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Full text of "The fat of the land : a novel"

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v. I 



THE FAT OF THE LAND 



THE FAT OF THE LAND 



A NOVEL 



BY 



M A R Y LESTER 

(MARIA. SOLTERA) 

AUTHOR OF 'A LADY'S RIDE ACROSS SPANISH HONDURAS' 



IN THREE VOLUMES 
VOL. I. 



WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS 
EDINBURGH AND LONDON 
MDCCCLXXXVIII 



All Rights reserved 



V, 1 



CONTENTS OF THE FIRST VOLUME. 



IS 






CHAP. 
I. 

II. 

III. 

IV. 

V. 

VI. 

VII. 

VIII. 

IX. 

X. 

XI. 



XII. 
XIII. 

1 



hunter's lodge, ..... 

HYGIEIA, ...... 

SOME RETROSPECTION, .... 

MISS FANSHAWE, ..... 

THE WORKING OF THE EAST WIND. . 

THE BANKS OF THE YAR, 

SOME MEMBERS OF THE LA TOUCHE FAMILY, 

MR GLASCOTT, ..... 

COLONEL LEPPELL IN LONDON, 

IN RE MARMADUKE, .... 

COLONEL LEPPELL AT PARIS, . 
STEPHEN LA TOUCHE AT PINNACLES, 
JONATHAN SIKES, ..... 



1 

23 

46 

63 

86 

110 

134 

159 

181 

202 

231 

253 

274 









THE FAT OF THE LAND. 



CHAPTER I. 



HUNTER S LODGE. 



"When sorrows come, they come not single spies, 
But in battalions." 

— Shakespeare. 



A still night in the end of March, wherein the crisp 
air was tempered by the faint perfume which a recent 
rainfall had drawn forth from the early spring blossoms 
and the newly upturned earth. This shower had not 
only freshened the budding trees, but it had effect- 
ually laid low the dust, which for weeks past had 
powdered alike every hedgerow and tussock in the 
village of Blythe, and taken away for the nonce the 
palm for bright delicate spring tints and emerald 
green turf, which had been for years past conceded 
to this charming nook of East Yarneshire. 

The night was wearing on, and it was strange at 
this season to see the mistress of Hunter's Lodge pace 

VOL. I. A 



2 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

up and down the gravel walk in front of the house, 
and occasionally pass through the broad barred gate 
which opened upon the road, and look about her 
anxiously in the direction of the county -town of 
Yarne, from whence, it was evident, she was in ex- 
pectation for somebody who ought to come. Usually 
this lady was of a quiet imperturbable nature, and 
seldom demonstrative for either joy or sorrow. Her 
experience of life hitherto had been such, that to take 
the rough with the smooth was (if not always the 
wiser), for her, the more expedient plan. 

When much aggravated or disturbed, Mrs Leppell — 
ox-eyed as Juno — would open her splendid orbs to 
their fullest extent, and fix them with a scintillating 
light, which, together with the working of her exqui- 
sitely curved nostrils, served not only to make her look 
handsomer than she really was, but also to convince 
the beholder that fire did exist beneath, not the 
ice, but the india-rubber, so to speak, of her com- 
position. 

A hesitation of speech and a certain timidity, which 
were inseparable to her, had ever restrained this lady 
from overstepping the bounds of conventionalism, and 
a natural indolence of disposition sometimes did duty 
for long-suffering and forbearance. 

A more sensitive woman in Mrs Leppell's position 
would have been not only miserable herself, but most 
probably would at the same time have been the cause 
of much suffering to others ; and a more spirited 
woman would have murdered Colonel Leppell (her 



HUNTERS LODGE. 3 

husband), or have been herself speedily and violently 
extinguished by that irascible gentleman. 

Here, then, was the right woman in the right place : 
and on this night the March wind had tempered itself 
undeniably to this shorn lamb ; for she was wellnigh 
overwhelmed with trouble, and her only alleviation 
under its burden was to go forth into the silent garden, 
and there in the soothing air commune with her 
troubled spirit, and think out what was best to be 
done, how best to break the news to her husband 
when he should come — and such news ! 

She pulled her warm knitted shawl closely round 
her, and then turned and looked up at the windows 
of the Lodge. Her nursery children had long been 
asleep ; only here and there did a light now shine out 
into the darkness. At one particular casement Mrs 
Leppell looked intensely. 

"Mary ought to be undressed by this time," she 
said to herself. " I sent her to her room early : her 
father may want to get speech of her at once, but he 
will never have the child called out of her bed at this 
time of night. Yet, he is so inconsiderate, so regard- 
less of others " 

The sudden extinction of the candle in that partic- 
ular room put an end to Mrs Leppell's ruminations, 
and a feeling of satisfaction brightened her face. 
" Mary is safe in bed — that's a comfort," she whispered. 
And then she turned her eyes in the direction of a 
bow-windowed apartment, on the ground-floor, at the 
extreme end of the building, — this was her mother's, 



4 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

Lady Asher's, room, — and from thence, between the 
openings of the window-curtains, Mrs Leppell descried 
the glimmer of a lamp, and wondered why the old 
lady had not retired to rest. 

Another glance, and she interpreted matters aright. 
"That is Prothero's lamp: Prothero has seen that 
something is amiss, although she has made no remark. 
It is as well that she should be up, though I do not 
know why I should think so ; but still, it is as well. 
Yes ; it is possible that she may be wanted, so I won't 
interfere with her now." 

Prothero was Lady Asher's maid. Her mistress 
and this attendant lived at Hunter's Lodge as part of 
its regular household, bearing much for Mrs Leppell's 
sake, and enduring much for the dear memory's sake 
of honest Gilbert Asher, whose only daughter Adelaide 
was the wife of the Honourable Colonel Ralph Leppell. 

Satisfying herself that Prothero was at hand, quietly 
and unobtrusively on the watch maybe (for there had 
been occasions whereon the powerful aid and discreet 
bearing of that handmaiden had been of infinite ser- 
vice to the wife when Colonel Leppell returned "lively " 
from a convivial dinner-party or a hunt-supper at 
the town of Yarne, or from some place in the county), 
Mrs Leppell betook herself to the garden gate. 

She had scarcely leaned over it ten minutes when 
she found herself counting the strokes of the great 
clock of Yarne Cathedral, as it tolled out the eleventh 
hour of the night. The air was so still that the sound 
seemed to carry itself almost in a direct line towards 



HUNTERS LODGE. 5 

Blythe ; but the nerves of the watcher were strung to 
their utmost tension, and as every sense was in con- 
sequence painfully on the alert, the warning of the 
clock fell with unwonted distinctness on her ear. 

" Eleven o'clock ! " she exclaimed aloud as the chime 
ceased ; " he cannot be long now." 

Then she fell to wondering if her husband had 
stayed in Yarne to dine at the militia mess, or if he 
had been to his office in Eed Lion Square, whereat he 
transacted his business as staff-officer of pensioners, 
and secured his letters, together with a visiting-card, 
which she knew awaited him there ; or had he trav- 
elled straight from London, where he had been for ten 
days, and, finding it late, had just got his horse at the 
hotel and ridden home ? She hoped he had taken the 
latter course, for it was her desire to speak with him, 
before stern accurate correspondence should acquaint 
him that disgrace, and possibly utter ruin, had befallen 
his name. 

" Sometimes the Colonel takes it into his head to 
walk home from Yarne by the short cut upon the 
river bank," thought she ; " but he is not likely to do 
this, I should think, for the path by the Yar is not 
quite safe even in daylight. No, no ; he will never do 
so foolish a thing as that." 

A clang of horse-hoofs advancing at a rapid trot 
caused Mrs Leppell to pass out into the road and 
stand there. A horseman soon appeared in sight. As 
he approached near enough to be recognised, she 
called out — 



6 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

" Ealph ! — Colonel Leppell, is that you ? " 

" Yes. What do you want ? " answered a loud voice. 
" Why, Adelaide ! what in the name of fortune brings 
you out here ? " 

"Never mind now; I am so glad you have come 
home," she answered. " Don't stop at the stable gates ; 
come forward here, where I stand." 

Colonel Leppell dismounted in the road, and draw- 
ing the bridle through his arm, walked towards his 
wife. "Good gracious, Adelaide!" he said, in an 
alarmed tone, " are the grooms all gone ? you can't 
take the horse. Why am I not to halt at the stable 
gate ? and why the deuce are you waiting in the road 
at this time of night ? " 

" I want to see you, to speak to you before any one 
else does," she replied. " I was afraid you would go 
to your den at the stables, and lie down on the sofa 
there, and fall fast asleep as you so often do. Come 
into the house at once ; Ben is sitting up by the 
kitchen fire waiting to take the horse. I have news 
for you, Ealph, and we must be alone when I tell it." 

She had satisfied herself, by his manner, that her 
husband had not secured the letters which were await- 
ing him at his office : her conjecture was correct, — he 
had travelled from London, left his portmanteau at 
the station, and had ridden straight home. 

Again she spoke. " Knock at the shutter of the 
kitchen window, and when Ben comes out, follow me 
to the hall door, where I will wait. Bring the horse 
through the front gate ; Ben is expecting you." 



hunter's lodge. 7 

She spoke with a tone of decision so unusual to her, 
that the Colonel looked at her in some perplexity and 
wondered what he should do. It was so new to him to 
be ordered by her, to find plans for his guidance so 
readily arranged, that surprise chained his tongue ; 
so they passed through the garden gate in silence. He, 
doing as he had been directed, made for the kitchen 
window — his wife, meanwhile, wending her way 
towards the steps of the hall door. 

Her face was very pale, but she was quite calm as she 
found herself confronted with the disagreeable, pain- 
ful task before her. There was no evading or putting 
off this duty : her husband had arrived, and now she 
had to tell him strange things of Marmaduke, their 
eldest and their favourite son. 

A son much treasured, for a fell fever had carried 
off two boys who were born to them in the first years 
of their married life, and so " Duke," as he was called, 
was precious in his parents' sight. 

" Come in, and please bolt the door," Mrs Leppell 
said, as the Colonel joined her. " There is supper laid 
for you in the morning-room, and I've had a good fire ; 
you must be both hungry and tired, and it is very 
chilly now." 

" I know what you have to tell me," said the Colonel, 
savagely, as they entered the little room ; " there's no 
use in trying to awe me with these solemn airs of 
preparation : I see through it all. That young devil 
Dick has been riding the bay mare contrary to my 
express orders, and has let her go down, — that's all 



8 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

about it. I'll thrash the life out of him, the young 
scoundrel ! " 

" You are wrong," his wife answered. " Do not in- 
dulge in your habit of jumping at conclusions : this is 
no question of Dick ; now don't bluster, — it is a much 
more serious matter, for it is a question of Duke." 

" Duke ! " cried the father, now thoroughly alarmed, 
" what of him ? don't look like that. I know : he has 
ridden the Barham steeplechase and has been — no, 
no, the boy is too good a rider — say it out, Adelaide ; 
the lad — Duke is — is killed." 

" No, no, Ealph ; listen patiently. Duke is unharmed 
and well as far as bodily health is concerned, but he is 
in hiding: an officer of the Court of Chancery was 
here yesterday making inquiries about him. Oh, I 
was so thankful to be able to say with truth that the 
lad has not been here for months past." 

" Chancery ! what has Duke to do with Chancery ? 
He has not stolen any of their money, has he ? what 
do you mean ? " 

" He has not stolen any Chancery money," Mrs Lep- 
pell replied, " but he has carried off a ward of that 
court. In plain English, he ran away last week with 
an heiress from a boarding-school at Wisgate, who is 
a ward of Chancery. This offence is actionable, and 
renders him liable to imprisonment." 

" Duke is a minor," interposed Colonel Leppell, " and 
very likely does not know that he has committed any 
offence against the law." 

" So I said to the officer, but it appears that ignor- 



HUNTERS LODGE. 9 

ance of the law is not admitted as any excuse for the 
infringement of it. Duke is turned twenty, and ought 
to know what he is about. Just look at the amount 
of money which has been spent on his education ! " 

" Who is the girl ? " inquired the Colonel briskly. 

" A Miss Lorton, an orphan : her father made a 
large fortune as a manufacturer of tin-ware baths, at 
a suburb near Dublin, I believe. She was placed, at 
his death, under the care of two ladies, distant rela- 
tives, who keep a first-class school at Wisgate, not far 
from Dublin. How Duke first came to make her 
acquaintance is not known." 

"At any rate, Miss Lorton was not carried off by 
force," replied the Colonel exultingly ; " of course not. 
The girl was, no doubt, a consenting • party, there can 
be no doubt of it : a handsome young fellow like 
Duke is not to be sneezed at, and his connection is 
a great one for mere tradespeople. Did they get 
married ? " 

" The officer was not sure of this ; but he seemed to 
entertain the idea that some ceremony might have 
been gone through at a registrar office. However, 
they were pursued and overtaken at Dieppe, and the 
girl was returned to Wisgate, there to await the Chan- 
cellor's pleasure. Duke managed to escape, and the 
authorities naturally assumed that he was hiding in 
this county." 
" Is that all ? " 

" Unfortunately no : Duke is charged with embezz- 
ling money under false pretences by a firm in Liver- 



10 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

pool. Writs are out against him ; the Sheriffs officer 
was here yesterday morning, and I had to hear and 
bear it all," the poor mother said. "The man was 
very good : he had inquired for you at Yarne, and 
finding that you were in London, came straight here 
for your address. He said that he would keep the 
matter quiet, and intimated that it was possible that 
some arrangement might be made ; in fact, he seemed 
to say that something might be done out of respect to 
my family, and mentioned that the merchant who had 
suffered this fraud knew my late father, and held him 
in much esteem. It was only at the last moment that 
it was discovered by the head partner of the firm that 
Duke was the grandson of Gilbert Asher, — too late, 
however, to stop the issue of the writ." 

" Out of respect to your family, madam ! " thundered 
Colonel Leppell, his face crimson with indignation ; 
" this is the first time I have heard that you have any 
family to boast of — a set of cotton bags. I should 
think the family of Lord Hieover would be nearer the 
mark. Duke being the grandson of Viscount Hieover, 
and the eldest son of the Honourable Colonel Leppell, 
should carry weight, I rather think, eh ? " 

" In this case not, rather to the contrary," Mrs 
Leppell answered, without the least shade of annoy- 
ance at the contemptuous mention made by her hus- 
band with regard to her own antecedents. " The 
respect is for good name, and the memory of an up- 
right man. Knowing that my mother has sacrificed 
more than half her income to assist you, I wonder at 



hunter's lodge. 11 

your speaking as you do. Let that pass : you have 
mentioned Lord Hieover ; an application has already 
been made to him from the Court of Chancery to 
know if he can supply any information regarding 
Duke." 

" Well, what did he say ? " 

" His lordship's answer, it appears, was curt enough. 
He knew nothing of the young scamp, nor did he 
want to know anything, and, moreover, he was resolved 
never to know anything about him. Let him dare to 
set his foot in Hieover Grange, the Viscount knew how 
to make that residence too hot to hold Mr Leppell. 
Your father, in fact, entirely disclaimed and disowned 
him." 

The Colonel looked rather aghast at this news. 
" What is to be done ? " he inquired at length. " / 
can't assist him. I knew he was dipped, but I cannot 
think that my father would throw him over in that 
fashion. For the sake of keeping the thing quiet — for 
this covers the whole family with shame — his lordship 
must come forward. I'll go over and see him to-mor- 
row. It's that sneaking hound Alex, who is in the 
way : by Jove ! though, I'm not the man to allow my 
brother to oust my son. Not likely ! " 

" Your brother is from home, at Wurstede ; he had 
nothing to do with this : you are always inclined to 
judge Alex, harshly," Mrs Leppell made reply. 

" Well, then, if it were not for Duke, I would cut 
the Viscount dead, though he is my own father. What 
business had he to insist upon Duke joining the 



12 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

Koyal Goldspinners, if he did not mean to help him 
at a pinch ? " 

"You know, Ealph, when your father paid all 
Duke's expenses, only two years ago, and presented 
him with a handsome sum over and above that, he told 
us all to understand clearly that he would do nothing 
more. I don't suppose that Lord Hieover will even now 
withdraw the annual allowance he makes to Duke." 

" I don't know," replied Colonel Leppell ; " it would 
be just like him if he did : he will be only too glad of 
an excuse. The idea of his disowning Duke ! it's dis- 
gusting — bad form." 

