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About Google Book Search Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web at |http: //books .google .com/I immiiiii 800072281Q I AUTHOR'S DAUGHTER. CATHERINE ELLEN SPENCE, IN THREE VOLUMES. VOL. LL LONDON: RICHARD BENTLEY, NEW BURLINGTON STREET. [Ait righU rucnid^ HS-o^ a. /^. CONTENTS OF VOL. II. OBAPTBB PAQB I. amy's determination . .1 II. PREPARATIONS FOR DEPARTURE 26 III. THE VOYAGE AND LANDING .51 rV. HOME AT STANMORE ... 75 V. A VISIT TO MILLMOUNT . .91 VI. ANTHONY'S REMONSTRANCE . . 102 VII. COMING OUT . . . .111- VIII. amy's new FRIEND . . .125 IX. GREAT prospects . . .138 X. A RECOGNITION . . . 151 XI. BELTON RECTORY . .166 XII. AN OLD maid's TREASURE . . 176 XIII. LOUIS HAMMOND HAS ANOTHER CHANCE . 187 XrV. AN IMPORTANT ARRIVAL . . 202 lEMATURE SYMPATHY . . .286 THE AUTHOR'S DAUGHTER. CHAPTER I. amy's deteemination. It was a splendid day for the reaping-machine, but a rather hot one for any other employment, and Allan and Hughie and Harry Weir were hard at work in the wheat-field taking the eighth crop which had been grown successively off the first land that Hugh Lindsay had bought and enclosed for agricultural purposes. The season had been favourable, and the innovation which Mr. McCallum had despised of letting sheep feed off the stubble had benefited the land as well as the stock, so that there was no falling off in the 3Hleld. The three good horses that gave the motive power to the machine moved steadily along, and the ears of com were snipped off and thrashed on the ground, only needing to be put through the winnowing-machine to be fit for the VOL. II. 1 2 THE AUTHOB'S DAUGHTEIL miller. Kidley's reaping-machine is the glory of South Australia; it was the first important invention which our colonial necessities gave birth to, and in none of the other colonies does this particular machine do its work so well or so profitably ; for in New South Wales and in Vic- toria they rarely have that peculiarly dry harvest weather that makes the heads of com stand up crisp and erect ready to be decapitated. Where labour is dear and straw considered of little value, the machine that saves the first even at the sacri- fice of straw is preferable to any other. Hugh Lindsay let Allan have his own way with regard to agricultural operations ; it was only about sheep that the old man considered himself to be an oracle. Allan's reaping-machine was the thing he was most proud of on the farm ; he had not made it himself, but he had thrown out sugges- tions to the maker, and it was the best that had ever been turned out of his yard. Allan could go over more land and leave it more thoroughly clean than any man in the district. But reaping, whether by hand or by the ma- chine, is hot work for a long December day, when the thermometer stands at 130° or thereabouts for hours together, and the inner man needs frequent strengthening. The horses were taken out and changed after half a day's work ; but by amy's determination. 3 help of a substantial breakfast, luncheon, dinner, afternoon luncheon and supper, the human la- bourers are kept up from sunrise to sunset. Cook- ing in harvest time keeps the womenfolks of the household pretty busy indoors, especially if there is much extra labour engaged. It did not make so much difference at Branxholm as at many other places, but still it made some, and at such times Mrs. Lindsay would give a sigh to the memory of Jessie, who had been such a treasure when they were "throng." Some changes had taken place in the district since Amy's first arrival ; there was a little township — that is to say, a post-office and store, a public-house, a blacksmith's shop — within four miles of Branx- holm now, and Mrs. Lindsay was not sure that it was an advantage, for folk were less thoughtful now, and the errands seemed to be a greater off- put of time than when the distance was greater. Isabel had to be despatched to the township this afternoon for one or two things that might as well have been got last Saturday, and Amy put on her large hat and took out the afternoon luncheon for the reapers in the basket kept for the purpose. Bread and cheese, home-made cake, and a bottle of Branxholm wine, with cold water fresh drawn from the well, were the refresh- ments provided. In a secondary way, Allan was 1—2 4 THE author's daughter. proud of his wine, next to his reaping-machine. He had read a good deal on the subject of wine- making, and he had himself made the crushing- machine and watched the fermentation. All the family had turned out, Amy included, to cut the grapes, and Allan had gone round the vineyard with the cart to exchange the full baskets for empty ones, and to take the ripe rich grapes to the crushing-cellar. Truly an Australian farmer has many of the luxuries of life as well as its necessaries ; and the Lindsays did not grudge taking trouble to increase their comforts. They had a sort of conscientious feeling that they should try to make tlie most of everything. Mrs. Lindsay had as great a dislike to what she called " waistrie " now that lier husband was a man of substance, as in the daj^s when they had nothing ; and the manner in which everything on the farm, the station, and the garden was utilized kept every one in the household busy. Now and then, in the midst of her pickling and preserving and drying and bottling, she would quote Allan Ram- say's couplet — " They that have just eneuch may sonndly sleep ; The o'eroome only fashes folk to keep-—" in a different sense from what was probably in- tended by the author of the " Gentle Shepherd/' amy's determination. 5 for the overcome or the surplus really gave her a great deal of trouble. The only fruit that she made no attempt to utilize was the olive ; for though the Scripture classes wine and oil together, her Scottish tastes led her to value the one and to despise and dis- like the other. The hot reapers had just wiped their faces and sat down to enjoy the " snack " which Amy had brought to them when Isabel came in sight with several letters in her hand, " Two for you, Amy, and one for my father — the English mail is in, you see. Oh ! give me something to drink, for I can scarcely speak for thirst ; water, Allan, no wine in it, if you please. And here's your rope that has cost me such a journey, and the paper with the English news that George sends us." " Don't tempt me with English news till I get my day's work done, Isabel." " Are not you sitting down to rest now ? you might as well be reading at the same time." " If I begin to read I may not know when to stop ; but, dear me ! what is the matter with Amy ?" and Allan left his luncheon, and started up to see what caused the little scream which she had uttered. " Is it a letter from her English brother ? Is it a man's handwriting, Isabel ?" 600072281 Q 8 THE author's daughter. insufficient, you may draw on me for an additional sum, as my desire is that no time should be lost. You must telegraph to me as soon as you arrive, and I will hasten to meet you and to fetch you home. " As I have your likeness to study I enclose you mine that you also may grow familiar with my appearance before we meet. I send you one of Edith, who is younger than I am. My pho- t(jgi*«ipli is not a good one, but it is the best I could get taken after ten sittings ; Edith takes better than I do. " You are quite aware that I have an excellent position in the world. If George Copeland ever spoke of me, he would satisfy you of that, so that whatever I promise I am able to fulfil ; so I trust that you will act at once on my suggestions, and hasten to England, relying on the affection of youi" unknown but affectionate brother, "Anthony Derrick." " What does it mean, Allan ?" asked Amy. " Bad news for us, bad news for me," said Allan, sadly. " Let out the horses, Harry, for I am going to do no more work to-day. Isabel, take my father's letter to him directly. I won- der you keep it when you know how anxious he alwayts is to hear from Jessie." amy's determination. 9 Isabel, though dying with curiosity, could not disobey orders from Allan. The horses were taken out, and Harry and Hughie had no objec- tion to a quarter-day's holiday ; it was seldom that Allan took a lazy fit to give them a chance of it. " Oh Amy," said Allan, " you will not leave us — ^you must not leave me." " But he is my brother, and I rmist go, I sup- pose ; but it is so sudden. It is very kind of him to write so." '* Very kind of him to steal you away from us — ^from me. Oh ! Amy, a thousand brothers could not love you as I do," said Allan, imconsciously echoing the words of Shakespeare, " and as he has never seen you — ^never known you — what will the loss of you be to him ? But to me, to lose you now, is worse than death. I never knew before how dear you were to me. It's near four years now since you came to Branx- holm, and these years seem all of my life that is worth anything. I scarce can recollect anything now before that bitter yet blessed day when Pro- vidence led me to you in your distress and deso- lation. Amy, you cannot leave me desolate ! I am not your equal, but then nobody can be that, and nobody can ever love you as dearly as I do." Amy trembled at the earnest words. Allan 10 THE author's daughter. had waked up to feel the strength of his attach- ment by this sudden threatened parting. " Wliat will it be to this brother, this Mr. Der- rick," resumed Allan, impetuously, " whom you have never seen, or to this sister, who does not even send a message to say she will be glad to see you, if you write, saying that you are very much obliged, but that you will stay where you are, the light of my eyes, the pride of my heart ? What they have never known they can never miss. Write to them now and then, that should satisfy them. But to go — to go from me — ^for ever — ^to take all the sweetness out of my life for the present, and all the object out of my future hopes ! Oh ! Amy, that will be a poor re- turn for so much love as I bear to you." " I don't know what to do," said Amy, weep- ing. "I am very very sorry to leave Branx- holm and to make you unhappy, but I think I ought to do as my brother wishes." " Just look at the place," said Allan, as they stood under the tree, shaded from the rays of the westering sun, facing the house and garden which lay with a background of wooded hills, as in a haven of shelter ; " look at the yellow com, the bonnie garden, and the home where I think you have never heard an unkind word all the years you have been here. Think of the happy days amy's determination. 11 we have passed together before you make up your mind to leave us for your grand friends. Would you be happier there than I could make you here ? let well alone, Amy, my dearest, stay where you are, you never can have the heart to leave me." The large, strong hand grasped in earnest entreaty the little slender hand that had done him such good service ; the blue eyes that Amy had never shrunk from before gazed at her as if they would drink in her very soul ; all the strength of affection which had lain so long dor- mant in the large heart of the young man leaped forth into full day. " Don't you love me in return, Amy ? don't you love me a little in exchange for all the love I bear to you ?" " Oh ! Allan," said Amy, " I do like you very much, but not so much as you deserve, not so much as would ^tisfy you." " I am not exacting, Amy ; I should be easily satisfied." " Not so much as ought to satisfy you," said Amy. " If I did I would do as you wish, and write to my brother that I have cast in my lot with yours, and never regret it or repent of it afterwards." " I hope I should give you no cause to repent 12 THE author's daughter. it. Have you known me so long and yet cannot you trust me. Amy T " Oh ! Allan, I could trust you, but I could not trust myself — and I think I should be sorry afterwards if I did not accept of my brother's love and care." " Not if you were happy with me, Amy ? Why should you be so doubtful T " Because I do not love you enough. Is it a little love that would satisfy you who have given your whole heart to me ? Could I be mean enough to take so much and give so little ? The only advice mamma gave me (and I was too yoimg to understand it at the time, though I know its meaning now) was that I was not to marry too young, and that I should know my own mind before I promised to marry any one. I was not to be persuaded into so momentous a step by any appeal from a lover, or even from my own father, for if I married a man without loving him and trusting in him I should sin against God, against my husband, and against my own souL" " Then you do not love or trust me. Amy ? The idea of going to England and mixing with your equals in rank and education has always been a dream of yours. I wish I could lay my selfish wishes a^ide, and say go and God go with amy's determination. 1.^ you. I suppose such magnanimity is only for knights and nobles, and not for an Australian down like me." ** Allan/' said Amy, kissing the hand that lifld hers and letting her tears fall on it, " you an* no clown. I don't know that I ever shall meet with a truer gentleman than you are. You are the best and dearest friend I have in the world. I can scarcely imagine how I am to get on without you to help and advise me. But I wish, I really wish and long to know my brother and sister ; perhaps when I am gone you will think very differently about me." " I am not given to change," said Allan ; " al)- sence will make no difference to mo." " It may to me," said Amy, thoughtfully. " That's what I fear," said Allan ; " that's why I say, let well alone." " That is not what I mean," said Amy ; " I don't like to say what is in my mind for fear you take it up for more than it is worth ; but I may miss you and feel the need of you when you are not near." "And then you can come back," said Allan, exultingly, " and if this brother is not kind to you, or if you are not happy, you have only to let me know." " I don't want you to build on it, AUan. I 14 THE author's daughter. think I shall be very fond of my brother. Mamma told me that if there ever was any re- conciliation, I was to be doubly fond of Anthony and Edith, for she blamed herself for leaving them. I am so glad Anthony thinks it was wrong to take no notice of papa's letter after mamma's death.'* " You think that a kind letter from your bro- ther ; I do not," said Allan. " Setting aside his insulting offer to pay us for our services to you (for on that matter I perhaps feel too keenly to be a fair judge), he makes a great deal too much of his claims on you and of his intentions to- wards you." " You are unjust to him, Allan." " And he appears to think that he will love you, unseen and unknown, better than the sister with whom he has spent all his life, and he exr pects more sympathy from you." " I daresay Jessie and George have praised me absurdly, and he is young, too, just about your age, Allan, and you are not at all reasonable with him. Don't try to set me against my only bro- ther, dear mamma's eldest child. It is very un- kind of you to do that." " I don't mean to be unkind, but I am carried out of myself. Amy. Your sister ought to have sent you some message to let you know she AMY*S DETERMINATION. 15 would be glad to see you ; but perhaps tliis is one of the points in which there is not complete sympathy between them/' said Allan, with the slightest touch possible of a sneer. " I beg your pardon, Amy, I don't think I ever said so unkind a thing to you before, and now I want you to love me. Only if your brother and sister disagree about you it will not be comfortable for you." " I am not afraid of it ; you see how suddenly Anthony writes on the information. My sister had no time to prepare herself or to write." " He wishes you to be as sudden. I suppose you will be off by this month's mail steamer. It is possible ; and if possible, you ought to do it, I suppose." " No, I am not going this month," said Amy. " I will wait till I receive another letter ; and I want to accustom you all and myself, too, to the idea of parting." "Yes," said Allan, catching at the hope that something might occur; "your brother's next letter may make it clearer that you should stay. Oh ! if I had only known my own heart sooner — if I had said the words I have said three months ago, might I not have had another answer ?" " I think I should have told you to wait." " Waiting at Branxholm together is not like 16 THE author's daughter. waiting with you on one side of the world and me on the other— with you surrounded with rich and noble suitors perhaps. You will have luxury, and refinement, and elegance, and art, and poetry, and music, and all the things that you have longed for that you love more than me. When I think of all the people that you will meet that you will compare with me and find me wanting I cannot bear that you should go away." " I must go — I ought to go— but if you keep of the same mind in three years' time — and I see no one whom I like better, and I feel that I miss you — I will come back," said Amy, slowly and -hesitatingly. " Oh ! you will see some one whom you will b'ke better." " Well, would it not be better to find out that when we are not bound to each other irrevocably? You are a dear good fellow, and deserve some one far better than I am ; but I don't think you per- fect, as mamma thought papa was. If, after see- ing people as they are in the great world of Eng- land, I feel that I can love you loyally and well all my life I shall feel sure that I am right in / marrying you." " Then you will engage yourself to me for three years. I would wait six if I thought you would s amy's determination. 17 be mine at the end of them, ay, seven years, and seven more, like Jacob for Rachel" " No, I will not engage myself; I will not pro- mise to feel boimd by what I say now, because I may change, and you may change. Mamma said if she had had the courage to break off an engage- ment into which she had been persuaded, even at the very altar, she would have saved herself much sin and much sorrow. But I will write to you regularly, and you will write to me ; if I feel that I can do without you I will tell you so^ so that you should not waste your life for a shadow ; if you change let me know ; but let us always be open and sincere with each other. Whatever hap- pens let us always be friends." " Always friends, Amy. It is I who should have said you should go home free, and I should be bound, for that would have been honourable and generous; but this matter is so momentous, it seems to change my nature ; to make me jealous and suspicious; to make me wish to extort a promise from you that might better my chances. Will you try to bear with me, and forgive me, Amy?" If Allan h€td never been so exacting before, on the other hand he had never been so penitent or so softened. Amy could not help feeling over- powered with his grief and emotion. " I should VOL. II. 2 IS THE author's DAUGHTER. read Jessie's letter and bear what she says about it/' said she ; but the perusal did not at all clear uj) her ideas, for Jessie was somewhat incoherent. Still there was an impression conveyed that Amy must go. Anthony's settled determination had carried her so far with him ; but there was an implied fear that the change might not be for the better that Allan grasped at. " Let us hear what my father and mother say about this ; let us hear what Jessie has written to them. Of course she was bound to say the kindest things she could about your brother to you ; but let us consult with all your old friends before you leave them for those that are as yet strangers to you." With sad grave faces they rose and walked to- . gether to the house. Mrs. Lindsay rose from her chair as they entered the room and went forward to meet Amy. There were tears in her eyes when she took Amy's hand with more fondness than she had ever shown. " Oh ! my bairn, my dear bairn, are you really thinking o' leaving us ? I never thought o' Jessie doing us sic an ill turn. It was bad enough when she took up wi* George Copeland, and behoved to follow him to his kin in England, but to be wiling you away next is hard on us a'," and the mother's eye fell on her favourite son, and amy's determination. 19 saw the grief written in his face. " Keep up your heart, Allan, Amy can never think to leave Branxholm like this." " This is a different sort of letter from the one you got from your aunt," said Hugh Lindsay. " If the lady's was somewhat cold, this is in hot haste and hurry. Nothiii£r less than taking: ship ^d j;^ to E^d tti, r^rZ satisfy your brother, and the money sent out for your charges. By Jessie's account, this young laird, Mr. Derrick, has great possessions, and he is keen to do a brother's part by you. It is a great opportunity for you. Amy, my lass, only if you have no mind for it, it will be the same to us." " Weigh it weel ere you change a home with us for one among grit folk." said the more im- petuous Mrs. Lindsay, who had not the same regret for lost opportunities of worldly advan- tages as her husband. " Ye ken weel that it is not the abundance that a man has that should be counted for everything ; no but what the Almighty has blessed us with abimdance, and we behove to acknowledge^His hand in it ; but as I was saying, this letter frae your brother that you've never seen, and that never cared whether you or your mother, that was his mother too, was dead or living before this particidar time, is not to carry 2—2 20 THE author's daughter. the day over tried friendship and goodwill, and maybe more than thai Bide wi' us if you like it best. You brought a blessing to the house, and I doot that if you leave us, Branxholm will never be the same place to Allan or to me," and the good woman cried outright. Every one likes to hear expressions of personal attachment. This was not a demonstrative fiEb- mily, but the idea of Amy's leaving Branxholm called out more words of affection fit>m yoimg and old than she had ever heard. Isabel and Phemie cried heartily ; even Hughie got into a comer and blubbered a little, as he thought un- observed. Hugh Lindsay himself astonished the family circle by the unprecedented act of kissing Amy's tearful cheek, and saying that it was nigh hand as bad as Jessie's going to England. But Hugh Lindsay was not so earnest in his entrea- ties that Amy should decline her brother^s offer as the others were. He saw no such great social gulf between the position of the sister of an En- glish laird, though she was an earl's granddaughter, and Allan Lindsay. They were two bairns as yet ; he did not care for such an early marriage. Why not let Amy go home for two or three years, and ingratiate herself with her wealthy brother, and then bring to Allan a suitable fortune ? Li the meantime let Allan push his own fortune well ; amy's determination. 21 he would give him every possible advantage, and the hope of making himself equal to Amy in worldly position would spur Allan to greater exertion. There was no doubt that Amy would soon be the favourite sister. On reading Anthony's letter, which Amy requested him to do, he took a very favourable view of her prospects and of the squire's character. Amy had a knack of finding her way to every heart that would give her a chance, and Mr. Derrick would find it as hard to refuse her anything in the course of a year or two, as Allan himself did. By the most provi- dential arrangement, Jessie was at hand, and she would never let Allan be forgotten. And Hugh Lindsay thought that even in the most brilliant circles of English society. Amy might look far be- fore she saw Allan's match, and if it was necessary Allan should go home for her and fetch her out. Mrs. Lindsay was surprised at the good man's acquiescence, and even more than acquiescence — his recommendation that Mr. Derrick's offer should be accepted ; and AUan, who had hoped for an ally in his father, was disappointed at the view he took. Hugh Lindsay's opinion had weight with Amy, for she felt that the old man liked her, and would miss her, and therefore it was disinte- rested advice given to her on the grounds of An- 22 THE author's daughter. thony's letter, of which he took an unprejudiced view. And ahe wished to go ; she felt her bro- ther's claims strong and his letter kind; she could not take Allan's uncharitable view of his hope of finding perfect sjnnpathy fix)m her. The delicate and tender apprehension of another's thoughts and feelings which she had missed among the Lindsays, but which she well recol- lected as existing between her father and mother, and which in some degree she ha>d shared with them, was likely to be met with fix>m those of her own near kindred, and especially fix>m her brother. Hopes of seeing Darlington Castle, which her mother had often described to her, of revisiting with her brother the London home where she had spent her childhood, Mr. Hubbard's studio, the Royal Academy pictures, the theatres, the concerts to which her father used to take her long ago; all the circumstances about mamma that Anthony and Edith would be eager to hear, and she too happy to tell ; and how she would try to make them feel some liking for her papa too — a confused medley of hopes, wishes, and expecta- tions chased each other through Amy's mind. She was sure she had done right about Allan> because if she really had loved him she could not be planning a life full of pleasure and employ- ment in which he had no share. She was very amy's determination. 23 Sony for him, because she saw he felt differently ; and when his father was talking of taking ano- ther station, and counting the expense of stocking and the probable profits, Allan listened without interest and without ambition. Allan had no such high opinion of his qualifications as his father had, and he felt that if Amy went away his chance afterwards was small. Although Hugh Lindsay was a man who made the most of opportunities, and though, at this particular time, when he wished to take a great start for Allan's behoof, he was in want of ready money, he never thought of such a thing as accepting any equivalent from Anthony Derrick for his kindness to Amy. Not though it might have been a convenience to himself to receive, and a satisfaction to Anthony to pay, a handsome sum to discharge a burdensome obligation. The old man knew that the obligation lay tlie other way, and as a sort of relief to his feelings lie pre- sented Amy with a handsome watch and chain, and made on the occasion the longest speech he ever was known to give utterance to. " I wanted to give you something to mind me by, that is not altogether useless. Amy, dear ; and it's a bonnie watch too, and though it will point to different time in England from what my old turnip does here, they're both warranted to be 24 THE author's daughter. tnie time, and to be depended on," said he. "And when you are living with different sort of folk, who they tell me are as hard worked in what they call killing time as we are in making use of it, and you're like to forget us in the midst of your amusements and your visitings, you'll have to look at this whiles, and it will, maybe, bring back to your mind an old man, and a young man, too, that will think long till they see your fiBtee again. For it is borne strongly on my mind that you will come back to Branxholm before I'm laid beside our Patrick and your poor father. You see that bonnie dye* of a locket hanging to the chain. I got that wee bit of your father's hair from you to have set in it, that you may keep mind that you've left your dead in our care. And you'll take the neighbour of the bit locket, with her mother's hair and mine in it, ^io our Jessie, and give it with your own hands, and write us word how she looks, and if she's really comfortable with her good mother. It's a comfort that you are to be so near Jessie, if you behove to go from us." Amy accepted the gifts with tears and thanks, and was oiily too happy to be the bearer of the family presents to Jessie and Jessie's little boy. * Scotch for trinket, or anything hright and showy. amy's determination. r^.'i It was the culmination of the course of Hpoiliiig which she had gone through at Branxhohn, that every one should be kinder and more demon- strative than ever in their grief at her de- parture. CHAPTER II. PREPARATIONS FOR DEPARTURE. Mrs. Troubriixi?: and Mr. Lufton were not long in liearin^ tlie great piece of news that was agitating the family at Branxholm, and they lost little time K^fore they came to find out all par- ticulars. Mr. Lufton was pleased to think that Amy could not be engaged or attached to Allan or she would not think of leaving him; and l^esides the expression on Allan's face showed that he had met with some severe disappoint- ment. Isabel and Phemie and Mrs. Lindsay were voluble in their expressions of sorrow at the loss of Amy, but Allan said not a word. Mr. Luflon determined to throw himself into the breach, and try to preserve the Rose of Branx- holm for South Australia; and he made an opportunity for speaking to her — somewhat clumsily, as was his wont — by affecting a strong curiosity about a particular flower in the garden PEEPARATIONS FOR DEPARTURE. 27 that he never cared for before or after, and poured forth a few incoherent sentences to give Amy to understand that she need not leave Australia, that she would break his heart if she went, that happiness with new-found relations was doubtful, but with him it would be certain. He worshipped her, adored her, he had loved her from the first day he had seen her, he would love her for ever. He was in good circumstances, and perfectly independent; even if her brother, Mr. Derrick, was a man of consideration in England, he never could object to his sister marrying a prosperous Australian gentleman, who would soon be able to return to England and take a good position there. Amy should have stopped Mr. LufboD as soon as she began to apprehend his meaning when she had no intention of accepting him. Poor little Amy ! your head is a little turned with so much adulation, and the sound of your own praises is sweet in your ears. Allan had said that no one could love her as he did, that at Branxholm she was more prized than she could be at Stanmore, and she had sometimes felt that he was in the right. But Mrs. Troubridge petted and Mr. Lufton complimented her more than any one of the Lindsays did, and she felt sure that wherever she went she should make friends. Amy's 28 THE author's daughter. strongest wish was a wish to please; her greatest dread was to give pain to any one. She was flattered by Mr. Luflon's preference, but yet it did not give her lialf so much pain to tell him that her mind was made up to go to Kngland, and that he must not think to dissuade her from it, as it cost her to say the same to Allan. Her manner, however, was so gentle, her voice so sympathising, that Mr. Luflon did not think that she really meant " no." He proposed waiting for a while, and then going to England to hear what she had to sav there. " No, no, you had better not think of such a thing," said Amy, " you know very well that it could never be. You are so much older than I am that I never could feel to you as you wish, and I am quite sure my brother would not approve of it." Mr. Lufton had never been told so plainly the great objection which the youthful objects of his affections entertained to his addresses. He never fancied that he had grown any older since he had made his first offer to Mra. Troubridge's sister, who was now the mother of several children. Compared with Mr. Troubridge and Mr. Hammond he was quite a youth, and he knew that his appearance and manner were remarkably sprightly and juvenile. PREPARATIONS FOR DEPARTURE. 29 This rebuff he confided immediately to Mrs. Troubridge, to whom all his previous ones had been disclosed in the same way, and her sym- pathy was as ready as it had ever been. Now that Mr. Lufbon was so useful to her in a himdred ways, for he was the active executor imder Mr. Troubridge's will, and had come out admirably in his management of the Richlands station, the least Mrs. Troubridge could do for him was to listen to his recitals and to sympathize with his hopes and fears. She promised to aid his suit, and to remonstrate a little with Amy, so she hastened to Branxholm to see how the land lay. She thought Mr. Lufbon had some chance until she was shown Anthony Derrick's letter and heard the accoimts which Jessie and George had given of the wealth and importance of the family. The aristocratic birth which Amy had kept so long concealed impressed Mrs. Troubridge more than any of her other friends, and she felt convinced that Miss Staunton's removal to the world of rank andfashion would take her altogether out of Lufbon's reach, and still more out of Allan Lindsay's. The only consolation she could see for Lufbon was that the yoimg Scotchman looked more miserable than himself, and as this was his first love, and one the growth of years, it would 30 THB ATTTHOB'S DAUGHTER. lie harder for him to get over it than for his niiddle-agcd and impressible neighbour. If Hugli Lindsay had been dazzled by the o])]x)rtunitie.s wliich lay before Amy so as to offer no objection to her leaving his home, Mrs. Troubridge wa.s still more dazzled with them. It wa8 like an incident in her favourite novels, when a lovely heroine was rescued from an ol^cure position by wealthy and generous rela- tives. She aided Amy in idealizing her brother's likeness and her brother's character. She was sure tliat Amy had oidy to be seen to be loved, and, in order that her outfit should be worthy of her brother's generosity, she ofiered to go to Adelaide with her young friend, and help her with everything ; and also to introduce her to several ladies of her acquaintance who had taken the overland journey, and who could advise her as to what was needed. Mrs. Troubridge seemed to shake off the apathetic listlessness which she had fallen into after her husband's death, now that there was so much advice and management required. She wrote to her mother and sister to make some purchases, and she insisted that nothing less than a fortnight was necessary for Amy to spend in Adelaide before she sailed. Allan had pro- posed that Isabel and himself should accompany PREPARATIONS FOR DEPARTURE. 81 Amy to town, and that they should stay with Uncle Robert and make their purchases, and he would be always at their service; but Mrs. Tro.ubridge said that was quite unnecessary. She could do all that was needed, and it would be better that Amy should part with all her friends at Branxholm at once. " No," said Allan, " I cannot consent to that. I must see the last of her as long as she is in Australia. I want to be at hand to serve her if she needs me ; and it may be she will change her mind yet. If your next letter is not so cordial, you may think better about going, and I think you should wait at Branxholm till it comes. Amy," continued Allan, addressing his little teacher in a low earnest voice. "There is no fear of that," said Mrs. Troubridge. " I am sure that Mr. Derrick's next letter will be more kind than the last. I can read character very well by a man's style of writing, and I am sure that Mr. Derrick is not changeable." " Still I will accompany Amy to Adelaide," said Allan. " And I too," said Isabel. " Oh ! if you wish it, certainly," said Mrs. Troubridge, "and you will be anxious to see what things we buy for Amy. After the hand- some sum which Mr. Derrick has remitted he 32 THE author's daughter will expect and he should expect that you Ahould make a good appearance, and Julia and I will do our best to rig you out properly. They have engaged a dressmaker to make your things, as I told them. Well, after all, the thing that amuses me most in the whole affidr is Mrs. Hammond's blunder. I hear that she is trjring hard to get into society at home, not Australian- English, but real English society, county people and that sort of thing ; and that she is fond of talking of the time when she was abroad, instead of the time when she was at Aralewin, and here she has lost the very best chance she ever had of a good introduction. If she had done what she ought to have done by you, your fSemiily might have taken her by the hand and given her a lift Did you not say that Lady Qower, of Qower's Court, is your aunt V " I wonder if she is alive now. She must be an old lady, though she was nearly twenty years younger than my grandpapa." " And your grandpapa was the Earl of Dar- Ungton," said Mrs. Troubridge, who pronounced the aristocratic names with a relish. "The present earl then is your cousin." "No a distant relation. Mamma knew him well when she was a girl, but there waa a quarrel PBEPARATIONS FOR DEPARTUBE. 33 when he married. I do not know much about my mamma's relations/' " Of course the aristocracy intermarry so much that you must be connected with many noble families. I should not be surprised to hear of your marryinff some ereat man, and having a " I wish you would not put nonsense into the lassie's head/' said Mrs. Lindsay, who did not like this turn given to the conversation. "That's aJl your novel-reading and romancing." " Of course it would be romancing if I said that any of my daughters or yours were to many titles, but peers are Amy Staimton's equals/' " I'm sure it wouldna' become me to think light o' good blood/' said Mrs. Lindsay, " and me so proud of the goodman being so far off a cousin of the Yerl Lindsay of Balcarres ; but when I think on the bit lassie that grat here all night, and that had na' a friend in the world but the goodman and Allan and me, I can scarce think, for a' her brother has come into possession through spinning-jennies, that she'll just even herself to lords and ladies. I just wish she may ha'e nae cause to look back to Branxholm and weary to see it again when she is among grand folk. K she does, there is a place here that will be keepit for her." VOL. II. 3 3i THE author's daughter. " I wish I know anybody in the neighbourhood of SUnmore to introduce you to; but I have lNH»n so long in AuMtmlia that I have forgotten rvon my own county and my own relatives, and |Kq)a has kept up little or no correspondence with his friends." " If ye ever go to Scotland, Amy," said Mrs. Lindsay, doubtfully " Of course you will visit Scotland, everybody does now-a-days," said Mrs. Troubridge. ''Yell go to Teviotdale and see the Scottish Branxholm, and ye*ll look in on our folk and tell them how we've prospered and all the news that ye can mind about us, and let us ken what ye think o' the country and of them," continued Mrs. Lindsay. "Oh! there's no need of that," said Hugh Lindsay. "Jessie promises to go there. Amy will l>ehove to go where her brother wishes, and luj'U care nought about her folk." '* I thought Amy would like it," said Mrs. Lindsay, meekly. " So I should, Mrs. Lindsay, and if I can pos- sibly manage it, I'll do it," said Amy. « Tm not going to be spoiled by prosperity." " I hope not, I trust not," said Mrs. Lindsay Tliore were tears in the eyes of the kind old her health and happiness, and hoped that ere PREPARATIONS FOR DEPARTURE. 36 long she would find her way back again. Mrs. Lindsay was the least sanguine ; she had some idea of the formidable obstacles that fashion and relatives and perhaps new lovers might oppose to Allan's earnest and passionate affection; and what was a monthly letter compared to daily intercourse ? Her husband's suggestion that the match might be more advantageous if it was delayed she listened to respectfully enough, but she did not believe in it. The goodman had knowledge about sheep, and lands, and invest- ments ; but a wayward thing like a young lassie's heart was beyond his comprehending. But though Allan might be doomed to disappoint- ment in this momentous affair, the mother's heart was full of pride to see how bravely and manfully he behaved. Allan might lose his heart, but nothing would make him lose his head, and when his father had hinted to him his ideas, and that it would be necessary for him to take even more interest in the new station than he had done, in order to make himself more worthy of Amy, if she accepted him in three years, it was astonishing how clear and how con- triving he was, and how he always could give Amy the best advice and was serviceable to everybody, though he was in such trouble. He had only once broken down when he was 3—2 36 THE author's daughter. packing for Amy those books of her fiither's, for which he had years ago made the shelves, and for which he had now made a lined packing case. Recollections of the happy hours which he and his little teacher had spent over the books came over him, and his eyes filled with tears. Amy was surprised to find him thus busied. ''I did not think of taking them with me," said she. "They are yours, and you must prize them more than any one else can," said Allan, with a voice somewhat broken. ^ There maybe no comer in such a great house as Stanmore where I can put a lot of old books. I shall only take a few particular favourites with me, and you will take care of the rest for me." " Till you come back." " I don't want you to be so confident, Allan." "God knows I am not confident," said the young man impetuously. " Well, till you write that you want them, will that do V " No, Allan, I should like to give them to you altogether— will you take them from me ? There seems to be nothing that I can give you ; nothing that I can do for you all who have been so good to me." " Nothing," said Allan. " I mean nothing— that is, not too much ; so. PREPARATIONS FOR DEPARTURE. 87 AUan^ taJce that little presept from me and put away that packing-case. I thought you meant it for my wonderful outfit that Mrs. Troubridge talks so much of, and I thought it was so good of you to make it. Now let me help you to put up the books in their places — Macaulay, Sydney Smith, Herschell, Hugh Miller — why it would break your heart to part with them." ^'That's not the thing to break my heart; I can buy books." '' Yes, but not these books, not with papa's notes, and with your own associations. I wonder if Anthony will care about papa's very own books ; of course he*s had every advantage at the imiver- sity and abroad ; but if people have not got it in them to admire such writing as papa's I don't think they can learn at any university. I want you to tell me what books you would like to have, and when I go to London I'll go to the Palladm/m Office, and I am sure Mr, Loder will put me on the way to get them for you, and then we will have them packed and sent out ; and I must look out for a good telescope and a good microscope for you; these things can be got so well in England. You must write to me about what you are reading and I will do the same. What a world of books I am going home to I" Allan had trusted a little to the chapter of 38 THE author's daughter. accidents, and when he arrived with Amy and Isabel at his uncle Robert's house and heard that the English mail had arrived, he hastened to intercept the letters before they were sent off to Branxholm. Anthony's letter was more urgent tliau his first. In case Amy had not left he pressed on her to delay no further, but to take out her passage at once ; he lamented even more strongly than before Amy's mistake in not writing to him years ago ; he assured her that he hoped for the greatest happiness in her society, and apologized for the short letter enclosed from Edith, because she was not so impulsive or affec- tionate as himself, but still he had no doubt that the sisters would get on very well together ; at all events it was to him that Amy was to look in the first place. He enclosed a fresh carte of him- self, which he thought a little better than any that had been taken before. There was no men- tion made of Mrs. Copeland or of the Lindsays. The letter was dated from London. Jessie's letter said she had only once seen Mr. Derrick for a short call to return the photographs he had copied, Qnd that the squire was all impatience till his sister could be brought home. He had said that his aunt and Miss Edith meant to call at Millmoimt, but they had not appeared there at the date of Jessie's writing. PREPARATIONS FOR DEPARTURE. 