or a cheerful companion are 
the only amusements I desire." 

As Gertrude made no complaint, Augustus was easily per- 
suaded to acquiesce in the arrangement ; but he soon found that 
his sister was not half so agreeable as his wife. She was 
always fancying that her place was not so good as it ought to 
have been, — that people of higher quality were sitting some- 
where else ; and she tormented the rest of the party with ques- 
tions about their " select acquaintance," or plagued them to 
introduce their friends when those friends chanced to be 
" distinguished looking." 

They soon grew tired of this substitution, and when it was 
found that Gertrude made her " health " a reason for refusing 
to go into public, they left off bringing tickets, and Augustus 
took to his old bachelor habits, except there was company at 
home, when his mother made a great point of his appearing. 

Old Lady Southend called to see Gertrude soon after Mrs. 
Donnelly and Miss Sophia had installed themselves. Of course 
they were presented to her, and spared no pains to propitiate 
such an august presence. Lady Southend did not like them at 
all; and when Mrs. Donnelly entered into some genealogical 
statistics to prove that they had mutually ancestors in common, 
Lady Southend replied with lofty impertinence, which Mrs. 
Donnelly took with the meekness of an angel. 


Some time elapsed, and an invitation arrived for Gertrude 
and Augustus to another assembly at Southend House, but none 
came for the two ladies. 

" There must be some mistake," said Miss Sophia. — " Lady 
Southend is too polite and too much in the habits of good society 
to have intended such an omission," said Mrs. Donnelly. — " The 
footman may have dropped the cards on his way." — " They may 
have been left elsewhere by mistake." — There was no end to the 
excited and anxious surmises that were hazarded by Mrs. Don- 
nelly and her daughter. 

Augustus was appealed to. He ventured to ask Lord South- 
end if there were any mistake, who shook his head, and said, 
" My mother only invites those she chooses." 

It was an established and premeditated fact, on which no 
shadow of doubt remained. Lady Southend had said to her 
son : " I have invited your friend Donnelly and his pretty wife, 
but I shall have nothing to do with his mother or sister. They 
are of the style of women who are vulgar, hard, pretentious, 
and mean, — and not even amusing." 

" She is insupportable, certainly, with her genealogical tree, 
and I am sure I don't want either of them here. I am glad you 
have asked Gertrude ; she is a good little creature, and I am 
sure those women torment her." 

The end of the matter was, that Gertrude was obliged, for 
the sake of peace, to write a refusal, alleging her" health as the 
excuse. Augustus went alone. This incident, trifling as it may 
seem, rendered Gertrude's position still more unpleasant : both 
the ladies vented upon her the disappointment of their chief 
object and ambition, and chose to consider her in some way or 
other as the cause of it. 



Gertrude's excuse about her health was not altogether 
imaginary. She was expecting soon to be confined, and she 
was suffering both in health and spirits from her situation. 

In the hopes, however, which the prospect of such an event 
awoke in her heart, she found consolation for her annoyances, 
and was, indeed, able to feel very indifferent to many things 
that would have seemed insupportable. 

Like many other- women, she fancied that she should not 
survive her trial. The thought of her mother lay heavy on her 
mind; the desire to see her once more awoke with a vain 
feverish earnestness which aggravated her bodily indisposition. 
She felt real remorse for her undutifulness, and she would have 
made any sacrifice to be able to fall on her mother's neck and 
ask her forgiveness. This was denied her ; but she wrote again 
through Mrs. Slocum, telling her mother all that was in her 
heart. This time there was no vain boasting of her position in 
the world, nor even any complaints of Mrs. Donnelly ; the letter 
was filled with earnest yearnings to see her mother again, and 
to be forgiven. She entreated her to write a single line. 

This line of forgiveness did not come, though Gertrude 
watched for it with sickening heart day after day, till hope died 
away, and a vague fear that something dreadful must have 


happened took its place. She fancied that her mother was 
dead, and her only comfort was the hope that she was soon to 
die too. 

Things were not so bad as Gertrude feared. It had happened 
that when Gertrude's letter arrived, old Mr. Slocum was dan- 
gerously ill, and in the anxiety of attending to him and the 
fatigue of nursing him, Gertrude's letter was laid aside to be 
read when there was more leisure. It naturally got mislaid 
and Mrs. Slocum forgot all about it, until six months afterwards, 
when she chanced to open a drawer full of old remnants of silk, 
old papers, broken trinkets, and scraps of all kinds, such as old 
housekeepers accumulate — this letter of Gertrude's, with its seal 
unbroken, met her eyes. 

Mrs. Slocum's distress and self-reproach were extreme ; but 
she put on her bonnet and went that very afternoon to her old 
friend, and they read the letter together. The old lady told her 
daughters, on her return, that it "was the most moving thino- 
she ever read, as good as a sermon, and quite a parable to 
children to teach them what comes of grieving their parents." 

It would have been a great comfort to Gertrude could she 
have known all the happiness her letter gave her mother, when 
at length she received it. She had long forgiven her daughter, 
and fretted after her every day that came ; but this letter quite 
obliterated the recollecton of her fault, and Gertrude seemed to 
her the very best and kindest child that ever lived. She would 
have resented it as an injury if any one had told her that her 
daughter had been undutiful. 

It makes one very sad to think how little a mother's heart 
will rejoice upon. 

In the meanwhile, Gertrude was confined of a very fine little 
girl, which in due time was christened Clarissa, that being a 


family name amongst the Donnellys. Gertrude wished to have 
had it named after herself and her mother, but she was 

Mrs. Donnelly gave a very splendid party at the christening. 
Lord Southend and old Lady Elrington were two of the 
sponsors ; Miss Sophia volunteered to be the other. 

Augustus was of course very proud and very pleased with the 
event; and he bought his wife a magnificent lace veil and a 
beautiful new dress. 

Mrs. Donnelly was as benign as she could be, and hoped " the 
babe would be a credit to the family. 

As for Gertrude, she clasped the child to her breast, and 
shuddered when she thought that perhaps one day it might 
behave to her as she had behaved to her own mother. For the 
first time, she realised to herself what it was that she had done, 
and it seemed to her that the punishment of Heaven on dis- 
obedient children must find her out and overtake her. 

When they returned from the church after the christening, 
she hastened to the nursery, and kneeling by the child's cradle, 
she prayed with frantic earnestness that it might never live to 
behave to her as she had behaved to her own parents. 



During the next twelve months a great change came over 
Gertrude. She had now for the first time in her life a higher 
object of interest than her immediate self — her child engrossed 
all her time and thoughts ; and provided she might be left 
undisturbed in the nursery, Mrs. Donnelly might have the 
absolute government of the rest of the house, and Miss Sophia 
might engross all the visiting, the theatre-going, and the atten- 
tions of all the young men who came about the house. She 
abstracted herself more than ever from the concerns of the 
family, and allowed them to take in peace the course that seemed 
best to the Fates and her mother-in-law. 

It was not, however, without a severe struggle that Gertrude 
obtained the management of her own child. At first Mrs. 
Donnelly wished to be as oracular in the nursery as she already 
was in the " parlour, kitchen, and hall." She declared that 
" the innocent babe would be sacrificed to the obstinacy and 
presumption of its mother." She insisted upon dictating the 
number of times it ought to be fed during the day, and was 
learned in her dissertations on the invaluable properties of stale 
bread crusts made into " pobbis," which, in the E.leusinian mys- 
teries of the nursery, means infant's food. Gertrude did not 
know much about babies, it is true ; but party from the good 


fortune of having a sensible man for her doctor, and partly 
from the marvellous instinct that comes to mothers, and -which 
generally inspired her to reject all Mrs. Donnelly's preparations, 
the poor baby escaped wonderfully well. 

Gertrude watched like a lynx, that no one except herself 
should administer either food or medicine. Mrs. Donnelly did 
not care one straw whether the child was fed on bran or on 
arrowroot, but she was indignant at the presumption of her 
daughter-in-law in setting up her judgment against that "of 
the mother of a family," and she magnanimously resolved that 
she would not be put down, but persevere for the sake of the 
dear infant. 

One day, the baby had been restless ; the miseries of " teeth- 
ing" were beginning; Mrs. Donnelly watched her opportunity, 
and ascending to the nursery took possession of the child, and 
proceeded to administer a dose of Lady Killaloe's " teething 
powder," which her ladyship always used in her own family, 
and with such signal effect, that out of the thirteen little 
Killaloes who had been born into that noble family, only three 
survived ; which was a good thing both for those who died and 
those who lived, for there would have been but a scanty pro- 
vision for all. Gertrude, alarmed by the poor baby's screams 
for assistance, luckily returned just as the Killaloe elixir was 
being poured down its throat at the risk of choking it. She 
snatched it up so abruptly that the cup and its contents were 
upset over Mrs. Donnelly's gown, and sitting down in the rock- 
ing-chair which that lady had vacated in disdainful surprise, 
she proceeded to soothe and caress the poor little thing, without 
taking the smallest notice of her. 

" Eeally, Gertrude," said Mrs. Donnelly, in a tone of reproach- 
ful dignity, " your rudeness and abruptness are extraordinary — 


did you suppose I was poisoning the baby that you snatched it 
up in that offensive manner ? " 

" I don't know, ma'am, at all," replied Gertrude, without 
looking up from her baby, " but the doctor desired it might 
have no medicine but what he ordered." 

" I presume I have the welfare of the child as much at heart 
as you can have, but you are too ignorant and prejudiced to be 
reasoned with — the child is suffering, and I was about to ad- 
minister the medicine invented by a noble and accomplished 
matron for the use of her own family ; but after the studied in- 
solence I have met with from you, I shall neither advise you 
nor enter this room again — my conscience tells me that I have 
done enough — too much indeed for my own dignity." 

With this, Mrs. Donnelly having metaphorically shaken the 
dust from her feet, swept out of the nursery with an air of 
majestic indignation. She attempted a complaint to her son, 
whom she allowed to surprise her in tears, but he declared he 
had enough upon his mind without being plagued with women's 

Gertrude was left mistress of the nursery, which she now 
rarely quitted, as Augustus was rarely at home. He had gra- 
dually resumed all his bachelor habits, and when he was at 
home he had become so moody and uncertain in his temper that 
everybody felt it a relief when he was away. Gertrude was so 
engrossed with her baby that she paid little attention to her 
husband's humour, and was in no degree disturbed by many 
" signs of the times," which were appearing in the domestic 
horizon. If people will walk about with their eyes shut — they 
are, sooner or later, awoke by a pretty smart shock. 



The affairs of Mr. Augustus were by this time coming 
rapidly to a crisis. In novels and tales, people who are roll- 
ing in wealth get "ruined" in the stroke of a pen; those who 
rise millionaires in a morning find themselves beggars at night, 
without any previous suspicion of their danger. But in real 
life, ruin follows the natural laws of gravitation, and people do 
not touch the bottom of the hill without some scrambling efforts 
to save themselves. The " road to ruin," like other roads, takes 
time to traverse ; some persons take longer than others in ac- 
complishing the journey after setting their faces thitherward — ■ 
but time is a necessary element, even if they stride through 
their resources in seven-leagued boots. 

Mr. Augustus Donnelly had now been near upon two years in 
London. He had for nearly the whole time been in possession 
of a Government situation, and in the receipt of six hundred 
pounds a year, besides perquisites, which were worth another 
fifty pounds. It would have been difficult to persuade him that 
he had actually received so much, for he suffered under a chronic 
want of money, and never knew what it was to be free from 
pecuniary embarrassment. He had drawn the first instalment 
of his salary before it became due, and hence he was constantly 
a-head of his resources. He had stopped the gaps as they 


arose, by borrowing of his friends ; but as, to use bis own words, 
" he always liked to have a little ready money in his pocket," 
and as the debts he owed were out of sight, they were also out 
of mind — and his salary had been all frittered away without 
anything to show for it. 

He still retained, however, a vague idea, that with such an 
income " he had no need to stint himself for a few pounds, espe- 
cially as his money was quite sure." The old lady, who (excel- 
lent manager that she was !) never paid a debt until she was 
actually compelled, had refrained from paying her quota of the 
household expenses until Augustus should be at leisure to ex- 
amine into his affairs. 

It is wonderful how long things will go on when they ara 
once set going ; it is equally wonderful the little thing that 
breaks them up at last, when they are in a fine-spun state of 
decay, and have held together, and kept their shape, long after 
they ought to have gone to pieces, according to logic. Human 
affairs don't go according to logic, however ; but they are bound 
by laws equally inexorable, one of which is, that though long 
credit is given, yet pay-day comes at last. In this world there 
is no obtaining anything gratuitously. The second Christmas 
of his sojourn in town had come round, and bills were pouring 
in on all sides ; they were most of them " to accounts rendered ;" 
it was indeed quite wonderful and appalling to see the small 
progress Mr. Augustus Donnelly had made towards "paying 
his way" — the bills were of that most provoking and unsatis- 
factory kind, for things eaten, drank, and forgotten, so that 
there remained nothing to show for the money. 

The exemplary Augustus was threateued with an arrest. 
The house being Lord Southend's, and the furniture his mother's, 
there could be no execution. 


Meanwhile the household wheels had grown stiffer and stiffer, 
and were come to a stand still. 

The old lady had her pension as the widow of an Admiral — 
also the rent of her house in Springfield. Her late husband's 
brother, the baronet of the family, had allowed her an annuity 
of fifty pounds a-year, but with the fatality which attends strokes 
of fortune, he chose this present crisis to discontinue it, on the 
plea that he had other relations who needed assistance, and as 
Augustus was now in the receipt of a settled income he had it 
in his power to increase her income. 

The letter containing this intelligence arrived at breakfast 
time on the second Christmas-day of his residence in town. It 
was accompanied by a fresh influx of tailors' bills ; a bill for 
some articles Gertrude had ordered for the baby; and other 
bills of trifling amount, that had been called "just nothing" at 
the time they were ordered, and which, if they had been paid 
for at the time, would not have been much, but which now, fall- 
ing along with the accumulated weight of other demands, be- 
came the last straw to the breaking back of the camel. 

Mrs. Donnelly's plausibility failed to conciliate the pheno- 
menon of her good management with these long-standing bills. 
She looked dismally at the heap of papers, and began to cry 
into her tea-cup. 

Mr. Augustus swore emphatically that it was all up with him, 
and that he did not know where to turn for a ten-pound note. 
He called himself a fool for declining Lord Southend's invita- 
tion to go with him to Paris. Miss Sophia bitterly censured 
Gertrude's extravagant mode of dressing the baby — " trimming 
its cap with lace fit for a Crown Prince." 

Gertrude replied that it was lace she had by her ; but Miss 
Sophia sharply entreated that she would not begin a dispute : 


and Augustus wondered how such a little mite of a child could 
run away with so much money for clothes, taking up, as he 
spoke, the one bill which Gertrude had incurred. All parties 
seemed resolved to make her the scape-goat for all the blame. 
Gertrude did not attempt to defend herself, but took advantage 
of the first pause to steal away into the nursery. 

As the door closed behind her, Mrs. Donnelly indulged in 
some severe remarks upon her indifference to the welfare of the 
family, and her selfish engrossment in her own affairs. Mr. 
Augustus being in a very bad temper, felt a species of com- 
placency when his mother declared that an ignorant, thought- 
less wife had brought ruin upon many princely fortunes. " Tou 
see now, my son, that I was right when I wished you to marry 
well. I have hever reproached you for your mistake ; but you 
feel now that your wife cannot support you with either money 
or connexions, and is only a mill-stone round your neck in the 
day of trouble." 

Mr. Augustus did not contradict his mother ; he felt rather 
soothed by hearing the blame of his embarrassed affairs laid 
upon another. Perhaps he really believed that Gertrude was 
the cause of them. 

" Well, mother, it is too late going over that now — only don't 
cry ; I can't bear to see you cry. Things will right themselves 
somehow. I am not the only gentleman in the Metropolis who 
has not made both ends meet in the course of the year. I dare 
say there are scores of people who owe more than we do." 

" Well, my dear," said Mrs. Donnelly, wiping her eyes, and 
resuming her ordinary dignity and superioritj-, " it is weak to 
go into the past ; though when I think of what we have been 
accustomed to, and the prospect we might hope for if you had 
married as became your family, I confess I feel chafed. But the 


thing is now, to consider how we are to meet the most pressing 
of these demands, and keep our embarrassment from the ears of 
the world. If you can suggest anything, I shall feel no sacri- 
fice on my part too great for the credit of my family. My own 
wants are moderate — I could be content with a crust ; and now 
that I have lost part of my income, I should be sorry to become 
a burden to you." 

"Don't talk in that way, mother," said Mr. Augustus, 
pathetically ; " so long as I have a shilling, you and Sophia 
shall have sixpence of it. I know how you have slaved your- 
self to keep things decent since you came here ; and Gertrude 
knows what she owes you for taking her by the hand and 
receiving her as you did." 

" I am sure she shows very little sense of it," interposed Miss 
Sophia, spitefully. 

" Hush, my dear. You are so full of feeling that you allow 
yourself to be carried away. I only did my duty as a gentle- 
woman and a Christian." 

" But Gertrude has no feeling, except for herself," reiterated 
Miss Sophia. 

" I don't think she has much," acquiesced Augustus ; " she is 
always in such good spirits." 

" She piques herself upon her civility and good temper — the 
two qualities by which people of her rank gain their bread," 
said Miss Sophia, scornfully. " Nothing but activity and civility 
would be tolerated in the people of an inn." 

Augustus winced a little at this, but said nothing. He leaned 
back in his chair, and began to pare his nails. 

After a little more abuse of Gertrude and a little more mutual 
flattery, they began to feel their spirits revive under the blow 
they had sustained. Miss Sophia got out her " tatting," and 


Mrs. Donnelly rang to have the breakfast things cleared away. 
Mr. Augustus yawned, and looked out of the window ; he did 
not think it prudent to venture forth, for he more than suspected 
there was a writ out against him. Mrs. Donnelly was busily 
engaged writing and making calculations. For some time no 
one spoke. 

" Tou have a quarter's salary to draw, Augustus," said his 
mother, looking up. 

" Well, ma'am, what of that ? — it is'every farthing forestalled. 
I owe Barrow, and dive, and Sir John Cornwall more than the 
total will cover ; and I can tell you that I am not going to pay 
a parcel of rascally, greedy tradesmen, whilst I owe money to 
their betters." 

" Certainly not," said Miss Sophia. 

"Well, they are all persons from whom you can hope to 
borrow again," said his mother ; " and it would be very short- 
sighted policy to cut yourself out of good society. I think I 
have hit upon a plan, however, that will help us out of our 

" Pray let us hear it," said Augustus, sitting down before the 
fire, and putting- a foot on each side of the grate, whilst he 
balanced his chair backwai'ds. 

" My idea is this," said Mrs. Donnelly : " our dear friend, 
Lord Southend, has been so generous, that it would be encroach- 
ing to ask him for further assistance ; and besides, it goes 
against the spirit of the Donnellys to ask a favour. The 
furniture of this house, which belongs to me, is not modern, 
certainly ; but it is such as befits an old family like ours. It is 
good and substantial," continued she, looking round with com- 
placency at the chairs that stood against the wall. Lord 
Southend would not refuse to lend you a few hundred pounds 


on this secm-ity; or we might make it over to him entirely, and 
pay a small per centage for the use of it, reserving to ourselves, 
of course, the right to redeem it. Some of the plate might be 
deposited at his bankers', as an additional security, if he 
required it ; though I confess it would chafe my spirit to see 
our family plate in the hands of others." 

" Well, that is not a bad notion," said Mr. Augustus ; " only 
Lord Southend is not here." 

" But Lady Southend is in town ; and if you were to send 
Gertrude to her with a letter that I will write myself, she 
would scarcely refuse to advance the few hundreds we require." 

Miss Sophia passionately objected to a course which would 
degrade them before the Southends, and prevent Lord Southend 
from looking on them as equals. 

" If you expect Lord Southend will ever make you an offer, 
Sophy, the sooner you put the idea out of your head the better. 
He has his hands, and his heart too, quite full, I can tell you ; 
and I have often thought you put yourself a great deal too 
forward to him." 

Miss Sophia began vehemently to exculpate herself. When 
she paused, Augustus continued as if she had not spoken. " So 
you see, Sophy, it would be a pity to miss the good he may 
really do us for the sake of a fancied advantage — it would be 
the fable of the dog and the shadow." 

Miss Sophia declared herself "scandalously insulted." 

" Come, come, Sophy, dry up your tears ; we are in trouble 
enough, without making more of it. I don't say but what 
Southend might go further and fare worse ; but it is not 
Gertrude's calling on the old lady about our difficulties that will 
make any difference one way or other." 

Miss Sophy suffered herself to be mollified. Mrs, Donnelly 


exerted all her powers of diction to compose a letter becoming 
the occasion. The old lady was very proud of her rhetoric, and 
in the excitement of inditing her epistle, she quite forgot the 
reality of her difficulties. 

After a long exordium about the " combination of disastrous 
fatalities " which had overtaken them, the loss of a portion of 
her income, and the struggle of her pride, which she laid aside 
for the sake of those depending upon her, — and an allusion to 
" the young mother and infant child," which she intended to be 
very pathetic, — she concluded as follows : — 

" It is not a gift which I entreat, nor even a loan. Overtaken 
by misfortune, I still retain the furniture which in happier times 
garnished our ancestral hall, and some articles of massive silver 
which have been handed down with our family traditions ; and 
it is upon the security of these that I venture to entreat your 
ladyship to permit your steward to advance us a few hundred 
pounds, according to the value of the property, until I am 
enabled to redeem all but my eternal gratitude, which I shall 
transfer as a precious and sacred debt to my descendants. 

" Madam, 
"A grey-headed and anxious-hearted mother, 
"I subscribe myself, 
"Tour ladyship's humble servant, 

"Honoria Marcia Sophia Donnelly." 

( " By birth a Kavaneagh.") 

" Well, mother, if that does not touch up the old lady, nothing 
will. I call that fine writing. It is yourself who is a pride to 
the family of the Donnelly s." 

" And what does my Sophia say to her mother ? " 

" 1 can only say, ma'am, that it is a letter which a captive 


princess might hare written, and that you deserve to be allowed 
to quarter a pelican upon your arms." 

" You are too flattering-, dear children, and I fear you are only 
laughing at your poor old mother. But, however, if it only 
answers its purpose, I shall rejoice to have written the letter, — 
but I can tell you that I have the spirit of a chained lioness, 
and it goes against a Donnelly to ask a favour." 

Mrs. Donnelly then went over every line of her letter, 
stroking under the words that were most emphatic, beautifying 
the penmanship, and bringing out every letter with distinctness, 
and pointing every sentence according to the strictest rule of 

This done, she folded it, and sealed it with an armorial seal 
large enough to have been affixed to Magna Charta, and then 
superscribed it with her ladyship's style and titles at full 

" And now, where is Gertrude ? Let her put on her bonnet, 
and take this letter ; the sooner it is delivered the better." » 

" I will go and fetch a coach for her," said Augustus. 

" "What nonsense, my dear son, are you thinking of ? Ger- 
trude must walk, even if we had money to spend in coach-hire ; 
it would spoil all the effect of the letter if she arrived in 
a coach." 

"But it is a good distance to Southend House, and the 
weather is cold. I think there will be snow before long." 

" So much the more needful she should start at once. Perhaps 
you had better tell her what she is to do." 

" Poor Ger. ! I would walk with her if I were not afraid to 
be seen." 

Scarcely informed of the nature of her errand, Gertrude was 
harried away on her mission to Lady Southend, 



Toe some time after Gertrude's departure, Augustus stood at 
the window to watch the sky, and to wonder whether Gertrude 
would reach Lady Southend's before the snow came, for, to do 
him justice, he felt that he would not have liked to turn out 
himself on such an errand on such a day. Mrs. Donnelly lin- 
gered over the copy of her letter, reading it again, and wonder- 
ing what effect upon Lady Southend certain of the favourite 
ancWmost florid passages would have. 

" I hope," said she, " Gertrude will not mar all by her stu- 
pidity. She has no tact ; she will allow herself to go into 
details, and although there is nothing disgraceful in elegant 
thrift and economy, yet one would not desire Lady Southend to 
be cognisant of our domestic management. Herself the wife 
and mother of peers of the realm, what should she know of the 
difficulties of appearances, which nothing but an heroic sense 
of social duty has nerved me to maintain." 

<: Lady Southend is a great gossip," said Miss Sophia, " she 
talks to Gertrude as though she were an equal ; and Gertrude 
has no sense of the delicacy due to our feelings, she will allow 
herself to be led away by an appearance of sympathy, and 
Lord Southend will look upon us as no better than other people 


who ask him for money. Beautiful as is your letter, ma'am, I 
regret the step we have taken." 

" Ah, my dear child, you are so sensitive. You ought to have 
been born in the old days of the Donaellys. Money is all in all 
with the world now. But I still hope to see the day when the 
fortunes of the family will be restored, and when we may go 
back to the old house and live amongst our own people. You 
are fitted for any position, and I still expect to see you with 
your coronet : you have the carriage and the presence of a 
peeress, even in that morning dress. Let the consciousness ol 
your own merits sustain you ; it ill becomes a Donnelly to lose 
heart — rich or poor, it makes no difference to them." 

" I am sure, ma'am, it is pleasant to hear you talk ; you 
would inspire hope into any one. As you remark so justly, a 
consciousness of what we are ought to support us under our 
present difficulties. I shall wear my black velvet at Mrs. 
Carnegie's to-day. I dare say there will be that Colonel 
Donaldson from India — he and I had quite a flirtation at Mrs. 
Ap Price's ; he is a dear, delightful old man, and with such a 
fund of sarcastic humour ! " 

" Yes, I am sure he was struck with my Sophia," said Mrs. 

Miss Sophia took out her work-box, and began to make 
some bugle trimming with which to adorn her charms later in 
the day. Mrs. Donnelly continued her inspection of papers. 
Mr. Augustus yawned, stretched himself, and went through all 
the evolutions of a man who is tired to death with doing no- 
thing. Of all the things detrimental to domestic comfort, it is 
when the master stays at home at unlawful hours without any 
particular reason ; stopping out late at night is nothing to it 
for disorganising a household. 


" How cursedly cold it is ! " said he at last, seizing the poker 
and making a smash at the fire, which covered the hearth with 
cinders and raised a cloud of ashes. 

" My dear Augustus," said Mrs. Donnelly in dismay, " you 
have no respect for the price of coals; that fire, if left un- 
touched, would have lasted until afternoon." 

" Hang it, ma'am, what is the good of having a fire at all if 
we are not to see a cheerful blaze. I hate the economy that 
upsets all one's comfort ; if we are to be ruined, a scuttle-full 
of coals will make little odds one way or other in the 

Mr. Augustus rang the bell. It was answered by an untidy- 
looking youth, who in the canonical hours of visiting bloomed 
out into a chocolate-coloured coat and light blue plush breeches, 
with an ample complement of buttons, all adorned with the 
Donnelly " Wild Cat," but who during the antecedent period 
wore an old shooting-coat that had once belonged to Mr. 
Augustus, with face and hands that testified either to his own 
abstinence, or to Mrs. Donnelly's economy in soap and water. 

" Here, John, fetch a scuttle-full of coals, and, do you hear, 
let them be large lumps — not dust, like so much sand ; and 
whilst you are about it, bring a few sticks to make a blaze." 

The servant looked at Mrs. Donnelly, but did not offer to 

" What are you looking at ? Why don't you stir those lazy 
legs of yours ? " 

" If missis will give me the key. I can't get coals without." 

Mrs. Donnelly quelled her annoyance by a great effort, and 
handed a large rusty key, saying — 

" You will get the coals your master desires, and be sure you 
fasten the door securely afterwards ; a lady in the next street 


was robbed of all her winter stock through the carelessness of 
the servant." 

The youth took the key with a malicious twinkle of satisfac- 
tion in his eye, and departed. Mrs. Donnelly sat silent, but 
evidently ill at ease ; at length she said — 

" The lock of the coal-house door is peculiar, and I fear John 
will either break it or leave it unlocked; besides, I like to 
superintend the giving out of all household stores myself — it is 
one of my principles." 

Saying this, she put on her calash, and wrapping her old 
black shawl about her, she descended into the lower regions to 
see that John did not abuse his power of the key to carry any 
of the round coals to comfort the kitchen, where, as there was 
no dinner to cook they were " entirely unnecessary." John 
carried up the coals, Mrs. Donnelly repossessed herself of her 
key, and returned to the parlour just in time to see Mr. 
Augustus building up what he called "a regular Christmas 

" But, my dear Augustus, economy is needful to us just now, 
— that fire might have done for the baronial hall in the days of 
the prosperity of our family, but, now that we are compelled to 
consider these things, the quantity you are now consuming 
would have lasted us three days, with management." 

" Hang management," said Mr. Augustus, with impatience ; 
"I can but go to prison, and I would rather go for having 
been comfortable than miserable. There ! I call that an elegant 

Mrs. Donnelly was really suffering, and the effort to control 
her temper was almost heroic ; — she only said, in a suppressed 
voice, — 

" You had better ring for John to sweep up the hearth — a 



blazing fire that would roast an ox does not compensate for an 
untidy hearth ;- — we may have visitors." 

" What a long time it takes Ger. to go and come back ! 
When shall we have dinner to-day ? " 

" My dear Augustus, your sister and I dine at the Honour- 
able Mrs. Carnegie's, and I confess that I did not calculate upon 
your being at home, — it is so seldom you dine with your 

Mr. Augustus whistled, and with the tongs improved the 
architecture of his fire ; at last, by an accidental kick, he upset 
the fender (which lacked a foot) and all the fireirons fell down 
with a crash. 

" My dear Augustus, do have mercy upon my poor head — the 
heat and this noise together quite overcome me. I must leave 
the room." 

" Oh dear, Augustus," said Miss Sophia, "you have filled the 
room with smoke and dust — my trimmings are ruined; how 
can you have so little consideration r " 

" Confound the fender ! who was to know that it was so 
crazy ? Why don't you have it mended ?" 

He picked up the fireirons with a sulky air of injured inno- 
ccthv, and besfan to walk the room with his hands in his 

" What horrid work it is stopping in the house in this way, 
— it would make a fellow hang himself in a week. I wish 
somebody would come." 

Almost at his wish there was heard a blustering knock, 
accompanied with a furious ring at the bell. Augustus went to 
the window — a handsome drag with a spirited horse stood at 
the door. A high-coloured young man, with fair hair and a 
rough coat, came hastily into the room, bringing with him a 


stream of cold air. He bowed hastily to Miss Sophia without 
looking at her, and said to Augustus, — 

" I have not one moment to lose ; my mare will not stand 

I want you to come along with me to 's, where we are 

going to try Bob Clive's new terrier — he has taken heavy bets 
upon him. I will tell you about it as we go along. Get your 
hat — you will dine with us afterwards of course — but be quick. 
I will give you two minutes, and if you are not to time I must 
be off. No thank you, ma'am, I cannot sit down — that rascal 
does not know how to hold her head — I must go myself. I 
wish you good morning." 

He left the room as hastily as he had entered it, leaving Miss 
Sophia in a nutter that caused her to upset her bugles upon the 
floor, for that unmannerly young man was Sir John Cornwall 
and he was very rich and unmarried ; if report said true, he 
also drank hard, kept low sporting company, and was in no 
respect a reputable character, yet had the severely virtuous 
Miss Sophia felt an ardent desire to detain him at her work- 
table. Augustus put his head in at the door — his spirits quite 
renovated — and said, " Give my love to Ger. when she come.3 
back, and tell her there is no saying when I may be home, so 
she need not expect me," and then, casting care to the wind, he 
sprang into the drag after his friend, who gathered up the 
reins and the mare set off in a style that seemed likely to break 
their necks. 

Mrs. Donnelly did not return to the parlour until Augustus 
had left the house, and then her first act was to take off all 
the coals, and reduce the fire below the second bar, after 
which she proceeded up stairs to attire herself for the due re- 
ception of callers, and then she and Miss Sophia took their 
station in the drawing-room, A hackneys coach drove up to 


the door. Miss Sophia's ears caught the jingle of the 
vehicle — 

"Who can this be? Surely Gertrude has not committed the 
extravagance of taking a coach." 

She looked through the curtains and saw a middle-aged 
woman, in a black bonnet and a great profusion of cap-border 
and white satin ribbons round her face, sitting in the coach, 
and looking anxiously up at the house. On the top of the 
coach was a large hamper. 

" "What can that strange-looking woman be wanting here ? " 
said Miss Sophia. 

A parleying was heard below, and shortly afterwards the 
servant, now in his full-blown splendour of plush and buttons, 
opened the drawing-room door, looking perplexed. 

"If you please, ma'am, here is a decent body asking for 
Mrs. Augustus — am I to ask her in, or shall I tell her to come 
again. She is from the country, and seems all in a flutter, and 
quite put out at not finding her." 

" Good gracious ! I hope none of Gertrude's relatives ai'e 
come to find her out. What is she like ? " 

" Countrified, but quite respectable-looking — I somehow 
think she is Mrs. Augustus Donnelly's mother." 

" I will go and speak to her," said Mrs. Donnelly. 

" It is quite unnecessary," said Miss Sophia. " How extremely 
provoking that she should come just now, in the midst of our 
troubles ; a vulgar person like her cannot of course understand 
the difference between our embarrassments and those of com- 
mon people. Is she come up to stop, I wonder ? " 

" We must make the best of it, my dear. I will go and speak 
to her." 

Mrs. Donnelly proceeded to the hall, where poor Mrs. Morley 


had been left standing on the mat, beside her large hamper. 
Mrs. Donnelly prepared to address her with elaborate affability 
— bnt at that instant a thundering footman's rap at the door 
startled her out of her intention, and hastily desiring the ge- 
neral maid-servant to " show that person up stairs into the nur- 
sery," she had barely time to make good her own escape into 
the drawing-room, to be there discovered by the Dowager Lady 
Thomas Ap Price, in the apparent enjoyment of ease with 



Believing from her husband's manner, and from the few 
words that Mrs. Donnelly had condescended to drop, that some 
dreadful crisis had occurred in their affairs, Gertrude did not 
need much urging 1 to despatch; she was, moreover, anxious to 
get back to her nursery, which she sadly feared would be in- 
vaded by Mrs. Donnelly in her absence. 

The weather was very cold and thick, she did not know well 
the road, and she went out of her way more than once, but at 
length she stood before Southend House— frightened and out of 

At first the porter hesitated to admit her, but a footman pass- 
ing through the hall recognised her, and she was shown into a 
small room until she had been announced. She was at length 
ushered into her ladyship's dressing-room, where the old lady 
was sitting beside the fire cleaning her diamonds. She looked 
up as Gertrude entered — 

" "Well, child, and what brings you out this day ? To wish 
me a happy Christmas ? How is the baby ? and how are you ? 
You look perished — there, sit down in that large chair by the 

Gertrude — fatigued by her long walk, and frightened, though 
she could scarcely have defined of what — began to cry. 


The old lady looked keenly at her, and then dropping some 
lavender on a lump of sugar she made Gertrude take it, and 
■when she was a little composed she said — " Come now, wipe 
your eyes, I don't like crying people, and tell me what is the 
matter. Is the baby dead ? " 

" 0, no ! " said Gertrude, feeling relieved to think how much 
worse things might have been ; " the baby is quite w r ell — but I 
am sent with this letter to your ladyship. I fear something is 
very much amiss." 

" Hum," said the old lady, stretching out her hand ; " give it 
to me." 

She took it, and after examining the ostentatious coat of 
arms, proceeded to read the letter. When Gertrude saw how 
scornful she looked, she was more frightened than ever. 

" Pray do you know what this precious epistle is about ? " 
said she, sternly. 

" No, ma'am." 

" And you know nothing about it ? " 

" No, ma'am ; I believe there is some trouble at home, but 
Mrs. Donnelly never . tells me anything, and Augustus always 
goes by what his mother says. If there is any offence in that 
letter, I am sure it does not come from Augustus." 

" If there is any offence ! — it is just the most insolent, cringing, 
impertinent piece of presumption I ever heard of in all my life. 
To ask me to turn pawnbroker for Mrs. Donnelly ! " 

Gertrude did not reply, and the old lady gradually grew 

" Now," said she, " tell me all that- has happened — all you 
know of it at least. I feel sorry for you. You look simple and 
innocent, and as if you could tell the truth." 

Gertrude obeyed, and narrated the scene of the morning 


and thence, scarcely knowing how it happened, she went on to 
tell the old lady all her history, both before her marriage and 
since — always, however, screening her husband. She did not 
wish to complain of her mother-in-law, but naturally enough 
the account of her was not -very flattering. When she ceased, 
there was a pause of a few minutes, the old lady continuing to 
look at her with her keen black eyes. 

" Well," said she at length, " you have been a very foolish 
child ; but as you will have that brought home to you by expe- 
rience, you do not need to hear it said by me. You will have 
to sup sorrow by spoonfuls, and what you have suffered is only 
the beginning of plagues. Tou have paid dearly for wishing 
to get out of your station. Write again to your mother, and 
beg her to take you home for a while till these money matters 
have found their level. She will not refuse, I will answer for 
it, and that is the best advice I can give you. You are young 
and healthy, and ought to begin to think of working for your- 
self and your child. Let me hear what you can do to earn 

" I can do filagree work, and paint screens, and paint in japan 
and on velvet ; and I can play a little," said poor Gertrude, 

" Hum !" said the old lady; " and is that all the education 
they gave you to face the world with ? — did they teach you no- 
thing else ? " 

" Miss Le French taught us history and geography, and those 

" A pity she did not teach you the necessity of doing your 
duty above all things. But we must make the best of what 
you have. You can work tapestry, I suppose ? — Now I have 
begun a carpet, and if you choose to help me, I will pay you. 


If you wish to support yourself and child without being a tax 
on your mother-in-law's generosity, I will supply you with 
work. It may not be to-day or to-morrow you will choose to 
do this ; but the day will come, and then apply to me. Go 
back home, and tell Mrs. Donnelly that I do not choose to deal 
in second-hand goods, nor to purchase old silver, and that she 
had better apply to the pawnbroker. I desire you will repeat 
my message exactly. Remember that I am quite ready to help 
you when you desire to help yourself. Come to me or write to me 
without fear. I shall not forget you. And now you had better 
go home : you have been long enough away ; but I shall send 
you home in a coach. You are not clothed for a day like this." 

Gertrude would have declined, but Lady Southend was accus- 
tomed to be despotic. She bade Gertrude hold her tongue, and 
gave orders to fetch a coach : in the meantime, she made Ger- 
trude drink a glass of wine, and continued her own occupation 
" Ah, I dare say you think it would be a fine thing to go to 
court and wear diamonds, and many a silly girl marries and 
makes herself miserable for no better reason. If her husband 
died, the diamonds would go away from her the next minute — 
(these belong to my son) — and it is paying a heavy price for 
the hire of them. Nobody would care for wearing them if they 
went by the satisfaction they felt in it , but they think of the 
value other people attach to them, and so live iu a reflected 

The coach was announced. As Gertrude rose to take leave, 
Lady Southend put five guineas into her hand, saying, — 

" This is a Christmas-box for your little girl." 

Gertrude gratefully thanked the good-natured, whimsical old 
lady, and withdrew, very puzzled what those who had sent her 
would say to the result of her mission. 



The dowager had departed, and Mrs. Donnelly was answering 
a note that had been brought by Mrs. Cadogan's servant, when 
Gertrude's hackney coach came to the door. 

" Here is Gertrude at last ! " said Miss Sophia. " I am glad 
that hackney coach, with its two crocodile horses, did not drive 
up whilst Lady Ap Price's carriage was standing ; at this time 
of day Gertrude should hare had the delicacy to alight before 
she came to the door. I suppose Lady Southend has sent her 
home; she would scarcely be so extravagant as to take one for 

"Well, my dear Gertrude, and what said the Lady Southend?" 
said Mrs. Donnelly, blandly, looking up from her note as Ger- 
trude entered. Gertrude was surprised at the amiable tone and 
the general aspect of affairs, so different from the querulous, 
comfortless state of things she had left in the morning. 

" Tou look fatigued, my dear ; sit down before you give the 
account of your visit ; doubtless Lady Southend offered you 

Mrs. Donnelly herself could scarely have accounted for her 
good-humour, but the idea of being on the verge of deliverance 
from her economical troubles put her into a pleasant frame of 


mind, and she assumed a graceful attitude in which to receive 
the blessings of Providence. 