" You must remember, though it is sad to say it, 
Duke is in disgrace, charged with embezzling money ; 
so, if that comes to your father's ears, the chances are 
that Lord Hieover will disclaim the whole of us. As 
yet, your father is cognisant of the elopement busi- 
ness only ; and he was naturally very much annoyed 
at an officer of the Court of Chancery going to 
Hieover to seek Duke. It did transpire there that 
our son was deeply in debt, but there was no mention 
made, of course, of the more serious charge ; that was 
the business of the Sheriff's officer." 

" Haw ! the writ is the awkward part, and the 
accusation of fraudulency : it is dreadful to think of. 
Oh, how could he ? how could Duke act in such a 
manner ? he has never thought of me ; what could have 
bewitched the lad ? But did you not say that this 
wretched business might be arranged ? I cannot see 
how." 



hunter's lodge. 13 

She was silent for a moment : her magnificent 
eyes dilated, but not in anger ; the working and 
twitching of the lines about her mouth evinced 
nervousness not unmixed with dread. The slight 
hesitation in her speech was increased to a painful 
extent as these words dropped from her pale lips — 

" There — there is one person in the — the world who 
is able and — and quite will — willing to save our 
honour, Balph. Don't be violent — don't, do not be 
angry. I could not help it, Ealph." 

" You are hard hit, Adelaide," said her husband 
more kindly, — " very hard hit, and I don't wonder. 
Here, take a glass of wine ; " and the Colonel as he 
spoke poured out some sherry and carried it round to 
where Mrs Leppell sat, and placed the glass in her hand. 

He heard her teeth rattle against the edge of the 
glass as she swallowed the wine, and marked her 
tremble with a cold shiver as she drew her shawl 
close around her. As she did not speak, Colonel 
Leppell thought to assist her with a leading question. 

" Who is going to help us, did you say ? not your 
mother, — not Lady Asher, surely ? " 

" No, no ; she has done enough," replied Mrs Leppell, 
finding voice ; " she cannot, even if she would. You 
have had all till her death, and you are not so wicked 
as to wish for that." 

" Xo ; let the old woman live as long as she likes," 
returned the Colonel, patronisingly ; " she has often 
helped me, and I don't want to deny it. But who is 
going to come forward now ? " 



14 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

"One who owes you neither honour nor justice, not 
common consideration even. Many years have passed 
away since we both agreed never to name, never to 
allude to him : time works strange marvels ! Don't — 
don't be violent; I must name him now, — Everard 
Glascott." 

" Glascott ! " gasped the Colonel, sinking back on his 
chair as if he had been shot. 

" Yes," she answered resolutely, seeing that for the 
moment she had some advantage ; " Everard Glascott, 
noble heart, overlooking all, forgiving all, has come 
forward, and for my father's sake, — yes, and I dare 
to say it, for my sake also, — he will save the honour 
of our son." 

These words seemed to inspire her with courage, for 
now Mrs Leppell looked her husband steadily in the 
face, and her speech no longer hesitated ; she was now 
calm and resolute. 

"Has he written to you?" inquired the Colonel, 
rising to his feet and drawing a deep breath. " What 
has he to do with all this ? " 

" He has written to you, and he has seen me this 
day in this room. I wonder I did not drop down and 
die for shame. He will save Duke, save exposure, 
arrange all ; but, Ealph, there is a price to be paid for 
all this, and you must consent to pay it. Wait, — I am 
breathless, — that price is — is Mary." 

Mrs Leppell uttered the last word with a great 
effort, and then remained like one who expects a 
raging storm to break forth. 



HUNTERS LODGE. 15 

* Never ! " — and here Colonel Leppell swore an awful 
oath, — "never ! What ! give Mary to him — my beautiful 
girl — my heavenly Moll ! He, Mr Glascott, forgets that 
he is ten years older than you and I ; he is fifty-eight 
years of age : it's wicked, it's monstrous. Give her to 
him ! does he think that because he was disappointed of 
the mother, he is to be repaid with the daughter ? " 

" Stop ! be quiet and don't run on so," cried Mrs 
Leppell, putting up her hand with a deprecatory ges- 
ture. " It is not as you think ; our daughter is not to 
be sold to Mr Glascott — nothing of the kind. His 
young cousin, Francis Clavering, met Mary at the 
Chichesters last Christmas, and became desperately 
enamoured of her ; since that they have met here and 
there in- the county." 

" What brought him into Yarneshire ? " 

"Mr Clavering is making some researches in the 
neighbourhood for the Geological Society, and so had 
brought several letters of introduction to various 
people in the town and county," Mrs Leppell replied. 

" Has he made any proposals ? does Moll allow his 
attention ? " 

" No proposals have been made by Mr Clavering ; 
and it is not likely that a girl would speak of a man's 
attentions until she is sure that he means something 
more than mere acquaintance. The truth is, that Mr 
Clavering, knowing of Mr Glascott's strong objection 
to you and to your connection, has been cautious in 
making advances till he could induce his guardian to 
give some kind of countenance to his suit. After 



16 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

seeing Mary, it appears young Clavering went to 
Paris, and vainly, in spite of entreaty and persua- 
sion, sought to soften Mr Glascott. All he could do 
then was to promise to make no proposals until Mr 
Glascott should see Mary himself, without her know- 
ing it." 

" Has he done so ? " asked the Colonel, with a 
lowering aspect. 

" Yes ; there was a ball at Frodsham, — you took 
Mary yourself, you'll remember. Mr Glascott sat in 
the gallery which was erected for the spectators ; he 
saw the child, and speedily went his way. Like all 
the world, he was charmed with her beauty and 
her grace ; but he still could not make up his mind 
to consent to Mr Clavering seeking an alliance with 
her, his hatred towards the Hieover race was so 
strong." 

" Clavering, Clavering, — it strikes me I have met 
the man," said Colonel Leppell suddenly. "Yes, he 
dined at Hieover Grange just after the New Year. 
He is one of the literati, or illuminati, or gnostics, or 
something. He goes lecturing about the country, and 
somebody said he was going to be made a professor of 
— I forget what. He does not hunt, though ; I wonder 
how he got introduced at Hieover." 

" I don't know, but his society is sought everywhere. 
He is one of the brilliant rising men of the day. He 
went to Hieover as a member of the Geological 
Society possibly." 

" Has he any money ? that's the point." 



hunter's lodge. 17 

" I believe but little of his own at present. He is, 
however, Mr Glascott's heir, and the only son of a 
first cousin. Xow, listen : for love of this young man 
(for Mr Glascott regards him as his son), Everard will 
not only forego his enmity against you, but he will 
immediately have the writs withdrawn which are out 
from the Liverpool Bank against Duke " 

" Can he do this ? is this in his power ? " interrupted 
Colonel Leppell. 

" It is in his power, seeing that Mr Glascott is a 
sleeping partner in the firm, and has the largest in- 
terest in it." 

"Curious, by Jove!" exclaimed the Colonel ; "but 
what brought Mr Glascott out here ? " 

" The fact of your being absent from Yarne. He 
called at your office yesterday, and, to save time, find- 
ing that you were in London, he came here in a close 
carriage, and asked to see me. His revenge has been 
noble." 

" Yes," answered the Colonel slowly ; " but his aid 
is a bitter pill for me to swallow. Oh, Duke, what 
have you done ? to have to bend, through you, to the 
man I hate, and who must hate me ! " 

" The injured are ever the first to forgive," returned 
Mrs Leppell. " Everard's life since the day we parted 
has been devoted to others. Self-sacrifice is a great 
softener. This Francis Clavering, and his sister, 
Willina, have been for years the objects of his love 
and solicitude ; he tells me that a parent's love could 
not be stronger than is his for these young people." 

VOL. I. B 



18 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

" Are there any more of these Claverings ? " 

" No ; these two are the eldest and the youngest of 
a large family. Miss Clavering is nearly eighteen ; 
the brother is twenty-four." 

"The man I met looks older than that. I don't 
like the whole thing. Mary must have given him 
some encouragement ; it cannot be otherwise, or why 
should Mr Clavering think it necessary to entreat 
Mr Glascott to overcome his scruples, and consent to 
his proposing for Mary as a favour. A girl, too, who 
might command a coronet : it is absurd." 

" People view things in a different light," Mrs Lep- 
pell said. " You know, you have given out that no 
one without money is to come near your daughters : 
recollect, too, you withdrew your consent, after giving 
it in writing, to Henrietta's engagement to Captain 
Lasseter ; the consequence was, that they married 
without leave. You may not think it, but these 
things tell very seriously. No wonder that Mr Clav- 
ering was anxious to obtain his cousin's consent ; 
without that, there would be no money wherewith to 
dower your daughter." 

" As the matter stands, is Glascott prepared to pay 
down a proper sum in the event of Clavering being 
accepted ? " 

" He told me," answered Mrs Leppell, " that if 
Mary becomes the wife of Mr Clavering, by her own 
consent, given in writing, he will make over his small 
estate in Lancashire immediately, and settle an ade- 
quate sum on his cousin, putting all out of his own 



hunter's lodge. 19 

power to retract or disannul. It seems Mr Claver- 
ing is in a fair way to make a good income soon by 
his own talents ; he is a man who loves hard work, 
and he has had a brilliant education." 

" It is a handsome offer certainly," said the Colonel 
after a pause ; " but it goes against the grain, I tell 
you — confoundedly against the grain. If it were not 
for Duke " 

" Mr Glascott proposes to act with more than or- 
dinary delicacy in the matter/' interrupted Mrs Lep- 
pell ; " for, being convinced that you would refuse 
anything in the shape of a settlement coming from 
him, he intends to convey the estate of Tring absol- 
utely to his cousin ; the money present is, I think, to 
take the form of an allowance. The payment of 
Duke's liabilities will be made in memory of the 
generosity of my father, who, as Mr Glascott remind- 
ed me, was the person through whose influence he was 
placed in the position which has led to his making 
the ample fortune which he now enjoys." 

" And he does all this for gratitude, and for nothing- 
more ? " said the Colonel suspiciously. 

" He does," the wife answered steadily. " Disap- 
pointed of his own heart's desire, Everard Glascott 
will not stand in the way of another man's love, nor 
cast a blight upon the prospects of a younger man's 
life. Firm in this, and strong in good purpose, he 
sought you out ; strong also in his respect for me," — 
and here the colour mounted in Mrs Leppell's face, — 
" with reverence for my position as a wife and mother > 



20 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

he came under this roof to-day. He greeted me as 
a grey-haired old man, ten years my senior — gener- 
ously using the age with which you were wont to 
taunt him as the halo by virtue of which he could 
enter our home and seek speech of me. He came, 
moreover, to save our son, and to make reconciliation 
with — with you." 

" Did either your mother or ' Bothero ' see him ? " 
Colonel Leppell always spoke of Prothero as Bothero ; 
it was his weak way of showing how much he disliked 
his mother-in-law's maid. 

" No ; my mother was out in her donkey-chair, and 
Prothero was with her, of course. Little Arthur was 
the only child with me in the drawing-room, when 
Mr Glascott's card was brought in." 

" You have promised nothing, then ? " 

" Nothing ; I have waited to see you." 

" He, Mr Glascott, has written to me, you say ? " 
inquired the Colonel, raking the fire. 

" He was to write to you from the Eed Lion Hotel, 
where he is now staying : Mr Clavering joins him 
there to-morrow. The latter will either call upon 
you, or write to you proposing for Mary, as soon as 
possible, on his arrival at Yarne." 

" I don't like this — I don't like it at all : there must 
be some understanding between Mr Clavering and 
Moll, or how could things come to fall into this 
arrangement ? It is too late to-night, or I would have 
Mary down and question her." 

"Do nothing of the kind," enjoined Mrs Leppell; 



HUNTER'S lodge. 21 

" wait till the letters come, and don't tease Mary. It 
would be so unwise, Balph, to force the child into a 
confession of even a preference for Mr Clavering. She 
will naturally resent the imputation, and it would set 
her against the match. Be careful : as far as I know, 
she has no particular liking for any one ; now if you 
set her against the Clavering suit, what becomes of 
Duke ? " 

This little bit of diplomacy had its effect. The 
Colonel pshawed, and tossed and rattled the fire-irons. 
He could find no way out of this dilemma ; and so 
he easily promised Mrs Leppell to be silent on the 
subject with their daughter, till a more convenient 
season, at all events. Then the Colonel flung out of 
the room, calling back to his wife that she had better 
come to bed, for there was no use in sitting up there 
all night. 

She rose up to follow him, but a shaking of her 
limbs, and a tremor that pervaded her whole frame, 
caused her to slide down to the floor. Eaising herself, 
by a strong effort, to her knees, she drew herself 
along, and laid her head upon the table. There the 
pent-up waters of her grief burst forth, and she wept 
and sobbed, as she had never done since her boys lay 
dead upon their nursery beds when her married years 
were few. 

" It has all come together, so much at once," she 
cried, raising her head, and turning round as the 
faithful voice of the waiting-maid fell on her ear. " It 
is too much, Prothero ; let me — let me have my cry 



22 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

out, or my heart will break. Duke ! Duke ! and 
Mary — oh! I can tell no more. Prothero, stay by 
me ; I shall be the better for weeping, sorrow has 
made me numb so long, — so long." 

" Yes, yes, cry on, dear," said the maid soothingly ; 
" don't mind me. I understand it all, — Duke and the 
debts ; and the Colonel so unreasonable — so very hard 
to manage. I saw the Sheriffs officer and guessed 
there was some trouble, but I thought it wiser not to 
let on that I suspected anything. I suppose Duke is 
more dipped than ever, and the family won't pay." 

" Yes, yes, that is it," answered the poor lady be- 
tween her sobs — in her agony still shielding her 
erring child from the graver fact ; " it may be put 
right, but this is his greatest difficulty." ' 

" Never dwell upon it," returned the attendant ; 
* perhaps, after all, Lord Hieover will help for your 
sake ; he is fond of you." And so Mrs Leppell was 
soothed by degrees, till at length, utterly worn out and 
prostrate, she lay on the sofa in deep sleep, and 
Prothero watched over her there till the morning 
broke. 



23 



CHAPTEE II. 



HYGIEIA. 



The cold shimmer which precedes the dawn in its 
time pervaded the room in which Mrs Leppell was 
laid, sleeping the sleep of exhaustion. It warned the 
faithful watcher to cover her charge more closely, and 
to bethink herself also how best to act for the coming 
hours, — for Prothero knew full well that the dwellers 
in Hunter's Lodge, stimulated by the presence of its 
master, would all be early astir. Certain she also 
was that the weighty trouble which had so pros- 
trated Mrs Leppell would break out in much irri- 
tation and complaint on the part of the Colonel 
against everything and everybody that came in his 
way. 

It was the habit of that officer to throw off his own 
annoyances by afflicting the spirits of all with whom 
he happened to come in contact, and Prothero's long 
experience, added to the little which she had discovered 
on the previous night, convinced her that something 
more weighty than even debts, duns, or the withdrawal 



24 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

of Lord Hieover's countenance, was looming over the 
family. 

" Come what may," communed this faithful servitor, 
" it is my duty to look after the ladies and the dear 
children : the Colonel and Duke are a pair, and they 
are quite able to fight their own battles." 

Thus ruminating, Prothero rose, and having satis- 
fied herself that her mistress still slept, she crept to 
Lady Asher's chamber. Finding all as usual there, 
she hurried to a small room on the ground-floor which 
was appropriated to chance visitors, lighted a fire, and 
arranged the apartment for the immediate occupation 
of Mrs Leppell. 

This done, Prothero ascended the stair-case, vali- 
antly opened the door of the dormitory which was dedi- 
cated to the heads of the household, and cautiously 
looked within. 

The Colonel, to her great satisfaction, was snoring lus- 
tily, with his head buried beneath the bed-coverings. 

This was the moment in which to seize some articles 
necessary for the toilet of Mrs Leppell ; and her maid 
at the same time deftly drew the window-curtains 
closer, and moved a folding screen some feet nearer to 
the bed. 

" The longer he sleeps, the better for all of us," 
thought Prothero, as she darted from point to point, in 
evident fear lest the sleeper should awake suddenly 
and surprise her. None knew better than she how 
loudly the Colonel would exult should he find her 
overstepping the boundary of her own province ; and 



HYGIEIA. 25 

though she had lately nursed him through a dangerous 
illness, that service would offer no palliation of the 
crime of intruding at this time unauthorised on his 
slumbers. 