39 Mrs. Troubridge was very much interested in these letters, and was delighted to find that Mr. Derrick had borne out her idea of constancy. She made as much out of Edith's short note as could be made. It was sufficiently kind, though not long enough to satisfy her enthusiastic brother, and it was quite certain that Amy was to be the favourite; — so much the better for her young friend. Under the generalship of Mrs. Troubridge and her sister, Mrs. Banim, Amy entered on lier fortnight's campaign of shopping. She was sur- prised to hear how many things were absolutely necessary to do justice to her brother's liberality, and was dismayed to find that, instead of having a handsome surplus out of which she might make a few small presents, her friends considered that every farthing of her remittance, except the necessary passage-money and a trifle in hand in case of accidents, should be expended on herself Of course they were likely to know better than she did, and she did not like to object to their arrangements. The rapidity with which they disposed of her money and chose her dresses, bonnets, and other things, was greater than if the purchases had been for themselves ; but time was short, Mr. Derrick's remittance was handsome, and Miss Staunton's face and figure were for the 40 THE author's DAUGHTER. iii*st time to have justice done to them. She was introduced at (Jovemment House and to a select circle of Adelaide fashionables as a young lady of noble family and great expectations, and for the fortnight of her stay in Adelaide had not a dis- engaged evening. It was so indispensable that Amy should mix a little in good society before she saw her brother, to rub off a little the gaucherie and timidity which she had naturally acquired among the rough bush people with whom she had lived ; and though Mrs. Troubridge did not go out, Mrs. Banim was only too happy to introduce her charming yoimg friend. Of all arrangements these well-meaning ladies made, this was the most distasteful to Allan Lindsay. Hia heart sank when he saw how easily Amy was taken in hand, and taken out of his reach. All the mornings were devoted to shop- ping, and the evenings to gaiety; uncle Robert's was out of the way, and Amy was dependent on Mrs. Banim's carriage, and had to suit herself to that lady's arrangements. But her heart smote her when she thought in the second week of her stay that she had been three days without seeing Isabel and Allan. Her relations with Allan were so peculiar that she had some hesitation in speak- ing of her natural wish to see him, and Mrs. Banim had not half the amount of respect for the PBEPARATI0K8 FOB DEPABTUBE. 41 Lindsays which her sister, who knew the family, entertained. Amy was the rage in Adelaide for the fortnight she spent there, and in which she first entered what appeared to her to be the great world. Her histoiy, improved and embellished, was in everybody's mouth, for if a piece of news is once set agoing in a little colonial capital like Adelaide it flies fast and gathers as it flies. Her titled mother, her talented father, her millionaire brother, the fabulous sum he had promised as her marriage fortime, her own beauty, and Mrs. Ham- mond's behaviour to her, were talked of, both on the flags and in other places. Although the whirl was rather bewildering to a girl of seventeen she did not really forget the Lindsays, and there were many times in the day when she missed Allan. So with an entreaty that her friends would decide without her as to the trimming of her last two dresses and her travelling hat, she burst from them on the Saturday before she was to sail, and said she must spend the day at Mr. Robert Lindsay's. Isabel was oflended and a little petulant, and Allan looked sad and depressed. He uttered no reproach, but his quiet sorrow touched her heart. " Oh, Allan 1 I could not get away, ind^d, I could not. I wish, I really wish Mrs. Troubridge 42 THE author's daughter and Mrs. Banim would have let us manage matters as we jjleased at first, and Isabel and I would have chosen things with a little advice from you. I don't think I am so pleased with anything as those beautiful overland trunks you got for ine, Allan. And though my outfit might not have been so good or so fashionable or so well made, and though they might have laughed at me in those P. and O. steamers that I am so much afraid of, Fd rather be laughed at for six weeks than have you look so at me for six minutes. It seems as if I were cold and ungrateful when I do not feel really so. Don't look so grave, Allan ; do be friends with me, as your mother calls it." It was very easy for Amy to make it up with poor Allan ; he took the little hand, fitted with the miraculous kid glove recommended by Mrs. Banim, and forgave the offender. "And how do you think I look, Allan and Isabel ? After all the trouble that they have taken with me, I scarcely think I look so well in this fashionable silk and this new bonnet as 1 did in your riding habit and hat, Allan. That dear old habit, I am going to wear it whenever I get a chance of riding. When it begins to look shabby I must have it dyed." " You cannot make it last for three years, can you ?" said Allan. PREPARATIONS FOR DEPARTURE. 43 " That depends on how much or how little I ride. Of course my brother has plenty of horses ; but Jessie says my sister does not ride so well as I do. I dare say she had not such good teaching. You must let me know how Brownie and Prince Charlie get on." " I will write you everything that happens if you wish to hear it ; all about the crops and the clips and the vintage and the horses and the gar- den. How the trellis will have grown in three years ; and the orange-trees will be bearing then too," said Allan, lowering his voice. "Oh Allan! don*t speak like that — I mean about the time. Everything is so uncertain ; but I want to know everything that happens at Branxholm, and if you make any alterations you must draw me a plan of them. Though all the new friends I have made in Adelaide are very kind to me, perhaps it is because I do not now need kindness — no, that is not what I mean ; they are aU very good, a great deal better than I deserve ; but you and your good father and mother were kind to me when I had not a friend in the world, because I did not know I had a brother who loved me, and 1 shall never forget Branxholm, never." Amy was a little incoherent, but Allan under- stood her hieaning. She then related how she had spent the three days in which they had not 44 THE author's daughter. seen her, describing the parties she had been taken to and the people she had seen, answered Isabel's questions about the dresses, and Allan's about the amusements, and contrived, unconsciously per- haps, to convince them of her own popularity and importanca Amy saw Allan look sometimes amused and sometimes grave during her narra- tions. " You have come to spend the whole day and to stay all night, so we can have a talk together, Amy. I want one quiet walk with you before you sail" '' Mrs. Banim said she would call for me at four." " Well, leave a message or write a note to say that you are stajdng here, and let us have one evening with you all to ourselves, and let us go to church together for once." Amy assented, and walked out with Allan. In spite of the improvement in her apparel she was not and she needed not to be ashamed of walking through Adelaide with her bush Mend. There was no handsomer man to be seen there than the tall, powerful, fSsdr-haired yoimg Scotchman, whose dress was easy and becoming, and his gait no more rustic than that of other bushmen who rode much on horseback. But Amy did blush slightly when she met full in face Mrs. D , a particular PREPARATIONS FOR DEPARTURE. 45 friend of Mrs. Troubridge's, at whose party she had been present the previous evening, and intro- duced him as Mr. Allan Lindsay. The lady looked him over coldly enough. " Will you see Mrs. Banim f * asked Amy. '' I am just looking for her. I suppose she is at Mra Orme's ; I want to consult her about some llama for children's dresses. I have seen such a lovely blue, but I don't think it will stand the sun." " If you see Mrs. Banim will you tell her she need not call round by street this afternoon, for I am gping to stay at Mrs. Lindsay's all night." " Mrs Banim has asked me and a few friends to meet you this evening; she will be disap- pointed." '' But if Miss Staunton leaves us we shall be disappointed," said Allan, gravely, " so that she must choose between two evils." " Then good-by. Miss Staunton, you will meet Mrs. Banim at church, I suppose," said Mrs. D , as she took leave. '' I am sorry Mrs. Banim has asked people to meet me, but that has been done eveiy evening when we had no engagement to go out," said Amy. " Then you do not like this racket, Amy ? " 46 THE author's daughter. " Oh, yes, I like it well enough, but then it appears as if I was neglecting you and Isabel." " Nobody cares about appearances, Amy. Did you feel as if you liked us less ?" " No, Allan; and yet, yes. I wish so much to tell you the whole truth, but, my dear Allan, I do not know it myself I know I like you very much, and I am sure I miss you when I am away from you ; but yet I feel as if I could live without you, too. I do so much want to please you, but then I want to please everybody. I am quite sure I am too young to be asked to make up my mind. Just now, when I am with you, I feel comfortable ; that is to say, I should feel com- fortable if you were satisfied with the present, and not so eager about the future. I know that you are to be relied on, and that if any danger threatened me or trouble came upon me, you could protect and comfort me ; but that is just as I felt to papa when he was alive, and as I shall feel to my brother when I go to him. And you know, Allan, that is a great deal to feel," said Amy, looking with her puzzled wise face in her lover's eyes. " I am sure people marry each other who do not feel as much as that. And to make you happy I am inclined to say, ' Allan, I will be your wife in three years,' and then your face looks so bright and so exulting that I am frightened. PREPARATIONS FOR DEPARTURE. 47 and I know that I should not pledge myself even if mamma had not warned me against it. But I will write to you, and if I find out that — that I really do not like you well enough, and that it would not be a good thing for you or for me, I will tell you so, and you must not be angry. Keep always friends with me, as I would if you changed your mind about me." " I want to go to church with you to-morrow, Amy, because as you say we are both young and perhaps we do not know what is best for us ; but let us pray to Him who knows all hearts and all desires that if He sees fit that we should travel together for our allotted time on earth. He would so guide and overrule all things that we may meet again, dearer if possible to each other than you are to me now ; and if not, that He may send His blessing on our separate ways, and keep our hearts always friendly with each other. I will go to whatever church you wish. Amy ; but that is to be the spirit of our prayers." " Oh, Allan ! you are right, you are quite right, you are really far better and wiser than I am, but every one is trying to spoil me," " In case that matters should tuni out as I wish, is there anything I can do, anything I can learn, that would make me more acceptable to your great relations and more worthy of you?" 48 THE author's daughter. " I don't know, I don't think so. I think you are clever enough ; I see nobody so intelligent or so well informed at the Adelaide parties; but then," said Amy, saucily, " I had the forming of your mind myself and of course it is perfectly done." " We hear so much about the progress of educa- tion in England. Poor Louis Hammond has got plucked as they call it, and he is not a dunce either, though Mr. Prince says he hated languages and mathematics, and that's all these dons care for. Mr. Prince said I could learn anything if I tried — might perhaps have been senior wrangler if I had the chance. Would that have made me more on a level with your brother ? " " With my father it might, but I do not know about Anthony; but of what use would your being senior wrangler make you at Branxholm, or the new station of Billabong, that your father is so hopeful of? I think you had better go on as you are doing. If I were to tell a university man of your accomplishments he might admire you as much as you admire a senior wrangler." Allan was pleased and yet doubtful Amy might think so now, but when she was in another country where all things which he took a pride in doing and in doing well were considered to be menial and mechanical, only fit for uneducated. PREPARATIONS FOR DEPARTURE. 49 unthinking people, she might change her respect for them into contempt. She saw how much of the comfort of the family at Branxholm depended on Allan's skill and Allan's forethought, but in England these things are done no one knows how, or when, or by whom. Still, it was somewhat like old times to spend that Saturday evening at uncle Robert's. The Adelaide family of the Lindsays were inferior in many ways to that at Branxholm, but they were good-natured and good-tempered, and two of the girls were decidedly pretty. Nobody had been asked to meet Amy there ; of all the evenings spent in Adelaide this was the one to which Amy's thoughts ofbenest reverted. Amy chose to go to the English church to hear the familiar service, which rather confused and embarrassed her companion. But still he kept his purpose and prayed his own mental prayer, and felt that he was bound to Amy by a sort of sacrament which God would surely bless. Though it was not necessary that any one should go with Amy but Mr. Orme and Mr. Banim, who would introduce her and commend her to the especial care of the captain of the branch mail steamer, Allan was not to be cheated of the last look at her. He took his place with Isabel in the boat which took ofl* the mails from VOL. II. 4 50 THE author's daughter. the Glenelg Jetty. How much love and how much loyalty was in that large heart and brain ! Was it all to be thrown back on himself? Would the impression, such as it was, which he had made on Amy Staimton's heart be altogether erased in a few years spent in other scenes and with other companions ? CHAPTER III. THE VOYAGE AND LANDING. Unfortunately there were no passengers from Adelaide to King George's Sound except Amy, so that she had only the society of the captain, the mail agent, and stewardess for the five days of the first part of the long voyage. They were all as polite and attentive to the young lady as pos- sible, but she was very sick and felt very solitary in spite of their attentions; and she was not quite sure that she had done right in leaving Branxholm and poor dear Allan, whose sad and affectionate " Good-bye, dearest Amy, may God bless you," rang in her ears long after all the little compliments she had received at Adelaide had subsided to nothing. Miss Staunton's history and Miss Staunton's beauty had won upon the commander of the branch steamer, and he recommended her very particularly to the care of the captain of the 4—2 52 THE author's daughter. ocean steamer, which was met at King Gteorge's Sound, and wished her a pleasant voyage and a happy meeting with her relatives. So the last tie with South Australia was snapped and she was now fairly amongst strangers. She had recollections far from pleasant of her outward voyage, in an indifferent ship with a discourteous captain and disagreeable fellow passengers; and was a little dismayed to find that she must share the cabin of an absolute stranger as far as Galle, and probably for the whole voyage. But the companion turned out to be a young girl, rather younger than herself, Sydney-bom, whose mother had been dead for some years, and who was going to England with her papa, partly for pleasure and partly for educational advantages. Mr. Porter was a pleasant-mannered, good-natured old gen- tleman, who had been successful as a Sydney merchant, and who thought his health would be the better for a holiday. Amy grew rather fond of Leonora Porter, and found the voyage more agreeable as it went on, and she became acquainted with her fellow pas- sengers. Although Leonora was young she had had some experience in love affairs, and perhaps that was one reason why her father had taken her home, to delay her marrying and settling. There had been nothing serious, but there might THE VOTAQE AND LANDINQ. 53 have been if not checked in the bud. Leonora's confidence was fully given to Amy, and she thought Amy was close to tell her nothing in return; but Allan's attachment was too serious to be talked of lightly. At Oalle the passengers had one day to see the wonderful tropical vegetation and cultivation, so different from that of Australia — ^where coolie labour works for European capital ; and then the Australian passengers were transhipped into a still larger steamer, where all those from various parts of India and from CShina were to be their companions for the rest of the way. Leonora Porter was surprised and annoyed to see that the Lidians keep rather aloof from the Australians, as if they considered themselves to be of a diffe- rent grade. She and her father had held the first rank in New South Wales, and she expected to meet with consideration everywhere, and especially in a steamer. The old Sydney settlers, when they have kept dear of any intermixture with convicts, are the most aristocratic in feeling of all the Australian colonists, for, wherever there is a class essentially and irretrievably lower than another in a community, the caste feeling of the superior class will be strong. Whether the in- ferior class consists of slaves, as in America, or of an inferior race, as in India, or of convicts, as in 54 THE AUTHOB'S DAUGHTEE. New South Wales and Tasmania, there is a degree of exclusiveness and self-assertion among the tocracy of India feel suspicious of the aristocracy of New South Wales, and indeed look down on Australians generally, and the Anglo-Indians on board the P. and O. steamers like to show off a little, so that though Mr. Porter from Sydney, Mr. Harding from Melbourne, and Mr. Warren f5rom Hobart Town were more intelligent, wealthier, and much better mannered, to inferiors at least, than the officers and civilians from the Indian Presidencies, they did not receive either from captains or officers or stewards the attention and consideration which was freely given to the Anglo-Indians. Leonora Porter and Amy Staunton were, how- ever, the only ladies on board, although there were many young married women going home to England to recruit their health after a few years of married life. They looked elegant, though worn and thin and sallow; whereas the Aus- tralian girls were in the bloom of youth, and had a degree of animation and readiness in conversa- tion which their invalid fellow passengers might despise but could not rival, and even the heat never seemed to make them languid or out of humour. THE VOYAGE AND LANDING. 55 Leonora Porter fought many a hard battle for her country with the Anglo-Indians. Amy was not Australian-bom, like her, and could not be expected to be so enthusiastic; but Leonora would not allow that there was any imperfection to be seen in New South Wales. The glorious harbour, the beautiful Gk)vemment Domain, the lovely Botanic Gardens, the princely city of Sydney, the delightful society, the boating parties, the picnics, the excursions, the parties, and balls were all extolled with the enthusiasm of a girl who spoke of her home. Whether Sydney was so much preferable to the Indian cities in which the other ladies had spent some years. Amy was not quite sure, but there was not the same at- tachment on their side. They never had had any idea of living their lives there ; and, though their marriages might have been happy, they had not been domesticated in their foreign home as Amy had been at Branxholm. It was a new life to Amy, and she hoped it was a good preparation for what was before her. Idleness was the rule .for all; nobody seemed to need to make the least exertion, and they appeai'ed to have forgotten how to do it. The duties of the toilet were the most sacred, and the elaborate dressing every day for dinner was a business that killed some time and. improved Amy's taste in 56 THE AUTHOB'S daughter. setting herself off. The Indian ladies had maids to assist in this important work, but they had no objection to criticise the Australian girls who helped each other. There was no needlework to be seen in a lady's hand, no, not the slightest description of fancy work even ; cards and chess and a very light kind of reading, with conversa- tion to match, filled up the time that was not spent over the numerous meals in a well ap- pointed steamer. It seemed an objectless existence after the busy active helpful life she had led at the Lindsays'. She was too young to regret it much, but she missed something. On going to bed at night she coidd not think of anything she had done for any one, or any one had done for her except what had been done by the stewards and stewardesses, the people who were paid or ex- pected to be paid for it. The many kind offices that the membera of an affectionate family can do for each other, or for people outside of their family, are unknown in such places as first-class passenger ships and in the hotel-life in America ; and it is one of the greatest drawbacks to their pleasantness and their usefulness. Even the children on board, who were sent to England for health and education, were so assiduously waited on and indulged by the native servants in charge of them, that there was little room for any ser- THE VOYAGE AND LANDING. 57 vices from their fellow passengers, and the poor little things had been so much spoiled and pam- pered by indulgent parents and numerous ob- sequious attendants that they were not nearly so charming as children of their age ought to be. " Well," said Miss Porter one day to Captain Halcombe, with whom she had her most frequent skirmishes, combined with a little flirtation, " you may look down on Australia as you please, but we can live in it, which you cannot do in India. Our heat does not kill us, and Sydney people are not obliged to send their children away from them to save their lives." " Are not they ?" said Captain Halcombe, with the intense ignorance on general subjects common among second or third rate military men, whose lives have been spent in India, " I thought they were ; at least I have heard it is a beastly cli- mate — ^hot enough for anything — ^that you had in Australia." " Miss Staimton comes from the hottest settled part of Australia, and you see there is no child sent fix)m it, or from any of the Australian ports," said Leonora. " Miss Staimton is English and not colonial," said Captain Halcombe. " But you see there is nobody going home ill fi-om our colonies," said Leonora triumphantly. i 58 THE author's daughter. " Oh ! you will send your sick people round the long voyage. The poor wretches cannot aflFord taking the P. and 0. steamers, so they get lots of sailing for their money." " Indeed !" said Leonora, who was just a little purse-proud, for her father was reputed wealthy and she was an only child. "You may pique yourselves on your gentility as much as you please; but as to fortune-making, the day for that is over in India. It is to Australia that people come to make money." "With shovels and pickaxes, that is how all you Australians make money; not our way," said Captain Halcombe. "How often have I told you that there is comparatively little gold-digging in my colony now-a-days, and in Miss Staimton's I don't think there ever was any. And besides, whoever heard of gold diggers realizing fortunes. Mr. Harding comes from the gold-fields colony, but I really don't think you know the difference between one Australian province and another." " Indeed I do not. I don't like to burden my memory with such unimportant details as these. We know that there are several Australian colonies, and that there are convicts and sheep and gold-diggings in them, but we leave you THE VOYAGE AND LANDING. 59 to settle the division of these things for your- selves." "Don't you say that you have influence in Downing-street, and that you think you may receive a colonial appointment when you reach England V said Mr. Harding. " Yes ; my uncle, Sir William, is in office, and I was always a prime favourite of his. I don't say that I object to Australia, provided the ap- pointment is a good one." " I see you are qualifying for a good thing in the colonies," said Mr. Harding drily ; " but perhaps among other unimportant details you may have overlooked the fact that the colonies make their own appointments." " All of them 1" said Captain Halcombe. " All except those of Gk)vemors." "Oh! I knew there was something to be had." "Perhaps our little place might suit you?" said Mr. Harding. " Is it a good thing T " Pretty tidy, and we are very fond of military men," said Mr. Harding. "There is nothing like a military man for such a post," said Captain Halcombe, drawing up his tall thin figure. "A man ought to have been accustomed to command in order 60 THE author's daughter, to take the place of Her Majesty in those colonies." " Pardon me," said Mr. Harding, " the govern- ments of all the Australian colonies are now- constitutional, and the less the Governor com- mands the better." ''But there is an air, a prestige, about a military or naval officer which no civilian can possess. All points of precedence, all matters of etiquette, such men can settle by intuition, par- ticularly if they have been in the Indian service. I flatter myself that not even in the British Court is there a more thorough understanding of such subjects than we have in Calcutta." "Your thorough understandings seem, however, to result in frequent misunderstandings. Captain Halcombe," said Mr. Harding. "AU the im- pleasant differences and quarrels we have had on board have been on these points of precedence, questions which personally I hold very cheap. We are all here on a footing of equality ; age or convenience ought to settle who should have a place of especial honour or comfort The P. and O. Company charge a handsome sum for each of us ; in a business point of view the passengers who take the longest and most expensive voyage should have the preference, but I should set that aside and only require to have equal justice, THE VOYAGE AND LAKDIKO. 61 which I think Australians scarcely obtain in these steamers. Why military men should take the precedence of civilians, and civilians over merchants and landowners ; why my friend Mr. Warren, from Tasmaoia, with his white head and his sixty-five honourable years, should be made to defer to any ignorant young captain in the Indian army, is a question which you may be able to answer, but I cannot. Judging the matter ratiomdly and dispassion- ately '' "My good Sir," said Halcombe, condescend- ingly, " that is where it is ; you civilian mer- cantile colonists want to judge these things rationally and dispassionately. We never think of reasoning on them at all. We have a certain routine and certain rules for precedence, and we stick by them, for if we did not there would be no end of a row in every Government-House in India. And for your Australian little places I say there is an enormous advantage in having a man who is up to these things. He never blimders and nobocly can take anything amiss that he does." "Indeed," said Harding; "I am delighted to hear of such satisfisw5tory infallibility. It must be so very comfortable for all parties." " Indeed it is," said the captain, not perceiv- 62 THE author's daughter. ing that the other was making fun of him; "and military men are liked, you say. I am glad to hear you fellows have such good judg- ment." " I'd be very glad to give you my good word in case a colonist's was of any avail to back up your Downing-street interest. I am very well known in my little place — ^have been in the House for some years." "Indeed," said Captain Halcombe, "what House?' " The House of Assembly, our Parliament." " Oh ! yes, of course, yes ; I could see you were that sort of fellow — ^I suppose you can speak and all that sort of thing 1" "A little in that way; but in case anything should turn up in Downing-street don't forget the address. Melbourne is the name of the chief town of our little place. " Oh yes ; Melbourne in South Australia, is it not ?" "Very near it; a very good guess for an embryo governor," said Mr. Harding. "Mel- bourne is the capital of the colony of Victoria, so called in honour of our most gracious sovereign. It was foimded when Lord Melbourne was Prime Minister, so we honoured him by naming the future capital of Australasia " THE VOYAGE AND LANDING. 63 " Oh no ! Sydney will always be the capital," interrupted Miss Porter. " But there are a lot of Victorias surely," said Halcombe, doubtfully. "I have heard of one that I don't think was in Australia." " Oh ! you will know this from the others on account of the gold that is in it, and by the chief town being Melbourne. I should advise you to write down the names together in your note- book, if you keep such a thing," said Mr. Harding, taking out his own, and gravely making a memorandum. " I find this a valuable assistance to a memory that is singularly te- nacious of some things, but treacherous with regard to others." " It is just the same with me," said Captain Halcombe; "I really ought to keep a note- book." " Will you allow me to present you with one 1 I have a very nice one at your service, like my own, bound in calf and gilt ; but, unlike my own, it is not lettered." "Oh! that makes no dilTerence. I shall be much obliged to you for it, and I certainly will enter those little facts of yours as soon as I can — but here is the pleasantest sound we hear in the day, the dinner belL How useful this note-book of yours will be to confront the stewards with 64 THE author's daughter. when they assert that they have varied our bill of fare. I shall keep a register of all our meals on board for the future. It is a glorious idea. I owe you one for the idea." Leonora Porter saw the joke, and it had the effect on her which shrewd Mr. Harding had intended. Captain Halcombe had been too at- tentive and Mr. Porter too unsuspicious. In all their little squabbles, the young officer had generally wound up the discussion with a con- cluding compliment which Leonora had received graciously. He was tall, thin, and sallow, but had a irood carriage and what is called a fi:entle- nuudy ^Lance and he paraded his ritions in England as well as his importance in fashion- able circles in Calcutta so as to impress the Sydney girl with a favourable idea of his birth and breeding. Mr. Harding had crossed the ocean several times, and he knew an exclusive preference for one person's society over that of others is dangerous, although the result seems to be only quarrelling and squabbling. Mr. Porter's heiress would be a very good catch for an ex- travagant and self-indulgent captain in the Indian army, even though he had some influence in Downing-street. In these days of competitive examinations luid pubUcity given to the abuse of patronage, a man of Captain Halcombe's capacity THE VOYAGE AND LANDING. 05 or incapacity could not be pushed forward much. This little scene, in which he had allowed himself to be quizzed without discovery and without resentment, showed Leonora the real inferiority of his understanding, and his igno- lunce not only of colonial matters, which miglit be pardoned, but of other matters more important to himself. How often an adroit friend can sei-ve a girl more by turning the conversation so as to make her admirer show her his character, than by advice or warning. The discovery is then her own, and though it may be unpalatable, it is swallowed, which a friend's warnings and descriptions and analyses of the character very rarely are. There was another stoppage at Aden, and then our friends sailed up the Eed Sea; as it was during winter the passage was not insupportably hot. Amy felt it incongruous to go across the wonderful country of Egypt, so associated in the mind with ancient history and legend, by a modem railway, but the Australians and Indians looked on it as a matter of course, and scarcely made a remark on the subject. As they drew nearer and nearer to the shores of England, Amy grew painfully anxious as to how her brother would receive her, and how she could possibly VOL. IL 5 66 THE author's daughter. come up to his apparently high expectations. During the first part of the voyage, after she had learned to like Miss Porter and her father, she had rested in the present and tried not to fret about what was yet to come, but when she came in sight of England, which she had left four years before, her heart beat thick and fast. Mr. Porter very kindly promised to stay with her at Southampton till she could hear from her brother or make arrangements for going to Stanmore, although he himself wished to go to London at once. The telegraphic despatch was sent and answered ; Anthony would come at once to take his sister home, and she had nothing to do but sit and expect him. While Amy had been full of doubts and anxieties, Anthony had been constantly assuring himself that he had done right. His aunt's and sister's doubts had only the effect of convincing him that there was no sympathy to be got from them. Edith was independent ; Edith was, com- paratively speaking, old, and had neither the love nor the deference for him which he knew he should receive from this sweet young sister who would owe everjrthing to him. He felt that her letters were simple and grateful, and he was sure that personal acquaintance would only enhance her sense of all that he had done, and THE VQYAGE AND LANDING. 67 would do for her. He was not imaginative, but still he rehearsed little scenes in which she would falter out her grateful thanks ; — in which he would surprise her with costly gifts, which she could not imagine were for her; and in which her cleverness and readiness would aid him in keeping Edith in her proper place. Even with an exchange of photographs as a preparation, at first sight a stranger looks like a stranger. Both brother and sister had idealised really good likenesses, till, on both sides, there was a shade of disappointment at the reality. Anthony looked darker and heavier and more clumsy than his sister had fancied ; and on this bleak day in the English spring, after a voyage in hot latitudes. Amy was not looking her best, and hers was a style of beauty more winning than striking. He had expected nothing less than perfection from Mrs. George Copeland's de- scription and from his Own prepossessions ; and he could not help seeing that Amy was slightly freckled and sunburnt, all the effect of those four years in so hot a country, and so much exposure to all weathers. Still she was handsome, and, when she had full justice in the matter of dress, would eclipse Edith anywhere (of course the outfit on which 6—2 68 THE author's daughter, so much money and thought had been spent in Adelaide, and which had been satisfactory in the steamers> was antediluvian and inadmissible in England), Amy wa» scarcely of middle height, while her brother and sister were talL Anthony was nearly as tall as Allan Lindsay, but his figure was not so symmetrical, and though he had more acquired elegance of gait, he had not the easy strength of the young Scotchman, How strange a meeting is between a brother and sister who have grown up separately under widely different influences. A timidity unknown to Amy for many years, crept over her when she heard and answered the numerous questions which her brother put to her ; all on recent sub- jects — all only with regard to the time which had elapsed since he had communicated with her — ^her voyage, her fellow passengers, her money matters. The seventeen years which she had passed before evidently had no interest to him — it was really to be a new life to her. She felt embarrassed as to how Anthony ex- pected her to speak of him ; was there to be the same limitation of their intercourse with regard to his past life ? But she had not been long in his company before she knew that it was only on her side that life was to be regarded as having begun last October, and that there was THE VOYAGE AND LANDING. 69 no part of his previous history that he did not expect to be interesting to his sister. As Anthony haxi enquired about fellow passen- gers, she asked leave to introduce the Porters to him, as they had shown her great kindness on the voyage. " Who are they f ' asked Anthony, with a little suspicion in his tone. " Mr. Porter is a Sydney merchant, and a very pleasant, kind old gentleman, and Leonora and I have been great friends all .the voyage." "You seem to have a knack of picking up great friends. Amy— of course I must be intro- duced to these people, but I don't want you to keep up any intimacy with Australians Of course, during a voyage there is no help for it, you are forced to have these people's company whether you wiU or not ; but it is an under- stood thing that unless a young lady's guardians approve of the acquaintance, it is dropped on landing." "But they have been so kind, and Leo- nora ^" " Oh ! yes, I understand all that. I suppose you would be grateful to any one who passed a plate or said good morning to you goodnaturedly. But Edith is strongly prejudiced against Aus- tralia, and I think that it wiU be necessary to 70 THE author's daughter. drop these people. I don't think any the worse of my little sister for these marks of an affec- tionate dispositicm; indeed I think it very charming; but you owe something to Edith's prejudices and my wishes." •* I thought — ^I mean I wished that my sister could have accompanied you, but I suppose I was unreasonable/' said Amy. "You see, Edith is of rather a peculiar tem- per, and is not so favourably disposed towards you as I am. She ia somewhat uneasy at your Jiaving mixed so long with those vulgar people who have also been kind to you in their way, and she is afraid you may have imbibed their mannei's, so that new Australian friendships and acquaintances would prejudice her still more. I do not at all despair of you — although you have picked up the Scotch accent more strongly than I could have expected you to do in four years, and may have a few other gaucheries. You will soon shake off these things when you are habi- tually in really good society. As for your defec- tive education, we must see what we can do to remedy it, although those precious years have been wasted. I wish something could be done with your dress before you left Southampton, but I suppose you must go as you are. Edith and my aunt are rather critical in these matters, and THE VOYAGE AND LANDING. 71 may pronounce you as antediluvian as our rector's lady did Mrs. George Copeland on her first ap- pearance at church." " Is Miss Derrick at Stanmore V said Amy, who felt that the ordeal wa» going to be severe. " Oil ! yes, she always stayed with us in my grandfather's time, and though she sometimes talks of taking up her abode in a separate esta- blishment with her favourite Edith, I fancy that there are advantages in living at Stanmore as the head of my establishment that she does not care to forego." " I suppose it is a beautiful place ; indeed I know it is." " There is none finer in the country," said An- thony, with enthusiasm, for this was the most felicitous remark that Amy had made. " And, of course, in a pecuniary point of view it is a good arrangement for them to live in my house and have the use of my carriages, horses, and servants. But, as is natural and proper, I still like to be master in my own house, and invite whom I please to it ; and I have been hurt at the man- ner in which both my aunt and Edith have be- haved with regard to you. My aunt is naturally partial to her side of the house, and thinks that our poor mother behaved very badly with regard to the second marriage. In fact it is only of late \ 72 THE author's daughter. years that I have been told of my mother's ex- istence, for my childish idea was that she was dead when she left us. It is a sore subject with the Derricks. I have overlooked it, because it is of course no &ult of yours, but you will see the wisdom of not speaking to Miss Derrick or to Edith of your father, or your mother either, un- less in answer to any question they may put to you. I am sorry to say that it will be neces- sary for you to be careful if you wish to be comfortable with them." " I will try," said Amy, who could not help looking back regretfully to the home where she never needed to be on her guard. " You are a little a&aid, Amy," said Anthony, " but I will stand up for you. I do not want you to give up any of your rights in their favour ; and after all if you satisfy me, which I am suie you will try to do, that is the important point." " Do you ever see Darlington Castle ?" asked Amy. " No, I have not been there yet. The earl has been very cool to us, and, although I have met him at Lady Gower's, I cannot say that I get on with him." " Does your grandaunt, Lady Gower, know of your invitation to me T asked Amy. " Yes ; and, like all our friends, disapproves of THE VOYAGE AND LANDING. 73 it, in spite of the Darlington countenance which she acknowledges that you have. I want you to come out with success to justify my precipitation. I felt there was no time to be lost, and that it should be done at once." Anthony submitted to be introduced to the Porters, and thanked the old gentleman formally for his kind protection of his little sister, and then hurried Amy away to take the first train. Her eyes were full of tears as she bade good-bye to Leonora, who promised to write to her from London, and hoped to hear all about that beauti- ful country house of Stanmore. Anthony thought the Porters were desirous of getting into good county society by means of Amy and took a dislike to them. He had no wish to be fore- staUed in her affections by any girlish frien«J8hip. Amy had no family connections in the world but himself who cared about her ; her Australian friendships were all put aside, and done with, and he looked on her heart as a blank piece of sensitive paper, ready to be impressed with his image, and his image alone. During the long railway journey Anthony had little to say, and Amy shrunk into the cor- ner of the carriage and weighed all the difficul- ties of her position. The only comfort she could find was in the thought that Allan would not 7^ TllK AUTHORS DAUGHTEIt lN^ Hiirry tr» hear that her path was not all of n»scs; and the only pleatsure she could look for- wanl to with any confidence was a visit to Jessie^ to see her and her baby.'