Gertrude, thankful to delay her message until the last mo- 
ment, sat down at the end of the sofa, and waited to be ques- 

" Well ? " said Mrs. Donnelly, interrogatively. 

"Lady Southend read the letter, ma'am, and said I was to 
tell you that she could not agree to your request." 

" Tell me exactly what she said," enjoined Mrs. Donnelly, 

" She seemed angry, and said that I was to tell you it did 
not suit her to deal in second-hand goods, nor to purchase old 
silver, and that you had better apply to a pawnbroker." 

If Gertrude had feared the result of this message she was not 
disappointed ; it was like sending a bombshell into a sitting- 
room in the midst of a family circle, or of dropping a spark 
into a barrel of gunpowder, or any other experiment of a start- 
ling and explosive nature. Mrs. Donnelly's eyes sparkled, and 
her lips turned white with rage. 

" It is well, it is very well ; and you sit there rejoicing in 
your cool malignity. You are delighted to bring home a mes- 
sage to your husband's mother which you think will humiliate 
her ; but you little know the character of the woman you have 
joined that heartless woman to insult ! " 

" To think that we should have exposed ourselves to her aris- 
tocratic insolence for nothing ! But it was always against my 
judgment. Of course she judged of us by our messenger, or she 
never could have sent such an ungentlewomanlike message," 
said Miss Sophia. 

" You have strangely failed in the duty and respect you owe 
to my position," resumed Mrs. Donnelly, with a catch of her 


breath, " in venturing to repeat such gratuitous impertinence ; 
but you, who despised yonr own parents, cannot be expected to 
show more consideration to me. Much as I may regret the 
events of this morning, which must for ever put an end to the 
acquaintance between ourselves and Lady Southend, both she 
and you are mistaken if you imagine that the refusal of a tem- 
porary loan will either abate the pride or quell the spirit of 
Honoria Donnelly. I feel myself superior to the paltry spite- 
fulness of Lady Southend." 

" I hope, ma'am, you will not be angry with me ; indeed I 
could not help it," said poor Gertrude, in a tone of deprecation. 

" To be angry with you would imply an equality, which can 
never exist," said Mrs. Donnelly, loftily; you can retire. I 
forgot to tell you that there is a person in the nursery — your- 
mother, I fancy — who is waiting to see you ; she has been here 
some time. Under present circumstances I do not wish to see 
her ; but you will offer her whatever refreshment the house 
affords. If she wishes for a glass of wine, you can come to me 
for the keys." 

Gertrude thought she could not have heard aright. She 
turned sick, and clung to the back of the sofa for support. She 
had barely strength to go up stairs. She tried to make haste ; 
but her feet were as though they had been loaded with a 
hundredweight of lead, and she stumbled at every step. 

As she approached the nursery door, she heard a voice speak- 
ing to the child. It seemed as though she could never get in, 
for her hand trembled so convulsively that she could only make 
an ineffectual effort to turn the handle. Some one opened it 
from within — and Gertrude fell into her mother's arms. 



Gertrude wept long and passionately upon her mother's 
bosom ; the conflicting feelings of joy and sorrow and remorse, 
all the pent up speech of years, were resumed into one chaotic 
emotion of which tears were the only utterance. 

Mrs. Morley, who herself was much affected by tbis first sight 
of her daughter after so long a separation, began at length to 
be alarmed. " Come, my dear child, don't take on in this way ; 
What is it that's ailing you ? See, you are frightening baby, 
who cannot tell what to make of it all." 

" mother ! " sobbed poor Gertrude ; " how ungrateful you 
must have thought me. The sight of you makes me feel how 
ill I have behaved to you ; I shall never forgive myself. I was 
beginning to think you had turned me off, as you never took 
any notice of my letter ; and now I almost wish you had — the 
eight of you hurts me so." 

" I would like to see the person who dared to say you had 
behaved ill," said Mrs. Morley, indignantly. " You were always 
the best, and kindest, and most industrious creature in the 
world ; and if you did run away to be married, it is only what 
many a girl has done before, and will do after you — God help 
them ! — so don't let that lie on your mind. I would have come 


to you long since, only your father was contrary and would not 
let me; and you have found out by this time that a husband is 
a master when he once takes a thing into his head. As to your 
letter, I only got it a fortnig-ht ago, on account that Mrs. 
Slocum forgot it in her trouble. I read it to your father, and 
Mrs. Slocum talked to him, and the minister called, and I got 
him to speak. But at first your father would hear no reason, 
and he swore at Mrs. Slocum for a meddling old fool, and he 
even spoke rough to the minister, and they had to give it up. 
Tour father is a hard man, but he does not want for goodness ; 
and after a bit, it came out tbat you had not mentioned him in 
your letter, except just once at the end, and he felt hurt you did 
not think him worth speaking of. So then I talked to him and 
coaxed him, and when he saw how I took on, and was fretting 
after you, he softened, and told me I might come up to London 
to see you, and that I might bring you back with me if I liked ; 
and when he did come round, nothing could be more condescend- 
ing than he was. He knew that I had never travelled alone, 
so he spoke to ' Fat Sam,' who drives the ' Dart,' to take care 
of me, and see me safe here. This is his off day, and he would 
have brought me to the house himself; but I thought he might 
not just be the person to introduce amongst your grand people, 
for though he has a kind heart, he is a rough one to look 
at " 

Gertrude interrupted the torrent of her mother's discourse, 
to ask how long- she had been there, and whether any refresh- 
ment had been offered to her. 

" Oh, I never once thought of refreshment ! I thought I 
should have dropped when they told me you were out ; but I 
asked to see the baby, and told who I was. The footman who 
opened the door seemed afraid to let me in ; but however he did, 


and I waited on the mat whilst he went into the parlour, and he 
came back followed by an old lady, as high as a duchess in her 
manners. I told her I was your mother, and said I had come to 
see you. She looked at me as if I were the dirt under her feet, 
and at last said that you were gone out, but that if I chose to gc 
into the nursery I might wait there till you came back, though 
she could not say how long that might be. As I said I would 
wait, she bid the housemaid show me the way, and walked off. 
leaving me standing there. I might have been come to see one 
of the servants by the way she spoke. But I was too thankful 
to be so near seeing you to feel offended. Who is she ? Does 
she live here ? The man called her his ' mistress.' " 

" It was old Mrs. Donnelly, my husband's mother. She is 
very haughty in her manners. I wish I had been at home." 

" Oh, I don't care for her, not I ; though she is the first, 
calling' herself a lady, who ever showed any pride to me, and I 
have had to speak to some of the best ladies in the land." 

" But," said Gertrude, anxious to turn the conversation, " it is 
a long time since breakfast ; let me get you something to eat." 

" Ah, well, I don't care if you do get me a glass of wine and 
a mouthful of sandwich ; but don't let me give any trouble. I 
brought up a basket of ' Christmasing ' with me, just a turkey 
of my own rearing, and a pork pie, and one or two little things. 
I left it down in the hall. Some carriage company came to the 
door, and the old lady walked away so sharply that I had no 
time to tel her what it was. But," continued she, as Gertrude 
was leaving the room, " why should you go ? Can you not ring 
the bell ? I thought that was one of the comforts of living in 
a private house. I don't like to see you run up and down to 
wait on me. I can dojwithout anything quite well till dinner- 



Her mother's patience and self-forgetfulness struck Gertrude 
with more remorse than any reproaches could have done. 

"Oh, mother! Don't speak so kindly to me; I cannot 
bear it." 

" Bless thee, child ! How wouldsfc thou have me speak ? I 
never felt so happy in all my life." 

Gertrude went in search of some refreshment for her mother. 
It was a more than usually barren search ; for, on the strength 
of an evening party at the Honourable Mrs. Carnegie's, Mrs. 
Donnelly had refrained from ordering a regular dinner, and 
there was little in the larder. However, by the aid of some of 
the good things in the hamper, she succeeded in making up 
a tolerable luncheon, though it was a very meagre substitute 
for the " Christmas dinner " which Mrs. Morley was in the 
habit of considering as much a test of orthodox Christianity as 
salt fish and eggs on Good Friday. 

In the meanwhile Mrs. Donnelly had propitiated her own 
wounded susceptibilities by uttering her opinion very emphatic- 
ally of Lady Southend's behaviour, and lamenting her own 
mistake in entrusting so delicate an embassy to Gertrude, to 
which, on reflection, she was inclined to attribute the failure of 
her scheme. Somewhat soothed by this idea, and the filial 
unction of Miss Sophia's sympathy, she gradually subsided into 
a tolerably comfortable frame of mind. When the hour of 
dressing arrived she was sufficiently recovered to array herself 
and her anxieties in her black velvet gown (her robe of state) ; 
she also put on a turban with a splendid Bird of Paradise, and 
postponed all further consideration of ways and means until 
the next day ; so that when Lady Elrington s carriage called to 
take them to Mrs. Carnegie's, a stranger would have been much 
more likely to think she was a Queen Dowager than a lady 


deep in difficulties. Of course she did not deem it necessary to 
see Mrs. Morley befoi'e her departure. She would just as soon 
have paid a visit to one who had come to see her servant ; and 
indeed, as she had no hopes that Mrs. Morley would lend her 
money, she considered her coming at all as a troublesome 





Whilst these events were going on at home, Mr. Augustus 
was rapidly drawing towards the close of his good luck abroad. 

He had managed to bet heavily on the wrong dog, and the 
conclusion of the match found him a loser to a good amount. 

As the party were going off to dinner, a dirty scrap of paper 
was thrust into his hand, bidding him look to himself, as the 
bailiffs were on the watch to arrest him outside the door. Mr. 
Augustus made his escape through a window, and going 
through back streets and by-ways, reached his own door in 

A loud peal at the door-bell startled Mrs. Morley and 
Gertrude, as they sat by the glimmering light of the nursery 
fire, and immediately afterwards the voice of Augustus was 
heard calling impatiently from below. 

" What can have happened ? " said Gertrude. " Something 
must be very wrong to bring Augustus home at this time." 

" Bless the man ! he will awaken the baby," said Mrs. 

" Go, go, and see what is the matter. Tour father can never 
bear to be kept waiting ; he will call the house down if nobody 


Gertrude went down stairs as quickly as she could, with 
trembling limbs. There was no light in the hall ; but she 
found her way in the dark to the dining-room, the door of 
which was open. 

There she found her husband thrown back in a large chair 
beside the fire-place, with his head sunk upon his bosom. The 
fire was extinct, and the cinders were strewn about the hearth. 

A single dip-candle stood on the table, with a long unsnuffed 
wick, and a thief on one side was guttering it away. He looked 
up as she entered. 

" Tou have been a long while coming. What were you 
doing ? — and where's my mother and Sophy ? " 

"Oh, Augustus!" said Gertrude, quite frightened at hia 
sombre looks and disordered dress. "What is the matter? are 
you ill ? What has brought you home ? " 

" Oh, nothing ; don't bother," said he, roughly shaking off 
her hand. " Why do you look at me in that way ? " 

"Because I am frightened; you look so strange." 

" It is no wonder. I am not drunk, as you seem to think ; 
but it is all up with me. I owe more money than I can ever 
pay ; and I shall go off to France to-night, or else I shall be 
inside a prison to-morrow. I wish my mother were here. Why 
did she go out when she knew how things were ? " 

Gertrude shut the door, and then returning to her husband, 
she said, " Augustus, if you are ruined, tell me. I have as much 
right to hear about it as your mother. I am your wife, at any 
rate ; and perhaps I can do more to help you than you fancy." 

"What can you do?" he replied. "I suppose you did not 
bring a pocketful of bank-notes from the old lady this morning ; 
and if you did, it is not a few that would help me," 

Gertrude shook her head. 


" Ah, I never expected you would get anything'," said he. 
" I'll forgive her not doing anything if only she does not set 
her son against me." 

" If you could only persuade these people to wait a little, I 
could work and earn money to keep myself and the baby ; and 
then, perhaps, Lord Southend would be back, and he would 
advise you what to do." 

" My poor Ger. ! What good would your work do ? But you 
are a good girl ; and it is thinking what will become of you 
that makes me so low. I can rough it for myself; but what 
will you do ? — for I must off away from this." 

" Oh, don't think about me," said Gertrude. " I shall do very 
well. My mother came to see me to-day ; my father is quite 
reconciled. Won't you come upstairs and see her. I am sure 
she will advise us for the best. My father always goes by what 
she says." 

Poor Gertrude knew nothing of affaira ; but she felt a pride 
in putting her mother into the seat of Mrs. Donnelly. 

Reckless and thoughtless as Augustus was, he felt a twinge 
of shame at being introduced to his wife's mother under such 

Gertrude did not perceive his hesitation, she was trimming 
the candle. 

" Remember, you must tread very softly, for baby is asleep. 
What a long time it is since you saw her in her little cot. She 
looks a perfect angel!" 

The introduction between Augustus and his mother pro- 
duced a mutually favourable impression, for he was ex- 
tremely good-looking, and had a gentlemanly address. When 
he embraced Mrs. Morley and called her " Mother," all 
her latent prejudices against him were dispersed at once, 


and Gertrude stood completely absolved for running away 
with him. 

After a few moments, Gertrude reminded her husband that he 
had come to consult her mother. Gertrude's notions of "being 
ruined " were extremely vague and picturesque ; moreover, she 
felt a glow of pride in the idea that she and her mother were 
going to advise Augustus all to themselves, and without Mrs. 
Donnelly ; so she may be pardoned if she did not feel nearby so 
miserable as circumstances seemed to require. 

As to Mr. Augustus, he would rather have been excused 
entering into details ; but there was no help for it. He there- 
fore gave Mrs. Morley and his wife a rhetorical account of his 
affairs, making them look not like vulgar debts, but gentlemanly 
embarrassments, which would disappear, and even become 
eventually sources of prosperity. He succeeded in talking him- 
self into good spirits ; and as Mrs. Morley promised that 
Gertrude and the baby should never want a comfortable home, 
his most legitimate source of anxiety was removed. 

With all her prepossession in favour of her son-in-law, Mrs. 
Morley was glad that he purposed borrowing from somebody 
else, and not from her ; and she now used her influence to get 
him safely off. 

Mr. Augustus again embraced his mother-in-law, and declared 
she had given him new life in promising to take care of his 
adored Gertrude ; that so long as she was sheltered he did not 
for himself heed the " frowns of fortune." 

He declared to Gertrude, as she was packing a carpet-bag, 
that her mother " was the most sensible woman he had ever 
known." Gertrude, who had of late been kept on a very short 
allowance of kind words, felt happy in spite of herself, and the 
excitement of packing up kept her from realising that Augustus 


was going 1 to leave her. Bat when the carpet-bag 1 was closed, 
and Augustus equipped in a rough pilot coat stood ready to 
depart, her tears began to fall apace. 

" take nae with you, dear Augustus ! I don't care what 
becomes of me if I may be with you." 

" Impossible, my dear girl," said he, disengaging her arms 
from his neck. " You shall come to me the first moment I can 
receive you. But you must not send me away crying ; for if 
you cry I must keep you company. Come, give me one more 
kiss ; I have not a moment to lose." 

Gertrude tried to slide Lady Southend's present into his 
waistcoat pocket ; but he put it back, and would only take two 
guineas, as he said, for " good luck." 

Mrs. Morley, who had been fumbling in her pocket-book, now 
brought out a five-pound note, which she stuffed into his hand, 
disguising her feelings at the same time by saying sharply : 

" Now, Gertrude, do not hinder him one miirate longer, I 
desire ; there is no time to lose." 

Mr. Augustus, glad to end the scene, which had become 
uncomfortably tender, hastily kissed his wife, and pulling his 
hat over his eyes, shouldered his carpet-beg, and made his exit 
the back way. Thanks to the dense fog, he escaped the men 
who were watching for him at the corner of the house, and 
reached the packet in safety, which landed him at Boulogne, 
where he had leisure to await any new stroke of fortune which 
might be in store for him. 

Mrs. Morley allowed Gertrude to have her "cry" out after 
the door had closed upon her husband, and then she undressed 
her and put her to bed, as she used to do in years long past ; 
and many may think this exchange of a husband for a mother 
was in Gertrude's favour. However that may be, Gertrude, 


exhausted with all the fatigues and emotions of this eventful 
Christmas-clay, soon fell into a deep sleep, which even the return 
of Mrs. Donnelly and Sophia did not disturb. 

Great was the astonishment of those two ladies when they 
heard what had occurred during their absence. Mrs. Morley 
waited upon Mrs. Donnelly and gave her the history of her 
son's flight. If anything could have added to that lady's dismay 
at the step Augustus had taken, it would have been to find that 
a stranger had been made aware of the family difficulties ; and 
that a stranger, a common plebeian woman like Mrs. Morley, 
should actually have assisted at the crisis ; whilst she, his lawful 
mother, was absent and unconsulted ! It was indeed a touch of 
Nemesis that amply avenged Gertrude for all the insults which 
had been poured out upon herself and her connexions. Mrs- 
Donnelly attempted to carry matters off in her usual lofty style, 
but Mrs. Morley did not care for her, nor was she in the least 
impressed by her magnificent pretensions. She had been 
nettled by Mrs. Donnelly's manner to her in the morning, and 
she was not sorry to have an opportunity of " speaking her 
mind candidly," which always means abusing one's neighbour 
by telling those truths which, for the sake of peace, Truth 
generally keeps at the bottom of her well, far out of the reach 
of politeness to fish up, however well inclined. The end of it 
was, that Mrs. Morley declared her intention of taking away 
her daughter the very next morning, " and never to darken 
Mrs. Donnelly's doors again." 



The next morning Mrs. Morley was up betimes. Gertrude 
still slept : she was exhausted by all the emotions of the pre- 
vious day, but even in her sleep she felt the blessed sense of 
relief and repose that her mother's presence had brought. 

Mrs. Morley was meanwhile on the alert, busily employed in 
looking out Gertrude's effects and packing them up, for they 
were to go by the " Dart" at ten o'clock, under the auspices of 
'• Fat Sam." 

"When Mrs. Morley left home she had some floating ideas of 
being on a visit for a day or two, and of being taken to see 
some of the London sights by Gertrude and her husband, for 
this was her first time of coming to London. All these ideas 
had, however, been speedily dissipated by the first aspect of the 
reality of things ; now her one great desire was to take Ger- 
trude and the baby back with her as soon as possible, and never 
to let either of them go away from her as long as she lived. 
She sighed bitterly at the sight presented by Gertrude's ward- 
robe ; all her uuder-garments had been worn and mended and 
darned till they were very curiosities of thrift and penury ; there 
were expensive articles of finery — fine head-dresses, fine bon- 
nets, one or two expensive shawls, several silk dresses, some 
evening dresses, and much that the worthy woman considered 


as trash and trumpery, but not one single warm, comfortable 
winter cloak or dress. 

The fact was, that Gertrude had always felt an invincible 
dislike to ask her husband for money, whilst Mr. Augustus had 
an insuperable dislike to parting with it for any legitimate and 
regular expenses ; he was not stingy, for he could not keep a 
guinea in his pocket, but he nevertheless always liked " to have 
ready money about him," and what between the occasional re- 
payment of the sums he borrowed and the sums he messed 
away in idle expenses, it was difficult for Gertrude to obtain 
enough to meet her household expenditure. A regular allow- 
ance for herself was of course not to be thought of, and when 
she was forced to abdicate in favour of Mrs. Donnelly, her con- 
trol over money ceased altogether. 

Augustus from time to time bought her extravagant and use- 
less presents, but of all personal comforts she was left more 
destitute than the wife of a working man. In the solitude of 
her nursery she was free to darn and to mend in peace ; but 
there was no one to give her the means of buying the com- 
monest necessaries for herself. 

Mrs. Morley sighed as she regarded these evidences of her 
daughter's thrift, and resolved she should never have occasion 
to see them more. 

When the packing was all done, Mrs. Morley proceeded to 
see after breakfast. The insight she obtained into the house- 
keeping arrangements of Mrs. Donnelly shocked her comfort- 
able soul, and the idea of the privations to which Gertrude had 
been subjected hurt her much. But she should never come 
back " to be trampled under the feet of their poverty-stricken, 
poor, mean, pitiful Irish pride ! Oh, if I had only guessed how 
things were going on, I would have gone down on my knees to 


have persuaded her father to have her away from them before 
now ! Simon is a hard man, bat he would not starve a dog ; 
and he will feel badly enough when he hears that a child of his 
has been put upon by beggarly Irish quality, as they call them- 
selves ; but quality is quality everywhere, and I know it when 
I see it, which is not here ! " 

Mrs. Morley was blowing the kitchen fire vigorously during 
this- soliloquy ; the <: coals for the day" had not been given out, 
and it was a difficult task to coax the remnants of the half- 
burned cinders to a blaze. The kettle at length boiled, and 
Mrs. Morley — finding no tea, and the tea-caddy of course her- 
metically closed — sent out the footman to buy a quarter of a 
pound of the best hyson and some loaf sugar, stimulating him 
with the promise of " something " for himself when he came 

Mrs. Morley looked like an impersonation of the Goddess of 
Plenty in the realms of Famine, and the maid-servant who was 
called the "cook" — which seemed a piece of practical irony — 
iooked on with admiring eyes, saying from time to time, by 
way of averting from herself all the evil that might result — 

" I don't know what the old lady will say to all this ! " 

" Never mind the old lady just now, my good, girl, she will 
lay no blame on you ; see if that fire will toast a round of bread 
■ — I think it will Where is that hamper I brought yesterday ? 
Has it been unpacked ? " 

" It is just, for a wonder, where Mrs. Augustus left it. The 
old lady does not know of it yet, or it would not be much you 
could find." 

This was not precisely true — the cook and the footman had 
ventured to take tithe of some of the good things that came 
readily to hand ; but Mrs. Morley did not disturb herself about 


that, she took out the home-cured ham, and fried several slices 
— boiled a few of the new laid egg's — and, in short, prepared a 
breakfast on a scale of sumptuousness that had never been seen 
in that kitchen, at least not during the present dynasty. She 
made the tea, and then told the cook she was welcome to the 
rest and to the remaining white sugar ; desiring her to carry 
the breakfast upstairs to the nursery, she proceeded to restore 
order to the rifled hamper, and desired that Mrs. Donnelly 
might be told, with her compliments, that it was a basket of 
Chrisfcmasing she had brought with her out of the country. 

Mrs. Morley felt an emotion of pride at the thought that 
Mrs. Donnelly would see one of her turkeys and one of her pork 
pies, and learn that such things were not luxuries where Ger- 
trude came from ; yet she would have disclaimed with scorn the 
idea of attaching the least importance as to what Mrs. Donnelly 
might think. But, if it were possible to keep a record of our 
fugitive emotions of vanity, we should be more heartily ashamed 
than we have the grace to be of our deadly sins — none of us 
could plead guilty to them, we should indict the recording angel 
himself for making false entries ! 

Mrs. Morley stood beside her daughter's bed with the break- 
fast she had prepared. Gertrude opened her eyes, and felt like 
one still dreaming ; — 

" Is that really you, mother ? How long have you been 

" Yes, it is really myself — bless thee, child ! it seems so na- 
tural to have you again, I cannot believe I have lost you for so 
long ! But come, rouse up, and eat some breakfast, we have 
little time enough to turn ourselves in — you must dress as sharp 
as you can. There ! is it good ? that is home fare once more ! " 

" But, mother, what have you had ? It is a shame for me to 


lie here, and you to wait upon me after all your long journey, 
and no rest for you yesterday." 

" Never fear for me, I will take care of myself, I warrant 
you — do not hurry over your breakfast, but when you have 
done, dress yourself, and by that time we shall be all ready to 
start. That nurse of yours seems a good willing girl enough, 
but, gracious me ! she takes as long to dress and set herself out 
as if she was going to court — she cannot leave loose of a thing 
when she has once taken it up — it seems to stick to her fingers. 
I must go and hurry her : I shall come back to see if you want 

Mrs. Morley bustled out of the room, and partly by dint of 
example and partly by doing nearly everything herself, the 
breakfast was despatched, the baby was dressed, and the nurse 
was ready in a wonderfully short space of time. 

" Now, Gertrude, whilst that footman runs for a coach, you 
had best go in and say ' Good bye ' to the old lady. I hope it 
will be many a long day before you say ' How do you do ' to 
her. I shall not see her again ; she does not want to see me, 
and I am sure I don't want to see her — there's little love lost 
between us. If I were to be proud, I would wait until I had 
some money to keep it up on if I were in her place — poor pride 
is worse than poor spite. She calls herself a lady, and looks 
down on you, but she has nothing of a lady about her except 
the fancy." 

Mrs. Donnelly had not yet rung her bell, but Gertrude con- 
sidered that she could not well depart without taking leave of 
her husband's mother, and determined to run the risk of dis- 
turbing her slumbers. She wished to part from Mrs. Donnelly 
on friendly terms, and the scene with Mrs. Morley on the pre- 
ceding night had sorely ruffled Mrs. Donnelly's susceptibility. 


She softly opened the bed-room door ; the dim light of a 
December morning very faintly lighted the room, which was in 
great disorder with the evening's finery and the morning 
shabbiness littered about in all directions. 

" "Who is there ? " asked Mrs. Donnelly, querulously. 

" It is I," said Gertrude, gently ; " I am come to say good 
bye before we start." 

" To start ? Why, where are you going now ? " 

" Home," replied Gertrude ; father gave my mother leave to 
bring me back with her, and Augustus said he was glad for me 
to go there." 

"Oh, very well — then of course I can say nothing; it was 
settled without reference to me, and it is natural you should 
wish to be out of our family adversity. I do not blame you. I 
am glad there is a refuge for you and the baby — it will be one 
anxiety off my mind. Good bye, Gertrude, and I wish you well ; 
your behaviour to me has ever been what it ought to be. I hope 
I have always done my duty by you as my son's wife, when 
your own people cast you off. Never forget you are a Donnelly, 
and you may always feel assured that you have a friend in me, 
and when I have a home to offer you shall be welcome." 

The old lady's voice came tremulous and quavering through 
the folds of hej; ample night-cap, and when Gertrude stooped to 
kiss her she felt quite softened towards her, she looked so ill 
and miserable, with her eyes swelled up with weeping. For one 
moment Gertrude had the passing idea to offer and stay with 
her, if she could be of any comfort ; but at that juncture Miss 
Sophia roused herself to appear conscious of what was passing, 
and said in a sharp tone — 

" Oh dear, if you are going, do set off; you have left the door 
open, and there is a draught to freeze one comiDg in." 


" God bless you, Gertrude," said the old lady. " I will let 
you know what becomes of us ; you can -write and tell me how 
you get home. My arrangements to leave this house will not 
be completed for some days to come. Good bye; kiss your 
baby for me." 

" Good bye, Sophia." 

" Good bye, Gertrude. I wish you a good journey." 
And so Gertrude parted from her husband's family. 
She found her mother waiting impatiently for her — the 
coach was at the door, and all the luggage on the roof. Her 
mother astonished both the cook and the footman with a 
Christmas-bos so liberal, that the cook put the corner of her 
apron to her eyes in token of sorrow for the departure of her 
young mistress, whilst the man showed his gratitude by banging 
the coach door with enthusiasm, and desiring the man to drive 
as if he had the Queen and her mother inside ! 
They reached the coach-office in good time. 
" Fat Sam," the coachman, had become extremely uneasy at 
Mrs. Morley's absence. She had been committed to his care, 
and he was responsible for her safety. He was just about to 
dispatch a messenger to know if anything had gone wrong. 

" Fat Sam " was a specimen of the prize stage-coachman of 
former times. He was certainly very vulgar and very burly j 
but he was a rough honest-hearted man, full of kindness and 
good feeling. In his younger days he had been an ardent 
admirer of Mrs. Morley, and no second object had ever effaced 
his early love. He took to the road to get over his disappoint- 
ment, and he still reverenced Mrs. Morley with a loyalty and 
devotion that any woman might have been proud to inspire. 

As the clever and prosperous mistress of the " Metringham 
Arms," she had won his respect, and he looked up to her with 


little less reverence than he would have felt for the Queen 
herself. " Fat Sam " came to the door himself to let them out 
of the hackney coach. 

" Here we are, Sam ! " said Mrs. Morley, shaking hands with 
him, which pleased Sam mightily, because it was in sight of the 
whole coach-office, and of the guard and coachman of the Bristol 
mail, just then on the point of starting. 

"You remember Sam, do you not?" said Mrs. Morley, turn- 
ing to Gertrude, with a certain timidity, for she feared Gertrude 
would be shocked at his familiarity, whilst she was anxious that 
Sam's feelings should not be hurt. 

" To be sure I do," replied Gertrude, recollecting with com- 
punction the airs of impertinence in which she had indulged 
herself towards Sam in former times, when she was home for 
the holidays ; " I am very glad to see you again," and she shook 
hands with him with a frank friendliness that enchanted him. 
He had always thought her a very fine young lady, but now 
she seemed to him like her mother. 

There was no time, however, for conversation ; he hurried 
them into his coach — saw to their luggage — heaped upon them 
all the coats and rugs he could find, till there was some danger 
of their being stifled, and then he mounted the box — touched 
his horses — and at the cry of "all right " they dashed forward 
on the road Home. 




The coacli drove merrily along ; it -was a fine, clear, frosty 
day, the very ideal of Christmas weather, when they had once 
got clear out of the fog and smoke of London. 

Gertrude's spirits rose with every mile. Whenever the coach 
changed horses, or " pulled up " for a moment, the red good- 
humoured face of " Fat Sam," shining from the midst of 
surrounding capes and shawls, appeared at the windows, to see 
if " Mrs. Morley, or young Madam," wanted anything. Those 
were the good old time3 of stage-coach travelling, when the 
pleasure and convenience of the passengers were more regarded 
than the " time " at which the coach professed to be due ; and 
when an hour more or less was nothing, provided the passengers 
made it agreeable to themselves. As Mrs. Morley and her party 
were the only " insides," they, of course, had it all their own 

The baby bore the journey beautifully, and delighted its 
grandmother by crowing and clapping its hands at the horses, 
and laughing in " Fat Sam's " beaming face when he laughed 
and chuckled to it. 

Towards five o'clock this happy glow cf spirits subsided. 
Mr3. Morley began seriously to speculate upon the probable 
reception she should meet with from her husband, who might, 
very likely, be angry at the liberal interpretation she had given 


to his gruff consent to see Gertrude again. It was quite certain 
he did not contemplate taking her back for that indefinite period 
" until her husband should be in a position to receive her." 
Gertrude, on her part, was naturally very anxious and uneasy ; 
she was in low spirits about Augustus; and as the journey drew 
to a close she felt a great sinking of heart at the prospect of 
meeting her father. .She would thankfully have protracted the 
journey, if not for ever, at least for a long* time. The baby and 
tho nurse both slept in happy- indifference; it was not their 
business to know whither they were going. 

At length the coach stopped at the end of a lane that branched 
off from the main road. A covered cart drawn up by the road 
side could be distinctly discerned by the coach-lamps, and the 
dull gleam of a large horn lantern suspended to the shafts. 

" Have you Mrs. Morley inside ?" shouted a rough voice, in a 
strong country accent. 

Mrs. Morley let down the coach window, and looked out 
through the darkness. " Well, I had no notion we were so near 
home. Is that you, Bill Stringer ? How is your master ?" 

A stout countrified man, in a smock-frock and a wagoner's 
hat, came forward on hearing her voice. 

" Yes, ma'am, I'm here. Master is quite well, thanks to you; 
he said he did not know whether so be you would come for sure 
to-night, but that leastwise I was to come to meet the coach." 

" Fat Sam " did not disdain to lend his own imperial 
assistance to get the luggage transferred into the cart, and he 
reverentially assisted Mrs. Morley to alight. 

The keen air woke up the baby, which began to cry, and 
they all felt that bewildered uncomfortable chill sensation which 
coming off a night journey always brings with it. 

At length they were all safely deposited inside the. cart, which 



wa9 furnished with a bench on each side, covered with well- 
stuffed feather cushions, and the boxes were piled as they might, 
either amongst the clean straw at the bottom, or on the seat, 
till Bill Stringer could scarcely recover his place. 

" We are all right now, Sam," said Mrs. Morley. " Good 
night, and thank you kindly." 

" Good night, ma'am ; you'll remember me to Mr. Morley, 
and tell him I should be proud to see him again ; the old place 
does not look right without you both." 

The horses obeyed Sam's well-known signal, and set off at 
full gallop ; the sound of the wheels ringing upon the smooth 
frost-bound road was heard for some distance. At length, the 
driver having scrambled to his seat, the cart plunged with a 
jerk down the dark rough lane, which had never known any 
other repairs than from the frost in winter and the sun in 
summer. There were a few stars visible, but no moon ; and 
the lantern that dangled in front of the cart cast grotesque 
goblin-like shadows upon the black bare hedges and embank- 

"Where are we going, mother?" said Gertrude; "this had 
not used to be the way to the ' Metringham Arms.' " 

" And it is not now, child. I did not tell you before, because 
I wanted to surprise you a bit. We have left the old place, 
and live now quite at our ease; you will have nothing to put 
you about now. Ah! if you had only stopped at home all 
would have come right, you would not have had to stop long in 
the bar ; but, as I always told your father, we had no business 
ever to have put you there. Your brother and his wife have 
the old place now." 

The cart jolted along over the rough iron-bound ground for 
some time, longer, and then entered a gate which seemed to 


open into an avenue, for it was planted on both sides, and the 
ground was very smooth and in good repair. 

" This is the foredrift that leads to our cottage," said Mrs. 
Morley ; " it is very pretty in the summer, and keeps us quite 

At the end of about a quarter of a mile the cart stopped be- 
fore the porch of a house standing in a farm-yard. A dog 
came out barking with delight, and jumping up round the 
horse ; a buxom comely woman appeared at the door shielding 
a candle with her apron ; over her shoulder was seen the portly 
figure of Simon Morley. Gertrude turned sick with agitation 
as she heard her father's voice calling to the dog. 

"Be quiet, 'Vick;' down, miss — kennel ! " And directly 
afterwards he stood at the side of the cart to help her mother 
down, who was the nearest. " Well, missis, and so you are 
come back ! Who else have you there ? " 

" Hush ! " whispered she, " it is Gertrude ; speak kindly to 
her, Simon, for my sake." 

Scarcely able to stand, Gertrude was lifted down by her 
father — he kissed her, and bid her go into the house and warm 

" How many more have you got ?" said he, as the nurse and 
baby next emerged into sight. " Who does this belong to ?" 

" It is your own lawful grandchild, Simon Morley ; you could 
not expect I should leave it behind." 

" I never said you could, did I ? You women are so sharp 
always. Walk forwards, young woman ; mind the step. There, 
Stringer, never mind the boxes, I will see to them. Get the 
horse out and rub it well down ; it will catch its death of cold 
whilst you stand bungling here. Come, look sharp, will you ? " 

Simon Morley hated everything like a manifestation of feel- 



ing. He was glad to see his daughter again, but he was 
ashamed to show it, and he felt awkward at not knowing what 
to say to her ; so he made a great noise, and spoke roughly to 
everybody that came in his way, and pretended to be very busy 
bringing in the luggage. 

Gertrude in the meantime had gone into the large red-tiled 
kitchen, where a lire was blazing, before which a turkey was 
roasting. The chimney-place, like those in most farm-houses, 
was as large as a small room ; her father's arm-chair stood on 
one side with a round table before it, with his tobacco-box, a 
sporting newspaper, and a large tankard of ale ; a long oak 
settle occupied the opposite side, and the walls of the recess 
were hung with an array of shining kitchen utensils and bril- 
liant copper pans. 

At the end of the kitchen two farm-servants were eating their 
supper at a large dresser that went along the whole side of the 
wall. They looked very stupid, and did not seem to know 
whether they ought to go on eating or to rise to give their 
assistance. After a moment's awkward wondering look to- 
wards the door, they finished their bowls of bread and milk, and 
then proceeded to attack an enormous cheese which stood be- 
fore them, flanked by an equally large brown loaf. 

Gertrude gazed round as in a dream ; she did not know 
where she was, nor how she had come there. She was at home, 
but she saw nothing she had ever known before ; with the ex- 
ception of the arm-chair, there was not a single object she 
recognised. Mrs. Morley was upstairs, getting the best room 
ready for Gertrude. The ploughmen, having finished their 
supper, pulled off their shoes, and went up a staircase that was 
at that end of the kitchen. As if he had waited for their ab- 
sence, Simon Morley came in as soon as they were gone. 


" Come, miss, don't hang down your head in that way ; let 
us see what London manners are — give me a kiss — I am glad 
to see you and the baby too. I'll look at it to-morrow when it 
is not so tired. Here, wife, where are you. You had best go 
and see what your mother is about, and take the baby with 
you ; there, that will do, don't cry, that does no good ; I am 
glad to see you, and there is an end of it." 

Mrs. Morley came back at this juncture, and carried them 
all off. 

" You must not mind your father ; he is rough, but he means 
well; it is only his way; don't seem frightened or distant, it 
hurts him, and makes him think you don't care for him, and he 
has a deal of feeling, though nobody would think it." 

The good-looking servant-maid, bearing a naming pan of 
coals to light the fire, put an end to all conversation, and the 
baby beginning to cry violently, occupied all their attention 
to get it fed and quieted, and put to bed. 

When they returned to the kitchen, Simon Morley had re- 
sumed his place in the chimney-corner, and was pursuing the 
details of the grand coursing'-match in which he had been inter- 
rupted, whilst the servant laid the table for supper. He looked 
up from his paper when they entered, and made room for his 
wife beside him. 

" You see," said he, " I did not know for sure whether you 
would come to-night, so I did not let them make a fire in the 
parlour ; when you are away, I always feel more warm and 
comfortable-like in the chimney-corner here. I suppose you 
have not been much used to sitting in the kitchen since you 
have been away. We are but countrified folks here, and you 
must take us as you find us ; I would rather be easy than genteel 
any day." 


Gertrude, to whom the latter part of this speech was ad- 
dressed, replied, — 

" I have not seen any place, either kitchen or parlour, so 
comfortable as this ; — any one might be glad to sit here." 

Mrs. Morley watched eagerly every word that passed between 
her husband and daughter. She felt so anxious for her hus- 
band to be pleased with Gertrude, and equally anxious that 
Gertrude should not be hurt by anything that fell from her 
father. She had an instinct that they did not suit well together, 
and that she was the combining element between them. Ger- 
trude and her mother being both fatigued by their journey, 
there was a good excuse for not sitting longer after supper than 
to allow Simon Morley to take his " nightcap," as he called the 
glass of steaming rum-and-water with a slice of lemon in it, 
which he swallowed every night in the year, after supper, ex- 
cept when it happened to consist of three glasses instead of one. 
Mrs. Morley generally mixed it for him, and took a portion for 
herself in a small old-fashioned glass goblet, engraved with her 
initials on one side, and sundry masonic tokens on the other. 
She pressed Gertrude to drink with her ; but Gertrude, who 
disliked the taste of all beverages except pure water, declined. 
Simon Morley gave a contemptuous grunt, and said, — 

" I suppose genteel people don't drink such things." 

It was not that he liked to see women " fond of their glass," 
as he phrased it, but in this case he set down Gertrude's absti- 
nence as a piece of fastidiousness, learned amongst the fine folks 
she had been with so long, and in those days, drinking water 
only was not so common even in delicate women as it is now. 
Gertrude coloured painfully. 

" I never thought whether it were genteel or not, I only re- 
fused because I do not like it." 


" Come, Simon, this is ' Liberty-Hall ;' let people please them- 
selves," said Mrs. Morley, coming to the rescue. 

" With all my heart, replied her husband, sulkily, as he 
knocked the ashes out of his pipe, and reared it against a 
corner of the fire-place. " I want to force nobody's inclinations, 
but I don't like to see affectation." 

The secret of Simon Morley's dissatisfaction was that he 
vaguely fancied Gertrude drank water in order that no one 
might suspect her of coming out of an inn. He was not exactly 
mistaken, for though it had long become a habit with her, yet 
in the first instance it was a school-girl resolution, taken when 
the ignominy of being an "innkeeper's daughter" was first 
impressed upon her mind. It was hard upon Gertrude to have 
the penalty of a false motive exacted so many years after date, 
but nature never omits or forgets, or makes a mistake in 
settling the accounts of causes and effects ; and every thought, 
every action, however trifling, does in reality produce an effect, 
though we may not be able to trace it nor to measure it. " The 
finest hair casts a shadow." 

Gertrude looked wretchedly fatigued, and Mrs. Morley rose 
to see her to her own room. 