It should be stated, to be accurate, that these two 
hated the one the other, and the feeling was intensi- 
fied on Colonel Leppell's part, because through years 
of annoyance, and at times of positive insult, the maid 
steadily held to her place, and eventually had come to 
know too much of the ways and works of the Leppell 
race to be safely dispensed with. Besides, if Prothero 
departed, Lady Asher would depart likewise, and the 
meaning of that Hegira would be the withdrawal of 
four hundred pounds a-year, this being the amount 
which her ladyship paid for the accommodation of 
herself and maid at Hunter's Lodge. 

In addition to this, Prothero could, if she chose, 
supply the place of any domestic in the household 
who might chance to be summarily dismissed, or elect 
to take that leave which is usually denominated 
" French " ; and transformation-scenes of this nature 
were not unfrequent in Colonel Leppell's house. The 
woman was devoted to the ladies and to the children, 
and she was remarkable for being the one of the 
household who, on her own account, stood the least 
in awe of Colonel Leppell. Prothero had always care- 
fully avoided giving her master direct offence, and had 
endured her share of abuse from that officer (when 
he, in his impartiality, stormed at the family all round) 
with the most exemplary imperturbability. This for- 



26 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

bearance was exercised entirely out of affection for 
Mrs Leppell, and as it served, in a measure, to alle- 
viate some portion of the fault - finding which was 
not unfrequently directed towards the mistress of the 
house, Prothero was, in consequence, much esteemed 
by all the denizens of Hunter's Lodge, and the most 
unruly of its sons declared that "he would stand a 
good deal from old ' Bothero,' because she didn't care a 
rap for the governor, and always stuck up for ma." 

A kind of armed neutrality at this time subsisted 
between the Colonel and Prothero, her attention dur- 
ing his late illness having somewhat mollified the 
great dislike which he had constantly borne her. 
During many years he had designated her " Bothero," 
and as his boys took up the cry, she had become ac- 
customed to accept this as her proper cognomen, strong 
in the conviction that, were her place vacant, a very 
important factor in the Leppell household would be 
with difficulty replaced. 

Colonel Leppell also chose to give credence to a 
little legend with regard to his mother-in-law's atten- 
dant, which he thought to square with her undisguised 
disapprobation of his own conduct and that of his 
eldest son, Marmaduke. 

Prothero's first introduction to the family had been 
as lady's-maid to Mrs Leppell in the first years of her 
married life. The growing expenses, which demanded 
nurses and under-nurses and school fees, had later on 
obliged Mrs Leppell to dispense with a purely per- 
sonal attendant, and in consequence Prothero was 



HYGIEIA. 27 

transferred to Lady Asher, who, being lame, and also 
not being very prolific in mental resource, necessarily 
required a person of superior education about her who 
could act in the capacity of companion as well as 
lady's-maid. 

On first entering Mrs Leppell's service, Prothero 
had been sad and depressed, and, for a young woman, 
strangely reserved. It was remarked also that she 
never had any ready money, and that she was always 
more silent than usual after receiving letters which 
bore an American post-mark. 

Nothing, however, could be elicited from her except 
that her father's home was uncomfortable owing to 
the presence of a step-mother, and that in consequence 
of this she and her sisters had sought service early. 

Her recommendations as to character and efficiency 
were of the first order ; and if any trouble weighed on 
her mind, she communicated it to no living soul. At 
length it leaked out, through one of those channels of 
talk of which there is neither finding the beginning 
nor the end, that Prothero had married a vagabond 
gipsy, and that she paid him a certain sum yearly on 
the understanding that he would never come near her. 
Anne Prothero was a fairly good-looking woman ; and, 
as she persistently declined all the proposals she had 
made to her of changing her name, some colour was 
thereby given to the report. 

The ladies of the Leppell family had never hinted at 
this knowledge ; but the Colonel, in one of his fits of 
wrath, had come out with this history, by way of 



28 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

accusing the woman of living under false pretences. 
The look which she gave him as he spoke — long, stern, 
and defiant — was one which he had never seen directed 
towards him by female 1 face; and the tone in which 
she denounced him as a " cowardly spy," was such as 
to affect even the Colonel's strong nerves, which were 
not to be shaken generally by a trifle. 

Prothero's portion, however, would have been instant 
dismissal had Colonel Leppell been in a position to 
afford such retaliation; but there was Lady Asher's 
yearly payment to be considered, and the certain 
knowledge also that adieu for ever, maid, would be 
inevitably adieu for ever, Lady Asher; and, this step 
taken, even Adelaide's persuasions would never suf- 
fice to recall her mother as a permanent resident of 
Hunter's Lodge. 

Some sort of amende honorable was eventually made 
through the medium of Mrs Leppell for her husband's 
hasty speech ; and the Colonel argued himself into the 
belief that the wrongs which Prothero had suffered at 
the hands of mankind were the main reason for the 
damsel's want of appreciation of himself and of his 
eldest son. He was good enough also to remark that, 
if his feeling towards the woman sometimes mounted 
to actual hostility, he remembered her services, and 
concluded to put up with her. 

A knock resounded at the door of Colonel Leppell's 
room a little before eight o'clock ; this knock was 
repeated with the precision and force of a sledge- 
hammer, and aroused that warrior into fiercely de- 



HYGIEIA. 29 

nianding, " Wlio the devil is there ? " and, " Where, 
where on earth has Mrs Leppell got to ? " 

These inquiries were answered by the appearance 
of his groom, who brought a note written in pencil, 
which he stuffed into his master's hand. " Mrs Pro- 
thero gave me this," the lad said, " and you are to read 
it directly." 

The note contained a few lines written by Mrs Lep- 
pell three hours before, stating that, being disturbed 
in the night by illness, she had retired to the spare 
room, and that, feeling then disposed to sleep, she 
begged him to allow her to remain quiet for a few 
hours. Mary would attend to the breakfast. 

Meanwhile Ben, the groom, after depositing his 
master's boots and shaving-water in their respective 
places, made for the door, but not before the sten- 
torian tones of Colonel Leppell's voice recalled him to 
attend to orders. 

" Take Sally and ride into Yarne for the letters — 
or you may as well drive the dogcart and go straight 
to the station for my portmanteau ; you will find it in 
the parcels office. If you are too early for the mail 
delivery, wait at the office till it comes in. Don't go 
skylarking about the town, and tell Miss Mary to get 
the household assembled for family prayers at a quarter 
to nine. Look sharp ! " 

" Yes, Colonel." The man departed with a grin on 
his face, which the mention of family prayers had called 
forth. 

The erratic devotions at Hunter's Lodge, which were 



30 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

dignified by the name of family prayers, were unto Mrs 
Leppell even as lions in the path. Old Lady Asher 
had been present at them once (the institution was of 
recent date), and this was the alpha and omega of her 
attendance; and Prothero had denounced the whole 
thing, as conducted by the Colonel, as being little 
short of rank blasphemy, and a decided tempting of 
Providence. The children and servants endured the 
orations inflicted on them in a semi-martyr and semi- 
comic spirit, the great achievement being to preserve a 
becoming gravity, and to be careful not to be caught 
in the indulgence of any outward and visible sign of 
merriment. 

The signal for prayers had become interpreted by 
the family in general as something being wrong with 
the governor; and thus when he descended to the 
breakfast-room, he found an uncommonly clear coast, 
owing to the stampede which Ben's news had oc- 
casioned among the children. Testaments, however, 
were opened, and set with their faces upturned, each 
on a file of chairs, which were drawn up with soldier- 
like precision at the end of the room ; and a face from 
the garden was looking in at the half-opened window, 
ready to give the signal when the commanding officer 
should appear. 

Such a face ! framed with real golden hair ! hair so 
bright and silky that it would seem as if Aurora had 
massed the sunbeams in her hand and showered them 
down to crown the young, whom the ancient story tells 
us she ever favoured and ever loved. The clear dark- 



HYGIEIA. 31 

grey eyes, which looked violet in some lights, contrast- 
ed well with the delicate yet healthy colouring of the 
skin. The clean-cut nostrils and beautiful curve of 
the chin could only be rivalled by the small shell-like 
ear and the round pillar-like throat. A graceful figure, 
elastic and lissome, which was confined in a simple 
dress suitable to her years, testified that Mary Leppell 
was in the enjoyment of pure good health. 

No wonder, that her admirers had toasted her as 
" heavenly Moll." She might, as she stood there, 
have been sculptured as the goddess Hygieia, watch- 
ing and waiting to scatter health and beauty on all 
the sons and daughters of the earth. 

" That's right, Moll," the Colonel said, as he spied 
her on his entrance into the breakfast-room ; " have 
'em all in — make haste, there's a good girl. Where 
are those young scamps of boys ? " 

"Dick," said the girl, turning round to a boy of 
fourteen, who was riding on a fence, " run quick ; the 
governor's down." 

A rush, a scuffle on the gravel, and Dick, with a 
glowing, rosy face, is in the morning-room in a second 
of time. 

" That's right, my boy," said the father ; " glad to 
see you so punctual. There will be a blessing upon 
you. You know the sons of Aminadab, — or some- 
body, — they had a blessing for ever " 

" Oh, those were the water-drinking parties, pa," 
explained Master Dick. 

"Yes; haw, now I remember. I must have been 



32 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

thinking of the man who prayed punctually for rain, 
and — and — got it." 

" Yes, pa ; but don't you think he deserved more 
credit for sticking to his work ? He prayed three 
years" said Dick, in a tone of extreme astonishment, 
" and never gave in. I'll look up the passage." 

" Do so, my boy," returned the Colonel, with an air 
of extreme wisdom ; " it is always well to be able to 
verify one's statements." 

Meanwhile the household trooped in by units and 
twos, and were greeted with a nod here and there, 
supplemented by a pat on the head for the younger 
children ; for the Colonel was very fond of the little 
ones of the family, and very rarely made his presence 
a tangible terror to them. 

As he surveyed his congregation he missed two of 
its members. "Where is Langton and that stable- 
boy ? " inquired the Colonel, fiercely ; " they ought to 
be here. It's no use their thinking that because they 
are outdoor servants they are exempt from family wor- 
ship. Dick, get the horn and sound a summons in the 
direction of the stables." 

Dick, nothing loth, darted into the hall, followed by 
Fritz, and a short struggle took place between these 
young gentlemen for the possession of the instrument. 
The contest ended in favour of Dick, and there was 
nothing left for Fritz to do but to return to the room 
and get his head rapped by his parent for leaving 
it without permission. This delicate attention Fritz 
received without wincing, but he privately scored a 



HYGIEIA. 33 

resolve to have a turn at the horn on the first op- 
portunity. 

"Tra-li-ra ! tra-li-ra ! ra-ra-rgr!" re-echoed in space, 
vocally accompanied by the Colonel, as he thrust his 
head out at the window, and repeated the notes thus 
blown with stentorian effect and accuracy. 

" Tri-li-ra ! lali-ra ! lali-ra ! la-li-ra-ra ! " again bel- 
lowed the horn, and this last call produced a helper 
from the stable-yard, who got himself into a stable- 
jacket as he slouched leisurely along. 

Behind came Jack, the lad, evidently shirking and 
reluctant. 

This was too much for Colonel Leppell. Dashing 
through the window, he rushed towards the unlucky 
groom, and turning sharply round, he drove him before 
him as if he had been a horse or a cow. " D — n you, 
come to prayers ! didn't you hear the horn, you 
rascal ? " and with this and other choice adjurations 
the reverse of complimentary, Jack was propelled into 
the room, and crushed down on a vacant seat in the 
file of chairs. 

" Now, then," said the Colonel, after recovering 
himself a little, " steady ; tenth chapter of the Acts, 
eh ? " 

" Yes, Colonel," from the congregation. 

" Well, mind now. I read the first verse, and the 
whole of you will read the next one together. Keep 
the time — not one after the other, but together. 
Never mind if any one read badly ; the rest will help 
a stumbler along." 

vol. i. c 



34 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

So the master began, and the chapter was read 
throughout with a reverence and attention hardly to 
be expected under the circumstances. 

At the close the Colonel said, " I won't bother with 
the Commentary. I don't believe in commentaries as 
a rule ; and the one you have placed here, Mary," he 
continued, addressing his daughter, " is written by a 
woman, a Mrs Biddle, — ought to be Mrs Fiddle. Con- 
found her ! what business has a woman to write a 
commentary ? very unscriptural, and flying in the face 
of St Paul — or Timothy. Put that book in the fire, 
or anywhere you like, but don't bring commentaries 
written by a woman in here." So saying, the unfor- 
tunate Commentary was hurled into Miss Leppell's 
lap. 

" Now," went on the Colonel, " I want you all to 
take notice that the man we have been reading about 
was a soldier, and that an angel was especially sent to 
this soldier, and that soldiers are mentioned with 
respect throughout Scripture. 

" We don't read of angels being sent to parsonesses, 
though it is the fashion in cathedral towns to glorify 
these people a great deal too much. Now mind, when 
you hear the military run down, do you think of 
Cornelius, and that his alms were had in remembrance 
in the Lord's sight. Then there were Abner and 
Joshua — the latter a capital general, — both Scripture 
soldiers, and highly favoured ; and Jehu — no, I rather 
think Jehu was celebrated for his driving — it doesn't 
matter ; the fighting men of Israel crop up in all 



HYGIEIA. 35 

directions through the Bible. You will remember all 
this, won't you ? because being deluged with clergy- 
women as we are, it is a Christian duty to stick to our 
own profession and be able to give Bible reasons for 
honouring the military in every possible way." 

The congregation collectively affirmed that they 
would remember; and Dick audibly proclaimed his 
admiration for General Stonewall Jackson on the 
spot, averring "that it was a shame that warrior 
could not be put into the Bible with the rest of them." 

The Colonel bestowed an approving grin on his son, 
and then ordered him to hold his tongue. 

" Kneel down all of you," said the master of the 
house, " and when I pray for all persons in general, I 
ask you to pray for my son Marmaduke in particular ; 
repeat after me at the proper time." 

A short exordium appropriate to the day of the 
week was read, and after that the Lord's prayer was 
repeated by all. A pause — and then the Colonel pro- 
ceeded : " We ask for special guidance for our absent 
one, Marmaduke Leppell. May he succeed in all his 
undertakings, may his troubles be averted, and may 
all his enemies be confounded. Amen." 

" Now, cook, look sharp and devil the kidneys," was 
the next injunction, as the assemblage rose from their 
knees. "Moll, make the breakfast; I'll just go and 
see after the bull-terrier pup meanwhile. 

" Dick and Clara can breakfast with us ; all the rest 
disperse." So the chamber was cleared and the train 
disappeared, and Fritz and the stable-lad conferred 



36 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

together in a safe corner of the stables, and came to 
the conclusion that Marmacluke must either be in 
" quod " for disobedience of orders, or that he had 
caught the typhus fever. 

Fritz rather inclined to the latter hypothesis, be- 
cause his brother had mentioned in his last letter that 
this disease was rampant in the town whereat the 
Royal Goldspinners were quartered. 

" Anyhow, we must trust in Providence," remarked 
Fritz resignedly ; " it won't do to ask the governor any 
questions just now. I know him ; he is in one of his 
queer humours." 

" Be as well if a hangel were sent to he, I am 
thinking," replied the stable-lad, who had not forgotten 
the unceremonious treatment which he had lately 
received. " Though the Colonel is your pa, Master 
Fritz, I makes bold to say that the way he goes on at 
passons is orful ; I do." 

" Oh, that does not matter much," Fritz replied 
soothingly. " The governor thinks that Mr Vane is 
going in for Popery, and he hates Mother Braintree 
because she is a meddling busybody, and lays down 
the law to the Dean and Chapter of Yarne, through 
her old man, you know. I believe she even went so 
far as to tackle the governor because she heard him 
rap out an oath one day when he was drilling the 
pensioners in the cathedral square, and desired him 
to remember that she was in residence. A good 
joke ! no wonder the governor has a fling at the 
' parsonesses,' as he calls them." 



HYGIEIA. 37 

Mr Yane was clergyman of the parish of Blythe, and 
had only lately been inducted into the living. The 
value of this piece of preferment was sixty pounds a- 
year, and had not Mr Yane possessed some private 
means of his own, he could not have accepted the cure. 
He was an earnest, kindly man ; and the symptoms of 
Popery with which Colonel Leppell accredited him 
were, that he had morning prayers every Wednesday 
and Friday in Blythe Church, and that he pulled the 
bell himself to call the parishioners to these devotions. 
Further, Mr Yane had presumed to do his duty, and 
impress upon the farmers and others who attended 
Blythe Church that a more suitable place must be 
found than the communion-table as a receptacle for 
greatcoats or umbrellas, wet or dry. 