* ■; / CHAPTER IV. HOME AT STANMORE. Anthony Derrick expected his sister Amy to be very much impressed with the beauty and mag- nificence of Stanmore, which was a large hand- some modem mansion. Mr. Derrick had spared no expense in laying out the extensive pleasure grounds, and, although he had no great taste in these things, he had availed himself of the taste and skill of others ; and lawns and terraces and clumps of wood and artificial lakes and rockeries gave a variety to what was originally a flat and bare piece of ground, and also had the effect of making a hundred acres look like two hundred. Amy did admire rural England exceedingly, of which she had now almost the first sight. The three miles' ride in an open carriage from the station to Stanmore gave her the idea that it would it be all very beautiful in two or three months, but at present the bleak east wind 76 THE author's daughter. whistled through leafless trees, and, though the little grass that was to be seen was green, it was not the time of the year for the enthusi- astic admiration which Anthony expected, and which, some weeks later, Amy expressed. He was not aware how her thoughts had been tra- velling to Branxholm during her journey, and how she was mentally writing to Allan, so he was surprised when, after having bestowed in- sufficient praise on the mansion and grounds, she pointed to a plain substantial farm-house about three-quarters of a mile from Stanmore, and asked eagerly if that was not Millmount: Anthony was disappointed, naturally disap- pointed, that his new-found sister should not have her whole eyes and thoughts engrossed by his generosity and his importance ; and it was still more vexatious that her curiosity was turned to the very people whom he was determined she should forget. Amy saw the expression of his countenance, and partly read it. " Millmount is one of ymir farms, is it not ?" The cloud cleared away a little. " Yes, it is ; but not the largest or the finest on the estate. That is it, rather too near the Hall for the view, but the drawing-room looks to the south, and so do the principal rooms, so it is less matter. The Copelands are very decent people in HOME AT STANMORE. 77 their way ; they are never behind in their rent, and that is the main thing with one's tenantry. But here we are, Amy," said Anthony, as the car- riage stopped at the end of a beautiful avenue of lime-trees ; " this is your home." There was no one of the family at the door to meet them on their arrival, though the carriage had been sent to the station, and they must have been expected to arrive at that time. Amy had to undergo the unfamiliar gaze of liveried servants who opened the drawing-room door for her, and announced her by name, while Anthony stayed to give some directions as to her luggage. Edith Derrick rose when she saw Amy standing timidly at the door, went forward to meet her, and kissed her, but the kiss was cold and indiffe- rent; her aunt Anne contented herself with shaking hands as coldly with the new comer, and asked her to sit by the fire, as no doubt she was half frozen with this long journey on such a wretched day. " I should like to take off my wrappings first," said Amy, who really wished to get out of the room. " I will ring for Parkes, the maid my brother has engaged to wait upon you, to assist you with your toilet," said Edith. " I believe she will do, at least my Wilson says she thinks so." 78 THE author's daughter. To have a maid engaged for herself exclusively was certainly very kind, but when Amy had been conducted to the spacious and elegant bedroom by this smart young woman, all the grandeur of her position could not reconcile her to the idea that she was imwelcome to her sister, and that it was very doubtful indeed if Edith would ever learn to like her. If Parkes saw her yoimg mis- tress's agitation, she took no notice of it ; — she only said something about the fatigue of a long railway journey after a long voyage, and asked if Miss Staunton had suffered from sea-sickness much, which seems to be the only idea which inland country people have on the subject of voyages. In a minute she opened the trunk and selected the dress for her young mistress, excused its being a little out of date on accotmt of the distance and the wild sort of country that it had been brought from, and modified it slightly with one or two touches to make it look more modem, dressed her hair in the most approved fashion, and was satisfied with her success. Amy cotdd not help being surprised at the style that had been given to her, and Parkes took stock of her young lady's capabilities as a lay figure, and convinced herself that there would be no diffi- culty in dressing her to look much better than HOME AT STANMORE. 79 Mis8 Derrick, and cutting Wilson out, although she gave herself such airs. It would have been pleasantor if a sister's liand had relieved her of her heavy cloak, and a sister's eyes and taste had directed the operations, but still if that was denied, it was perhaps tran- quillizing to have this long toilet performed by an absolute stranger, to whom it was not necessary to speak much, and whom it was of comparatively little importance whether she pleased or not. The dinner -gong sounded as the toilet was complete, and Amy went back to the drawing - room as timidly as on her first entrance. Her brother was pleased with her appearance. Farkes had modernized her and improved her, and justified his selection of a maid ; he took her in his arms and welcomed her to Stanmore Hall, and pointed out to her notice several pretty things in the room. He took her arm, led her into the dining-room, and placed her at his right hand. Amy was at first glad to see that there was no stranger, and afterwards rather sorry, for any one would have been easier to talk to than tlie tliree persons on whom her future comfort and happiness were to depend. She felt embar- rassed by the presence of the grave domestics, and the solemn state of this quiet family dinner, 80 THE author's daughter. which seemed as if it would never be done. Amy sat opposite to her sister, who watched her so that she felt nervous and awkward. It is not to be supposed that she had faultless conven- tional manners, although at Branxholm they had appeared to be perfection. Had it not been for experiences in Adelaide, and on board the P. and O. steamers, she would have been more ignorant and awkward still amidst the formalities of En- glish dinner etiquette ; but on the present occa- sion she was so painfully anxious not to make blunders and not to offend, that Edith and her aunt cotdd not but observe her want of confidence and repose. Anthony thought he ought to speak to Amy, and markedly to take notice of her, as he was piqued at the coldness of the others, and saw that his half-hour's appeal and remonstrance with them before dinner had been disregarded alto- gether. But there were few subjects on which he could talk to his sister. Personal matters were too ticklish ground, and general subjects seemed out of place, so that conversation was very languidly kept up between them, and Edith and her aunt talked exclusively to each other. Amy was tired of the protracted dinner, and yet sorry when it was over and she was obliged HOME AT STANMORE. 81 to accompany the ladies to the drawing-room without her brother's kind protecting care. " Do you play, Amy V asked Edith when they reached the drawing-room. « A little," said Amy. " What teacher had you ?" '' Mamma taught me first until she grew too weak, and then I had lessons from Mrs. Partridge in London. I never had any lessons in Austra- lia." " Will you sit down and let us liear what you can do V " I will try, but do not expect much," said Amy, who knew that though her playing had been thought splendid at Branxholm slie had now more critical ears to satisfy. She had natural good taste, and a connect ear, and a fine touch, but tliis did not satisfy Edith. " Nothing goes down now but classical music ; you want the ground to be gone over again." "Miss Staunton's playing is very like Lady Eveline's. That surely is one of her pieces you played last," said Miss Derrick. "I know it is very old-fashioned," said Edith. " I am sorry I know very little that is newei\ I have scarcely had any music but what mamma played." VOL. II. G 82 THE author's daughter. " You do not want for talent," said Miss Der- rick, "though you have not the execution nor have you had the thorough grounding that Edith has had; but so many years have been lost." " Do you draw V asked Edith. " Not at alL I was to have learned ; Mr. Hub- bard was going to teach me, but when we left England I lost that opportunity." " Do you speak French ?" " Not very well. I understand it pretty well." « Italian V " I know a little Italian." " German T "I have read Lessing's Fables on board ship going out, but I could not go on by myself" " Oh dear ! and I suppose you are eighteen T " No, not quite so old ; only seventeen and a halt" said Amy. " A sad pity, is it not ? Should you not like to make up for lost time, and prosecute some of those branches ?" said Edith. " Oh yes, very much indeed," said Amy, who felt greatly at a discount. How presumptuous it had been in her to accept the post of governess — of salaried governess — ^in honest Hugh Lindsay's household ! " I should like to learn everything more thoroughly, but indeed I should not have HOME AT STANMORE. 83 been so backward if I could have gone on, for I waa leaxmng so fast when " Here Amy stopped, for she had been told not to say anything about her papa, and at the re- collection of him, and of the sad day when she lost him, and her utter desolation when she sat by his body, Mrs. Hammond*s cold contemptuous looks and expressions returned to her, and she felt that both her sister and Miss Derrick were of the same class. Tliere were some beautiful drawing-room books on the table, there were portfolios of engravings, and pictures on the walls, and statuettes and ornaments of various descriptions profusely scat- tered over the mantel-shelves and occasional tables. Any one who had tact and feeling would have talked to the poor girl on these subjects, and discovered by her remarks and her questions what capacity she had, but these two ladies had no feeling for her, and very little tact in their dealings with friends or acquaintances, so that this first interview was more like the reception of a new pupil by a somewhat exacting teacher than that of a sister to a new home. Amy shrunk from the catechising after a number of point blank questions had been asked as to her attain- ments, and nervously took up a book, her father's 6—2 84 THE authob's daughter. favourite Tennyson, beautifully illustrated, and began to try to read it. " A great reader I suppose V said Edith. " No, not a very great reader ; in fact I am not great in anything, I only want to creep through the world and oflfend nobody." " That can scarcely be done if you are to hold the position in the world that Anthony expects of you. He has such very exalted notions on the subject," said Edith. "I surely heard some one play — not you, Edith," said the person spoken of as he entered the room. " I suppose it was you. Amy T " Yes, Anthony, I played for a little." " I liked it very much," said Anthony, " sit down again, and let me hear you." The encouragement put fresh vigour into Amy's fingers, and she played better than before. "This is very fine indeed. Amy. I never expected so much fix)m you. It is quite an agreeable surprise to find you have so much musical taste. Your touch is better than Edith's in piano passages, and you are more accurate with regard to time. Edith will not condescend to pay sufficient attention to that, and it spoils her playing to my taste. Don't you like Amy's playing, aunt T said Anthony, who really was fond of music and understood it. HOME AT STANMORE. 85 " It is very old fashioned," said Miss Derrick. ''That can be remedied, for the fingers that play old music so well will do justice to new. I suppose you never touched such an instrument before." "Never; it is a little stiff, but exquisite in tone," said Amy. " Erard's best, and not six months old. I chose it myself out of twenty." "The upright was the better instrument, Anthony," said EditL "I cannot think why you chose a horizontal, contrary to my opinion and to Signor Masuccio's too." " I chose one that suits my own taste and my own voice," said Anthony. " Do you sing, Amy ?" " Not at all, I have never been taught, but I should much like to hear you sing and my sister play." Amy did not like to say "Edith," she could not call her " Miss Edith," but this first use of the words "my sister" in the sister's presence was difficult. " Then will you play an accompaniment for me, for Edith will not keep time ? I look forward to you for this service in future." "I fear I may not be able to play accom- paniments as you like at sight," said Amy timidly. 86 THE author's daughter. "Perhaps not, but if I say, 'play this bar slower, or that passage qiiicker,* you will do it, or try to do it, which is what Edith will not do. She is one of those infallible people who are never in the wrong. I hope you are conscious of some small failings, Amy," said Anthony in an under tone, but one which was distinctly heard by the young lady of whom he spoke. It was really the case that Amy did not play exactly to his liking at first, but she made no objection to trying again and again, and every fresh trial brought some improvement; still it was not so agreeable or so interesting to others as to themselves to observe the progress made. Amy turned round and saw the expression of weariness and impatience on her sister's face. " This practising should be kept for the morning," said she ; " it is too bad to inflict my blunders on such good judges of music." " I don't consider that I am a worse judge of music than my aunt, or Edith, and I consider that last attempt excellent. I wish you could sing, I am sure you must have a good voice, and your ear is excellent. I must have you taught. Don't you think Amy has a very good idea of music, aunt ?" " She wants a Uttle good instruction," said Miss Derrick. HOME AT STANMORE. 87 '* I think it woul<l ]»e a very gf^od thing for Amy to go to school fi)r a year or two; there in no need to say how oUl she is, she niiglit [nusk for sixteen — and Madame Lefevro couKl do some- thing for her," said Edith. " No, indeed, I am very much obliged to you for the proposal. Just when I am congiutulating myself on gaining a <Iear little sister, who is dis- posed to be a companion to me, you suggest that she should be packed off to Madame Lefevre*s, to have her natural musical taste destroyed by your Signor Masuccio, and her natural mannci's tnins- fonned into those of a boarding-school miss. No, Amy shall have the best masters at home, but she shall not be sent away for her education. Besides, Amy, thougli slie may pass for sixteen, is really too old to go to school Slie is quite a grown-up young lady who very probably has taken out her degree in flirtation on board sliij). I believe that is a capital place to graduate in. Is it, Amy ?" " I don't know," said Amy blushing. " You must be introduced to our aunt Lady Gower after you have had a little touching up, and she must introduce you, as she has already brought out Edith. We have had a veiy quiet time since my grandfather's death, but we may were good enough to say I might have." " Then when you go to town with us you will be in the shade, and there we can get better masters than in this coimtry place. We intend to go next month." *' I shall be so glad to see London again," said Amy. "There is no place like it after all," said Anthony. " It is not half so pleasant as Paris," said Edith. " Paris is all very well," said Anthony. " I should not mind it if there were no Frenchmen in it, but I thoroughly dislike the French." " And I like them extremely," said Edith. " I think their manners are so agreeable." " That is one of the few points on which Edith and I differ," said Anthony. " You will come to a knowledge of several more when you have been a week in the house. But, as she is always backed up by aunt Anne, I expect you to side with me, so as to keep up the balance of power in the house." " If you have to assent to every absurd propo- HOB(£ AT STANMORE. 89 eition which Anthony makes you will need to do it at the sacrifice of your understanding or of your sincerity," said Edith, " because he has had so little to amuse him lately, that he finds a strange pleasure in differing from and contradic- ting me. Perhaps singing to Amy's accompani- ments, if not absolutely harmonious, may amuse you a little more than it amuses me and keep you from jangling with every one else in the establishment." The Derricks had been accustomed to be amused by their visitors, and, although Anthony would not acknowledge it to Edith, even he felt rather disappointed that poor timid little Amy, who was not allowed to talk about the things that she knew about and was interested in, had so little conversation. K Allan Lindsay had seen his poor girl in this splendid house, and heard Anthony tell her before he bade her good night that he was deter- mined to give her every advantage, that her allowance for dress and pocket money should be equal to what Edith drew for that purpose, and that she should have her first quarter's money on the morrow — a simi which astounded Amy to hear mentioned — he would have thought his chance of her return to Australia as his wife very small ; but if he had also known of the bitter would have come out again bright and sti CHAPTER V. A VISIT TO MILLMOUNT. It was an idle life that Anthony and his sister led at Stamnore, but yet there was method in its idleness. The hours were got through with some system and regularity, even though there was no great result. There was a part of the day for going out, and a part for receiving visi- tors, although there were not many visitors in the country. It would have been evident to Amy, even with- out Anthony's remarks, that there were to be two parties in the house, Edith and her aunt on one side, and Anthony and Amy on the other. It was natural to Amy to cling to her brother, and it was not only natural but necessary, for he did not like her to try to be agreeable or con- ciliatory to the others. His authority ought to be sufficient to secure her a kind reception, and if it had not been accorded for that, Anthony did not V ' 1 felt grateful to her brother, she was sorry that he made it so difficult for her to win her sister's love. " I want to take you over the estate. Amy," Haid Anthony on the morning after her arrival. '' You can ride, I know, and I have a beautiful little mare for you." " Oil ! thank you," said Amy. " You could see by the likeness that was taken at Bulletin that I ride. The longest journey I ever took was t() see Mrs. George Copeland ; we were three days and more on the way. I suppose she is not more than a mile off now." " Not much more," said Anthony. " Will you take me to see her," said Amy pleadingly, " or let me go by myself r " Well, once in a way, I don't mind," said An- thony ; " but you must be aware that you are now in a position quite removed from Mrs. George Copeland. You must drop the acquaintance as gracefully and gradually as you can, but it must be dropped." " My dear Anthony," said Amy earnestly, " but A VISIT TO MILLMOUNT. 98 for these good people I should have starved or been sent to the Destitute Asylum." " Not if you had had common sense and written to me," said Anthony, who had established a grievance on this score. " You forget I was a child, and that my jKxjr father died so suddenly that I could not ask his advice ; but my making such a mistake does not alter my obligations to Mr. Lindsay and his family. They took me in and treated me as one of themselves, and I can never feel distant to them. It would be most ungrateful and wicked if I did." " My dear Amy, you do not understand my meaning. Different ranks and different circum- stances in the world demand different conduct and relations with people in an inferior position. It is not good for such small farmers as the Cope- lands that people from such a different sphere should treat them as equals. It only leads to ruinous ambitious strivings after a style of life like ours, and then what will become of my rent and their profits ? They are very worthy people, no doubt. I am grateful to them for all they have done for you, and I have said so ; but by- and-bye you will find better and more suitable friends. However, I will take you to Millmount, so dry those great eyes of yours and get ready to be too small, for I have grown stouter on the voyage," and she proceeded to array herself in Allan's gift, which she knew Jessie would be glad to see. Anthony recognised it, looked at it criti- cally, and said she must have a new habit im- mediately. Millmoimt was prettily situated on a rising ground which had once been occupied by a wind- mill. Mr. Copeland had had the mill taken down, and farm offices and a steam thrashing mill put in its place. There was a nice old-fashioned garden round the house, and a look of home about it that Amy's heart warmed to. The Cope- lands knew that the Australian mail was in, and they had seen the Squire's carriage taking home his sister from the railway station, so they were not so much taken by surprise at the condescen- sion of this early visit as Anthony Derrick ex- pected. When the two figures on horseback ap- proached, they were seen, and Jessie stood with her baby in her arms at the door while George forestalled the groom and helped Amy to alight. The contrast was so strong between her recep- \ A VISIT TO BdLLMOUNT. 95 tion at the farm-house and at the Hall tlmt it was hard for Amy not to betray her emotion. She could not make much demonstration to JesHie before Anthony, but she kissed the Imby in her arms and followed her into the pletusant jmrlour to be introduced to Mr. and Mrs. Coi^land. It looked like a home to go to ; there were no ser- vants in the way ; Mrs. Copeland laid down her knitting to welcome warmly Jessie s young friend ; Mr. Copeland threw aside the newspaper where he had been studying the markets to shake hands and to see how very like she waa to her photo- graph. First came a few enquiries about the voyage, and then from Jessie the ton-cnts of ques- tions about Branxholm, father, mother, Allan, Isabel, and the rest. Amy looked animated and joyous, she had brought letters and loving mes- sages from everybody, and keepsakes and presents for Jessie and George and the baby, which she had been carrying herself till Anthony took them from her, and gave them to the groom, but he soon saw the contents of her packet and the plea- sure of the recipients. " This is your locket, Jessie, just the same as mine, except tliat yours contains your father's and your mother's hair, and mine has papa's and mamma's ; and let me look at your watch, Jessie, such good articles in Australia. It is really the match of mine, but your chain is prettier. And so my father is keeping stout and well, and my mother misses me whiles yet ?" said Jessie. " Yes, whenever there is a busy time she re- grets you." " And how does Jamie do at Gundabook ?" asked George. " Does he like it ?" " Very fairly indeed, and Hughie is grown so much, and is doing very well at home." " What about this new station ? Mr. Lindsay must be growing speculative. I hope he has not too many irons in the fire ?" asked George. " I don't think so. Allan is to go to and fro, and they have got a very good sort of man for the place." "And the clip was good both at Branxholm and Gundabook ?" " Yes ; and the prices are keeping well up too,'* said Amy ; " so I saw in the newspaper at South- ampton." "And the crop was good, you say; and the vintage, that is not on yet." i A VISIT TO BHLLHOUNT. 97 ** I suppose it is on and perhaps over now, but of course I had to leave Branxhohn before there was a grape ripe. I had to spend a whole fort- night in Adelaide before I left." " And Mra Troubridge, how is she V* aske<l Jessie. ''Very well; she went with me to Adelaide, and helped me to procure my outfit for the voyage." " She will stay in Adelaide most likely, for she never liked the bush. That was a sudden death of Mr. Troubridge's. And Mr. Lufton, w1m> is lie looking after now ?" said Jessie. " I don't know, unless it is Isabel," said Amy, blushing. "Has Allan ever planted any tobacco, as he threatened to do ?" asked George. "Yes he has made the experiment, and he thinks it will do." "And Brownie and Prince Charlie and the cows, are they all well ? Tliere is one particular strawberry cow that Jessie and I have a great affection for," said George. " Oh 1 Strawberry is all right, but Mrs. Lindsay says she is growing old." "Growing old, Jessie, to think of that! Khe ought never to grow old," said George. " None of your nonsense, George. Who do you VOL. II.. 7 aiKf\J\AV VUl\7 JL VJL VXXWOWL UfXXVA V/ V \A9} ILftAV VXXV» X^^OV VTJ. VAJL\7 face is George's. What a good-natured little fellow he seems to be. I know so little about babies. I always expect them to cry when I look at them ; but see, he lets me take him in my arms, he is not a bit shy. Oh ! yes, he is like Mrs. Lindsay." Anthony Derrick listened to this animated family conversation with a vague sense that it was very far from the thing that he had a right to expect. He himself was a secondary person in the gi'oup, and he was not accustomed to be over- looked by his tenants, and he was determined to hold the first place with his sister. Amy had so little idea of her dignity as his sister, and was so distressingly familiar. Her acquaintance with the rude coarse details of the household at Branx- holm was not kept in the backgroimd, it was actually paraded before him; — her interest in all their concerns, her attachment to every member of the family, and even to the dumb animals about the place. Her eyes had brightened at the mention of the cow. Strawberry, as they had not done when he had told her of the extent of the t A VISIT TO MUXMOniiT. 99 Stuimore estate ; and the improvements he pro- posed to make on it did not seem to her so im- portant as Allan Lindsay's experiment in growing tobacco. Perhaps he had been rash, as Edith and Miss Derrick had said from the first, and there might be a strain of vulgarity about her which not even his love and his generosity could extirpate. But he was not disposed to own that he had been mistaken ; he only chafed at Amy's blunders after all the advice and warning he had given her before setting out, and felt that she was to blame for his disappointment Old Mr. Copeland did not observe the cloud on the Squire's brow, and spoke in the innocence of his heart " It must be very pleasant for you. Sir, to find so pretty and so agreeable a sister coming out full-blown on you, like this. You can see how good-hearted she is, for everybody at Mr. Lind- say's grew fond of her at once, and there is my old woman taking to her too. We have both something to thank Australia for, I am sura Though Mrs. George is not showy she is sterling ; and, from all I can make out, she'll have a good bit of money when her father dies. They make money fSsust in those colonies, faster than we far- mers can do in England. Only think of Mr. Lindsay having pasturing rights over fifty square 7—2 « u 100 THB AUTQaoTs lUUaHTEK, miles m one plao^ and forty in another ; and Miss Staonton says hi» new run wiU be fifty more, and he has got land bought out and out too about two thousand acres of his own. These are large figures. Sir; they make our Kngtish estates and farma look smalL" Do they indeed T' said Mr. Derrick shortly. I mean as to extent, of eourse the vahie is very diflFerent," said Mr. Copdand. "Ohl land is worth next to nothing there/' said Mr. Derriclc "Not exactly so, Sir. George tells me that land sells dearer about Adelaide than in America or in other parts of Australia. Nothing less than twenty shillings the acre, and often a great deal higher. Mr. Lindsay^s is splendid land, and he paid dear for it." " There is not much land like the Stanmore estate in England or out of it,*' said Mr. Derrick. ** Twenty shillings an acre for the fee-simple is a ridiculous price for land." ''That is the reason ^^Hiy fiurming will pay there with smaller crops and higher wages than we have. You don't know the difficulties we have in making up the rents in England.'' " If I don't know, it ia not for want of being told," said Anthony ; " but you always look very comfortable under your hardships. And now, A VISIT TO MILLMOUNT. 101 Amy, if you have finished all your interesting conversation, I should be glad if you would re- sume your ride with me. You have been here an hour or more, and we mean to go as far as Brocklehurst." " You'll be back soon to see us. Amy, Miss Staunton, I should say," said Jessie ; " but it is hard to recollect that you are not now the little girl in the black frock that came to Branxholm four years ago, and that cried all night in the green bed in my room. I have not asked you half the questions that I Wanted to. Good-by, toy dear, if it must be good-by." CHAPTER VL amthont's bem onstrancb. Amy mounted her horse with Qeorgd's assistanoe^ and rode in silence with her brother for about a quarter of a mile. She wanted to speak and did not knpw what to say ; any idea that occurred to her appeared open to objection. She knew that Anthony was displeased, and yet she did not feel that she had done wrong. A remark about the house, or the farm, or the fjBuxdly^ or Jessie, or the baby, would only aggravate this otfenoe. and for a while she felt unable to speak of anything else, for her heart was full of these subjtvt^ A comparison of the scenery with iha,t of Australia was also discarded as dangerous. Oimld she say an}*ihing about Madeira and her viHit Uioro ! Would Anthony not like, when Uu\v woro by thomsolvo*, to hear her speak of tlktar luotlior. and her illness and death ? She ANTHONY'S REMONSTRANCE. 103 was not suflSciently experienced in the art of conversation to be able to lead dexterously to the subject, and the more anxious she felt to break the painful silence the more her ideas refused to shape themselves. At last Anthony happened to cough ; it was a little nervous cough preliminary to speaking to his sister, but she took ad- vantage of it to ask if he had had this cough long. " Oh, no ! indeed, I don't know if I have a cold at aU." " I don't like to hear people cough, especially those whom I love," said Amy with a little sigh. " Oh ! my cough is nothing ; you need not fidget yourself about it." "Both you and your sister seem to be very strong." " Stronger than you appear to be certainly. You do not seem among other good things to have picked up the size of those people whom you try so much to imitate." " No, I am slight, like mamma," said .Amy. " Papa said I was very like what mamma was before she was ill. Did you know that we went with her to Madeira ?" »^ " No, indeed ! when was that ?" asked Anthony. 104 THE author's daughter. ** When I was eleven years olA It was such a beautiful voyage, mamma liked it so much." " Did she f asked Anthony ; " and it did her good, I suppose." " Only for a time, and then she wearied to go home again, and we had a long disagreeable passage and bad weather and contrary winds, and poor mamma was very ill indeed when we landed." " I suppose our mamma used to speak to you about me sometimes." " Only twice or thrice in her life." " Indeed !" said Anthony. " Do you recollect her, Anthony ?' asked Amy, with tearful eyes. ** A very little, and the miniature keeps up the recollection — she was very like you. But it is very strange that she should not have spoken to you about me. I was her eldest child and her only son." "Not her only son, Anthony. I had three brothers who died young ; but you know mamma might tliink a great deal about you without sa^dng much, and it could do no good speaking to me on the subject when I was so young \STiat she had to say she said to papa, I suppose." ** She must have felt tliat she had done very aitthont's REMOXSTRAXCE. 1(K> wrong to leave her children in the way she did. I have no doubt that it preyed on her mind and led her to an early death." " No ; it was a neglected cold that brought on her illness first/' said Amy, simply. " I hope it was not what you say, because it would have been very miserable for her to have such feelings. She knew that you had kind relations, and were well provided and cared for. I ho])e slie was not all her life unhappy about that." "And you were always poor, Amy. Your father was an ill-paid over-worked literary hack, with indiflerent health. You ought to feel that things are very diflFerent with you now." "Very diflTerent, indeed," said Amy with a sigh. "The bad health was very sad; but mamma was very patient and papa too." " How did our mother speak of me on those two or three occasions when she mentioned my name to you X' said Anthony. " Only that I was to be friendly with you if you or my sister ever tried to be friendly with me, and to love you all the more because she had not been able to do her duty by you, and I am sure I will obey her in that ; but when papa got no answer to his letters announcing mamma's death, we thought you did not care anything about her or me either." 106 THE author's daughter. " And that was the reason you did not write to me on your father's death. Did you never think of it V "Yes, I thought of it, but I felt so timid I could not do it." " It is very unfortunate, for at that age we might have moulded you into what we pleased. I do not say that I despair of making yon in time a credit to me ; but I cannot say much for your acceptance of your new position to-day. You have observed that I have not been pleased." " Yes," said Amy ; " I am sorry you are not pleased." " You should be sorry that you have given me so much cause. It is a good thing that Edith did not accompany us." " But, Anthony, I could not keep at a distance from those with whom I lived for years. I could not hurt Jessie's feelings by assuming great airs with her. I don't ask you to be familiar with them." " I should think rvot ; but remember that when you go out with me you take my level," said Anthony, as if this must and should settle the matter. The tears stole silently down Amy's cheeks. K Anthony was so obtuse and so unsympathising. ANTHONY'S REMONSTRANCE. 107 no expostulation or explanation would do any good. She could not help now looking forward to a return to Australia, and thinking of straight- forward Allan Lindsay's devoted love more kindly and more seriously than ever. And yet she was still eager and anxious to please her new-found relatives ; she felt that she had much to learn, though she did not think there was so very much to unlearn as Anthony supposed. If she could only be allowed to go to school to gather a few subjects for conversation which would not be obnoxious to her brother and sister! The school to which Leonora Porter was going, a fashionable establishment at Brighton, was of course the most desiruble to Amy, and the least so to her brother, so that was given up ; but she would have preferred to go to any school rather than to have her lessons at home, especially as her sister and Miss Derrick evidently wished her to be out of the house ; and the education that her brother paid for and the compaiuom she was introduced to by his mea«s would always be subjects on which her lips might be unsealed. Amy found, however, that Anthony was deter- mined that he should have his own way; he rather liked the constant antagonism with regard to his little sister, and the position of her advocate lOS THE author's daughter. and defender in all things, small and great, that the others took exception to. fie took pleasure in himself engaging her masters and hearing their praises of her abilities and docility, fie watched over her progress with interest, and felt how much she owed to him, for he spared neither trouble nor expense to procure her the best and most fashionable instructicm. There was otie disappointment — her voice Wad Hot equal to her taste, and no cultivation could make her a singer; but other things were satisfactory. So as he had greatly undervalued her acquirements when she arrived, at the end of a year, in which she worked faithAilly and successfully, he was disposed to over-estimate her acquirementSi ^hich certainly were sufficient to throw Edith's completely into the shade. Although these private lessons were fiiot all that Amy had wished, they were a great relief to her. They were something to do and some- thing to speak of, and something too to write to Allan about without dilating on her domestic position. She learned to avoid difficult subjects, and thus to please Anthony. She rarely now received the cruel and injudicious censures wtich had pained her so much at first. She had only to complain of his lavish and injudicious praises of her before her sister and Miss Derrick, and of ANTHONY'S BI^IONSTiUNCE. 109 the invidioiis comparisona which he was too apt to draw. Anthony oertainly grew proud and fond of her — ^a fondness capricious and sensitively jealous; but still his attentions, his liberality, and his praises gratified the girl whose strongest feelings were her desire to please and her wish to be loved. It was an ungraceful present, that of a new watch and chain, in order that Hugh Lindsay's parting gift should be tabooed ; but she hung the locket to the chain and felt that she still wore what kept her in mind of the kindly and gene- rous old man. It was not often she could manage to go to Millmount, but when she did she went alone, and so her brother could not hear what passed between her and her Australian friends. Every month a long letter addressed in a bold masculine hand from Allan Lindsay provoked the frowns and ill-humour of Anthony, and every month she sat up half a night to write an answer. This was the one pomt on which she made a stand. Anthony, however, ccMisoled him- self with the thought that she was only a school- girl, and trusted that when she had been brought out, and knew what society was, and received the attention and admiration which her beauty and grace and accomplishments deserved, she would graduaUy drop this ridiculous and ob- 110 THE author's daughter. jectionable correspondence with her old pupil, though Edith sometimes sneered at the expense and trouble he was at to educate and polish a wife for some Vandal of a Lindsay in the bush. CHAPTER VII. COMING OUT. Lady Gower had been rather disappointed in Anthony and Edith Derrick. Neither of them had the Darlington countenance, and they had been thrown so much on the plebeian side of their family by their mother's desertion that when they came to be of an age to be taken notice of and introduced by their grand-aunt they had not the air or the manner or the easy temper that characterizes good society. When Anthony had informed her that he had sent to Australia for his half-sister, Amy Staunton, she had taken the news very coldly, as she thought he would soon tire of his fancy for her. Anthony, therefore, delayed introducing Amy to her grand-aunt until the ad- vantages he had procured for her had wrought some improvement, and Amy was not eager to know Lady Gbwer, for her mother's account of her had not prepossessed her in the old lady's J 112 THE author's daughter. favour. But both were agreeably surprised with each other when they met. The old lady was clever, and had tact and temper; and she was charmed with her niece, who had the true Dar- lington countenance, with even more vividness and variety in her style of beauty than her mother had. Her evident desire to please won upon the old lady, who had always thought Edith's manners deficient in that appearance of amiability which all young ladies ought to possess. " She will do, Anthony," said Lady Gk)wer. " I don't mind bringing that girl out." '' Handsome, is she not ? I knew she would do fix)m her portrait, but all of you threw cold water on my rescuing her from the wilds. She looks fifty per cent, better, too, since she came home and mixed with civilized society." " What do you mean to do for her, An- thony, if ake were to marry so as to please you ?" " By Jove ! if she were to marry well, so as to please me, I'd not make her &r behind Edith. I can afford to portion my favourite little sister handsomely." " Oh ! very well," said Lady Gower, " that is satisfactory. She is far more likely to marry well than Edith. Edith wants grace, and tries to make up for it with what she calls style. If you COMIKG OUT. 113 have the grace the style follows naturally. But Amy will do." " I have taken pains with her, and she is to have masters until next season, when she comes out." " Don't overdo the masters, Anthony ; people tire of all this education and accomplishment. I was rather in hope, as Amy had been so many years in the wilds, that she was warranted of a fascinating ignorance, though, by-the-by, Gerald Staunton's daughter must have a little tinge of blue, and Eveline's child ought to have some taste for music ; but I think the less conventional education she has the better." " Edith and my aunt exclaimed at her deficien- cies when she arrived," said Anthony, struck with his aunt's remark, but desirous of throwing the blame of any mistake upon others. "Edith and Miss Derrick don't know what is the most taking thing in good society — no parvenues do — so I excuse you, Anthony. There is some- thing in Amy's simple manner, in her way of accepting attention with surprise and gratitude, as if it were unexpected and undeserved, that will captivate people more than all the modem languages and all the ' ologies' that you are teach- ing her." '' I do not think I have diminished her simpli- VOL. II. 8 114 THE author's daughter. city or timidity of manner," said Anthony, and he spoke truly so far. " I hope you may not ; but all those studies luid accomplishments tend to give what they call confidence, and that grows into boldness, which is not fascinating. We were not accomplished to the fingers* ends when I was a girl, and yet we were better oflF for lovers and husbands than the women of this generation are. The girls now a (iays insist on the shadow, the observance, the attentions, all the privileges of weakness, but they lose the substance. They have dozens of flirta- tions and h\ii^dreds of attentions, but few lovers, and often no husband. Wherever Amy picked up that diffident manner, it is too valuable to be overlaid with modem confidence and modem fastness/' " Nothing can ever make Amy fast. I rather dreaded her colomal experience for that, but there is no trace of Yankeeism or anything of the kind. The only fault I find is her liking to her Australian friends. I wish to stop the corres- pondence she carries on with them." " Better not, Anthony ; she will drop it by-and- by; but don't lay any commands. Edith does jiot like her, and Miss Derrick does not, and I suppose your aunt, Mrs. Chaloner, does not either/' COMING OUT. 116 " No," said Anthony ; " but / am very fond of her, and that is enough." " She is really a Darlington, and I too must do something for her," said Lady Qower. " She must be presented at Court, and then we must take care that she comes out with some ecldt" The months slowly moved round, and at last came the day when Amy under her aunt's wing was to enter into the new world of fashion. Lady Gower had the power of setting the girl at her ease, and the presentation on the birthday — a short formality for which much preparation was made — ^was sufficiently successful. Amy was pro- nounced lovely by several good judges, and An- thony was pleased. The next step was more difficult and important. Lady Gower wished her young niece to make a striking first appearance, and accordingly got up a series of elaborate tableaux vivants from the romance of " Kenil- worth," in which Amy should take a conspicuous part. She did not fear her breaking down from the tinudity she so much admired, because there was nothing to be said, and she had sufficient docility to sit as she was directed, and sufficient beauty to look lovely as Amy Bobsart, the ill- starred wife of the Earl of Leicester, " Kenil- worth" offers a splendid field for striking scenes and rich costumes. Lady Gower was remarkably 8^2 116 THE AUTHOB's DAUOHTEK. dever in getting up these representations, and liked the credit and glory of having arranged living people so as to resemble a well-conceived picture. Anthony Derrick fancying Amy would be more at ease with him, and besides'desirous of tiie part which waa the most magnificent costume, pleaded to have the character of Leicester, and though he was not handsome enough, his request was granted. Lady Beresford's eldest daughter (who was also grand-niece of Lady Gower's, but in a different style of beauty from Amy) imper- sonated Queen Elizabeth ; a Mr. Harborough, Tressilian; Wayland Smith was taken by Mr. Leslie Beresford; and Flibbertigibbet by a younger member of the Beresford family ; Tony Foster was impersonated by a nephew of Lord Gower's ; Janet Foster was offered to Edith Der- rick, but she objected to play a secondary part to her sister, so she said she should prefer to look on. She would have accepted the part of Eliza- beth, but Miss Beresford would have been offended if she had not had a principal part. Amy's dress was to be little varied during the whole series of tableaux ; it was to be an exact copy of a costume in a family picture of an ances- tress — a distinguished Court beauty, perhaps a little after the time of Elizabeth. Never had Amy's delicate beauty been so piquantly shown COMINO OUT. 117 off; the profusion of jewels in her hair and round her throat and wrists, the square cut bodice with its laced stomacher, the sleeve slashed with black velvet with its deep fall of antique point lace, the hair drawn up so as to show the perfect contour of the young face and to add to the height of the figure, and the little high-heeled shoe with its diamond buckles, which was not altogether con- cealed by the hooped petticoat of Elizabeth's time, stiff and ungraduated, of the richest brocade silk. In the first tableaux, in which Amy sat at the feet of Leicester, admiring his dress, his orders, and decorations, Anthony's magnificent get-up was quite unnoticed ; all eyes were turned to his beautiful companion. " How has that picture got out of its frame," said Lord Darlington, "or my cousin Eveline risen from her grave ? Who is Amy Bobsart ? Sir Robert, do you know V* " A grand niece of Lady Gower's," said Sit Robert Beresford, " and of course a distant rela* tion of my own." "And of mine too," said Lord Darlington. " But I have seen the Derricks, and this lovely girl is no more like them than I am ; there is only one girl of the Derricks, and she is sitting by Lady Beresford." 