" Oh, mother ! father has not forgiven me yet," said poor 
Gertrude, mournfully, as soon as they were alone. 

" You must not be cast down when your father speaks rough," 
said she ; " it is only his way, and h'e means no harm by it. He 
was only sorry just now to see you so pale and poorly-looking ; 
he cannot bear to see folks looking weakly, he always thinks it 
comes of not eating and drinking enough ; you see he has lived 
amongst rough and ready people all his life, and is not just as 
considerate in his words as he might be, but he is a good man, 
and has a kind heart too when you come to know him. So do 


speak up to him a little, for when you ai'e so dashed and so 
silent, it makes him think you don't like him, and then that 
hurts him." 

Mrs. Morley kissed her daughter, and having given one more 
look to the sleeping baby, she left her to her first night's restora- 
tion to her father's house. But Gertrude felt she was a stranger 
there, and that it was not the Home where she might have that 
great charm of home — the feeling of liberty, and the repose of 
being perfectly natural- 



In spite of Mrs. Morley's exhortations, Gertrude was afraid 
of her father, and could not feel at her ease with him. When 
she met him the next morning, she was stiff and constrained, 
though she tried to be natural, and did her best to think of 
things to talk to him about. As might be expected, she was 
unsuccessful, and he not unnaturally set down her embarrassment 
to conceit and " fantastic pride." Luckily breakfast was not 
long about ; for Simon Morley had to go to a distant part of 
the farm, and Mrs. Morley had plenty of business before her, to 
make preparations to receive her son and his wife, who were 
coming over from Dunnington to spend Sunday with them, 
not having been able to come on Christmas-day. Simon Morley 
had just got into his heavy great-coat, and was on the point of 
starting, when the baby wa3 brought in by the nurse. Ger- 
trude took it from her, and bringing it up to her father said : — ■ 
"Won't you look at her? She waa asleep last night, and you 
could not see what she was like." 

This would not have been a bad move, but the smart London 
look of the nurse struck him with displeasure; however, he 
took the child in his arms and kissed it ; the poor baby, unused 
to such rough kissing and such a strange figure, began to cry, 
which was unfortunate. The grandfather gave it impatiently 


back to the nurse with the observation that "It was very 
marred," and then, without saying more, mounted his rough- 
looking pony, and set off to inspect his farm. 

Mrs. Morley was called off to the kitchen, where the sound 
of the chopping-knife, and the beating up of egg's, mingled with 
the dying screams of the murdered poultry; for Sunday was to 
be a very grand festival, not only celebrating the visit of her 
son and his wife, but also the restoration of her daughter to her 
father's house. 

Gertrude was very anxious to be allowed to assist her mother ; 
but Mrs. Morley, who fancied that having forced her daughter 
to assist her in the bar had been the one great fault and mistake 
in her bringing up, and the cause of all the unhappiness and 
estrangement that followed, was determined to profit by 
experience, and now refused to allow her daughter to lay a 
finger to anything, or to assist her in the smallest employment, 
not even in paring apples or stoning raisins. She was either to 
sit in the parlour and amuse herself, or else be upstairs with 
baby in the "best room," which Mrs. Morely had given up for 
a nursery. 

Mrs. Morley considered that it was only by treating Gertrude 
" quite as a lady," that she could make her happy and contented, 
and prevent her thinking of running away again. She had also 
the fond idolatrous feeling that many mothers have for their 
daughters, which leads them to work like slaves to save the 
daughter from the necessity of stirring hand or foot ; they would 
make a dozen journeys from the garret to the cellar sooner than 
see their daughter obliged to walk across the room. 

It is a very false and ill-judged mode of showing affection • 
it reverses the order of nature, and it induces an habitual 
indolent self-indulgence, which, though it may have its rise in a 


thoughtless acquiescence, does not fail to be as evil in its 
influence on the character, as indolence and self-indulgence, by 
their own nature, must be. 

It was no fault of Gertrude's that she was found by her father, 
on his return, sitting nicely dressed in the parlour, and making 
up a lace cap, whilst her mother was looking red and hot from 
standing over the fire in the kitchen. The cap was intended for 
her mother, as a surprise to her on Sunday ; but Simon Morley 
did not know this, and he thought " it was only of a piece with 
the rest of her conceit to keep a nurse to look after her child, 
whilst she sat quite grand in the parlour sewing fal-lals of satin 
and make-believe flowers." 

In the afternoon things went a little better : Simon Morley 
always took a nap after dinner, and as there was of necessity a 
cessation of industry in the kitchen whilst the servants dined, 
Mrs. Morley took Gertrude over the cottage, which was literally 
as well as figuratively her household god. 

She had never been above keeping an inn ; and whilst she 
administered the affairs of the "Metringham Arms" she had felt 
a pride in it, and considered it a house that might stand com- 
parison with the best ; still to retire from busiuess, and live in a 
private house on their own land, was decidedly a rise in the 

" It is not a grand place," said she, " but it is warm and 
comfortable. I could not bear the old place after you left, all 
looked so changed ; your father bought this to please me, but I 
should have been quite lost in it for want of something to do if 
it had not been for the thoughts of making it comfortable and 
as you would like it if you came back to us. I never had a nail 
knocked up but I thought of thee, and that some day may-be, I 
should go round with thee and show it thee." 


" You are a deal too good to me, mother, and I don't deserve 
to be treated so kindly. I would not go over the house by 
myself this morning, I waited for you." 

Mrs. Morley thought that no mother had ever been blessed 
with so kind and good a daughter in this world before. 

The cottage was really as pretty a place as could be seen on 
a summer's day, and even in the depth of winter it looked 
peculiarly cosy and comfortable. It was a low, white building 
— the approach to which was by the " foredrift," down which 
they had driven the previous evening, which terminated in a 
farm-yard, with the usual out-buildings. A porch entrance, 
covered in the summer with honeysuckle and jessamine, led into 
a hall with red-tiled floor, on one side of which was the kitchen 

The hall was the place where Simon Morley stored his fowling- 
pieces aud powder-flasks, and whips of every description ; whilst 
his great-coats were hung on pegs against the walls — which 
were also ornamented with sundry pictures and some pieces of 
embroidery done by Gertrude when at school; they had been 
the admiration of all beholders, and universally deemed worthy 
of being framed and glazed. A bureau of oak clamped with 
brass, a large dining-table of walnut wood, with innumerable 
legs, and sundry heavy chairs, of the same material, with black 
leather seats, stood against the walls, and seemed to defy any 
undertaking to remove them. A looking-glass, in a carved 
black frame, surmounted with peacock's feathers, slanted from 
the wall over to the fire-place, which was filled with holly ; and 
a large corner cupboard, with glass doors, was filled with Mrs. 
Morley's best glass and china. 

Beyond the hall was the parlour, raised above it by a single 
step — a small, comfortable, but somewhat stuffy room, furnished 


in an old-fashioned homely style. Two large arm-chairs stood 
on each side of the fire-place ; beside Mrs. Morley's chair stood 
a spider-legged table, on which her knitting lay, whilst a slab 
fastened to the tall wooden chimney-piece, on her father's side, 
held his tobacco-box and spectacles. Here the worthy couple 
used to sit opposite to each other when they were not otherwise 
engaged, and every night they smoked their pipe together ; for 
Mrs. Morley smoked as well as her husband ; and whoever had 
seen them sitting there would have thought that they looked 
very comfortable. Portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Morley hung 
against the wall, and the likeness of his striped waistcoat and 
of her best cap was very striking indeed. 

A glass door in the hall opened upon a large coach-wheel 
grass-plot, which was just under the parlour window. The 
garden was a large one, and laid out in the old English fashion 
of long gravel walks, edged with box, and leading to an alcove 
summer-house which stood on a mount opposite to the house. 
Gertrude was earnest in her expressions of admiration. 

" It is a very pretty place in summer, though you cannot 
judge of it now. We have plenty of flowers and roses growing 
all over the front of the house, and climbing into the windows. 
It is too cold for you to see the dairy and those places ; but 
come upstairs and let us see the baby. A little darling ! it is 
the best and sweetest child I ever saw — just reminds me of 
what you used to be at that age." 



At length Sunday morning came. It was a fine, clear, frosty 
morning, and the window-panes were covered with fairy land- 
scapes in hoar frost. Gertrude presented the cap she had made 
to surprise her mother, who was delighted with it ; but still more 
pleased that Gertrude had worked a watch-paper in coloured 
silks for her father, who received the offering graciously enough ; 
it explained, in some degree, Gertrude's occupation, of which he 
had judged so hardly. 

By eleven o'clock, Simon Morley, junior, and his wife and 
child drove up in one of the Metringham chaises ; he had grown 
very stout and florid, and wore drab small-clothes, and white 
stockings ; an immense gold chain and a bunch of seals dangled 
at his fob. 

He w r as very much surprised to see Gertrude, of whose 
arrival he had not heard; he greeted her affectionately, and 
with more gentleness than formerly, and introduced his wife to 
her, bidding them become acquainted as sisters ought to be. 
The babies were then introduced to each other, which was not 
very successful, for they both began to cry. 

Simon Morley speedily took possession of his son, to get 
his opinion of a new cart-horse and some stock he had recently 


The ladies retired to the nursery. Mrs. Morley, indeed, could 
give them but a very divided attention ; for she had continually 
to look after things down-stairs. 

The two sisters-in-law did not get on very well together : of 
the two, Gertrude almost preferred Miss Sophia. Mrs. Simon 
Morley, junior, was rather good-looking, but with an expression 
which was somewhat repelling ; she was very silent and com- 
posed in her manners, though she gave the idea of being con- 
stantly on the watch to pass judgment upon everything ; added 
to this, a peculiar mode of holding her head gave her the air of 
being constantly offended and displeased. She was extremely 
silent, and it was next to impossible to draw her into conversa- 
tion. She was very handsomely dressed in a black satin cloak 
and a crimson silk dress, very much trimmed. 

The baby, which was a stout, chubby boy, looked like the 
knave of clubs, in a seal-skin cap and gold band, with an 
enormous cockade of the finest lace on the side of his cap. 
Still Mrs. Simon had not that comfortable sense of superiority 
over Gertrude to which she felt she had a right after what she 
had heard of her run-away match, to a man not worth a 
farthing. Simon Morley had told his son about Mr. Augustus 
Donnelly's early application to him for money, and the son had 
naturally told his wife. 

Gertrude was dressed much more plainly than Mrs. Simon; 
but then her dress, made by herself, had a very superior style 
about it; — to be sure, something might be owing to Gertrude's 
graceful figure, but her sister-in-law was not likely to own that 
to be a reason. Then, too, she felt envious and annoyed to see 
the splendid worked frock and the silver set of coral-bells 
possessed by Gertrude's child, — the gift of its noble god-father. 
Altogether, she felt uncomfortable and out of conceit with her- 


self beside Gertrude — which is not the frame of mind to 
develope amiability. 

Gertrude made many inquiries about Bunnington and the 
old place; whether old Joe, the ostler, was living there still; 
and whether Ealph, the raven, still hopped about the yard; and 
whether the old grey parrot were alive. Her heart yearned to 
her old home, and she would have been glad to hear tidings of 
the very stones in the street. Mrs. Simon Morley, junior, with 
her sullen self-complacency and severe manners, chose to think 
that Gertrude was intending to insult her by asking so much 
about the old inn, when she had considered it beneath her to live 
there, never taking into, her charitable thoughts how bitterly 
poor Gertrude had expiated, and was likely to expiate, that 

Gertrude then endeavoured to extract some information about 
several old friends — the Hiss Slocums iu particular; but she 
had touched upon a very sore subject. There was a deadly feud 
between Mrs. Simon Morley and the whole tribe of Slocums. 
The eldest had married the young Squire to whom, as we have 
said, she was engaged, and the match had been very fortunate; 
she was now a -squire's lady, and took precedence cf her at 
church. The second had married a very interesting young 
clergyman, the bishop's chaplain — and had omitted to send her 
cards and cake. The youngest was not yet married to any one; 
but, on the strength of her connexions, considered herself ex- 
tremely superior to Mrs. Simon. Consequently there was 
nothing too severe or ill-natured for Mrs. Simon to say of them. 
There might certainly have been some sins of conceit to lay to 
their charge, but the chief fault lay in Mrs. Simon's cold, 
touchy, supercilious disposition. 

At length dinner-time came — it was a great relief to every- 


body. It was a dinner fit for a lord mayor's feast, — tlie table 
being 1 laid in the hall, as the parlour was too small to accom- 
modate it. Gertrude could not forbear smiling at the contrast 
between the plenty spread before her, and the cheer to which, 
of late she had been accustomed. But however substantial and 
sumptuous a dinner may be, the capacity of human nature to do 
justice to it is very limited ; and it is only a small fraction of a 
feast that falls to the lot of each guest ! 

When dinner was over, the two gentlemen set to work with 
their pipes, whilst the ladies felt that all occupation was over, 
and experienced the need of something to do, as they soon be- 
came tired of sitting by and looking on. The conversation that 
passes at a purely family party is generally very dull; but 
Gertrude could not help being struck with the difference in 
Mrs. Simon Morley's manners, when she addressed her father, — 
she fawned upon him and flattered him in the most unreserved 
manner, till Gertrude felt quite pained for her ; but her manners 
to Mrs. Morley were not of the same elaborate nature, being, in 
fact, barely respectful and not at all agreeable. 

Gertrude grew dreadfully tired before the evening was over ; 
there was tea, and after that a supper, before it was fairly con- 
cluded ; and it was not until past eleven o'clock that Mr. and 
Mrs. Simon Morley stepped into their chaise to return home ; 
and when old Simon wished his daughter-in-law good night, he 
put a large, handsomely-chased silver tankard, which he had 
won in a coursing-match, into her hands as a Christmas- 

If she could have been always amiable and always so well 
rewarded, she would soon have made a fortune out of her prize 

When Simon Morley went to bed that night, ho was not 


tipsy; but he was in a peculiarly perverse and provoking 
temper. Drinking always developed a spice of maliciousness 
in him. 

i: I'll tell you what, wife," said he, " I don't see why Gertrude 
is not young enough and strong enough to take care of her 
child herself, without having a fine madman of a nurse to help 
her. If she cannot it is time she is learned ; — anyway, I will 
keep no such fizgigs about here. It is enoug-h that you and I 
have to begin to rock the cradle again at our time of life, with- 
out being plagued with nurses. You did not see Mrs. Simon 
come trailing with a nurse at her heels ; she is a solid- minded, 
sensible woman, and will help Simon both to get a fortune and 
to keep one. I wish Ger. would take pattern by her." 

"You surely do not mean to compare Simon's wife to our 
Gertrude ? " said Mrs. Morley, indignantly ; for though she 
seldom argued with her husband, and never contradicted him 
when he was the worse for liquor, still this was more than she 
could bear. 

She had been annoyed, too, to see her husband give a hand- 
some cup, one of her silver idols, to "a mean, cold-hearted 
creature," who, as she said, "only tried to creep up his sleeve 
for what she could get from him." 

It would have been a great comfort for her to have spoken 
her mind pretty sharply, though she knew it would do no good. 
Luckily, Simon Morley gave sonorous evidence that he had 
fallen fast asleep ; so Mrs. Morley was saved from committing 
an imprudence, and, to make amends, she had the comfort of 
crying to herself in peace. 



Night is not the season for meditation : Nature never intended 
it for anything but Sleep. The proverb says, that " Night 
brings counsel," but that is only by adjourning all perplexing 
points and declining to attend to them till the next day ; to lie 
awake in the hope of solving difficulties is about as sensible as 
to look for the beauties of Nature with a magic lantern. 

During the night every subject looks black, fantastic, and 
exaggerated, presenting as many different aspects as there are 
points in the compass. Nobody need ever expect to get counsel 
from their pillow except in the shape of sleep. 

Poor Mrs. Morley lay awake meditating on the last words of 
her husband ; she thought of many different schemes for assist- 
ing herself, and bringing him to reason, or else " of making 
him to repent of it ;" but they partook more of " the natural 
vehemence of the female character" than of any prospect of 
success. One moment she thought of going away and leaving 
her husband, taking Gertrude and the baby with her to live 
where nobody knew them, and take in washing — which, of 
course, she proposed to do entirely herself, as Gertrude was not 
to turn her hand to anything. Then again she thought she 
would speak to her husband, and work upon his feelings to be 


kind to Gertrude; bat she always felt herself constrained to 
invent some disagreeable speech for him which worried her 
quite as much as any actual unkindness of his could have done. 

At length morning came, and with the night Mrs. Morley's 
troubles disappeared, or at least they became more manageable. 

Simon Morley had a vague sullen recollection of some dispute 
with his wife the previous night ; he did not well recollect the 
cause of it, still he did not choose to commit himself by any 
spontaneous act of amiability ; indeed, he felt rather inclined to 
indulge himself with an ill-humour, which, as everybody knows, 
is a great luxury sometimes. He preserved a dogged silence, 
and went out to look over his labourers as usual ; but he went 
off in a dignified cloud, without speaking to his wife or saying 
when he would be in to breakfast. 

Hunger, and the force of habit, brought him back within half 
an hoar of the usual time. Gertrude had gone up to the nursery 
when he returned, and Mrs. Morley was alone in the parlour. 
Sue had got ready for him a basin of fine strong green tea, with 
delicious cream, which Simon always enjoyed when he had been 
drinking over night, and Mrs. Morley was famous for making 
good tea. 

He came round after breakfast into rather a better temper ; 
he spoke once or twice of his own accord, and made no allusion 
either to Gertrude or the nurse, and Mrs. Morley took care not 
to remind him. 

It was market-day at a neighbouring town and he had to 
attend it, which would keep him from home until night, anfl 
this was so much breathing time for his wife. 

After she had seen him off, she betook herself to the dairy, 
where she made a cheese, and then she put away every article 
that had been brought out during the day, putting off till the 

the sorcaows of oektiut?. 183 

last minute the task of breaking 1 her husband's commands to 
Gertrude ; not that she thought it such a great hardship to dis- 
pense with a nursery-maid, hut she did not know how to dis- 
guise it, so as not to hurt Gertrude's feelings, or make her think 
she was not a welcome guest. 

She found Gertrude sitting alone in the nursery, rocking the 
baby. " Where's the nurse ? " she asked. 

" She is packing up her things," said Gertrude. " She told 
me the day after we came that she should not like to live in 
such a quiet place, so this morning I told her she might go. I 
have been thinking that I ought to manage the baby by myself, 
I have nothing else to do ; Mrs. Simon brought no nurse with 
her yesterday, and her baby is younger than mine." 

" Well ! " said Mrs. Morley, inexpressibly relieved to find all 
her difficulties so naturally solved. " Well ! I must say that 
you are the best, and thoughtmllest, and patientest creature 
that ever lived ; but I don't like the notion of your slaving" 
yourself with that heavy baby." 

" Oh, it is not in the least too heav}'," said Gertrude eagerly ; 
" besides, I don't think my father likes to see the nurse, and he 
did not seem pleased with rne, I fancy so at least." 

" Why, you' see," said Mrs. Morley, " that your father is 
rather short in his temper, and he does not like nurse-maids ; 
he thinks them all poor sleeveless creatures; so perhaps it is as 
well to let yours go ; our girl has very little to do, and she will 
be delighted to help to take care of the baby." 

" I wonder how Mrs. Simon manages," said Gertrude, " for 
she must have her hands fall with the house." 

" Oh, she takes care of herself, and will never be killed by 
any work she will do, I warrant. As to not bringing a nurse 
yesterday, it was all her falseness, to curry favour with your 


father ; I have no patience with her — a fawning, deceitful thing-. 
And to think of your father being so taken in by her as to give 
her that silver coursing-cup ; I would not have cared for its 
going, if she had been a different sort of person." 

Women cannot bear to see presents made to other women 
before their face, even though it may not be an object they per- 
sonally covet. There is a natural jealousy in the sex, even 
amongst the best and most generous of them, and it must be 
owned that in this instance it was a very aggravating piece of 
generosity of which Simon Morley had been guilty. 

The next day the nurse returned to London. She had a home 
to go to, and Mrs. Morley made her a present over and above 
her wages, for her kindness to Gertrude, with whom she had 
lived since the birth of the child. 

Although delivered from this cause of offence, Simon Morley 
and his daughter did not get on much better together ; he had, 
in fact, taken a prejudice against her. He might, in time, have 
forgiven her running away (though a father offended is more 
difficult to win back than a mother), and he might have grown 
accustomed to her superior refinement of manners, if it had 
been atoned for by any substantial basis of prosperity and sta- 
tion ; but, unhappily, Gertrude had made the worst of all 
possible matches ; she had not only married a man without a 
shilling, but she had come back with her child to be a burden 
to him, and there was a very indefinite prospect that she would 
ever be anything else. He had a mortal antipathy to poor 
people ; he felt uncomfortable when they were near him, pos- 
sibly from an ill-defined idea that he ought to assist them, 
which, however, he never did. He paid his poor rates with an 
emphatic protest against their injustice, and he never gave away 
a farthing in charity. So that when his own daughter brought 


poverty into the bosom of his family, he felt that he had a right 
to be indignant, and he hated the sight both of her and the 
child. If he had been a lawgiver it is to be feared that he 
would have exposed all the babies who were likely to be 
chargeable to the parish. His rooted aversion to poverty, as 
something contrary to nature, had its rise in a better feeling ; 
his own shrewd industry and horror of becoming dependent 
upon others had, by the lapse of years, all devoted to money- 
getting, become hardened and withered into hie present sordid 
and unamiable spirit. 

Gertrude kept herself as much as possible out of her father's 
way, and confined herself, with the baby, to the nursery ; still 
they were obliged to be together sometimes, and on those occa- 
sions he either did not speak to her at all, or else he would ask 
her how it happened that, with six hundred a-year and no in- 
cumbrances, she and her husband had not kept their chins 
above water ? inquiring with a false jocularity, " how much she 
thought they could do it for ? " There was some justice in his 
remarks, but he took a cruel advantage of having both all the 
right, and all the power, on his own side ; he showed no mercy 
to Gertrude, and never spared her a single remark or sarcasm 
that occurred to him. 

Poor Gertrude suffered cruelly ; her spirits drooped, as well 
they might, under this constant worry. She would willingly 
have delivered herself from it, and gone to live in a garret, and 
worked for herself, but it was not the least of her troubles that 
she was powerless to do anything ; her child took up all her 
time. She must remain where she was, or starve ; her father's 
hospitality, however grudgingly bestowed, was the only person's 
she had the shadow of a right to claim. 

Gertrude found, by bitter experience, that when people have 


once thrown themselves out of the crrrent, they cannot return to 
it at will. She had left her father's roof and thrown heedlessly 
away her lawful right to its shelter and protection ; she had 
come back, as he said, to be a burden ; she had nothing to do 
there, her place was with her husband, and she was an incum- 
brance to him also. She had suffered ignominy and reproaches 
from her husband's relations on whom she had been intruded ; 
but for those she had cared little — she had a right to be with 
her husband ; but here, in her father's house, she filled no place, 
she was not wanted, she could do nothing 1 to requite the obliga- 
tion she received, and no one knows how bitter that is until 
they have tried it. 

Poor girl ! she had bitterly suffered for her first false step ; 
all her progress since had been like an attempt to wind a skein 
of silk by the wrong end. Ivlrs. Morley did her best to shield 
her daughter from annoyance, to avert all occasions of collision 
with her husband. But the strain that was needed to do this 
was very painful, and the embarrassment and restraint that 
had been introduced into their domestic intercourse made home 
unpleasant to all parties. 

This state of things was constantly liable to be aggravated 
by accidental circumstances. One day the servant, who had 
been rebuked for flirting with one of the plough-boys, chose to 
revenge herself by grumbling before her master, because Mrs. 
Donnelly always " would want the new milk for baby," when 
she had set it aside for cream ; and muttering, that if she had 
known there was " a baby in the family she would never have 
agreed to come, for that she did not like children, and had not 
been engaged to help to nurse them." 

Another time it chanced that dinner was a little behind, and 
the excuse was that she had been " nursing baby." 


These seem trifling incidents, but they were like the grains of 
sand that go to pile up a mountain. How much longer things 
could have gone on as they were is doubtful, but matters were 
brought to a crisis by a letter received by Gertrude from 
her husband, -when she had been at the cottage about two 

It was dated from an obscure village near Boulogne. In it 
he drew a most gloomy picture of his position, and seemed in a 
very desponding way ; in fact, the fine spirits of Mr. Augustus 
were completely clamped. Lord Southend had gone on to Italy, 
so he had no hopes from that quarter until his return. Gertrude 
might have borne all this, — feeling a good deal of sympathy 
certainly, but still without being made much more miserable 
than she was, — but Mr. Augustus concluded by desiring that 
she would beg or borrow for him sufficient money to enable him 
to come bach to England, and expressing his intention to come 
and see " whether her friends would keep him snug from his 
creditors, until he should have made some arrangement with 
them." He then drew a vivid picture of the miserably unhappy 
condition to which he was reduced; — "exiled in a small village, 
without a Christian soul to speak to, and nothing to pass on the 
time, except thinking of his dearest Gertrude and his confounded 
debts !" 

Gertrude, who had hoped that things were mending with her 
husband, was thrown into g - reat shame and trouble by the 
receipt of this letter. To be a burden herself upon her father 
was bad enough, but to bring her husband upon him too — to 
beg money from him — was something far worse than she had 
ever contemplated. 

Within the last two months she had learned practically what 
it was to be dependent, and she felt bitterly humiliated that 



Augustas should seem so indifferent about it. Her mother 
found her crying, with the letter in her lap. 

" Dear me, it is a bad job," said she, after she had read it. 
''I don't know how we must break it to your father ; he is as 
queer tempered as he can be ; all owing," added she hastily, " to 
that stupid Bill Stringer laming the new cart-horse, when he 
took it to be shod last week ; and Betsy has just told me that 
one of the cows is ill, and would not give her milk this morning ; 
so when he comes home and hears it, there will be no containing 
him in the house. If men did but know how their violent wavs 
break poor women's hearts, they would be more considerate." 

" I can never tell him about Augustus," said Gertrude, "and 
I never will. If I could only get up to London, Lady Southend 
has promised to give me work, and I might earn enough to 
keep us all." 

" Bless thee, child ! what nonsense thou dost talk. I declare 
it quite vexes me to hear you. What couldst thou do, I should 
like to know, with that blessed baby cutting its teeth, and as 
fractious, the little darling, as it can be, keeping you on the 
stretch night and clay to attend to it 't Gaining a living takes 
you all day long hard work, and sometimes part of the night 
too ; and besides I have no opinion of women working for their 
husbands ; it is taking things the wrong way about, and if your 
husband is a right-minded man he will not desire it, but work 
himself to the bone before you should think of it. Leave me to 
manage your father, I know his humours better than you do, 
and it stands to reason he can do no good by stopping in those 
foreign parts ; he had best come back, and put his shoulder to 
the wheel here." 

Gertrude sighed ; she had an instinct that her husband had 
very little notion of putting his own shoulder to it. 


Poor Mrs. Morley did not too well know how she was to 
make her husband " hear reason," as she called it ; but she did 
not tell Gertrude so. That night brought Simon Morley home 
in a better temper than had graced him for a long time, owing 
to a good bargain he had ■ made ; the horse too was better, so 
that Mrs. Morley considered she should never have a more 
favourable opportunity. 

According to Mrs. Ellis, there is a certain diplomacy by 
which all wives may rule their husbands, and guide them in the 
way they are desired to go. It is a great pity that Mrs. Morley 
lived before that lady's valuable works were written, otherwise 
she might have been more successful than she was. Simon 
Morley, so soon as he understood that his son-in-law had written 
to beo* assistance, desired to see the letter, which Mrs. Morley 
was obliged to give him, though she would have preferred 
telling his story her own way. Simon Morley put on his 
spectacles and deliberately read every word of the letter, and 
then he said — 

" This is the second letter of that young chap's writing that I 
have seen, and it just confirms the first notion I formed of him; 
he is a wastrel — an idle, good-for-nothing, whiffling fellow. 
He is better there than here, but he never will do a pennyworth 
of good anywhere ; and I am not going to put my money into 
a sack with holes, and I am not going to have him standing 
about here. Gertrude is welcome to stop here, and the baby 
too, as long as she pleases, but I'll have nought to do with her 
husband, and you had best not mention his name to me again, 
or you and Gertrude may pack out of the house together. A 
young jackanapes, to talk in that free and easy way of being 
' kept snug from his creditors ;' may be, I would give them a 
hint where to look for him, if he puts his nose in here." 


After uttering this speech 'with much emphasis, Simon 
Mori e j filled his pipe, and sat majestically enveloped in the 
clouds that rose from it. His wife had not even the comfort of 
thinking that he was in a passion, and had said more than 
he meant, for he was in a provokingly good humour all the 
rest of the evening. The fact is, he had long- expected the 
appeal in question, and the idea of the vain, idle, thriftless 
husband in the bach-ground, ready to come down and quarter 
himself on his " wife's vulgar relations," had marred the cor- 
diality of his welcome to Gertrude ; he, had been lying in wait 
he had spoken his mind, he felt quite relieved and happy, and as 
for an opportunity to express his determination, and now that 
well pleased with himself as if his conscience had applauded 
him for a good deed. It must be owned that there was some 
sense in what he had said. 

THh; Sv, i ;:U0")V3 0£ GENTILITY 191 


Pooe Mrs. Morley retired quite crest-fallen. She was morti- 
fied on account of Gertrude, but she was also specially provoked 
at the grim triumphant look of her husband, who seemed quite 
to enjoy her discomfiture ; but she was not at the end of her 
resources, and fortune befriended her. 

Her son chanced to ride over the next day to speak to his 
father about some land he thought of buying, and into his ears 
she poured out her perplexities. We have seen that he met 
his sister with more kindness and gentleness than of old. 
Since he had been married he had changed his views on several 
subjects, and his conscience smote him for not having been 
very kind to his sister ; possibly the matrimonial discipline of 
his wife's temper had developed his brotherly affection. At 
any rate he said : 

" Well, mother, don't fret about it, and say no more to my 
father, he is like a rock when he has once taken a thing into 
his head. Let Ger. and her husband come to us for a while — 
as long as they like — and the baby can be in our little lad's 
nursery ; it is quite big enough, and they will play together 
nicely. I dare say amongst us we can raise enough, to fetch 
Donnelly over, — it 13 of no use his stopping there — and who 


knows what may turn up ? His friends exerted themselves for 
him once before, and may do again if he can only hold on for a 
while. We must just help him to get up his head a bit, — only 
I am afraid Ger. won't make herself happy along - with us." 

"No fear of that, my lad; she is as humble and as meek as 
an angel ; it makes me fairly cry sometimes to see her pride 
so come down, — so grateful she is for the least thing, and so 
afraid of giving trouble. But, I say, your wife has an over- 
bearing way with her sometimes ; don't let her put upon Ger- 
trude, nor trample upon her." 

"I would like to see her attempt it," replied the younger 
Simon, imperiously. " My wife knows that my will is law, 
and she dare not set up herself against what I choose, — and I 
choose that she shall treat Gertrude as my sister." 

" Ah, well," said Mrs. Morley, " don't go and say that to her. 
You had best leave Gertrude to make her own way, for she 
is so sweet-tempered and so pleasant-spoken, nobody can resist 
her. No doubt she will know how to please Mrs. Simon." 

But the idea of " her Gertrude " having to study the whims 
and caprices of Mrs. Simon, was almost too much for Mrs. 
Moi-ley's patience, and she turned away to hide the tears that 
nearly choked her. Her son, whom the absence of his wife 
rendered bold did not perceive her agitation, but added in an 
off-handed manner : " Give my love to Ger. and tell her we 
sball expect her. Mrs. Simon is no great hand at writing 
out anything but the bills, so she must excuse a polite invi- 
tation, and take the will for the deed — and I will send a 
chaise over for her some day next week." 

" But you will see your sister, and tell her yourself? " said 
Mrs. Morley. 

" No, no, you can explain things better than I can ; it would 


look as if I were casting up my promises to make her 
thank me. I am fond of Ger. but I don't know how to talk 
to her." 

"When Simon Morley junior returned home he found that the 
plan, which had looked so easy and delightful when he was at 
the cottage, grew much more difficult of execution. His wife 
was in a very bad humour, and the whole house was in a bustle ; 
he therefore made an excuse to himself to delay the communica- 
tion " till a more convenient season," but in proportion as he 
delayed, his courage ebbed. He said to himself that he " was 
not afraid," that he was "master in his own house," and sundry 
other truisms, which, however, he found untenable, and sat at 
night in the bar beating his brains for the best method of 
breaking the matter to his wife. At length he made a bold 
plunge, at precisely the wrong moment. Mrs. Simon was 
settling her book, and endeavouring to balance a refractory 
column which showed a deficiency of sevenpence halfpenny. She 
was in the midst of her third attempt at addition when the 
thread of her attention was snapped by her husband's saying 
in an authoritative voice, to disguise his trepidation, — 

" I have invited my sister Gertrude and her husband to come 
and stop with us." 

Mrs. Simon went on with her addition, and did not appear 
to hear him ; her husband continued in a louder key, — 

" I tell you that I have invited my sister and her husband to 
come and stop with us. "What do you mean by your insolence 
in sitting there like a post, and never answering when I speak 
to you ? I tell you they shall come here, and stay as long as I 
please ; you may look, but I am not to be put down. I desire 
you to give orders to send a chaise on Saturday for Mrs. 


Mrs. Simon Morley looked at her husband with great con- 
tempt, and then said with provoking calmness, but with the 
supremest disdain, — 

"Of course, Mr. Simon Morley, it shall be as you please; 
nobody ever doubted your right to invite anyboby you choose, — • 
send a chaise for your sister by all means; perhaps it will 
please you to make her the mistress of this house instead of 
me — pray do. Of course, it will be quite right; I slave myself 
for you, and save for you, and stint myself of every thing, in 
order that you may come home and fly out upon me, as if I 
were the dirt under your feet. I stay at home, and wear my 
poor soul out of my boby, to keep thing's going, whilst you go 
riding about to fairs and markets, and guzzling with everybody 
who will drink with you. — I am a miserable woman, that I 

This tirade, of course, ended in a violent gash of tears. Her 
husband sat feeling half angry and half foolish ; he had not 
expected such a storm, and he did not know how to retreat with 
dignity. He knocked the ashes out of his pipe, and said 

" I wish you would not talk so much ! I am fairly moithered 
with so many words; do make an end and come to bed." 

Bat Mrs. Simon Morley would not " make an end ; " long 
and bitterly she scolded on, for though in general silent, when 
once launched in a grievance, she sustained it with more than 
ordinary female vehemence, and took care to embrace a wide 
range of complaint. A stranger would have thought that a 
separation to all eternity must have ensued, but it was only a 
matrimonial storm; neither party meant the other any par- 
ticular ill beyond the annoyance of the moment, and it calmed 
down, leaving, as was generally the case, Mrs. Simon rather 


more confirmed in her influence, and her husband rather more 
afraid of provoking her than before. 

The result was, that the incipient dislike which Mrs. Simon 
felt to Gertrude was confirmed into a positive detestation. She 
did not think it prudent to refuse to receive Gertrude altogether 
but she had succeeded in receiving her sister-in-law upon the 
footing it best pleased her, and leaving herself free to wreak 
any small feminine spite she chose ; whilst her husband, content 
with having carried his point, was afraid to interfere further, — ■ 
and she took care to give him no pretext. He was delighted to 
see her despatch a chaise to the cottage on the appointed day, 
and as if she were bent on showing how amiable she could be, 
she went so far as to write a note to Gertrude, with a moderately 
cordial invitation from herself. 

Gertrude, though grateful to her brother, did not at all like 
the idea of trying' the hospitality of her sister-in-law for an 
unlimited period ; but she was come to that unhappy pass when 
she was obliged to feel grateful for "small mercies" .of the 
most unpalatable kind. She was dependent upon her friends, 
and obliged to receive house and shelter upon any terms. 
Simon Morley, when told of his son's offer, had declared, " that 
she could not do better than go ; " after this there was no appeal, 
and Mrs. Morley, with a sorrowful heart, prepared to let her 
depart. She would herself have accompanied her, but Simon 
Morley was attacked by a fit of the gout, which not only de- 
tained her, but made him so irritable that she was almost 
thankful to get her daughter out of the house. 



The chaise drove the back way into the yard of the 
" Metringbam Arms," and so avoided going through the town. 
Everything brought back to her remembrance the day when 
she came home from school ; there was a curious coincidence 
even in the accidental circumstances. A travelling--carriao-e was 
changing horses, and a large party were stopping to dine ; the 
house was in the bustle she so well remembered. Mrs. Simon 
Morley was busy receiving' her guests, and there was no one to 
welcome her except old Joe, the lame ostler ; she could almost 
have embraced him, he was the only one who remained of the 
old set of servants. 

Gertrude bitterly felt the difference between then and now. 
She stood with the baby in her arms waiting for some one to 
show her were to go, and feeling more miserable than she had 
ever yet been, — choked, and suffocated, and wretched, — far too 
miserable to cry. 

In a few moments Mrs. Simon Morley came up to her, and 
told her, with a dash of patronage in her manner, that she was 
glad to see her, and begged she would consider herself at home. 
Her brother came as they were speaking, booted and spurred, 
and followed by his dogs, — he had been out coursing, and he 


had not expected her so soon. He was very pleased to see her, 
and received her as cordially as he durst for fear of vexing his 

" Well, wife, where are you going to put Ger. ? Somebody 
had better carry these things up-stairs. Have you put her into 
the room next to ours ? " 

" I have prepared Mrs. Donnelly's room," said Mrs. Simon, 
with an air of putting down all questions ; " and if she will 
follow me I will show her to it myself." 

Instead of turning down the passage leading to Gertrude's 
old room, which had, indeed, been once more transformed into 
a nursery, they mounted a steep flight of stairs that led to the 
"servant's story." Mrs. Simon opened the door of a light 
roomy attic, with sloping roof and full of beams and rafters, 
but brilliantly white and clean ; two casements stuck into small 
gables commanded a view of the church, and the country lying 
beyond. It was furnished sufficiently well for an attic, but 
without any attempt at extra comfort. There was nothing to 
complain of in it, and it was decidedly more comfortable than 
her bed-room at Mrs. Donnelly's ; still it marked painfully the 
difference between her former and her present position in that 
house, — between the home she had recklessly cast off and the 
home to which she was returning, to eat the bread of charity. 

"I have put you here," said Mrs. Simon, "in order that you 
might feel quite settled ; the house is often so full that in any 
other room I might have been obliged to disturb you. Simon 
and I are sometimes obliged to give up our room; it is quite 
wonderful how travelling has increased of late years. I hope 
you will be comfortable, — pray ask for all you want. There is 
a nursery down stairs where you can sit with the baby ; I dare 
say you " 


A voice loudly calling at the bottom of the stairs obliging 
her to leave her speech unfinished, but she had nearly got to the 
end of all she had to say. Gertrude looked round the room 
when she was alone ; there was no bell, and no fire lighted. It 
was too cold to indulge long in meditation, and she went down 
stairs in search of the nursery ; glad, at least, to be sure of a 
comfortable refuge for the baby. Gertrude's brother had been 
as good as his word. He had received some money for the sale 
of some wheat, and, without his wife's knowledge, he had 
writtten to his brother-in-law and sent him the wherewithal to 
pay his journey ; Mr3. Simon Morley received the remainder of 
the money, without in the least suspecting what her husband 
had done with the rest. He had planned to surprise his sister, 
and had fixed her arrival as near as he could guess for the day 
when her husband would reach Dunnington. He was rewarded 
for his pains ; for that very evening, as they were sitting down 
to supper in the little lantern-like bar-parlour, Mr. Augustus 
Donnelly, somewhat soiled and unshaved, but perfectly at his 
ease, and on the best possible terms with himself, walked into 
the room. 



Mrs. Simon Moelet was a very virtuous woman Indeed, but 
she was not insensible to the soothing voice of flattery, especially 
when distilled from the lips of a good-looking young man. 
When Mr. Augustus Donnelly entered in the unexpected manner 
mentioned in the last chapter, to the great surprise of every- 
body, except that of Simon Morley, Mrs. Simon was disposed to 
look extremely displeased and disagreeable ; but Mr. Augustus 
was not an Irishman for nothing, — he had lived by his wits the 
greater part of his life, and knew the importance of mollifying 
the mistress of any house where he proposed taking up his 
quarters. He was an adept in the strategy of that peculiar 
species of courtship called " cupboard-love," and he piqued him- 
self upon his skill to draw the teeth, and pare the claws, of the 
most determined shrew in Christendom. A glance at the face 
of Mrs. Simon revealed to him the genus of the woman he had 
to deal with, as a short postscript in his brother-in-law's letter 
had enlightened him upon the domestic politics of the " Metring- 
ham Arms." 