The Hunter's Lodge pew was of the loose horse-box 
pattern, and had formerly contained a fireplace for 
the especial delectation of the Squire's family, when a 
Squire of Blythe was there to occupy it. The present 
owner of Blythe was abroad ; and, in consequence, 
the tenant of Hunter's Lodge was adjudged the right 
of occupying the seat of the Squire in the parish 
church. 

On the wall, just above the north side of this square, 
a tablet was plastered which bore the following re- 
markable inscription : — 

" In Memory of S. P. Q. 

" He was — words are wanting to say what : 
Think of what Father, Husband, Friend should be, 
And he was that." 



38 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

Colonel Leppell, when lie attended the service at 
Blythe Church, sat immediately under this tablet, 
which, because it was the wonder and amusement of 
all strangers, he eulogised as being very plain and 
evangelical. "jSTo cross — no carving — no flummery 
about it," he would say ; and from this coign of van- 
tage he narrowly scanned, with an eye like Mars, 
what he was pleased to call Mr Vane's "goings on," 
to the great discomfort of that good and conscientious 
minister. 

The lady, disrespectfully referred to by Fritz as 
Mother Braintree, was the wife of a newly appointed 
canon of Yarne Cathedral, who laboured under the 
delusion that the transition, for three months in the 
year, from a London parish to a house set especially 
apart for the use of the resident canon in Yarne was 
equal to a patent of nobility, and a licence, not only 
to associate with, but to be recognised as being one of, 
the county families. At this time (twenty years ago) 
it was not unusual to meet with the wives of country 
clergymen, who, if they chanced to be of good birth, 
assumed all the airs of the landed gentry — such as 
declining to visit in the county town, and regarding 
cle haut en has the spouses of clergymen of the 
city parishes, especially if their husbands acted as 
master of a school, either public or private. 

The cathedral clergy — that is, the portion of that 
body who were recognised as the " dignified clergy " — 
were, of course, exempted from this ostracism, which, 



HYGIEIA. 39 

while it went far to form a purely ecclesiastical clique, 
was little calculated to produce examples of Christian 
courtesy, and that large-hearted charity which is to be 
especially required of the holders of spiritual good 
things. 

The progress of education, and the broader views of 
the present time, especially in the matter of political 
economy, have in a measure stamped out what, in some 
instances, was an absurd anomaly, and in others a 
gross abuse. People are beginning to question the 
propriety of allowing clergy, holding a living and a 
residence in one part of the country, to occupy a 
good house for quarter of the year in a cathedral town, 
and leave it either untenanted or occupied by their 
relations for the other three-quarters of that period. 
In Yarne no less than four houses were thus set aside 
for the use of the four cathedral canons : and Colonel 
Leppell was not far wrong when he expressed his 
opinion that one house should suffice for this quar- 
tette — thus giving more room for charitable institu- 
tions and schools, or for any work (had they so pleased) 
which would have been in harmony with the Dean and 
Chapter of the Cathedral. 

If this were not necessary — as it was then argued — 
it were very easy to let the houses, and there were 
plenty of poor and suffering to whom the proceeds of 
the rent would have been a blessing indeed. 

It is but fair to state that the canons themselves 
had discussed this subject, and had rather leaned to 



40 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

the idea of accepting one house, to be occupied in turn 
as their several terms of residence fell due. But their 
wives took a very different view of the subject, and 
were, to a woman, furious at the bare mention of such 
a proposition. They were so keenly alive to the 
dignity and consequence of the Cathedral Chapter — 
to the dignity of the whole Church, in fact, — what 
could possess a son of Lord Hieover to put such an 
idea into their husbands' heads ? Why, the Bishop 
himself had two residences — the palace at Yarne and 
the palace at Wurstede — and the Bishop's wife had 
proclaimed herself to be equal to both dioceses. 

" The idea was preposterous," argued Mrs Canon 
Hetherby ; " let Colonel Leppell mind his own busi- 
ness, and be content to drill his pensioners in the 
cathedral square." She said this as if the locality 
sufficed to throw the mantle ecclesiastic at once over 
the commanding officer and the whole of the body that 
there assembled under arms. 

Mrs Braintree had arrived in the diocese of Yarne 
in the character of a woman of business, and she had 
lost no time in giving ocular demonstration of her 
capability to maintain a reputation of being thoroughly 
up to work. 

As the wife of a rector of a London parish, this lady 
had borne her part with sincere zeal ; and being fond 
of employment, and loyally and literally magnifying 
her husband's office, she had managed the parish so 
successfully, and had thereby earned so much respect 



HYGIEIA. 41 

and deference, that it was hardly to be wondered at if 
she at times demeaned herself as a clerk in feminine 
orders — as far as the assumption of authority and the 
giving of advice went. It was to her credit also that 
she never assumed her husband's position, and that all 
her acts were performed as coming with his sanction 
and approbation, although it was known, by those be- 
hind the scenes, that Mr Braintree never acted so 
wisely as when he was guided in the performance of 
his duties by the counsel of his wife ; and also, that a 
good portion of her daily task consisted of smoothing 
down difficulties, and mollifying the ire of persons, 
raised mostly by the utter want of tact which the 
reverend gentleman usually displayed in the common 
affairs of life. He was a good man, and a kind one to 
those whom he liked, but he was given to take un- 
warrantable prejudices — and so the best side of his 
character was only appreciated by his intimate friends. 
In person, Mr Braintree irresistibly reminded the be- 
holder of the leaning tower of Pisa — so tall, and so out 
of the perpendicular, was his build. But he bore the 
impress of a gentleman ; and in perfect good faith and 
courtesy he resolved, like his wife, to set everybody 
and everything to rights when he should enter into 
residence as canon of Yarne. 

With their experience it was naturally a matter of 
surprise to this couple, on further acquaintance with 
the regime with which Mr Braintree's preferment had 
amalgamated them, to find that the canons' wives were 



42 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

as ignorant as the cathedral stones regarding the vice 
and misery which reigned rampant under the very 
shadow of its towers. True, they subscribed to char- 
ities, and they had some of the goody-goody women 
to tea (and how these women toadied them, let those 
who then dwelt in Yarne testify) : but no, they did not 
visit the poor personally ; they did not consider that 
they belonged to the place ; they were only in resi- 
dence three months in the year, &c. Such was the 
burden of their song ; and Mrs Canon Heatherby, 
whose husband was master of a hall at one of the 
universities, blandly informed Colonel Leppell, on his 
application to her for five shillings for a sick soldier, 
that she really only looked upon their stay at Yarne 
" as a kind of picnic, — they never, in fact, even brought 
down their plate." 

" The college plate I suppose you refer to, madam ? " 
the Colonel had ungallantly replied ; " still, I think, as 
your husband draws seven hundred a-year from the 
cathedral revenues, you will hardly refuse me a trifle 
for my poor soldier." 

This shamed the lady into doubling the amount 
which he asked for: but she ever afterwards de- 
nounced Colonel Leppell as a man of the most pecu- 
liar ideas ; whilst he, in his turn, sang pseans over the 
Catholic clergy, who, however he might differ from 
them in theology, he respected for knowing better 
than to be hampered with the nuisance of clergy women 
in the shape of wives. " Sensible men, very sensible 



HYGIEIA. 43 

men!" he would remark. Mrs Braintree, having ven- 
tured to reproach him for swearing at his soldiers in 
the cathedral precincts, some time afterwards, rather 
strengthened his dislike towards the parsonesses, as 
he called them. In his heart of hearts, however, he 
respected the lady for having done (in a wrong way) 
the right thing ; and he always insisted that, if Mrs 
Braintree did interfere in things spiritual, she spent 
the income of the canonry in Yarne — and that was a 
precious deal more than could be said for the other 
three factors of the quartette which composed the 
wives of canons prebendal of Yarne ; to wit, Lady 
Smirke, Mrs Varnishe, and Mrs Canon Heatherby, — 
the latter lady being called Mrs Canon in right of her 
husband being the longest appointed canon on the list. 

Colonel Leppell, after seeing that the bull-terrier 
pup was in a satisfactory condition, returned, with the 
little beast on one arm and his youngest daughter 
Julia on the other, to the breakfast-room. A fondness 
for young things of all kinds was one of the Colonel's 
redeeming qualities ; but in this, as in all else, he was 
apt to run into inconsistency. 

Miss Julia would have been better in the nursery, 
and the pup in the stable at this time, seeing that be- 
tween them the milk -jug was upset, and the pup 
obligingly vandyked a side of the tablecloth, as a 
hint to the company that all his teeth were well to 
the fore. 

At length the little girl, choked by a piece of hot 



44 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

kidney which had been rammed into her month by 
her inconsiderate parent, grew black in the face, and 
kicked like a bnll of Bashan ; and Dick had to hold 
her over the window, and thump and shake her till 
the piece was pumped up. 

The next thing for Miss Julia to do was to howl 
lustily, and inveigh against her family in the most 
energetic manner. " I wish I was a clock, I do — nasty 
papa ! " cried this infant. " I wish I was a clock, 
and I would not go for you — no, I would not go for 
you — no ! " 

This was particularly hard on the Colonel, for it 
was one of his fancies to wind up and otherwise 
regulate all the clocks and watches in the house. He 
even at times took them to pieces, and of course he 
never could, by any chance, set them up again. The 
winding and striking and ticking that went on at in- 
tervals was a terror to the household, and as the 
nursery clock had persistently stood still for a fort- 
night after the master's latest manipulations, it was 
very possible that Miss Julia had heard some remarks 
on that subject which were not intended to travel 
outside the nursery door. 

The pup had taken advantage of this diversion to 
make short runs at the heels of his owner, incited 
probably thereto by the screams of Miss Julia. A 
speedy eviction followed ; and the child and the ani- 
mal howled in concert on the door-mat in the hall, till 
a passing nursemaid rescued the pair. 



HYGIEIA. 45 

i: I am going to the ' den,' and shall smoke there," 
said Colonel Leppell to his son, as they rose from the 
breakfast-table. " When Ben returns, send him there 
to me. Mary, go and see if your mother is awake : 
if she is, tell her I will come to her after the letters 
arrive." 



46 



CHAPTER III. 



SOME RETROSPECTION. 



It was a positive relief to Colonel Leppell when, freed 
from the presence of his family, he could, unseen and 
with his pipe for company, ponder over the unfor- 
tunate position of his son, and make some attempt to 
extricate that youth from his difficulties without accept- 
ing the aid which had been offered in so unexpected a 
manner. But ponder and pshaw and exclaim as the Col- 
onel would and did, the stern fact of his utter helpless- 
ness to extricate Marmacluke from his embarrassments 
still confronted him. There was no way to evade the 
difficulty, no solution of the problem but that of accept- 
ing the proposition made to his wife by his quondam 
foe, Everard Glascott, — a man whom he had scan- 
dalously ill-used, years ago, in the literal interpretation 
of the game of all being fair in love and war. There 
was only one comfort in the matter, and that was, that 
he more than discharged a quid pro quo by giving 
his beautiful daughter to the cousin of the man who had 
so generously — so romantically — come forward to aid 



SOME RETROSPECTION. 47 

him and screen his son. Then the Colonel worked 
himself into the belief that he was, on his part, doing 
a generous and self-sacrificing thing in even enter- 
taining an idea of the match with Mr Clavering. 
" Mr Clavering, indeed ! " he exclaimed aloud. " What 
a sinking in poetry ! haw ! — I had intended Moll to be 
a Vicountess at least. If I had but known, I would 
not have allowed her to refuse Lord Duffer. I won- 
der what Moll thinks of this man Clavering, — it's all 
I can do to keep my wits/' soliloquised the poor 
Colonel, as he in vain endeavoured to get matters 
righted in his mental vision in the course of summing 
them up. " Marmaduke charged with obtaining money 
under false pretences, writs out against him ; Glascott 
a sleeping partner in the firm who are prosecuting 
him — there's a special interposition of Providence in 
that though — and finally Marmaduke running off with 
an heiress, and being caught before the end of the 
journey, and the bride taken back by her friends. 
The thunders of the Court of Chancery were light 
in comparison with this piece of humiliation : besides, 
what would or could the Lord Chancellor do ? After 
all, it only amounted to contempt of Court, and 
he didn't believe they would imprison Marmaduke 
for that," argued the father to himself. " In fact, I 
don't believe the Court of Chancery would bother 
about it ; it's the absurd prejudice people have against 
the army which is at the bottom of it. No doubt the 
girl's friends are roturiers, and want to keep her for 
some vulgarian of their own breed, — that's all about it. 



48 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

But I do wish, for all that, some news from Marnia- 
duke himself would turn up." 

So musing, Colonel Leppell took down a law-book, 
and rummaged among its pages to see if he could glean 
any information therefrom regarding the abduction 
of wards in Chancery. He was thus busily employed 
when he heard the clatter of horse's hoofs. 

It would have been in accordance with his usual 
habit had he started out hatless to meet the mes- 
senger, for he instinctively felt that Ben had returned. 
Now he rose up, and quickly resumed his seat; a 
slight pallor overspread his features, and he trembled 
perceptibly. Were there any letters ? perhaps, after 
all, there were none : he almost wished the latter 
might be the case, — it would be better in this instance 
to remain in ignorance, than know the worst. 

So argued the man ; a woman would rather possess 
complete knowledge, and seek to know the worst. 
Thus both husband and wife, though apart in the 
same house, waited for the tidings which the return 
of the groom would bring. 

Ben dismounted, and being waylaid by Dick, who 
seized the reins and drove to the stables, at once took 
his way to the " den " with the letter-bag. He was 
allowed to knock twice at the door of that retreat 
before permission to enter was accorded. Little given 
to dissimulation, generally speaking, the Colonel at 
this moment appeared to be deeply absorbed in his 
researches, his head being lowered almost between the 
pages of his book, and his voice giving utterance to 



SOME RETROSPECTION. 49 

vague and detached words : thus he received the letter- 
bag, without even looking at the bearer. 

" Put it down there," he said to the groom. " By 
the by, did you bring back my portmanteau ? " 

" Yes, Colonel, it is in the dogcart ; " and thus re- 
plying, the lad turned to go out. 

"Wait a moment," cried the master, looking up 
suddenly ; " there may be letters here for Mrs Leppell 
and the others. Ah ! yes — one, two, three — one for 
Miss Leppell." This missive the Colonel scanned 
narrowly before placing it on the packet with the rest. 
The handwriting bore a wonderful resemblance to 
that in which an epistle to himself was addressed. 
" Miss Kate Bubb, Hunter's Lodge, Blythe, forsooth ! 
who the deuce is Miss Kate Bubb ? " 

'■ The new kitchen-maid, Colonel," answered Ben, 
rather reluctantly, for he expected a storm. 

" Tell Miss Kate Bubb, with my compliments, that 
she had better instruct her correspondents to make 
some mention of the name of the family whom she 
serves when they address letters to her. What is the 
world coming to ? Why, that brat was in the village 
school only two months ago, wasn't she ? " 

" I think so, Colonel ; but ye see she's ignorant, 
and hasn't had much training in the fine work, sir," 
ventured Ben. 

" True," returned the Colonel amiably, for Ben 
(being a soldier) was rather a favourite. " After all, 
it does not do to teach 'em too much fine work, as you 
call it — not just at first, I mean. At any rate, just you 

VOL. I. L> 



50 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

show Miss Kate Bubb how her letters are to be ad- 
dressed ; and if you can't make her understand, send 
her to me." 

Ben thought he could undertake this office, knowing 
full well that Miss Bubb would rather fly the country 
than risk a tete-a-tete with Colonel Leppell in the re- 
cesses of his den. The groom was, however, not sorry 
to have the schooling of this young person, as he had 
on several previous occasions warned the kitchen- 
maid that it would be more becoming were she less 
free with the names of the surrounding gentry. He 
had even taken the trouble to point out to this auda- 
cious young female that " Wildmere's people " was not 
the manner by which the family of Sir Morris Wild- 
mere should be indicated, any more than the informa- 
tion that Dr Trimmings, the physician of Yarne, should 
be reported as " Trimmings coming to dinner " ; in the 
same breath, too, with Mr Tartar, the travelling tin- 
smith, who was coming to scrape the kitchen kettles ! 
It must be one of the outlets of the doctrine of com- 
pensation, this mania persons of low degree almost 
invariably have for mutilating the names and con- 
temptuously handling the state of persons of position, 
and, conversely, liberally glorifying the cognomen and 
walk of life of those whom Providence has ordained 
to be hewers of wood and drawers of water. 