118 THE author's daughter. " This is not a Derrick ; you know Lady Eve- line married twice." "Oh! yes," said the Earl, smiling, and in a hurry. "This is a Staunton then. Where did Lady Gower pick her up ? I never heard of her before." " Anthony Derrick sent for her from Austra- lia." " From Australia ? Oh ! I think I heard some- thin^r of Gerald Staimton dying there. I did not " Oh ! he is a much better fellow than he gets credit for," said Sir Robert, " for he has behaved nobly about this girl, and given her every advan- tage." " And she will do him credit. She is the pret- tiest little thing I have seen these ten years. I must be introduced to her. Here she is again with Tressillian and Wayland Smith in the dis- tance. What a beautiful remorseful expression, the very embodiment of the novelist's idea," said the earl, looking still more critically at the td- bleau, " But at these things they ought to speak. There is a world of trouble taken to produce a momentary effect — she has studied that expres- sion and attitude, and a little more study would give us an interesting dialogue, and let us hear if the voice matches the countenance. She has COMING OUT. 119 evidently been dressed after Lady Anne Darling-* ton, even to the pattern of the lace on the sleeve. I never heard of this girl before. My cousin, I know, was under a cloud after she niarried so in- decorously, and as I had lost sight of hdr when she was in prosperity, owing to the absurd im- perious temper of the late e!arl, I saw no call to hunt her up when nobody knew her ; but I liked Eveline as a child veiy much, and this girl is even handsomer. ^Printers* ink has not hurt the race so much as factory oil. These Derricks are heavy and awkward compctred to this author's daughter from Australia. Has she lived there all her life f ' " No, only a few years. It is a year or rather more, since Miss Staimton arrived from the anti*- podes, and Derrick has kept her back till he had polished her sufficiently for presentation. He never saw her till they met at Southampton." " I'd not mind having a little sister like that produced full-grown to me, from Australia or elsewhere," said the earl. "Derrick cannot bear any allusion to her having been in Australia at all. If she had written to him when her father died, her stay would have been very short; but he heard of her through one of his tenants somehow, who 120 THE author's daughter. had connections there, and he is very touchy about it." ** Oh yes, we know Derrick can be touchy ; his skin is remarkably thin." Amy did not appear in the next scene which represented Elizabeth in her court, with Leicester, Sussex, Baleigh, Blount, and Vamey near her, and Shakespeare and Spencer in the background. " Very good costumes," said Sir Robert, with a father's pride, "you miss your bright, particu, lar star, but Augusta makes a good Elizabeth." '^ Yes," said the earl, critically, " a very good Elizabeth, but the Leicester is a poor one — ^no, however, I am not sure. We are apt to forget in the splendour of the dress, the real character of the man, even as the novelist represents him. Scott's idea of Leicester is a shallow schemer, who tries to combine two inconsistent objects — the love of Amy Robsart, and the favour of Elizabeth — and who fails. He is impressible, jealous, susceptible to flattery; on the. whole, Derrick does not make a bad Leicester." Two other scenes foUowed in which Amy had no part. The Earl of Darlington watched them with the eye of a connoisseur, but without the keen interest he felt in his newly-discovered young cousin ; but when the last scene came, that in which the infuriated Elizabeth dragged Amy COMING OUT. 121 Bobsart into the presence of her husband, and ought to have said, if tableaux were allowed to speak, " Knowest thou this woman," the gentle- manly sounds of approbation, which had been heard before, were exchanged for loud and con- tinued applause. The tableau was called for again and again ; Elizabeth's anger and jealousy, Leicester's dismay, and Amy's terror were so ad- mirably given. " I don't like tableaux in general," said Lord Darlington, who was one of the best theatrical critics in London, " and I have a civil contempt for private theatricals, and acted charades, and all descriptions of play acting and water ; but I will say this for Lady Gower, that she makes the best of the very limited field she allows her- self. Dress, attitude, and expression, momentary though they are, are perfect, only one wonders at such a bevy of people going through so much to produce so little. A great compliment to the bystanders that ladies and gentlemen will sub- mit to be made lay-figures of, and go through several rehearsals to amuse us for half an hour. I suppose this is the last ; Lady Gower has too much good taste to give us a trap-door scene, so I must be introduced to my cousin, and compli- ment her on her very successful first appear- ance;" and Lord Darlington made his way to 122 THE author's daughter. Lady Gower, who was overwhelmed on all sides with compliments and criticisms on her series of tableaux, " Now I will take Lord Darlington's opinion, for he is a judge. Mr. Pemberley says Amy Bobsart's drescr was scarcely Elizabethan, but one must consider the becomitigness of a cos- tume, as well as its date," said Lady Gower. "The dress was perfect, and the wearer the same," said Lord D«Erlingtoii with a bow. " You must introduce me to Amy Robsart, or to Lady Ann Darlington, or to my cousin Eveline, by her real name, for her impersonation of th^se three characters is so good that it will be difficult for me to shake off my first impressions. I hope she "wdll continue to wear the very becoming dress (which I see you copied from- one of our family portraits) all the evening.'* " That woidd bfe too oonspicuoiis ft>r a timid debutante,'' said Lady Gower, " but as you are well acquainted with th6 secrets of the green- room, I will introduce you now before she ehtoges her dress." Amy had felt very afixioHiS^ wMle the tableaux were going on, lest any awkwardness on her part should spoil them, and disappoint Anthony and Lady Gower, and now when the old lady brought forward a tall, distinguished-looking, rather COMING OUT. 123 elderly man, who wished for the honour of toucli- ing the Countess of Leicester's fair hand, and in- troduced him as the Earl of Darlington, she felt her brother's eye was upon her. This was her real introduction into society, about which An- thony was so anxious. She must bear herself with courage. She offered her hand with natural grace, the earl raised it to his lips with old- feshioned gallantry and bowed, not as people bow on the stage, or as bows are made in modem society, but slowly, gravely, reverentially, as bows used to be made by people of rank a cen- tury or two ago. " Perhaps the Countess of Leicester will honour me with her hand for the first dance, if the jea- lous earl has no objection," said Lord Darlington, looking at Anthony Derrick with a slight ges- ture of acknowledged acquaintanceship which was more elaborately returned. Amy was dis- engaged and very happy to have a partner se- cured. Anthony was delighted at his sister's coming out under such auspices. There might be some prospect of a greater intimacy between the Derricks and their mother's family through the sister whom he had brought to England against every one's advice. *' Darlington's notice will distinguish Amy and give her the place she ought to fill at once," 124 . THE author's daughter. said Lady Gower. "I told you she would do, Anthony, as soon as I saw her." " But I knew she would do, before I saw her," rejoined Anthony, triumphantly. Amy had long had a curiosity to see her mother's old friend and playfeUow, and felt his attentions not only flattering, but agreeable. He was the most reassuring partner she could have secured, for h^ was not young and was not taken up about himself, he only wished to please the girl in whose company he had chosen to be, and he had that knowledge of human nature which taught him what would please her. He did not praise her impersonation of Amy Robsart, as he thought compliments might confuse her, but he gave her to understand that he admired it as much as if he had expressed his ideas in words. CHAPTER VIII. amy's new friend. " We are cousins, you know," said the Earl of Darlington to Amy in tiie pause that intervened before the dance began, wishing to set his young partner at her ease. ** You must have heard of our relationship." " Yes, my lord ; but the cousinship is remote. It would be reckoned as a relationship by the Scotch, however." "The Scotch are very tenacious of all family ties ; they are a clannish people ?" " Oh I yes, very." " Then you like the Scotch ?" said Lord Dar- lington, who imderstood the tone of her voice. " What I have seen and known of them I have liked very much, and I think their fidelity to all bonds of kinship is very honourable." "But you know that even in England we claim our relatives, however distant, when they 126 THE author's daughter. do US credit. We can drop troublesome or obscure third cousins with more ease and grace than they do on the north of the Tweed ; but at the same time we are careful to preserve the ac- quaintance and friendship of those of our rela- tives who are sufficiently important and agreeable. I am sure your brother, Mr. Derrick, considers that I am his cousin." " Oh ! yes, he does ; aad I have heard so much about you jfrom poor mamma, who knew you well when she was young, that I feel as if I knew you better than any stranger here. But then I am not so sure that I can do you enough of credit to be claimed as a cousin. My point of view is so different from yours." " I certainly ought to consider all my poor cou- sin Eveline's children as my relatives ; but now, if it were not for an occasional glance at my own face in the mirror, I might fancy that time had rolled back, and that it was the identical young playfellow who was now at my side. Where have you been hidden from the world so IcwQg, Miss StaTinton. I hear you have been recently in Australia, but that must have been after my poor cousin's death, was it not ?" " Mamma died in London more than six years ago, and after that, as you say, we went to Aus- tralia." amy's new friend. 127 " And your poor father did not long survive her — ^an accidental death, I believe — very painful it must have been for you." " Yes ; there was scarcely a year between their deaths." " Very sad, and you had no brothers or sisters except Mr. and Miss Derrick, of whom you had seen nothmg and knew nothing, and you were left alone at the antipodes. I do not suppose that there is any one here that has been so far. Our modem summer tour, although it is yearly extending, does not yet go so far as that. Were you long in Australia ?" " About four years," said Amy, looking roTind the splendid apartment, and the brilliant assem- bly, aad contrasting the scene with her first in- troduction at Branxholm. " It is rather an ugly place, with a very hot climate, is it not V " No, it is not ugly ; at least the place where I lived was very beautiftd, and I liked the climate very much. But I should not talk about Austra- lia to English people, for none of them have patience to hear." " Oh ! but I will haVe patience to listen to anything you may choose to say; it is one of the conditions of the partnership (limited) we have entered into for the space of a set of quad- 128 THE author's daughter. rilles that we should find eaxjh other agreeable. I suppose society in Australia is very primi- tive r " Rather/* said Amy, laughing. " It must be very pleasant indeed to go back a few centuries by a few weeks* voyage. One does get so tired of the monotony and artificialness of English society ; the same thing night after night and day after day. You see how it has infected me, I put night before day as the world does; and yet with all this eager pursuit of pleasure there is so little really obtained. Better live in Arcadian pastoral simplicity or rock a cradle at the gold-fields than lead this vapid, idle existence that one despises so thoroughly ;" and Lord Dar- lington looked for the moment as if he were supe- rior to the society he was in. " Don't decry what I mean to enjoy ; recollect I am only beginning what you are tired of," said Amy, smiling. " It is very stupid of me, but I am rather apt to forget you are not your mother, to whom these remarks would be more appropriate. But you liked Australia." *' Yes, I did. I met with great kindness, and on the whole I was very happy there ; but I am very sure that if you were to try Australian life you would be much disappointed," amy's new friend. 129 " You do not then give me credit for natural tastes V " No, not exactly that, my lord, but there is very little interesting there but work ; and when people have lived a life of idleness and pleasure, they would not find that very entertaining. All the people I knew in Australia worked hard." " And were you busily employed too ? I hope so, for I like to see yoimg people industrious." " Oh ! yes, I learned to be useful ; but don't mention it." '' I take a great interest in Australia," said the earl. ** Oh ! I am so glad to hear it. It is a great pleasure to have some one that I can speak about old times to. I am so glad, too, that you recpUect mamma so kindly." " Poor Eveline !" said the earl, with a sigh, " she was a charming girl ; and your father was a man of genius ; he would make her happy, she was so enthusiastic and romantic. I have never seen any collected edition of (herald Staun- ton's writings, they would be well worth gathering together and publishing." "You admire them, then," said Amy, with a grateful glow on her fi^wse. " It is what I should wish of all things^ but my brother has no sym- VOL. II. 9 130 THE author's daughter. pathy with such a project as publishing papa's works." " The Derricks have little or no literary taste," said the earl. " Then that is another subject on which we can have a little confidential talk. I am certain that we shall agree in most things." "You know it is a great pity," said Amy, "when there is a large portion of one*s life that nobody cares to hear about ; and of course it is scarcely to be expected that Anthony and Edith should care about papa or even about mamma, and you know Australia is nothing to them." " Nothing to them any more than to me ; but I must say I feel grateful to it for sheltering — if I had not a grudge against it for hiding — a, very interesting yoimg relative so long." " The last is Anthony's view of the matter," said Amy. " But if he had not such a dislike to the name of Australia it would be pleasanter for me, because there was a good deal happened there that tended to make me what I am, and what I fear I cannot be changed from in spite of all An- thony's pains and care. But living in the bush for four years was not a good preparation for such a scene as this." ^' Then you lived in the wild bush ?" said the earl, whose interest in Australia was only con- temporaneous with his interest in Amy; but amy's new friend. 131 who, knowing something of the character of An- thony Derrick, could see that his little sister had not unmixed cause for gratitude for all he had done for her. " No, not the wild bush ; there was a farm and a large garden, and neighboiu^ within a few miles, although the run was pretty large. But I have been really through the wild bush. Fancy riding for fifty miles through mallee scrub." " Scrub ! what is that ? not Scrub in the play, I suppose," said the earl, with an expression of interest on his face that delighted Amy. "No; it is the low underwood that is to be found all over the imsettled districts of Austra- lia, especially upon poor land. The mallee scrub is the tallest of scrubs, it grows from six to ten feet high and very close. I once spent a night in it," said Amy, lowering her voice. " A night in the scrub ! lost in the bush !" said Lord Darlington, looking pityingly on Amy. " Who left you in the scrub all night ?" " Oh ! I was not left alone ; we were a party of four, and it was all my own fault that we did not push on to Gundabook. And I was none the worse for bushing it, so you need not look so concerned." "How did you get on in the scrub, as you call it ?" 9—2 132 TH£ AUTHOB's daughter. " Oh ! it was summer-time, so Isabel and I wrapt a wallaby-rug round us, and slept on the ground. Was not that primitive V " Most refreshingly so. But were you not afiraid of natives or bushrangers ?" " No, not at all ; but the gentlemen had fire- arms if any one had attacked us." " I suppose you were sorry to leave so delight- ful a life in a new country to come back to hum- drum old England T " I did not know whether to be sorry or glad," said Amy. " I am pleased to hear you say I "might be sorry, for every one says that I can have nothing to regret at the other side of the globe. But perhaps you can understand how a girl who had lived in London all her life enjoyed the freedom and the out-of-doors life in the clear bright warm atmosphere. And, besides, when I lived in Australia no one found out my faults or deficiencies, and every one was so kind to me, and so indulgent even to my unreasonable wishes — I am sure I was imreasonable enough that night in the scrub. When I returned to England, I found that I was far behind other girls of my age in many things, and had grown brusque and awkward in my manners, and everything was to be amended." The little sigh that accompanied these words was understood by the listener. He amy's new friend. 133 had interpreted the expression of Anthony Derrick's face correctly. This little girl was under great obligations to him, but waa, never- tlieless, a little afraid of him. " It certainly is one of the conditions of pro- gress that we should occasionally be found fault with, and, if possible, it should be done while we are young, and there is a hope of amendment ; but I do not think that it is a pleasant thing at any age. I would merely hint to you that you are forgetting the figure." " Thank you, I see I am wrong," said Amy, with a face so bright and happy in the possession of an intelligent and interested listener to some of her reminiscenc3S, that L jrd Darlington could not help thinking her much handsomer than her mother was when he knew her. When the set was over he sat down beside her for a while and talked to her. Her fear of making some awkward mistake and disappoint- ing Anthony was dissipated by his easy good nature. She felt herself especially fortunate in her first partner, who, though an earl, and so old, was so kind and pleasant. Anthony was satisfied with his sister's appear- ance and success. He was almost sorry to inter- rupt the renewing cordiality of the head of the family towards his favourite sister by introducing 134 THE author's daughter. her to another partner, in the person of a young officer of the Guards, who begged for the pleasure of dancing with her in a manner different from the earFs, more modem and less ceremonious. This young gentleman talked to Amy Staunton about her costume and her pose and her command of countenance in a very complimentary way, and told her of some private theatricals that he had been one of the prime moveiB in/ which had been very successful, and asked her opinion of Sothem and Kate Terry and. other celebrities. It was pleasant enough, but she could not help following with her eye her mother's old friend, and hoping that she might dance with him again in the course of the evening. Very much to her surprise, she found that there was no scarcity, but rather a superabundance of partners for her ; but the earl secured her hand for the dance before supper, and took her hand and sat beside her in a situation that was due to his own impor- tance perhaps, but, as Amy felt, was far beyond her deserts. The conversation turned on Dar- lington Castle, which the earl said she ought to see. Amy hoped it had not been much altered, because she would like to recognise her mother's description of her old home. The earl confessed the castle had been added to, but the old part was little changed^ and the portrait after amy's new friend. 135 which Lady Gower had dressed her grandniece was still hanging witli other family portraits in the old hall. Shortly after supper tlie earl disappeared ; at least Amy saw him no more, but she wiis in sucli a whirl of engagements tliat she could not have had time for another pleasant talk. Her first ball had been a success, she was going to be the rage for a season, or at least for a month. She had never seen her brotlier s eye rest on her with such an expression of confidence and satisfaction before. " Now," thought Amy, " Anthony will really love me." For this love between brother and sister was a far more fluctuating and uncertain thing than the liking which had gi'own up between Amy and Allan Lindsay. In the one case there had been the frankness and fearlessness of two affectionate and honest natures, everything was oj)en and above board, no cloud of suspicion wtis ever suffered to come between them ; while witli Anthony there were simken rocks in every direction in which she tried to make her way, . and though, to do him justice, he let her know immediately by look or speech that he was oflfended and did not brood silently over his wrongs, still the tender points were many, and one mis- 136 THE author's daughter. take acknowledged and apologized for did not seem to make her much less liable to fall into another. It was pleasant to be amongst strangers whose peculiarities she did not know, and who were comparatively indifferent to her, and whom Amy need not be afraid of offending. The beautifully decorated rooms, the brilliant lights, the good music, the splendid dresses, the crowd, the conver- sation, the conventional tone of compliment, and the exaggerated importance which pretty yoiuig girls generally find given to them in a ball-room, all produced in Amy a feeling of exhilaration which she had not looked for, and when to these stimulants were added the gaining of a friend in her relative, Lord Darlington, and the idea that Anthony was now really pleased with her and proud of her, it is no wonder that she was too happy for sleep or for repose. Edith was used to this sort of thing, and rather despised Amy's freshness of feeling ; but Anthony saw it with delight. He had given Amy this pleasure, he had brought forward this timid girl to a sphere which she was calculated to adorn, and the result had been instantaneously successful. Never had he kissed her with so much affection as on the morning after the ball when she came amy's new friend. 137 down stairs, not listless and irritable like Edith after an evening's dissipation, but full of life and spirits — ^never had he felt so perfectly satisfied with himself. CHAPTER IX. GREAT PROSPECTS. Lady Gower had always kept up some intimacy with her cousin Herbert. Even in the lifetime of his low-bom wife she had visited him, and after her death — which happened about two years after he had succeeded to the earldom — she had looked on him as the most eligible parti of all her acquaintance, and had tried to tempt him to a second choice in vain. Had Lady Eveline not made so absurd and foolish a marriage, her chance would have been a good one, and Lady Gower thought she might have come in for title and estates if she had only waited a decent time, for the earl had liked her, and if they had been thrown much together they might have both made up for the uncongeniality of their first marriages by marrying a suitable partner at a suitable age, and been happy, as the story-books say, ever after- wards. But if Lady Eveline was in a hurry the GREAT PROSPECTS. 139 earl seemed to be in no hurry at all. No one attributed his remaining unmarried to any romantic attachment to the wife he had lost, for everyone knew it had been a marriage of con- venience. Nor was there likely to be any objec- tion on his part to giving a stepmother to his children, of whom the late Miss Pennithome had left two, for he was very little with them, and, indeed, was very unfortimate in his family. His only son was weak in intellect, and his daughter, from some accident in childhood, a cripple con- fined to a sofa for her lifetime. The earl led a life much apart from his children ; he disliked disagreeable and painful things, and did not feel his affection for his son and daughter at all increased by their affictions. His son was boarded with a physician who was believed to be very clever in cases of mental disease ; but year affcer year passed without any improvement, but rather with a loss of what little ability he had possessed ; his daughter lived with a cousin of her mother's, who was devotedly attached to her, and who tended her with the most affec- tionate solicitude. The earl visited them occa- sionally, but he lived in the world, and no one could expect a man in the prime of life to devote himself to such unattractive children. Nobody thought him a bad or even a careless father; 140 THE author's daughter. everything that money could procure for them he was willing to give, and Dr. Johnson and Miss Pennithome knew that they had only to suggest anything that could ameliorate the condition of their respective charges to get it at once. That he had been so many years a widower had surprised all his female friends, but none of his male acquaintances. He liked liberty, and he got as much amusement and pleasure out of his life as he could. He liked change, novelty, and variety ; he travelled much on the continent, he had been often over aH the thoroughfares of Eng- land. He did not himt for the picturesque in secluded nooks, but delighted in London in the height of the season, in the continental capital, the crowded watering-places — all the busy noisy haunts of men and women. In spite of the great disparity of years. Lady Gower*s worldly ideas of match-making were gratified by the marked attention the Earl of Darlington paid and continued to pay to Amy Staunton. The shy bird was caught at last, but the provoking part of it was that he would not confide in the old lady. He behaved to his young cousin like a lover, and talked about her like a grandfather. Lady Gower relieved her mind by comparing notes with Anthony Derrick, and found that he too was puzzled to read the signs OBEAT PBOSPECTS. 141 of the times. Edith said there was nothing in it, but he thought the attentions very marked, and it would be such a great thing for Amy if tlie earl did propose. Lady Gower reassured Anthony; she knew Lord Darlington well, and had seen him with many women, but she had never seen such solici- tude or such evident admiration in his manner ; there was no doubt that he was in earnest. " Then I had better tell Amy that she ouglit to encourage him, as it is a thing we all approve of so highly." " Leave Amy to manage her own affairs. She encourages him sufficiently, and I am very certain that if you venture to put in your oar, you will offend Darlington. Don't you see that he is trying to win a heart for himself A younger man and a poorer and more obscure man miglit not mind a little advice from friendly relatives, but Darlington would suspect your kindest offices and mine too, and might start off at once. It is difficult work, but he is doing it well, and all the better that I do not think the girl has any idea what he is aiming at. All that you and I have to do is to see that no other person has much to say to her. Let there be no Gerald Staunton in /ter way. I think the coast i.? clear at present. Darlington's attentions meant nothing, and ap- pear to agree with your sister. It will never do for you and Edith to be discussing Amy's pros- pects of a coronet. It might come to Amy's own ears." " What harm could that do ?" asked Anthony, unwilling to give in, even in appearance only, to Edith. "Things are going on very well, and any change would be for the worse. I will back Dar- lington to play his own game, but he may throw it up if he thinks we are looking at his hand. If she is to be a coimtess, it will cost you some- thing, Anthony. You must act handsomely by her." ** Of course I shall. I always said I should if she married to please me, and nothing could please me better than this. Lord Darlington has invited us to Darlington Castle at last. I sup- pose I must give Amy credit for this act of civility, for she showed more interest in the place GREAT PROSPECTS. 143 and more knowledge of it than I could do ; and to think of her being mistress of it after all, and that I should have taken her from the anti- podes for so noble a position. I thought she might have forgotten her Austi-alian friends this mail when she has so many engagements, but no, her letters were written somehow and despatched as usual." "Don't distress yourself al)out those letters," said Lady Gower. " They will gradually become shoiiier and more indifferent. It was natural that she should write fully about her successful enMe into society, but the sunshine of gaiety, amuse- ment, and admiration will make her quietly re- linquish what all your storms and sulkiness and orders will only induce her to cling more closely to." " I don't storm or sulk," said Anthony. " I consider my temper is remarkably even. Amy does not complain to you of it ?" " No, but Edith does ; and with such a father as yours and such a grandfather as my brother the late earl, it would be rather strange if you had a remarkably good temper." " Oh ! if you go by what Edith says you will have a fine idea of my character. She always was disposed to thwart and contradict me, and since Amy came home she has been ten times worse." 144 THB authob's daughter. " I wonder what she will think when you yourself marry," said Lady Gower. " I don't mean to consult her on the subject at all events, and I don't mean to marry till I am past thirty. What is the use of a man giving up his liberty for nothing ?" Amy had indeed written at greater length and in better spirits than usual to Allan and Isabel She had been very timid and fearful about her coming out, and her brother's instructions and warnings and forebodings had increased her ti- midity; and now that the thing was over, and well over, and now that she had gained a friend in whom she could confide, her heart overflowed with joy and hope. Lord Darlington had asked her one day if there was an}* place he could take her to as he had a morning at her service, and she had made a pilgrimage with him to the dull house in Street^ where her mother had lived and die^i. There was a ticket of " Apartments to let *' on the window, and Amy had the unexpected privilege of gv^ing through the rooms she knew so well, ai\d though her companion did not see much romance in the dull place he said nothing to jar ivn her fooling;^ and let her ay quietly on the old SK>& wheiv Ex'oliuo St&unum had spent her last liviu^ da\^ ^ Now."' «aid Amy, "^ would you do me ainrther GREAT PROSPECTS. 145 great favour, would you take me to Mr. Hub- bard's studio, if you don't think Anthony would be angry V* " I am sure he will object to nothing you do when you are under my care, and I really wish to see this studio, and your fistther's old friend, so put the onus of the visit on me," said Lord Dar- lington good naturedly. Mr. Hubbard had made more than one removal since Amy had seen him, and it was with some difficulty that he was discovered in a still poorer room and with still shabbier appointments than she recollected. Perhaps it was only her present state of luxurious magnificence in Belgravia that made her think so, but she felt afraid that her companion would be distressed, as Anthony would have been, to see the great slovenly, not to say dirty, artist stretch out first both hands and then, on fully recognising the little girl whom he had not seen for years, take her in his arms and hug her, and then overpower her with questions, and after his curiosity was satisfied with regard to her, detail his chequered fortimes since she had gone to Australia. It smote on him sharply that i^e had now been so long in England without coming to see him, and it was difficult to explain that her brother, who was so kind and liberal, VOL. II. 10 146 THE author's daughter. was so very kind as to choose all her friends and acquaintances for her. " Indeed, I was very much obliged to my rela- tive, Lord Darlington," said Amy, bringing her companion forward, " who expressed a desire to see your studio, and offered to bring me here." "Perhaps his lordship has some appreciation of art," said Mr. Hubbard, bowing, "and your brother has not. It is a mournful thing to see wealth and rank in the possession of those who do not see the true position of the artist. Do you like this I am doing for Mr. Loder, Amy, a family gi-oup on a classical subject." "Had you not once a sketch of papa T asked Amy. "Yes I have it, but still unfinished. I will let you see it, the likeness is good, or at least I thought so. Let me put you with him, and I will make as good a painting of it as any I ever did. Give me a sitting or two. You have grown as handsome as I prophesied, and will make a lovely picture." Amy looked at Lord Darlington. " What would Anthony say T "Never mind what he says," said Mr. Hub- bard. " No one is to know of its being a portrait. The subject pleases me, and it is so rarely I can find a good subject. There is no doubt if Mr. GREAT PROSPECTS. 147 Derrick does not choose to take it, I shall be able to sell it." " No doubt of that," said the earl with an in- telligent nod to the artist ; " but I dare say Mr. Derrick will prize it when he sees it. And you wiU prize it too, Miss Staunton." '' Oh yes, papa's likeness is so good. I must have that." " Then I must have a few sittings," said Mr. Hubbard. " We can manage that," said the earl ; " there is no necessity for telling Mr. Derrick of it till it is finished, and then it wiU be a surprise to him." "I don't think he will like it," said Amy, shrinking. "You know he does not care for papa, indeed he dislikes to have his name men- tioned." '^ I shall make a point of speaking of him to inure him to it, but not if you do not wish it," said the earl, who saw that Amy's feelings were really strong on the subject; "but the portrait must be taken. For Mr. Hubbard's sake, we ought to give him the opportunity to paint a suc- cessful picture, as I have no doubt this will be. I shall now leave you for an hour or two, and return when you have had your first sitting over." 10—2 148 THE author's daughter. " Oh ! my lord, you are too good," said Amy. Amy felt that she cotdd pay for this picture from the allowance which her brother made her, and was sure that Mr. Hubbard would be glad of the commission, but whether Anthony would pennitherto take possession of it was a very different question. When the earl returned, he was nearly as much pleased with the sketch as Mr. Hubbard himself was, and was determined to be the possessor of it, as well as of the original, but he criticised a little and talked like a con- noisseur, very much to the artist's delight. " Now is ttiere anything further you wish to do to-day ? I think you spoke of some things you wished to send to Australia." Amy hesitated — calculated a little mentally — " I am afraid I cannot do that and the picture too, and yet it has been so long delayed, and you were so good as to say you would arrange it for me." " Can I make any little advance," said the earl, laughing. " Young ladies when they go out first are apt to be a little embarrassed." " No ; I am not embarrassed at all yet, only I don't know what I am to give Mr. Hubbard for the picture. I have plenty of money and some- thing to spare for all my requirements this quarter." OBEAT PR08PECT& 149 ^ And the picture will not be painted for some time to come.** " And I may not be allowed to have it, but still I ought to pay for it/' said Amy. " If you are so quixotic, and feel embarrassed, I hope you will not mind applying to me. But is it necessary to send these things to Australia ?" " I promised the microscope and the telescope, and I wish to send some remembrances to the girls, and now that I am in London I think I should do it, only I cannot let Anthony know ; I do dislike concealing tilings from him, but I can- not help it. And it is so good of you to take so much trouble for me." '' Oh ! an idle man like myself likes the im- portance of a little business to transact for a friend, and we must have this packet sent in the most expeditious manner, of course, since it has been so long delayed." " Yes, by the mail steamer," said Amy, " if it does not give you too much trouble." Amy over-estimated the trouble Lord Darling- ton took, for on payment of a little extra charge, the optician undertook to send the presents in one packet if they were forwarded to him, and he would have done it for Amy as readily as for her friend. But it was a comfort and satisfaction to have the earl's company and countenance in 150 THE AXJTE[0B'S DAUGHTEB. the affair, and her mind was relieved that she had kept her promise to her Branxhokn firiends^ and shown that even in the midst of what they would consider dissipation she had not forgotten them. k CHAPTER X. A RECOGNITION. On the evening of the day in which Amy had done so much business with Lord Darlington she went with him and with her brother and Lady Gower to the Italian Opera. It was one of An- thony's most dearly cherished ideas that Amy had seen nothing until he had opened the world for her ; but the fact was that she had been taken when a child to every place of amusement that was worth seeing. Gerald Staimton's position on the Palladium gave him free admittance to every theatre and concert and exhibition in Lon- don ; and the quietness of the family life at home was compensated for by the number of public amusements which the little girl shared with the hundreds and thousands of pleasure seekers in London. Gerald Staimton knew by sight, if not personally, every actor and singer of any note in England, and his extensive acquaintance with all 152 THE author's DAUOHTEK literary, diumatic, and artistic subjects made him a deUghtful interpreter and critic to guide his daughter 8 taste. She had always thought her father's remarks the pleasantest part of the phty^ and when her mother accompanied them her appreciation of what was most beautiful in music had been also of service to Amy, so that when Anthony was thinking how delighted and sur- [irised she ought to be at her first play or opera, his little sister felt how she missed her father's explanations and her mother^s rapt attention. She harl only once expressed her feelings, but Anthony showed so much annoyance that she should miss anything while she was with him that she kept silence ever after, and her brother went back to his original idea that this must be all new to her. After a while she overcame the feeling and allowed Anthony's taste, which was good, though rather hypercritical, to direct her in music, while Lord Darlington's dramatic taste, also somewhat fasti- dious, had its weight with her. On this night, if it had not been for misgivings with regard to the picture, she would have been especially happy, for she had accomplished several things by hor kind friend's assistance, and felt that she could always apply to him in any difficulty. Edith had declined to go to Covent Garden that A BECOGNinON. 163 evening, for the opera was one she did not care for; but Lady Gower and Anthony paid very little regard to Edith's wishes or tastes at this period. The manner in which her great aunt petted and distinguished Amy was an additional cause of disunion between the half-sisters. Amy was new, and Amy was successful, and she must be taken wherever she wished to go. As she sat she was observed and recognised by an old Australian friend in the stalls. " Mamma, lookl" said Louis Hammond to his mother, " there is Amy Staunton in a front box, she who used to be with the Lindsays at Branxholm, you know. Is not she lovely?" Mrs. Hammond followed the direction of her son's eyes, and saw what took her back many, many years. Anthony Derrick and Amy Staunton looking so like his father and her mother that she needed to look at her sons and daughters and husband to make her certain that she was not Clarissa Hope still. " Is she not lovelier than ever ?" said Louis. "And exquisitely dressed," said his eldest sister. " Mr. Lufton said she had been sent for by her fnends, and that they were great people," said Louis, "but I scarcely thought she would cut such a dash as this." 154 THE author's daughter. " I always told you, my dear, that you were iii the wrong box about that girl," said Mr. Ham- mond. " I knew fh)m her looks and ways that she must be well-bom and well-bred, and here you see her in the heart of the best circles in England." " It would appear that she needed no counte- nance or help from us then," said Mrs. Hammond, coldly. " I am sure she sees me," said Louis ; " she smiles to me. I wonder if she has forgotten the day when I broke her netting-needle, and Allan made her another ; and the coat-of-arms on the netting-box, that belonged to her family." Louis had guessed rightly at her thoughts, for the sight of his face had recalled the very train of ideas that his mind had followed. " Who is that young fellow looking so hard at you. Amy ?" said Lord Darlington, who had taken lately to calling her by her Christian name. " I think — I am sure, indeed — that it is a neigh- bour of ours in Australia." At the word Australia Anthony Derrick's face looked dark, and Mrs. Hammond, who was unable to prevent herself from looking at him, saw how, even in its worse changes, it resembled his father's. " Indeed I a neighbour, an admirer, I should A RECOGNITION. 