The postscript was : — " Do not tell any one that I sent you 
this money ; I have particular reasons for not wishing my wife 
to know." 

"Les sages entendent a demi mot," — and Mr. Augustus proved 


himself deserving of the epithet. Before he had been five 
minutes in the room, Mrs. Simon Morley was under his charm. 

After saluting Gertrude, and shaking hands with his brother- 
in-law, he seated himself by Mrs. Simon, and began to pay her 
a thousand little attentions, such as the good woman had never 
received in her life, not even from her husband when he courted 
her, nor from all the young men whom she had driven to the 
verge of distraction by refusing " to keep company with them." 
Mr. Augustus contrived to make her feel that he was decidedly 
struck with her appearance, and impressed by the fascination of 
her manners. This was not conveyed in a way calculated to 
alarm her sensitive modesty, but was combined with a respectful 
deference to her as a most superior woman. It was wonderful 
how, in so short a space of time, he had become enlightened 
upon her choice qualities. 

He took his seat by her at table, as if he had lived in the 
house all his life ; and whilst he relieved her from the task of 
carving the roast ducks, he made some jokes just suited to her 
capacity, and which made her laugh heartily. But he did not 
venture to praise anything at table, lest she should think every- 
thing only too good for him, but he improvised some compli- 
ments, which he declared Lord Southend and the Marquis of 
Dulcamnara had paid to the " Metringham Arms " one day, at 
a white-bait dinner, declaring in the presence of the head waiter, 
i; that there was no inn like it for comfort, either in or out of 
London ; " and he took care to clinch the compliment by dating 
it quite recently, and within the period of her administration. 

Her husband was enchanted to see his wife in so genial a 
humour, and thought he should havedn his brother-in-law an 
ally in all his domestic difficulties. 

Gertrude did not admire this display of flattery and devotion 


to Mrs. Simon. She thought it was only encouraging her self- 
complacency and general disagreeableness, and could not help 
thinking how much better women are rewarded for their exact- 
ing ill-humour than when they make a practice of trying to be 
forbearing and habitually amiable. She interrupted the current 
of compliments, by saying, — 

" You have never told us, dear Augustus, how you managed 
to find your way here so opportunely ; I fancied you were still 
in France." 

Simon Morley junior felt rather uneasy at this question ; he 
underrated the tact of Mr. Augustus. 

" Tour worthy brother generously told me that his house was 
open to me whenever I came to England, but for the means of 
coming here I am indebted to the unexpected generosity of a 
friend ; and do you find it unnatural that I should use my first 
funds to rejoin you ? " 

Wives are sometimes hard to be persuaded, even by sweet 
speeches, and Gertrude would much have preferred that her 
husband should have remained absent, rather than come to join 
her as a hanger-on upon her brother. She fancied, too, there 
was a tone of servility, a vulgar obsequiousness, which she had 
never observed in him before. 

Mr. Augustus was, in truth, much the same as usual. He had 
the gift of suiting himself to his company, and as he was never 
over-burdened with delicate perceptions, he could make himself 
comfortable everywhere. But the curse of being dependent 
changes the very nature of virtues, and makes what under other 
circumstances would have been courteous forbearance seem 
nothing but self-interested endurance ; it is a reversed alchemy, 
for it transforms golden qualities into brazen counterfeits. 
Dependence in modern times is what slavery was of old, and 


it is equally true of both, that it takes all manliness and quality 
of character out of whoever voluntarily submits to it. 

When the party separated for the night, Gertrude retired 
with the determination of straining every nerve to find employ- 
ment that should enable her to do something towards supporting 
herself and the child ; whilst 3Ir. Augustus thought that, as he 
had fallen intq comfortable quarters, he would improve the 
friendly disposition of his hosts, and enjoy them as long as 
possible. As to the obligation, he considered that he was a 
gentleman, and, as such, they might feel honoured by entertaining 
him. He had no conception of gratitude towards persons in 
their clasa. 



The next day being Sunday, Gertrude went to church with 
her husband. Mrs. Simon Morley was too busy ever to go to 
church, except in the afternoon, and Simon himself had no 
great taste for going at all ; still he went sometimes, and slept 
peacefully through the service. He was what used to be called 
a " good Church and King 1 man," and would have knocked 
anyone down who was either an infidel or a jacobin ; though his 
own loyalty was mainly confined to getting very particularly 
drunk upon the King's birthday, and his Christianity, besides 
the occasional going to church above mentioned, was shown by 
giving the boys of the town five shillings, for a Guy Fawkes, 
every fifth of November. 

The church looked as Gertrude had always remembered it, 
except that the square family-pew, lined with green baize, was 
rather more moth-eaten ; but the prayer-books and hymn-books 
were those that she had used when she first went to church. 
The one she took up had her name written in it, in her father's 
handwriting, — a birthday gift, when she had completed her 
sixth year. 

The asthmatic organ was uttering the old dismal psalm tunes 
which had taxed the ears and the patience of the congregation 
for a century past. 


Gertrude felt that all the congregation was curiously regard- 
ing her ; she did not look round, but kept her veil down, and 
concealed herself as much as possible behind one of the si one 
pillars. Everything seemed the same as it had been the last 
Sunday she was there ; by a curious coincidence, the clergyman 
had come round, in the clerical cycle of his sermons, to one she 
had last heard him preach, and she felt as if the change in her 
own fortunes were mocked by this unchanged continuance of all 
that surrounded her. 

But when service was over, and the congregation dismissed, 
and Gertrude, who had loitered till the last, was following the 
rest, she was stopped at the church-door by several persons who 
had been waiting for her. Old Mr. and Mrs. Slocum were the 
first who greeted her. Mr. Slocum had not recovered the severe 
illness he had had some months before — it had pulled him down 
sadly ; but Mrs. Slocum looked just the same — rather younger 
if anything. 

" My dear Gertrude, welcome back amongst us," said the old 
lady, in a quavering voice. " I declare this is quite a surprise. 
When did you come ? Is your mother here ? " 

But before Gertrude could reply, her hand was snatched and 
heartily shaken by a tall full-blown young woman, in a mag- 
nificent hat and feathers, and a brilliant scarlet mantle, lined 
with white satin. 

" Why, Gertrude, you have forgotten me, I declare ! " cried 
she, in a loud, but cheery voice. " I am Martha Slocum that 
was, — now Mrs. Greenway ; and this is my husband," continued 
she, jerking forwards a florid, good-tempered looking man, in 
yellow buckskins and top-boots, on whose arm she was leaning. 
" I said it must be you, though I could not see your face, and 
you were hidden by the pillar, and nobody would believe me. 


But, my gracious ! how ill you look, — quite pale and thin ; not 
like me. Sam says I am growing so fat, that he shall be 
indicted for bigamy, for having twice as much of a wife as he 
married ; " and she laughed in her husband's face, with enviable 
admiration of his wit. 

Gertrude answered as best she could, and introduced Mr. 
Augustus to them, who acquitted himself extremely well ; and 
Mrs. Greenway, looking at him with curiosity, admitted to her- 
self that any woman might be excused for running away with 

Poor Gertrude enjoyed a small triumph, in the midst of her 
sorrows, to see that her husband looked, beside Mr. Slocum and 
Mr. Greenway, as if he belonged to another race of men, so 
infinitely superior he appeared ; and she was proud of seeing- 
that they all acknowledged it. 

It was for this shadowy gratification that she had thrown 
away the inheritance of her life before she had well entered 
upon it. 

" Well, I am sure we shall be delighted to see you both at 
Lane End," said Mrs. Greenway. "Mrs. Simon and I have 
never visited ; but that is no reason why you and I should not 
be friends again as we used to be. Will you come to-morrow 
and take a friendly dinner with us, and have a talk about old 

Gertrude objected, that she could not leave the baby. 

" Oh, the little darling ! I will come and fetch you in the 
phaeton, and you can bring it with you, and it can make friends 
with our twins, so that is settled. I wonder," continued she, 
addressing her husband, " where Joe can be with the phaeton 
all this time ; he ought to have been waiting for us." 

As she spoke, a large roomy vehicle, of no strict denomina- 


tion, was driven up by a boy in pepper-and-salt livery and a 
silver band round bis bat. Into this Mrs. Greenway was banded 
by her husband, who took the reins and seated himself by her 
side, whilst the servant mounted behind. 

"Remember, I shall come for you to-morrow, at eleven 
o'clock," cried the lady, in a voice that might have been heard 
to the other end of the town, and kissing- her hand to the old 
people, the worthy and prosperous pair drove off at a brisk 

<: There goes a happy woman, if ever there was one ! " said 
Mr. Slocum, looking - after the phaeton with glistening ej-es — 
" she has one of the best of husbands, and everything this world 
can give ; and she enjoys it, she is happy, and makes others 
happy too. Bless yon. her husband worships the very ground 
she treads on ! You should see her follow the hounds along- 
with him — it is a sight ; he has had a scarlet habit made for 
her, and she looks grand in it ! " 

" If she were in London, in the park, she would be looked 
at," said Mr. Augustus, when there was a pause ; " she is a 
monstrous fine woman, and her husband seems a very nice 
young fellow ; they are a fine couple. 

" Aye, that they are, and they are respected by high and 
low. They have a very nice place of their own ; land that has 
been in the family for generations ; and whenever you go you 
will be sure of a hearty welcome." 

Sunday was always the old man's grand gala day — every 
Sunday he had the proud satisfaction of walking out of church 
with his daughter before all the congregation, and seeing her 
drive off in " her own carriage ;" and he enjoyed this far more 
than any dignity that could have happened to himself. 



Mas. Geeenway drove up in her phaeton the next day to fetch 
Gertrude, according to promise ; she entered the bar with a 
good-tempered jovial consciousness that she was a very fine 
woman indeed, and that her beaver hat and feathers became 
her immensely. 

Mrs. Simon was sitting at her little table writing out a ticket 
for a post-boy who was in waiting. 

The vicar sat upon the little hard horse-hair sofa beneath the 
window, reading the London paper — his custom always every 
morning, and Mrs. Simon liked to have it so, as she thought it 
gave him the appearance of being a friend of the family ; occa- 
sionally the vicar's wife and daughter called upon her, and this 
always gratified her, for they were the sun and stars of her 
social system. 

After shaking hands with Mrs. Simon, who received her very 
stiffly, and tried to look as though she did not consider her visit 
any concern of hers, Mrs. Greenway turned to the vicar, and 
inquired after his family in a friendly, familiar manner, that 
spoke of intimacy. 

She turned again to Mrs. Simon and said, — 

" I came to invite you to come to us this evening ; we are 


expecting a few friends in a sociable way to tea and supper, and 
Sam bid me say he should see Mr. Simon at market, and would 
ask him to come. It is so seldom you give yourself a holiday 
that I hope you will be sociable and come." 

Mrs. Simon replied stiffly, that she was too busy to visit — 
and that, if her husband went out, there was so much the more 
reason why she must stay at home. 

Mrs. Greenway was rather glad to hear it, but hesitated, as 
she thought it right to declare she would take no refusal. 

Gertrude entered in her bonnet and shawl, with the baby in 
her arms — looking very pretty and lady-like. 

Mrs. Greenway rushed up and embraced her, with a bois- 
terous good-will that nearly upset Mrs. Simon's little table, and 
whisked down her account-book and the bill she had just writ- 
ten out. 

" I hope I have not kept you long waiting," said Gertrude. 
" Oh, no ; I am only just come — and so that is your baby ! 
what a real little darling ! I have twins to show you when we 
go home ! Is it not fun to think we should both of us have 
babies? I declare it seems only yesterday since Matilda., 
Emma, and I came over to sec you, the day you left school for 
good. Your mother sat just where Mrs. Simon does ; the place 
is nut the least changed — only you and I. But I am sure we 
are filling the bar, and taking up Mrs. Simon's time ; she must 
wish us out of her road. As Sam says, ' One word hinders two 
blows.' Good morning, Mrs. Simon, and recollect I shall not 
excuse you — I shall quite expect you." 

There was a certain dash of patronage in Mrs. Green- 
way's manner. Mrs. Simon drew herself up, and said, freez- 
ingly — 

" That she had no time for dressing and visiting, and that 


Mrs. Greenway could do quite well without her" — which was 
quite true, but Mrs. Greenway nevertheless persisted, — 

" I am sure you are always nicely dressed. We are plain 
homely people — you can come just as you are. We like our 
friends to take us as they find us — without ceremony." 

Mrs. Simon looked as though she was absorbed in adding 
up her cash-book, and made no answer. The vicar gallantly 
rose to escort them to the phaeton, and Mrs. Simon heard him 
asked to come in the evening with his wife and daughter, for a 
friendly rubber, whilst the young people might enjoy a round 

The phaeton clattered out of the yard, and Mrs. Simon, with 
her temper sharper than ordinary, was left to pursue her 
domestic cares in peace. She pounced first upon a delinquent 
housemaid, and gave her summary warning for having neglected 
to take up the carpet in No. 8 bed-room ; she next gave orders 
that any visitors coming to call for Mrs. Donnelly should be 
shown upstairs into the nursery. Her husband and Mr. Au- 
gustus came in to dinner before the effervescence of her soul 
had subsided to the level of its banks. 

" I met Greenway's phaeton," said Simon, " with Ger. and 
the baby, and Mrs. Greenway inside ; she said she had been to 
call on you, and she asked me and Donnelly to drop in to 
supper, and to see Ger. home." 

" Very well, Mr. Simon Morley, you can go if you choose ; 
hut what with visitors in a morning', and goings out at night, 
don't blame me if the house comes to ruin. I stop at home and 
deny myself every amusement ; I don't even go to church, and 
I know the vicar thinks me worse than a heathen — just to see 
myself made of no account, and to be treated like dirt by every- 
body who cornea to the hoaae. I have thought too little of 


myself, and slaved myself to death to take care of your money, 
and this is all the thanks I get ! If I had been a wasteful ex- 
travagant woman, and flaunted about in a hat and feathers, you 
would have been in the Gazelle, but you would have thought 
more of me ; but if I were to lie down and die at your feet, you 
would not even thank me !" 

Dinner being by this time on the table, Mrs. Simon took her 
place with an indignant bounce, and began to carve a large 
round of beef with the air of one to whom all the virtue left in 
the woidd had fled for refuge, whilst she felt herself scarcely 
able to protect it. Her husband did not exactly understand 
what all this talk was about ; but as he was pretty well accus- 
tomed to these tirades, he shook his ears, made no reply, and 
ate his dinner like a domestic philosopher. 

Mr. Augustus followed his example for a while, but towards 
the end of dinner he remarked carelessly to his brother-in-law 
that Mrs. Greenway was a full-blown, high-coloured young 
woman — that her voice was coarse, her pronunciation vulgar ; 
that she appeared to him to be quite commonplace in her ideas, 
and to have very little conversation — that her scarlet mantle 
made her look for all the world like a farmer's wife bringing 
her eggs and butter to market. He said that in a year or two 
her figure would have no more shape than a feathei'-bed, and 
appealed to Mrs. Simon as to the strong- personal likeness be- 
twixt old Mrs. Slocum and her daughter. These observations 
were all made quite pleasantly, and with the manner of a man 
accustomed to pass his opinion, and to have it listened to. Ho 
spoke in a lofty man-of-fashion tone that was quite imposing'. 

Mr. Simon Morley had lighted his pipe meanwhile, and sat 
puffing forth volumes of smoke, without thinking it necessary 
to make any reply. Mrs. Simon recovered her temper and 


smoothed her ruffled plumes wonderfully. She held a light for 
Mr. Augustus, and mixed him a glass of gin-and- water with her 
own fair hands'; and, taking up her sewing, she began to ask 
him questions about the parks, the theatres, high society and 
life in London generally, to all which Mr. Augustus answered 
as he thought best, and gave her a description of what the 
queen and all the princesses wore at the last drawing-room, and 
told her many interesting anecdotes of members of the aristo- 
cracy, " personal friends of his own," as he informed her. Mrs. 
Simon was called out, and whilst she was gone her husband re- 
marked, — ■ 

"That his wife was as queer as Dick's hatbaud; there was 
no knowing what would vex her or what would please her ; but, 
for all that, she was generally right in her notions, and was a 
clever woman." To which Mr. Augustus warmly assented. 

It is remarkable that, when men have a singularly bad- 
tempered wife, they console themselves with the belief that is 
a sign she is " a superior woman." 

Meanwhile Gertrude and Mrs. Greenway arrived without 
accident at " Lane End," as Mrs. Greenway's house was called 
It was a large rambling place, built of deep reel brick — it was 
in its pretensions something between a farm-house and a gentle- 
man's mansion. A white five-barred gate admitted the phaeton 
into a large field, through which there was a broad gravel drive 
■ — it was not an avenue, although a luxuriant hedge-row, planted 
at intervals with stately trees, gave it partially the appearance 
of one; that field led by another with a white gate^like the 
former ; after which they entered another field, in which, at the 
head of a gentle rise, the house was situated. A large garden, 
an orchard, and various fitxm-building-s lay in the rear. 

" Wc will drive round to the back yard, if you don't mind, 


Gertrude ; it is so much handier for the horse, and Sam does 
not like to see the gravel cut up with wheels ; it is the one 
thing- he is particular about. I tell him he is like an old maid 
about it." 

They drove into a large stable-yard, paved with stones. An 
immense mastiff came out of his kennel to the utmost stretch of 
his chain, and barked furiously at their advent, and several 
clogs of various breeds and sizes joined the chorus. A farm- 
servant came running to take the horse; Mrs. Greenway 
alighted without any help, and took the baby from Gertrude. 
They entered the house through a glass door, and went up a 
wide tiled passage, past the kitchen, a large comfortable place, 
with flitches of bacon, hams, and dried tongues hanging from 
the ceiling 1 . Two buxom servant women in print dresses, with 
tight short sleeves, were busily engaged at the dresser beneath 
the window — an air of well-to-do plenty reigned in every direc- 

Mrs. Greenway took Gertrude at once to the nursery, where 
with great pride she showed her twins, both fast asleep in the 
same cradle — little, fat, rosy things, hopelessly undistinguishable 
from each other. Gertrude duly admired them ; and then her 
own baby was taken possession of by the good-tempered-looking 
nurse, to be fed and put to sleep, whilst its mother was dragged 
off to see the remaining household gods of Mrs. Greenway's 
i: hearth and home." First, they went to Mrs. Greenway's bed- 
room, there to take off their things, and to take the opportunity 
of looking at the grand wardrobe, and all Mrs. Greenway's best 
dresses and last new bonnet ; her wedding dress was exhibited — 
stone-colonred satin, with elaborate trimmings of blue gimp. 

" Sam declares that this dress shall never be worn out or 
altered, for it broaght him the happiest day of his life. Do you 


know we have never had a wrong: word together since we were 
married. I am sure I think he grows better every day. Don't 
you call him very handsome ? " 

Gertrude said she thought Mr. Greenway very good-looking ; 
it was no great stretch of candour. 

" Here is his wedding waistcoat, which I say shall keep my 
gown company ; it is many a day since he could make it meet 
round him. But now come and see the parlours." 

The dining-room was a large, low room, with a raftered 
ceiling and bow window ; a dark, heavy mahogany dining-table 
with many legs stood in the centre of the room; a Turkey 
carpet, with the pattern somewhat worn out, covered the floor ; 
a large pointer was basking before the fire, whilst a tortoise- 
shell cat dozed and purred in one of the large easy chairs which 
stood on each side of the hearth-rugv Portraits of Mr. and 
Mrs. Greenway hung against the wall. 

Mr. Greenway was reading a letter, with his name and address 
legibly written on the back. Mrs. Greenway, seated under a 
tree, in a hat and feathers, was reading a book bound in red and 
lettered in gold, — " Fordyce's Sermons to Young Women." 

But the "best parlour" was the pride of her heart; it was on 
the other side of the tile-paved hall — a Ioav bow- windowed room 
with a raftered ceiling, like its companion. 

It had been new furnished on the occasion of their marriage, 
and there was a certain air of modern finery about it. The 
curtains were bright blue, trimmed with red and yellow ball 
fringe ; a pair of pole-screens stood at either end of the chimney- 
piece — one represented a young lady in a tight muslin frock 
and blue sash, playing the tambourine, and the other the same 
young lady feeding a pet lamb. The hearth-rug was the com- 
bined work of the three Miss Slocums — a tiger's head sur- 


rounded by sprigs of roses. The carpet was covered with red, 
blue, and yellow flowers, as like nature as could be expected, 
when every flower was blazoned in its wrong colours. A scrap- 
screen — a piano — a stuffed fox — a small bookcase with glass 
doors — a hard grecian-shaped couch, covered with blue moreen, 
and trimmed with yellow cord — whilst the chairs, cushions, and 
footstools were to match. 

Mrs. Greenway was quite satisfied that her " best parlour " 
was equal, if not superior, to any other in England ; but she 
chose to be modest, and said, — 

" I suppose in London, among' the quality there, this room 
would be thought quite shabby ? — would it not now ? " 

Gertrude tried to conciliate the truth with the household 
pride of her companion. 

" Do people sit every day in their best parlours ? " asked Mrs. 
Greenway again. 

" Mrs. Donnelly only used ours on the day3 when she received 

" Do tell me about your house — what was it like ? and how 
was your best parlour furnished ? " said Mrs. Greenway eagerly. 

Gertrude began to comply, but Mrs. Greenway was far too 
full of herself and her own concerns to care much for listening-. 
Moreover, Mr. Greenway came in from his fields, and it was 
dinner time. 

Mr. Greenway greeted Gertrude with hearty cordiality ; he 
•seemed to be very proud of his wife, and asked Gertrude if she 
thought her changed from what she was as Martha Slocum. 

Mrs. Greenway appeared to take great interest in what her 
husband had been about during the morning, and to know 
almost as much of farming matters as he did himself. Mr. 
, Greenway appeared to have a high opinion of his wife's judg- 


ment. They were very happy, so thoroughly contented, with 
themselves and each other. 

Gertrude had never been in a warm, genial, domestic 
atmosphere in her life : they were a well-matched pair. 

After dinner the babies were all brought down, and Mr. 
Greenway left the two ladies to compare nursery notes, whilst 
he went bach to the field to superintend his men, his wife calling' 
after him to bid him come back early, as the people were coming- 
at four o'clock. 

After he was gone, Mrs. Greenway gave Gertrude all the 
details about her marriage, and indulged in a few natural reflec- 
tions and observations upon her husband's relations, displaying 
a little human and feminine jealousy of his sisters, who at first 
had been inclined to think that she had made a better match 
than their brother; but the bickerings were very slight, and 
they did not hate each other very much — for sisters-in-law. 

Two of the Miss Greenways arrived shortly after. They 
were older than Mrs. Greenway — stout, good-looking 1 young- 
women, with a decided way of expressing their opinions ; they 
evidently were accustomed to be considered the sensible women 
of the neighbourhood. They were disposed to be very civil to 
Gertrude, but were much more disposed to talk of their own 
subjects than to hear about fresh ones; and as Gertrude had 
been trained to be a good listener; they g'ot on together 
extremely well. 

Mrs. Slocum and her youngest daughter arrived the next. 
She was kind and motherly, and nursed Gertrude's baby. 

The vicar, with his wife and daughter, came in. The doctor 
and his maiden sister followed, a lady with light hair and blue 
eyes, who had been both pretty and accomplished, though never 
very sensible; she still had an air of juvenility, like a well- 


preserved winter apple. She was certainly past fifty, but still 
was a pretender to matrimony, and it was said was extremely 
well-disposed to smile on Mr. Conran, the solicitor, of Dunning- 
ton. There was also Miss Blackmore, an elderly maiden lady of 
strong masculine habits and tastes, who had convicted three 
men, and caused them to be transported, by her evidence on a 
trial for poaching. She had once shot a robber, and she rode 
about the country on horseback alone. She was a lady of 
ancient family, of which she was very proud. She farmed her 
own land, knew as much law as any J. P. on the bench, and 
was looked upon as one of the gentlemen of the neighbour, 

She despised female conversation about servants and children; 
so that, after cross-questioning Gertrude by way of commencing 
acquaintance, she relapsed into silence, and reserved her social 
talents until some other gentleman should arrive. 

Amongst the guests was a man who had formerly been very 
much in love with Gertrude ; but he had been an awkward, shy, 
silent youth, and Gertrude had maltreated him in proportion to 
the power he gave her. His father was a tanner, and Gertrude 
would have nothing to say to a man in her own sphere of life; 
but it had been with him another version of " Cymon and 
Iphigenia." Gertrude's elegance and beauty had awakened in 
the youth a perception of grace and refinement. He had 
cultivated his mind, and had expended a legacy of two hundred 
pounds in procuring for himself some classical learning under 
an Oxford graduate, and in gathering a small library. He had 
now succeeded to his father's business, and was a thriving man 
— the best parti roidant in the neighbourhood; but he showed 
no disposition to marry. He had a kind, quiet voice, and a 
singularly unobtrusive manner. He met Gertrude like an old 


friend, without either consciousness or embarrassment. He sat 
beside her, and talked of old times. 

Gertrude had been proud, discontented, and miserable in those 
days, but now it was great comfort to speak about them, and 
to recal a portion of the life that she had thrown away before 
she knew its value. One great source of her suffering, though 
she was scarcely aware of it, had in reality arisen from being 
S3parated from all who had belonged to her early life — that 
despised life to which she now looked back with such regretful 

Mrs. Greenway came up to her with vivacity, and took hold of 
her arm, saying, with what she intended to be playful raillery* 

" Well, upon my honour ! If that is the London fashion in 
which you married women talk to young men, we must look 
about us all. We are going into the other room to tea now, — 
you are not going to keep our best bachelor all to yourself. 
Mr. George, off with you, and attend to those girls. I shall not 
let you come near Gertrude again all the evening. I shall warn 
her husband against you !" 

A scene of much giggling and some confusion now took 
place before everybody was seated at the tea-table, — which was 
covered with piles of muffins and crumpets, buns, maccaroons, 
and queen cakes. 

Mr. Augustus and Simon Morley made their appearance. 
Mrs. Greenway, who was on remarkably good terms with her- 
self that evening, and who considered she had great powers of 
" quizzing," told Mr. Augustus of his wife's " goings on," as she 
called them. Mr. Augustus showed his charming versatility; 
he suited himself to his company, and made himself so 
fascinating that all the ladies considered Gertrude rather 
unworthy of having such a husband. 


The gentle— en, too, thought him a pleasant fellow. After 
playing one rubber in superior style, he deserted the whist table 
for the noisy and laughing round ^garne that was going on in 
another corner. — where his jokes and witticisms and compli- 
ments were beyond anything ever heard before. The vicar'a 
daughter ashed him if he were a military officer, to which he 
replied, " ~So, but his father had been in the navy, which might 
account for her question ! " The laughing caused by this 
repartee was enough to have rewarded all the wit for sis 
months at a club. 

A hot supper followed, which differed in nothing from a 
dinner; it was done justice to. " Something warm before they 
went out into the air " followed this ; and at ten o'clock cloaks 
and wrappings wove sought up. 

Simon Morley had ordered a chaise to come for Gertrude, and 
into it were crammed all the ladies whose homes lay towards 
Dunnington. Simon Morley and the men preferred walking. 
Mr. Greenway attended his guests to the outer gate, and, with 
reiterated " good nights," the party at last separated. 

Simon Morley and Mr. Augustus reached home as soon as 
Gertrude, who had to set everybody down at their doors. The 
coach gates were closed, and only a sleepy stable-boy remained 
up to receive the horses. Mrs. Simon had retired for the night, 
at which her husband greatly rejoiced; but he found her wide 
awake when he got up-stairs. He was thankful to put out his 
candle, and pull the bed-clothes over his ears, to shut out the 
sound of her observations. 



" Well," said Simon Morley at breakfast the next morning 
helping himself to a large pjece of pigeon-pie, " I must say I 
think Mrs. Greenway is as nice a woman as ever stepped ! 
I wonder, wife, you and she have not been better friends — so 
kind and friendly, and so pleasant-spoken as sbe is. I don't 
know when I have enjoyed myself better than I did last night, 
I say, we must invite the Greenways here — we might make up 
a nice party of old friends now Ger. is come to help you 
entertain them." 

" Very well, Mr. Simon M :rley ; if you wish to begin keeping 
company and giving suppers, cf course you can do so — perhaps 
you would like to have a ball too ? " 

"That is not a bad notion," rejoined her husband. "We 
have more room than they have at Lane End. What is that 
great assembly-room for that we should not have some good 
out of it?" 

" Certainly," said Mrs. Simon, sarcastically, " and maybe you 
will ask all the people in the town to fill it ; pray do so, if you 
feel inclined." Then turning* to Gertrude, she said, " I know 
your objections to sitting in the bar, pray do you think it neces- 
sary to stop to keep me company. You are used to seeing none 
but quality, and I cannot do with idlers here ; so you had better 


sit at your embroidery upstairs, in the nursery, and if any 
visitors come they may be shown in to you." 

Gertrude coloured painfully. " I will sit in whatever room 
you choose ; but, if you are busy, is there nothing I can do to 
help you?" 

"Oh dear no, thank you," said Mrs. Simon, with a little sharp 
laugh. " Ton would be quite out of your element here noiv, 
and your mother would never forgive such a thing — she thinks 
you ought to be put under a glass case, and kept to look at." 

" Say no more, Ger.," said Mr. Augustus, rather crossly, but 
go and sit wherever Mrs. Simon wishes ; it is not for you to be 
making objections." 

" Ger. does not like to be moped," added Mr. Simon ; " she 
shall come out and have a ride with me. We will go and see 
the hounds throw off." 

Mrs. Simon's thin lips were drawn into a fixed smile ; her 
cold grey eyes looked out into the perspective of the china- 
closet that opened out of the bar. 

" Thank you, Simon," said Gertrude ; " but you forget the 
baby. Mrs. Simon's nurse could scarcely manage the two of 
them. I think I cannot go with you this morning." 

" Besides, Gertrude is quite out of practice ; she would only 
break her neck or lame the horse," interposed Mr. Augustus, 
with an air of matrimonial authority. " You cannot do better, 
Gertrude, than put yourself under Mrs. Simon's guidance 
whilst you remain here, and follow her advice in all things, 
as I intend to do," he added, with a supplementary glance that 
made the virtuous Mrs. Simon feel convinced that she was a 
very superior woman, and that Mr. Augustus did justice to 
her excellences. 

Gertrude obeyed and left the room. The nurse, either 


prompted by Mrs. Simon or instigated by a sense of her own 
convenience, asked Gertrude to hold her baby, to which, of 
course, Gertrude consented. 

This day was the beginning of months to Gertrude ; it fixed 
her position as dependent upon Mrs. Simon. Of course the 
nurse could not be expected to wash another baby's things in 
addition, so Gertrude washed and ironed for her own baby. 
She was awkward at first, but she soon learned. It was no 
great hardship in itself, but the nurse was systematically dis- 
obliging, and seemed to consider her as much an intruder in her 
nursery as Mrs. Simon did when she went down stairs. 

All Gertrude's old acquaintance made a point of calling upon 
her — but they made remarks at being shown into the 
nursery, and as Mrs. Simon had conceived she had some cause 
of feud with most of the families in the town, she contrived to 
make Gertrude feel that it was very disagreeable to have so 
many people coming about the house who had no business 

The party that had been projected by her husband was after 
a short time adopted by Mrs. Simon, who did not see " why she 
might not hold her head as high as Mrs. Greenway if she 
chose," and she did choose to do so on this occasion. 

Everybody accepted their invitation. Mrs. Simon, in an 
unusually good humour and the consciousness of a new satin 
gown, made herself extremely pleasant — as most ill-tempered 
people can, when they have a mind. Mr. Augustus was inde- 
fatigable in his attentions, and she was proud to show off her 
handsome brother-in-law, " whose father had been an admiral, 
whose uncle was a baronet, and who himself was expecting an 
office under government ;" he stood in quite a different position 
to his wife. Gertrude played country dances for them, and 


exerted herself to amuse the company — but all she did was 
received as a matter of course, and everybody felt quite free to 
criticise all she said and did, and to find that she was " proud," 
"conceited," "insincere," and "very affected;" whilst Mrs. 
Matley, the rich draper's wife, declared to her nearest neigh- 
bour, " that Mrs. Donnelly's dress was shamefully extravagant, 
that it must have cost at least ten guineas without the making 
— and that she wore a lace shawl fit for a duchess." This 
was quite true. 

Gertrude wore the silk dress which her husband had given 
her at the christening, and the shawl was the lace-veil he had 
given her at the same time ; — she had made up the dress her- 
self — which the worthy Mrs. Matley never dreamed of suspect- 
ing - , and when she inveighed against the folly and wickedness 
of " people in Mrs. Donnelly's circumstances " spending so 
much money on dress, she never reflected that it might possibly 
have been brought ln-fore the " circumstances " besfan. 

The party, however, was none the less pleasant because Mrs. 
Donnelly was there to find food for scandal and gossip ; — it 
raised Mrs. Simon's popularity. Nobody had ever imagined 
she could be " so pleasant." 

To elate from thn party, everybody in Dunnington was fully 
alive to the fact " that poor Mr. Donnelly had been brought to 
ruin bj' the extravagance of his wife." 

Keports of her wastfulness, her extravagance, her love of 
dress and company, were abroad, until everybody felt them- 
selves immeasurably better, and wiser, and more prudent than 
poor Gertrude, to say nothing of being much " better off," — 
which is a cardinal virtue everywhere. 

It is always pleasant to find that people's misfortunes have 
been brought upon themselves, and that Providence in its di.s- 


pensations has only " served them right ;" because when they are 
objects of compassion it is the imperative duty of their friends 
to assist them, which is often inconvenient and generally 
disag'reeable ; indeed, it is always expensive to maintain a 
virtue at one's own cost — there is a natural instinct to set it up 
at the expense of others — and it is a moral duty not to interfere 
in a case that is to serve the sufferers "for a lesson as long as 
they live ! " 

Gertrude's old acquaintance became patronising when they 
were not cool ; but their patronage brought no results beyond 
inviting her to dine or to drink tea with them, that they might 
see her dresses, and obtain patterns of her sleeves and collars, 
and hear what was the fashion in London, for which she was 
rewarded by being - abused for her " shameful love of dress," 
and her husband was proportionately pitied for being tied to 
such an extravagant, helpless woman." 

Mrs. Greenway was the best friend Gertrude had ; she really 
liked her old playfellow, and she stood up stoutly for her 
when she heard her abused, and she was constantly coming to 
fetch Gertrude and the baby to spend the day with her. But 
Mrs. Greenway was a coarse, prosperous woman, and far too 
full of herself and her own concerns to be able to feel any 
sympathy with Gertrude's trials ; she patronised her extremely 
and ostentatiously, until even her good nature was scarcely 
sufficient to redeem the coarseness — she spoke of her as " poor 
Mrs. Donnelly," and wondered to see " Gertrude Morley's high 
spirit so come down." Women certainly have the gift of 
tormenting each other beyond what any dispensation of Provi- 
dence can effect- 
As to Mr. Augustus, he found himself as comfortable as ever 
he had been in his life. There was plenty of the best to eat 


and drink ; there was plenty of coursing and shooting - , and as 
he was a good shot, and fond of field sports, he was very 
popular amongst the men, he had the use of any horse in his 
brother-in-law's stables ; he often rode to cover, and having a 
dexterous impudence and a rambling acquaintance with a 
variety of persons, he contrived, on the strength of " mutual 
intimate friends," to pick up an acquaintance with several 
members of the hunt, — who not only invited him to dinner, but 
occasionally to stop at their country houses, if they had a party 
that wanted enlivening. His good jokes, songs, and stories, 
all made somewhat broader to suit his meridian, made him a 
valuable guest at a dinner-table, when country neighbours and 
country squires were to be entertained, and golden opinions 
laid by against the great day of a future election. 

"When at home there was as much smoking and drinkinsr to 
be had as he chose, and plenty of company, for he was voted to 
be " the life and soul of every party." He drew plenty of 
loungers into the bar, or, when Mrs. Simon was in one of her 
sharp-edged tempers, he sat in the little market parlour, No. 2 ; 
where Simon Morley junior sat with them much oftener and 
longer than was consistent with the prosecution of his business. 

Mrs. Simon continued to be very proud of her brother-in-law, 
and he could manage her better than any one else, though she 
often tried to make him feel her temper; but as he was 
profoundedly indifferent, and not at all troubled with 
delicate feelings, it was quite out of her power to annoy 
him; indeed, her attempts to do so always recoiled upon 

He was so useful to her on all great emergencies, such as 
rent-days, clubs, and public dinners, that she grew at last to be 
afraid of displeasing him, and listened to his opinion with a 


deference that delighted her husband, who enjoyed seeing her 
" brought to reason," as he called it. 

Mr. Augustus was, moreover, a capital judge of horses and 
dogs — he was also a first-rate horse doctor ; he was conse- 
quently an authority in the stable-yard, and much looked up to 
by the grooms, ostlers, and postboys who congregated there. 

Simon Morley was thankful to have so pleasant a companion 
and so useful an ally ; he would have made Augustus welcome 
to live with him all the rest of his life ; and even Mrs. Simon, 
stingy as she was by nature, and little addicted to giving away 
anything, made him frequent presents — indeed, he had the 
secret of coaxing her out of anything he wished. 

His social talents were once on the point of bringing him a 
substantial return. Sir Willoughby Bethel, a rich baronet, 
whom he had frequently met out hunting, and at various dinner- 
parties, offered him the situation of his land steward at a hand- 
some salary; but the blood of all the Donnellys rose at the 
idea of being any man's servant and taking wages. Moreover, 
the situation would have required no inconsiderable exercise of 
industry, exactness, activity, and various other somewhat 
fatiguing virtues, with which the incomparable Augustus 
scarcely felt himself endowed ; he therefore declined the 
situation with the air of a prince, and declared that he had 
been requested "to hold himself in readiness to receive a 
government appointment." 




Poor Gertrude had to pay the penalty of her husband's im- 
munity. There is nothing gratuitous in the world — payment is 
rigorously exacted some time or other — and it was from Ger- 
trude that Mrs. Simon repaid herself for the complacency she 
showed to Mr. Augustus. Mr. Augustus told his wife, with 
great indignation, of the offer he had received to become Sir 
Willoughby's land agent; and he calmed his offended dignity 
by a few expletives at the insolence of any man asking the like 
of him to become his out-door servant to collect his rents. 

" But, dear Augustus, the salary would have been very hand- 
some, and you might still have accepted a government situation 
if one should have offered ; do you think you were quite wise 
to refuse a certainty? It is so miserable living dependent 

" I wish, Gertrude, you would talk about what you under- 
stand. Do you think it is fit or right for the like of me to 
demean myself by taking a bailiff's place ? But it is because 
you have no good blood in you, or you would not think of such 
a thing for me." 

" It would be far more honourable than to live here dependent 
on my brother," said Gertrude, firmly. " Have you any plans 
at all, or do you expect to go on living here for ever? I do 


not see how we can do that ; we have no right to be a burden 
to the family." 

" You are mighty delicate," said her husband, scornfully. 
" Why should you not go to your own side of the house ? Your 
people are rich enough, and what have they ever done for you, 
or for me either, beyond giving us these few months' board ? I 
am not going to turn out till it suits my arrangements. If 
you could only humour Mrs. Simon, and give in to her a little, 
you might be as comfortable as the day is long ; but you have 
such a bad temper that you can live with nobody." 

" How have I ever shown rny temper, Augustus ? " asked 
Gertrude, her eyes filling with tears. 

" Yes, you may look ; but you have a bad temper. You could 
not agree with my mother and Sophy, and now you quarrel 
with Mrs. Simon because she does not flatter you, and is just a 
little sharp in her ways." 

" But, Augustus, what right have we to expect my brother to 
support us in idleness ? Will you at least write to your uncle 
about that place you said he would ask for you ? I should feel 
then as if we were trying to do something to help ourselves." 

" I would thank you to mind your own business, and not to be 
bothering me. I suppose I know my own concerns, and can 
manage them without your help. I should never have been 
here at all if it had not been for you." 