" Mr Lumps, the coal-heaver, thinks this ; and old 
Carew (Sir Cecil Carew) up there (Mount's Manor), 
thinks the other thing." In this respect the mode of 
expression of twenty years ago is not improved, and 



SOME RETROSPECTION. 51 

education has yet to bear upon minds which riot in 
the delusion that flippant ignorant impertinence to- 
wards others is a mark of supreme independence. 

To do Blythe and its neighbourhood justice, no one 
had ever been known to designate Colonel Leppell 
otherwise than by his proper title, or as the " Colonel." 
In his own family the governor or " he " was equiva- 
lent to some recognition of his position ; but people 
were very chary of using the pronoun when the noun 
proper was within ear-shot, and thus Miss Bubb's 
familiarities alarmed, as much as they scandalised, 
Ben Piifles the groom. He now leaves the room on his 
mission of reformation to Miss Bubb ; and his master, 
as soon as the door is closed, turns and takes up his 
letters. 

The first is merely a bill. " To bill delivered " is its 
announcement, and the sender respectfully bespeaks 
Colonel Leppell's attention to the fact that this is the 
third time of asking for payment. The account is one 
for saddlery, and amounts to £30, 5s. 8d. The Colonel, 
as he looks over the document, ponders as to whether 
his brother Alexander would like to pay its demands 
for him ; he (the Colonel) has given him many a mount 
— Alex, really ought — he has no wife nor children — 
lives on the best at free quarters at Hieover ; it is a 
duty for one's unmarried kindred to assist the burdens 
of the benedicts : and so in this, as in many other in- 
stances, this officer works himself into the conviction 
that by somebody, or by some method, his means of 
subsistence must be supplied, and also be supplied ad 



UmVJ^'-Y Or ILL. 



52 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

infinitum. However, for the present, the bill is cast 
aside, and Colonel Leppell, with a strong grasp, 
pounces on an undeniable-looking letter, which is 
marked "private," and literally wrenches it open. 
The contents were as follows : — 

" To the Honourable Colonel Leppell, 
" Staff-Officer of Pensioners. 

" Yarne, March 2, 186-. 

" Sir, — The knowledge that I have this day volun- 
tarily entered beneath your roof cannot be more 
surprising to you than it is to myself. True, the 
forgetfulness which time in its mercy brings, had 
already obliterated the feelings of animosity with 
which I formerly, and with justice, regarded you ; 
but I frankly own that my object in now seeking 
you arises less from a desire of reconciliation than to 
promote the interests of one who now holds, in every 
respect, the place of a dearly loved son to me. 

" I allude to my young cousin, Mr Francis Clavering, 
who, by this post, asks your consent to his suit for the 
hand of your lovely daughter, Miss Leppell. It is 
probable that you entertain higher views for that lady 
with regard to both rank and fortune. Mr Clavering 
is simply the son of a gentleman, and has no claim to 
other nobility than that of the genius with which he 
is so magnificently gifted by nature. 

" As to fortune, Mr Clavering amply maintains him- 
self by his talents and hard work ; but in the event of 
his marriage with Miss Leppell, I, as his father by 



SOME RETROSPECTION. 53 

adoption, undertake to allow him an annual income of 
one thousand pounds, and at once convey to him by 
deed of gift a small property in the north of England, 
which would suffice for a good and permanent home. 

" For the rest (and I would fain leave this subject 
untouched), as a partner of the firm with which your 
eldest son has lately held more than unfortunate trans- 
actions, I promise to use my influence in detaining for 
the present the writs now out against that young man ; 
and further, to arrange to have the same totally with- 
drawn in the event of the announcement, within a 
reasonable time, of your daughter Mary's engagement 
with Mr Francis Clavering. 

" Should you wish to confer with me, I shall be at 
home every morning for ten days, at the subjoined 
address. — I have the honour to remain, sir, yours 
faithfully, Everard Glascott. 

"Red Lion Hotel, Yarne." 

Colonel Leppell read and re-read this epistle, with 
mingled feelings of shame and anger. Under the 
circumstances of the case, he felt that the conduct of 
the writer was more than generous ; it was noble — 
nay, it was almost quixotic. 

Still there remained the stern fact, that the propo- 
sitions contained therein amounted* to little less than 
a barter. His Moll — heavenly Moll ! — was therein 
as actually bid for as if she had been a herd of cattle 
or so many acres of land. Almost imperceptibly, also, 
there dawned upon the Colonel the recollection that 



54 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

he had entertained very different views with regard to 
the disposal of his daughter Mary. There was Lord 
Willows, a young widower of high degree, who would, 
Colonel Leppell felt sure, pay the highest compliment 
to the memory of his dead wife by choosing a successor 
within six months after her demise ! Lady Willows 
had already been dead four months, and her spouse 
was to be seen disporting himself at county balls, to 
one of which he had ridden forty miles in order to 
claim the first waltz with Mary Leppell ! And Mar- 
maduke — Marmaduke was the spoke which thrust 
itself into every spar of the Colonel's mental wheel. 
Willows, he knew, might kick against the embezzle- 
ment business ; but even if he did, there were other 
men of rank who were not so punctilious. And then 
— then, a cousin of Everard Glascott, of all men in the 
world, — what on earth could be the meaning of this 
affection, this devotion to a man who was only a 
cousin's son ? 

After all, there is no love like the love which grows 
downwards and outwards — unselfish, unworldly, god- 
like : it absorbs all that is disappointing in misplaced 
affection ; it supersedes the romantic love of youth, 
and the worship of kindred and of race. Pure as the 
rain-diamond, it gives all, and neither asks nor expects 
return. Few have the power, still fewer have the 
capacity to exercise it ; but in all the world's history 
there is no richer harvest than the success which men 
attribute to their launch in life through the love of 
some human being upon whom they had no shadow 



SOME RETROSPECTION. 55 

of claim — to whom, probably, they were at first un- 
known. Nature's one touch of sympathy, in these 
cases, opens the sealed and hidden fountain, and the 
waters, which might have been called " Marah " in 
their pent-up bitterness, gush forth in a tide of sweet- 
ness, bearing a blessing in their course — for are not 
their head-springs in the heart of him who loves his 
fellow-men ? 

"Write me as one who loves his fellow - men," 
Everard Glascott might well have declared, when, 
after the first shock of disappointment, he looked 
out upon the great world, if not for consolation, at 
least for distraction in the hard work of life, which 
leaves no time for sorrow. Beared in a mercantile 
house which at that time was in the height of its 
prosperity, he bethought himself to go to Lyons, there 
to increase the branch of the silk trade which it was 
the object of the English firm to amalgamate with 
their business. His cousin, Mr Clavering, was just 
dead ; why not take the eldest son among these 
orphans as a travelling companion, and thus give 
hini the opportunity of acquiring more perfectly a 
foreign language, and enlarge the lad's ideas of men 
and manners ? His intention was confirmed when 
the news of the sudden death of Mr Clavering's eld- 
est daughter, just one week after her father's demise, 
reached him. The poor young girl had succumbed 
to heart -complaint, brought on, it was said, by too 
much care and anxiety, for hers had been the duties 
of a mother, combined with the school life and studies 



56 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

of early maidenhood. For two years this child had 
tilled the post of mother, housekeeper, instructress, 
and nurse ; no wonder, then, that after the funeral of 
her father she was found dead in the great arm-chair, 
close to the bed whereon he had breathed his last. 
Thus with a smile on her face this sweet life faded 
out, and Francis Clavering and his youngest sister, 
verily Benjamina, were left alone. 

There had never been much intimacy between these 
cousins ; they had met and they had parted much as 
ordinary mortals do in the usual walks of life. They 
had never required anything one from the other, 
consequently their intercourse had been one of un- 
ruffled peace. Everard Glascott had arrived to pay 
his visit of condolence the day after the young girl's 
burial, and the grief of the little sister had so touched 
him, that he there and then made a resolution hence- 
forth to look upon the orphans as his own children. 
The fact that all the portion that each would have 
was a bare thousand pounds, rather stimulated than 
arrested this intention ; and thus, having placed little 
Willina under the care of the mother of one of the 
child's playfellows, he took the boy with him to the 
Continent, and from the hour that he led his charges 
forth from their father's house, he in every way 
strictly carried out the obligations he had imposed 
upon himself towards them. 

It was thus, in his great love for Francis Clavering, 
that Mr Glascott gave up the fixed intention of 
having done with the Leppell race for evermore. 



SOME RETROSPECTION. 57 

Lady Asher, whose husband had been made a baronet 
from having had the luck to go up to royalty at the 
head of an important deputation, was immediately 
seized with such a passion for rank, that she threw 
the weight of her influence in favouring the addresses 
of the Honourable Mr Leppell, then an ensign in a 
marching regiment, to the utter exclusion of Mr 
Glascott, who was the promised suitor of Adelaide, 
the only child of the Ashers. These had married late 
in life, and, from their great success as fringe manu- 
facturers, were able, if not to make their daughter an 
heiress, to endow that young lady with a very com- 
fortable fortune ; and as her personal attractions were 
far above the average, it was only in the proper course 
of things that Miss Asher should be with the most 
sincere intentions sought in marriage, both by the 
flower of the youth who entered the manufacturing 
town of Mills, and also by those who dwelt within its 
boundaries. 

A most unhandsome subterfuge employed by Mr 
Leppell to affect the honour of his rival, and which 
was matured into a specious appearance of substantial 
truth by the management of that young gentleman's 
cleverer brother Alexander, was the reason given by 
Sir Eobert Asher for his one day not only formally 
rejecting Mr Glascott's suit on behalf of his daughter, 
but also for intimating at the same time that it would 
be desirable that the acquaintance which had subsisted 
between the families should cease. 

Young Glascott in vain demanded a full explana- 



58 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

tion of this conduct. " I have no direct accusation to 
make against you," was the old man's reply; "but 
you know that through you business has been lost 
to the firm, and there is an impression that two 
clerks forfeited their places through your having 
borne false witness against them." 

'•'Do you believe this? — sincerely, conscientiously 
believe it ? " the young man inquired. 

" I wish I could answer you that I do not," the 
old man replied sadly. " I daresay that there has 
been some exaggeration in the matter ; but there 
are, as you must know, facts which appear to damage 
you." 

"Appearance is not reality," the young man an- 
swered with some scorn. " However, the law will 
right me sooner or later ; meanwhile let me see 
Adelaide, — in your presence if you will — but let me 
see her." 

" She has promised to obey her parents," was Sir 
Eobert's reply ; " but it will perhaps be more satis- 
factory to all parties that you should learn from her 
own lips that she acquiesces in our decision." 

The young man put the same question to the 
daughter that he had done to the father. "In the 
presence of your parents, Adelaide," he said very 
gently, but with clear defiant eyes, "do you believe 
that I am capable — that I have sworn falsely against 
two clerks employed in your father's warehouse ? " 

No answer ; only a quivering of the hesitating un- 
decided mouth, and a stolen look at her mother. 



SOME RETROSPECTION. 59 

Again the young man repeated his question. The 
answer came slowly — " I am very sorry, — but I must 
believe what my parents believe." 

Nothing to him that there were tears in her eyes 
and in her voice. He bowed low, and with a look of 
supreme contempt directed towards Lady Asher, he 
turned to depart. " May you none of you live to 
repent of your — your — gullibility/' was all he said ; 
and then he threw a letter towards Sir Gilbert 
Asher. 

" Eead that, and ponder over it at your leisure," he 
cried, and the next moment Mr Glascott was out of 
the house. 

The letter was one written from one of the clerks 
who had been discharged from Mr Asher's manufac- 
tory. It contained a declaration that all Mr Glascott 
had stated concerning him was true, and further, it 
volunteered the information that had it not been for 
Mr Glascott's vigilance, a very serious robbery would 
have been perpetrated in the warehouse by himself 
and his fellow-clerk. The writer asked pardon of Mr 
Glascott for his false statements, and added that he 
had been induced to make them by parties whom he 
would rather not name. This epistle was fully dated 
and signed. 

" That she could be persuaded to think so ill of me 
is quite sufficient reason why I will never attempt to 
see her again," was the young man's reflection. " I 
know the Leppells are at the bottom of all this ; let her 
marry Balph— he is better than that sly villain, his 



GO THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

brother. Faugh ! vainly do they seek to rise to the 
level of my contempt ! Poor Adelaide ! " 

Thus, after seeking the Leppells and giving them the 
cut direct in a very public place, and then inserting 
the clerk's epistle in the 'Mills Gazette,' Everard 
Glascott went his way, and up to this time never 
sought the love of womankind. Immediately after- 
wards, Adelaide married Ealph Leppell, and her life 
subsequently was spent in repenting the bargain she 
had made. 

Everard Glascott's feelings can be better imagined 
than described, when, long years afterwards, Francis 
Clavering, a somewhat cold and self-contained young 
man, rushed into his rooms at Paris, and besought 
his co-operation in bringing about a marriage with 
himself and Ealph Leppell's daughter. The young 
man was aware of the detestation in which his cousin- 
father held the whole house of Hieover ; he remem- 
bered that when he had gone into the county of Yarne, 
in company with the other members of the Geological 
Society, Mr Glascott had told him that there were 
reasons why he could not furnish him with letters of 
introduction to any member of that family; he knew, 
though he could not distinctly put into words what it 
meant, that some quarrel had estranged Mr Glascott 
for years from his oldest friends the Ashers of Mills, 
and that on the rare occasions when he did mention 
Lady Asher, it was to stigmatise that matron as a 
" fool filled with folly." Strange world, strange course 
of events, which brought Everard Glascott to forget 



SOME RETROSPECTION. 61 

his wrongs, and, for the deep love he bore to his adop- 
ted son, to place himself almost in the position of a 
suppliant to Ealph Leppell ! 

At the close of Francis Clavering's entreaties, Mr 
Glascott took counsel with himself, and the unselfish- 
ness of his nature never shone out more grandly than it 
did on this occasion. " It cannot be — it shall not be," 
he mused, " that Francis is to suffer the pangs of mis- 
placed affection as I have so suffered. No ; his career 
in life must neither be embittered nor arrested because 
an old man's resentment has stood in the way of his 
heart's desire — of his love and of his happiness. This 
is no boyish fancy ; it is the deep affection of the man 
— of one who has never frittered this treasure here 
and there in the light measure of the grains of sand : 
he gives the whole store, and sinks or swims with the 
venture. 

" This is so rare nowadays, almost strange, that I 
dare not refuse my consent to Frank's union with Ealph 
Leppell's daughter. There is something due from the 
old to the young ; we are mostly too apt to forget this, 
wrapt as we often are in the cloud of mental stupor 
in which the waters of Lethe have steeped our souls. 
I must in justice recognise the fact that Frank has 
paid me the respect of asking my sanction to his pay- 
ing his addresses to Mary Leppell ; many men would 
not have so acted. And more, he — calm, reserved, 
and almost rejecting all sentiment as a matter too 
trivial to mingle with the work of life — he comes to 
me as a girl comes to her mother, and lays bare the 



62 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

secret of his soul. I will delay no longer, — I will rise 
up and seek Balph Leppell : there is no humiliation in 
doing this, and what if there were ? Clavering is the 
son of my love — the love which is born out of life's 
disappointment." 

So he rose up and wended his way into Yarneshire. 
It was with no desire to heap coals on the head of his 
enemy that further induced Mr Glascott to avail him- 
self of the opportunity that a curious chance presented 
(by being unexpectedly called to Liverpool on business), 
to use his influence, and endeavour to shield Marma- 
duke Leppell from the consequence of his own acts. 
Writs had been issued against that youth, but hitherto 
he had managed to evade the Sheriffs officers. 

Mr Glascott had, on the part of Francis Clavering, 
everything to hope from the desperate situation into 
which the force of circumstances had placed his quon- 
dam enemy, Colonel Leppell. 

Affairs stood thus at the time when this thoroughly 
perplexed gentleman paced up and down in his den 
holding Everard Glascott's letter in his hand. 



63 



CHAPTEE IV. 



MISS FANSHAWE. 



The action of pacing to and fro in a manner indicat- 
ive of a huge share of muscular Christianity did not, 
however, suffice to bring Colonel Leppell to any direct 
conclusion as to how he should deal with the com- 
munication which he had for the fifth time perused. 

His mind was in so great a state of agitation, that 
he could scarcely distinguish whether the contents of 
Mr Glascott's letter were acceptable to him or the 
reverse ; and so in order to stave off, for a while at 
least, further contemplation of the matter, he returned 
to the table and seized the next epistle which lay 
thereon. 