155 say ; he is certainly expecting a recognition ; just the least suspicion of a smile will do/' said Lord Darlington. « I hive recognised him," said Amy timidly. " It is none of those Lindsays? " asked An- thony, in an earnest whisper. " No ; only they lived at Aralewin before they went to England, and I used to see Mr. Hammond and the boys sometimes. It is a long time since they bade us good-by. Louis has grown a man, but he is recognisable anywhere." " He is not handsome^ but pectdiar looking," said the earl ; « a remarkably long face, especially the lower part, and as he has no beard as yet, I fiuicy you could not forget him, and he seems determined to have a good look at you!' " I don't like it," said Amy, shading her face with her fan, and talking to the earl. " RecoUect that I have no liking for Austra- lians," said .Anthony ; " I hope that young feUow will not claim acquaintance with you on the strength of any Australian reminiscences." Mrs. Hammond was as dissatisfied with the direction which her son's eyes took as Anthony himself could be, but her remonstrances were of no avail. " What do people sit in front boxes for if they do not expect to be looked at?" so he watched the party rather than the opera. He at 156 THE ATTTHOB'S DAUGHTER. first thought Lord Darlington was an uncle or old relative, but on closer observation he concluded that he was an admirer, and the idea seemed to him altogether preposterous and wrong. He watched them when they moved to go, but before he could make his way through the crowd by his different route Mr. Derrick's carriage had rolled off with the object of his curiosity. All night Louis racked his brain how to get an introduction to Miss Staunton, or rather how properly to introduce himself. A doucefwr to the box-keeper had procured him the information that the box was Lady Gk)wer's, and that the yoimg lady was a niece of the old lady's, at present living with her brother, Mr. Derrick, in square ; that the old gentleman was the Earl of Darlington, a distant relative, and a very devoted attendant on the young lady. Mrs. Hammond was horrified to hear that he intended to call at square, while his father pooh-poohed tiie idea, saying that he might call if he pleased, but he would not be well received, for those stuck-up English grandees looked down on poor colonials so much. Louis was bold enough in planning his visit, but though he had been all night framing an introductory sentence, his courage rather failed him when he came to the door ; he passed it and A RECOGNITION. 157 repassed it before he took courage to ring the bell, and when the answer to his enquiry was that Miss Staunton was not at home he was rather relieved than otherwise at the moment. He left his card, which after all was all he could reasonably have expected to do during calling hours in fine weather in London, and on Amy's return she saw "For Miss Staunton" scribbled in pencil over the name of " Mr. Louis Hammond, Aralewin, S. A.," with his London address printed below the Australian. The girl's heart warmed to the familiar names; she was very sorry Anthony was so averse to the acquaintanceship, for she should really have liked to have a talk with Louis. A few days later he had an opportunity of speaking to her, for he watched for her in Hyde Park, and had the good fortune to see her with Lady Gk)Wer and without her brother or sister. He rode up to the carriage, which had come to a deadlock along with many more, his bow was cordially returned ; Lady Gower had some con- fused idea that he was a Stanmore neighbour, for she, being somewhat deaf, had lost the conver- sation in the opera-box, and asked to be intro- duced. She liked to know every one of Amy's acquaintances, that she might be able to keep the coast as clear as possible for Lord Darlington. 158 THE author's DAUGHTEB. Louis was delighted with his reception, and asked Amy a great number of questions as to how she liked England and what she had been doing since she left Australia, confiding in her that he himself was going to return as soon as he could get leave from the governor and his mother; asking if she did not think London a smoky, noisy place, and saying that Mr. Ham- mond was taking a place in the country at last in the hope that the family wotdd be more contented to remain in England under these new circumstances. Then he asked what news she had received from Branxholm ; was it really the case that Mr. Luffcon, after all his love affairs with very young ladies, was actually going to marry Mrs. Troubridge with five children, for such a rumour had reached his mother, and none of them would believe it. He had fancied that Mr. Lufton would have tried for Isabel Lindsay, or perhaps the younger girl still, for he was told they were very good looking and very Hvely, or perhaps he had tried and faUed. Amy said she believed the report was true. Mrs. Troubridge had sympathised with Mr. Luffcon for many years, and business matters had brought them together very much. She thought they might be very happy, though the marriage had surprised her greatly when she A RECOGNITION. 159 heard of it. Mr. Lindsay had said that Bulletin and Richlands would work well together, and the little Troubridges would be all the better for having some one with authority over them. " But these are such poor considerations," said Louis, who had very romantic ideas about love and marriage at this time. " What does Allan think of it ? I suppose he writes to you." " Oh ! yes," said Amy, with a slight blush, " I get letters very regularly from Branxholm. Allan seemed to be amused at it, for he thought, like you, that Mr. Lufton was preparing to propose to Isabel." " I hope the young lady is not disappointed," said Louis. " No, Isabel had no preference for Mr. Lufton at all." " Has not Mr. Lindsay taken that large run of Billabong for Allan ?" "Yes, but Allan does not live there, he goes backward and forward from Branxholm ; Jamie is at Gundabook, and though the season has been so dry, they have had water for the sheep as yet. You know George Copeland sunk a good well there before he married Jessie, and " here Amy stopped, for at this moment she saw her brother Anthony and Lord Darlington at her side, and knew from Anthony's countenance that 160 THE author's daughter he had heard what she had said. No langaa^ could describe the stifl&iess of Mr. Derrick's bow or the condescension of Lord Darlington's manner when Amy introduced Mr. Louis Hammond to them in an embarrassed way. The young man had spirit and felt this reception^ which was what his father had prophesied he would meet with from Miss Staunton's friends, but Amy was timidly kind and courteous still, and he was not to be driven from his pursuit of the object of his early admiration by the rudeness of her guaxdianB. In fact that only made the affiiir more romantic and mteresting. Hig next move was to try to persuade his mother to call upon Miss Staunton, because what- ever might be his position as the son of an Australian squatter, he was satisfied that his mother's early English associations had been suflEiciently aristocratic, and that her manners were perfect. He thought her the cleverest and most ladylike person in the world. Li all the society in which he had seen her she had asserted herself calmly and fearlessly, and she had been taken at her own valuation ; and with such an ally he felt sure he could make his way even with that disagreeable brother of Amy Staunton's. Hia boyish admiration had grown, as he thought, into the serious passion of a lifetime ; he knew A RECOGNITION. 161 his mother wished him to marry young, though, perhaps, not quite so young as this would be; she wished him also to marry well, and the accounts he gathered as to the wealth and position of the Derricks were such as rather to dazzle liimself, and certainly should be satis- factory to his parents. He had never clearly understood the old episode of the manner in which Amy had been thrown upon the Lindsays; he had fancied that it had arisen out of the great liking which Mrs. Lindsay had taken to the little girl, and her own reluctance to leave the place where her father was buried. He had no idea of the intense hereditary dislike which Mrs. Hammond felt for the daughter of the woman who had thwarted her ambition as well as her love, and could fancy no objection could be made to renewing his acquaintance with so charming a girl. Mrs. Hammond's decided refusal to grant his reasonable request astonished Louis, who had been indulged in every wish that it was in her power to accede to hitherto. In order to win her over to his side he poured out his passion and his hopes into her ears, and for the first time fo\md her unsympathising and not to be won over. The more vehement and passionate he was, the more inexOTable she became — the bitter- VOL. II. 11 162 THE author's daughter. ness of the past came back to her. Was this girl to estrange from her her son — her eldest bom, her hope, her pride— just as her mother Lady Eveline, with her artfiil appearance of artlessness, had won John Derrick when Clarissa Hope had believed him to be her own ; not only won him, but neglected him and made him miserable ? It was so new to Louis to be opposed by his mother, so new to have his feelings sneered at and his wishes disregarded, that he expressed himself angrily, as spoiled boys are apt to do when they cannot get what they ask, but which, to do Louis justice, he had never done before. The first thing like a quarrel between mother and son thus was brought about by this girl whom she felt she hated ; she sternly told Louis she would hear no more of this absurd nonsense, and he felt that it would be prudent to forbear. But it is singular how opposition increased his desire to try to win Amy. He saw her several times in the park, and fancied from the expression of her face as she bowed to him that, if it was not for her brother, she would be only too happy to speak frankly and kindly to him. Perhaps she felt towards him in the same manner, though probably not in so strong a degree, as he did towards her, and he was certain that her brother was harsh and stem, and that she was not happy A RECOaNITION. 163 with him at alL The Hammonds were preparing to go out of town to the pretty country house which they had taken, and Louis felt as if he must either speak or write before he left London. As he could not get any sympathy from his mother he applied to his father, and found the old gentleman more indulgent, though still by no means encouraging. Mr. Hammond had no old grudge at poor Amy, but he had an uncomfort- able feeling of remorse that his wife's influence had made him do the one mean and shabby action of his life in leaving her at Branxholm, and he had always regretted that he had not distinctly apologised to Amy before he left Australia. " But Louis, my boy, your mother cannot bear to think, far less to say, that she has made a mistake or done wrong ; and, although I might have gone and told Miss Staunton that I was very sorry I had not done my duty by her when she was the Lindsays' governess, I cannot, and still more your mother cannot, go cringing to her now that we know she is the sister of a mil- lionaire and the granddaughter of an earl. I have no desire to toady great people, and I am satisfied with my position as an Australian sheepfarmer." 11—2 164 THE author's daughter. " But my mother is scarcely satisfied with that position," said Louis. " Perhaps not, and if we had been kind to the girl, it might have been an introduction that she would have availed herself of; but as we were anything but kind I can scarcely wonder at this brother's black looks. No doubt the girl has told him how we behaved." " She does not feel any bitterness herself I am sure, K you had seen how she smiled, and heard how she spoke, you would not have thought my chance at all bad." "Well, she is a very pretty girl and a good girl too, I believe, but if you want to win her you must do it for yourself, and trust neither to your mother nor to me. If, as you say, you think her unhappy with her brother, she may think the more of your attachment ; but after all you are a mere boy, and you had better drop this boyish whim, for I really think your mother would not like it, and you would not do any- thing to vex her, I am sure." " Did you think of what your mother wished in such a matter as this when you were my age ? Mamma is really unreasonable about this." "Well, I did not think much about either father's or mother's wishes when I was as old as A RECOGNITION. 165 you," said Mr. Hammond honestly; "but that affair came to nothing, as yours will do." " No it won't," said Louis. " You have given me leave to make my own way, and I shall do so." Mr. Hammond congratulated himself that his son had short space for his operations before leaving London, and even that space was short- ened, for on the very day of this conversation Amy Staunton went out of town. Louis saw Edith and Anthony and Lady Gower and Lord Darlington in public places, but Amy did not accompany them. At first he thought she was iU and felt alarmed, but he learned by enquiring at her brother's house that she was well, but had gone to pay a visit in the country. Further enquiry as to the place she had gone to elicited nothing, the footman did not know, only that Miss Staunton was to be absent for six weeks probably. It was not at Stanmore or Darlington Castle, that was all he knew about it, nor at Lady Gower's country house at Gower's Court, and with this negative information Louis was forced to be contented. Mr. and Mrs. Hammond were relieved, and Louis's eternal passion grew more reasonable till circumstances brought about another and a more favourable meeting. CHAPTER XL BELTON RECTORY. Amy's visit out of town was very suddenly de- termined on, and surprised her as much as it did Louis. Lady Gower, in her watchful care of her, took a little alarm at the attentions which were paid to her grandniece by a younger son, who had no prospects whatever, but whom Amy found agreeable. Most opportunely, as the old lady thought, a letter reached Amy at this time, con- taining an invitation which would take her out of danger if it was accepted. The letter came from Mrs. Evans, Gerald Staunton's sister, and expressed great surprise at not having heard she was in England until they heard she was in the heart of the gay world and presented at court. She apologised for not coming to call on her, but a journey to London was a thing she very rarely took. Mrs. Evans hoped that the omission would be overlooked, and that her niece would come to BELTON RECTORY. 167 visit her at Belton Rectory as soon as she felt tired of gaiety, for her cousins longed so to be- come acquainted with her; and to spend six weeks in one of the prettiest districts of Eng- land, even in a plain household like theirs, might not be altogether unattractive to her. It was a different thing, sending money to fetch an almost unknown relative from Australia, and, after that, to provide for her future, from in- viting for a summer visit a girl whose position was recognised and whose means were ample. The first step might be detrimental to the family for whom Mrs. Evans lived ; the second might chance to be advantageous. There were no reli- gious reflections in this letter ; apparently Mrs. Evans considered religion only fitted for seasons of afiliction and adversity. Amy was disinclined to accept an invitation from an aunt whom she thought worldly and selfish, and besides she was happier than she had been since she came to England, and perhaps happier than she had been since her father's death. Her brother was so much easier and pleasanter with her, and she felt grateful to her friend Lord Darlington, for helping to bring about so good an understanding. Anthony also disliked the idea of her going near her father's relations ; but when Lady Gower saw the letter, and under- 168 THE author's daughter. stood where Belton Rectory was situated, she said at once that the invitation should be ac- cepted without delay, and gave Mr. Derrick such suflScient reasons that he consented. Amy had only time to exchange letters with her aunt, and to arrange for being met at the station ; her en- gagements for the next fortnight were disre- garded, and the consequence was that Mr. Ernest Churchill and Mr. Louis Hammond saw her no more m London for that season. Lord Darlington happened to be out of town when the arrangement was made, and Amy was very sorry that she could not bid him good-bye. When he was informed of the circumstance he seemed annoyed, but did not leave London at once, as Lady (Jower had confidently expected ; for town was still too full and too gay for him to leave it quite yet, and besides, there were some circumstances that he wished Amy to be- come acquainted with and accustomed to before he again presented himself to her. Amy had no such diflSiculties with her uncle, aimt, and cousins at the rectory as she had met with at Stanmore. They were all disposed to like her, and to take far more notice of her than she felt that she deserved. She was ashamed of the profuse apologies her aunt made to her for the letter she had sent to her in Australia, and BELTON RECTORY. 169 only half believed the repeated protestations she made, that if she (Mrs. Evans) had only had more personal knowledge of Amy she would liave been most happy to have made her like one of her own children. The questions that were asked as to the establishment at Stanmore and in square, and the apologies for the plainness of things in the rectory, and the dulness of the quiet country neighbourhood, and the want of amusement, struck Amy as rather absurd, con- sidering that they knew she had been for years in Australia in the homely household of Uie Lindsays. "Am I really growing so conventional as to care for these things, or is it only because people wiU 80 pertinaciously remind me of them V Amy said to herself one day, when her aunt had dwelt on the disagreeableness of her not being able to afford to keep a man-servant to wait at table, and the awkwardness of having only a crinolined parlour-maid in the rather narrow rectory dining-room. She hoped that Amy would not mind it, since with these rising prices of all things, and a family growing more expen- sive every year, the fixed incomes of the clergy had a hard strain on them ; and then wandered on to the other privations which Amy must feel in exchanging Stanmore for this humble home. 170 THE author's daughter. These apologies wearied and pained her a little, and so did the compliments ; everything she did or said or wore, received its meed of praise from her aunt and cousins, and patterns were taken of dresses and mantles and other things to be imitated in less expensive materials. It was a large family, and the four eldest were girls, tall, rather good-looking, especially the eldest, and perhaps naturally good-tempered and amiable — ^but sadly in want of something to do — ^and rather spoiled by the absorbing selfishness of their mother. It was not for herself that Mrs. Evans was selfish and self-seeking ; but the interests and the advantage of her children were the exclusive objects of her care. Her husband was a person whose position was rather that of a tame man in the house than that of the head and chief of the family. He was quiet and mediocre in everything, and the active duties of the parish were mostly discharged by a hard- working, and very odd-looking curate. Although the parish was so large that there should have been sufficient work for both rector and curate, the willing horse generally gets the burden, even in the care of souls, and Mr. Evans could indulge his constitutional indolence without any- thing going decidedly wrong. Mr. Nash, the curate, was a married man, who had no chil- BELTON RECTORY. 171 dren, and his wife, who was as willing and as zealous as her husband, had taken the active supervision of the schools and the visiting of the sick and poor before the Misses Evans had been old enough to be of any service in such matters, and when the young ladies had grown to womanhood they did not see that there was any need of their services, especially as they knew that Mrs. Nash would not like their in- terference. She was a little dowdy woman, with a fussy maimer but a kind heart ; she did not mind being patronised by the wife and daugh- ters of the rector in their social relations, but in the management of the schools she would hold the chief place, and in her ministrations among the poor her ro\md face and unfashionable gar- ments were far more welcome sights than those of the handsome and stylishly-dressed yoimg ladies. Amy heard of the few families who were in the neighbourhood who were visited by the Evanses, and with surprise and delight learned that her friend's daughter. Lady Olivia Darling- ton, had resided in the parish for more than a year. The Evanses had hoped for great things when this lady came with her cousin or aunt, Miss Pennithome, to live so near them ; but the young lady was so much of a cripple and in- 172 THE author's daughter. valid that she never left the sofa^ and Miss Pen- nithome was so devoted to h^ that she could not be induced to leave the house except to go to church, and for a rare ceremonious calL Thrush Grove was therefore a disappointment to Lucy Evans and her sisters, but she hoped for better things at Thornton House, which had been bought lately by a gentleman with a grown-up family. Amy, however, felt much more interest in Thrush Grove, and went there to call with her aunt and cousins on the day after her arrival at the rectory. Lord Darlington had once or twice slightly alluded to his daughter as being an in- valid, and Lady Gower had known nothing about her, so that Amy's knowledge of Lady Olivia was very slight, but her curiosity was great. Amy, as Mrs. Evans's niece, was very well re- ceived by both aunt and niece, and when they heard that she was acquainted, intimately ac- quainted, with Lord Darlington, they were both eager to make a friend of her. Even the distant relationship to Lady Olivia, who had very few relatives, was a strong bond between her and Amy, and it was with more animation than the languid invalid usually showed that she asked questions about her father and answered Amy's kind enquiries as to her health and occupa- tions. BELTON RECTORY. '173 Lady Olivia was not without a kind of in- valid beauty, which touched Amy. In spite of the contraction of the features which seems always to result from such serious accidents as she had met with in youth,, there was a bright- ness in the eyes and a beauty in the smile, and a softness in the voice which would have made her charming if she had not been too ex- clusively occupied with her own sufferings and deprivations. Her invalid talk wearied out Lucy Evans and her sisters, who, in the possession of high health and animated spirits, were too apt to come into the dull house like a whirlwind, and go out of it leaving a sense of disturbance, but nothing at all of brightness or cheerfulness. Amy had known sorrow ; she had sat quiet be- side her mother's sofa day after day, and the tones of her voice were lowered to address the invalid as she looked with concern and sympathy on Lady Olivia. Her helplessness, the dulness of her life, her habitual languor of spirit, seemed to demand care and affection; and Amy could not help wondering why her kind thoughtful friend. Lord Darlington, should only visit this couch once or twice a year. But there was one person who loved and prized the poor invalid. Miss Pennithome, or aimt Sophy, as Lady Olivia called her, devoted herself to her charge as few 174 THE authob's daughter. mothers could have done. She lived in and for Olivia. As Olivia could not go out she would not leave her, and so she narrowed her sphere abnost to the compass of the four walls that contained her treasure. In a sense this was an evil to Olivia and to both, for so little breath from the outer world reached them ; and with- out being naturally cold-hearted or uncharitable, they became self-absorbed, or rather two became absorbed in one. As their few visitors did not feel every change in Olivia's health, or every fluctuation in her spirits as keenly as the patient and her nurse did, they fancied that the outer world was cold and imfeeling. Although Amy could not perceive the rela- tive position of Thrush Grove to the neighbour- hood in all its completeness, her quick intuitions made her catch the tone of the house as her cousins had never done, and the newness of the circumstance that one from the circle in which the earl moved habitually should come to visit his daughter made Lady Olivia press her to re- peat her call, or if possible spend a long day with her as soon as she could. Anything that was interesting to her darling gave pleasure to Aunt Sophy, and she warmly seconded the invi- tation. She had some recollections connected with Lady Eveline, but nothing unpleasant. She BELTON RECTORY. 175 only knew that before Mr. Darlington met with her cousin Elizabeth he had been expected to marry his own relative, Lady Eveline, but that the fortune of the former had been more dazzling than anything he could expect with the other. CHAPTER XII. AN OLD maid's TREASURE. Miss Sophy Pbnnithorne had been a cousin and dependent of the wealthy family to which the presumptive heir of the earldom of Darlington had allied himself. She was the only one of the fortunate Elizabeth's Mends who was not dazzled by the noble alliance and brilliant prospects held out to her. She mistrusted Mr. Darlington from the first, and when she found that her cousin was separated completely feom her father and friends, and that her husband ruled her absolutely in all things, she fancied that Elizabeth must be un- happy. She judged of Mrs. Darlington's feelings by her own, and she knew that to break off all affectionate relations with her old friends woidd have made herself miserable. Whereas Elizabeth did not suffer much in the separation ; she had her enjojnnents in society for the present, and she did not perceive any of the civil contempt with AN OLD maid's TREASURE. 177 which her husband's friends treated her — and for the future, was she not going to be a countess ? Her husband was rather neglectful, but that was always the case in the fashionable world, and she was not so passionately attached to him as to feel jealous or unappreciated. She knew that Sophy cared for and tended the old people as well as she could have done, and better than she had ever tried to do, and it was a great thing for them to see her name amongst fashionable people, especi- ally after her accession to the title. She did not take so gloomy a view of her family afflictions as Sophy woidd have done under the circumstances. She thought her son was a little slow ; but many minds were long in opening, and she hoped from year to year that he would take a start. As for her daughter's lameness, had they not the best advice in England for her, and are not these things all curable now-a-days ? In spite of the estrangement which Sophy so much regretted, the great lady and her noble hus- band were present with both her mother and father on their death-beds. It seems to be a great satisfaction to a certain common class of minds that they can atone for years of neglect by showing themselves at a time when they can be of no service. Sophy Pennithome thought that when Elizabeth had made her way to Clap- VOL. II. 12 178 THE author's daughter. ham to see her dying mother, she might come again to visit her bereaved father ; but, although many months elapsed, it was not until the old gentleman was dangerously ill that the earl and countess presented themselves. It seemed to both parents to be so great a satisfaction to see her and her husband on these occasions, that perhaps they might be excused for thinking too much of it, Mr, Pennithome left to his only daughter his entire fortime, with the exception of a few small legacies and several handsome charitable bequests, and of a sum in the funds which would produce a life annidty of two hundred and fifty pounds a year for Sophy, but which should revert on her death to Elizabeth and her children. It is curious how money is left, and still more curious that the world saw nothing disproportionate in the bequests to the indifferent daughter and the devoted niece. The countess did not long live to enjoy her husband's position and her father's fortune, for a severe illness consequent on the birth of a still- bom son, terminated fatally, and her husband was left a young and by no means a disconsolate widower. Miss Pennithome always looked in the fashion- able intelligence for an approaching marriage in high life, which she expected would follow Eliza- AN OLD maid's TREASURE. 179 beth's death within a decent interval ; but years passed by, and there was no such announce- ment The earl had never cared for children, and his own did not interest him. There was no neces- sity for his taking any active superintendence of either son or daughter; he could afford to pay handsomely people who were far more competent to the charge than he coidd be expected to be. It was a mere accident that led to Olivia being placed under Miss Pennithome's care. Hisr me- dical adviser had recommended a removal from London and a constant residence in the coimtry, and had thought Darlington Castle too cold, and he chanced to suggest the very locality to which Miss Pennithome had retired on her annuity as the most favourable. It occurred to the earl that Sophy would be kind and careful, and that the board he could pay would be an object to the vegetating maiden lady ; so he wrote courteously to his wife's cousin, making the proposition as a matter of business. Very differently was the proposal received by the enthusiastic affection- ate little woman. All her memories, all her at- tachments, all her ambitions had been connected with the wealthy uncle who had been like a father to her ; her love for her cousin Elizabeth had been strong and extravagant when compared 12—2 180 THE author's daughter. with the cousin's deservings; her grief at the separation had been humble and uncomplaining, and accordingly the offer that she shoidd have the sole charge of poor dear Elizabeth's afflicted child, was a source of joy that was almost painful in its intensity. She had been composing herself for some years to her fate aij a solitary old maid. She had been neither handsome nor clever, and she had passed through youth into middle age without having even the glory of a love-disappointment, and had felt 'the loss of occupation consequent on the death of her aunt and uncle very much. She did not envy other women their husbands, but she envied them their households and their children, and her maternal instinct had been exercising itself a little on some of the young people who lived near her, but always with a sad feeling that these little folks did not belong to her ; that, however much she might love them, she coidd not influence them much, or hope to attach them to herself strongly. K any letter had come to her proposing a per- manent resident who should be under her au- thority and care, she woidd have rejoiced in it greatly ; how much the more now when she knew who the girl was, how much she suffered, how few AN OLD maid's TREASURE. 181 there were to love her, and how much there was to do for her. Every one in the parish (which was not that which Mr. Evans held, but was situated in an adjoining county,) who saw Miss Pennithome at church on the Sunday after she had received and answered Lord Darlington's letter speculated on what could make her look so bright, what had lent colour to her naturally pale cheeks, and made the smiles liu'k upon the corners of her mouth, and caused the tremulous voice and agitated manner in which she gave the responses. Some said she must have had a fortunne left to her, and others that a lover who had been years in , foreign parts must have come to England to marry her. The gossips who called on Monday morning to see what was in the wind, found that everything was being brightened up at Miss Pen- nithome's, and that she herself was agitated and absent as they had not seen her during the years of her residence in the neighbourhood. It was not long before they heard the important news, not that it was quite certain yet, but Miss Penni- thome hoped that her grateful acceptance of the earl's offer would settle the business. It was a great piece of news at the time when the little Lady Olivia first came to Miss Pennithome's, but the novelty soon wore off Her fatlier's visits 182 THE AUTHOB'S daughter, were short and rare, but they were more interest- ing to the neighbours than the constant residence of the daughter. But to aunt Sophy the charm of possessing a child of her own never grew less ; even the somewhat cold manner of the little lady, her expressions of disappointment at the home, which after all the brightening up looked mean and poor to her eyes, did not chill that good Wann heart. She was patient and affectionate, and in time engrossed to herself almost all the affection which Lady OUvia had to bestow. Every visit of the earl was long wearied for by his daughter; he brought new books and toys and pictures, and music, which aunt Sophy would diligently practise to play to her darling ; he also used to brin^: fresh and costly delicacies and fresh subjects rinversation, and in hixoself he wa. something new and interesting. But to Miss Pennithome his visits were a trial, for she always had a fear that he might take Olivia from her. She was never at her ease with the earl, and he used to set down her embarrassment to her city breeding and to his own transcendent claims on her respect ; but if she had loved Olivia less, she might have been comparatively comfortable with him. It was the immense value of the thing with which he had entrusted her that made her so hesitating and so fearful of offending him. AN OLD maid's TREASURE. 183 At first she feared his critical eyes would see deficiencies in the appointments of her cottage, or take exception to the medical adviser whom she had engaged from the neighbouring c juntry-to wn ; but as years passed without his offering to remove Olivia from her care, she began to think that so long as Lord Darlington remained a widower, he woidd be contented to leave her with aunt Sophy If he married again it would be natural and per- haps right that he should take his daughter to his own home, and then Olivia would be sepa- rated from Miss Pennithome as effectually as Elizabeth had been ; not merely a bodily separa- tion, but an alienation of interests and affections. The step-mother would be handsome and brilliant and clever — if she were amiable she would eclipse poor aunt Sophy, and if she were the reverse, would make Olivia miserable. If the earl looked nonchalanty as he generally did. Miss Pennithome feared that the fatal disclosure was about to be made, and she was to be robbed of her darling. Still, so many years had passed away, that these anxieties became less distressing, and the earl's visits which reawakened them had become rarer. It was with the idea that Lord Darlington might come to see her oftener at Thrush Grove than at Stillwell, that Olivia had pressed her aimt to move to the former place ; but although Thrush Miss Pennithome think that this was the person of whom she had cause to be afraid, whom Lord Darlington had distinguished by marked and serious attentions, and to whom he was determined to offer his coronet, as Amy herself did. Olivia's pressing invitation to Amy to repeat her visit only gave aunt Sophy pleasure, and she echoed it heartily. This was the only young girl whom Olivia had taken to; very much from the hardness and selfishness of the class of modem young girls with whom she had come in contact, as Miss Pennithome thought. No doubt it must be dull for poor Olivia to be always with a humdrum old maid like herself, and there was something in Amy's manner that won upon Miss Pennithome, as it won on every body who was not jealous or exacting. Amy felt almost as great a wish to please Lady Olivia's affectionate aunt as to please the invalid herself. It was not long before Amy found her way again to the invalid's sofa, first with her cousins and after- AX OLD maid's treasure. 185 wards without them. Her talk charmed the girl who had been such a close prisoner to four walls. The accounts of her voyages, first to Madeira and back, and then to Australia and back; her descriptions of shipboard life, of Portuguese manners, and, above all other things, of the primitive simple life of her friends at Branxholm, burst upon Lady Olivia with a sense of freshness like country air to a pining citizen. The young lady's languid manner warmed and brightened ahuost to liveli- ness. Amy's visits were wearied for, and were repeated and prolonged, till Mrs. Evans and her daughters thought Amy was really behaving, rather ill to themselves. Of course. Lady Olivia was a person of rank ; but still she was to them the least interesting being in the parish, and they thought Amy must be in love with dulness to spend so many hours with that querulous invalid and her stupid aunt. Amy did not receive so many direct compli- ments at Thrush Grove as at the rectory; but what compliment could be equal to that of listen- ing with eager attention to all that she said, and what could give her greater pleasure than speak- ing without reserve on many things too trivial for Lord Darlington's ears, which were tabooed in her brother's household ? It is not what people when she did so. CHAPTER XIII. LOUIS HAMMOND HAS ANOTHER CHANCE. An event which happened at this time prevented the Evanses from taking Amy's defection so much to heart. Something still more interesting than the arrival of a cousin on a visit took place in the parish; for on the second Sunday after Amy's arrival, the Thornton pew, which was close by the rector's, was filled to overflowing by the family of Hammond, who had taken possession of their estate in the country at the end of the week. Louis's surprise on finding the object of so much speculation and so many fruitless enquiries sitting close by him was very great. He looked on it as a fortunate omen. Fate had again allowed them to meet, and here in the quiet of the country his chances were a hundred times greater than in London. Mr. and Mrs. Hammond exchanged glances. Amy appeared to be domesticated at 188 THE AUTHOB*S DAUGHTER. the rectory, and they could not help recalling that Evans was the name of the aunt who had dis- appointed them by not inviting Amy to her Eng- lish home. Still it was absolutely necessary that the Hammonds should be on fiiendly terms with the clergyman of the parish; it was the only legitimate introduction which they, as strangers, could have to the society of the neighbourhood. Besides, Mrs. Hammond was a good Church- woman, and had made enqiiiries as to the side of the Church taken by the Reverend Frederick Evans before she had agreed to the purchase of the property. The answer had been satisfactory as to that point. The rector was neither High Church nor Broad Church nor yet distressingly Low Church ; but it is probable that if he had been either, he would not have been so absolutely useless in the Church as he was, for any kind of view held earnestly would have been better than his indifference and inactivity. On going out of church Amy coidd not help blushing as she returned Louis's profound bow. Mrs. Hammond hxmg back with her younger son ; but Mr. Hammond shook hands with Amy, was introduced to her aunt and cousins, and hoped Mrs. Evans and the young ladies would call at Thornton House soon, which Mrs. Evans promised to do very readily. Louis had a few LOUIS HAMMOND HAS ANOTHER CHANCE. 189 words to say too, and left Belton Church in a state of proud exultation. His mother rmist become acquainted with Amy now, and when she knew her she must love her. Amy was eagerly asked by aunt, uncle, and cousins as to her acquaintance with these new people. Mrs. Evans was at first disconcerted to hear that they were the inhospitable squatters in whose service her brother had lost his life, and who had not made up for it in any way ; but as Amy slurred over the circumstance — for she thought it might remind her aunt of her own short-comings, and only spoke of the wealth and importance of the family, of Mr. Hammond's high character, and of the good nature of the boys, when they visited at the Lindsays — ^the old grudge was forgotten in the prospect of pleasant neighbours, and perhaps more substantial advan- tages accruing to the family at the rectory ; and Mrs. Evans determined to call on the moiTow. Amy must accompany her, because now that Amy's position was so excellent, it was an advan- tage to Mrs. Evans to have her company ; besides, it would be well to show Mrs. Hammond that now that she stood in no need of kindness her niece was willing to make the first advances. Amy shrunk a little from the visit, partly on account of her own feelings, and partly from fear 190 THE author's daughter. of what Anthony might think of it ; but her aunt was firm and she yielded. Mrs. Hammond changed colour a little when Miss Staunton was announced with Mrs. and the Misses Evans. She extended her hand coldly, saying that Miss Staunton had grown considerably since she had had the pleasure of seeing her last, and then turned to Mrs. Evans, to whom she talked on local matters, and made enquiries about workpeople, for there was a good deal to be done to the house and grounds before she (Mrs. Hammond) could feel satisfied with her new home. Both ladies were agree- ably disappointed in each other, and Mrs. Evans found the call pleasant. Mrs. Hammond's plea- sure was marred by observing that Louis, who had lingered about the house all day in the faint hope of such call being made, sat down beside Amy and talked to her, and to her almost exclusively, asking her what had taken her out of town so suddenly, explaining his own fruitless enquiries after her, expressing his astonishment and pleasure at recognising her at church on the preceding day, enquiring about the neighbours, the fishing, the shooting, the hunting in the country from her, a comparative stranger, rather than from her cousins, who had been boru at the rectory. LOUIS HAMMOND HAS ANOTHER CHANCE. 