Mr. Augustus took up his hat and went up the street, ex- 
tremely ruffled at his wife's pertinacity and want of considera- 
tion for his feellings. Gertrude, left alone, leaned her head 
upon her arms and wept bitterly; they were tears of humilia- 
tion and hopelessness. Her husband had never so spoken to her 
before. She had hitherto cherished a faint hope that Augustus 
would take some steps to extricate himself from his difficulties ; 


she had believed him to be only thoughtless and idle— now she 
recognised him as worthless. His entire want of all energy 
and independence — his entire indifference to her comfort — his 
unkindness — all combined to make this the very bitterest 
moment she had yet known. The last relic of matrimonial 
superstition was swept away, and she felt an unmitigated con- 
tempt for Mr. Augustus Donnelly, which, however, her own con- 
science turned into a still more bitter self-contempt and self- 

" I should never have been here if it had not been for you." 
It was quite true this — she had no one but herself to blame ; if 
she had done her duty to her parents, she would not have been 
left thus helpless and miserable; she had despised her home, 
and now she was justly despised and destitute of any home to 
call her own. Her tears gradually ceased to flow ; her own 
disobedience and ingratitude, the vanity and discontent of her 
conduct, were presented to her mind with the strong, stern 
emphasis of conscience ; she was " filled with the fruit of her 
own ways," and her punishment was no more than she deserved. 

No sooner was this conviction forced upon her, than she 
became conscious of a great calm. She ceased to pity herself; 
she accepted her punishment, and a strong patience filled her 
heart. She felt that, to be all that was left for her, the only 
expiation she could make for the sin that had lain at the root of 
her life. Light had arisen upon her darkness. She knelt 
down ; she was not conscious of using any words, but with her 
whole heart she surrendered herself, desiring only that thence- 
forth she might not desire to do her own will, but to do what- 
' ever duty might be laid upon her. 

It was the beginning of a new life for Gertrude. All out- 
ward things remained as they had been, but the spirit with 


which she regarded them was changed, and from that moment 
she had taken her first step in a better life. 

She looked round to see what there was that she could do. 
At first it struck her as a bright thought that she might set up 
as a milliner and dressmaker, for she had great taste, and was 
not without skill, having for some time past made up all her 
own dresses ; but when she spoke of it to her husband, he flew 
into a passion, and declared that " no wife of his should manty- 
make for a parcel of farmers' wives," and bade her not attempt 
such a thing at her peril. 

Gertrude acquiesced, and contented herself for the moment 
with making up a handsome purple satin for Mrs. Simon, which 
her husband had given her as a fairing; he gave Gertrude a 
dress at the same time, of much commoner materials, which 
had greatly raised his wife's jealously, and she grumbled at his 
extravagance for a month. 

Gertrude waited patiently for some opening. Little Cla- 
rissa progressed from a baby into an engaging and lovely 

Mrs. Moi'ley had kept Gertrude supplied with money, but 
she did it under difficulties, inasmuch as her husband was very 
suspicious, and constantly declared that " until that lazy, worth- 
less hound, turned his hand to work, he should not see one six- 
pence of his money." 

" But, Simon, what can he do ? He has never been brought 
up to work." 

" More's the pity, then. He might turn a wheel, if he could 
do nothing better; but he is born lazy, and would any day 
rather beg than work. I wonder he is not ashamed to live on 
Simon and his wife. I desire you give neither him nor Ger- 
trude money. She is every bit as bad as he is." 


Poor Mrs. Morley made no reply; but she helped her 
daughter secretly. 

The opportunity Gertrude was looking for came at last. 

The young woman who assisted Mrs, Simon left somewhat 
suddenly, in consequence of a violent altercation with Mrs. 
Simon, in which both parties had indulged themselves in the 
luxury of " speaking their minds," which is generally a 
hazardous process, something like meddling with fireworks. It 
happened, inconveniently enough, that Mrs. Simon was looking 
forwards to her confinement in a short time. She was in a 
dilemma where to turn for another assistant, but she scorned 
the idea of attempting to propitiate the offended Hebe. Ger- 
trude offered to fill her place, at least until Mrs. Simon should 
have leisure to suit herself better. 

The spirit in which a thing is done always makes itself felt. 
Gertrude made her offer with genuine good feeling, and the 
hearty desire that it should be accepted. Mrs. Simon felt the 
spell, though she tossed back her head with a little scornful 
laugh, and said — • 

" Well, to be sure ! Who would ever have thought 
of your doing- such a thing? I am sure I don't ask 
you to demean yourself. Of course you cannot expect to 
understand the business, and I would much prefer a regular 

But Gertrude pleaded that she recollected her mother's 
method, and that Mrs. Simon might soon train her. She 
besides expressed her wish to do something to requite the 
hospitality that had been shown to them all. Gertrude asked it 
as a favour — Mrs. Simon granted it as such.. 

Gertrude resumed with thankfulness the position which four 
years previously she had thrown off so impatiently, but .she 


" wore lier rue witb. a difference ; " it was Mrs. Simon, and not 
her mother, whom she now served. 

The great difference was, however, in Gertrude herself, and 
the altered spirit in which she accepted the situation which had 
formerly cost her such an agony of pride and false shame. 
Gertrude exerted herself heartily to become an efficient assistaut 
to Mrs. Simon, and she succeeded. 

During that worthy lady's confinement Gertrude managed 
the business in a manner that highly delighted her brother, and 
which filled poor Mrs. Morley, who came over for a few days, 
with admiration and regret. To see her Gertrude a servant in 
what had been her father's house pained her bitterly; but 
although she wept over the matter with Mrs. Slocum, she had 
the strength of mind to say nothing to Gertrude, except to give 
her all the practical advice and help she could with her own 
experience in the business. 

Gertrude exerted herself to seem happy and comfortable be- 
fore her mother, and indeed she felt much happier than she 
had been for many months. 

Mr. Augustus made no objection to this state of things. He 
fondly hoped that people would not understand the arrange- 
ment, and it removed any scruple he might entertain about 
settling himself in peace until the " government " situation 
should restore him from his state of social eclipse. 

By degrees Gertrude reaped the natural result of her con- 
duct. She had ceased to look at her position through the eyes 
of other people, and she was surprised to find how completely 
that took the sting out of her mortifications ; for we could all 
bear what actually befals us, if it were not for the idea of what 
other people would think of it. 

When Mrs. Simon got about again, she could not resist the 



malicious pleasure of trying to humiliate Gertrude as much as 
possible ; especially she insisted upon her attending to all the 
carriage visitors, in the hope that she might chance to meet 
with some of her old acquaintance amongst them ; but Gertrude 
had once for all accepted her position, and she had lost all 
desire to be thought different from what she really was. She 
lost nothing in real refinement, it was only vanity and the love 
of appearances which had been burnt out of her nature. 

When everybody in Dunnington had thoroughly informed 
themselves about her circumstances, and when everyone had 
made all the remarks, wise and foolish, that occurred to them, 
and had sat in judgment until they were somewhat weary of 
pronouncing " their decided opinion," they ceased to talk about 
her, or at least much moderated " the rancour of their tongues ;" 
and Gertrude felt herself much happier than when she was " the 
beautiful Miss Morley," the toast of the neighbourhood, and the 
expected heiress of a handsome fortune; but when, at the same 
time, she was ashamed of her parents, disgusted with her home, 
and only anxious to get away at all hazards, 



A GOOD clergyman once said, " that when persons have once 
set themselves to learn the lesson their trials are intended to 
teach, they are delivered from them ; but not until they have be- 
come perfectly patient and willing' to endure." 

Gertrude had pretty well reached this point; she and her 
husband had been somewhere about a year and a half inmates 
of the " Metringham Arms," when one day a letter came to 
Augustus from old Mrs. Donnelly. After the break up of 
affairs, the old lady had cleverly avoided paying any of the debts 
(all the bills being made out to Augustus) ; she had even, by 
dint of romantic misrepresentations, softened the hearts of the 
creditors, who believed her to be a victim as well as themselves. 
She had removed her furniture to a warehouse, and taken refuge 
with her daughter at a distant country-house, in the county of 
Tipperary, belonging to her husband's brother, the baronet of 
the family. 

Here she learned the degraded and deplorable situation of her 
son — living with an inn-keeper, his wife's brother, and liable to 
be seen by all the nobility and gentry of his acquaintance tra- 
velling that road ! 

When she had regained her self-possession, after the distress- 
ing events which caused her departure from London, she ceased 


not to entreat and torment Sir Lucius Donnelly to exert him- 
self to obtain some foreign appointment for his nephew. 

People in this world obtain more by perseverance than by 
any other quality; "the unjust steward," in the parable, is a 
type of human nature — we will all do more for those who, by 
their continual entreaty, " weary us," than for those who simply 
deserve service at our hands ; and Mrs. Donnelly so effectually 
wearied her brother-in-law, that, on one of his friends being 
appointed governor of some settlement on the coast of Africa, 
he asked him to take Augustus Donnelly as secretary, and to 
make himself generally useful. 

The governor, who was going into honourable exile on ac- 
count of his debts, made no difficulty in assenting to the pro- 
posal ; in fact, he was very glad at the prospect of having such 
a "jolly dog" to share in such a dismal expedition. 

Mrs. Donnelly was a proud and happy woman the day she 
could write to her son that he was appointed private secretary to 
his Excellency Sir Simon Bulrush, Governor of Fort-Fever 
Point, on the coast of Calabar. It did not distress this Roman 
mother that her son, the peerless Augustus, would in all pro- 
bability die the first thing after reaching his ominously-named 
station, and be buried, by way of taking possession of his post. 
It was, in her opinion, infinitely better that he should die an 
"honourable secretary," than live in obscure disgrace at a 
country inn. 

" Hang it, Ger. ! " said Mr. Augustus, tossing the letter to his 
wife, " the old lady seems to take it very coolly ; but I don't see 
the fun of leaving comfortable quarters to go and die of yellow 
fever, and be food for land crabs at a place I never heard of 
when I learned geography. I shall make free to decline my 
uncle's valuable appointment." 


"Have you the hope of anything better?" said Gertrude, 
sadly. " Lord Southend seems to . have forgotten yon, and we 
cannot live here always. I would inquire about it at least be- 
fore refusing it." 

" I shall do whatever I please, without reference to your sage 
opinioa, so you need not trouble yourself to advise me," said 
Mr. Augustus with ineffable dignity, and, putting' on his hat, 
whistled to a pointer, and sauntered across the yard. He found 
himself, as we have said, very comfortable indeed, and he had 
no notion of perilling his valuable life by going to the coast of 
Africa. He swore at his uncle for not obtaining him something 
better, and had determined to stand out for some other " stroke 
of fortune ;" but something occurred in the course of the day to 
alter his determination. 

Resigned as Gertrude had become to her lot, this sudden 
prospect of independence for her husband, and the probability 
of its being refused by his fatuity, was too much for her equa- 
nimity; and she went up to her room and cried heartily, the 
first comfort of the kind she had indulged in for some months. 

She was aroused by the voice of Mr. Simon calling upon her 
name with great asperity of tone. She hastily started up, and, 
descending to the bar, found there had been an influx of car- 
riages all requiring post horses for the next stage ; some of the 
inmates stopping to lunch, and others impatient to proceed. 
The family in No. 4 wanted their bill, and the gentleman in 
No. 6 was complaining of an overcharge. Mrs. Simon was in 
the worst of all possible humours ; and, as she did not venture 
to scold the servants, she vented it on Gertrude. 

Gertrude set to work to reduce the confusion that reigned 
into sonlething like order ; she pacified the indignant gentle- 
man, and expedited the post-boys, and had forgotten her own 


immediate affairs, when she was startled to see Augustus, 
flushed and hurried, stride into the house and proceed upstairs. 
There he took refuge in the nursery, the door of which he 
locked after him. 

The nurse and children were preparing for a walk, and were 
terrified out of their senses when Mr. Augustus entered so 
abruptly; and their alarm was not diminished by seeing him 
proceed to conceal himself in the closet. 

" Goodness gracious, sir ! what is the matter ?" 
" Go and tell Gertrude, Mrs. Donnelly, that I must speak to 
her immediately ; do not let any one hear you ; lock the door, 
and take the key with you ; never mind the children, you can 
fetch them afterwards." 

But the nurse was not going to abandon her precious charge. 
She unlocked the door, and took them with her, getting out of 
the room as expeditiously as possible. 

Gertrude was in the bar, speaking to the gentleman who had 
complained of being overcharged. 

" Please, ma'am, Mr. Donnelly is upstairs in the nursery, and 
would be glad to see you. I think you had best go directly, or 
he may do himself a mischief. I declare he quite frightened 
me by the way he came in. 

" I also should be glad to see Mr. Donnelly," said the gentle- 
man ; " so you had best tell him to come down, as I shall not 
leave the house until I have had some conversation with 

But poor Gertrude looked so alarmed and distressed that the 
gentleman said, C1 1 am very sorry to cause you any distress, 
madam ; your husband has no doubt already recognised me as 
a — creditor ; my coming was purely accidental, but I shall not 
leave without seeing him. His best plan will be to come imme- 


diately ; no doubt there is a private room where we may settle 
our business." 

" Indeed we have had no money since we left London," said 
Gertrude, earnestly. 

" Possibly not," said the other, drily. " Mr. Donnelly is a 
gentleman who seldom has money when it comes to paying ; 
but you had best go to him, or he will fancy some mischief is 
preparing ; you may tell him that I mean him no harm." 



Scarcely able to support herself, Gertrude hastened upstairs 
to the nursery. The room was empty ! " Augustus, where are 
you ? " she called ; but there was no answer. " Augustus ! " 
called she in a louder tone, whilst a sickening apprehension, of 
she knew not what, made her scarcely able to articulate. After 
a moment the closet-door opened and showed the pale face of 

" What an infernal time you have been." said he, " and what 
a noise you make. Is he gone ? " 

" No ; he says he knows yor^and must see you ; but that he 
means you no harm, and did not come on purpose." 

" Confound the fellow," muttered Augustus, " he will set the 
whole pack on me now, and so snug as I have been from them 
all! Was there ever such a piece of ill-luck?" 

In a short time, however, he allowed himself to be soothed 
and persuaded into descending to meet his creditor. 

" You stay with me, Ger. ; he will be afraid of threatening 
too much before you : and mind you stand up to all I say." 

The " creditor " in question was a wine and spirit merchant 
to whom Augustus owed 120Z., and for which he had given his 
note of hand, which had already been renewed more than once. 
He was walking up and down the room, with his hands in his 


pockets, and looked very gloomy ; but creditors, with so slender 
a chance of being paid, cannot be expected to have pleasant 

Augustus met him with a bravado of frankness which was 
awkward enough. 

" Now perhaps the lady will retire, as I in no wise wish to 
hurt the feelings of any female ; and you are aware you have 
not behaved as a gentleman ought." 

Gertrude petitioned to stay, and Augustus declared he had no 
secrets from his wife. 

A long and stormy interview followed. At first the wine 
merchant, who had learned the relationship, and knowing the 
Morleys, father and son, to be people of substance, thought they 
would be responsible for him ; he refused to listen to any terms 
except the money down. 

At length, however, Gertrude in great despair brought in her 
brother, entreating him to " save Augustus." In answer to that 
appeal, he first put her quietly out of the room, and then con- 
vinced the man that neither he nor his father would pay one 
farthing of Mr. Augustus Donnelly's debts. The creditor 
became more tractable, and, in consideration -of being promised 
ten shillings in the pound, to be paid out of Mr. Augustus 
Donnelly's first salary, which was guaranteed by Simon Morley, 
he consented to compound the debt, and to keep the secret 
of his whereabouts from every one. He thought it highly 
problematical whether there would be ever a second quarter to 

This incident of course dispelled any doubts that Mr. 
Augustus might have entertained about accepting the situation. 
He wrote a grateful letter to his uncle, entreating assistance for 
his outfit. As there was now every prospect of finally getting' 



rid of him, his uncle sent him twenty-five pounds and a 
prescription for the yellow fever. 

Old Mrs. Donnelly, who, with all her sins, really loved her 
son, sent him ten pounds more ; and Miss Sophia sent him half- 
a-dozen pair of Limerick gloves towards his outfit, and begged 
he would not fail to collect some gold dust, ostrich feathers, and 
elephants' teeth, " as curiosities for her cabinet." 



When the news that Mr. Augustus was appointed to go with 
a real governor out to Africa spread through Dunnington, there 
were diversities of opinion on the subject, but it made Mr. 
Augustus himself into a hero, and he had to go through quite a 
course of farewell hospitalities. 

Mrs. Simon was perplexed in her mind. She was very sorry 
to lose Augustus — it was gall and wormwood to think that 
Gertrude would be raised to a position so far above her own ; 
but then, it was some consolation to reflect that she would lose 
her beautiful complexion in such a climate, and would look quite 
an old woman when she returned. 

" Of course Gertrude will go along with her husband," was 
the remark of everybody in Dunnington. 

"I suppose your mother will take charge of your child?" 
said old Mrs. Slocum to her. 

" I have not the least intention of leaving my child," replied 
Gertrude, quietly. "Augustus is quite willing that I should 
remain behind; indeed I do not suppose it is a place where 
females could well go." 

"But, my dear, do you think you are right to send your 
husband where you would not go yourself? A wife's duty is 
always to be with her husband and share his fortune. In my 


young days, if Matthew Slocum had been going 1 to the desert 
where the children of Israel wandered for forty years and more, 
I should have gone with him. I think it would be breaking 
your marriage vow if you let him go out alone — your child 
ought to come after your husband." 

" But, Mrs. Slocum, Augustus does not want me ; I should 
die out there. There is no accommodation for me. I should be 
dreadfully in the way." 

" No matter, my clear, it is your duty to follow your husband. 
If you leave him, there is no saying what sin and mischief he 
may not fall into ; and if he were to die, how you would reflect 
upon yourself! Such a fine young man too, — and the father of 
your child ! Nothing can excuse a woman from her duty to her 
husband — it is like nothing else in the world." 
Gertrude looked hot and annoyed, and said, — 
" Well, Mrs. Slocum, whether it is my duty or not, I shall 
not go to Africa. I shall stop at home, and do my duty by my 

"Ah!" sighed the curate's wife — ci-devant Miss Matilda 
Slocum ; " but you know, Gertrude, that we are not to choose 
oar duties, — and a wife's duty is so plain and easy " 

Gertrude made no reply, and it was soon spread throughout 
Dunnington that Gertrude was quite without feeling and was 
going to desert her husband; the charitable feeling of the 
neighbourhood ran so high in consequence, that many declared 
that if her child were to die it would only be a punishment she 
had deserved. 

If the truth must be told, poor Mrs. Morley believed in this 
code of conjugal devotion. A husband, in her eyes, was some- 
thing sacred and peculiar ; he had ceased to be a man, and 
was invested with mystical rights and attributes. She had 


no doubt but that Gertrude would go, and she burst into 
such a transport of grief when the news of the appointment 
reached her, that her husband was moved from his usual 
surly composure — he laid down his pipe, and said compas- 
sionately, — 

" Don't cry, missis, don't cry ; there is nothing to take on 
about in that way that I can see." 

" Oh Simon ! it is losing her twice over. I shall never live 
to see her come back." 

"But what should she go away for? I don't see why she 
should not come back to us, when that husband of hers is fairly 
gone, and a good riddance she will have of him. It does not 
signify where he goes to — it is chaps like him who ought to be 
sent to such places, and leave better folks at home; if he dies 
he will be no loss to anybody." 

" Oh, Simon, how can you talk so hard-hearted ; he is her 
own husband ! " 

" Aye, more's the pity ! But I'll tell you what — I will drive 
over to Dunnington to-day, and see what Ger. says. If she will 
stop behind, she shall have a home here, and the child too — and 
I will never cast the past into her teeth again. Maybe I have 
T3een too hard upon her sometimes. "When I have gone over 
there lately I have seen her very handy in the bar, helping 
Simon's wife ; she has lost that confounded pride that has been 
her ruin." 

Simon Morley was as good as his word, and that very after- 
noon Gertrude saw her father drive into the yard in his old 
yellow gig, drawn by his favourite horse Sharper. 

He came straight into the bar, where Gertrude was busily 
engaged in transferring some figures from a slate into her book. 
Mrs. Simon received him with many demonstrations of welcome, 


but Gertrude, after shaking hands with him, resumed her 

Mrs. Simon ensconced him in her own corner, and supplied 
him with a pipe and a glass of hot rum and water ; but he did 
not seem so amenable to her civilities as usual. 

" Well, Ger.," said he, after he had smoked some time, 
during which he had been watching her in silence ; " so your 
husband's grand friends have made a gentleman of him 
again ? " 

" Yes — he has received an appointment, such as it is." 

"Well, your mother has sent me over to fetch you and the 
child — to stop with us whilst he is away. When do you reckon 
you can come ? — when does he go ? " 

" The time is not fixed yet, and perhaps Mrs. Simon may not 
like to spare me till she meets with somebody else." 

" Oh pray do not think of me," said Mrs. Simon, with a toss 
of her head; you are not so precious as all that comes to — do 
not let me stand in your way, I beg." 

"You are quite right, missis; Ger. must come back to us, 
and let us have some comfort of her. She has been a good 
wench since she came here. I hate pride; but work never 
shamed a-bocly yet — nought but idleness does that — and now 
thou hast shown that thou art not above work thou art welcome 
to home." 

This speech rewarded Gertrude for all her troubles. Mr. 
Augustus entered shortly after, and Simon Morley, with more 
civility than might have been expected, repeated his proposal to 
take Gertrude home. 

Mr. Augustus, who had grown considerably grander since his 
appointment, expressed himself like the fine gentleman he was, 
and gave his gracious permission for Gertrude to remain at 


The Cottage with her parents until he could send for her to 
join him. 

Stimulated with the prospect of getting rid of him for good, 
Simon Morley presented his son-in-law with ten pounds towards 
his outfit — so that the preparations of Mr. Augustus were on a 
very comfortable scale. Gertrude had enough wifely feeling to 
take pride in sending him away handsomely provided, and she 
had even a sense of complacency in seeing how well he looked 
in his new clothes. 

She would have gone with him to Bristol, to see him on board 
the ship, but Mr. Augustus preferred parting from her at Dun- 
nington, observing "that they must begin to be saving now they 
had the opportunity, and that they might as well save the money, 
and part at the beginning of the journey instead of the end." 

Few women become really hardened to indifference on the 
part of their husbands ; there is a nerve in their heart that 
quivers long after all love seems to have died out. 

Gertrude sighed, and felt a pang of bitterness at this un- 
conscious evidence of the entire absence of all affection for her, 
but she hid it under a quiet face. 

" As you please, Augustus ; you will write the last thing*, and 
tell hid how you get on board." 

" Of course I will. Keep your spirits up, and do get out of 
this confounded place as soon as you can. I am endorsed 
"on her Majesty's service" now, and this is not the sort of 
thing for you any longer. I wonder how you have been able to 
make a companion of Mrs. Simon so long ; you have no proper 
pride in you." 

Gertrude did not reply to this rational speech ; she had no 
energy to waste in trying to reduce things to their logical con- 


The morning dawned upon which Mr. Augustus was to de- 
part from Dunnington. Gertrude got up to give him an early- 
breakfast. The chaise was to be at the door at five o'clock, to 
take him to meet the Bristol mail. 

Mr. Augustus was in charming spirits at the prospect of 
getting away. 

" Good bye, Ger. ; take care of yourself and the child. I will 
send for you whenever there comes a stroke of fortune. Write 
to me sometimes to say how you go on ; enclose your letters to 
Sir Simon. And now good bye. I hope all my trunks are on 
the chaise, and that you have forgotten nothing — good bye, 
good bye." 

And Mr. Augustus sprang into the chaise. Early as it was, 
many heads were at the windows as he passed through the 
town. He looked back, and saw Gertrude still standing look- 
ing after him ; a turn in the street hid her from his sight. Mr. 
Augustus went on his way too much rejoiced in being set free 
from Dunnington to feel any tender regrets. Gertrude turned 
to re-enter the house, with a mixed feeling of relief and bit- 

The overstrain of fatigue and excitement had ceased. She 
sat down and wept bitterly ; she was left belonging to nobodv, 
and she felt very lonely. In the afternoon, however, her father 
came to fetch her, and in the rejoicing her mother made over 
her return she grew comforted, and forgot the past in the quiet 
rest of being once more by her mother's side. 

the sorrows op gentility. 247 


Mr. Augustus wrote from Bristol in the most charming 
spirits ; he had joined Sir Simon Bulrush, with whom he was 
enchanted. He spoke of " the good people at Dunnington" 
with an air of elegant superciliousness which would have been 
amusing to a stranger, but which gave Gertrude a bitter feel- 
ing of contempt as she recollected the contented servility with 
which he had nattered Mrs. Simon and lived upon her brother. 

The fact was, that Mr. Augustus had thrown off the chrysalis 
of obscurity, and had once more emerged into the " ampler ether 
and diviner air " of polite society, towards which he filled pre- 
cisely the same position which he had done in Dunnington. 

A few hasty lines, written subsequently, told her that he had 
embarked, and Gertrude was ashamed of the deep breath of 
relief she drew when she was sure that he was fairly gone, and 
that there would be no misgiving of any of the arrangements. 

Mrs. Morley, who took it for granted that she must fret after 
her husband, tried to cheer her up with homely comfort. Ger- 
trude did not dare to tell how it was with her ; it would have 
pained her mother, who loved the hard, harsh, griping* Simon 
Morley with all her heart, because he was her husband. It is 
painful to find how little our dearest friends know about us, 


even though we may have lived, as we imagine, transparently 
before them. 

" So near, and yet so far !" 

" Have I been so long time with yon, and yet hast thou not 
known me ? " is a question that rises frequently and mournfully 
upon us all. 

Mrs. Morley hoped that she was now at last going to live 
happily and comfortably with Gertrude ; but, poor woman, the 
early mistake she had made in Gertrude's training had done its 
irrevocable work, making them totally unsuitable as compa- 
nions. Gertrude had never been knitted in the bonds of home, 
and there was a certain constraint and strangeness she could 
never overcome. This was increased by the constant sense of 
the sin she had committed against her parents ; the very anxiety 
to atone for it gave her a sense of consciousness and effort; 
whilst poor Mrs. Morley was so afraid Gertrude would be an- 
noyed at different things, or, as she phrased it, " lest she should 
not be content," that the poor woman was nearly worn to a 
nervous fever. 

As to Simon Morley, his ebullition of paternal hospitality 
subsided soon to low-water mark. He felt the injustice of 
having to support another man's family, and though he could 
not call it a hardship, yet he gave grudgingly. 

He never showed any affection for his little grandchild, but 
as she went trotting about the room, he would take his pipe 
from his lips and remark cynically, " that she would soon be old 
enough to go out to service." 

One day when she was sitting on her stool absorbed in the 
pictures of " Dr. Watts's Hymns," which Mrs. Morley had 
bought for sixpence from a pedlar, he reached across, and taking 


it out of her hand, flung it into the fire, saying, " she should 
not be brought up to be bookish and fantastical ; one of that 
sort in a family was enough." 

Miss Clarissa set up a fit of crying, and went into a violent 
passion on the loss of her book, whereupon Simon Morley's 
temper and patience both gave way ; he laid the child across 
his knee and whipped her severely, saying, as he set her down, 
" that if she did not leave off crying, he would fling her out of 
the window." 

Mrs. Morley and Gertrude were both present during this 
exercise of arbitrary power. 

" I wonder you are not ashamed of yourself to treat a baby 
like that so cruelly," said Mrs. Morley, indignantly. 

" You want to make a fool of the child as you did of the 
mother, but I will see better than that" — and he knocked the 
ashes out of his pipe with a violence that broke it — then, rising, 
he pat on a broad-brimmed hat, and went out into the yard to 
see the horses stabled after they came in from the fields. 

Gertrude had not said one word, only she turned very pale 
and sick — not for the bodily pain which she saw inflicted, but 
for the bitter lesson of harshness and injustice, which was 
enough to poison the whole childhood at its well-spring. She 
did not speak one word. When her father left the room her 
mother took up the child, and tried to comfort her with candy 
and kisses. 

When Simon Morley returned the child was in bed. 

That very night Gertrude took her resolution. She wrote a 
letter to Lady Southend, reminding her of her promise to give 
her work, and claiming it. She briefly related what had be- 
fallen her, and what she had been doing, and expressed her 
willingness to do anything — so that she might be able to sup. 


port herself and her child. After writing this letter, she felt 
more calm — the result did not remain with her. 

The next day Simon Morley's savage temper was in some 
measure accounted for ; he was laid up with a violent fit of the 
gout, which at one time threatened to fly to his stomach ; poor 
Mrs. Morley and all the household were kept in great trouble 
and anxiety. 

Gertrude proved herself a most efficient nurse, and wag not 
only a great comfort to her mother — saving her much fatigue, 
and cheering her tip — but was so gentle and patient, or as her 
father expressed it, " so handy," that even old Simon Morley's 
heart softened towards his daughter as it had never done be- 
fore ; so that when he got about again her position was much 
more pleasant — she took her place as the daughter of the house, 
and she ceased to feel herself an intruder. Still, the conscious- 
ness that ehe had determined to earn her own living, without 
depending on any one, was the great ingredient that made her 
life more comfortable. 

During the month that Simon Morley was confined to the house, 
Gertrude had no leisure to think or wonder about the result of 
her application to Lady Southend ; but when it came to six 
weeks she grew anxious, and feared either that the old lady was 
dead, or had gone abroad, or that her letter had miscarried. 

However, just as she had made up her mind to write once 
more, her father one morning came in with a handsome-looking 
letter which he had taken himself from the postman; it was 
sealed with a coronet, and franked by Lord Metringham him- 
self. Simon Morley was not insensible to a certain pleasure in 
seeing the letter addressed — 

" To the care of Mr. Simon Morley, 

"The Cottage, Saltficld." 


It showed, he thought, that his old landlord had not forgotten 
him, and must have spoken about him — a microscopic point of 
gratified vanity : to Simon Morley Lord Metringham was not 
an ordinary mortal, but had an emphasis appertaining to no 
other member of the peerage. 

" Well, lass," said he, loitering near her; " what great folks 
have been writing to thee now, to upset thee just as we were 
beginning to be comfortable ? It is not from his lordship him- 
self, is it?" 

" No," said Gertrude, glancing over the paper ; " it comes 
from old Lady Southend, who used to be very kind to me in 

" Well, let us hear what she says. I want to hear how grand 
folks write." 

This was a somewhat embarrassing' request, as Gertrude had 
not told even her mother of her application for work. Luckily 
at that instant Bill Stringer, Simon Morley's factotum, appeared 
in the distance ; he had come to receive orders touching the 
killing of a pig. Simon Morley, on seeing him, hobbled out of 
the room — he was still somewhat lame from his gout — saying, 

" Well, thou canst tell me about it at dinner-time." 

Left alone, Gertrude began to read her letter. It was very 
short, but full of real practical kindness. Lady Southend 
explained her delay by telling Gertrude that she was abroad 
when she received the letter, and had only just returned. She 
desired Gertrude would come up to town at once. She had 
taken lodgings for her, of which she had paid the first quarter 
in advance ; and promised to find her as much employment as 
she could undertake. A bank-note of a sufficient amount to 
cover her expenses was enclosed in the letter. 

Gei'tiude's first emotion was one of intense Gratitude for the 


door of escape now opened to her ; she knelt down and thanked 
God, and prayed to be kept from all evil. 

She feared opposition from her parents, and she could not 
regard with composure the possibility of failure. 

With her mother she had to combat long and painfully. 

" It was unnatural," the good woman said, " to go out to earn 
money, when her husband ought to send her half his salary." 

Gertrude ceased to argue, and only said : 

" Mother, let me go ; it will be better for me." 

Simon Morley took a far more practical view of the matter ; 
but, if the truth must be told, a line and a half in the letter 
about Lord Metringham, and the respect he had for her parents, 
was the touch that sent him entirely over to Lady Southend's 

Notwithstanding Gertrude's improvement in his eyes, he was 
glad that he had not the prospect of keeping her with him for 
an unlimited time. He graciously told her, however, that if 
the scheme did not answer, she was at liberty to come back — 
and that she had better leave the child with them until she was 

But to this Gertrude would by no means consent. A portion 
of the elasticity of her youth had returned to her, and the first 
easing of the millstone of dependence which her own actions 
had tied round her neck was far too delightful to leave a knot 
untied. She thanked her father gratefully, comforted her 
mother as well as she could, and was ready in three days to 
take her departure. 

The day of departure came. Gertrude was nervously afraid 
that something would occur to prevent it. Poor Mrs. Morley 
did not cry, but she felt bitterly that she could not make 
Gertrude happy at home — that she always wanted to leave her • 


and though, mother-like, she took all the blame to herself, still 
she had a confused feeling that Gertrude did not love her. She 
always thought of Gertrude as her daughter, and forgot that 
when she married this relationship was changed for ever. 
Whilst Augustus was away, she had hoped she should have her 
daughter all to herself. And now that she and her father were 
reconciled, she could not or would not understand why Gertrude 
should want to leave her again, to go and live among strangers 
and work for her bread. She knew her husband was rich, for 
she had helped him to make his money, and it seemed so 
unjust that he should allow one of his own children to 
want. All her sorrows settled into an aching dull pain of 
heart, which she took with dumb patience, without trying to 

As to Simon Morley, he became fonder of Gertrude in pro- 
portion to the nearness of her departure ; he saw to the cording 
of the trunks, despatched them in a cart under Bill Stringer to 
meet the stage-coacb, and actually gave her twenty guineas 
to begin the world with ! This generosity was Simon's 
equivalent to the paternal blessing ; he did not understand it in 
any other form." 

Mrs. Morley had packed a large hamper with provisions, 
enough to last for a month. 

The yellow gig was at the door. 

" Come, Gertrude ; now, then, are you ready ? — you women 
have always so many last words. Come, missis, don't hinder 
her, or we shall miss the coach." 

" There, Gertrude, you must go now ; your father won't wait. 
I am sure I don't know why you are going, when we might 
have been so comfortable ; but it is too late to talk of that now. 
Be sure you write and tell me when you want anything, and 


write often ; it costs you no trouble, and your father will not 
grudge the postage." 

Gertrude's heart swelled with remorse ; it seemed to her as 
though she had been born only to make her mother unhappy. 

Clarissa was already in the gig, engrossed with a small 
covered basket, from which issued the plaintive mewings of a 
young kitten which had been kidnapped from all the joys of 
kitten life and the purrings of its mother, and was not yet 
reconciled to its lot. 

They were in ample time for the coach, and had to wait some 
minutes before it came up. 

" This is as it should be — I like always to be before the time. 
Xow, Gertrude, be frugal and be industrious, and there is no 
fear but what you will do well. Above all, do not be giddy ; 
and keep all young fellows at a distance. Recollect a woman 
whose husband is away is easily talked about — so don't lay 
yourself open to observation; young females cannot be too 
guarded in their manners. Above all, don't let any young 
sprigs of quality come about thee — they are a good-for-nothino- 

Simon Morley's admonitions were brought to a close by the 
arrival of the " Dart," and the need to see after the luggage. 

It was a lovely summer morning, and Gertrude asked Fat 
Sam if he would let her and the little girl ride beside him for 
a stage. Of course Sam was only too glad and too proud to 
comply ; so, first the kitten in its basket was hoisted up, then 
Miss Clarissa, and lastly Gertrude climbed up with very little 
assistance. Simon Morley was pleased — he thought it looked 
like thrift ; but Gertrude had only thought it much pleasanter 
than being stifled up inside. 

" Well, good bye, Ger. ; write a line to tell us how you get 


there. Sam can bring it, and it will save postage. Take care 
of yourself, and hold fast ; the child will fall foremost if you 
don't hold her." 

With these parting words Simon Morley turned his gig on 
one side. Fat Sam cracked his whip, and the horses darted off 
with a bound ; they were all very fresh, and did not like to be 
kept so long standing. 

No mode of travelling will ever again be half so pleasant as 
the " box-seat " beside a first-class coachman of the old times. 

Sam proved himself worthy of the honour which, as he con- 
ceived, had been paid him. During the two stages she rode 
beside him, Gertrude heard the history of every gentleman's 
family whose seat they passed, and traditions of their fathers 
and grandfathers besides, interspersed with the original observa- 
tions of Sam himself, which served to show the curious social 
perspective in which great folks are seen by those so much 
below them that they scarcely recognise their existence. To 
them, the "Dart" was a stage-coach, and the coachman driving- 
it had no separate identity. Here was that "coachman" 
amusing Gertrude with narratives of their debts, their doings, 
their domestic life, their bettings on the turf, and speaking 
quite freely of family circumstances which they fondly believed 
buried in the bosom of the family ; and Gertrude, whom they 
never had seen and never were likely to see, was aware of 
secrets they would not have trusted to their best friends. 

It is quite startling to reflect how many social secrets come to 
our knowledge about persons who do not know us in the least, 
and we sometimes chance to see those individuals walking about 
quite unconscious of the bombshell we could explode in their 
ears by the shortest whisper ! There is an immense quantity of 
gossip in the world, and much ill-nature ; nevertheless, a great 


deal of " perilous stuff" is kept safely buried in the bosoms that 
received it. 

"You see, Mrs. Donnelly," said Sam, " going this road up and 
down every day, I see a power of people, and hear a deal one 
way or other ; they may none of them tell much, but they all 
talk some, and I have to listen to a deal of stuff. I don't talk 
free to everybody as I do to you, for it would do a deal of mis- 
chief; but to you I don't mind, for you are a real lady in all 
your ways. I am only sorry you could not make yourself happy 
at home. Madam Morley will be sadly off without you. Ah ! 
there are few women like her i I recollect her long before you 
were born ; afore Simon Morley came a-courting to her. I was 
a slim young man in those days ; she was the first trouble I 
ever had. I never felt so bad as I did when I seed she began 
to take up with your father ; of course she had a right to please 
herself. And what a wife she made him ! Bless you, she made 
that house ! I have seen her many's the time sitting at that 
little table smoothing out the bank-notes and rolling them 
round her wrist. If she had taken me instead of Simon, maybe 
she would not have been so rich ; but she should have had her 
own way, I would never have said she did wrong, and then I 
should not have been driving you here to-day maybe ! " 

" Well, Sam," said Gertrude, " seeing that I am here, you 
have made my journey very pleasant — you must come to see me 
as often as you can in London, it will be a comfort to my mother 
to hear about me — but at the end of this stage we had better 
get inside, Clarissa is growing sleepy. At what time do you 
thiak we shall get in to-night ? " 

" Well, I mostly reach there about six o'clock ; it may be half 
an hour sooner or later — but they look for me about six." 

It was, as Sam said, about six o'clock when the "Dart" 


drove in to the old-fashioned yard of the " Swan with 
Two Necks," with its quaint galleries rambling round the 
house, and the wooden carved balustrades — picturesque, 
clumsy, and taking up more room than can be spared in 
these days. 

A respectable servant out of livery was waiting with a 
hackney coach. He touched his hat to Gertrude, and handed 
her a little note from Lady Southend. It was very short, 
merely to say that she had sent her own servant, who was to 
see her safe to the lodgings she had engaged. 

Sam, who had set his heart upon doing this very thing, felt 
aggrieved ; he assisted the civil servant with a very surly air, 
and pretended to be engaged with the ostler when Gertrude was 
ready to get into the coach. But Gertrude ran up to him, and 
asked him as a great favour to step down to see her that 
evening, — and she gave him Lady Southend's note, that he 
might have the address. 

Of course Sam allowed himself to promise, and then by a 
natural change of feeling began to be proud that her ladyship 
had sent her own servant to wait upon Mrs. Donnelly. 

The hackney coach drove to a quiet out-of-the-way street in 
the neighbourhood of Gray's Inn. 

The houses were large, and had once been of some pretensions, 
though they now looked dingy enough. It was not a thorough- 
fare, but seemed to be the heart of a labyrinth of outer streets, 
so still and quiet ; the grass grew amid the stones that paved 
it, and several fine trees, in the bright luxuriance of green leaves, 
seemed to be quite unconscious that they were thriving in the 
midst of a crowded quarter of a great city. The hackney coach 
stopped before a house where evidently some pains had been 
bestowed to brighten it up. Plants in flower stood in some of 


tlie windows, and a canary in a fine gilt cage was hanging out- 
side singing to the full estent of its little throat, The steps 
though somewhat broken, were dazzlingly white, and the brass 
knocker was bright and shining. 