This turned out to be a missive from Mr Francis 
Clavering, bespeaking rather than entreating Colonel 
Leppell's sanction to his suit for the hand of that 
gentleman's daughter, Mary. The writer further in- 
timated his intention of paying his respects at Hunt- 
er's Lodge on the afternoon of the day on which his 
letter would be received. 



64 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

(" He'll be here before we have time to look round, 
confound him ! " exclaimed the reader.) Mr Clavering 
ventured to hope that an interview with Miss Lep- 
pell might be accorded to him, and he took pleasure 
in informing Colonel Leppell that he was indebted to 
Lord Hieover for his first acquaintance with that 
lady, he having been specially presented to her by his 
lordship. 

(" What on earth induced my father to invite the 
Geological Society to Hieover, giving them champagne 
luncheons, and having the place ransacked by a lot 
of wandering lecturers : here's what has come of 

it.-) 

The Colonel took a turn in the den, stamped and 
haw-hawed, and then continued the reading of his 
letter. 

Concerning his position and prospects, Mr Claver- 
ing referred Colonel Leppell to his relative and 
guardian, Mr Glascott of Brydone, Island of Jersey, 
who was now in Yarne for the ensuing week. " It 
may suffice for the present," the writer continued, 
" to state that my income is raised by my earnings 
both as a scientific lecturer and as a barrister-at- 
law." 

The whole concluded with an assurance that it 
would be the object of Mr Clavering's life to promote 
the happiness of Miss Leppell, should these his pro- 
posals of marriage arrive at a satisfactory arrange- 
ment, and it was needless, he trusted, to add that he 
entertained sentiments of the deepest affection and 



MISS FANSHAWE. 63 

respect towards the lady. In the hope that he might, 
ere long, be recognised as a member of Colonel Lep- 
pell's family, Mr Clavering signed himself that gentle- 
man's obedient servant, and dated his letter from the 
Eed Lion Hotel, Yarne. 

The recipient of this document gave it a turn in the 
air, and then dashed it on the table. 

There was certainly a cool assured ring about this 
composition which convinced the Colonel that the 
gentleman with whom he was now to deal was of 
the Veni, Vicli, Vici order of wooers. It might be 
that Clavering had reasons which satisfied him that his 
proposals, if not actually accepted, would at least be 
no matter of surprise to his daughter. She might 
fancy the man — girls are so inexplicable in these 
matters. But so little time had been left both by 
him and his guardian for consideration, that only one 
inference could be drawn from their mode of action — 
they believed that Marmaduke's folly insured Claver- 
ing's success. 

" I won't consent, — I declare I won't consent," the 
Colonel at length protested in an audible key. " I'll 
go over to Hieover and put the matter before my 
father and Alick ; for their own sakes, they will shield 
Marmaduke, — they must do it." 

Then it occurred to the perplexed father that, even 
if his kindred came to the rescue, it could only be the 
repayment of the money to the Liverpool firm which 
would benefit him, and the safe rejection of Mr 
Clavering's suit would evidently not be arrived at by 

VOL. I. E 



66 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

this means. Everard Glascott did not want money ; 
he wanted his daughter for the son of his love, and if 
she were refused to him, there was nothing but utter 
ruin in store for Marmaduke Leppell. There was 
another phase of the situation which the Colonel had 
not as yet brought into account — nay, it only at this 
moment dawned upon his imagination — Moll might 
take it into her head, without any prompting from 
him, to decline Mr Clavering altogether. She had a 
will of her own in a quiet way — it was possible that 
she had another preference — goodness only knew ; 
so with all this working on his brain, the Colonel 
started up, and crumpling his letters together in his 
hand, went through the house and straight to the 
room wherein his wife was supposed to be taking 
rest. 

Mrs Leppell was still in bed, her young daughter 
humped up, as it were, by her side on the coverlet. 
The eyes of the latter were moist with tears ; it was 
evident that the mother and daughter had been in 
deep conference, and neither seemed particularly de- 
lighted when the head of the family knocked and en- 
tered at the instant his knuckles were off the door. 

" You are better, aren't you ? " he said, nodding to- 
wards his wife ; " I am sure I hope so, for I want to 
talk to you about these letters. I sent one to you, 
Moll," he went on to say, looking at Mary, " from 
the same quarter, to judge by the handwriting, from 
whence this one comes," and he dropped Mr Claver- 
ing's epistle into the girl's lap. 



MISS FAXSHAWE. 67 

" AYell, this swain of yours goes through the cere- 
mony of asking my consent in a fashion, as you see : 
what do you mean to say to it, my queen of beauty ? 
Eh?" 

" My queen of beauty " reddened deeply, and said 
that she was not quite sure that she knew. 

" But you are not in love with this fellow ? " cried 
the Colonel assertively. 

Deep silence on the part of Miss Leppell. 

Her father changed the form of his question and 
enlarged the substance of it. " Have you allowed Mr 
Clavering to make advances to you ? has he given you 
any notion of what he intended to write to-day ? " 

" jSTo, not exactly ; at least I do not think so. Mr 
Clavering is much less given to pay me compliments 
than any of the men whom I meet in society." 

" You met him at Hieover, I believe ? " says the 
Colonel. 

" Yes ; grandpapa and uncle Alex, think very 
highly of him ; and as for Lillian Fanshawe, you 
should hear what Lillian thinks of him." The girl 
said this in a tone which implied that a most incon- 
trovertible authority had been cited in the mention of 
Miss Fanshawe. 

" Lillian Fanshawe ! where did she become ac- 
quainted with him ? " 

" Mr Fanshawe gave a luncheon to some of the 
members of the Geological Society, and Lillian after- 
wards walked with Mr Clavering to show him some 
curious rocks which exist near Pinnacles. He was 



68 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

preparing a lecture on geology, and Lillian helped him 
very much, he told me." 

" H'm ; these travelling clubs are a great nuisance. 
Did you go with the walking party ? " 

" No, papa ; I am not clever, and that is one thing 
which makes me uncertain with regard to Mr Claver- 
ing. He is so learned and so wise ; it frightens me. 
The only comfort is, that he is not too dignified to go 
to balls, and he dances fairly well." 

" I remember something of him somewhere — lec- 
tures on somebody — no — on some 'ology or other," 
returned the Colonel. 

" Lillian says he knows all the 'ologies, and that he 
is the most intellectual man that has ever entered the 
county," the girl replies. 

" Has Lillian seen much of him ? I am glad to hear 
that he is an acquaintance of hers ; Miss Fanshawe's 
opinion is worth having," continued Colonel Leppell, 
rather sententiously. 

" I think Mr Clavering was only at Pinnacles once. 
He has never been here ; you were so much away, and 
mamma was ill. I saw most of him when old Lady 
Kindred was chaperoning me about. Oh, I have seen 
more of him than Lillian has. I don't think she met 
Mr Clavering at balls and parties ; besides, she judges 
of him from the geological point of view." 

" Well, he is coming here this afternoon, so you 
must know what answer he is to get, and that quickly, 
Moll," said her father, with a touch of sorrow in his 
voice. 



MISS FANSHAWE. 69 

" I must have time," the girl answered, suddenly 
and very decidedly. " I shall not think he really 
cares for me if he will not allow me time to know 
my own mind. If it comes to any question of that, I 
shall be ready to answer Mr Clavering in the negative 
form." 

" Satisfy us, your parents, on one point, Moll, dear," 
said the mother, rising in her bed and clasping this 
pearl of price in her arms, — " tell us one thing — do you 
care for, do you love, or have you any decided prefer- 
ence for, any other man ? Do not fear to answer, my 
precious one, for if you have, you shall not, you shall 
not marry Mr Clavering." Here she looked at her 
husband, and in her look these words were conveyed 
to him in the fullest sense of their meaning — " My 
daughter shall not be bartered for Marmaduke's sake. 
Honour, money, fame may go, but Moll shall not be 
sacrificed. I have yielded much in my lifetime, but 
this child makes me firm as the granite rock now." 

The Colonel evidently understood what his wife 
intended that he should understand. His mind had 
been so harassed within the last twenty -four hours, 
that he was unequal to being astonished. 

To the great relief of both parents, Mary answered 
simply, and with the most charming candour, " No, 
mother dear. Sometimes I fancy one more than 
another ; but I have no regard for any one — be sure, 
if I had, I would marry that man, or remain single all 
my days. No ; Mr Clavering, to my mind, is worth 
all my admirers put together." 



70 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

" Thank God ! " said Mrs Leppell, falling back on 
her pillow, and giving way to a burst of tears. 

She soon recovered herself, and then said, " I want 
to talk to papa now, and you have been taken so 
much by surprise, that you ought to be alone to think 
matters over. Put on your hat and go into the garden ; 
the fresh air will do you good. And you may as well 
take the little ones out — that is, if you like ; they will 
play about, and will not interfere with you. As you 
pass through the hall, just knock at grandmamma's 
door and see how she is." 

" Yes." And then kissing both her parents, Mary 
Leppell — sweet, innocent young girl — tripped out of 
the room, and was away with the little children among 
the violets and the daffodils ; and all her perplexities 
seemed to vanish in the sound good health which finds 
pleasure in the mere fact of moving and being, of lov- 
ing and being loved. 

No sooner had the sound of her footsteps died away 
than Colonel Leppell spoke. " You haven't mentioned 
anything about Marmaduke to her, have you ? " said 
he to his wife, with an air of suspicion. 

" Certainly not ; but read this," and she placed a 
letter, which she withdrew from beneath her pillow, 
in his hand. 

The superscription of this epistle bore a different 
handwriting from that in which its contents were set 
forth. 

" It is from Duke," said his mother. " He is evi- 
dently afraid of being traced. He has got some one to 



MISS FANSHAWE. 71 

address his letter. His news is dreadful ! Oh, what 
is to be done ? " 

" From Duke ! " exclaimed Colonel Leppell, in a 
tone of the utmost delight. " He has managed to get 
out of the way. I thought he would, dear fellow. 
Perhaps, after all, he may get clear off, and be out of 
the country, abroad somewhere." 

" Eead for yourself," replied Mrs Leppell. " Duke's 
position cannot well be worse." 

It was a lamentable communication, without doubt, 
and it ran as follows : — 

" Dearest Mother, — I wonder if you and the gov- 
ernor have heard anything about me — anything un- 
comfortable, to put it mildly — lately ? If you have, I 
know that you will not cast me off, nor do I think 
papa will either, because he knows how hard the 
world is on young fellows, especially if they happen to 
be army men. Knowing this, I hope you won't be 
very much upset when I tell you I have been very 
unfortunate lately — so much so, that I am obliged to 
hide with rather a peculiar character, the Birmingham 
Pet ! the gentleman who taught me to use the gloves 
scientifically, and who is a renowned champion in the 
ring. 

(" The Birmingham Pet is a prize-fighter, and his 
name is Thwacker," interpolated the Colonel in ex- 
planation.) " Luckily I have introduced several pupils 
to this man, and, in return, he has taken me into his 
place, and is concealing me from pursuit. The word 



72 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

1 pursuit ■ will frighten you ; but the truth is, I have 
been tempted, under the strong pressure of money and 
of duns, to add a cipher to a cheque, which I got 
cashed at Liverpool at the private bank of Fairlight 
& Deare. As you may have some one inquiring 
after me, I want to tell you how all this happened, as, 
if the affair comes out, the governor will hear accounts 
of the matter which, ten to one, won't be true. 

" I sold a dog to Cracky Winton (he is called Cracky 
because he does such queer things), and he gave me a 
cheque for eight pounds to pay for it on the bank I 
have mentioned, never hinting that old Deare was his 
step-father. Well, I know it was a stupid thing to do, 
but I was horribly pressed for money just then, and 
half mad into the bargain with one thing and another ; 
so I altered the cheque to eighty pounds, knowing that 
I could repay Cracky after my marriage (which he 
knew about), and that he would forgive me when I 
should tell him all the circumstances. What should 
that meddling old Deare do but trouble his head 
about Cracky's affairs, and wrote to him to know 
what could be the reason of his paying so large a 
cheque to me as that of eighty pounds, which had 
been cashed two days before. Fortunately I was with 
C. W. when old Deare's letter came : he handed it to 
me, and was such a trump about the whole thing. 
He forgave me, and promised to help me in getting 
off with Peggy Lorton that very night. It seems some 
of the bank's people suspected that Cracky's cheque 
was not all right, and old Deare wrote with the inten- 



MISS FANSHAWE. 73 

tion of getting Cracky to admit that the original had 
been altered. I got a hint that the bank would 
prosecute, and so that same night I ran off with 
Peggy — who will have £40,000 when she comes of 
age, and who is nice as well as rich. Well, we got 
caught, and Peggy was taken back ; but we had been 
married two hours previously at a registrar's office at 

G . I could not insist upon going back with 

Peggy because of this bank business, which, of course, 
she knows nothing about. I shall have to go to 
prison for abducting a ward of Chancery, but that I 
don't so much mind, though, of course, it is a great 
nuisance losing my wife in that way. It is hard about 
the bank, as Cracky AVinton would not prosecute me ; 
but he is not quite of age, and that malignant old 
Deare is his guardian, and he is the prime mover in 
the business : the wickedness of elderly men is cer- 
tainly increasing everywhere. 

" I should tell you that it was those two miserable 
old Shallards, at whose school Peggy was a parlour 
boarder, that communicated with the Court of Chan- 
cery, and set the officers of that Court after us. ■ It's 
all envy, because no one ever wanted to elope with 
either of them, or marry them after the conventional 
tack. Please talk this over with the governor. Could 
you not manage to bring G. P." ("Grandpapa, he 
means," said the Colonel) " round ? A viscount might 
do something. Please write soon to this address — 
T. Thwacker, Esq., The Bruisings, 20 Holborn Bars, 
London. 



74 THE FAT OF THE LAKD. 

" P.S. — If you put a small ' o ' over the T., Thwacker 
will know that it is intended for me. I am dressed 
and blackened as a Kentucky serenader, and play the 
banjo after dark, so I am earning my board ; but you 
may be sure I am very miserable under my gay attire." 

" Dreadful, Ralph, is it not," said Mrs Leppell. " I 
wish Duke had expressed more regret, but I suppose 
he is trying to make light of the matter to spare my 
feelings — it must be that," said the poor mother, 
searching hopelessly to find some excuse for her eldest 
born ; " he must feel his position acutely." 

" Yes, that he must," answered Duke's father ; " the 
bare idea of that exquisite, Duke, being compelled to 
figure as a black strolling singer, dressed in striped 
pink stuff, like the coverings of the Heatherbys' draw- 
ing-room chairs, is enough to make us repudiate him 
altogether. But come, Adelaide," continued the Colo- 
nel, " cheer up. I will give my full consent to Moll's 
marrying young Clavering, and I will do it with a 
good grace ; so you see that will dispose of the bank 
business, if Glascott keeps his word." 

" He will ! " she retorted with some animation ; 
" Everard Glascott's word is better than many another 
man's bond. If I could only be sure that Mary will 
not be a sacrifice. I feel, I do not know why, that 
there is too much haste, too much barter, in this 
business." 

"Barter it is, and no mistake," returned Ealph. 
" That is Glascott's doing ; but are not daughters bar- 



MISS FANSHAWE. 75 

tered every day of our lives in some fashion or other ? 
You ought to be thankful that Moll has no admirer to 
reject or to put aside for this man. She half likes 
him evidently." 

" Half likes, yes ; but her mate should be some one 
warm, generous-hearted, and frank as herself. This 
Mr Clavering seems to have had no youth." 

" How do you know ? What nonsense women take 
into their heads. Why, don't you remember, Moll 
said that Lillian Fanshawe — that piece of ice-cream — 
was quite taken with him ; and mind you, Miss Lillian 
is rather fastidious — her last London campaign has 
not been thrown away upon her." 

" True ; I was rather glad to hear that," Mrs Leppell 
answered ; " but how about Duke's affairs ? I think 
you are taking this running away with a ward of 
Chancery rather too lightly. The officer who called 
here told me it was a very grave misdemeanour, 
and you see Duke himself speaks of his being im- 
prisoned for this escapade as a certain thing. He 
must have obtained some reliable information on the 
subject, for in the way Duke puts it, this seems to be 
inevitable. He would not write such news to his 
mother if it were not so." 

"Can't think why he did not manage that elope- 
ment better," the Colonel replied, pulling at his mous- 
tache ; " generally speaking, Duke is a cool hand, — 
this cheque business, I daresay, flurried and upset 
him." 