191 He soon discovered that she had made the acquaintance of Lady Olivia Darlington, the daughter of the condescending earl, whom he disliked so much, and that she was a frequent visitor at Thrush Grove. A sudden inspiration led him to turn from Amy to address a few remarks to Lucy Evans, and he did it so well that she forgave him his past neglect of her claims on his notice. Lucy had invited a few friends on the following day to do honour to her birthday, and it struck her that the Ham- monds would make a pleasant addition. The invitation was short, but the party was not a ceremonious one; would they be good enough to accept it ? The young people were only too glad to go out anjrwhere, and as Mrs. Evans, with some apologies, backed her daughter's re- quest, Mrs. Hammond gave in. " It would be an opportunity of seeing the people with whom they were to associate, and of judging of them better than in ceremonious calls," Louis said; but his mother saw that he cared nothing about the country neighbours ; the delight of meeting Amy Staunton was the attraction to him. "I believe," thought Mrs. Hammond to her- self as her visitors left the house, escorted by Louis, who walked down the avenue witli them 192 THE author's daughter. — ^" I believe there is a fate in these things. I have fought against this girFs admission into our family from a dread that Louis or Fred might grow to love her. I have opposed my husband, and annoyed him to avoid it; I have spoken coldly and harshly to Louis himself in order to check it ; and here we have settled down in a parish where Amy Staimton*s near relatives re- side, and where she may spend weeks and months every year with them ; and so Eveline Darlington's daughter comes between me and my own boy,' and he will care for none of my warn- ings. He is bUnd, as boys are, to what I see so well, for I dislike her now as much as I disliked her mother, and I am not an easily prejudiced or an imreasonable woman." Lucy Evans was the handsomest of a rather handsome family, and was perhaps a very nice girl for fine weather and prosperous circumstan- ces, for, as she had good health and high animal spirits, she was supposed to be very amiable and affectionate. She laughed a great deal, and showed the reddest lips and the most beautifully regular and white teeth in the world; indeed her laugh was so pretty that one forgave her for laughing at little or nothing, and even some- times for laughing when crying might have been more appropriate. She was a girl with a great LOUIS HAMMOND HAS ANOTHER CHANCE. 193 deal of life ; she was a first-rate croquet-player, a skilful archer, and a most indefatigable dancer. So far as life consisted in amusing herself in the first place, and her friends incidentally, she ful- filled its purpose well. No one laughed more lieartily at awkward, blundering Mr. Nash, the curate, and his dowdy wife than Lucy did. No one could throw more fim into her mock civili- ties to them, or overdo the earnestness of her enquiries of them as to the health of the poor of the parish or the prosperity of the penny club or the supplies of flannel and coals for win- ter, so as to make the worthy curate and his wife feel uncomfortable and convulse her young friends with laughter. No one was so much amused with the grotesque, the ugly, the old, or the feeble, as Lucy was, and no one had so sharp an eye for a butt or a quiz. She could pick out at a glance the most promising butt in a crowded room ; she could ally herself to the cleverest and most unscrupulous person of her own sex, or, if possible, of the other, and assist first in hunting up and then in hunting down the unfortunate object of her amusement. Nothing that she said was remarkably clever ; but if a girl talks a great deal, and is not scrupulous as to what she says, she must say smart things pretty frequently ; and Lucy Evans passed, not only in her own pai-tial VOL. n. 13 194 THE author's daughter. fkmily circle, but amongst a tolerably large gene- ral acquaintance, for a really talented and bril- liant young woman, a little inclined to say severe things, as all clever people are at times, but yet good-hearted on the whole. It was Lucy's party — her birthday party. She had been accustomed to see her friends on her birthday, and, though she said she feared they were keeping a chronicle of her age, she could not give it up just yet. Lucy looked her best and talked in her liveliest manner. In spite of Louis Hammond's pre-occupied heart, he could not help being captivated, in an inferior degree, with Lucy's beauty and sallies, especially when she teazed Amy on the subject of her visits to Thrusli Grove, and wondered what amusement she could iind in Miss Pennithome's talk about dear Olivia's poor appetite, and her bad nights, and her head-aches, and all the rest of it ; and as for Lady Olivia, Lucy was not one of the snobs of England ; — a title could not make iminterest- ing people attractive to her ; but Amy had been so spoiled in the fashionable world, her cousin declared, and had such notions about the aristo- cracy, that she was eager to claim a sixth cousin who had a courtesy title, and could stand oceans of twaddle from the aimt and niece. Such humble people as her own cousins or the Misses LOUIS HAMMOND HAS AKOTHEB CHANGE. 195 Smart, or the Misses Martyn, or even the distin- guished Australian visitors were comparatively luiinteresting to her. Louis enjoyed this, even when he saw that Amy was annoyed, because it was from her aristocratic associations that he feared most ; but he liked still better when, after Lucy had finished her attack, Amy turned to him and said in that confiding tone which goes to a man's heart, " I appeal to you, Mr. Louis ; you knew me in Australia, and I am sure you cannot think that I care about people's rank or title, or position. But I have seen a great deal of Lady Olivia's father in London ; he was an old friend of my poor mamma's, and he has been very kind to me for her sake. You know, Lucy, he was my first partner when I came out at Lady Oower's, and he set me at my ease when I was nervous and timid. I had heard of Lady Olivia and had a great curiosity about her before I saw her here, and I really do not feel Mias Pennithome or her niece at all tiresome. I am very fond of them both." The absence of all embarrassment in speaking of the earl, satisfied Louis ; he answered, cheer- fuUy— " I can certainly say that Miss Staunton is the very last person I could fancy to be courting the great or liking people better because they are 13—2 196 THE author's daughter. aristocratic. If Lady Olivia is so much of an invalid it is very good-natured to go to visit her. Have you heard from Branxholm by last mail, Miss Staunton ?' •' Yes, I receive letters regularly." " Mr. Lufbon has not written to me for a long time," said Louis. " He was otherwise engaged, I suppose ; he is married now, so Isabel writes to me." " Well ! to think of his marrying a middle-aged widow, with a large family, after all his attempts with young ladies," said Louis. " The Lindsays are all well, I hope." " Quite well ; they are building an addition to the house ; the entrance is to be at the front. I have got a plan of the improvements." " Allan has some notion of that kind of draw- ing. I suppose the plan is his ?" " Yes, and I imderstand it quite well," replied Amy. " And I suppose — ^that is, I fancy — I mean — that Allan writes you about everything that occurs — that is to say, that he is your chief cor- respondent." There was more conftision on Amy*s counte- nance when she answered this question than when she spoke of Lord Darlington. "Yes, Allan is the best letter writer of the LOUIS HAMMOND HAS ANOTHER CHANCE. 197 family ; that is to say, the girls write mostly to Jessie — Mrs. Copeland — and of course about plans and improvements Allan can give the clearest account." Though Lucy Evans was sharp, and thought herself still sharper than she was, she did not understand Amy's embarrassment She attri- buted it to her recollection of her dependent po- sition among the very worthy but inadmissible people with whom she had spent her girlhood, and to her feeling that her appeal to Louis had carried his reminiscences a little too far. " It was through this Mrs. Copeland I think that your brother Mr. Derrick first heard of you," said Lucy. " It is altogether a curious story, I am sure. I wish some such imknown relative would hear of me, and treat me as your generous brother has done." " Of course you have seen Mrs. Copeland often. I never thought her so pretty as the younger sisters ; but I hear that McCallum, our overseer at Aralewin, was very sweet on her too. Where are the Copelands now ?" " Old Mr. Copeland has a farm on the Stan- more property, which, you know, is my brother's, and George and Jessie live with the old people. They are very fond of Jessie." " Well I I'd never do such a thing as take a 198 THE author's daughter. wife to live with my father and mother," said Louis. *' I quite agree with you," said Lucy. " French people do it. Chinese, Egyptian, and other bar- barous races think it may do, but it is thoroughly un-English. But I forget, Mr. Hammond, you are not English. What do you call yourselves, you Creoles of the antipodes— currency, or corn- stalks, or what ? What a sad thing it is to think that,you are not a true-bom Briton." " I don't call myself anything, but you may call me an Australian if you please, I am not ashamed of my birthplace. I can only say that I can ride a horse, pull a boat, or shoot a rifle with any man of my size and weight, while I am in this country ; and when I return to Aus- tralia, which I hope to do in a year or two, I hope people will not say that English life has ruined me for a colonist. My father wished me to go in for a profession, Miss Staunton, my mother wished it still more, but I have no turn for study, and it would have been too slow a life for me. My home is likely to be more in the saddle than anything else, if I return to look after the govemor^s station, and I have taken care not to forget how to ride. The governor is as fond of a good horse now he is in England as he used to be in Australia ; and to see him at LOUIS HAMMOND HAS ANOTHEB CHANCE. 199 the Derby is as good as a play. That is the very best thing in England, I consider." Louis's talk had brought up a great many memories. Mr. Hammond's love of races and fondness for horses recalled to Amy that terrible day so many years ago, and she could scarcely believe she was the same Amy Staunton who was then so desolate and friendless. If her poor father could have seen her as she was now, an honoured guest in his sister's house, but depen- dent on her for nothing, what a relief it would have been to his anxieties ! Lucy Evans could only see that this lanky yotmg Australian was an admirer of Amy's, and, though she would have preferred that his admiration had been bestowed on herself, there was a great deal of fun to be got out of every flirtation that was carried on in her presence ; and in the meantime Fred Hammond was worth going on with on her own account, and the Misses Hammond were very pl»»„t ^d ve^ „™cd girl,. On further acquaintance Mrs. Evans became very much pleased with her new neighbours, and was particularly attracted by Mrs. Ham- mond. Mrs. Hammond was not so much pre- possessed with the rector's lady, and she was dis- appointed with the rector; but still she could not say why she disliked Mrs. Evans, unless it 200 THE author's daughter. was because she was Gerald Staunton's sister and Amy's aunt. In a private conversation between the two ladies Mrs. Evans had expressed herself very sirongly and very properly as to the impropriety and the folly of her brother's marriage with Lady Eveline Derrick, and had told Mrs. Ham- mond that she had never visited her or counte- nanced her in any way ; although of course she could not keep up any feeling of the kind against the poor orphan whom her brother had left. Mr. Derrick had been most magnanimous and gene- rous in taking Amy by the hand ; he had evi- dently given her every possible advantage, and from what she (Mrs. Evans) could gather, Amy was now his favourite sister. He had loaded her with presents — such jewellery as she wore had never been seen at the rectory before — ^and her allowance was so extravagantly handsome Mrs. Evans wished she had the fourth part of it to dress herself and her daughters on. There could be no doubt that Anthony Derrick would portion her very handsomely, and he could well afford to do so. Mrs. Hammond heard this and thought over it. No, she did not like the girl ; she never could like the girl. No amoimt of fortune could make her welcome Eveline Staimton's daughter LOUIS HAMMOND HAS ANOTHEB CHANCE. 201 as her son's wife. But she would cease to strive against circumstances ; she would relinquish her active hostility ; she would learn to hear Amy's name without emotion; she would treat her with negative politeness, and let things go as they would. Louis was delighted to see his mother apparently give way to his wishes in this instance as on all previous occasions. His father's partisanship was active ; he did not see that Louis could do better than try for Amy Staunton ; and now that she was among middle- class people, who had a reasonable respect for his position as a successful Australian proprietor, and a wealthy and influential parish resident, Mr. Hammond was delighted to renew his ac- quaintance with the dear little girl whom he had liked so much when he saw her with her poor father. Louis's star appeared to be in the ascendant ; he was happy and hopeful, and he looked almost handsome in his eagerness to please and his de- termination to be pleased. CHAPTER XIV. AN IMPORTANT ARRIVAL. Lady Olivia Darlington had wished and longed that her father would make his visit to her this year a little earlier in the season than usual, that she might see him in company with Amy, who seemed to like him so much and to be on such easy terms with him. She did not write to that effect to the earl, for she stood too much in awe of her father to make a request that he should give up London pleasures and London society for her, but she wrote of her delight in making Amy's acquaintance, calling her a pet, and a darling child. A curious smile played on the earl's face as he read the phrases used by the elder with reference to the yoimger, but he had already de- termined to go to Thrush Grove at a particular time, and the letter had little effect one way or the other on him. A second letter informed him of the settlement of the Hammonds at Thornton AN IMPORTANT ARRIVAL. 203 Hous6| and he easily identified the young gentle- man Olivia had seen with his sisters with the hero of the opera and the park. Olivia said that the family at the Rectory seemed delighted with all the Hammonds, and that they made the place much more lively than it had been. The earl liked very much to touch Anthony Derrick on any sore point in his organization, and he had been always amused with the jealous and exacting liking which he bore to his pretty sister, and particularly with his repugnance to her Aus- tralian recollections and her Australian acquaint- ances ; so he lost no time in informing Mr. Derrick that young Hammond was close beside Amy now, and evidently in great favour. The earl said this in such an easy nonchalant manner, as if it was a matter of no consequence to himself, that An- thony was puzzled and indignant with himself fqr yielding to Lady Qower's wishes and allowing Amy to visit her aunt. She had not been open with him, she had said nothing about these Aus- tralians in her letters, she had only dwelt on her frequent visits to Lady Olivia, which she knew would please him, and had shrunk from telling him how she had been placed so that she could not help associating with the Hammonds. She had only said that her aunt and cousins were very kind to her, and that she was enjoying her 204 THE author's daughter. visit very much. But now it would appear that after all he had done for her — ^her brilliant d^but, and her fair prospect of a coronet with a relative of his family — ^she was enjoying herself with relatives of her father's and with Australian people who had done nothing for her — ^who had indeed behaved very badly to her — ^and was pro- bably carrying on a flirtation, if nothing more serious, with a most objectionable young man who knew all about her miserable low position in Australia. It was most ungrateful in her, and most provoking to him, that after his extra- ordinary generosity, she should be so happy when away from him among people whom he disliked. If she had said she did not care for the family of the Evanses, if she had drawn disparaging com- parisons between the house, the appointments, and the society at Belton Rectory and that at Stanmore or in London, he would have been satisfied, but she had done nothing of the kind, and now in addition to this there appeared to be concealment and duplicity. He said he must at once summon Amy home, but Lord Darlington checked this resolution by saying that he meant to pay a visit to his daugh- ter on the morrow, and if it was all the same to Anthony, he could accompany Miss Staunton on her return. AN IMPORTANT ARRIVAL. 20 "> Anthony knew that the earls visits were .slmil, and was relieved to hear that ho was giiing to sut* for himself how matters stood. ** I wish your lordship would l>e giKxl eiioii;^h to tell Amy that I disapprove of this intimac}', and that she must drop it/* said Anthony. " I fiancy a visitor like Miss Stjiunton must see the society of the house in which she lives, and, besides, I never like to carry disagreeable mes- sages. If you have any orders to give, you cjin write them or go down to Belton yourself. It is a very pretty neighbourhood." Anthony could not understand the earl. Did he really wish him to make the acquaintance of these people ? Had not he made concession enough in allowing Amy to visit there without being dragged into such society himself ? " Amy has completely fascinated my daughter. I feel very much pleased that they are such good friends." " So am I," said Anthony eagerly. " That is a very different affair from the other." "Tlicn I take nothing but friendly messages from you to your sister," said the earl, coolly. When Lord Darlington arrived at Miss Pen- nithome's he heard sounds of laughter very un- usual in that sober quiet household, and on entering he found that Amy was sitting on a low 206 THE author's daughter. chair close to his daughter's sofa, while Lucy and Juliet Evans and Clara Hammond and Louis and Fred were conducting that idle rattling talk so common with young people in good health and spirits. The unexpected entrance of the earl was like a bombshell thrown amongst the party, ex- cept to Amy. She disengaged a curl from Olivia's fingers, rose from her seat, shook hands with him warmly and fiunkly, and, without quitting his hand, she led him forward to his daughter's sofa, and saw Olivia's pale cheeks glow at her father's kiss. Lucy Evans was delighted at this rencontre ; she had always wished to see how Lord Darling- ton and that stupid fiissy timid Miss Pennithome got on together; and the contrast between his easy dignified self-possession and coolness ££nd Aunt Sophy's agitated apologies and expressions of surprise at his unexpected visit, her nervous enquiries as to his journey, her dread lest he should be fatigued, her offers of refreshment, all dexterously parried by the earl, were as good as a play to Lucy. Miss Pennithome cast distressed looks at her visitors, doubting whether she should introduce them to Olivia's father or not, but Amy relieved her of that difficulty by introducing her cousins and her old Australian neighbours, feeling how AN IMPORTANT ARRIVAL. 207 much easier it was to deal with Lord Darlington than with her brother Anthony. The visitors would not go, as Miss Pennithome wished and expected they should ; Lucy and Louis were too much interested to leave until they had made a very long call, though the conversation languished among the young party, resting chiefly with the earl and Amy. Aunt Sophy's old fear came back to her when she saw how animated Lord Darlington looked, and Louis Hammond's glance and crest-fallen expression on the earFs entrance was not lost upon her. She had often thought that if the earl married he would marry a young and beautiful woman, but to fix upon such a mere child as this was too great an absurdity on his own part, and too great an insult to her poor Olivia, who had treated Amy half as a friend and half as a play- thing. Olivia's joy at this meeting, her eager appeals to her father as to things of which Amy had told her, and then her re-appealing to Amy for support and corroboration, all tended to make Miss Pennithome more anxious and distraught, for in case of this dreadful thiilg taking place, Olivia might not think it a misfortune, but would part easily from her. old fond aunt for this new friend. As her eye wandered restlessly from one to another of the three in whom she was inte- 208 THE axjthob's daughter. rested, Lucy Evans, who had no idea of her thoughts, only enjoyed her manner, and sat taking notes until Amy recollecting herself said it was time to go. '* I thought you were going to spend the day with me. Amy T said Lady Olivia in a reproach- ful tone. "Oh! that was supposing you were to be alone." " I hope I am not the cause of your altering your arrangement. Miss Staunton. I thought you would be glad to hear all the chit-chat from town," said the earl. " Oh I do stay," said Olivia in an earnest whis- per. " I did so long to see papa and you together, and it is good of him to come soon, so that I could have you both at once. It is so dreadftdly dull here for him ; I never have anything to say to him, and I know he wearies. Aunt Sophy," continued Olivia aloud, "do ask Amy to keep her engagement, and not to leave us till the evening." Aunt Sophy did so, but rather stiffly. What would she not do that her darling asked her ? but Lucy Evans saw how curiously the presence of this overpowering earl took all the kindness and cordiality out of her voice and manner. Amy accepted the invitation, however. She AN IMPORTANT ARRIVAL. 209 Wished to stay, for she meant to try to under- stand why this old nobleman, so kind and courte- ous to herself, should be so cold and careless to his daughter and her aunt. She had discovered that they both stood in awe of him, much in the same way as she did of Anthony, though, his visits being short and few, they could not feel oppressed by it, as she had been at Stanmore on her first arrival. To Lucy Evans s offer of sending her brother to see her cousin home in the evening, the earl quietly said he intended himself to have that pleasure. Louis Hammond, who had intended to be her escort, was annoyed at this aristocrat taking such cool possession of her, and was almost inclined to agree with Lucy that Amy had a weakness for great people. Lucy certainly made great fun of the scene they had wit- nessed, and mimicked Miss Pennithome's flurried blimdering manner to perfection. Although she was much pleased at the idea that a peer of the realm was going to see her cousin home to the Rectory, and pay his compliments to the family, she knew Louis Hammond's feelings too well to do anything but laugh at the antiquated politeness and the venerable appearance of Amy's old beau ; not that she thought there was any- thing serious in it, but Louis was disposed to be VOL. n. 14 210 THE author's daughter. jealous, and jealousy was always a very amusing thing to Lucy, It was only on his daughter's account that Lord Darlington could take so much notice of a child like Amy, and certainly Amy played her cards very well. But Lucy had never been so charming as when she ridiculed Lord Darlington to Amy's lover. " These young ladies are your cousins by your father's side," said Lord Darlington, when the young people had gone ; " of course I know all poor Eveline's relatives." " Mrs. Evans is my father's sister," said Amy. " Gerald Staunton's sister ; is she at aU like him?" ^'Not at alL You must not judge of what papa was, either in appearance or intellect, by my aimt." "Any more than I could judge of you by Derrick or his sister." " Did you see Anthony before you left town ?" " Yesterday I saw him. I should not be sur- prised if he made a run down here to see how you get on with your new firiends." " Anthony here ?" said Amy with surprise and alarm. " It is only a surmise of my own ; very probably I am wrong. He sends his love and all that sort of thing. Why, I never saw Olivia look so well AN IMPORTANT ARRIVAL. 211 as she does to-day ; you seem to have done my poor girl good." " I know she has," said Olivia eagerly. " Aunt Sophy can trust me with her, for she has such a nice knack of supporting me and propping me up a little when I want a change." " I had no idea when you made this move that you were near Gerald Staunton's relatives. You know Gerald Staunton, the brilliant essayist and reviewer?" " Mrs. Evans had mentioned him to me, but I did not really know him or his works till Amy spoke of him," said Lady Olivia; "and since then, I have read what I can obtain of his writings with a new and peculiar interest. Knowing something of an author's life and history throws so much light on his works." " Well, for my part," said the earl, " I think I prefer to know nothing whatever about the authors of the books I read. A man's books are generally so much better than himself; at least I never met with one who could stand the scrutiny of personal acquaintance so well as the ordeal of public criticism." " Oh ! do you think so ?" said Amy. " I know you are a severe critic of the acted drama, and I suppose you are equally severe on books and their writers. I sometimes feel as if it was a 14—2 212 THE author's daughter. great mistake introducing me into fashionable society, and that if I were only allowed to mix with poor authors and struggling artists I should be more on my own level if not so much on that of Anthony. But I never have known intimately any author but papa, and I think even you would have acknowledged that he stood the test of the most familiar personal acquaintance." " I suppose my acquaintance with authors has not been sufficiently intimate," said the Earl laughing ; " but it has on many occasions been enough to shew that their words and actions in common life are not always strictly in accordance with their written sentiments. Possibly we should be rather glad that a man gives us his very best in his books, and leaves himself the worse for it/* " Why should it be so?" asked Amy. "A man must be the better for having thought nobly or wisely, and not the worse. I feel sure that papa was as much benefited as his readers by what he felt to be good or true." " You may be right,'' said the earl ; " you speak from your intuitions and a limited experience. I speak from a wider but a more superficial experience." " I like Amy's view best," said Lady Olivia ; '' and when she tells me that such an essay was AN IMPORTANT ARRIVAL. 213 written in Madeira, such a review just before her mother's death, and such another just after it, I seem to see a double meaning in what I read. The idea of having to write when one's heart is breaking with sorrow or one's body racked with pain, because one was under engagement to do so, and for doily bread, seems to me terrible." " Still it is what nine-tenths of the world have to do," said Amy thoughtfully. "We hear of the trials and woes of authors and artists because we are in the way of hearing more about them than about other people; but the ploughman must go to the plough, the clerk to his desk, the factory hand to his whirling wheels, for daily bread, whatever grief or anxiety he may be suffering from; perhaps no work is more the better for sorrow or sorrow more the better for it than literary work. At the time I dare say papa felt it a great hardship to write, especially on uncongenial subjects, but I am sure he was always the better for the effort," "What a wise head this child has on her young shoulders, papa," said Lady Olivia. " You would not think to hear her talk that she is so very many years younger than I am ; but then she has seen the world, and has met with such strange varieties of people in her wide wanderings. She and the young Mr, Hammonds have been 214 THE author's daughter. talking about a handsome ploughman in Australia who was a great friend of hers. Was he a plough- man, however, or a blacksmith, because you certainly spoke of his shoeing horses V " She has never gone into these details with me," said the earl, with a quickness which Miss Pennithome observed. " He was handsome, was he ? That is more than I can say of your young Australian friend who has just left us — ^but this ploughman or blacksmith " " He was not really a ploughman or a black- smith either," said Amy. " He could do anything that he tried to do, and he could do fifty things that people in his position would never think of in England. It was to him that I sent the telescope and microscope, for he has a very great turn for science, though he has not had great opportunities." " But that is not my question. Miss Staunton ; you shift your ground with me. Was he hand- some T Amy did not know exactly whether Allan Lindsay was handsome or not, but she instinc- tively answered, " Not at all, my lord ; that is to say, he had a good expression and looked in- telligent. He was very kind and good-natured to me always." "And you will never see him again," said AN IMPORTANT ARRIVAL; 215 Olivia, " handsome or not, for you have left Australia for ever. It is very well to talk about, but I am sure you are really very glad to be among friends and relations and to live in the midst of civilization, to see all that is to be seen and hear all that is to be heard in this wonderful old England ; to see and hear what I never can. Nothing but the dim reflection of its sights and the faint echo of its sounds can reach me here." " Perhaps the reflection is fairer and the echo sweeter than the things themselves. You see no disproportion, no distortion, no painful incon- gruity, and you do not catch the jarring notes that spoil our enjoyment," said the earl, and he looked appealingly to Amy for confirmation, who said, "Yes, it may be so," slowly and doubtfully. " It is well for you to say so," said Lady Olivia, with some bitterness in her accent ; " but which of you would exchange your life with its vivid colours, its full harmonies, its strong hopes, its earnest resolutions, its prizes which can be gained, and its obstacles which can be overcome, for my colourless, stagnant, purposeless, useless existence ? Oh 1 for one year, only one year of life like that of others, and then let me die !" She spoke passionately and vehemently. HerA father had never heard her express anything 216 THE author's daughter. stronger than the natural querulousness of an invalid before. He could not help recalling the preventible accident which had laid her prostrate for life, and aunt Sophy recollected it too. But for that Lady Olivia might have been a beauty and a leader in society, for she thought very highly of her darling's abilities, which her father had never taken any pains to discover. "But Olivia, my love," said the earl after a short pause, " you have many resources — ^books, art, music, friends ** " I am always amused at the people who call themselves my Mends talking about my resources. They weary of sitting beside me for an hour, and fancy that I should not weary of the long sixteen hours of the waking day and often the still longer hours of the sleepless night added to them. Resources are all very well for those who take them up in the intervals of living ; but to live in them is impossible. I don't mean you, my darling Amy, for you will sit a whole day beside me ; but you will soon be gone, and oh ! how I shall miss you." " I never heard you speak in this strain before, Olivia. Is it the effect of receiving such lively visitors as you have had to-day ?" asked the earl. " No, I do not think it is that, but I fancy it is AN IMPORTANT ARRIVAL. 217 talking so much to Amy and hearing all about her life that makes me feel how I am laid aside." " Oh ! I am sorry," said Amy, " very sorry. I thought that it gave you pleasure." " So it did — so it does — but I can give you no pleasure in return. I can say nothing to amuse you or anybody. I can be of no use to a single creature in the world." " Now do not say that," said Amy. " You can- not think what pleasure it gives me to speak of my past life to you, about poor mamma's long ill- ness and dear papa's books, about our struggles, our voyages, and my adventures in Australia. My lips are sealed on these subjects among my relatives at Stanmore and at the rectory. No one there wants to be reminded of my humble life in childhood, or my dependent position in Australia, and if I have perhaps painted them a little couleur-de-rose, it is because I have met with sympathizing and indulgent listeners. You, my lord, were the first person I met with in England who cared to hear of these things;" and Amy turned to Lord Darlington with a frank, grateful smile. Miss Pennithome was watching the earl atten- tively ; she was not at all clever or sharp natu- raUy, but her intense interest in this matter gave unwonted acuteness to her perceptions. She had never seen Lord Darlington in ladies' society since 218 THE author's daughter. he had wooed and won her cousin Elizabeth, in the days when he was a handsome young man ; but at that time she had doubted the reality of his attachment, and had suspected him of inte- rested motives. Now he was almost an old man, yet he seemed scarcely so self-possessed a lover as he had been in those young days. He had never looked on Elizabeth with such an expres- sion as he now turned on Amy in answer to her smile and grateful speech. And Amy was lovely, there was no doubt of it ; lovely in repose and still lovelier when she spoke, lights and shadows played over the yoiuig face in every dimple — ^and to think that this old worn man of the world, sel- fish and self-centred, might win this beauty and freshness for himself, and after showing her off for a few years in the fashionable world, might establish her as his nurse till her youth and freshness had withered, struck Miss Pennithome as so sad and so unnatural that she looked on the scene with pity and alarm. Lord Darlington could do it, and would do it. She had an over- weening opinion of his power and his influence over others. No one had ever dared to contra- dict or thwart him with any success, and what could poor aunt Sophy do to prevent it ? Olivia would be no ally. She had no idea that her father was selfish, and scarcely that he was old. AN IMPORTANT ARRIVAL. 219 After the first shock of surprise was over, the idea of his marrying this charming girl, provided the girl' could be brought to consent, would be delightful to her. Aunt Sophy knew that her darling would prefer such a home as Amy could make for her in her father's house, to her aunt's dull company and secluded situation. As Lady Olivia caressed the curls or played with the fingers of the girl whom aunt Sophy had welcomed and loved up to this time, the bitter pangs of jealousy wrung her heart. The reflection of her homely little figure and ordinary middle-aged countenance, which she could catch in the mirror over the mantel-shelf, contrasted with the grace and beauty of her youthful rival, and she saw herself deserted in her old age ; — the girl to whom she had devoted herself for fifteen years, and in whose life she had lived, alienated from her as her mother had been long ago. Never had aunt Sophy been so distraite or so stupid, never had Lord Darlington's superficial good breeding been so sorely put to task to carry on a little conversation with her. It occurred to him, perhaps for the first time in his life, that she must be a very dull companion for Olivia, and that, with no one else to associate with, his daughter had really good reason to complain of her monotonous and dreary life. The earl ac- 220 THE author's daughter. cordingly suggested an early visit to London, as the best tonic that Olivia could take, without dropping a hint as to aunt Sophy's accompanying her. Olivia only hoped that Amy could be with her a great deal, and Amy said that if Anthony made no objection she should be most happy to do so. Miss Pennithome listened to the talk of the girls as to what could be seen and done with silent agony. To whom could she speak, with whom could she take counsel ? She had lived so exclusively for one object and for one person that she was in want of friends. She knew Mrs. Evans to be a worldly woman, and felt that the idea of her niece becoming a countess would dazzle her. Mrs. Evans would fancy that such an alliance might be of great advantage to her daughters, and, although Miss Pennithome knew the earl too well to think that it could be so, she did not suppose that anything she could say would convince the rector's lady that appointments for the boys and better chances of settling well in life for the girls might not come out of it. There appeared to her to be only one chance of a friend for her, one with whom she was so slightly acquainted that she did not know whe- ther she might depend on her or not. But Louis Hammond was evidently an admirer of Amy AN IMPORTANT ARRIVAL. 221 Staunton, and if Mrs. Hammond had the feelings of a mother she might do something to prevent the sacrifice of the simple girl whom her son loved, to the selfish Lord Darlington. It did not occur to Miss Pennithorne to speak to Amy her- self,' or to Louis himself; tliat would have been according to her ideas indelicate and improper, although it might have been more effectual than applying to any third party. Miss Pennithorne had been brought up accord- ing to the old r^ime, and had strict ideas of the etiquette to be observed in matters of courtship and marriage. Having had no personal expe- rience of these things, she had not learned to rectify or modify her theories to suit circum- stances, so she held her original idea that until . an engagement is proclaimed no one ought to allude to an attachment to the young people* concerned. Besides, if she spoke to Amy, Lord Darlington would be sure to find it out, and if it had the effect she wished, he might be so offended at Miss Pennithome's presumption that he might take Olivia from her. If Mrs. Hammond would take it upon her to warn Amy against the insidious advances of Lord Darlington, and speak to her as a woman of the world and a woman of experience, of the danger and impropriety of a young girl marrying a man 222 THE author's daughter. so completely hlaa^ as he was — a point on which Miss Pennithome dared not speak, for she was the guardian and almost the mother of his only daughter, and it was not for her to proclaim his faults; if Mrs. Hammond could encourage and invite her son to make a declaration, the result might be a suitable marriage for both the young people, and a disappointment for Lord Darlington that he could scarcely blame aunt Sophy for. No doubt Mrs. Hammond could see all the ad- vantages of the match for her son ; the daughter of Lady Eveline, and the favourite sister of the wealthy Mr. Derrick, must be a very welcome wife to one of this Australian family, and the Hammonds were old friends and acquaintances, and both Mrs. Evans and Louis himself had said that Mrs. Hammond was very clever. She could do this if she would, and do it well ; whereas, ev^n if aunt Sophy had dared to do it, she would probably make a sad bungle of it. Some oppor- tunity of speaking to Mrs. Hammond on this sub- ject must be found or forced, and her sympathies and her talents enlisted in the rescue of Amy Staunton from different dangers and difficulties than those of friendlessness and desolation. Miss Pennithome sat silently planning how she was to contrive a quiet interview, what she was to say to Mrs. Hammond, and how she was to say AN IMPORTANT ARRIVAL. 223 it, while the other three persons in the room talked about the books, the new games and the new music which the earl had brought. Amy- was asked to try over the latter, and not Miss Pennithorne, and perhaps in her preoccupied state of mind poor aunt Sophy might not have done it well, but she felt that her place was taken from her in that respect too. When Amy sug- gested that a larger easel than the one from which she read might be adjusted to Olivia's sofa, so that she might try to draw a little, as she seemed to have some artistic taste. Lord Darlington wondered that it had never been thought of before, and said it must be tried at once. Amy was persuaded to make a very long day of it, and when she bade her friend good-bye, promising to come again soon. Lord Darlington put on his hat and gave Miss Staunton his arm to see her home to the rectory. " It will be all over," thought Miss Pennithorne to herself as she saw them depart, " before I have a chance to open my mouth to speak to any one to prevent it. Lord Darlington has come of set purpose for that one thing, and a t^e-A-tSte walk in the fading twilight for nearly a mile may settle the business at once.'' But Miss Pennithorne was mistaken ; the earl was not at all hasty or hurried in his proceedings. 224 THE author's daughter. and, in spite of his easy self-possessed manner, he felt that he was older in Amy Staunton's eyes on this occasion than he had ever been before. Of course it was well known that he had a grown,-up son and daughter, but now Amy had come into personal contact with the eldest, Olivia, who looked even older than her years ; and be- sides this he felt that in Olivia's complaints there was some reproach to himself which he might not really deserve, but which Amy might reason- ably fancy that he deserved. So the conversation which Miss Pennithome had thought would be of nothing less than love and marriage settlements turned almost wholly on Olivia, with faint refer- ences to the difficulties which a man in his cir- cumstances felt in the charge of a motherless in- valid girL His thanks to Amy for her kind attention to his poor child were not voluble, but admirably turned. One short allusion to another family trial, of which he had never spoken before — one sadder and more hopeless still — ^went to Amy's heart. She felt honoured by his confi- dence and touched by his trials, and her little hand gently laid itself in his. But not even that action, encouraging as it was, could lead the earl to the imprudence of speaking out. It was far better not. It was far better for his chances of success that she should lie awake half the night AN IMPORTANT ARRIVAL. 225 thinking of him, and puzzling herself as to his cha- racter, and wondering what she could do to bring him into more affectionate relations with his daugh- ter, fancying herself always coming in to explain away any little misimderstanding, interpreting be- tween them, and leading them to love each other as father and daughter ought to do. Miss Eenni- thome was very discreetly kept out of sight in their castles in the air; she appeared to be rather an element of disunion between them* for though she was very kind to Olivia, and although it was very good in Lord Darlington to give her the charge of his daughter, it was evi- dent that he and aunt Sophy did not get on well together, and it might be that this partly accounted for his being so little with Lady Olivia. Lord Darlington's tone of condescension for his wife's cousin, and his mentioning that it was a very important thing for her, in a pecuniary point of view, to have Olivia, which had induced him to keep her there, although, of course, it was rather dull for his invalid, did not pain Amy as it would have done on the previous day, for she had thought Miss Pennithome very odd in her man- ner, although she had not been so much amused with it as Lucy Evans had been. VOL. n. 15 CHAPTER XV. MISS PENNITHORNE*S APPEAL. Lucy Evans was determined to get as much fun and as much 4clat out of Lord Darlington's visit as possible. Whatever his intentions might or might not be with regard to her cousin, an earl was an earl and not to be seen at Belton Rectory every day. He had been twice seen in the neighbourhood, and had on both occasions wound up his short visit by a Sunday in the country, in which he appeared morning and evening at church, and which he had evidently found so tiresome that he started off on the following morning. He had never called at the rectory before, although his daughter was a parishioner; still the Evanses were willing to overlook that slight, and were satisfied now when he went in with Amy, and said all that was proper to her uncle and aunt. " We have changed the hour for our picnic MISS pennithorne's appeal. 