A respectable elderly woman came to the door ; she received 
Gertrude with an air of quiet propriety which spoke her to be a 
person who had been trained in good service. 

Gertrude was taken at once to the second story, graced by 
the flower-pots and canary. 

" These are your rooms, ma'am," said the woman ; " my lady 
sent furniture herself to make them more complete than was in 
my power I hope they will please you." 

There was a spacious landing-place. The shallow uncarpeted 
stairs were of oak, and the balusters, black with age, were 
quaintly carved and twisted. A large old-fashioned sitting- 
room, with a bedroom opening from it, and a smaller room 
beyond, were Gertrude's rooms. 

A large stuffed arm-chair, covered with old Indian chintz, was 
placed beside the window ; a table, set with tea things and all 
the requisites for a substantial tea, was before it ; the grate was 
filled with a pot of common, but sweet smelling flo vers. The 
first aspect of the room was singularly pleasant and homely — 
something like an old Dutch interior. 

The civil man servant and the hackney coachman brought up 
the luggage between them, and when Gertrude took out her 
purse to pay the fare, the man said that " my lady had settled 

"Now, ma'am," said the landlady, "if you will be led by me, 
you will have your tea and let me help you to put little missey 
to bed, for she looks dead tired, poor lamb ! Your tea is 
made ; I took the liberty of making it down stairs. I shall 


only be in trie next room, if you will call me when you want 

Good Mrs. Hutchins bustled out of the room, and Gertrude, 
with her heart full of thankfulness, safc down to her first meal, 
which was not provided with the " bitter bread " she had eaten 
for so long. 




Geetrude rose early the next morning, whilst Clarissa still 
slept. Sam had been prevented coming the evening before, but 
he had sent word by a special stable-boy that he would be with 
her by eight o'clock in the morning, if that would not be too 
early. She had much business on her hands. 

She first unpacked her effects and arranged her rooms, for 
she wished Sam to take a good report to her mother. When 
she had finished, they wore an air of quaint homeliness, and 
were more to her taste than any rooms she had ever lived in. 

Over the carved wooden mantel-piece was a picture of Mrs. 
George Anne Bellamy, in the " Grecian Daughter " — and on 
the walls hung sundry prints, illustrating scenes from Clarissa 
Harlowe and Sir Charles Grandison. There was on one side 
of the room a large square comfortable sofa, stuffed with feathers, 
and amply supplied with pillows ; but Gertrude belonged to the 
old-fashioned school, which held that young women ought to sit 
straight upright upon hard chairs with their feet firmly planted 
upon the ground in the first position, and allowed of no 
undignified rest or lounging attitudes, however graceful. A 
large table, and four heavy high-backed mahogany chairs with 
broad horse-hair seats, completed the furniture. 


In her letter to her mother she said all she could think of 
to re-assure and comfort her as to her prospects. 

She then dressed Clarissa, and had scarcely concluded when 
the steps of Sam were heard upon the stairs. 

He came in mopping his shining head, and somewhat out of 

" Tou live pretty high up, Miss ; but you are a lighter weight 
than I am. I hope you did not take it ill in regard that I did 
not come last night. You see there was a meeting of the coach 
proprietors, and they would have me to attend — it was not over 
till latish, and we did a deal of talking, so I did not feel rightly 
in a state to come to see you." 

" No, Sam, I did not take it at all amiss, and you see us to 
much more advantage this morniug. But has not all your talk- 
ing last night made you feel inclined for some tea and toast this 
morning?" said Gertrude, smiling. 

" Well, yes, I can't say but what it has," replied Sam, with 
some consciousness ; "you see there was a deal of smoke too, 
so many pipes going at once — till we could not see each other ; 
but I would rather be with you, and little miss here, any day." 

" Well, Sam, the oftener you come to see us the kinder I shall 
take it. You must be sure and tell my mother how comfort- 
able you have left us." 

" Well, yes — I can't say but what you are comfortable enough 
to look at ; but I don't like the thought of your living by your- 
self — but it won't be for always, I hope ; your husband will be 
coming back again. 

" That is the picture of a pretty woman up there — but hard 
to hold in hand I should think. Who may she be ?" 

" That is Mrs. Bellamy, who was a celebrated actress, and a 
very beautiful woman." 


" Ah, well ! I have no great opinion of play-acting, and I 
think no woman ought to be let to do it. Bat now, if your letter 
is ready, I must be going ; I will run down and see your mother 
on Sunday, it will be a satisfaction to her like." 

Sam looked round the room, to take stock of what there was 
to be seen. 

" I suppose I may tell the old cat that her kitten is quite well, 
and takes kindly to the change. You will hare to look sharp 
after your bird when she grows a little bigger." - 

" Good bye Sam — come again soon." 

" Good bye, miss, and thank you kindly." 

Sam departed, and Gertrude felt that she now stood in the 
world alone. 

In the afternoon she took Clarissa and went to see Lady 

She was shown into the room she well remembered that 
Christmas morning years before. The old lad}- sat in the same 
chair, and might have been sitting there ever since for any 
change that appeared in her. 

She received Gertrude very kindly, and gave her a kiss, 
saying — 

"Well, here you are at last! I have been looking for you 
all day. I suppose you were tired after your journey. Now, 
see, I have been as good as my word, and looked out some work 
for you. But how do you like your rooms in the first place ?" 

"They are charming," replied Gertrude ; " I feel quite settled 
in them already." 

" Mrs. Hutchins, your landlady, was once my maid, but she 
would insist upon getting married, and has done no good for 
herself ever since ; however, her husband is dead now, and she 
will be more comfortable. It is vei-y seldom that troublesome 


poople die oub of the way, so I consider her very lucky ; lie in ay 
perhaps do more good in the next world than he did in this, 
but I doubt it. I once knew a curious accident happen very 
conveniently. A man I knew, a thoroughly worthless fellow, 
who had been the plague and scandal of all his friends, was 
despatched to travel. He went to Spain, and arrived at Madrid 
whilst one of their revolutions was going' on. Instead of 
stopping in the hotel, he went out to see what was the matter ; 
a cannon was fired just as he turned the corner of a street, and 
he was killed. He was the only individual killed in the affair, 
and he was precisely the man the world could best spare, for 
nobody wanted him here." 

Gertrude made no reply to this anecdote, and Lady Southend, 
thinking it might perhaps come too closely home to her, changed 
the subject. 

" You see that pile of black satin ? I want to cover a screen 
with it for a present to Southend and his wife when they return 
to England. You did not know he was married ? " 

" No," replied Gertrude ; "I never heard of it. I hope you 
will have comfort in the marriage." 

" Oh, as for that, I expect nothing. I dare say we shall get 
on very well. It is a highly suitable match as regards family ; 
for the rest, she is like other young women — and very glad to 
be a countess. Bat, see, you are to embroider that satin with 
flowers in natural colours. I have bought some patterns, but 
they are very stiff and ugly — still, the best I could find." 

Gertrude looked at them in silence for a few moments, and 
then said, — 

" I think I could improve upon them. I used to draw and 
group flower-pieces when I was at school with Miss Le French ; 
I am greatly out of practice — but I think it would come back 

264 mz sorrows of gextility. 

to me. These are very insipid. I should like to try if I cannot 
make out something better if I may." 

" To be sure, child. I am glad you have the notion. If you 
can design your own patterns, your work will be worth a great 
deal more than it would otherwise ; try to-night, and come 
again to-morrow, that I may see what you can do. You must 
have a glass of wine after your walk, and if it should rain to- 
morrow, remember you are not to come. You must take care 
of your health, for the sake of your child." 

When Gertrude rose to go away, the old lady gave Clarissa 
a little white satin needle-book, embroidered with beads, 
and told her she must learn to sew betimes to help her 

Gertrude sat up till late, trying to draw designs for the six 
leaves of the folding- screen. It was not easy, and she went to 
bed without having succeeded to her satisfaction. 

The next day was wet. She worked hard, and by evening 
had produced three designs — one centre piece of a Dresden 
china sort of haymaker resting under a tree, and two beautiful 
groups of flowers. The colours were of course roughly laid in ; 
but there was quite enough to show the intention and to guide 
her work. 

When Lady Southend saw them, she was delighted. 

" Come, my dear, that will do famously ! I see you can work 
well ; and good work, of whatever kind, will always fetch its 
price. When people have to pay money for anything, they 
require to have it well done. Oh dear ! if you knew all the 
trouble I have had with young women who have professed to 
want work — some in the teaching line, and some in the sewing 
line, and most of them so miserably inefficient — you would pity 
me ! The fact was, they all needed money, but they did not 


want to work ; and being ladies — daughters of officers, orphans 
of clergymen, or perhaps widows of poor gentlemen — they all 
considered that the element of charity ought to come largely 
into the business. They brought their susceptibilities, their 
recollections of the times ' when they never expected to have to 
work for their living;' or the thought of what some dear 
departed relative, who in this life used to ride in a coach and 
six, would have said or thought, ' if he could have seen them.' 
Some would be so provokingly meek-spirited and tearful, that 
I could have found in my heart to beat them ; others would be 
haughty, and show their spirit on all occasions ; whilst the 
work of one and all was generally so ill done that the money 
was anything but earned. My clear ! my dear ! so many virtues 
are required even to sew up a seam well. Take my advice, and 
teach Clarissa to use her fingers, and bring her up to work for 
her living. Do not let her have the notion of trying to climb 
above her present station. If promotion is in store for her, it 
will come without seeking." 

" Indeed that is what I mean to do," said Gertrude. " I have 
suffered too much — not more, however, than I deserved — but I 
would wish that the consequences of my own error may end 
with me, and not be continued through the life of my child ; 
that is all I pray for now. I cannot tell 5 T ou the peace of mind 
I have had since I came to London. You would feel that your 
kindness had not been thrown away if you only knew the 
deliverance it has been to me, and the hope you have given me 
of being- able to bring up Clarissa as I feel she ought to be 
brought up. If to be glad of a blessing is to be grateful, I am 
sure I am grateful." 

"Yes, I really think you are," said the old lady, smiling, 
whilst the tears coursed each other down the cheeks of Gertrude ; 

26G ted soeeows o? gentility. 

"but come, do not cry, it -will make your eyes weak, and you 
■will need them. 

"Do you know," she continued, to give Gertrude time to 
recover her composure, " I often wish some good angels would 
take the guise of servants-of-all-work, just to set an example, 
and show how the thing- ought to be done. If I were the Pope, 
I would canonize some good servant, for an encouragement to 
the rest; and she should be canonized for her good service — not 
for nonsensical austerities and fantastic superfluities, but for 
faithfully and humbly doing the duties of a lowly calling. 
My ideal of a maid-of-all-work would be really something 
noble and attractive. Some one who had known her was 
telling me, the other day, that Joanna Southcote was a 
first-rate maid-of-all-work before she took to Seeing visions 
and dreaming dreams. It was quite a new view of her 
character to me — I only wish it had been the end instead of 
the beginning." 

" Well, dear Lady Southend," said Gertrude, rising, " I hope 
I shall succeed so as to satisfy you; good intentions are not of 
much value unless they succeed." 

" True, child ; the success of bringing our work to a good end 
is the most satisfactory of all mortal things — it is about the 
only one that does not ' perish in the using.' But I shall send 
for a coach ; you cannot carry all that satin through the streets, 
to such a distance. I wish you lived nearer on some accounts, 
but I wished you to be with that good woman, both for her 
sake and your own ; she is as true as steel." 

" The coach, my lady," said the polite servant who had met 
Gertrude on her arrival. 

"Well, I am sorry for it; I would like to have kept you 
longer. We must have a talk together again soon. I vail send 


for you. But get on with the work ; I am impatient to sea 
how it will look." 

At first, Gertrude's progress was not rapid ; she was out of 
practice, and she was nervously anxious about satisfying- Lady 
Southend, who was by no means remarkable for her patience or 
her suavity. To Gertrude, at any rate, she did not show herself 
a hard task-mistress, but was extremely kind and considerate in 
all ways. She really liked Gertrude, and she unconsciously 
flattered herself that Gertrude's efficiency, diligence, and good 
sense were the practical results of the many long conversations 
in which she indulged herself with her. Everything in the 
world may be used up with advantage in some conjuncture or 
other. Mrs. Donnelly's domestic discipline had pounded every- 
thing like conceit or self-assertion out of Gertrude — which was 
partly the cause why the old lady found that she was not the 
bore that all her other protegees had been, more or less. 

Gertrude's life now flowed on pleasantly; she had to work 
hard, but that she did cheerfully. 

Little Clarissa improved every day ; if she did not make any 
wonderful progress in book learning, she gained what was far 
more valuable, the training that only a mother can give. She 
was a child of quick sensibility and a violent temper — generous 
and affectionate, but wilful and wayward to a degree that needed 
constant care and great judgment; happy for her that she met 
with it, — so many need it who are left to be broken in or broken 
to pieces, as the case may be, by the rough teaching of the 
consequences of their sins of ignorance ! 

Sam frequently came to see them. He never came without 
bringing some child's treasure for Clarissa ; he must have spent 
a little fortune upon her. It was a new object in his life. One 
day he brought a doll's kitchen, that queen of playthings ! 



"What child does not recollect the intense delight of possessing 
a doll's house for the first time, with its kettles and frying-pans, 
and chairs and tables ? In Clarissa's days, dolls did not reside 
in the magnificent Belgravian mansions that are manufactured 
for them now ; they had seldom anything more than a Dutch 
kitchen — but the delight of possessing it ! 

Gertrude always had a clean pipe and a paper of tobacco 
ready for Sam when he came, who at first expressed many 
scruples, but in the end took to smoking his pipe beside the fire 
as naturally as if he had lived there all his life. 

Through the introduction of Lady Southend, Gertrude ob- 
tained as much work as she could execute. It became a point 
of fashion for ladies to have their Court trains embroidered by 
Mrs. Donnelly — or after Mrs. Donnelly's design. She might 
have employed workwomen under her, but it would have changed 
the whole aspect of her life ; she could earn enough to live very 
comfortably in her original rooms, and to lay by a little besides. 

Her designs for embroidery, both in satin, lace, and muslin, 
were in great request, and gradually it became her chief em- 
ployment. She would have been quite happy, but, like other 
people, she had a skeleton in her cupboard — the dread of her 
husband's return. 

She sometimes dreamed that he had come back a shipwrecked 
mariner, and that he was extremely angry when he found her 
working, and that he flung a fine Court train into the fire, where 
it was entirely consumed! She awoke with the fright. All the 
speeches and actions she attributed to him were extremely like 
things that had really happened ; but with the fantastic, exag- 
gerated resemblance that the objects on the slides of a magic- 
lantern bear to the realities. Mr. Augustus, worthless as he 
was, had never been so bad as her fancy painted him. 


Her imagination had grown quite morbid as regarded him, 
and she was haunted by the fear that he would come back 

This was bad, and not at all like a model wife ; but what was 
worse, it indicated cowardice, a failing in the plain duty of her 
position. When people live in dread that some coming duty 
will break up a pleasant course of things, they may be quite sure 
that trouble is in store for them. 

One day Gertrude received a ship-letter from Africa, which 
had been re-directed and forwarded by her father. It had gone 
first to The Cottage, was greasy and dirty, and smelt villanously 
of the strange places it had passed through before it had 
reached hei\ 

Communication in those days was not either frequent or 
regular ; it depended on chance ships, and a still more uncertain 

This letter had been sent by a slave-vessel, and had made 
a considerable circuit; it had been nearly twelve months in 

She opened it with a sickening dread and disgust; the con 
tents did not re-assure her. Mr. Augustus did not like his 
quarters or his duties, though, to do him justice, he discharged 
as few of those as possible, and he expressed his intention of 
coming home by the first ship, " as he felt convinced that his 
health would never stand the climate." 

That very night — Clarissa was in bed — Gertrude was sitting 
up rather late to finish some work she had in hand — a hackney- 
coach stopped at the door, a loud voice was heard asking if Mrs. 
Donnelly lived there, a stamping of feet followed, and the noise 
of a heavy chest dragged painfully up-stairs; the door of the 
sitting-room was opened, and Mr. Augustus, bronzed and coarse- 


looking-, with a beard that had not grown beyond the stage of 
ugliness, with his clothes dirty and untidy, took his wife into his 
arms with a violence that seemed intended to break her bones, 
and giving her a hug, said, — • 

" "Well, my girl, you see I am come back ! But pay the coach, 
for I have not a farthing." 

He flung himself into the chair she had been occupying, 
shoved her work on one side to make room for his elbow, and 
the cheerful little room was filled with an uncomfortable 

Her dream of the shipwrecked mariner had come to pass ! 



Poor Gertrude ! She cleaved away her work, laid the table 
for sapper, went to prepare a bed-room for him, and, by busying 
herself about his material comforts, she evaded the necessity of 
appearing much rejoiced at his unexpected arrival. 

When she returned he ashed for Clarissa. Gertrude went 
and fetched her. The child, awakened from a profound sleep, 
did not eviuce any other emotion than extreme repugnance to 
being taken out of her comfortable bed, to be dazzled with the 
lights, and roughly kissed by a rough-looking man with a 
painfully sharp beard. She began to cry. 

" Is that all you have taught her ? " said Mr. Augustus, as he 
gave her back to Gertrude. 

" What would you have ? The poor child is only half awake ; 
she will be a different creature when you see her to-morrow." 

" I hope so, or we shall be apt to quarrel. You are as queer 
as you can be yourself. A pretty reception for a man to come 
home to, all the way from Africa ! " 

Gertrude did not reply ; and luckily, just then, Mrs. Hutchins 
herself came in with the savoury steak she had cooked for his 
supper. She looked so pleasant and smiling, and the steak 
looked so tempting, that the discontent of Mr. Augustus was 


mollified, and by the time he had finished his supper he was 
almost amiable. 

" How did you discover where I was living ? " asked Ger 

" Oh ! I arrived a week ago at Bristol, and wrote down to The 
Cottage where I left you. I got this bit of a note in answer." 

He handed Gertrude a crumpled letter in her father's crabbed 
handwriting : 

" Sir, — Mrs. Donnelly, your wife, does not reside here. You 

will find her at 14 Place, near Gray's-inn Lane. 

"Tour obedient, 

" S. Moelet." 

" I only received a letter from you this morning," said Ger- 

" Aye, indeed! let me see it.'* 

Gertrude gave it to him. He turned it over, and said — • 

" How curious ! I wrote that letter, and changed my mind 
about sending it. I suppose they must have found it amongst 
my papers afcer I had left, and sent it to you. I have had a 
precious deal of knocking about in the world since I wrote 

The fact was that there hung a cloud of impenetrable obscu- 
riiv over the fortunes of Mr. Augustus since he left England. 
He told his wife a rambling story about a Portuguese Jew — about 
some trading speculations in which he had engaged, and which 
turned out ill ; what they actually were he avoided stating. He 
talked wildly and vaguely about his great expectations and his 
enemies, who had endeavoured to ruin him — but about Sir Simon 
and his secretary-ship he never spoke. There -\vas a tone of 
coarse reckless boasting and bravado in his manner of speaking 


that struck Gertrude painfully; it was something she had never 
remarked in him before : he had, moreover, a look of dissipation 
and general disreputableness. 

He continued his rambling talk far on into the night. He 
asked Gertrude very few questions about herself ; indeed, he did 
not seem to care much about what she had been doing. He had 
decidedly fallen to a lower moral level than he had been at 
before he left England. 

At last Gertrude said, — 

" I am sure you must be tired, Augustus ; will you not go to 

" Well, I don't mind. I shall not get up very early in the 
morning. On shipboard we were not tied to times ; we went to 
bed when we liked, night or day, and we got up when we liked. 
I scarcely knew the difference between night and day. Well, 
good night; it seems a long time since I said that to you 

Gertrude was once more alone, but how completely had the 
last few hours changed the aspect of her life. She felt disgust 
and annoyance and impatience — not the least inclination to take 
up the duty that had fallen before her. She was angry; it 
seemed to her more than she could bear. With something like 
a shudder she began to reduce the disordered room into an 
approach towards its ordinary neatness. She opened the 
window; the cool night breeze, the quiet moonlight and 
twinkling stars, seemed to purify the room from the atmosphere 
of her husband. 

She then undressed, and after combing and arranging the 
bright tresses of her long hair, she bathed her face and hands 
with rose water. She felt as if she had contracted an involun- 
tary stain by coming into contact with the kind of man that 


Augastus had become. A sense of outrage and degradation 
pursued her even in sleep. She awoke the next morning with 
a heavy weight of oppression at her heart, of which she was 
sensible before she could recollect what had befallen her. 

Clarissa said, — 

" I hope papa is gone away ; he will make us so uncomfort- 
able. I cannot bear to see that great trunk ; it takes up all tlis 

Gertrude was startled to hear her own feelings expressed by 
the child, and the extreme impropriety of allowing her to speak 
without restraint on such a delicate matter struck her ; still her 
own heart was in such a state of rebellion against the Providence 
that had brought back her husband, that she could not at 
once set herself to bring Clarissa into a more filial state of 

As she continued for some little time unchecked, Miss 
Clarissa's tongue went faster, and her expressions of displeasure 
became stronger in proportion as she fancied herself listened to. 
At length Gertrude said, gravely, — 

" My little girl must not speak in that way of her papa. He 
has been travelling great distances in dangerous countries to 
earn some money to bring home to us, but, instead of that, he is 
come home very poor ; so Clarissa must be good and kind to 
him, and be very obedient, and try to find out what she should 
do to please him." 

" Well, mamma," replied the young lady, in a somewhat more 
subdued key, and with a confidential air such as precocious little 
misses of tender years sometimes assume, "but you must own 
that it is very disagreeable to have all our pleasant days 

"Does Clarissa recollect of Whom it was said, 'that He 


pleased not Himself?' and you know that we are commanded 
to follow His example." 

But Gertrude's words seemed to mock her own ears, she was 
so far from feeling their import. 

She and Clarissa had their breakfast together as usual, and 
after breakfast Gertrude opened the sea-chest that, as Clarissa 
had said, filled up the whole landing-place. She found it nearly 
empty, and what clothes it contained were mostly soiled. 

Her first act was to make up all the clothes into a bundle for 
the washerwoman, and then to prevail on Mrs. Hutchins to help 
her to carry the chest itself bodily into the cellar. 

After this, she put on her bonnet and went to a ready-made 
linen warehouse, and purchased a dozen new shirts and two 
complete sets of under-clothing. This first instalment towards 
reducing things to something like order and comfort soothed 
her feelings. 

Augustus had given no signs of awaking, although it was 
now eleven o'clock. She made some coffee, and determined to 
take it to him in his room. Her heart sank at the prospect of 
having her days cut up by irregular meals and having to 
prepare extra ones at all hours. What was to become of her 
work she thought, and what was to become of her ! 

Mr. Augustus looked, if possible, rather more ugly in the 
morning light than he had done the evening before. It was not 
so much the ugliness of feature as the ugliness of the man's own 
nature beneath. 

"I ho; 3 you are rested this morning, — I have brought you 
some breakfast," said Gertrude. 

" It is a pity you troubled yourself; I could have had it when 
I got up. What o'clock is it ?" 

" It is past eleven. I will bring you some hot water directly." 


Gertrude's coffee was first-rate, and Mr. Augustus felt himself 
the better for it. He graciously expressed his intention "to get 
up," and when his wife had brought him the plentiful means for 
a thorough ablution — had laid out his razors and his fresh 
clothes — the air of comfort and orderliness, to which he had 
been so long unaccustomed, began to exercise a pleasant 

" I see you intend me to cast my travelling skin, and to come 
out a dandy," said he, in a tone of content. " I dare say I shall 
feel all the better for a fresh rigging out ; but in Old Calabar, 
where I was so long, such articles as these belonged to another 
world altogether. Now, if you will leave me, I will get myself 
washed and dressed." 

The improvement in his appearance was great. When he 
entered the sitting-room, it would have been difficult to recognise 
him for the same man who had sat over the fire the previous 
evening. He had shaved his beard, trimmed his whiskers, and 
altogether looked more like the Augustus Donnelly of former 

Clarissa no longer shrank from him; they soon became 
friends. She brought him her doll's kitchen, and showed him 
all her treasures. He played with her and told her stories, and 
felt highly complacent at his own success. Clarissa was a very 
jv,'~Hy child, and her father was proud of her. 

At length he said he would take her out for a walk. Gertrude 
hesitated — she did not like to trust him ; and that of course 
made him more set upon it. 

" She is not strong, Augustus ; do not let her walk far." 
"Never fear; she and I will take excellent care of ourselves. 
We will go into the Park to see the fine folks." 

It was a lovely day at the latter end of May. Gertrude 


could not find in her heart to refuse, and prepared Clarissa for 
her walk. Augustus did not invite his wife ; it never occurred 
to him to do so. 

" You may as well give me some money, Ger. ; it is awkward 
to be with empty pockets." 

Gertrude gave him a pretty netted purse, tolerably well-filled 
with silver. 

" I shall call at a tailor's and order myself some fresh clothes 
T cannot go amongst people until I am a little better dressed." 

Gertrude repeated her caution against allowing Clarissa to 
walk too far, and they departed. Clarissa looked up and smiled 
as they passed the window. 

" I wish poor mamma had been going with us, instead of 
stopping at home to work." 

" She seems to like it," replied Mr. Augustus ; " she would 
have told us if she had wished to come." 

As soon as they were fairly off, Gertrude started to go to 
Lady Southend, to tell her what had happened. 

She found the old lady alone, but she was not nearly so sym- 
pathising as Gertrude had expected. 

" Well, my dear, it is a great bore, no doubt ; but you must 
just make the best of it. Your husband had an undoubted right 
to come home, and I advise you not to let him see how much 
you would have preferred his continued absence. It is only by 
exercising your influence over him that you will be able to keep 
things in any sort of order." 

" Oh, Lady Southend, I am very wicked ! " said poor Gertrude; 
" but you do not know how dreadful it is to have only one room 
to eat and sit and work in, and to have it all disorganized, and 
everything thrown out of its course. Besides, as he has come 
back without any money, I do not see how I can supply all his 


wants, if I have no place to work in. It will never do for me 
to send home my work smelling of tobacco. If he only would 
go away again and get something to do." 

" My dear Gertrude, you are behaving like a weak and foolish 
young woman. Your husband is worthless and idle (of course 
you are indignant to hear him called so, even though it be your 
own valuation), but he is a long way yet from being a 'bad 
husband.' I can tell you, from my own experience, what it is 
to have a ' King Stork.' Ah, my dear ! it pleased God to take 
my husband many years ago, and I hope I have forgiven him as 
a Christian should. He was what you would have called a ' fine 
gentleman,' but I tell you that I have worn my diamond 
bracelets to hide black flesh where he had pinched me. I had a 
Brussels lace tippet which was the envy of all the women who 
saw it. I wore it as a fanciful costume, and made it the 
fashion; everybody copied it, and it was called 'la fichu a, la 
Southend.' As I was never seen without it, people good- 
naturedly said I wore it morning, noon, and night for the sake 
of displaying- it; they never guessed it was to hide the marks 
of his brutality upon my shoulders. One day, whilst my maid 
was dressing my hair, he came in like a madman, and, seizing 
the hot irons, scored them across both shoulders; the scars 
were ineffaceable. I had that morning refused to sign away an 
estate to pay a gambling debt. Another time he seized me 
unawares, and cut all the nails on one hand to the quick ! — 
ugh! it makes me shudder to recollect it. He brought his 
mistresses into the house, and compelled me to receive a woman 
of quality who audaciously made her appearance wearing 
ornaments of mine that he had stolen from me to give to 

" He kept another of his mistresses in a fine house exactly 


opposite to my back drawing-room windows. I was a great 
beauty, and had brought him an immense fortune, and I had 
been desperately in love with him ; but I never complained — I 
never took the world into my confidence. I appeared in public 
with him, and kept a serene and smiling face whilst he was 
uttering the most insulting* language in a whisper — looking all 
the time as polite as if he had been my Lord Chesterfield or Sir 
Charles Grandison. Yon come aiid talk to me about your 
husband, after that ! Perhaps you will ask me what I gained 
by putting so good a countenance on the matter. The world 
could not gossip about me or pity me, and my husband feared 
me when I looked at him and held my tongue. I believe he 
thought it was a spell by which I could work him evil — his 
conscience told him what he deserved. I did not gain that 
strength at once. I began by being' eloquent, which only ended 
in my own discomfiture — and you may be sure that I nearly 
broke my woman's heart before I could cease to hope that, amid 
all the wealth of fine qualities with which I had endowed him 
out of my own beautiful imagination, some would at least hold 
good ; but they were all charming illusions, for which I learned 
to despise myself; and when I once was able to lay hold upon 
the truth, I was calm — and at least ceased to wear myself out 
with vain hopes. 

"Go home, child. Lay hold of the fact of things, even 
though it should be sharper than a sword. Accept your lot as 
it actually is — do not weakly try to make a compromise if it is 
miserable; say to yourself, it is miserable — and bear it. You 
will have strength enough to bear whatever trials may come, 
and to do whatever duty is laid upon yon — but your strength 
will fail if you waste it in struggling to be happy into the 
bargain. Let the comfort you have had in your life since you 


came to London go, and take up your life as it stands now — you 
will find your account in so doing 1 . 

" And now good-bye, and go home. I have told you more of 
my life than I ever told to any one before — so keep it to your- 
self, and profij by it." 

Gertrude felt stronger and braver for the old lady's words 
and she went home determined to go and do likewise. 

Mr. Augustus and Clarissa had not returned, although the 
dusk had long been thickening. She kept the tea-table ready, 
and a bright fire burning, but it was ten o'clock before they 
came back. Clarissa looked very tired — she was sick, and very 
cross ; Mr. Augustus was in a charmingly pleasant humour, 
though there was a slight doubleness in his tongue, and a bland 
confusion in his attempt to give an account of where they had 
been and what they had done. They had been to Greenwich, 
and he had seen some of his old friends ; and, apparently, it 
was a case of " troppo grazzia " for their hospitality. 



Clarissa continued ill and feverish all night. She told her 
mamma that her papa had taken her in a little boat down to 
Greenwich, where they walked under the beautiful trees in the 
park, and then he took her to an inn to dine. Some gentlemen 
came in who knew papa, and they invited them to their table ; 
they were very good-natured to her, and gave her dessert and 
wine, and talked to her a great deal ; and one of- the gentlemen 
took her to a shop, and told her to choose what she would like 
best, and she chose that beautiful crystal scent- bottle with a 
silver top, to give it to her mamma. She thought they would 
never come home, she grew so tired and sleepy ; at last, after 
coffee, they came away, and the good-natured gentleman drove 
her and papa home in his barouche. 

Clarissa was several days before she recovered from the ill 
effects of this journey to Greenwich, which filled Gertrude with 
much anxiety as to how she should be able to avoid for the future 
allowing Clarissa to go out with her papa, who was clearly not 
a person to be trusted with the care of her. But for the 
present her anxiety was needless. 

Mr. Augustus, having- received a suit of new clothes from the 
tailor, was scarcely ever at home. He did not tell his wife 
whither he went, nor how he passed his time; but he never 


failed to ask her for money before he went out. lie had quite 
overcome his objection to seeing her " manty-make," or do 
anything else she pleased to earn money. He seemed now to 
accept it as a matter of course that she was to work, and that 
he was always to obtain money from her for the asking. 

This was neither a right nor a wise mode of proceeding ; but 
Gertrude disliked the sight of him so much, and was so exceed- 
ingly thankful to have him out of the house on any terms, that 
she gave him money from her hoarded store, lest if she should 
refuse he should sit and lounge over the fire all day. 

She accustomed him to have breakfast in his own room — she 
always prepared it carefully, and took it to him herself. The 
only time when he decided to breakfast in the sitting-room 
where she and Clarissa were at work, either from accident or 
design the difference in the comfort was so great that he never 
attempted it again. 

We are sorry to confess that she had contracted such an intense 
disgust and contempt for him, that her sole study was to isolate 
him, and to have as little of his society as possible. She never 
showed any irritation of temper — she never complained or found 
fault with him; she attended to his comfort — studied his con- 
venience — always spoke gently to him; but there was with all 
this a smooth marble coldness of manner, an intangible some- 
thing, that repelled all companionship. She was there as 
regarded her bodily presence, coldly irreproachable — but she 
herself was all the while separated and concealed as behind a 
wall of ice. If Mr. Augustus had retained a spark of affection 
for his wife, he would have suffered much; but as he was quite 
indifferent, it did not hurt his feelings in the least. Still he 
was ag-gravated by the cold, dignified aversion she manifested, 
which he had sense enough to perceive, although she gave him 


no excuse for finding fault. His wounded amour propre soon 
converted indifference into a dull smouldering dislike, which 
grew stronger every clay. 

The genuine feeling, whatever it may be, from which our 
actions spring' always makes itself felt, and all that Gertrude 
gained by her impeccable behaviour was, that her husband never 
felt the slightest gratitude for anything she did, but had a fixed 
idea that she was very sorry he had not been devoured or 
murdered by savages, or come to some fatal end amongst his 
many adventures, and that she would be very glad if he would 
once more go away and never come back again; in fact, that 
she wished him dead on any terms. Mr. Augustus, with all his 
faults, was not a malicious man — on the contrary, he was good- 
natured. This was fortunate for Gertrude, as he did not give 
himself the trouble to torment her by the only means in his 
power — viz., stopping at home. To be sure, it would have been 
a bore to himself to have done so : he therefore took the less 
obnoxious course of " scorning to stop where he was not wanted," 
took his liberty and all the money she could give him, and con- 
sidered that he was to be pitied for having a wife with such a 
confoundedly bad temper. 

Fencing with our duties is like delaying to pay a just debt ; 
we may succeed in evading it for a time, but it will inevitably 
be exacted in some shape or other, and it will fall all the heavier 
and at a more inconvenient season than if we had girded up 
ourselves to meet it bravely at once. 

Gertrude felt and knew that, in spite of her unimpeachable 
virtues, she was not doing her duty honestly and heartily 
towards her husband. 

To make amends, she worked harder than ever — stinted her- 
self of food and rest, practised the most rigid self-denying 


economy — to earn money that her husband squandered, and she 
hated him more every day he lived. When he left the house 
she was conscious of a relief that enabled her to breathe, and 
when she heard his footsteps at night her heart contracted with 
a sick despair. There is no hatred like that which comes 
between a man and wife. 

Clarissa meanwhile had grown very fond of her father, and 
was delighted when he would take her out with him or play 
with her. But that soon became troublesome to him, and he 
preferred being independent, for which Gertrude was devoutly 
thankful. The little Clarissa was the one good element in that 
home of estrangement and restraint, but she too was a sufferer. 
Pressed by the necessity of earning money, Gertrude had less 
time to devote to the training of her child. No one can take 
anger and uncharitableness to the root of their tree of life with 
impunity. She had not the same good influence upon Clarissa 
as formerly. 

Undoubtedly Mr. Augustus was not the sort of husband to 
rejoice in; but the greatest source of her unhappiness lay 
within herself. 

One day Mr. Augustus came home in high spirits. Lord 
Elvington had invited him down to Elvington Park to assist 
him in his electioneering - , and he had told him to bring his little 
friend Clarissa with him. 

Gertrude remonstrated, and said, sensibly enough, that 
Clarissa was too young to visit anywhere without her mother; 
and pointed out the indelicacy of intruding a child into Lady 
Elvington's nursery without her invitation, or at least her 

Mr. Augustus was proud of Clarissa. He liked the notion of 
showing her off amongst all the company he expected to meet. 


He had set his heart upon taking her with him ; that it would 
thwart his wife, was an additional motive why he should 

Gertrude ventured to write a note to Lord Elvington, who, 
although somewhat surprised to find his careless and half-jesting 
speech taken in earnest, wrote a courteous note in reply, 
expressing the pleasure it would give himself and Lady Elving- 
ton to have such a charming playfellow for their nursery. 
There was nothing more to be done except reluctantly to 
prepare Clarissa's wardrobe for the visit. 

Clarissa was half wild at the prospect, which was scarcely 
shadowed by the necessity of going away from her mother for 
the first time in her life. 

Gertrude had always taken a pride in keeping Clarissa nicely 
dressed. Her clothes were exquisitely fine and beautifully made, 
and she thought at least Lady Elvington's nurse would see that 
the child had been well cared for. 

It gave her a pang to see how little Clarissa felt the 
approaching separation; but she crushed it down into her heart 
as she had done many other emotions. 

A chaise came on the day fixed for their departure, sent by 
Lord Elvington; they departed, and Gertrude was left alone 
with the bitter thoughts that rankled in her heart. 

Of course Mr. Augustus had ordered himself a supply of new 
clothes ; they had come, accompanied by the tailor's bill, which 
Mr. Augustus entirely ignored. Gertrude found it after his 
departure, lying on the floor of his bedroom torn in two. 

The amount was heavy as compared with Gertrude's means 
of payment, but she took a sullen pleasure in hanging this 
additional millstone round her neck. She sat in doors all that 
fine summer weather ; morning, noon, and night ; she sat to her 


task, and resolutely refused to stir abroad. She worked early 
and late, but it was with a bitter sense of hardship and injustice 
that injured and wore her strength far more than either the 
close application or the confinement. 

Pier health began to suffer, and she fancied that she was 
sacrificing herself to meet her own difficulties and her husband's 

Mrs. Hutchins, her kind landlady, grew unhappy about her. 
She thought she did not eat enough, and often of her own 
accord brought her little delicacies and nourishing things to 
tempt her appetite; but Gertrude was in no mood to feci 

" Dear heart, ma'am ! " said Mrs. Hutchins, seating herself 
one day, after depositing a delicate sweetbread before Gertrude ; 
" I do wish you would give yourself a holiday — you work too 
hard — your face is getting a look I don't like to see. I have 
had trouble myself, and I know the look of it when I see it in 
another. If it is only money, I really would not sacrifice my 
health to obtain it; when health is gone, all is gone." 

"Mrs. Hutchins, I must earn money for Mr. Donnelly and 
my child; there is nothing but what I earn." 

Mrs. Hutchins looked at Gertrude compassionately, and 
sighed. After a pause, during which an}^one who had watched 
her would have observed a hesitation in her manner, as thou n ii 
debating whether she should speak, she said, timidly, — 

"A clergyman once said to me, that the burdens we bind upon 
ourselves are heavier than any that are laid upon us by Provi- 
dence. He meant that we make them heavy by our manner of 
taking them." 

" How do you mean ? " said Gertrude, languidly. 

" Why, ma'am, he meant that we harden our hearts instead of 


softening tliera, aud take our troubles perversely and athwarb 
instead of meekly." 

" I don't know ; we can but bear them : they come but to be 

" Nay, ma'am, it makes all the difference to us what way we 
take our trials. God's blessing never rested yet on a proud 
heart, and it makes Him angry when He sends us lessons that 
we will not learn. It is being stubborn and setting ouselvcs 
against Him — and, I take it, that is the one sin which compre- 
hends all others. When I lived with my Lady Southend, she 
had a great deal of trouble, and she had a brave spirit of her 
own. I used to wonder where she found all her stieno-th ; but 
I have thought since that she did not take her trouble just in 
the right way. She set her face like a flint, and hardened her- 
self like iron, and nobody ever saw her give way ; but I have 
often found her beautiful cambric handkerchiefs gnawed into 
holes, — she always covered her mouth when my Lord angered 

"What would you have had her do ?" said Gertrude. 

" Well, ma'am, I am not just clever at saying things, and you 
will, maybe, make no sense of me; but when my own troubles 
came, I did not find that being proud helped me one bit ; it only 
drove the hurt deeper. I was obliged to bear. But one day 
the thought came into my mind how much worse I had all my 
life behaved towards Him who made me than anybody had ever 
behaved to me, and how little I deserved that anybody should 
behave well to me. I began to see myself, and then I left off 
feeling - angry at others ; and as soon as the anger was taken 
away, I felt for all the world, as one might do who had a bad 
burn dressed with healing- ointment. My husband was not a 
good man, — he was a very bad one in every way. We had one 


child, and God forgive me if I wrong him, but I surely believe 
he made away with it for the sake of the club-money. That 
was a sore grief, and it drove me out of my mind for some 
months. When I came to myself, I prayed very hard that I 
might not be let to hate him, and I was not ; thank God, I was 
kept quiet. He fell very ill soon after my judgment had come 
back to me, and I was able to nurse him and have a good heart 
towards him. It was not against me he had sinned, though he 
had made me suffer." 

"And what became of him?" asked Gertrude. 