" I hope it did," Mrs Leppell answered, with a look 



76 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

of indignation. " Oh, Balph, I do not think you fully 
comprehend what a degrading, miserable business 
this is!" 

What Colonel Leppell would have replied to this it 
is quite impossible to say. It may be that he felt more 
indignation against his son than he cared to show ; 
but it was still more likely that, with the confidence 
of a sanguine temperament, he already regarded the 
bank affair as being entirely condoned, through the 
fortuitous circumstances which tended to conceal that 
disgraceful transaction. Moreover, he firmly believed 
that he was acting the part of a Eoman father in thus 
generously giving up his own plans and intentions 
with regard to his daughter's settlement in marriage, 
sublimely ignoring the fact that he actually stood in 
that position which is vulgarly defined as being " Hob- 
son's choice." 

Many circumstances in his own career had tended to 
blunt the Colonel's estimate of what most men regard 
as strict honour ; and it is to be feared that he ex- 
tended his indulgence towards a sinner against society 
very much in proportion to the chances of the delin- 
quent being astute, or lucky enough not to be found 
out. 

Flying feet, from the garden into the house, and 
then towards the door of the little bedroom, saved 
Colonel Leppell from the necessity of attending to his 
wife's last remark. This distraction was evidently a 
relief to him ; for he rose quickly, and had the door 
opened just as a hand from outside was on the lock. 



MISS FANSHAWE. 77 

" Holloa, Moll ! I thought it was you ; am I wanted ? " 
he inquired. 

" Oh, papa ! is not this fortunate ? " his daughter 
exclaimed. " Here is Lillian ; she is staying at the 
Braintrees' : they had a dinner-party last night ; and 
she has escaped Sarah Braintree, and walked out here. 
I am so pleased, for she can tell you all about him — 
Mr Clavering, I mean." 

" Where is she ? " said the Colonel, looking over the 
girl's head. 

" I left her in the garden, talking to the children. 
I thought I would run in and see if mamma would 
mind my bringing her in here." 

" Not in the least," Mrs Leppell answered for herself 
from the bed ; " wait a little, and tell Prothero to come 
and arrange the room. I don't know what can be 
wrong with me ; but I feel I cannot rise till later in 
the day. Ealph, go and receive Lillian, will you ? and 
tell her how unwell I am." 

The Colonel very willingly executed his wife's in- 
junction, and at once went out in search of the guest 
announced by the familiar name of Lillian. 

This young lady was not only an intimate friend of 
the Leppells, from the reason of her family being land- 
holders and inhabitants of the same county, but the 
nearer tie of school-fellowship had strengthened what 
had hitherto been but an ordinary pleasant acquaint- 
ance on the part of the two girls, Mary Leppell and 
Lillian Fanshawe. The latter, by virtue of one year's 
seniority, had made her cUbut some time earlier than 



78 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

her friend ; and being a lady of great observation, reti- 
cence, and self-command, she comported herself with 
all the ease and savoir /aire which is often greatly 
lacking in matrons double Miss Fanshawe's age. 
These qualifications, combined with a cold manner, 
which was marvellously counteracted by the sweetness 
of her voice and the speaking expression of a pair of 
glorious eyes, served to furnish her with society's pass- 
port of being a very superior young woman. 

The position which Lillian Fanshawe held, and the 
circumstances of her life perhaps more than her natu- 
ral temperament, had, from a very early age, served, 
as it were, to force and harden every instinct which 
might incline to ensure success in life, and to repress 
every tender and gentle feeling which other training 
might have encouraged and helped forward. Her 
father combined the two dissimilar posts of country 
clergyman and county gentleman ; and as the income 
arising from both sources was insufficient to maintain 
a family of fourteen children in tolerable comfort, the 
struggle between the spirituals and the temporals was 
a matter of daily occurrence. This arose chiefly from 
the fact that, whilst Mr Fanshawe would have been 
satisfied to reside at his rectory, and live as a country 
clergyman should live, his whole family, including 
their mother, were endowed — by Providence possibly 
— with a much greater zest for the flesh-pots of Egypt 
than for the frugal habits and comparatively retired 
life which a residence at the rectory of Pinnacles 
would have required. , 



MISS FAXSHAWE. 79 

" Your cousin has died just in the nick of time," 
Mrs Fanshawe remarked, when the letter announcing 
the demise of the bachelor relative which made Mr 
Fanshawe lord of the manor of Pinnacles Court was 
read through ; " the rectory is getting small for our 
family, and you would have had to build in another 
year. Of course we shall move to the Court at 
once." 

The rector did not think that move would be neces- 
sary. He reminded his spouse that the lamented de- 
ceased had not lived, unfortunately, long enough to 
pay off all the mortgages with which the property 
was encumbered, and added, that he feared that there 
was very little ready money left to enable them to 
keep up Pinnacles Court. He also admonished Mrs 
Fanshawe, as delicately as he could, that, in conse- 
quence of some remarks which she had made with 
regard to his late relative's personal appearance, 
and which were the reverse of complimentary, she 
must not be disappointed if neither the one nor the 
other of them was named in the special bequests and 
legacy portion of the will, and that it would be as well 
if she would at once make up her mind to accept pleas- 
antly the fact that all the articles of female adornment, 
in the shape of very valuable jewels, would become the 
sole possession of their respected aunt, Susannah Fan- 
shawe, aged sixty-six, to dispose of as might seem good 
unto that childless widow of the house. 

" But surely your cousin Gilbert might have remem- 
bered our girls : he knew how many we have, and 



80 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

that it is not likely that we could give them valu- 
able jewelry." 

" Oh, he knew all that," answered the rector, " but 
you are well aware he did not care a button either 
for them or for us; consequently, he will not have 
left anything more in our direction than what he was 
actually obliged to leave. Besides, during the nine 
years that Gilbert occupied the Court, he lived up to 
every penny of the income. It would be pleasant for 
me, certainly, to live in the home of my forefathers," 
continued the rector, thoughtfully ; " but I fear this 
step would only hamper us, and render the ordinary 
struggle of life more difficult." 

" Not at all," the rector's wife replied, with all the 
readiness of a woman of resource. " To occupy the 
Court would give you at once the position which will 
be so necessary when the girls are introduced. You 
know what the world is. Why not let the rectory ? — 
this house, I mean. It is large and commodious enough 
for any moderate - sized family, and its being seven 
miles from Yarne gives a county tone to the pro- 
perty. It would just suit some of the merchants of 
Yarne, who would like to have their country house. 
It need not be called Pinnacles Eectory ; change the 
name to Beaudesir, or, as you object to foreign names, 
why not call it the ' Betreat ' ? " 

"Nice retreat for a Yarne shopkeeper from eight 
at night to seven in the morning," growled the rector, 
" and a mile to get to the railway. Still, your idea 



MISS FANSHAWE. 81 

is feasible, and the mercantile class of all degrees can 
afford a high rent. Mind, I won't have the house let 
to any genteel paupers ; I prefer substantial commer- 
cials. But what about the curate ? I must keep 
one, now that the Bishop has decided to amalgamate 
Brockenhurst with Pinnacles." 

" Oh, the curate must be single, and very young — his 
first place, in fact. He can live in two rooms down 
in the village ; old Mrs Skrimpshire has the very 
thing, and, of course, I will see that the young man 
is comfortable, and has all he wants. I think the 
sooner we make up our minds about moving the bet- 
ter, and when you come to reflect on the matter, you 
will see that it is due to yourself and to your family 
that you should at once occupy the family seat of 
the Fanshawes." 

So they did make up their minds, and the result 
of that effort was an immediate move to Pinnacles 
Court as a local habitation. The rectory was also let 
satisfactorily and permanently to a merchant, not of 
Yarne but of London town, as a residence for his 
invalid imbecile sister and her nurse. In spite of the 
rector's objection to foreign nomenclature, he was 
obliged to accept his tenant as Mr John La Touche, 
and the new name of Pinnacles Eectory as " Esperanza." 
The proper kind of curate came to hand, and thus, 
from the time that Lillian was twelve years of age, 
she had been accustomed to hear all the family plans 
and those of others correlative with thesfe discussed 

vol. I. F 



82 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

and turned to account, and was thereby more advanced 
in the art of keeping up appearances than many a 
grandmother of seventy years. 

Added to this, there had never been any sympathy 
betwixt Lillian and her mother ; and as the latter 
prided herself upon her sincerity, and, under the 
mantle of this delusion, permitted herself to say the 
most insulting and impertinent things to and about 
society, individually and collectively, it was not to be 
wondered at that, as the girl grew older, she should 
become reserved and cold, and resolutely set herself 
against offering any opening for the exercise of Mrs 
Fanshawe's satire in regard to herself. Her mind, 
naturally logical and reflective, could not balance with 
any degree of satisfaction the mixture of the clerical 
maxims and worldly practices which, as years and 
children progressed, permeated the whole life at 
Pinnacles Court, and, as a natural consequence, 
everything connected with parish work and the 
duties of a clergyman and his family were not 
only distasteful, but highly repellent, to Miss Lillian 
Fanshawe. 

The refining influence of a first-class school had 
imparted a charm to this young lady's manners which, 
combined with her attractive appearance and self- 
possession, caused her to be much appreciated in the 
society wherein she moved ; and a curious, indescrib- 
able resemblance which she bore to Mrs Leppell had 
early enlisted Mary's warm regard towards her in 
the closer intimacy of their school-life. Indeed this 



MISS FANSHAWE. 83 

likeness was so strong that, on the younger lady's 
visits to Hunter's Lodge, strangers had invariably 
greeted her as one of the daughters of the house. 

The great difference in this resemblance was, that 
in proportion as the lower part of Mrs Leppell's face 
was remarkable for a decided weakness of expression, 
which was enhanced by a hesitation in her speech 
whenever she became hurried or agitated, Lillian's 
mouth and chin were conspicuous by an air of resolu- 
tion, which dominated every curve of those features. 
Her speech, clear and incisive, was modulated to the 
tone of a well-tempered bell, each sound falling like 
a touch on the ear, distinct and always sweet. Both 
of these ladies possessed the same fine cast of head 
and throat, and the dignified tread of the Castilian 
peasant rather than the hurry - scurry step which 
is the usual factor in the locomotive power of the 
majority of English women. 

That Lillian was a great favourite of the Colonel 
was also a recommendation to her in his wife's eyes : 
she could say and did say so much in her quiet 
polite fashion, and always said her say with unerring 
tact and reason, so that more than once a domestic 
storm, which rose in blackness and fury, had sailed 
right away and burst into space, thanks to the calm 
and astute manner in which a diversion in the in- 
terests of peace and common-sense had been effected 
by this young visitor in the house. 

The great secret of Miss Fanshawe's management 
of people lay in the fact that whilst seeing and 



84 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

hearing and fully understanding all that passed before 
her, she never appeared to know what it was intended 
that she should not know, or to see what it was 
supposed that she had not seen. She accepted every 
confidence that came in her way, but she never sought 
any, and, above all, Miss Fanshawe had never been 
guilty of the weakness of making a confidant on her 
own account, or troubling others with regard to her 
own affairs. 

The peculiar position which this young lady held 
in relation to her own home, was perhaps one reason 
why she always appeared to better advantage in the 
society of strangers, or of friends who were not in- 
timate with her family. The want of sympathy 
between her and her mother had existed almost 
from Lillian's birth ; and thus it was that, on arriving 
at woman's estate, a tacit arrangement sprung up that 
Lillian should visit as much from home as possible, 
and that, as she was naturally well able to conduct 
her own affairs, no interference would be offered in 
the event of her being able to make a settlement in 
life. 

Mrs Leppell had shown the girl many kindnesses, 
and had made Hunter's Lodge so pleasant a refuge 
from the indifference and slights which she experi- 
enced at home, that it was but natural Miss Fan- 
shawe should take every opportunity of seeking 
the society of those who so admired and appreciated 
her. 

It was not everybody that Colonel Leppell could 



MISS FANSHAWE. 85 

or would endure as an inmate, therefore Miss Fan- 
shawe's visit on this particular morning was singularly 
opportune. She was, in fact, the very person that 
each one of the family would like to see. So it was 
with unfeigned cordiality that the Colonel stepped 
forth into the garden to greet this early morning- 
visitor. 



86 



CHAPTER V. 

THE WORKING OF THE EAST WIND. 

" Welcome as flowers in May," called out the master 
of Hunter's Lodge, coming forward and taking Miss 
Fanshawe's two hands into his enormous grip. " Mrs 
Leppell is not at all well ; will see you presently, 
though. So you have walked out here from Yarne. 
Dined at the Braintrees' last night, Moll says ? " 

" Yes ; it was one of the regulation ecclesiastical 
feeds which prebends are, I believe, obliged to give 
when they come into residence. I was invited with 
papa, and to remain the night, for the trains did not 
suit our return to Pinnacles after the coffee. But we 
go back this afternoon ; and so after breakfast was 
over, I escaped Sarah Braintree, and walked here to 
see Moll." 

" See Moll, indeed ! and what about Moll's father ? 
You seem to forget that he always delights to wel- 
come a pretty girl," said the Colonel gallantly. 

" Of course," returned the lady, with the most 
deliberate accent, "you especially ought to think 



THE WORKING OF THE EAST WIND. 87 

yourself fortunate to possess a friend who is thought 
to resemble Mrs Leppell so strongly. I feel highly 
flattered that the likeness is so universally recog- 
nised," continued Miss Fanshawe, turning up her eyes, 
and looking as innocent as the proverbial lamb. 

" Haw, yes ; I admire my wife, of course — comes 
naturally — belongs to me — but we all like a change, 
you know. How did the dinner go off? Who was 
there ? I suppose it was rather a heavy business, 
eh ? " 

" The dinner was all very well, I suppose," returned 
the girl, with the indifference of her age with regard 
to this particular. "Everybody ate a good deal, I 
observed. Mr Wilby, judging by his looks and man- 
ner, seemed disappointed that he could not devour 
everything that was on the table." 

" Had you any music afterwards ? " inquired Mary. 
" Sarah Braintree sings." 

" Or fancies she does," returned Miss Fanshawe. 
li Xo ; the proceedings after dinner were rather lively. 
Some of the goody-goody women came in to tea, and 
after that " 

" They never had a dance ! " interrupted Miss Lep- 
pell, with profound amazement. 

" Dance ? no," answered her friend, with an air of 
superiority. " The tea, which was a special feast for 
the entertainment of these " 

" Ecclesiastical jackals," supplemented the Colonel. 

" Ecclesiastical jackals," continued the girl, gravely, 
" was rather a long business, for during its progress a 



88 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

conference went on regarding the establishment of a 
Dorcas Society in Yarne. I was much amused at 
hearing some of the experiences of these women when 
collecting money for this object." 

" Dorcas — Dorcas. There was a very good-looking 
Quakeress of that name who sold sausages in Wur- 
stede years ago ; are they getting up a fund for her ? " 
inquired the Colonel. 

" Oh no, papa ! " explained Miss Leppell ; " it's the 
woman in the Bible " 

" She's been dead ages ago," answered the parent. 
" They are not surely going to put up a monument to 
her at this time of day ! " 

" No, no," insisted the visitor ; " let me explain. A 
Dorcas Society is the name adopted by any circle of 
ladies who meet together to work for the poor. They 
supply the materials, and the garments so made are 
given to the most needy and deserving. Money is, of 
course, required to buy the materials out of which the 
clothes are made up, hence the necessity for gathering 
subscriptions to establish a fund. The Society takes 
its name from the charitable woman we read of in the 
Bible. You remember now, don't you ? " 

" Yes, I think I do," answered the Colonel, hesitat- 
ingly. " Didn't she make a little coat and show it to 
somebody, and then give it to Samuel, eh ? " 

" You are mixing two occurrences together, Colonel. 
The woman who made the one little coat was Samuel's 
own mother, whereas Dorcas worked for all, whose sole 
claim to help was their poverty." 



THE WORKING OF THE EAST WIND. 89 

" Wish somebody would come and make clothing 
for my family," said Colonel Leppell. " Our bills for 
drapery are enough to scare a regiment. But still the 
ancients were quite justified in being proud of Dorcas. 
Why, it was all hand-work her industry." 

" The sewing-machine certainly did not exist at that 
time," returned Miss Fanshawe. "But I advise you to 
read up the history of Dorcas, for I fancy you will, 
among others, be called upon to support this excel- 
lent and deserving charity, as the prospectus scheme 
has it." 

" Well, then, I won't," replied the officer ; " neither 
shall Moll. The whole thing will drift into a female 
gossiping club, the pious dodge covering its sins." 