227 to-morrow, Amy," said Lucy. " The Hammonds suggested one o'clock for our meeting here instead of half-past twelve. It is a pity the nuts in the hazel-woods are not ripe, I should like to set those long-legged Australians nutting; but we must exercise them in finding ferns and mosses for us. You promised to get some for Lady Olivia, Amy. Do you care about ferns, my lord ?" continued Lucy, turning to the earl ; " we are sup- posed to have the finest ferns in England, and I am making a splendid collection." "Ferns are quite the rage at present. Miss Evans, and I am not such a Vandal as not to admire what all the world does." " Then would you mind — I mean would you like to honour us by joining our party ? It is a very quiet family affair, only ourselves and the Hammonds and the Misses Smart and their brothers. Dr. Smart, as you know, attends Lady Olivia." " I shall be most happy," said the earl, " to accompany you. I always like to explore the country a little when I am out of town, and this county is of a very different style of beauty from that of either of my country residences, so that it interests me." " I am sure we shall all be delighted if you honour us so much, and I hope you will enjoy the 15—2 228 THE authob's daughter. day as much as I mean to do ; and will you give mamma's compliments and mine to Miss Penni- thome and say that we should be very much pleased if she could accompany you," said Lucy in the spirit of mischief. " We all think that she mopes too much, and that it only makes it duller fOT Lady Olivia when the only companion she has will never go out. Tell her that it is not exclusively a young party, for Mr. and Mrs. Hamonond are to be with us and Mrs. Smart. We intend to have a very pleasant day. I fear she will not be induced to come, but will your lord- ship be good enough to give the invitation and tell Miss Pennithome how much mamma and all of us wish it." " She will not go out and leave Olivia," said the earl. " Do you think so, Amy ? " " Not unless " and Amy stopped. Lord Darlington had some idea what she meant to say, but he did not choose to take it up. The notion of staying at home with Olivia for a long day to let Miss Pennithome go to a picnic, when he wanted to go there himself to see Amy with her Australian admirer, and to circumvent and forestall him in every way, was not to be dreamed of '' I am afraid that Olivia has been so much accustomed to her aunt's constant presence that MISS pennithorne's appeal. 229 even the last new novel could scarcely make up for the want of her for so many hours," said Lord Darlington with a smile ; " but I will deliver your message, Miss Evans, and press your invitation with all the arguments in my power. For myself, nothing could give me greater pleasure than as- sisting at such a party — flowers, ferns, hazel-nuts, wild strawberries, sunshine, youth and beauty," — and he gave the slightest inclination of his head towards Lucy — "have always irresistible attractions to me. Let us pray for fine weather, that everything may be as brilliant as my anti- cipations." And the earl bade the family at the rectory good-by, leaving Mrs. Evans in ecstasies at Lucy's courageous invitation and its result " Miss Pennithome will never come to the picnic, mamma, more's the pity. It is such splen- did fun to see her with Lord Darlington. I'd give the world to make her come. I wanted Mrs. Hammond to see them together, too ; but it is hopeless, and the old gentleman will be off as usual on Monday morning unless we make the place particularly agreeable to him." " I am going to-morrow to get some ferns and flowers for you, Olivia," said Lord Darlington to his daughter on his return. "I hear you want a few." "Amy promised to get them for me," said 230 THE author's daughter. Olivia, and she looked disappointed. She knew that her father had always spent a good deal of the time even of his short visits out of doors and away from her, for of course he wearied in the house; but she had hoped that this time he would have been more with her. She had never found him so kind or so pleasant before, and in her heart she had thanked Amy for bringing him nearer to her. " Mrs. Evans and Miss Evans asked me to join their picnic party and I could not well refuse. It might have been taken as a slight," said the earL Miss Pennithome was amused at this pretext. As if Lord Darlington could not refuse anything that was disgreeable to himself whether it was taken well or not. " Of course, as the rector of the parish in which you reside, Mr. Evans is entitled to some atten- tion, and considering the kindness of Mrs. Evans's niece to my Olivia," said the earl, affectionately, " I owe something to her, and perhaps you will not like your ferns any the less because I have taken some trouble about them. I suppose it is only rare sorts you want ?" " Amy knows what I want," said Lady Olivia. " I think I have all the common kinds." " I have sent across to Bulstrode the carpenter. MISS pennithorne's appeal. 231 and he is coming to speak to you about the easel you want for Olivia at two o'clock to-morrow," said Miss Pennithome. " Let him come again and charge for it in his bill," said the earl, laughing. " These things can always be paid for to that class of people. But, by-the-by, I have a most particular message to you. Miss Pennithome, from Mrs. and Miss Evans, begging you to favour us with your company to the picnic in the hazel-woods. If you could be induced to leave Olivia — " " Oh ! no ; I never go anywhere." " Well, perhaps it is needless to ask you, but Miss Staunton thought Olivia might be so much interested in the new books I brought from Lon- don that she might not miss you so much." " Perhaps she might not," said Miss Penni- thome, shortly. " And I think — at least it has been suggested to me — that perhaps you rather overdo your devo- tion to Olivia, and that if you mixed a little more with the world, you might feel the better for it, and have more to say to her." " Perhaps so," said Miss Pennithome, in the same abrupt manner. "It is to be quite a lively party," continued the earl. " Mr. and Mrs. Hammond and their four young people, to whom Amy introduced me here 232 THE author's daughter. Mr. and Mrs. Evans and all their family, two Miss Smarts, with their mother, no doubt worthy of their name. If you can resist all these attrac- tions you are very philosophical, Miss Penni- thome." " Did you say Mrs. Hammond was to be of the party, and the Smarts 1 I shall go," said Miss Pennithorne. " Go, aunt Sophy, and leave me alone, and that during the time of papa's visit when I ought to feel gayest ! " said Olivia. " Leave me quite alone ! " " But you must learn to do without me if you are going to London," said aunt Sophy, strug- gling after some excuse; "and, perhaps Mrs. Evans may feel herself slighted if I refuse." " Slighted ! aunty, how can she think that, when she knows that you never go anywhere ?" " It is time that I should go somewhere," said Miss Pennithorne, pressing her hand on her head. " I know I am a stupid old woman and have got nothing to say to you, and you are growing tired of me, and no wonder." "Don't talk nonsense, dear aunty. I should never tire of you if you lived to the age of Methu- selah and I lived with you, which I pray may not happen, however. So don't think of going av/ay from me to-morrow, there's a dear." MISS pennithorne's appeal. 233 How unskilled was poor aunt Sophy in giving reasons or excuses. Go to this picnic she felt she must. There was the earliest and the best oppor- tunity of speaking to Mrs. Hammond, and at the same time of watching Amy's behaviour to Louis and to the earl. But to refuse her poor Olivia her pressing entreaty that she should stay at home and not leave her quite alone, without giving her any reason except that she wished for a day's pleasure, was an unprecedented thing. And although Lord Darlington had discharged his duty in delivering the invitation, he had no inclination to press it any further. He did not see that Miss Pennithome's presence would in the slightest degree add to his enjoyment, audit might detract from it, so he took it for granted that Olivia's pa- thetic appeal had had its effect, and said no more on the subject. On the morrow, however, father and daughter were surprised to see that Miss Pennithome changed her dress shortly after breakfast for something lighter and cooler than her usual house wear, and that she remarked as she ap- peared in the drawing-room that the day was likely to be a warm one, and every one would be ^wearing summer things. " You don't mean to say that you are really going to the picnic, aimt Sophy," said Olivia. 234 THE author's daughter. " I said last night that I meant to go, my dear, and I have not changed my mind." " I never thought you could be so unkind, aunty." " I am sorry you think so, but I cannot help it, I think I should go," said aunt Sophy. Lord Darlington's idea that she was not a fit guardian for Olivia was strengthened by her pertinacity. It showed a degree of selfishness of which he had not supposed Sophy Pennithome capable. Olivia, absolutely imaccustomed to be thwarted by her aunt even in the merest trifle, showed disappointment, annoyance, and even a little temper, and enjoyed her father's soothing and caresses. He had never been so gentle and so nice with her before ; but it did not occur to her as it had done to Amy, that he might stay at home with her. That would have been too prodigious a sacrifice on his part to be thought of. But that he settled her comfortably on her sofa, that he cut the leaves of the most promising- looking of the novels he had brought, and read her a chapter and a half of it aloud before he started for the rectory, were kindnesses never to be forgotten and never to be sufficiently appre- ciated. It was a cold cheek that was offered to aunt Sophy when she kissed her darling and bade her good-by, not without two or three MISS pennithorne's appeal. 235 bitter tears on the part of Miss Pennithome. If aunty really cared so much for her why did she not stay with her? it was absurd to shew emotion when she was acting so unkindly. So Olivia was left quite alone for a greater number of hours than she ever recollected to have spent by herself since she came to live with her aunt. She could ring for Sarah if she needed her, but she had refused her aunt's offer that Sarah should sit by her and read to her. At first she rather revelled in the idea that she was ill- used, and refused to let her thoughts be diverted from her recent grievance, but by-and-by the very novelty of her situation had its charms. The book was tolerably interesting, but still she had many subjects for thought even more inter- esting. Her father had in the first place pro- mised a long visit — ^he had even talked of a fortnight, but that was almost too much to believe in — and then the proposal to take her to London with him when Amy left the neighbour- hood was both new and delightful. It might be a little too late in the season, but then her papa would be more at leisure to amuse her, and he had promised that all the wonders of London that could be brought to her sofa, or that she could be taken in an invalid carriage to have a glimpse of, she should see. The novel lay 236 THE author's daughter. unheeded on her easel while she built her airy- castles and filled them with new pleasures and new inhabitants, and thought gratefully of Amy Staunton who bad been the means of brightening her life. In the meantime, Lord Darlington, half amused, half annoyed, and quite out of breath, was hur- ried to the rectory by the silent, agitated little woman who hung upon his arm, who was full of remorse, of doubt, and of wonder whether she could do anything with the opportunity for speaking to Mrs. Hammond which had been so hard for her to make. Lucy Evans's surprise and delight at seeing Lord Darlington so prompt and so channingly accompanied gave themselves vent in the most cordial reception to both of her guests. Miss Pennithome's impatience and hurry had made them earlier than their appointment, and a quarter of an hour elapsed before they could expect to see the Smarts or the Ham- monds. Mrs. Evans feared that Mrs. Hammond might not be able to come, as she had been suffering from severe toothache on the preceding day and might not think it prudent to venture out even if she was better. Miss Pennithome then almost wished she had not come at all, and thought still more remorsefully of her solitary darling. On what pretext could she return to MISS pennithorne's appeal. 237 Olivia if the lady did not appear ? for she was sure she could not say what was on her mind to the old gentleman. Her acquaintance had never lain much with gentlemen, and she had an idea that they were very different indeed from ladies, that they were to be deferred to or to be coaxed, not to be advised or rea^ned with by those of the inferior sex. Miss Pennithome's doubts were cleared off by the arrival of Mr. and Mrs. Hammond with their two younger girls in their carriage, the eldest Miss Hammond and the two young gentlemen accom- panying them on foot ; the distance to the hazel- wood was short, but Mrs. Hammond was no walker, and as a carriage must go to take the provisions she took advantage of it. Mr. Ham- mond and the girls got out when they reached the rectory and offered a seat in the carriage to Miss Pennithome and Mrs. Evans, who were not fond of pedestrian exercise ; but Mrs. Evans had appropriated to herself the honour of accom- panying the earl in the pony-chaise, and did not accept the invitation. So Miss Pennithome found herself as she had wished to be, alone with Louis's mother; but unfortimately it was too soon to speak, for Mrs. Hammond had seen nothing for herself as yet. They saw that Louis had offered his arm to 238 THE author's daughter. Amy Staunton and that she had taken it ; but before the party had fairly started Lord Darling- ton had alighted, insisting that Mr. Evans should take his place, and he walked with Lucy Evans close behind the yoimg people, so that not a word could be said which they could not hear, an arrangement which was as pleasant to Miss Evans as to himself*. " I see that Lord Darlington does not choose to be classed among such old folks as we are," said Mrs. Hammond. " He wears remarkably weU for his time of life.*' "Yes, he does," said Miss Pennithome, "he takes care of himself, and takes pains with himself." " Is your niece. Lady Olivia, pretty well to- day, that you could be induced to leave her ?" " Yes, pretty well, and she had so many new books to amuse her that I thought I might venture out on such a beautiful day. I hope you do not feel your toothache, Mrs. Hammond. There is apt to be a draught in a carriage." " Not in this, I think ; Mr. Hammond had it built expressly for me ; as I am very sensitive to draughts, although I like ventilation and plenty of fresh air as much as any one in the world can, he made it a sine qua non that I could drive in it with safety in any weather. I believe Mr. MISS pennithorne's appeal. 239 Hammond is as good a judge of horses and carriages as any one in England." " So I have heard Mr. Louis say ; I should think that he, too, knew a great deal about these things." " I think he does. When we were so long out of England it was the greatest resource my boys had to ride and drive about the country. Louis could drive me very well when he was eight years old. But now I should prefer Louis and Frederic to turn their attention to other matters." " I thought the young gentlemen meant to return to Australia shortly," said Miss Penni- thorne. " Not with my consent," said Mrs. Hammond. " I should prefer my boys to distinguish them- selves in England rather than that they should bury themselves in the obscurity of a remote colony. With their abilities and the education we have been able to give to them they would be quite thrown away among the sheep and cattle and clodpolls of Autralia." Miss Pennithome was glad to hear these sentiments. Amy's good connections and Amy's probable fortune would be of great advantage to a young man, which an ambitious mother could not fail to see. There were careers in 240 THE author's daughter. diplomacy, or in Parliament even, which the wealthy Anthony Derrick might open to his sister's husband, particularly as he did not care for such things for himself. When the party arrived at the wood which was to be the scene of action. Amy Staunton somehow detached herself from Louis, and went about looking for flowers and ferns with Lord Darlington. The earl also took his place beside his young friend at luncheon, and was very assiduous in his attentions to her, though not so engrossingly as to prevent his being agreeable to the others; but Louis scarcely could get an opportimity of speaking to Amy, and he was boiling over with suppressed rage and jealousy. Amy had begun to suspect that the young man was a lover ; and, as she did not like the cold looks of his mother, and had no prepossession for him beyond friendly liking, she took the op- portunity which Lord Darlington's visit gave her to break off an intimacy that would only lead to poor Louis's unhappiness. She knew, besides, that if her brother did come to Belton he would be very much displeased at her having anything to do with the Hammonds, and par- ticularly with Louis; and in this instance she felt that it was possible to please Anthony with- out doing violence to her own feelings. So she MISS pennithorne's appeal. 241 turned to her old friend, of whom she had been thinking so much during the night, with a confi- dence and an evident pleasure in his society, which made his heart beat somewhat more quickly than its wont. She spoke to him with her usual frankness, and with more than her usual feeling, for she thought that he and his daughter missed a great deal of happiness, which if they understood each other better, they might derive from more frequent and more familiar companionship. She heard his surmises and re- grets with regard to Miss Pennithome's extraor- dinary fancy for amusement on this day with interest and surprise, and wondered with him at the curious idea which aunt Sophy must have of enjoyment, for she did not mix with the party at all, or look for anything interesting on her own account, but kept close to Mrs. Hammond, sitting by her for a long time, yet scarcely speak- ing to her, or being spoken to by her. Her face looked sad and full of anxiety, and almost of fear. Amy thought. No doubt she felt a little ashamed of her conduct, especially as it brought her no good. Lucy Evans was disappointed in the manner in which Miss Pennithome showed off. She was silent, but not nervous or fussy. Perhaps it was only in her own house that Lord Darlington VOL. IL 16 242 THE author's daughter. could make her so entertaining ; and, besides, the earl was so full of little attentions to Amy, that he could not be brought out. All the party ob- served them, but Mrs. Hammond and Miss Pen- nithome were the only persons, besides Louis, who looked on them as serious. The others con- sidered that Miss Staunton was the only one of the party with whom Lord Darlington considered he was on terms of equality or of whom he knew anything previously, and it was natural that he should be engrossed with her. Louis made more than one effort after luncheon to detach Amy from her friend, but without success. He was as thoroughly out of humour as a young man could be ; and even Lucy Evans's liveliness could not divert his thoughts from his disappoint- ment at the result of this picnic, which he had planned and had hoped so much from. If it had been a young fellow that had cut him out with Amy, he fancied he could have borne it better, but that a man old enough almost to be her grandfather should presume to come between them was maddening. What could he do to prevent it ? He caught his mother's eye; she felt for him a little, he could see it. He went up to her and made a commonplace but kind remark about her tooth- ache, she answered gently and kindly, "Oh, MISS pexxithorne's appeal. 243 that is nothing, my poor boy." The accent thrown into the words " my poor boy " was the old sympathising one which had soothed his childish pains or boyish sorrows. He took her hand and wrung it with a mute appeal to her sympathy, and then turned away and sauntered alone up the brook. Now was the time, if ever, for Miss Penni- thome to speak. " I don't like to see it," said she. " To see what, Miss Pennithorne X* said Mrs. Hammond, so coldly and sharply that Miss Pen- nithome's eloquence was driven back a few points, and her next sentence came out somewhat maimed. " I mean I don't like to see Mr. Louis Ham- mond going away by himself, and so many yoimg ladies by themselves." " Oh ! I daresay he will be back presently, and relieve your anxiety. There is a great deal in an English wood in summer-time that is well worth seeing besides young ladies. I often tell him that there is no natural beauty in Australia that can compare with the loveliness of rural England." " That is not exactly what I mean," said Miss Pennithorne, returning to the charge. " I do not like to see people so disproportionately paired )» 16—2 244 THE author's daughter. " As whom T said Mrs. Hammond, drily. "As my Lord Darlington, and your little friend," said Miss Fennithome, rushing at her subject. " Oh ! like her mother, of the world, worldly," said Mrs. Hammond. " The earl is the best parti within the young lady's reach, and she would be unwise if she let it slip. If he is rather elderly she may hope for an earlier release. Her second choice may be for love; let us hope she may manage it more decently than Lady Eveline Der- rick did." " But," said Miss Fennithome, earnestly, " I do not believe that this girl is really worldly. I think she does not know what Lord Darlington's attentions mean." "And you do not like the idea of such a juvenile stepmother coming between you and your mece," said Mrs. Hammond, with a Uttle more interest than before ; " natural enough." " And your son does not like such a rival coming between him and Miss Staunton, and you should not like it either," said Miss Fennithome, stoutly. "Why should you fancy that I have any cause to desire such an attachment ? I am no friend of Miss Staunton's — I never was. K she had ever spoken of me to you at all she must MISS PENNITHORNE*S APPEAL. 245 have told you that I have been anything but a friend to her. That is to say if she spoke with sincerity. As Mrs. Evans's niece and visitor, I must treat her with civility. With regard to the attachment you speak of, I think the young people may be trusted to manage their own affairs ; at all events I shall neither make nor mar in the matter. If Miss Staunton prefers, as I believe she does, wealth and rank to suitable years, and a sincere attachment, it is no business of mine ; and I can only say that my son makes a fortunate escape. A boyish fancy is soon got over." " But if you are ambitious for your son, there could be no better match for him than she would be. Youth, beauty, wealth, good connections, grace, and talent," and Miss Pennithome ran over this list of Amy's recommendations to Louis's mother with a sad emphasis, for she had felt her own defi- ciencies in all these respects when she contrasted herself with Olivia's new friend. She looked earnestly in Mrs. Hammond's face to catch the effect of her words, but the lady had turned away her eyes and was watching the listless figure of her son as he was still to be seen in the distance walking slowly to the thickest part of the copse. Mrs. Hammond bad rejoiced on this day to see that, without any obnoxious effort of 246 THE author's daughter. her own, Amy Staunton was likely to be removed from Louis's path ; and she had hugged herself in the idea that, as she was making a mercenary alliance and proving herself to be unworthy, Louis would soon get over his disappointment, and she (Mrs. .Hammond) would be no longer vexed with Lady Eveline's daughter turning up in imexpected places to make her appear un- amiable and unreasonable. But she was sorry for Louis's present sufferings ; had she not Z fered in the same way long ago, and more keenly too ? Her love had been of longer standing, and had been apparently more secure. And she had been alone, among strangers, when the blow fell, whereas, he had his mother to feel' for him. She was recalling the time when she had ventured to appeal after a fashion to Lady Eveline, to con- vince her of her worldliness, and how fruitless it was, when Miss Pennithome said passionately, " Why do you not speak to her, Mrs. Ham- mond ? Why do not you warn her ? Why do not you tell her that love in a hut is better than a coronet without it ? Why do not you, a mar- ried woman, tell her that it is wrong in the sight of God and man for youth to ally itself to worn- out age for the sake of rank or money ? Why cannot you urge on her, for your son's sake — for her own sake — that Lord Darlington is not MISS pennithorne's appeal. 247 the person for her to trust her happiness with ? I am sure she does not guess his intentions, yet." Mrs. Hammond shook her head. "Depend ujDon it, Miss Pennithorne, that young lady knows what she is about as well as any of us, and she does not need so much advice and warn- ing as you think. And if you believe she needs it or could benefit by it, cannot you speak to her yourself ? You profess yourself to be a friend of hers, which I never was, and you know a great deal more of Lord Darlington's character than I can be supposed to do. If his wife was your sister or cousin no one can be better acquainted with his weaknesses or his faults, than yourself." *' I cannot, I dare not," said Miss Pennithorne. " If I were to thwart Lord Darlington in this or in any other matter on which he had set his heart, he would discover it, I know he would, and then he would take Olivia from me, and I should never see her more. But I thought if you had a mother's heart that you might feel for your own son if you did not feel for a mother- less girl, who is surrounded by worldly relations ; and that you might say something that might open her eyes to the danger she is in, for I am sure girls are often allowed to drift into miserable marriages because no one will show them clearly what they lead to. The cleverest man in Eng- 248 THE author's daughter. land — ^and that Lord Darlington is — ^will not speak out till he is sure ; and she will never sus- pect that she is really bound to him till the fetters are rivetted round her." "Golden fetters, however," said Mrs. Ham- mond. " Nothing so very dreadful as you sup- pose. Your old-fashioned notions about the young mating with the young are quite obsolete now-a-days." " For your own daughters surely you would wish a better fate," said Miss Pennithome. " For my own daughters perhaps I should." And Mrs. Hammond looked tenderly on her gii'ls, one of whom was of Amy's age exactly, and it struck her that she would not like her so mated. Superficial people thought Mrs. Hammond a worldly woman, but she was not reaUy so ; and with regard to her children she was more ro- mantic in her ideas than even her husband gave her credit for. Louis Hammond turned back from his soUtaiy walk, and, meeting his sister Clara on his return, allowed her to lead him to the rest of the young people. Miss Pennithome watched them with interest. This was the only love affair that had come under her cognizance in its first stage. She had spoken about the hitherto unknown subject of love and marriage to Mrs. Hammond MISS pennithorne's appeal. 249 with a boldness and a clearness that had as- tonished herself, for as she spoke light had seemed to fall on it. She had spoken kindly, and wisely, and well, but yet she had spoken in vain. Mrs. Hammond saw her way out of her own dilemma, and had no mind to be dragged into it again by the most well-meaning old maid in the world. When Mr. Hammond came to see how his wife and her new acquaintance were getting on he could not help observing that Miss Pennithome looked dull and his wife stifFer than usual, so he offered his arm to the stranger and led her to the nearer neighbourhood of her older friends, Mr. and Mrs. Evans. Although Mr. Hammond did not look on Lord Darlington as a lover of Amy Staunton's he saw that his influence was adverse to Louis's preten- sions, and felt for the boy ; all the more so be- cause the match had appeared to him to be feasi- ble and suitable. If circumstances led — as they probably would do — ^to Louis's return to the sta- tion at Aralewin, Amy was not likely to make so much objection to the bush life as any English girl would do, for she knew what to expect and what not to expect there. He had talked to Amy several times during the past week and. found her so kindly disposed to the colony — so 250 THE author's daughter. unwilling to make disparaging comparisons be- tween it and England, and so full of praises of its skies, its climate, and its people — ^that his heart had warmed to her. But now this English aristocracy came between him and her, and be- tween Louis and her. She had scarcely a word to give to either of them, and chose to forget that she had been governess in an Australian settler's family; and only recollected that she was the grand-daughter of the last Earl of Dar- lington, while she walked and talked with his successor. Mr. Hammond was not a ready talker except about horses, which he supposed would not be a very suitable topic of conversation with Miss Pennithorne, so, partly from a desire for infor- mation, and partly from a wish to be agreeable on the subject, he asked if she had known Miss Staunton's mother, and he received a great deal of information, gathered partly from rumour, and partly from Amy herself — information which his own wife could have given him more completely and more correctly if she had allowed herself to speak on the subject. Never had Miss Penni- thorne been so fluent or so graphic ; her remon- strance with Mrs. Hammond, unsuccessful as it had been, had opened out quite a new vein of eloquence in her, and she gave the history of MISS pennithorne's appeal. 251 the family iinderstanding that Lady Eveline Darlington should marry the heir presumptive, which had been ruptured by his marriage to Miss Pennithome her cousin ; the young lady's mar- riage to John Derrick ; the early widowhood ; the hurried second marriage to Gerald Staunton, an old lover, Mrs. Evans's brother; the great family quarrel that followed ; the obscure life of the Stauntons ; Lady Eveline's death ; and the departure of father and daughter to Australia, where Mr. Hammond had seen them both. She felt all this story, and she did it justice, and she found she had a much more interested listener in Mr. Hammond than in his wife ; and perhaps she might have tried to enlist him as an ally if circumstances had permitted, but as she was screwing up her courage to make a begin- ning, Mr. Evans came and offered his escort to a nook in the wood which was very well worth seeing, and Miss Pennithome never again had a chance of talking to Mr. Hammond by himself. CHAPTER XVI. AN OLD man's hopes. When Mr. Evans had brought Mrs. Hammond and Miss Pennithome to the particular nook which was the prettiest and the most secluded part of the wood, they found Amy Staunton there with Lord Darlington, knee deep in ferns and wild flowers, gathering the prettiest specimens by handsful, and filling a little basket with roots which they dug up carefully. "If Lady Olivia could have only been here with us, Miss Pennithome," said Amy regretfully. " Is it not a lovely place ? Here she would wish to spend at least one day of the year of life which she longs so much for. How little of the whole great beautiful world can be brought to her small room." " The room is not so very small, and with the windows open as she has them to-day, there is AN OLD man's hopes. 253 really a beautiful view f5rom her sofa," said Miss Pennithome, who felt any allusion to Olivia's limited pleasures very painful to-day. " Yes, to be sure there is," said Amy kindly. " It is better to be laid up as she is in the country than in a crowded smoky town. You recollect that dull London house we visited, my lord, where mamma was so long a prisoner. Although papa did everjrthing he could do for her, he could not bring the country to her there. I recollect 80 well his saying so." " Everything that money can do is done for my poor girl," said the earl. " And everything that kindness can do, too, I am sure," said Amy, looking at Miss Pennithome, who shrunk from her eyes ; she knew she had appeared unkind, and she had done nothing to justify herself even in her own eyes. She turned away and took her companions with her to some little distance, while Amy resumed her conversa- tion with her friend. " I have often thought, my lord, that money is more valuable in times of sickness or of such deprivation as Lady Olivia's than at any other time. Preachers and moralists are apt to talk of riches being of no use in warding off sickness and death ; but I fancy that they very often do it, for timely advice, and timely remedies and change 254 THE author's daughter. mast arrest many diseases. And the alleviatioiis of suffering which money can buy are very great. Everything that love and kindness could do "was done for mamma, and if papa could have coined his heart's blood it would have flowed for her. Indeed in a sense he did do so. My aimt tells me he knew that he was dying when he left England, for he wrote to her to that effect, though I knew nothing of it. The dreadful accident hastened his death, but nothing could have de- layed it many years. And if mamma's illness had not been so long and so expensive, and he had not fatigued himseU* by his anxious careful nursing of her, his health might not have given way as it did ; and I am sure there were many comforts wliich he needed in the last year of his life — the poorest we ever knew — ^that he could not obtain. You don't mind my talking to you About being poor. It will sound like a novel to you ; you do not know what it is to be harassed for money or dependent on varying health for daily bread." " You have had your troubles, Amy. I, too, have had mine of a different kind, but no less real. Let us both hope that they are over." " Over !" said Amy, shaking her head ; " you may flatter yourself that yours are over, but I cannot expect the same for mine. People do not AN OLD man's hopes. 255 get over all the troubles and trials of life at nineteen." " No, by-the-by, it is about that time that the love perplexities and sorrows that make the staple of life in novels, begin," said the earl ; " or per- haps you began yours earlier. How many hearts did you break when you left Australia V The quick blush, the start, the tremble that followed this question convinced Lord Darlington that there must have been something connected with her Australian friend of whom she had spoken on the previous day at Miss Pennithome's. It was well to know as much about it as possible, for forewarned is forearmed. But Australia seems to English people a very long way off; and if the earl had no fear of Louis Hammond, who was at hand and who was on friendly terms with her Belton relatives, he was not likely to feel much apprehension with regard to Allan Lindsay, separated by half the globe and by several grades of the social scale from the AYny Staunton, whom he might have ventured to love, but for whom a far more brilliant destiny was opening. The only opportunity which Louis had of speaking to Amy was a disappointment, for she was so full of praises of the English wood and the varieties of foliage to be seen on English trees, the exquisite changes of tint in the leaves 256 THE author's daughter. with the varying seasons, the profusion of ver- dure, and the loveliness of English wild flowers, that his speech about the beauty of a mountain gorge near Aralewin which she had never' visited, fell very flat. " I do not mean to say anything against your southern scenery, but it may be very well in its way and not come up to England. I often think what a mistake it is to speak of Beautiful France and Merry England. I should say Beautiful Eng- land and Merry France," said the earl. " What a pity that English people live so much in town, and that the habit is increasing on them ; for the coimtry is so beautiful, and country-life in England is the most delightful in the world," said Amy. " I thought you liked London and London life," said the earL " I fear I have been corrupted by the prevalent fashion, and that I prefer spending half of the year in London, and the other half in the country," said Amy. " That is what my father and mother mean to do," said Louis. " Are you only going to stay at Thornton House for half of the year ?" said Lucy Evans. " How disappointing ! we trusted to your being neigh- AN OLD man's hopes. 257 l)()urs all the year, except perhaps for an autumn lioliday." " I think it is likely we shall not go to London every year," said Mrs. Hammond. " Two estab- lishments are very expensive, and now that the girls have done with masters, an autumn holiday on the continent ought to be sufficient for us, or a short visit to London. You young people did not appreciate London when we were residing there. You complained of the crowd and the noise and the smoke in a manner that was almost childish." Mrs. Hammond was not disposed to help Louis out in any way ; Miss Pennithome*s appeal had only made her more jealously watchful of Amy's words and looks, that she might satisfy herself of her being as unsuitable for Louis as she was dis- ttisteful to herself. If it had not been for Lucy Evans's assurance that Lord Darlington would certainly leave Belton on the following Monday, while Amy must stay to complete her six weeks' visit at the rectory, Louis would have been still more miserable than he was, but even though he did not quite believe in the old gentleman's de- parture, it was a comfort to hear it so confidently predicted. Miss Pennithome had never spent so long a day in her life ; she wearied to return to her poor VOL. TI. 17 258 THE author's daughter. Olivia, for if she was likely to be robbed of her so soon, she ought to prize her society all the more while she could have it. She could not be persuaded to stay to take tea at the rectory, which Lord Darlington very frankly consented to do, somewhat to Amy's surprise, but hurried home to find her darling very tired of the solitude, out of spirits, and greatly disappointed that her papa did not accompany her aunt. Miss Penni- thome at once addressed herself to the first and most important piece of business, that of getting tea, which Olivia would not take from Sarah ; but instead of finding that she had more to say to her niece after her day's pleasure, she felt that she had nothing. She had not even thought of bringing any flowers, she had been so preoccupied with more important cares, and she felt Olivia's reflections on her for the omission very hard to bear. Olivia feared her father would forget to bring them too, for everybody forgot her when they were intent on their own pleasure. But Lord Darlington was not so remiss. Amy had packed their joint collection of treasures beauti- fully in a light basket and given it to the earl as he left the house. He at first wondered that this had not been given to Aunt Sophy to carry, but he recovered himself immediately, and accepted the trust as one of the exigencies of his situation. AN OLD man's hopes. 259 It would not do for him to refuse to do anything Amy wished — even if the basket had been ten times larger and heavier he must have carried it twice as far if she had expected it. He had passed a pleasant if rather a fatiguing day, and as he walked home to Thrush Grove in the moonlight he had as foolish thoughts in his head as Louis Hammond had ever indulged. It is not youth alone that builds castles in the air. This old man was dreaming that he could make the young girl perfectly happy. He perhaps thought more of external circumstances than the younger lover did ; of the jewels he would hang upon her, of the magnificence of dress, furniture, and equipages with which she should be surrounded, but still he wanted her love, and fancied that he was capable of awakening it. He was not yo.ung certainly, but he had never undergone any great or violent passion, and so he deluded himself into the idea that he was still young in heart. He had a quickness of observation with regard to this girl which made him catch he? moods, and a desire to please which made him sympathize with them ; and he had a theory that any man of resolution and perseverance could win any woman he determined to take the trouble to win. He must speak soon, but not too soon ; 17—2 260 THE author's daughter. her brother and her aunt, Lady Gower, were favourable to his pretensions, and he thought he had made himself interesting and in some degree necessary to her. CHAPTER XVII. ANTHONY DEKRICK FINDS BELTON SOCIETY 'QUITE ENDURABLE. When Monday came and went without Lord Darlington taking any steps for his departure, or even speaking about it, Lucy Evans was put out in her calculations ; but as he had established the most friendly relations at the rectory, and paid her in particular a good deal of attention, she could not regret it so much as Louis Hammond did. Lucy felt that it must make a great diffe- rence to Lord Darlington to know pleasant people in the neighbourhood, and not to be limited to the dullest house in the parish. As Amy had engagements at the Hammonds*, from which the earl did not wish to be excluded, he judiciously admired Clara's singing, and Mr. Hammond hesi- tatingly hoped that he would visit them in a quiet way, and if it suited him to accompany 262 THE author's daughter. the rectory party at any time, Mrs. Hammond and himself would be most happy to see him. Anthony Derrick was surprised to receive a letter from the eari, saying that he found Belton so pleasant, he had no idea of leaving it for some time. Miss Evans was a very fine girl, and very lively; and the Hammonds were all pleasant people, the eldest young lady having a splendid voice. There was scarcely a word said about Amy in this letter ; what could the earl mean ? Would it be well to recall his sister, or was it not possible, as had been suggested to him by Lord Darlington, that Anthony himself should go down to Belton to see what was going on. Lady Gower thought he might, and his dislike to being kept in the background overcame his re- pugnance to visit the Evanses, so he suddenly made up his mind to go, and astonished his sister and aunt at home as much by his departure as he astonished his sister and aimt at Belton by his arrival. Mr. and Mrs. Evans, however, received him very cordially and pressed him to make their house his home. Amy's importance paled before that of her brother. It pained her to see that he could listen to the apologies and the enquiries as to what he liked and disliked, and allowed trouble to be taken to please him especially without the embarrassment which she had felt. BELTON SOCIETY. 