" He got well again that time, but he went on in bad ways. 
He left me to go and live with another woman, and I went to 
service under my maiden name; my husband joined a gang of 
burglars, and got shot one night in attempting to enter a 
gentleman's house. I went to him in the prison." 

" Well ? " said Gertrude. 

"Well, ma'am, he was quite sensible and knew me, and 
thanked me for coming to see him. He died before his trial 
came on." 

" And were you not very glad ? " asked Gertrude, bitterly. 

" No, ma'am ; I let it be as it best pleased God. I knew His 
way would be best." 

" But you must have lived in constant dread of him, and of 
what he might do." 

" Xo, ma'am ; I was kept quiet — I was not afraid." 

Gertrude looked at the composed, steadfast face of her land- 
lady, and owned in her heart that a more excellent spirit was in 
her than within herself. 

"But what did you do when you found him going so wrono-, 
and when he injured you so deeply?" 

" I prayed to God for him, ma'am — that was all I could 


do ; and I was kept to feel quiet myself — through every 

" But you could not love such a husband, surely ? " 

" No, ma'am, perhaps not ; he had wore that out. But I did 
not hate him ; I wished him well." 

" What sort of a man was he in his ways ? " 

" Well, ma'am, he was very trying. I used to like to have 
things nice and orderly ; and when he was in one of his passions, 
he thought nothing of smashing everything; he upset my 
places sadly." 

" Mrs. Hutchins," said Gertrude, after a pause, " If you will 
come and take a walk with me, I will go out." 

" To be sure ma'am, I will be glad to do so ; and don't sit 
again so close to your pattern-drawing and embroidery; you 
take things harder than they are laid upon you." 

" I have some work to take home, and if I am paid I shall 
have money to pay that tailor's bill, and I shall feel happier 
when that is off my mind." 

When Gertrude came home again, she felt like a sick person 
who has been sent to breathe a purer atmosphere. When she 
knelt down that night, the petition that came from the depth of 
her heart was — " Renew a right spirit within me ! " 

Before she dropped asleep a verse that she had never much 
heeded came into her mind — " Above all things, have fervent 
charity amongst yourselves/'-r-and for the first time it seemed 
to haye a meaning. 




It was not immediately that Gertrude came to a feeling of 
charity towards her husband ; but the impulse in the right 
direction had been given — she had at last been awakened to the 
consciousness of wherein she had been wrong. The " grain of 
mustard seed " had been sown, and there needed only time to 
quicken and mature the growth. 

She had not, however, any immediate opportunity to test her 
improvement. The next morning brought her a letter from 
Mr. Augustus, saying that an opportunity had offered for him 
to go to Ireland, where he expected to meet with something to 
his advantage, and that he purposed taking Clarissa along with 
him "for company, and also to show her to his relations." 

This was all the information the letter contained ; not one 
word about Clarissa, no message of love, not even an address to 
which she might write ! 

When Mrs. Hutchins came in shortly afterwards, she found 
Gertrude lying upon the floor in a dead faint. 

" Dear heart ! dear heart ! what can have happened to her " 
and the good woman tried long and unsuccessfully to restore 
Gertrude to consciousness. 

At last she opened her eyes — the letter, lying where it had 
fallen, was the first thing she saw; a violent shudder passed 


through her frame, and she became again insensible. Poor Mrs. 
Hutchins was alarmed at this second and prolonged swoon, but 
at length Gertrude seemed to awaken from the dead, — she sat 
upright, — all her faculties and recollections had come back to 

" Tell me what must I do ? what can I do ? Read that letter, 
and tell me." 

" It is a bad job ; you can do nothing, — the law gives him the 
right to take the child anywhere he pleases. It is a pity but 
what you and he had been more friendly together. I fear he 
won't mind for vexing you." 

" No ! I have not deserved that he should ; but it is too 
dreadful. He is the last person Clarissa ought to be with, — he 
is not a fit companion for her. You do not know the people 
she will be thrown amongst even if the best happens, and he 
takes her to her grandmother ; but I fear he will keep her with 
him, and she will see and hear nothing but evil continually." 

" It is a hard blow, but you must recollect she is in the hands 
of God, and He can guard her from all evil there as well as if 
she were here." 

"If she had only died I could have borne it, but this is 

" We must think who sends the trouble — it would be harder 
still to bear else. But is there nothing to be done ? — Maybe, if 
you were to go down to the place where she has been staying - , 
you might hear something. How do you go there ?" 

Gertrude eagerly caught at the suggestion. " I will take a 
chaise and go to-night — at once." 

Alas ! Gertrude had not the money, and Mrs. Hutchins had 
it not to lend her. Gertrude's thoughts turned to Lady 
Southend, but her ladyship was out of town, A day's delay 


might make her too late. The money with whicb she had 
bought her husband's absence from home would in this 
emergency have enabled her to reach her child ; — her conscience 
was not slow to suggest this. 

" Suppose I go to make inquiries at a coach-office," said Mrs. 

" No, no, you shall not. I will go ; it may be that the coach 
is on the point of starting when I get there — if you went I 
should miss it." 

" Well, well, I will not hinder you, but I will go with you ; 
and you shall go if you will only eat something first." 

"It will choke me," said Gertrude, hastily beginning to 
collect a few necessary articles and put them into a bag. " Now 
come, I'm ready." 

Mrs. Hutchins hailed a coach, for Gertrude was unable to 

When they arrived at the coach-office, they found that a coach 
passing the gates of Elvington Park left the office at nine 
o'clock in the morning and reached there about seven in the 
evening; it was a long day's journey. Flying would have been 
all too slow for Gertrude, she wished to set off on foot and to 
walk all night. 

'" You would arrive there no sooner, dear ; for you would have 
to wait till the coach overtook you. You must take it as part 
of the trial appointed to you, and accept the delay with patience. 
You will be stronger to-morrow, and better able to travel, and 
you may make some arrangement to follow them if they should 
be gone forward. This very delay may enable you perhaps to 
come up with them earlier than if you had your will and set off 
in this hurried manner." 

Gertrude yielded to the necessity, and returned home, 


The whole of that night she watched for the morning. Mrs. 
Hutchins tried to say words of comfort, but Gertrude heeded 
them not. 

" I shall not come back till I have found her, Mrs. Hutchins. 
I will follow them all over the world. If you like to let these 
rooms, do — do not let me stand in your way." 

"Dear heart, don't think of me. Have you put up every- 
thing you will want ? Have you any work to send home, or 
any message for the shops you work for? " 

This removed Gertrude's thoughts forcibly in another 
direction. If, indeed, she should be forced to prolong her 
absence, some arrangement was absolutely necessary. This 
seemed too to advance her on her journey ; it was at any rate 
doing something towards setting out. 

Completely worn out, she slept for an hour towards morning. 

Long before it was time to start, her nervous eagerness 
brought her to the coach-office. Mrs. Hutchins came with her. 

" You will write me a line, ma'am, just to tell me of your 

Gertrude grasped the hand of her companion. 

"Yes, yes," she said in a harsh discordant tone, that sounded 
strangely unlike her natural voice. 

The coach set off at last, and Gertrude was in pursuit of her 
child, at the rate of eight miles an hour. 

How slow and weary seemed the day ! 

At last the coach reached the lodge-gates. Gertrude 
descended from the jingling stage-coach, the guard flung out 
her portmanteau, and the stage drove on. 

The blood beat tumultously in her heart, and the next 
moment seemed to congeal to ice. In answer to her inquiry, 
the woman at the lodge, a hard-looking woman with a sour 


placidity of face, told her that the party at the Hall had broken 
up the day before, and that no one remained except my lord 
and lady, who were returning to town the next morning 1 . 

" Do you know ? — did you see — whether a little girl who has 
been here on a visit with her father has gone away, or is she 
still at the Hall ? " 

"Indeed, ma'am, I cannot say," replied the woman. "I 
believe all the young nobility who have been visiting in the 
nursery went away directly after the ball." 

The woman spoke stolidly, and with the most unimpressible 
indifference — the manner not insolent only because it was 
devoid of all expression. 

" Perhaps you will allow me to leave my travelling bag here, 
whilst I go to the hall to enquire." Gertrude spoke gently 
and courteously. 

" Yes, I suppose you may leave it," said the woman reluct- 
antly ; " you will hear no more than I have told you; her lady- 
ship doesn't like seeing strangers at this time of day. It is 
not easy to see her at any time. Had you not better come 
again r 

But Gertrude was already out of heai'ing. She did not go 
to the grand entrance, but up a narrow path that led round the 
house to the offices. 

Her dress was dusty and crumpled with a long day's travel, 
her face was harassed and weary, but Gertrude looked still an 
undeniable gentlewoman in her carriage and bearing. One of 
the men servants crossing the court saw her and approached ; 
his manner was far more respectful than that of the woman of 
the lodge. 

" Is Miss Donnelly still here ?" Gertrude's parched throat 
could scarcely articulate the question. 


" I do not know, ma'am, but I will enquire, if you will coma 
into the housekeeper's parlour. The party broke up yesterday, 
and I heard the nursery footman saying that Miss Donnelly 
was to leave with her father, but she may be here still." 

Gertrude followed, thankful for the doubt so charitably 
thrown out. 

The housekeeper — a stately middle-aged woman in stiff 
black silk, with her face drawn into an expression of repulsive 
dignity, though the features, being small, were somewhat 
overtaxed to produce it — looked up in surprised displeasure at 
the invasion of her parlour. 

" A lady, ma'am, who has come to enquire for Miss Donnelly," 
said the footman. 

" I am her mother," gasped Gertrude " and I only heard yes- 
terday that she was likely to be taken away to Ireland." 

" Indeed," said the housekeeper coldly, " I do not know ; the 
nursery is an entirely different branch of the establishment. Is 
her ladyship aware of your visit ? " 

" Oh, if I could see her ladyship, I should be most thankful." 

" I really do not know," said the housekeeper, " her ladyship 
is not in the habit of being disturbed. You say that she knows 

" No," said Gertrude, " I never saw her. My husband and 
little girl have been here during the election. He is a friend of 
Lord Elvington's." 

" Oh," rejoined the housekeeper, looking at her with her cold 
sullen face, " many sort of folks come at election times that my 
lady would neither see nor speak to at others ; but you say your 
little girl has been on a visit to her ladyship's children ? " 

Gertrude bowed her head, she could not trust herself to speak 
—-her eyes were fixed on the door. The good natured footman 



returned at last with " Mrs. Blisset's compliments (the head 
nurse, ma'am) and Miss Donnelly went away with her father 
yesterday morning in the carriage of Mr. Fitz-Vashipot ; — she 
believes they were to sail from Holyhead for Dublin, but she is 
not certain. The young lady was quite well, ma'am, she bid me 

Gertrude's look of despair touched the humane footman ; — 
the housekeeper looked as if she saw and felt nothing but the 
inconvenience of having Gertrude standing there in the 
parlour, without any immediate prospect of getting rid of 

" Is there anything I can do, ma'am ? or any other enquiry 
you would like to make ?" 

" If I might see her ladyship for one minute I should be 
grateful ; — she, at least, could tell me where they are gone." 

"I will ask Mr. Williams, the groom of the chambers, 
whether her ladyship has left the dining-room. I will go and 
see what can be done." 

" You had better take a seat until Mr. James returns," said 
the housekeeper, discontentedly, seating herself as she spoke in 
her large easy chair, and resuming the perusal of her news- 

Gertrude thankfully availed herself of the permission. 

" Mr. James," as the housekeeper called him, at length 
returned with the intelligence that her ladyship would have the 
pleasure of speaking to Mrs. Donnelly in the library directly. 

Gertrude rose, and courteously wishing the housekeeper good 
evening, followed her conductor along the matted passage, wide 
enough to be called a corridor, and across a magnificent hall, 
paved with different kinds of marble arranged in mosaic, into a 
room filled with antique oak carvings and stained-glass windows • 


the boards of the floor were of polished oak, as smooth as glass, 
except where they were covered in the centre with a rich Turkey- 

A handsome, haughty-looking woman stood on the hearth- 
rug, before the small wood fire that was burning in the chimney, 
summer-time as it was. A younger and less remarkable-looking 
woman was beside her. 

"These election times bring one acquainted with strange 
people," said the elder lady, with a look of disgust. " One's 
household gods are desecrated, and the odour of bad society 
lingers over the house for months after all is over." 

" Mrs. Donnelly, my lady," said the footman, throwing open 
the door. 

The stately lady advanced a step, and said,— 

" I was told that you wished to see me." 

" I came to fetch my little girl, who has been staying here 
with her papa, on Lord Elvington's invitation. I find she has 
been taken away — can your ladyship tell me where ? " 

Lady Elvington's brow slightly clouded. She said, coldly, — 

" Mr. Donnelly brought his little girl for the election time ; 
he left yesterday, taking the child with him. I do not know 
anything further about him." 

A good-natured looking middle-aged man entered the room 
and saxmtered towards the fire-place. 

" My lord," said the lady, turning round, " do you chance to 
know anything of Mr. Donnelly's movements? This lady is 
his wife, come to claim her little girl from us." 

"Eh — what? No," said his lordship, coming forwards and 
looking at Gertrude. " I don't know anything about his move- 
ments. It strikes me I heard him say something about going to 
see his mother and his uncle, Sir Lucius O'Connor ; and I think 


he agreed to cross over with Fitz-Vashlpot. It was tinpardon- 
ably thoughtless in him to take away the child without informing 
you; bat yon need not be agitated, my dear madam. Miss 
Clarissa will be in no danger. You would scarcely be ■ in time 
to catch them at Holyhead, even if you were to take post- 
horses; but a letter addressed to the care of Fitz-Vashipot 
would be sure to find your husband, who, no doubt, will take 
the earliest opportunity of repairing his omission. Do not be 
agitated, I b?g ; depend upon it, all is quite right, only a little 
irregularity in the form ; he should have asked leave at head- 
quarters. A charming child Miss Clarissa — full of cqneglerie; 
she will be a dangerous beauty some of thes% days ! " 

" "Will your lordship be so kind as to give me the address 
that will find my husband, and I will not trespass further on 
your time, except to thank her ladyship and yourself for the 
kindness you have shown my child." 

Her ladyship bowed coldly. His lordship said, in the hasty 
manner in which he alwaj-s spoke, — 

" Oh, not at all— not at all ! She is a delightful child. This 
is the address. But you cannot return to the village alone; 
one of the men shall go with you." 

" Matilda, my dear, ring the bell, will you. Mrs. Donnelly 
must need refreshment after her journey," said her ladyship, 

Gertrude strenuously refused everything except the footman's 
guidance across the park, for it was now becoming dusk. 

Her ladyship bowed coldly; his lordship shook hands 
cordially, and desired the groom of the chambers to direct 
James to see Mrs. Donnelly safe to the inn in the village. 

" I was told that my friend Donnelly had made a mesalliance; 
but if looks go for anything, she might pass muster amongst 


half the women in the red-book," was the observation of his 
lordship after Gertrude had retired. 

" She is a good woman enough, no doubt ; but it is not 
pleasant to have her come asking one for her child, as though 
one had any concern in the matter. I wish, my lord, you -would 
be more careful whom you invite; if anything unfortunate 
should occur, it will be very unpleasant to have it dated from 
our house. Who is that Mr. Donnelly ? " 

" He used to belong to Southend's set. I have known him, 
on and off, a long time. The Whig government gave him some 
appointment, I forget what, which he lost ; and then he was 
sent out to Africa, and returned lately. He is of a good Irish 
family ; but his ways and means are a mystery. I suppose he 
had money with his wife. She is a pretty creature, though she 
looked horribly anxious and jaded. I wonder who she was ? " 

" Oh, nobody, of course, that we ever heard of or are likely to 
hear of;" and her ladyship settled herself luxuriously into her 
own particular chair. The servants entered with lights. His 
lordship took up the "Edinburgh;" her ladyship began to cut 
the leaves of a new novel ; whilst the lady called " Matilda " 
made tea at another table. 



The landlady of the " Wheatsheaf," seeing Gertrude accom- 
panied by one of the footmen from the Hall, received her with 
a degree of zealous politeness which would scarcely have greeted 
her otherwise. 

Seeing her extreme exhaustion, she suggested " a nice cup of 
tea and a new-laid egg." Gertrude sank wearily on the settee 
covered with check gingham, which did duty for a sofa, and 
feebly wondered whether she were going to die. Physical 
weariness swallowed up all distinction of suffering ; she was as 
wretched as a human creature could be, and — live. But when 
misery is stretched beyond a certain point, confusion follows. 

" The nice cup of tea " promised by the landlady scarcely justi- 
fied its epithet — it was more like an infusion of chopped hay ; the 
bread was sour, and the butter was salt ; the room in which she 
sat smelled horribly of stale tobacco, and accused the lingering 
memory of strong beer and British brandy which had been 
consumed in unlimited quantities during the last election week. 

A "village hostel," however picturesque, is not the place for 
any great comfort. The "Wheatsheaf" stood on the village 
green. It was built with numerous gables and overhanging 
eaves ; the chimneys were quaint ; the thatch was dotted with 


houseleek and moss ; the walls were dazzling with whitewash. 
An old patriarchal elm tree, beneath which was a bench, where 
all the topers of the village congregated to enjoy the beauties of 
nature and virtues of strong ale, stood upon the green in front 
of the porch. 

Nothing by daylight, or twilight, or moonlight could look 
more attractive than this real country inn, the " Wheatsheaf ; " 
nevertheless, the accommodations were scanty, and far from 
comfortable. The bed-room to which Gertrude was ushered was 
a bare uncarpeted room, with the boards wide apart; a flock 
bed, which felt as if it had been stuffed with the bodies and 
bones of a whole generation of geese and ducks, with the 
feathers omitted ; coarse blue check window curtains ; a single 
chair ; and a looking-glass that made all it reflected crooked ; — 
but Gertrude was too weary to notice externals. The good 
motherly landlady, seeing that she sat down listlessly in the 
chair, seemingly too stupified to be conscious of what she was 
doing, took upon herself to undress her, and " to see her com- 
fortable," as she expressed it, and Gertrude fell into a heavy 
slumber that lasted late into the following day, — although even 
in her sleep she was conscious of being wretched. 

Her landlady allowed her to sleep as long as she would, and 
it was near eleven o'clock when Gertrude came down into the 

A basket of fruit had been sent down from the Park by one 
of the under-gardeners, with " my lady's compliments to Mrs. 
Donnelly." The family had all left the Hall that morning. 

It made no difference to Gertrude ; and yet, at the news, she 
felt like one stranded and shipwrecked on a desert island — the 
last link connecting her with Clarissa was snapped by their 

Gertrude had no place of action, bub her instinct was to get 

302 THE SOKKOW3 OF Uli.MLnn. 

back to London as soon as possible. It might be that there 
had been a letter sent to her containing some explanation, some 
cine to direct her course. The stage only passed through to 
London three days a week, and tbe present was not one of them. 
Gertrude was therefore constrained to remain in her present 
quarters until the morrow, and this was the best thing that 
could have befallen. After breakfast, she attempted to write a 
letter of appeal to her husband ; but her powers both of body 
and mind had Leen overwrought, and she was incapable of 
writing a line. 

She remained the whole day in a state of half stupor that 
was neither sleeping nor waking. The next morning she arose 
feeling somewhat more alive to things; the stage coach was 
expected at ten o'clock in the forenoon, and she had at least the 
prospect of getting away — of doing* something. 

The greatest blow that could be dreaded had actually fallen, 
and she was still too much stunned to be conscious of the whole 
extent of her misery. Mrs. Hutchins had everything prepared 
for her, as though she had been fully expected. She asked no 
questions, but behaved as much as possible as though nothing 
extraordinary had taken place. One pleasant piece of intelli- 
gence she had to communicate. Lady Southend had returned 
to town, and had sent a message desiring to see her. Lord 
Southend and his bride had also arrived — all the friends who 
could help her were within her reach. Gertrude was too weary 
to feel any desire to talk • the time of words and tears had not 
yet come. 

The next day Mrs. Hutchins, who did not think it safe to lose 
sight of Gertrude, accompanied her to Lady Southend. The 
old lady had been informed of everything, so Gertrude was 
spared the trouble of entering upon details. 


The old lady kissed her, and made her sifc beside her on 
the sofa. 

" Now tell me about your journey. What have you heard ? " 

" It was a sadden arrangement. I think Augustus only 
agreed to go to Ireland because Mr. Eitz-Somebody offered him 
a place in his carriage, and I think taking away Clarissa was a 
sudden thought almost an accident. I do not think there was 
any premeditation. He was always rash, and thoughtless, and 
headlong, from the first I ever knew of him." 

" I think so too ; and we must be careful how we take him, 
or else this whim may become a fixed idea. It will hamper his 
movements, and be attended with some inconvenience, to have a 
child like Clarissa attached to him. He hates inconvenience, 
and if we deal with him rightly he will be glad to be hand- 
somely rid of her ; but if we vex him, there is no saying- what 
rash thing he may do out of spite. But I do not think — at 
least your husband did not look to me as if he were a malicious 

" Oh do not trust to that," cried Gertrude, with a shiver. 
" You do not know him since he returned this time. He hates 
me, and if he takes it into his head that he can make me suffer 
through this act, he will never give up my child. He is so 
inconsequent that he may not have seen its effect yet ; but if it 
strikes him, he will be glad to make me suffer to the utmost. I 
feel that he will. Can I not complain to a magistrate, and force 
him to give me back my own child? What right has he to take 
her from me ? 

" My poor child ! my poor child ! Clarissa belongs lawfully 
t"o your husband, and not to you. He can do what he likes with 
her, so long as neither life nor limb, nor property, are endan- 
gered, We must hope for the best ; he may be induced to do 


what we cannot obtain by any appeal to motives of law or 

Gertrude gave a wild gesture of dumb despair. 

" Southend has much influence, and if anyone can persuade 
him it will be Southend, and I know he will do his utmost." 

Gertrude groaned and writhed as though in agony; the hope 
was so vague and slender, and the despair so deep. 

"I will see Southend to-nigh. Give me your husband's 
address. Do you write too. I do not advise you to follow him, 
at least not till we hear further, and know a little what he 
intends to do. In the meanwhile take care of your health and 
strength, you will need both ; and, above all, do not give way 
to despair — that alone will be fatal to our success." 

Gertrude heard as though she heard not — she did not realise 
the meaning of the words that Lady Southend uttered ; she 
looked at her blank and helpless when she ceased to speak. 

"Take her home, Mrs. Hutchins, she will be better to- 
morrow. Do not worry her with talking to her. I will see 
Southend, and consult him what is the best to be done." 

Gertrude went away quite passively, like one walking in 

When they arrived at home there was a letter for Gertrude, 
desiring her to go down to The Cottage directly if sLie wished 
to see her mother alive» 



Whilst his wife was in this sorrow and despair at home, Mr. 
Augustus was 

'•Lolling at ease behind four handsome bays," 

which whirled him along at a first-rate pace towards Holyhead. 
He found himself comfortable in body and happy in his mind. 
He was so constitutionally and incurably thoughtless, so entirely 
inconsequent in all he said and did, that he never saw beyond the 
impulse of the present moment, nor had the least notion of the 
shape his actions would take, nor to what result they would go ; 
there was no parti pris or malice prepense in what he had done 
with regard to Clarissa. 

The evening before the party at Elvington Park was to break 
up, Mr. Fitz-Vashipot proposed to Mr. Augustus that he should 
cross over to Ireland with him, and do a few electioneering jobs 
for him there. 

Mr. Fitz-Vashipot was an English commoner, possessing a 
large landed estate in Ireland. His influence was great, but the 
government at home had refused him a peerage. He had set 
his mind on becoming Lord Pitz-Vashipot, and, disappointed in 
this innocent aspiration, he purposed to get up a little whole- 
some opposition at the ensuing election. He only intended, 


however, to sliow wliat he could do, that the ministers might 
re-consider their ways; not by any means to drive them to 
despair — because despair never pays ! 

Mr. Augustus was in his abnormal state of fund — viz., with- 
out any ; for there had been high play at the Park, and though 
Mr. Augustus had won considerably, an unlucky bet a couple of 
day3 ago had completely cleaned him out; even the latitude of 
"necessary expenses " did not furnish him with a decent excuse 
for applying to Lord Elvington. He did not relish the prospect 
of going back to his wife, after the charming society at the Park. 
But there was nothing else for him. He did not see his way 
clearly as to what was to become of him when he drifted from 
his present anchorage. 

When, therefore, Mr. Pitz-Vashipot proposed to frank him to 
Ireland, where "he might make himself devilish useful, and 
perhaps pick up something for himself worth having," it is not 
wonderful that Mr. Augustus should consider it as a most 
opportune " stroke of fortune ; " and as to making himself 
useful by doing the business of somebody else, that came quite 
natural to him. The most innately idle people are often the 
most indefatigable in that respect. 

The taking Clarissa with him, that was the accident of a 
moment. By way of making a show of modest reluctance, and 
to enhance his value, Mr. Augustus objected that he had his 
little daughter, who was too young to travel alone home to her 

"Bring her along with you, my boy; she will be charming 
company for us, and she shall give the colours ! "What do you 
say to that, Miss Beauty ? Will you come and help us to return 
a Member of Parliament ? " 

" If you will let me go back soon to mamma I have no obiec 


tion, but I cannat be spared long-," replied Miss Clarissa with a 
demure dignity that made Mr. Fitz-Vashipot clap his hands and 
laugh, and cry " Excellent ! — by Jove ! she shall make them a 

It was less trouble at the moment for Mr. Augustus to take 
Clarissa along with him than to make arrangements for 
sending her home, and even to be spared from paying her coach 
fare was a consideration. He did not realise the terrible blow 
to Gertrude, to be told that he had taken her child away with 
him ; indeed, that she received any announcement at all was the 
merest accident. Lord Elvington asked him if he wanted a 
frank? and it just struck him that he might as well write a 
line and tell Gertrude he was going to Ireland. If it had been 
necessary to go to the next room for a sheet of paper, it would 
not have been done ; but the writing materials chanced to lie 
on the table before him. 

At first Clarissa was enchanted ; she laughed and chattered, 
and had so many pretty ways, and both the gentlemen were kept 
highly amused. But at night the young* lady's spirits subsided. 
She flung herself clown on the floor, and cried for her mamma 
with so much vehemence, that the chambermaid into whose 
charge she had been consigned sent for her papa in dismay. 

Mr. Augustus, who had never seen her except in smiles 
heartily regretted he had been such a fool as to encumber him- 
self with her; if Gertrude had appeared at that moment, he 
would have welcomed her arrival as " a stroke of fortune." 
But she did not appear, and it was no longer a simple matter to 
send Clarissa home. There was nothing for it now but to take 
her forwards. She was at length exhausted by crying, and 
pacified by the promise that she should see her mamma the nest 
day, the poor child sobbed herself to sleep. 
21— a 


The next day they sailed, and poor Clarissa, 
" By expectation every day beguiled," 

learned her first lesson in sorrow. She grew apparently more 
reconciled, and her spirits revived with the lightness of child- 
hood ; but she generally cried herself to sleep at night, and often 
in the midst of being quite lively and merry she would burst 
out into passionate crying for her mamma. The poor child was 
home-sick and heart-sick, and there was no one to comfort her. 
They at last arrived — after what appeared to Clarissa a 
journey that would never end — at the Castle of Bally-shally-na- 
Sloe, county Sligo, the seat of Mr. Fitz-Vashipot, and one of the 
boroughs at stake in the approaching election. Clarissa was 
consigned to the care of the housekeeper, and the two gentle- 
men commenced their electioneering operations. It was in the 
good old times, when an election lasted many days, and many 
things were done in public that in these reformed days hide 
their nagrancy under a decent bushel. In the riot and con- 
fusion and excitement which ensued, Clarissa was almost for- 
gotten. Sometimes, when there was any " grand company," 
she was sent into the drawing room before dinner ; otherwise 
she was left entirely to the servants of an ill-conducted, dis- 
. organised bachelor's household. It was altogether the last 
place in which a mother would have placed her child ; and even 
Mr. Augustus, careless as he was, went himself to the house- 
keeper — an elderly woman, whose soul was vexed with the 
doings she saw on all hands — and entreated her to keep Clarissa 
in her room, and not to let her run wild, until such time as he 
could send her to her grandmother. 

" Indeed, sir ! and I think it is her own mother who will be 
after havinsr a sore heart for the loss of her. The poor child. 

the soraiows op ghxtility. suy 

for all she looks so lively just now, is fretting after her mother 
till it grieves me to see her ; if I gather rightly from what sh© 
tells me the lady does not know where she is ; and this morning 
Miss Clary says in her pretty way, 'Oh, Norah! mamma is 
sitting by the window now at her work, and expecting me 
home, and how am I ever to get out of this big house ? ' " 

" Well, well, try to put all that out of her head. I do not 
choose her to go back to her mamma : not yet, at any rate — 
but keep her with you until I have time to attend to her." 

Mr. Augustus put a golden guinea into Mrs. Norah's hand, 
and walked off whistling, and switching his boots with a riding- 

He had that morning received a letter from Lord Southend 
— written with the best intentions, and the worst possible 

Lord Southend had in his day been a gay and somewhat un- 
scrupulous bachelor — but he had married recently, and cast off 
the slough of his bachelor days, and come out bright and shin- 
ing in the garments of praise and respectability. Having worn 
out all the amusement there was to be found in the free and 
easy life of old, he had become weary of his " unchartered free 
dom," and now found the straight-laces of decorum a comfort- 
able support. He looked with all the more sternness on the 
course which Augustus was pursuing, as nobody knew better 
than himself how extremely worthless it was. Eesides all this, 
he had not forgiven Augustus for bringing discredit on his 
recommendation by running- away from his situation and his 
creditors. But though all these considerations might account 
to those aware of them, for the grand seigneur tone of his letter, 
they did not render it the least pleasanter to receive. 

He called Augustus roundly to account for "the great trouble 


and distress into which he had plunged his industrious and 
excellent wife ; " he exhorted him, much in the style of the re- 
formed King Henry, to amend his life ; aud concluded by 
expressing a hope that Miss Clarissa might at once be restored 
to her mother before other measures were resorted to. 

The letter contained no money, nor any intimation of favours 
to come. 

Mr. Augustus thought he discerned clearly that he had no- 
thing more to hope from Lord Southend ; and, as he imagined 
he had supplied himself with another, and an equally efficient, 
patron in Mr. Fitz-Vashipot, he had no motive for endeavour- 
ing to propitiate Lord Southend ; he, therefore, indulged him- 
self in the luxury of resentment. 

Gertrude had written also by the same post — but her letter, 
through some of the wild contradictions and perversities that 
prevail in this world, never reached him ; if it had, his conduct 
would perhaps have been different, for she had written a gentle 
and touching letter, calculated to soothe all the self-love she 
might have ruffled. She entreated him to come home, and she 
spoke of Clarissa as their child ; with wonderful instinct she had 
divined what to say and what to avoid — it was a masterpiece of 
maternal sagacity and tenderness ; — and that letter was lost. 
The good angel of Augustus Donnelly slumbered when that 
occurred, for it might have saved him from committing an act 
of devilish cruelty ; at first it had only been an act of culpable 
thoughtlessness, but, persisted in, its name became a word with 
a deadly meaning. 

Lord Southend's well-meant commendations of Gertrude con- 
verted the smouldering dislike and sullen wounded self-love of 
Mr. Augustus into active malice. He ceased to care for the 
trouble Clarissa gave him, in the consciousness of the power it 


gave Mm to torment his wife. He sat down and wrote the two 
following letters. The first was in reply to Lord Southend : — 

" My Lord, — I should scorn myself were I to allow the sense 
of past favours to interfere with the expression of my sincere 
and candid opinion of your lordship's letter just received. I 
consider it an intrusion into the privacy of my affairs, and I 
treat the assertions it contains with the contempt they merit. 
Your lordship has shown me some kindness in days gone by, and 
I called you friend ; but I cast you from me like a ivithered leaf, 
and we are henceforth strangers ! For your information, I tell 
you that it is not my intention to allow my daughter to return 
to her mother, however 'industrious' or ' excellent' it may please 
your lordship to consider her. 

" Your lordship's obedient servant, 

" Augustus Donnelly." 

To Gertrude he wrote more laconically : — 

" Gertrude, — As it is my decided intention not to allow you 
to have any further charge of your daughter, I beg that you will 
acquiesce, and not persecute me with your ill humour, nor insti- 
gate strangers to insult me with their remarks upon my private 
concerns. I am perfectly aware of your sentiments towards me, 
and if you send me any further letters I shall not read them. 

" Your husband, 

"A. Donnelly." 

When Mr. Augustus read over these letters he was highly 
satisfied both with the matter and the diction. He got them 
franked and posted, and felt a self-complacency to which his 
bosom had long been a stranger. He would have been highly 
affronted had any one told him that it was a mere flash in the 


pan, that he was incapable of holding to any purpose which in- 
volved the slightest inconvenience, and that, notwithstanding 
all his marital bluster, he would send Miss Clarissa back to her 
mother the moment it suited him to do so. 

If Gertrude had known this, it would have saved her from 
mortal pain ; but we none of us make allowance for the incon- 
sistency of human nature in our judgment of things and people ; 
we persist in believing that they will act according to pro- 
gramme — it is our own superstition that invests them with 
their power. 



When Gertrude reacted The Cottage she found that her 
mother was better — she was still trembling 1 on the brink of the 
grave; but the crisis was past — she was in no immediate dan- 
ger unless she had a relapse. 

This was some consolation to Gertrude — the last drop had 
not been added to the "waters of the full cup" that had been 
" wrung out to her." 

Gertrude took her station beside her mother's bed, and as all 
agitation and emotion would, the doctor declared, be fatal to the 
patient, Gertrude was enabled to control all the evidence of her 
own suffering, and to be as quiet and calm as though she had 
come in from an ordinary walk. Mrs. Morley was in a con- 
dition in which more depended upon the nurse than the doctor ; 
Gertrude watched day and night, and felt glad that her mother 
was at least spared a grief that was almost heavier than she 
could bear. But, even whilst this thought passed in her mind, 
" the sin of her youth" rose up to her memory like an accusing 
spirit — she had inflicted upon the mother lying there before her 
a sorrow far more bitter than even the loss of Clarissa, for she 
had added to it the sting of ingratitude, her own " sin had found 
her out," and it was only her own measure that had been meted 
out to her. She had received no sorrow but what she had 

314 the sorrows of gentility. 

hitherto deserved. She saw her own past life in a different 
light to what she had hitherto regarded it. She had known 
great sorrow and remorse for her conduct to her parents ; but 
now it seemed to her so black that nothing could equal its base- 
ness, that no other human being was so bad and wicked as she 
had been ; her repentance began strong and fresh, as though 
she had never befere seen the enormity of her sin. It was true 
that sorrow had come upon her ; but what was she that she 
should complain ? It seemed to her that she ought rather to 
receive and entertain her great sorrow in quietness and rever- 
ence, as though it were an angel sent from God to commune 
with her heart. 

The hours thus spent in silent watching beside her mother's 
bed were laden Avith the seed of a new and hidden life. 

If we would only take sorrow to our heart when it conies 
upon us, and treat it nobly, we should find that we had enter- 
tained an angel unawares. 

At length, thanks in great measure, humanly speaking, to 
Gertrude's care and skill in nursing, Mrs. Morley was pro- 
nounced convalescent, and allowed to come down stairs. 

Then Gertrude told her story, and expressed her desire to go 
to Ireland in search of her daughter. 

Mrs. Morlcy's sympathy was strong and warm, as a mother's 
only can be. Simon Morley was inclined in his heart to take a 
very prosaic view of the matter ; he considered that Gertrude 
was now without encumbrances, and might come and live with 
them, and be re-instated in all her privileges as their daughter. 
He thought it only right that Mr. Augustus should support his 
own child ; and as for Gertrude's feelings, he did not understand 
them. He could only feel and judge like a man and a parish 
overseer, as he was ! 


He had the grace, however, to abstain from giving any- 
decided utterance to these opinions. He only grunted and puffed 
clouds of smoke, and asked Gertrude if she thought there was 
any chance of getting back the child without getting hold of 
the husband at the same time, and intimated she had better keep 
quiet and not run the risk of that. 

At length the letter came from Mr. Augustus, which was not 
in answer to hers. Gertrude handed it to her father in silence. 
He put on his spectacles, and read it through. 

" A pitiful jackanapes ! He deserves to be flogged at a cart- 
tail ! "Why, rough as I am, and queer- tempered as I am, I would 
sooner have cut off my right hand than have written such a 
letter! Read it, missis, and tell us what you think about it. 
Nay, lass, never cry; he is not worth it. Thou shalt go to 
Ireland, if it took the last penny I had ! and thou shalt get thy 
little lass back aa:ain. Never fear ! A pitiful scoundrel ! A 
pretty fellow he is, to write himself ! your husband.' It was a 
bad day when you first clapped your eye 3 on him. But I am 
not going into that again. I have forgiven thee, and there is 
an end of it. Thou shalt go, and I will go with thee. Hang- it ! 
I should enjoy circumventing the rascal. I will consult lawyer 
Sadler on the best way of going to work. He is a clever fellow ! 
none more so. He got a chap off from being hanged who 
deserved it as sure as he was born." 

This declaration of his intentions had the effect of putting 
Simon Morley into high spirits ; either the prospect of circum- 
venting his son-in-law, or the testimony of his conscience that 
he was acting the part of an affectionate parent, made him feel 
quite happy. 

The next day there came a letter from Lord Southend, 
61101031110' the one he had received from Mr. Augustus. He 

816 THE S0EE0W3 OF GDIs' ULIiY. 

expressed in a few formal lines his regret at the ill-result of his 
interference, and begged that if he could do anything more to 
serve her she would let him know. The letter was perfectly 
courteous, but it spoke plainly of the difference between the 
Lord Southend of yesterday and to-day. The fact was, that Lord 
Southend had grown dreadfully discreet. It had been suggested 
to him " that he had better not mix himself up in the affairs of 
a pretty woman like Mrs. Donnelly, whose husband might after 
all have reasons for what he had done," &c, &c, and other 
suggestions of a like nature, which he caressed as prudent ; but 
an impartial recording angel would have set them down to a 
great disinclination to be bothered with any further applications 
about Mr. Augustus and his concerns. He fancied that he 
" owed it to his wife " not to keep up any further intercourse 
with such people. Lord Southend was growing indolent and 
middle-aged, and Matrimony bore the blame of it. 

Lady Southend continued a staunch friend. She wrote Ger- 
trude encouraging letters ; advised her to set off to Ireland 
without delay to search for Clarissa; and volunteered, if it 
came to the necessity of an appeal to the Chancellor, to furnish 
the funds. The old spirit which had animated her ladyship in 
her own conjugal difficulties blazed out afresh; the old lady was 
sorry to her heart for Gertrude, but, nevertheless, she rather 
enjoyed entering the lists against any husband whatever. 

She sent Gertrude letters of introduction to friends of hers in 
different parts of Ireland ; they were all desired to receive Ger- 
trude as her ladyship's friend, and to forward her views in any 
way they possibly could. 

Gertrude smiled bitterly when she received a sheaf of letters 
directed to Viscountesses, Marchionesses, and Honourable Lady- 
ships, not a few — in all of which she was described as the dear 


and especial friend of Lady Southend. It was her own old 
early dream of worldly consideration come true, but endorsed 
with the bitter mockery of her own deep grief. 

As soon as Mrs. Morley was well enough to be left, Gertrude 
prepared for her journey to Ireland to endeavour to reclaim her 
child from her husband. 

Simon Morley accompanied her as far as Holyhead, and saw 
her on board the packet. He grasped Gertrude's hand at 
parting, and whispered,— 

" Don't spare the brass, lass ! don't spare the brass ! Thee 
art welcome to all thou wants. There is nought like brass for 
going through the world and getting thy ends. God bless thee, 
and I wish thee well ! " 

This was the most paternal benediction which had ever passed 
Simon Morley's lips. The state of opposition in which she 
stood towards her husband ceemed to restore her in his eyes to 
all the virtue of filial allegiance. 

The vessel weighed anchor, and all Gertrude's sorrows and 
anxieties were for the time merged into the one miserable fact 
of being* sea-sick. This was her first experience on the sea, and 
it came upon her with a force and originality not to be gainsaid 
or set aside by any other consideration whatever. 