263 or without the light careless manner by which Lord Darlington contrived to escape many words and much solicitude. In spite of the three ge- nerations of wealth, Anthony Derrick was not perfectly well-bred, and his sense of his own im- portance was not carried easily but ponderously. Anthony s mind was relieved by seeing that, although Amy had not been mentioned by the earl, she was still as much the object of his solici- tude as before, and that Louis Hammond was no- where in the race with him. Indeed the young man's hopes fell still lower when she had not only her watchful lover but her disagreeable brother constantly at her side, and he surmised that it was a match of Anthony's wishing and of An- thony's making. Nothing appears so very ab- surd and undesirable to a young man as the marriage of the girl he loves to an old man, and when he was not in their presence he could not help thinking it altogether too preposterous ever to happen ; but the dexterity, the tact, the adaptability, the authority, which Lord Darling- ton displayed in his intercourse with Amy, and in his out-manoeuvring of himself made Louis almost admire while he hated him. And Lucy Evans, who had laughed at the earl so delightfully at first, gave up that amusement. She saw that there was something in the atten- 264 THE author's daughter. tioiis which Lord Darlington paid to her cousin, and she felt that it would be well to keep on the right side of so distinguished a person. If An- thony Derrick had not come on the scene she might have exerted herself to divert Louis Hammond's mind from his disappointment ; but Anthony disliked the young Australian, and enjoyed hearing him quizzed and seeing him neglected. It was impossible to show the same amount or kind of rudeness to Louis that An- thony had shown in the Park, now that he and his family were welcome visitors in the house in which Mr. Derrick was an honoured guest, and besides. Lord Darlington would not allow any incivility to be shown. He set the example of courtesy without cordiality, and Anthony tried clumsily to follow it. The praise which the earl had bestowed on Miss Evans made him at first look on her as a rival to his sister Amy, and Anthony thought it might be well to show her a little attention, which, as she was young, handsome, and lively, was no severe task for him to go through. Al- though he was not very observant, it soon dawned on him that Lucy was a surprising girl for the country. Her style of wit suited him ; he could so readily understand it ; and as her raillery was not levelled at himself, he saw all BELTON SOCIETY. 265 the points she made. Perhaps when he was gone she might entertain others with his failings or awkwardnesses, but at present he was too im- portant a person to run any risk of offending. Anthony recollected how dull he and Edith had felt the retirement of Stiinmore, although it was a finer place and had a better class of society than Btjlton could boast of. Amy's arrival, although it had given rise to a good deal of disunion, had not made the country lively. She was deficient in wit and humour, and, although well-meaning, did not lay herself out to be pleasant as this girl did, who had lived all her life in this obscure place, and who found food for her own amusement in everything and in everybody she saw, and was so frank and so graphic in her descriptions and imi- tations that she kept everyone in the house in good-humour. Why had not he had such a sister to brighten his magnificent home ? After all that he had done for Amy in particular she might have laid herself out more to amuse him. She had read a great deal more, and seen ten times more of the world than Lucy, but she had not got the knack or power to charm Anthony with her read- ings or her recollections. And now, although Amy was occupying herself very much as An- thony would have had her to do, although she was making herself agreeable to Lord Darling- 266 THE author's daughter. ton, both directly to himself and indirectly by the manner in which she behaved to his invalid daughter, Anthony felt disappointed because she was not so solicitous to please him, or so engrossed with him as she had been at Stan- more. It was strange that the first person, other than Amy herself, to whom Anthony made any complaint of her, was this charming cousin Lucy, and it was remarkable with what feeling she apprehended his dissatisfaction and echoed his half-expressed regret. " It is a pity," said she, " that with all Amy's general amiability, there is no getting beyond a mere liking for her. I sometimes think that it is because she expends all her capital in small change, and some people are not satisfied with giving a sovereign and receiving back sixpence, though no doubt other recipients of sixpences, for which they have not paid so dear, think her very affectionate." Anthony felt that he had given the sovereign, and sighed to think of the miserable return his sister had made to him. " You know," said Lucy, " that I am a good hater. I cannot feel alike to everybody; per- haps you may think me ill-natured sometimes, but I would rather be thought so than go in for BELTON SOCIETY. 267 milk-and-water. There is so much of that mild beverage in the world that I think it needs a tonic now and then." " You are quite right, Miss Evans ; I admire your frankness/' said Anthony. " Strangers think Amy very frank and open ^" and Anthony looked as if he expected his sentence to be finished for him. " With so much apparent frankness, I never saw any one with so much real reserve," said Lucy, who was equal to the situation. " Reserve is certainly very dignified and aristocratic. I thought it was the atmosphere of the circle in which she moved that had afiected her, but now that I become acquainted with you, I see that it must be natural to my pretty cousin. I am sure I was quite thrown out by the reception she gave to young Hammond. I fancied it was a case at first." " But it is not," said Anthony, eagerly, anxious to have his own opinion confirmed by so compe- tent an authority. " No, I think not, unless Amy carried her re- serve further than I think she does. But the old gentleman seemed disposed to help his son, and used to get into long conversations with her about Australia. I wish he could talk of anything else. I have got so tired of the name of the place 268 THE author's daughter. since the Hammonds came here, I really hate it. You see I can hate things as well as people." " I was very much annoyed at my sister's not telling me in her letters that the Hammonds were here, at least not until I had heard from another source. It is an instance of that want of open- ness which you have perceived." " I could scarcely have believed that of her," said Lucy, " for she seemed very much interested in the family, and of course you have a right to hear of everything that interests her when she is removed from your guardianship." " You think so, because you take a proper view of things, Miss Evans. Then you really think this young fellow has no chance with Amy r " Amy is better employed," said Lucy with a smile. " I was very much amused to see how the Australian fell to a ruinous discount when other views were opened to her." " There are a great many things that seem to amuse you. Miss Evans, you have such capital spirits, and such a disposition to make the best of aU your opportunities." " I need all my spirits," said Lucy ; " I never get away from this sleepy place, and the house- hold depends on me to keep them alive. I am sure, as I often tell Amy, if my brother had taken BELTON SOCIETY. 269 me away from that dreary Australia — where I believe she was little better than a household drudge in a famUy of the most primitive descrip- tion (at least Clara Hammond told me as much) — and given me so- many advantages, and such an enMe to good society as she has had, and been altogether so generous and so liberal as you have been — I am sure I am astonished at the number of valuable presents she has received from you — I think I could never do enough to show my gratitude. It appears to me that it was the most felicitous thing that you should have sent for her exactly when you did, before it was too late to supplement her deficient education, and before it was necessary for her to be brought out." " Well," said Anthony, " I feared that I was too late, but that was not my fault. I sent for her the very day after I heard of her existence in Australia. But there were some gaucheriea about Amy that made me tremble for her success." " Under your care they have worn off. I think if I had not known that she had been so long in Australia, I should never have perceived anything different about her from other English girls. Knowing the circumstances, however,! do perceive a few things, and especially now the Hammonds have been so much with us, I observe a recurrence of phrases similar to theirs — colonial Yankeeisras, 270 THE author's daughter. I suppose they are. Not that Mrs. Hammond ever uses a phrase out of joint, indeed she talks distres- singly like a book, and I would take an even bet that she has been a governess somewhere. I can perceive the aroma of the school-room hanging round a woman for thirty or forty years after she has left it. Tell me if you do not think I am right in my conjecture; but by-the-by, you do not care for cultivating the acquaintance of these people." " Not particularly ; I believe they behaved very ill to my sister, and that is their only claim to her acquaintance ; but she forgives them as she would forgive anything Australian." " You cannot enter into my feelings fully, but I can assure you that there is a great deal more ftm to be got out of Thornton House, with Mr. and Mrs. Hammond and their family of three daughters and two sons, than was to be got out of the same place with the doors locked and the blinds down as they have been for two years, or in old Mr. Thornton's time, when he lived like a hermit, and quarrelled with all the neighbours who ventured to call on him." " I certainly do not grudge you any of your sources of amusement; but you ought to see Lon- don, Miss Evans," said Anthony. " Don't make me discontented," said Lucy, with a laugh outwardly, but with a feeling of BELTON SOCIETY. 271 mortification and envy at her heart. " Let me enjoy my little life here in my own way, and content myself by starting Australian topics this evening so as to set off the old gentleman and bother Mrs. Hammond, who dislikes the subject. It is not surprising that Mr. Hammond likes Aus- tralia, for nowhere else could a man with so small an amount of brains have made such a hand- some fortune so quickly. You can see he has not been accustomed to his position ; he wants the aplomb of the man who is bom to wealth. And he fancies that all his talk about stations and runs, about some antipodean government land regulations, and about the numerously signed address which was presented to him to become a member of the Upper House must be as interesting here as it might have been there. Mr. Hammond a member of their colonial House of Lords ! " said Lucy, laughing at the idea. She evidently thought that all hereditary peers were Solons by right of birtli. " What an absurd idea," said Anthony, who nevertheless thought himself quite lit for a seat in the House of Commons, or Lords either, if the ministry could only appreciate talent. He had sufficient wealth to keep up a title, and that is after all the most important consideration. " I fear it would be too much to ask you to 272 THE author's daughter. accompany us to the Hammonds' this evening, but we are all engaged to go except Bertie and Kate, and it would be dull to stay with such children as they are." " I shall go to Miss Pennithome's and spend the evening with DarUngton," said Anthony. " His lordship will be at Thornton House with us ; he wished for an invitation, and he obtained it. I fear you will find Lady Olivia and her aunt very dull company, but there are books in the house, I suppose." " I think in that case I shall accompany you ; I am no bookworm and prefer society, even thougli it may not be altogether to my taste, to the most thrilling romance in the world, and the evening cannot possibly be dull if you form one of the company. Miss Evans. I had thought that Amy was to have been at Miss Pennithome's, and as she is not I suppose I ought to countenance these people a little." It was no great sacrifice after all for Anthony to make. Mrs. Hammond gave a little start and changed colour a little when John Derrick's son entered her drawing-room and was introduced by Lady Eveline's daughter. He set down her emotion to her sense of his importance and condes- cension, and rather liked it than otherwise. He had come only that he might watch Amy's pro- BELTON SOCIETY. 273 ceedings, he said to himself, and ascertain if Lucy's hint as to her reserve was correct ; but he found that Lord Darlington took sufficient care to prevent Louis gaining any advantage, and that he, Anthony, was free to enjoy himself as he pleased. It was a musical party ; Miss Hammond had a fine soprano voice, and her younger sister a fair contralto; Louis could go through the bass; Juliet Evans had practised a little with them, and this was the first night on which they had tried their concerted pieces together. Anthony Derrick found that his good voice was in request, and that he was considered a great acquisition. Amy was surprised to see how gracious Anthony could be to people whom she had expected he would order her to cut ; but as it turned out that Amy did not really care for them, and as it was an acquaintance that was merely thrown in his way, and needed not to be kept up, he could afibrd to be civil. He was more than civil ; he sang more songs with Clara Hammond, and laughed and flirted with Lucy Evans more freely than Amy had ever seen him do with other ladies of more importance in his own circle of acquaintances. Lucy was in the highest spirits possible. " Your brother talks the most insufferable non- sense. Amy," said she, as she passed the corner of the room where her cousin was sitting' with Lord vol.. II. IS 274 THE author's daughter. Darlington. " You never told me what a rattle he was. I was prepared for something very- different." Amy looked up in her friend's face, a little puzzled by her brother's high spirits. She had grown accustomed to ask him to explain her diflSculties for her. The earl undei-stood the glance, and when safe from any listener he answered it. " Your brother considers flirtation here per- fectly safe, but I am not so sure of it. Your cousin is a dangerous sort of person for a man of Derrick's temperament. But I suppose you would not care if something did come of it." " I don't know, I am not quite sure," said Amy; " but it is impossible, I think, Anthony looks down on my relations so much." ** He could scarcely do that if they were his own," said the earl, smiling, " but, as you say, perhaps it is impossible, and Miss Evans does not sing. That is a drawback, for I am siu-e Anthony has set his heart on some one whose voice suits liis. You have been rather a disappointment to him in that way." " In many ways," said Amy. " But, as you say, Lucy's want of voice as well as of other things will help to make it impossible." ** And you cannot hope to draw your brother BELTON SOCIETY. 275 closer to you by a family alliance. She is a fine woman, however. I hope she will take care of her heart, for Derrick has many good qualities, and I think she sees them." " Does she ?" said Amy. " I don't think it is right for a man to say so much and to mean so little as people do in these flirtations when they feel so safe, as you call it. How can Lucy know his sense of the disparity of rank between him and her T . "Lucy must learn it as other people do by experience. She is clever and will pick it up in time ; but she is young yet. But seriously, the idea of your brother's marriage in the abstract (as your friends the Scotch would say) is not disagreeable to you ?" "No, not at all; I am sure I should be de- lighted if he could find some one who would make him happy and who might give him that entire sympathy that he says he never can obtain from me. Lucy seems so different from him, I wonder if she could do it, if such an improbable thing could happen as that he should fall in love with her." " I suppose after all it ia very improbable," said the earl, thoughtfully. " I. spoke hastily when I spoke of her being dangerous. I forgot how much armour your brother wears." 18—2 276 THE author's daughter. " I bad a little talking to from Anthcmy this afternoon about my reserve, because I had not written everything that happened and described every one I saw here, and I have promised to behave better in future. On the whole I think be is more satisfied with me since I came out ; I am sure I try to please him in every way. Tou see I have put on. my pearls because I tjbiought he would like to see me in them. I know Mrs. Hammond and Mrs. Smart think me overdressed, but if Anthony is pleased I must npt mind other people." "I, too, am pleased," said the earl, ''I don't mind seeing you dressed better than other people." " Mrs. Hammond recollects me when I was a very shabby little girl indeed, and I have always thought it good taste to dress plainly in her bouse. But still Anthony could not imderstand that, feeling, his ideas would lead him to the opposite extreme. As he says, we are very (|ifferent. I wonder if I had not been separated from him so long — if I had written to him at the time when I saw Mrs. Hammond — if we should not have gone on together more smoothly. At least I might have learned his character more gradually and jnade fewer mistakes. But yet Edith has lived with him always, and she, I think, has far less sympathy with him than I have." BELTON SOCIETY. 277 "Very much less, certainly," said thd ^rl. '' It may be amusing to themselves, but I inust say that it is annoying to an innocent bystander like myself to see such captious wrangling as your brother and sister indulge in." " I wonder if brothers and sisters ever can have complete confidence in each other and perfect sympathy in each other's feelings V said Amy thoughtfully. "Is it only friends and lovers and husbands and wives who can tho- roughly understand and feel with each other ?" "I think so," said Lord Darlington; "your relatives you must take as you find them, but your friends and lovers you choose for your- self." " You know you are a relative," said Amy. "The relationship is trifling," said the earl. " I prefer to be placed in the category of — ^-- friends." "That is where I do place you," said Amy seriously. "I often wonder why in public prayers and thanksgivings there is so little mention made of friends, because every one in church has friends who are dearer and more precious than most of the blessings prayed for or for which thanks are offered. Even in the most general prayers there is a sott of selfish- ness." 278 THE author's daughter. " Religion altogether is rather a selfish affidr," said the earl. " Oh ! no, it is not ; it should not be, my lord. I suppose next you will say that friendship is a selfish afiair. Why should we love our Mends more than other people, except that they are more agreeable to us ; but that is not the feeling, as you know as well as I do. We love our friends because we admire them ; because we are grateful to them ; and because we wish to serve them in some way, even though it may be only a very poor and small way. And in a higher degree it is the same with religious feeling; adoration, gratitude, and a desire to obey and to serve are not selfish feelings, though they may make you happy." "I understand you. Amy. Don't misunder- stMid me by supposing that your reUgious ideaa could deserve the cynical remark I made. But to return to friendship, which perhaps is more in my line than the other." " I meant to say when you interrupted me that after I had met you at the party at my aunt's, and Anthony had been satisfied with my appearance in the tableaux, and indeed altogether, I felt on Sunday when I went to church as if I had something special to thank God for. Some- thing had happened during the week to make me BELTON SOCIETY. 279 breathe freer and feel happier. At that bail I had pleased my brother and my aunt, and I believed I had gained a friend, so I recollected these things in church, and was rather disap- pointed that I could hear nothing said that seemed appropriate to them. I know what you are going to say, my lord, that we should not take balls and parties with us to church, but I do not think that we can actually shut out the world when we enter a place of worship, at least I know I cannot." " Oh ! Amy," cried Lucy, who was bringing up Mr. Nash from a retired comer to induce him to sing, " I expected better things of you. Do you hear my cousin say that she thinks about balls and parties at church, Mr. Nash ? Tell her how wrong it is." No one likes to be ordered to reprimand, but Lucy Evans had great power over Mr. Nash. She was leading him up to sing, which he did not do well, and which besides he was not sure was quite clerical, and now she asked him to do what was clerical and what he was able to do as well as any one,, but what he felt was rather ill-timed and perhaps ill-bred. " This is not perhaps a fitting time or place for such admonition ; but Miss Staunton may excuse me for reminding her that waadering thoughts 280 THE author's daughter. are hurtful if not fatal to devotion/' said Mr. Nash. " So I have always heard it said, but yet if we bring our cares to church to have them lightened perhaps we might also bring our enjoyments and our amusements there to have them sanctified. I was many years out of reach of any church, and perhaps lost the habit of continuous at- tention." " But do not you see the vanity of worldly amusements when you look on them in the sacred light which religious services ought to throw on them V said Mr. Nash. " I do not know that I do," said Amy. " I think we need amusement of some kind ; perhaps fashionable amusements might be improved, but I have seen so little of them yet that I have not tired of them. Recollect this has been my first season, and a short one." " It would be very premature in you to be disgusted with the world yet," said Lord Dar- lington ; " and unless you have a cloister at hand for Miss Staunton to retire to, I think, Mr. Nash, it would be well to allow her to enjoy liberty and sunshine." " It is not liberty and sunshine that I object to, but it is the bondage of fashionable hours and fashionable manners and the pursuing pleasure BELTON SOCIETY. 281 as a business instead of taking to it as a relaxa- tion," said Mr. Nash. " Well," said the earl, " Miss Staunton is re- laxing herself in the country after her arduous fatigues in the pursuit of pleasure in London, by sitting by my poor girFs sofa, and amusing her by speaking of them, and if she did take that ball to church with her and felt thankful that she had been happy herself and had given pleasure to myself among others, perhaps she was quite as much of a Christian in doing so as if she had enjoyed it at the time, repented of it at church, and kept all her engagements for the succeeding week, to be repented of on the following Sunday." " More consistent at any rate," said Mr. Nash. "But the question of amusements always has puzzled me. I do not see the need of them for myself, so perhaps I cannot judge for others as to what is harmless and what is mischie- vous." " I have heard that one of the Fathers of the Church says that we may know our amusements have been harmless and innocent if we can pray after them without feeling disturbed or unhappy," said Amy. "A good test certainly, whoever might advance it," said Mr. Nash, who, being Low Church, had 282 THE author's daughter. not much acquaintance with the Fathers, or much reverence for them. " Where in all the world did you study the Fathers T said Lucy Evans, wonderingly. " I have not studied the Fathers, but an old friend of mine met with it in the course of his' readings and pointed it out to me, and it struck me very forcibly at the time ; and I have recol- lected it lately to excuse myself for what Mr. Nash takes so much exception at." " But Mr. Nash forgets our amusement ; he promised to sing us a song, and not to preach you a sermon," said Lucy, forgetting that she had instigated the latter as well as the former. "Miss Hammond and Mr. Derrick are dying to hear you sing." Amy was left to the recollection of the time and place when Allan Lindsay had found the passage from Tertullian in one of her father's books; and also to remember how he and she had taken their griefs and their perplexities with them to church on the Sunday before she sailed. The earl thought she was pajdng polite attention to Mr. Nash's song, but her thoughts were travelling in a very different direction. Miss Evans had assured Mr. Derrick that it was the best fun possible to hear Mr. Nash sing, for he had very little voice and no ear ; but Miss BELTON SOCIETY. 283 Hammond's taste was too good to find such bad singing amusing. She joined in to keep the curate to the tune. Mr. Derrick struck in with a good second, and Mr. Nash's feeble voice was completely overpowered, and he felt sure that he had never sung so well in his life, and received Lucy's compUments on his performance with modest compLency. This kind of wit was not lost upon Anthony, he pressed the curate to sing again and praised his tast^. But he was clumsier in his compliments than Lucy, and Mr. Nash began to perceive that there was a want of sincerity in them. On the whole Anthony had spent a most agreeable evening, and had made an appointment for glee practising at the rectory on the morrow with the young Hammonds with astonishment at his own condescension. The idea which Lord Darlington had thrown out that Anthony was rather fond of Lucy occurred to Amy again when she observed how solicitous he seemed to be over her when they walked home together, and when she heard frequent laughter from the distance which they kept. She was as usual the property of Lord Darlington on the way home to the rectory. The earl had not walked so much for nearly thirty years as he did 1 • 284 THE author's daughter. now. Louis Hammond might say that he preferred to take his walks on horseback, but Lord Darlington was not young enough to make any objection on the score of fatigue. As Amy's acknowledged escort he had many privaeges and must pay something for them. CHAPTER XVIIT. PREMATURE SYMPATHY. It was evident that Lord Darlington expected tiiat Amy would be his guest when his daughter paid the visit to town which now engrossed aU her thoughts, and Anthony saw no objection to the arrangement. Amy, however, suggested that Miss Pennithome should be included in the party, not so much for propriety's sake— -which, to tell the truth, she did not consider at all — ^but be- cause she saw how miserable the poor lady looked, and because she dreaded the responsibility of taking care of the invalid even with skilful nurses, who were not so intimately acquainted with her constitution. Aunt Sophy's eyes bright- ened when she heard she was to accompany her darling to take care of her on the way to London, where they were to spend a fortnight, and then to go with her by easy stages to Darlington Oastle, where Amy was for the first time to see 286 THE author's daughter. her mother's old home, and where Anthony was to take the first shot at the Darlington pheasants. Although Anthony was annoyed and provoked at the earl for being so cautious and so dilatory in his proceedings, and not making a declaration at once, he was satisfied with an arrangement in which his sister was monopolized by her noble friend for many weeks, and which would give her the fullest opportunity of seeing his wealth and his magnificence. He had never thought Lord Darlington so amiable as he now showed himself; his conduct to his daughter was beauti* ful, his behaviour to the Evanses as Amjr's rela* tives was charming, and his whole bearing in the society of Belton had an ease and a frankness which made him a most popular representative of the aristocracy. Amy was a lucky girl to have so few draw- backs to the splendid position she was likely to occupy, and she was evidently growing very fond of the earl. Was Anthony himself growing fond of anybody ? It never occurred to him to qu^s^ tion himself on the subject of his pleasure in the society of Miss Evans, but Lord Darlington was not so attentive to his own love affairs but that he kept a close watch on those of others. He was disposed to favour Lucy's ambition. He had no liking for Anthony Derrick, and he rather re- PREMATURE SYMPATHY. 287 joiced in the idea of his making a marriage which would not improve his position to a girl who would give him no dignity, and who could not even sing. He saw Lucy's faults and weaknesses through her superficial manner, and perhaps he knew that such a companion would only strengthen and aggravate those disagreeable points in Anthony's character which made it so difficult for Amy to live comfortably with him, and he saw, too, that Lucy did not like her cousin, although she tried to behave as if she did. It did not need much managing to throw two people together who were so well suited to each other ; but the earl, by his praises of Miss Evans, by his laughter at her sallies, by the constant though secondary attentions which he paid to her, and, above aU, by his prolonging his visit to Thrush Grove to the very last day possible, kept Lucy Evans constantly and pleasantly before An- thony Derrick. . He found her always a sympa- thizing listener when he wanted to talk about himself, and a pleasant talker when he wished to hear about other people. To her he confided his position at home with his aunt, and his sister Edith — ^how prejudiced they had always been against poor Amy and all Amy's relations ; what objections Edith had made to his visit to Belton, 288 THE author's daughter. but how he had thought it right to go ; and how he had been very glad indeed that he had paid this visit ; how Edith would never believe there was anything in Lord Darlington's attentions to Amy ; and how he blinded her by coinciding with her. At other times he would describe his pro- perty. He contrasted everything which he saw in shire with the Stanmore house or gardens or conservatories or grounds or estate, very much to the disadvantage of the former ; and in this discourse Lucy was very much interested too. When he dilated on the pleasures of the visit and the shooting at Darlington Castle, Lucy gave the least little sigh, but begged him to go on. The day drew near when the distinguished guests were to leave Belton. In fact the earl had gone two days before, partly on business and partly to make some arrangements for Olivia's reception. Probably he thought he could travel more comfortably by himself than with his daugh- ter and Miss Pennithome, even though Amy was to accompany them. Lucy was declaring that she should be incon- solable when Amy went away. She never had had such a delightful visitor as her charming little cousin, and the rectory would be dismal when she had left it. Anthony was looking dull and out of spirits, in spite of the prospect of the PREMATURE SYMPATHY. 289 Darlington preserves, and Amy fancied that she knew the cause of his depression. He had taken a long moonlight walk with Lucy on the pre- ceding evening, and had certainly looked very much as if he liked her. Amy had often been found fault with because she never gave her sym- pathy till she was directly asked for it, and now she wondered if she might venture to show him that she had some penetration as well as sisterly affection. Anthony was decidedly out of humour, and seemed scarcely to know why he was so. Perhaps it was because Louis Hammond had come to the rectory on the preceding evening ; and although he had not thought it worth giving up the plea- sant walk in the moonlight to watch his pro- ceedings, still he recollected that the young man had seemed more hopeful now that his formid- able rival was out of the way, and that Amy had been very civil to him. At any rate, it was sufficient cause of offence to be mentioned to his sister. " My dear Anthony, you may set your mind at rest on that subject. I do not care for him in that way, and I am sure I never can." "Why then do you receive him so graci- ously T " I am sure I did not receive him with more VOL. II. 19 290 THE author's daughter. than common politeness, and I am going away to-morrow." " Yes, I suppose we are both going," said An- thony, with something like a sigh. " It has been a pleasant visit on the whole, has it not, Anthony V " Like all pleasant things, it comes to an end. I had no idea of staying here so long, however. Edith is amazed at it," and Anthony subsided into silence. " You have something else on your mind, dear Anthony," said Amy, soothingly. " Will you let me guess it ?" " Oh ! yes, do," said Anthony eagerly. He hoped she would say something with regard to her own position with Lord Darlington. " You are sorry to leave Belton Rectory your- self, Anthony." " Why, no, not particularly, I think," said An- thony, carelessly. " I think you are. I fancy you are fond of Lucy, and I am sure I hope — I wish you may be happy." Now Anthony was not conscious of his own liking yet. He felt pleased in Lucy's society, and quite satisfied that he had made a favourable impression on her heart, and that she was very sorry that he was going away ; but he had never PREMATURE SYMPATHY. 291 dreamed of being hooked in an obscure parsonage by a girl, who, however clever and handsome, had neither birth nor money to recommend lier, and who, besides, was a connexion of his own by his mother's second marriage, of which he had always been so thoroughly ashamed; Yet he felt when Amy mentioned it that he would miss Lucy's brilliancy and her ready sympathy, and he was displeased at her for finding out what he had not confessed to himself. Her sympathy was as much too prompt in this instance as it had been too tardy heretofore. " I am sure," said he, impatiently, " that I have neither said nor done anything to make you think I care two straws about Miss Evans — a little passing attention such as every young man pays to any lively girl with whom he comes in contact in society. It would be a great catch for her and her family no doubt, but I am not to be come over so easily, and I think Miss Evans lierself has too much good sense to allow such a preposterous idea to enter her head. So you thouglit I was dismal because I was parting from her ? If so, I have only to say two words, and I need never part from her at all. But girls are all alike ; they fancy everything hangs upon them. Suppose a man is a little dull, it may be because he is not well, or because he has lost money at play, or 19—2 292 THE author's daughter. because he is wearing tight boots, or something of that sort ; you set it down at once to some love disappointment or anxiety. What could have put such a notion into your head, Amy, you little goose T " I am very sorry I have made such a mistake, but I fancied you really liked her, and Lord Dar- lington thought the same thing. Indeed it was he who first suggested the idea." '' Lord Darlington might have had more pene- tration. Did he seem to approve of it when he observed the — ^fancied — attachment?' said An- thony, laughing. " Why, Anthony, it was no business of his to approve of or disapprove of. I believe he only thought of it as it would afiect me." " Of course my happiness is a very secondary consideration. He seemed to admire her a good deal himself. She is clever, you know, and he likes clever people ; so do I, but yet I don't mean to marry a clever wife ; besides, I don't mean to marry for years to come, I ought to see you and Edith settled first." " Well, to confess the truth, I think I am very glad to hear there is nothing in it, though of course if you had loved her I should have been pleased and proud that you had chosen my dear papa's niece ; but still on the whole I seem to PREMATURE SYMPATHY. 293 breathe more freely now. I think I rather pre- fer Juliet to Lucy. Lucy is rather too satirical, and I think she is really colder at heart." " Cold !" said Anthony ; " I do not think so ; she certainly never has been cold to me, and as for satire it is only good-natured badinage, that playful style of wit that no one can take offence at. I suppose, as you were so penetrating as to the state of my heart, you also fancied that Miss Evans was in despair at parting with me." " And I suppose I am as far in the wrong in the one supposition as in tlie other," said Amy. " I suppose so," said Anthony, smiling with some complacency. " She, however, can express all the regret she feels at parting with yoa. A sister is a convenient safety-valve for the feelings on certain occasions." " Oil ! Anthony, don't speak so ; if you think it true it is cruel ; if you don't think it true it is wrong. I am sorry — very sorry — I spoke on the subject at all." "Well next time you had better keep your sympathy with my affaires de coeur until you are asked for it, and you will make no mistake. What are you off in such a hurry for ? Oh ! the post-bag. Edith does not write to-day; but perhaps you expect a note from Darlington." Anthony followed his sister to the hall. Thoro 294 THE author's daughter. was a note for her from the earl, and a letter with the Australian post-mark besides. " I wish these people would give up writing to you," said he, impetuously. " I assure you I have no sympathy with antipodean correspon- dence. Well, what does the earl say V " Nothing particular, only about the new couch we planned for Ohvia, and the travelling carnage in which she can keep her horizontal position, and both of which he says are most successful things." " Nothing about me," said Anthony, who con- sidered that if this idea of his attachment to Miss Evans had entered Lord Darlington's head it must take a very prominent place in his thoughts. " There is a message to you, but as it proceeds upon a mistake I think I had better not give it to you." " I ought to have it whether it is right or wrong ; it belongs to me." " Only at my discretion, I think," said Amy. " But I suppose you will insist on being told, so there is his lordship's letter; read it for your- self." Anthony skipped the first part of the letter, which he only saw contained no love passages, and passed on to the conclusion : — PREMATURE SYMPATHY. 295 " Condole with yoiir brother for me on this sad parting from Belton Rectory and one of its inmates. It is a pity that Miss Evans could not have a glimpse of London. It would be well if Mr. Derrick could see how she shines in the great metropolis before he commits himself; I think that she would succeed. I used to say that she was very like the Marchioness of , and when I saw her ladyship in tlie Park to-day the likeness struck me more forcibly. I see the Australian mail is in ; I hope you have'^pleasant news from your friends. " Yours very faithfully, " Darlington.*' Anthony read the note rather grimly. It was really taking a great liberty that Amy should have discussed the state of his heart with the earl ; but at the same time his lordship's think- ing a marriage with Lucy Evans possible and even feasible had its effect. It was evident that Amy confided a great deal more to Lord Dar- lington about her Australian correspondence than to Anthony — he forgot that he never spoke about them so pleasantly. "You had better- show the other letter to me too," said he. " Oh ! no," said Amy ; " I caimot do that ; I 296 THE author's daughteb. am very sure you would not care to see it. Yon know how you always object to be bored with anything from the antipodes." "Except Miss Hammond's voice, and that I assure you Mr. Derrick does admire," said Lucy, wlio entered the room with a letter in her hand. " I sliould not be surprised if she makes a con- quest of him on the strength of it. I have known several men who married a voice, and found it answer tolerably well. Should you not be [^de- lighted if your brother gives you an Austra- lian sister-in-law ? I saw you did not frown on poor Mr. Louis yesterday. Let us make a family alliance with the house of Hammond for both of you. How delighted the old lady ought to be when she sees the auspicious event duly chro- nicled in the country papers. It is droll, how- ever, to see how unwilling old ladies are to part with their sons. She used to look daggers at you when Louis was doing the agreeable ; whereas when she saw her daughter Clara sing- ing and flirting with Mr. Derrick she seemed all complacency. What a terribly humbling spec- tacle it is, just as if we girls were only things that must be got rid of, as if our brothers were in danger of being taken in. Only fancy mamma in terror when Bertie and George are old enough to pay attention to young ladies ; I can scarcely PREBIATURE SYMPATHY. 297 imagine it, but I suppose it will come to that in time. But, Amy, I have got such good news. Fanny Hamilton, my particular friend, writes to ask me to pay her a visit at Hampstead, and, though I am rather late in the season, I am glad to see London at any time, and mamma will be very pleased that I have the opportunity. I am to join them in an excursion to the lakes next month. It is so delightful." " Then we shall see you in town. Miss Evans," said Anthony. Lucy looked beaming at Mr. Derrick's desire to keep up her acquaintance. Amy was sorry for her, as Anthony had been so positive that he did not care two straws about Lucy Evans. It would have been so much better for him to have gone right away, and then Lucy's prepossession would have died out. She did not say cordially how glad she would be to see her cousin in London, but retired to her own room with Allan's letter. It was the most interesting, but at the same time the most puzzling one she had ever received from him. It was in answer to one written just before she made her entrance into fashionable society, and all the fears she had expressed and the difficulties which she had owned to had been interpreted by Allan in the way most favourable 298 THE author's daughter. to his hopes. She had acknowledged her position with Edith, and divulged more of Anthony's character in that letter than she had previously done. Allan had drawn the inference that she was not happy with them, and that she missed him. EUs letter was almost confident, and the confidence alarmed her. Yet it was true that she had seen no one whom she liked better ; it was the case that she often missed him. Under these circumstances was not she really engaged to him ? But then Anthony's anger would She dreadful, and besides the time had not expired which had been agreed on. With whom could she consult ? Anthony she dared not ask, for he would be so indignant at poor Allan's presumption that he would write him an insulting letter, and absolutely prohibit a correspondence he had always disliked. Jessie Copeland would be as strong on the other side. She had not been on such easy terms with her aunt or cousins as to confide her difficulties to'' them, and besides they would hold her conditional engage- ment as an absurd thing, and uphold Anthony's views without Anthony's authority. Miss Pen- nithome was a good little woman, but without experience and without any force of character. The only person with whom she could take counsel was Lord Darlington, who always was so PREMATURE SYMPATHY. 299 good and kind, and who had patience with all her Australian reminiscences, and who was clever enougli and experienced enough to give her dis- interested advice. She knew she could open out her perplexities more easily to him than to any one else, and she never had any difficulty in making an opj^ortunity of speaking to him. It was a great comfort to feel that slie had such a friend. So as a beginning to her confidence, in her answer to liis note which it was necessary for her to write, she told Lord Darlington that her friends in Australia were all well, but that she would like to talk over her news with him. Perhaps he might be able to give her a little advice. END OF VOL. II. BILMMa, PKINTKB, UUILDFURD. r I 1 I I M • 5 r I /^.