She was dreadfully ill ; and even the stewardess, blasee as she 
was to this branch of human suffering, became somewhat 

The passage was long and stormy, and when the vessel 
reached Kingstown Gertrude had to be carried on shore to the 



Gertrude was not able to travel the next day; her enforced 
repose was made more tolerable by the fact that the stage-coach 
which would take her the first twenty miles of her journey only 
ran two days in the week, and would not start until the morrow. 

Her own sorrow had become merged in the idea of what 
Clarissa would be suffering away from her. Thrown amongst 
strangers — home-sick and heart-sick, and no one to comfort her. 
This was no alleviation of her own pair. — it was only a form it 
took, which made it harder to endure. All day long, and all 
night through her sleep, she heard the little voice of Clarissa 
calling, " Mamma, mamma, come and take me away ! " 

Her intention was to proceed first to the residence of Mr. 
Fitz-Vashipot at Bally-shally-na-Sloe, county Sligo; but it 
was a long way off, four days' journey, as journeys were then 

No one at the inn could give her any definite information how 
she was to get there, and she walked to the post-office to 
inquire; but the process of conveying letters across the country 
was intricate, and left it little less than miraculous how letters 
ever found their way to those intended to read them. No public 
conveyance went within thirty miles of the place ; and when 
Mr. Fitz-Vashipot was at his castle, which was not often, he sent 


his own rider to Dublin for them, who had relays of post-horses 
all the way. Less considerable people residing in the neigh- 
bourhood always sent a man or boy to the point where the 
letter-bags were left under a stone by the coach as it passed, to 
be called for; and the letters that were to go were deposited in 
the same place, and taken up by the coach on its return. 

Any definite directions were clearly out of the question, so 
Gertrude resigned herself to doing the best she conld when the 
coach should put her down. The landlady tried to comfort her, 
by saying,— 

" That she would find ground to walk upon, and God's sky to 
cover her, go where she would." 

To set off — to be doing something, was the one desire that 
consumed Gertrude. The walls crushed her — the air stifled her 
— repose was impossible. 

The coach was to start at five o'clock in the morning. Ger- 
trude did not undress, in order that she might be ready in a 
moment; the landlady had unconsciously driven her nearly 
mad, by saying, — ■ 

" It is to be hoped there will be room." 

Gertrude lay awake all night, torturing herself by this pos- 
sibility, and thinking of what she should do in case all the 
places were taken. 

However, at five o'clock, just as she had fallen into a cold, 
troubled sleep, the guard's horn sounded, and the clattering of 
the horses was heard in the court-yard, 

Gertrude started up, fearing she was left behind, and that it 
was the departure, and not the arrival, of the coach she had 

She was ready in a moment, although her trembling fingers 
could scarcely tie her bonnet. 


The chambermaid came in with some breakfast, saying, — 

" Make haste, ma'am ; but there is no hurry, and missis begs 
you to drink a dish of hot tea before you start. She left it out 
for you last night, and I got up myself to make it ; you see the 
misses is a lady and she does not get up for the coach. There 
is no huurry in life — the coachman has been told you are 

" Is there room ? " asked Gertrude, faintly. 

" To be sure ma'am, no fear of that — you will have the inside 
all to yourself; so drink your tea in peace, and may the Blessed 
Virgin have you in her own keeping, Amen." 

" Xow then, is the lady coming ? " cried the voice of the 

" Don't tremble so, ma'am, you are all right, it is only his 
way to hurry people; ths coach won't go for a matter of ten 
minutes yet." 

Until she was seated and the coach-door shut upon her, 
Gertrude did not lose the sickening nightmare feeling that the 
coach would drive off before her eyes, and leave her vainly 
trying to reach it. When once seated, the sense of relief and 
safety overcame her, and she burst into tears. 

Every one of the rough men standing round the coach knew 
that Gertrude was going in search of her child, who had been 
spirited away from her by her husband ; and many expressions 
of good wishes and encouragement met her ear. 

At length the horses were harnessed: the coachman, after 
coming to the window to hope that her ladyship felt comfort- 
able, mounted his box, and after more noise and bustle than 
would have sufficed to set a whole solar system in motion, the 
coach was got under weigh. 

Human kindness and human sympathy Gertrude found 


abundantly throughout her journey, but the material means of 
continuing her progress were not so easily attainable. 

The stage coach left her at the door of a dirty ill-kept 
inn, in a ruinous-looking town, which might have been 
situated in the moon for anything she knew about its name 
or nature. 

The coachman had, however, spoken to the landlady about 
her, and whispered her story; the landlady, a compassionate 
woman, was willing to do anything under heaven for the poor 
lady — except furnish her with post-horses — for these, indeed, it 
was not the will that was wanting, " but she kept none — they 
were so seldom called for." 

She brought Gertrude into the kitchen, and made her sit by 
the fire, and told her a dozen times over that if she had come 
only a month before she would have found running and racing 
enough on account of the elections. 

" I must go on foot then," said Gertrude. 

A decent farmer, who was sitting with some refreshment 
before him on the other side of the fire-place, offered to take her 
as far as Ballynuggery, if she did not mind riding behind him 
on his dame's pillion, as soon as he had given his horse a feed 
of hay." 

Gertrude gratefully accepted the offer. 

"Bring the creature here," said the good-natured landlady, 
" and let it have a good feed of corn, to put some spirit into it ; 
and whilst the beast is getting ready, your ladyship must have 
a taste of something to eat. It would be a sin to go out fasting 
and it is what neither man nor beast ever does from this 

Little as she felt inclined for food, Gertrude felt the need 
there was to keep up her strength; accordingly, she compelled 


herself to swallow some of the boiled chicken and bacon which 
the good-natured landlady set before her. 

The man who had been out to see after his horse came in 
whilst she was eating, and sat down beside the fire, and began 
to smoke in silence. As soon as he perceived that Gertrude had 
finished he knocked the ashe3 out of his pipe and rose, and 
nodding to her, said — 

" Xow, if you are ready, ma'am, I am ready too ; you shall 
not be delayed by me. A sore heart makes one impatient." 

The horse was brought to the door. Gertrude mounted on 
the pillion. The landlady wrapped her own blue cloak round 
her knees, and begging God and the Holy Virgin to have her 
in their keeping, she watched Gertrude and her companion 

The man was silent, for he saw that Gertrude was in no dig- 
position for conversation. 

Their road lay through a wild flat country, very thinly 
peopled, and only partially cultivated — a wild expanse of bog 
was the chief feature, the silence was intense, and made the 
sound of the horse's hoofs loud and ominous. The dead loneli- 
ness affected Gertrude painfully. She felt frightened when 
she saw with her eyes, and realised the distance that had been 
placed betwixt herself and her child. 

It was near sunset when they reached Ballynuggery. Ger- 
trude did not know that her companion had sacrificed a day's 
harvesting to bring her on her journey. He refused all 
remuneration, and Gertrude had difficulty in prevailing uoon 
him to take some refreshment with her ; when at last he com- 
plied, it was evidently from the fear that she vould be disobliged 
by a refusal. When Gertrude tried to utter her sense of tin 
kindness he had shown her, he replied quietly — 


" Bare, then, I have only clone as I would wish another to do 
by me and mine, if we were in the like trouble." 

He did more than this ; he procured her a horse and guide 
for the next day, and so wrought on the man's good feelings 
that he promised to be ready to start by sunrise, that the poor 
lady might make a long day's journey. 

When her companion went to wish her " Good-bye " — for he 
had to return after a few hours' rest — Gertrude detached a small 
cornelian cross from her watch, and putting it into his hands, 
begged him to keep it in remembrance of his Christian deed 
towards her. 

" I'll keep it ma'am ; and I will pray to the Holy Mother, to 
comfort your heart, since it is Herself that can pity you." 

The man departed, and Gertrude never saw or heard of him 
asrain in this world. 

Her road, the next day, lay across a wild mountain pass. 
Gertrude's heart was too pre-occupied to leave her room for 
fear ; she seemed to be borne up with wings, or rather to move 
through difficulties like a sleep walker. She was conscious of 
but one wish — to get on. 

Towards evening they reached a village within twenty miles 
of the place she was bound to, and, although her present guide 
had been more stolid and less sympathetic than her last, yet he 
was sufficiently moved to volunteer that if the lady found her- 
self sufficiently rested after an hour or two he would find 
another horse, and go on with her to the end of her journey — 
for the moon would then be risen, and it would be as light as 

Gertrude was only too thankful for the offer, — in which they 
both overlooked the fact of the untimely hour at which they 
would reach the residence of Mr. Fitz-Vashipot. 



The roads were so bad that their progress was heavy ; they 
travelled the whole night, and dawn was breaking as they 
halted at the entrance of what should have been the park of 
Bally-shally-na-Sloe. A great deal of the timber had been 
cut down and the place had a desecrated desolate air, that 
gave the beholder, if he loved trees, a sensation as of physical 

Avoiding as well as they could tie felled trees that lay across 
the paths, they made their way to the mansion, which was an 
immense rambling house, built of dark red brick, with re-turned 
wings : the offices were behind. It would have been a hand- 
some place had it not looked so dirty and neglected. 

" In regard that we are so early," said her conductor, " we 
had best go round through a small wicket I know of, which 
will take us to the housekeeper's pr raises, maybe some of the 
servants are astir." 

Gertrude acquiesced; she felt so sick, and her heart beat so 
wildly, that she could not articulate a word. 

The first word she heard confirmed her worst fears — Mr. 
Fitz-Vashipot and all the gentlemen were gone away, and the 
little girl had gone with them too — none of the servants knew 
where, but, perhaps, when the housekeeper got up she niio-ht 
know something. In the meantime, Gertrude and her o- u ide 
were urged to come in and sit by the fire until the housekeeper 
could see them. 

It was something to be on the spot where the spot where her 
child had been so recently; to poor Gertrude time had lono- 
lost its distinctions — it seemed a year since Clarissa had gone 
from her. 

Whilst waiting in the kitchen, the only place where she 
could be introduced, Gertrude heard much of Clarissa of her 


health, of her "pretty ways," as the dairymaid called them, of 
what she used to do, and how she fretted after her mamma. 

" Gertrude's heart felt bursting with impatience raid despair 
■ — she was broken, too, with fatigue and anxiety — she was in 
fact on the brink of a brain fever. 

" If you would only call the housekeeper, perhaps, when she 
knows who it is that is here, she will not object to rising before 
her usual time ; tell her I am Clarissa's mother." 

Mrs. Brian did not make herself waited for, almost before 
Gertrude hoped she came. 

" Come into my room, ma'am, and I will tell you all I can ; 
the little girl is in g'ood health, at least when she left here three 
weeks ago." 

Gertrude followed the housekeeper to her room, where traces 
of Clarissa's presence were still visible — an old broken slate 
scrawled over with childish drawings — an old child's chair and 
table — and a defaced doll. 

Gertrude burst into tears, that seemed to break her whole 
frame to pieces by their violence. She cried in piercing tones, 
" Oh ! Clarissa ! Clarissa ! where are you ? " 

The housekeeper wept for sympathy, and the servants who 
had followed all joined in the " voice of weeping." 

At length the housekeeper recovered her composure suffi- 
ciently to clear the room of every one except Gertrude and her- 
self. Gertrude became gradually calmer. Though her tears 
continued to now, it was more gently. 

" Tell where they have taken her." 

" I do not know," replied the woman. She cried bitterly to 
leave here, for she felt safe-like with me, and she hoped you 
would come and fetch her. She did not know where she was 
going. Once Mr. Donnelly mentioned her grandmamma, but 


he told her nothing. The poor lamb was home-sick ; she talked 
of you greatly; every night when she said her prayers she 
added one to beg God to send you to take her away ; and see, 
ma'am, she left this. Her father came in while she was writing 
it, and made her leave off. He flung it into the fire, but it fell 
out, and I picked it up." 

Mrs. Brian went to a drawer, and took out a sheet of scorched, 
dirty, writing-paper, on which a letter had been begun in child- 
ish characters, that had scarcely shape in them. Gertrude seized 
on it with ravenous eagerness. 

Mrs. Brian continued talking to her about Clarissa, and tell- 
ing her everything that she could remember, however trivial, 
that she had said or done. 

Her words dropped like water in the desert. Gertrude lis- 
tened with helpless eagerness. She could scarcely comprehend 
what she heard, and she made Mrs. Brian repeat her story 
again and again. 

One of the domestics put his head in at the door, saying, — 

" Please, Mrs. Brian, ma'am, Father O'Toole is in the kitchen; 
he was passing by, and came in just promiscuous to give us his 
blessing, and maybe it would be a comfort to the poor lady 

" Yes ; ask his reverence to step forwards," said Mrs. Brian. 

The nervous strength that had supported Gertrude had now 
given way, and she sat crouched together taking heed of no- 

Father O'Toole came in ; he did not at the first glance look 
like a visitor to the house of mourning. He was short and 
rather fat, with a good-humoured face, red, and weather-beaten • 
but he had lived in the midst of scenes of suffering and poverty 
all his life. He could speak to misery " in its own tongue." 


His voice took a tender, sympathising tone, and his little round 
figure became instinct with, the dignity of his high calling when 
he approached a sufferer needing his consolation. 

He looked pitifully on Gertrude, ■who did not look up on his 

" God be merciful to you, my daughter," said he, making the 
sign of a cross reverently. " What is the trouble that has been 
laid upon her, Mrs. Brian ? " 

Mrs. Brian told him in as few words as could be reasonably 
expected, and expatiated upon Clarissa's beauty and winning 

" I remember her, I have seen her," said he. 

Gertrude looked up quickly — " Do you know where she is 
now ? " 

" No, I do not. But one day, when I dined here, I heard the 
child's father speak of going to visit his uncle, Sir Lucius 
Donnelly. He may be there now. 

" You are only a clay's journey from Glenmore, where he 
lives. You might be there by tiiis time to-morrow if you are 
able to travel." 

Gertrude's faculties seemed to be entirely worn out. She 
could no longer take in what she heard. 

" Say it again. I do not understand." 

The priest repeated his words of encouragement, and added 
— -"I know Sir Lucias, and I will go along with you." 

" She travelled all night and all yesterday. She has not 
rested since she left Dublin," said Mrs. Brian. 

" Well, then, put her to bed. She shall not stir a foot to- 
day, and as soon as she can move and is come a little to herself, 
I will go wherever she wishes. I will not leave her until, by 
the blessing of Providence, she has found her daughter, or I see 

828 THE SOEE'.»"S -Ji- ".Tjivi-i^iii. 

her safe amongst friends, though to be sure when she came to 
you she fell in with a Christian. So now, Mrs. Brian, ma'am, 
you do your part, and then I will be ready to do mine. Mean- 
while I will be after getting some breakfast." 

" It is the best of everything your reverence deserves," said 
Mrs. Brian, who was beginning to busy herself about Gertrude. 

A comfortable bed was made up in the housekeeper's room, 
and Gertrude passively allowed herself to be undressed and laid 
upon it. The room was darkened, and Mr«, Brian herself kept 
watch beside her. 



When Gertrude awoke after a sleep that had lasted some 
hours, she was much refreshed, and appeared to have recovered 
all her strength both of body and mind. She would gladly 
have started at once, but the priest represented the advantage 
of remaining where she was for the remainder of that day, and 
setting off at an early hour next morning. 

If Clarissa was not at Glenirore, then Gertrude might pro- 
ceed to the village where old Mrs. Donnelly had retired. The 
priest, who knew well that part of the country, assured her, 
that she might reach Glen-pass (the name of Mrs. Donnelly's 
place of residence) the same evening. If no Clarissa or tidings 
of her were to be obtained there, the priest advised that Ger- 
trude should return to Dublin, and there communicate with Mr. 
Fitz-Vashipot himself, who would by that time have returned 
from Paris, whither, Mrs. Brian said, he purposed going when 
he left Bally-na-Sloe. 

A great change passed over Gertrude during that day. The 
feverish eagerness which had consumed her was g - one, she ap- 
peared to have risen superior to all emotions of tenderness, or 
anxiety, all other feelings were merged in the stern determina- 
tion to recover her child. She was guided and strengthened 


by a steady purpose, and no weak or ten:.": or recollection was 
allowed to absorb the strength needed for action. Very quiet 
and very grave she was, calm and self-collected. 

The next morning very early, Gertrude and Father O'Toole 
set off on their journey, each mounted on a stout shaggy pony, 
accustomed to the roads. Their route lay over a mountain pass, 
and across a country where travellers were obliged to go 
through bye places in default of a high road. 

Towards three o'clock in the afternoon, Gertrude and her 
companion reached Glenmore, a rambling village, headed by a 
somewhat dilapidated specimen of Elizabethan building, grey 
stone, with many gables and twisted chimneys, standing in the 
midst of grounds that had gone to a wilderness, and a moat 
which was covered with duckweed. 

This was the seat of Sir Lucius Donnelly, and the very heart 
of the family grandeur. They rede up the broad but rough and 
unrolled walk that led to the deep entrance porch, which was 
thickly covered with a luxuriant growth of ivy. No inhabitants 
were to be seen except a couple of large grey shaggy hounds, 
which were sleeping in the sun with their heads between their 
stretched-out paws. They roused themselves at the sound of 
the horses' feet, and rushed towards them uttering a deep- 
mouthed bay, calculated to shake the nerves and check the 
advance of strangers. 

" What, Juno ! Ranger ! — bid manners to ye ! Don't you 
know me? Quiet, you brutes!" said Father O'Toole, cracking 
his whip. The dogs appeared to recognise his voice, for they 
began to fawn upon him, though they continued to eye Ger- 
trude with suspicion. 

A large, athletic, patriarchal-looking man, with milk-white 
hair, which fell upon his shoulders — jet-black eyebrows over- 


shading- a pair of large, bright, fierce-looking eyes— advanced 
from the house to meet them. 

This was no other than Sir Lucius Donnelly, Bart., the foun- 
tain of all the Donnelly family grandeur — the flesh and blood 
embodiment of Mrs. Donnelly's mythic traditions of the dignity 
of the family ! 

He shaded his eyes from the sun as he approached them, and 
then recognising the priest, said, with a certain dignified cor- 
diality, — 

" You are welome, Father O'Toole — and you also, fair madam, 
a thousand times welcome." 

" This lady is the wife of your nephew, Augustus Donnelly," 
said Father O'Toole. 

"Ah, I have heard of her," replied the old g'entleman, with a 
shade of reserve in his manner. " You are welcome, madam, to 
the family." 

He assisted her to alight with punctilious courtesy, but there 
was a want of the cheeriness with which he had first spoken. 

"All the men are afield, — -I believe I am the only one at 

Indeed the house was as silent as the Palace of the Sleeping 

The old chief of the family handed Gertrude with old- 
fashioner courtesy across the great hall into a small octag'onal 
room, furnished in the fashion of a century before ; the furniture, 
of course, much the worse for the lapse of time, and wofully in 
need of a housemaid's ministry. 

He made Gertrude seat herself in his own large leathern 
chair, and then left her alone with Father O'Toole, whilst he 
went to see if there were anyone to take the ponies. 

" Clarissa is not here," said Gertrude, " or he would have 


told us; we may continue our journey as soon as you are 

"I am ready at any moment. But we must stay a little 
while — he may know something about your husband; at any 
rate he will tell us where to find Mrs. Donnelly." 

Gertrude said no more. In a few minutes Sir Lucius returned, 
followed by a rosy, smiling servant girl, who proceeded to lay 
the cloth and cover the table with a substantial meal. 

" Have you come far to-day ? " 

" Well, we left Bally-na-Sloe this morning, and you do not 
ash what has brought us — we might for all the world have 
fallen down, like the image of Lady Diana, from Jupiter ! Are 
you not surprised now ?" 

"You shall talk after you have eaten and drank, and not 

There was a reserve and stiffness through all his hospitality — 
a silence quite at variance with his usual manners ; but Gertrude 
was scarcely conscious of his presence, and was quite insensible 
to the fact that she was in the presence of the great man of the 

Father O'Toole felt more awkward than Gertrude. He knew 
that Sir Lucius was expecting an explanation, and he knew that, 
with all his politeness, he considered Gertrude an intruder into 
the family. He hastened to explain what had brought them, 
and their hope of hearing tidings of Mr. Augustus. 

The old gentleman had heard nothing of his nephew since his 
departure for Africa with his friend Sir Simon. He expressed 
great concern at what he heard — told Gertrude he would be 
proud of her company as long- as she liked to stay — and thought 
that, if his nephew were in the neighbourhood, lie would be sure 
to come ; but as to throwing any light on his proceedings, or 


suggesting any plan, that was quite out of his line — he could 
do nothing, and he did not even seem to feel the need of doing 

" Oh ! surely, surely he will never keep the child from her 
mother ! " were the words he reiterated in a bland, soothing 
tone at every pause. 

" Can you tell us where we shall find Madam Donnelly, your 
respected sister-in-law ? " 

" Surely she is at Glen-pass, twelve miles away. My niece is 
at Dublin, going to the Castle balls, and treated with every 
respect by his Excellency, who is my particular friend. I dined 
with him when I was last there." 

" Well, then, Sir Lucius, we must push on, or it will be dark 
before we get to Glen-pass, for the moon is not to be counted 
for daylight, harvest moon though she be. I will fetch the 
beasts, with your leave." 

Gertrude looked gratefully at Father O'Toole when he said 
this. Sir Lucius looked offended, for want of knowing exactly 
what to do ; he threw himself up, and said, stiffly, — 

" Of course, if you please to go, you must ; but I think it 
strange that you are in such haste." 

The priest went round for the ponies, and Gertrude sat 
watching through the window for his return, quite unconscious 
of the presence of Sir Lucius. When he returned, leading them 
by their bridle, she rose. She heard the voice of Sir Lucius 
dimly sounding, but what he said she did not know. She looked 
at him with her large dilated eyes, bright and glittering, and 
gave him a strange, absent smile when he put the reins in her 
hand. She appeared to say something, for her lips moved, but 
no sound came from them. The priest remained a moment 
behind, to bid his host farewell. 


" Is she mad, do you think?" asked the old man. 

" i'To ; only sorely stricken and afflicted. I will not leave her 
till I see her safe with friends." 

Gertrude had reached the gate before the priest overtook her. 
A few moments more, and a turning in the road hid Glenmore 
from the view — and it was like a dream that Gertrude had been 

It was eight o'clock before they reached Glen-pass, where old 
Mrs. Donnelly had enshrined herself. It was a naked grey-stone 
house, without any shelter except the black mountain behind it. 

Mrs. Donnelly was little changed from what she had been 
when Gertrude left her in London, except that the country air 
had renovated her health. The miniature of the departed 
Admiral still reposed upon her faithful and ample bosom ; and 
her dress of purple satin wa3 evidently hastening to the end of 
its term of service; but her turban was as dignified as if it had 
been a diadem. She kept up her dignity, and was Mrs. Don- 
nelly still ! 

She might be astonished to see Gertrude, but Gertrude was 
scarcely conscious of seeing her. She cut short the stately 
periods of her mother-in-law's reception-speech by impatiently 
motioning the priest to speak — she could not find voice to utter 
a word herself. 

" No, she is not here. I have not seen my son ; I did not 
know that he was in England. My poor Gertrude, I am sorry 
for you!" 

" Are you ? " said Gertrude, looking at her, and touched by 
the tone in which she spoke. 

" Oh, Mrs. Donnelly, tell me what I must do ! How am I to 
get back Clarissa ? My last hope was that he had brought her 
here to you!" 


"Alas, Gertrude, — I know nothing, I see nothing 1 , I hear 
nothing in this place. Tell me all that has happened ? " 

But Gertrude was in no condition to talk. Father O'Toole 
told the whole story from the beginning", only making very little 
of his own share in it. Gertrude had relapsed into her abstrac- 
tion, and heeded nothing. 

They were now completely off the track, and had no indica- 
tion to guide them further. Letters and newspapers rarely 
penetrated to Glen-pass. To remain there would help them 

The old lady was a good deal softened since her retirement 
into obscurity. Her expenses were lessened, whilst her income 
remained much as it ever had been ; there was less strain upon 
her, and she shone amidst the few county families within reach 
with the reflected splendour of " her house in London, where 
she had entertained the noblest of the land ! " 

Gertrude had looked better in retrospect than in the time 
when she had been present, and her mild, conciliating conduct 
had taken its effect when she was away. Gradually Mrs. Don- 
nelly had persuaded herself that she loved her daughter-in-law, 
and had always treated her with maternal kindness. 

Miss Sophia, being absent, could not interpose spiteful 
speeches. There was nothing" to mar Mrs. Donnelly's reception, 
and she really felt quite pleasantly excited at seeing Gertrude 
again. Her story, too, was very interesting, and it gave her the 
glimpse of a possibility of seeing her son. She would have 
overwhelmed Gertrude with caresses, but Gertrude did not care 
to receive them. She wanted to hear how they had got on with 
Sir Lucius; but Gertrude sat quite silent, and could tell her 

" We will start on our journey early to-morrow," said the 


priest. "We must go back to Dublin; we shall hear nothing 
until we are there." 

Mrs. Donnelly was anxious to keep them ; but Gertrude did 
not seem to hear her. 

The next morning, old Mrs. Donnelly took an excellent fare- 
well of Gertrude. She reminded her, with tears, that she 
would in all likelihood never see her again in this world, as her 
health would not allow her to travel. She took a retrospect of 
her own life, and of Gertrude's life since she entered the family. 
The Donnelly rhetoric was never before so forcible or so flowery. 
There was, however, a touch of real feeling when she spoke of 
Gertrude's present condition. She assured her of her protec- 
tion and benediction, and promised that, if the opportunity 
offered, she would do her best to restore Clarissa to her ; in con- 
elusion, she expressed the approbation and esteem in which she 
held Gertrude ! 

When she had ended, she presented her with one of "her 
ancestral rings " and an old-fashioned miniature of some female 
Donnelly, mounted as a brooch, and set in garnets. 

" You promise not to keep Clarissa from me ? " said Gertrude, 
answering the only part of the harangue she had heard. 

"I promise," replied Mrs. Donnelly, solemnly. Gertrude 
turned aside, like a wearied child, to mount the pony that had 
stood some minutes at the door. 

"Farewell, Gertrude," said Mrs. Donnelly, bestowing upon 
her a majestic embrace. 

"Good bye, Mrs. Donnelly," and Gertrude rode away without 
once looking back. 

" I think we had better not return the way we came," said 
Father O'Toole. There is another road, and we may as well 
take it ; there is the shadow of a chance they may have gone 


on the other side of the nioutain to that we came by. We may 
hear something — let ns try." 

" Very well," said Gertrude. 

Father O'Toole's benevolent intention in this was to divert 
Gertrude's attention, and to give her a hope that he did not in 
the least entertain himself; he was completely baffled, and had 
not an idea what to advise Gertrude to do when they reached 

The road by which they returned was, if possible, more 
lonely and thinly peopled than the road by which they went 
The first night they slept at a small hamlet; the priest per- 
formed mass in the little chapel, and visited some sick people 
before he started the next morning. 

A bad fever was going about; many in that village were 
down with it, and the sight of the good priest was a great 
comfort to them. The next day at evening' they reached a 
lonely farm-house, standing a little off the road-side. To judge 
from the stacks of corn, and ricks, and out-houses, it belonged 
to a farmer well to do in the world. 

The priest entered the door to ask for a lodging. The 
farmer's wife, a comely middled-aged woman, came to meet him. 

t: Your reverence and the lady are welcome if the lady is not 
afraid of the fever. We have it in the house." 

There was no alternative ; no other house was in sight, and 
the night was closing in. He determined not to mention the 
fact to Gertrude, and to start as early as possible. 

The woman led the way into the kitchen, where her husband 
and the farm-servants were sitting round the hearth, grave and 
silent ; two maid-servants were spinning, and an aged woman 
knelt in a distant corner, telling her beads with great emphasis. 

All rose when the strangers entered, and the best places on the 


hearth were given to them. One of the men went out to see 
after the ponies; the servants put away their spinning 1 , and 
assisted their mistress in getting supper. Suddenly Gertrude, 
who had as usual been sitting abstracted from all that was 
going on, started violently. 

" Hush ! — Do you hear nothing ? " 

" I hear nothing. Calm yourself my daughter." 

Gertrude listened again — then, rising from her seat, went 
direct to a door hidden in the heavy shadow of the chimney 

She opened it, and saw by a dim rush-light a small room 
with a bed in one corner, and some one lying upon it. A young 
child stood beside the bed, trying to smooth the tumbled bed- 
clothes ; her back was to the door — she did not hear it open. 

With a single bound Gertrude sprang upon the child, and 
clasped it in her arms ! 

Neither of them spoke — they clung together, holding each 
other tight as though they were turned to stone in that embrace. 

The priest stood in the doorway behind. Ee had his hand 
gently upon her shoulder. 

''• Give God thanks, my daughter. This your child was dead, 
and is alive again— was lost, and is found ! " 



When Gertrude could think of anything Vesicle Clarissa, 
she approached the bed where her- husband lay. She placed 
her hand upon his forehead, and spoke very kindly to him, — but 
he did not seem in the least glad to see her! He moved hi 3 
head away from her hand, and desired she would go away, as he 
wished to be left quiet. Calling Clarissa to him, he desired her 
to sit down and stop with him. 

" But, Augustus," said Gertrude, " I am sorry to find yon ill, 
and I hope to nurse you, and make you well again. I would 
have come sooner had I known where to find you." 

" I dare say — you are very kind," replied Mr. Augustus, in a 
sarcastic tone ; " but I don't want you, and you may go away 
again. I did not send for you. Clarissa is as much of a nurse 
as I want, and she won't leave me — will you, Clarissa ? " 

" I shall not go away until you are quite well again. Clarissa 
may help me to nurse you, but she cannot do it alone — it would 
kill her. You forget how young she is." 

" Go away yourself — I don't want to see you or to hear you. 
Go away, I say ! " 

Father O'Toole made Gertrude a sign to retire, and to take 
Clarissa with her, and then approaching the sick man, said,, 
with an air of authority,— 
2R— 2 


" Come, Mr. Donnelly— I am a doctor as well as a priest ; let 
me see what is the matter with you. I think the devil has 
entered into you at any rate, by the unchristian way you talk. 
But the devil comes in the way of my lawful calling — I see I 
shall have to deal with you both." 

"I am very ill," said Mr. Augustus, in a tone half pathetic 
and half ashamed. 

" I dare say you are — and I dare say it is not your good deeds 
that have brought you to this pass. Just answer me a few 
questions, and let me bee what is the matter with you; but if 
you are not a little better fashioned, I shall not let either your 
wife or your daughter come back to you." 

The history of the mystery of what had become of Mr. 
Augustus and Clarissa was simple enough when it came to be 

On leaving Bally-na-Sloe, Mr. Augustus had accepted the 
invitation of one of Mr. Fitz-Vashipot's guests to stop a few 
days at his country house, which "few day's," Mr. Augustus 
finding his quarters pleasant, had extended to many. 

When he again continued his journey towards Clenmore he 
was beginning to feel ill, the electioneering hospitalities of Mr. 
Fitz-Vashipot and his friends having been on a scale of riotous 
living under which the constitution of the Prodigal Son himself 
must have broken down. 

When Mr. Augustus reached the farmhouse where he was 
discovered, he was too ill to go any further, and although the 
Irish are horribly afraid of infection, nothing could have been 
more generous than the conduct of the farmer and his wife 
although their treatment of his case was enough to have killed 
him of itself. The farmer's wife insisted upon keepino- the 
room at a stifling heat; she refused to have the window open 


for a second, lest "the disease," as she called it, should spread 

For all medicine, she gave him a mixture of potheen and hot 
buttermilk ; the effect of which was to keep Mr. Augustus both 
sick and sorry. Luckily, he had only been under this regimen 
since the previous day. The delays under which Gertrude had 
so much fretted were actually the means of enabling her to find 
him at last. 

The farmer and his wife, and all the h usehold, exhibited the 
most lively sympathy with the meeting between Gertrude and 
her child. The strange accident that had brought all the 
parties to their lonely out-of-the-way house, seemed little short 
of a miracle; though, as Gertrude, and her husband and child, 
were all " heretics," a miracle did not seem exactly an orthodox 

Clarissa was looking thin and pale, and much older, although 
scarcely two months had elapsed since she quitted her mother 
to go upon her visit to Elvington Park. 

" She has been like an angel," said the farmer's wife, " and 
the sense she has shown would have done credit to a councillor. 
She has nursed her father as if she had been a blessed Sister 
of Charity, and she little more than a babe herself. Oh, but it 
is to babes that wisdom is promised ! " 

Clarissa was very quiet, and only kept close to her mamma, 
holding fast by her hand as she sat on a little stool beside her 

Father O'Toole came at last out of the sick man's room, and 
taking Gertrude aside, said, — " Your husband has not the fever 
that is going about, though what it may turn to I cannot say. 
He is very ill and far beyond any little skill of mine in the 
science of medicine. You must get him to Dublin for advice, 


whilst he is in a state to be removed. The good man here will 
lend you a cart with plenty of clean straw." 

" I wish," said Gertrude, " you could pacify his mind towards 
me, so far as to allow me to nurse him ; he has taken offence at 
me, as you may perceive, though my own conscience is clear 
towards him, except that I did not feel, I could not feel, so glad 
to see him on his return from abroad as perhaps he expected ; 
but I would try to forget the past. If he should get well, and 
take Clarissa from me again, what good will my life do me ? " 

The priest looked at her kindly and keenly, with a shrewd 
half-smile on his good-tempered face, and, shaking his head, 
said, — ■ 

" I'll see if I cannot bring him to reason. He may have been 
not altogether right, but I have seen the best of women plague 
a man's life out — they can do it when they lay their minds 
to it!" 

What the priest said to Mr. Augustus was in private, with 
closed doors. The result appeared the next time Gertrude 
entered the room. Mr. Augustus sat up in bed, propped up 
with pillows, and reaching out his hand to her with the air of 
a King Ahasuerus, he said, — 


" All ! " rejoined Mr. Augustus, plaintively, " I am very ill — 
very. I think I shall soon be under the sod — I shall not trouble 
you long." 

" Oh, you must not be desponding ; I hope we shall soon have 
you well again. We are going' to take you to Dublin early to- 
morrow morning." 

Whilst she spoke Gertrude had already begun to reduce the 
room into something like order, and to allow a little ventilation 
to enter it. Augustus found himself more comfortable, and the 
idea of the magnanimity he had exercised had a soothing- effect 
upon his complacency. Gertrude put Clarissa to bed. She 
seemed but now to realise in its full extent all the horror of 
having lost her ; all the sins and shortcomings of her husband 
had become mere dust in the balance, compared with the dread- 
ful power he possessed to take Clarissa away from her again — 
and so long as he did not exert that he was most merciful. Se- 
curely had he rivetted his yoke upon her now ; and yet at that 
moment she put forth a strength and power that she had never 
yet felt within her, to gain influence over him, and to endeavour 
to turn the inevitable necessity that was laid upon her — to 

Now that he lay sick and helpless, she did not hate him. She 
felt within herself a consciousness that she had never yet taken 
her proper stand beside him. Now she assumed it, and accepted 
her lot as his wife ; she made that act of voluntary adoption 
which, is needed with all duties before we can discharge them 
so as to touch the spring of life that lies within them ; but, that 
epring once reached, the most bitter and distasteful of our duties 
become to us " a well of life springing up to everlasting life." 

Mr. Augustus was not a metaphysician, but he felt the differ- 
ence between the wife he had found and the wife he had left. 



As far as outward acts of ministration went, the Gertrude of to- 
day was no better than the Gertrude of three months ago, but 
the difference of spirit was subtle and all-pervading-. 

Gertrude had fairly conquered, to its last ramification, the 
mistake she bad committed, and which had so long and so 
cruelly pursued her in its consequences. 

The next morning Gertrude, Father O'Toole, and Clarissa 
accompanied Mr. Augustus to Dublin. He had had a good 
night's rest, and was somewhat better able to bear the journey 
in the cart the good farmer had placed at his disposal, filled 
with clean straw and the best feather-bed. Well wrapped and 
well propped with pillows, Mr. Augustus was as comfortable as 
circumstances permitted. 

The farmer himself drove the cart, professing that he "had 
business of his own in Dublin city;" but that was a good- 
natured pretence, and the act itself went to swell the sum of 
the "unrecorded acts" of human kindness, which are more 
numerous than might be imagined from the general character 
of the world for wickedness. 



Areived in Dublin, Gertrude lost no time in procuring the 
best medical attendance ; but the fine constitution of Mr. Au- 
gustus appeared entirely shattered ; he suffered from a compli- 
cation of ailments that might have made him the hero of the 
well-known epitaph — 

" Afflictions sore, 
Long time I bore, 
Physicians were in va'n." 

As soon, however, as he was able once more to travel, Gertrude 
persuaded him to return to London, instead of trying the hospi- 
tality of his uncle Sir Lucius. 

In London, Gertrude resumed her old business, although the 
attendance upon her husband was a great drain upon her time 
and strength. After rallying for a few months, Mr. Augustus 
relapsed into a confirmed invalid ; he lost the use of bis limbs, 
which of course rendered him a complete prisoner at home. 

The constant presence of her husband, which had once been Ger- 
trude's bugbear, was not nearly so bad when it really came to pass. 

The constant call upon her for kindness and tenderness pro- 
duced, not love, but a very good substitute for it. Although the 
temper of Mr. Augustus did not mend under his sufferings, his 
disposition did, and he regarded his wife with very edifying 
reverence and a real affection, As to Clarissa, she was a great 
comfort to both her parents. 


Gertrude's trial had been fitted to her strength, as everybody 
will find their trials when they once honestly take them in hand. 

Lady Southend continued to be Gertrude's staunch friend and 

Old Simon Morley was won to the unheard-of generosity of — 
matins* his daughter a fixed allowance in money ! Fortune he 
reckoned that she had entirely forfeited ; but her industry won 
upon him to allow her a small sum " to set her mind at liberty," 
as he phrased it. 

Mrs. Morley came several times to see her daughter, and was 
once more won over to forgive her son-in-law all his misdeeds, 
by his pleasant tongue and polite manners towards herself; 
but especially by the respect with which he now treated her 

In this manner two years passed away. In the spring of the 
third year, which was very cold and the east winds constant, 
Mr. Augustus took the opportunity of dying. 

He " made a good end," expressed himself penitently and 
gratefully to his wife, and expressed a bope that she would have 
a happier life after he was gone than she had led with him 
Singular to say, Gertrude felt dreadfully sorry at losing him; 
her life had become suddenly a blank — her occupation was gone. 
He had certainly been a great trouble to her; but we always 
love those most who call out our best qualities. Ludy Southend 
lost all patience at what slie called " Gertrude's unreasonable 
regret for a worthless husband." She declared that " why 
Providence had left him alive so long was both a mystery and 
an inconvenience to all concerned in him ; " but G ertrnde 
persisted in her sorrow in spite of her ladyship's logic. 

After her husband's death, Gertrude and Clarissa went to 
reside at The Cottage, and in her last days poor Mis. Morley 


realised the dream of her life, "to have some comfort with her 

Simon Morley, junior, and his wife went on in the even tenor 
of their way, paving the way with gold. It had not, however, 
the faculty of soothing Mrs. Simon's temper at the same time. 


We imagined that we had finished the history of Gertrude ; 
but a report was spread in Dunnington (to be sure it was trace- 
able to Mrs. Simon) that the young tanner of whom mention 
has been made — whom Gertrude had scorned when a girl, and 
who had, out of admiration for her elegance, cultivated his taste 
and spent his money upon giving himself an education, but who 
never married — had shown a disposition to " come forward " 
and try his fortune once more with the fair cause of all his woe. 

Gossips prophesied over their tea-tables that Mrs. Donnelly 
would not remain a widow two years. Reports are often like 
the twilight that precedes the dawn, and come true in the end, 
although in the beginning they were only probable. 

The young tanner did " come forward," and Gertrude, touched 
by his good qualities, and still more by his constancy, consented 
to marry him. 

Simon Morley gave her his blessing and five thousand pounds, 
now that she was marrying a rich husband and did not need it. 

Gertrude lived long and happily with her second husband. 
She had several children, but she avoided the error that had 
worked her so much suffering, and impressed upon them from 
their early years what are the Sorrows of Gentilitf. 



is^? f&j >m? xi# •vii?"^-^' y^ x&? «ag: >sc j^ 1 *^ 

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'The O'Donoghue' is a tale of Ireland fifty years ago, 
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of persons, exquisite descriptions of scenery, vigorous 
and well-sustained narrative, a plot intensely interest- 
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hand of Lever." — Shrewsbury Journal. 




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