" I can't agree with you, Colonel," returned his 
visitor. " The arrangements preclude everything of 
the sort ; and Mrs Braintree has, my father says, 
shown great business proclivities in the way she pro- 
poses to carry out the plan. The sewing-party will 
meet once a- week only, at the house of one of the sub- 
scribers, where vigorous stitching will go on for three 
hours. During that time some interesting book will 
be read aloud, the readers taking turns every half- 
hour." 

" Do you think the society would invite you to read 
to its members, papa ? " inquired Mary, with an arch 
look at Lillian. 

" Don't turn your parent into ridicule," admonished 
Colonel Leppell, looking fondly at his daughter. " But 
I tell you what, if they will get up a meeting for help- 



90 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

ing poor soldiers, I would not mind taking the chair, 
and making a speech " 

" And making a mess of the whole thing," thought 
Miss Fanshawe, mentally completing the sentence. 
However, she merely said, "Why not consult Mrs 
Braintree ? her forte lies in getting up meetings." 

" Never mind the meetings now, Lillian," interposed 
Miss Leppell ; " but tell us what it was that caused 
you so much amusement in the proceedings of last 
night." 

" I have already told you that it was decided to raise 
money by soliciting subscriptions both in town and 
country for the purpose of starting the society. Mrs 
Syrop, that obsequious woman who is always talking 
about her privileges, undertook, some days ago, in the 
character of old inhabitant, to accompany Sarah Brain- 
tree, in the character of daughter of Canon in residence, 
to make a house-to-house collection for this purpose." 

" Most abominable impudence !" shouted the Colonel. 
" The law ought to put these things down. What 
right have people to invade their neighbours' houses 
and bully or cajole them into giving money for carry- 
ing on their particular whims, pious or otherwise. 
They never come near Hunter's Lodge, though." 

" Fortunately for them," answered Miss Fanshawe. 
"But where do you think these ladies did go, and that 
in spite of warning and the expostulation of the 
others ? " 

" Can't imagine : possibly to the lunatic asylum 
or to the city jail." 



THE WORKING OF THE EAST WIND. 91 

"To neither of these. What do you think of an 
invasion of Catalonia ? " 

" Catalonia ! What ? the residence of old Miss 
Elmore ! You don't mean to tell me that they had 
the effrontery to intrude upon her," exclaimed the 
Colonel. 

" They must have known," said Mary, " that Miss 
Elmore makes it a rule never to set her name down on 
any subscription-list, and all begging-letters she in- 
variably throws into the waste-paper basket." 

'■ Jolly old woman ! " interrupted the Colonel ; " she 
gave me five pounds for my sick soldier." 

" Which you got because you managed to let her 
know of the case without asking her for aid ; so con- 
tradiction has its advantages sometimes. However, 
our friends, knowing that when Miss Elmore does 
give, she gives liberally, determined to provide her 
with an opportunity of exercising her benevolence. 
They set off early one morning to Catalonia, strong in 
the intention of divesting Miss Elmore of five guineas, 
the sum which they intended she should contribute." 

" Deuced cool, I think," remarked Colonel Leppell. 

" The ladies were admitted, and shown into a dark 
oak parlour. They were kept waiting some time, but 
employed themselves in inspecting the old china which 
decorated that apartment. I gather from their own 
admission that they yielded to the temptation of 
coveting and desiring their neighbour's crockery." 

"Einest collection of china in the county," said 
Colonel Leppell. " I don't blame 'em for that." 



92 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

"At last Miss Elmore presented herself, with the 
cards, in her hand and a look of unconcealed amaze- 
ment on her face. Making a most elaborate curtsey 
to each of her visitors, and waving them to be seated, 
although she stood herself, she looked at the cards and 
read aloud, ' Mrs Syrop and Miss Braintree,' and then 
inquired, ' Pray, who may Mrs Syrop and Miss Brain- 
tree be ? I have not the honour of knowing these 
names.' " 

" Fine old lady ! " ejaculated the Colonel. " She 
knew the names as well as you and I know them. 
Fancy the disgust of Miss Braintree — haw ! " 

" The ladies seem to have been very much repelled 
by this reception," Miss Fanshawe continued ; " but 
after a moment's silence, Mrs Syrop, as the elder and 
the matron, explained their position and their mission. 
She pleaded the cause of the Dorcas Society, and 
avowed her conviction that Miss Elmore, both as a 
woman and a Christian, could not reject its claims." 

" That was very well put," said Mary. 

"'Dorcas, Dorcas!' at length answered the old 
lady ; ' do you mean to tell me, Mrs Syrop and Miss 
Braintree, that you have the presumption to compare 
yourselves with that good woman we read of in the 
Scriptures ? — a woman who kept at home and minded 
her sewing, and never, I am sure, routed up strangers 
at unearthly hours in the morning.' " 

" What did they say ? How very uncomfortable 
they must have felt ! " said Mary Leppell. 

"They disclaimed, of course, all intention of com- 



THE WORKING OF THE EAST WIND. 93 

paring themselves with Dorcas, but averred that they 
would like in a humble way to imitate her ; and they 
ventured to appeal to Miss Elmore to supply the funds 
to enable them to carry out their aspirations. Their 
humility was of no avail. Miss Elmore waved her 
hand and replied, ' I give my alms to whom I please, 
and — there's the door.' So saying, she walked out, and 
left the couple plants la. You may imagine," continued 
Miss Fanshawe, "the indignation with which this 
story was received last night, and the comments there- 
upon. I assure you, it made the evening quite lively." 

" Here comes Bothero ! " exclaimed the Colonel. " I 
suppose Mrs Leppell will see Miss Eanshawe now ? " 
he continued, turning towards that personage. 

•Mrs Leppell is taking some beef-tea, sir; but she 
would be glad if Miss Fanshawe would look in upon 
my mistress for a few moments. Lady Asher feels it 
quite lonely, for nobody has been to sit with her this 
morning." 

Of course Miss Fanshawe would be delighted, but 
said that she must not remain long ; she had promised 
to be back for the Braintrees' luncheon, which was at 
half-past one o'clock. Mary accompanied her friend, 
but as yet there had been neither time nor opportunity 
for the girls to have a chat, only Miss Leppell had 
managed to intimate that she had something particular 
to say to Lillian. " Walk back part of the way with 
me," said Miss Fanshawe, in an undertone, in reply ; 
" you can have it all out comfortably then : now for 
grandmamma." 



94 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

A visit to Lady Asher was not a very lively enter- 
tainment in itself ; she was one of those women who 
never read, never worked, and had very little conver- 
sation of any sort. 

Dressed as became her time of life, by the taste and 
common-sense of her maid, she often sat for hours in 
the same position, with a hand-screen shading her face 
in the winter from the fire, in the summer from the 
sun ; and if she did contemplate any object in parti- 
cular, it must have been the portrait of her late hus- 
band, which hung above the mantelpiece. Perhaps, 
also, the old lady felt comfort and security in the 
knowledge that her son-in-law seldom entered her 
apartments, and that to lie upon her sofa and be still 
was a luxury which Mrs Leppell could generally 
count upon, when the Colonel was more than usu- 
ally overbearing and quarrelsome. Here did Henri- 
etta, by the favour of Prothero, hold interviews with 
her lover, and arrange for her flight and marriage, 
after having vainly attempted to induce her father to 
bestow the consent which he had at first given and 
then withdrawn. Lady Asher had, in her passive 
way, however, done much to alleviate the numerous 
trials which were the outcome of her daughter's mar- 
riage with Colonel Leppell ; and if this lady had never 
actually expressed regret for the manner in which she 
had brought about this union, it was evident that 
she did her best, in late years especially, to atone to 
Adelaide for the great wrong which she had prompted 
her to commit. Her ladyship had paid pretty dearly 



THE WORKING OF THE EAST WIND. 95 

for the honour of the Hieover alliance, inasmuch as 
more than half her fortune had been absorbed in loans 
to Colonel Leppell, and the frequent payment of his 
debts, all of which was accepted as a matter of course. 
At length common prudence, in the person of Prothero 
for councillor, and legal restraint, by the action of a 
firm of lawyers, who, seizing a moment of exasperation, 
opportunely improved that occasion for Lady Asher's 
especial benefit, combined to sink the greater part of 
what remained of her fortune in the purchase of a large 
annuity, leaving what represented about one hundred 
a-year for her ladyship to be further cajoled or bullied 
out of. But the worm had turned ; and as the legal 
advisers had succeeded in convincing their client that 
to give or lend one farthing more would be but a pre- 
liminary step to the workhouse and a beggar's grave, 
Lady Asher henceforth adopted and played the role of 
genteel pauper with great success. 

" You can tell Ealph, with my compliments," said the 
old lady to her daughter, after enduring that gentle- 
man's reproaches for what he was pleased to term her 
underhand conduct for the space of half an hour, " that 
as long as he behaves himself he shall enjoy the pro- 
ceeds of my annuity in payment for my accommoda- 
tion, and so forth, at Hunter's Lodge. He can visit me 
now and then during the week, if he likes ; but I will 
hear no more of bills and demands for money, — I am 
too poor now, and must take to wearing old clothes. 
Oh, Adelaide ! just think what your dear father would 
say, if he could look up and see me wearing an old 



96 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

black silk, with its rents covered up by means of 
bands of broad velvet, and after leaving all his money 
entirely at my disposal too ! " 

All that Adelaide could do was to reply that she 
was very sorry, and express her thankfulness that her 
father had made her own settlement so stringent, — 
" but you know, mother," she said one day, " I give up 
every penny of my income; I only get what Ealph 
chooses to let me have : but I will put up with any- 
thing for peace's sake." In these confidences never 
had the name of Everard Glascott passed the lips 
of either lady : they heard of him indirectly, at long 
intervals, and Lady Asher sometimes wondered if 
her daughter, in her heart, regretted her early love ; 
but this reflection only glimmered on Lady Asher 's 
soul after the blazon of the Hieover connection had 
become dim, and the pressure of lack of money was 
casting a shadow over both their lives. Then the 
mother thought of Everard Glascott, and confessed 
that she had done the thing which she ought not 
to have done. Of this, however, she never spoke, and 
even Prothero only knew that Adelaide had not 
married her first love, and that Colonel Leppell, 
according to both these ladies, had not fulfilled the 
promise of his earlier days. 

As it generally befalls those persons who give a 
great deal of trouble, and are the cause of universal 
anxiety, those around Lady Asher were most de- 
voted, not only in sparing her any inconvenience to 
which her infirmity of severe lameness might expose 



THE WORKING OF THE EAST WIND. 97 

her, but also in saving her from annoyance and agita- 
tion of every description ; and if it were imperative 
that any adverse or uncomfortable communication 
must be made to her, Prothero was invariably dele- 
gated to perform this duty. She knew the old lady's 
ways, it was urged, and exactly what to say and what 
to leave unsaid. Mrs Leppell often made use of Pro- 
thero's services in the like event, because she thereby 
escaped the indignant commentaries which both mis- 
tress and maid were wont to pour forth when Colonel 
Leppell's " difficulties " were the subject of considera- 
tion. 

" After all, Ealph is fond of me after his own 
fashion," the wife argued to herself, " and those peo- 
ple in the wing are sometimes too hard on him," — 
" those people in the wing " having special reference to 
Lady Asher and her maid, together with their habitat. 

Mrs Leppell had already told Prothero as much as 
she thought fit concerning Duke and the unsuccessful 
issue of his elopement. She limited her confidence at 
this point, and begged the attendant to convey this 
piece of news to grandmamma, and to tell the old lady 
that she would talk the matter over with her at her 
early dinner, at which she would join her at two 
o'clock. Mrs Leppell alleged that it was the visit 
of the officer of the Chancery Court which had 
made her ill, and also the severity of the east wind. 
" Don't alarm my mother into coining to see me," 
she continued, " but go into the garden and ask Miss 
Fanshawe to visit her before she comes to me." 

VOL. I. G 



98 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

" Very well, ma'am," Prothero replied, not believing 
a word about the east wind, and feeling convinced 
that something more than the elopement must figure 
in the sum of Duke's iniquities. 

The extraordinary clause in the morning prayers 
which had been introduced for that young gentleman's 
especial benefit had been repeated to Prothero with 
wonderful accuracy ; and this, together with his 
mother's great distress, convinced her that Marma- 
cluke had stolen or pawned some of the regimental 
plate in order to pay the expenses of the wedding- 
tour. Like the majority of her sex, Prothero was apt 
to jump at conclusions, but she rarely allowed her 
conclusions to jump beyond her own brain — a piece of 
wisdom which many women would do well to imitate. 

Miss Panshawe, accompanied by Mary, paid her 
visit to grandmamma, and was cordially welcomed 
by that lady, who was always glad to see her, for she 
reminded her of what Adelaide had been in her early 
years. Lady Asher's infirmity prevented her getting 
about at pleasure, and she was always gratified when 
youth and freshness came to seek her. The girls had 
brought some early spring flowerets in with them — 
flowerets so scarce yet, that a whole bunch of one 
kind could not be collected together ; but sweet 
violets, and here and there a ball of the delicate 
hepatica, which had early put forth its head in thank- 
fulness for being planted under a sunny wall, in com- 
pany with their delicate sister primrose, told the sweet 



THE WORKING OF THE EAST WIND. 99 

story that the winter was gone, and that colour and 
greenness had begun to deck the earth. No wonder 
that the breath of Spring incensed the aged lady's 
room, as these fair girls brought with them the bless- 
ing of her children, the new-born flowers. 

So they talk cheerfully, and G. M. (as she is fami- 
liarly abbreviated by her descendants) hears with 
considerable gusto the story of old Miss Elmore and 
the Dorcas Society's pioneers. Lady Asher has no 
ill-feeling towards the present people who take the 
lead in society ; but she thoroughly enjoys, with her 
silent laugh, the fact that one of her own generation 
is well up to the mark, and is so much better able to 
take care of her purse than she herself had been. 
There was also a point gained in the suppression of 
Sarah Braintree, however short that suppression 
might be. The Canon's daughter had once been 
taken into the " wing " of Hunter's Lodge, and that 
visit resulted in Lady Asher pronouncing Sarah to 
be an audacious young female, and a disgrace to the 
cloth ; and further, in insisting that under no circum- 
stances whatever must the said . audacious female be 
allowed to again enter that portion of the house. No 
wonder, then, that on this particular morning Miss 
Fanshawe's advent was especially acceptable. 

Prothero soon comes with a message from Mrs 
Leppell to the effect that she is sorry to hurry Miss 
Fanshawe, but that time is getting on, and she much 
wishes to see that young lady alone. Miss Fanshawe 



100 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

rises to take leave, and Mary says in a low voice, 
"Mamma wants to tell you about me, so I'll stay 
here. Let me know when you go, as I can walk part 
of the way back with you, as I proposed to do — that 
is, if you really can't stay ? " 

"Impossible, my dear. It was really good of Mrs 
Braintree to excuse me, and I promised to return to 
luncheon : besides, if I am not punctual, papa would 
not take me out with him again, and I enjoy visiting 
with him alone, he is always so much nicer without 
mamma." This was said in a sweet equable tone, 
quite as a matter of course ; and then Miss Fanshawe 
took her leave. 

« Very superior girl that," remarked the old lady, 
looking after her. " Now, my dear, Prothero is busy 
getting up my laces and spring things, so I would be 
glad if you would arrange the room a little, and put 
those flowers in water, and see to the hyacinths ; they 
are beginning to sprout, and want a little water added 
in their glasses. Your father takes all the newspapers 
into that horrid den of his. I wish he would leave 
the ' Illustrated ' alone ; that is my own private paper, 
and I hate looking at pictures smelling of tobacco — 
nasty, low, vulgar habit — I mean smoking in a room ; 
but I suppose ' dens ' of all kinds are more or less 
objectionable. And, by the way, I wish you would 
write to Furbishe about my new bonnet ; it must be 
made of good material, and to cover my head. / am 
not going about with a rosette of lace for crown, and a 
lily and a string for finish, as so many old hags now- 



THE WORKING OF THE EAST WIND. 101 

adays are so fond of doing. It's wicked, my dear, 
and the Government ought to interfere, and shut up 
these old women." 

" Anything more about the bonnet, grandmamma ? " 

" Only that it is not to be very expensive," returned 
the senior lady. " I can't afford fine clothes nowadays, 
but I will look respectable and like my time of life. 
Here comes Prothero with my glass of wine and bis- 
cuit. I am glad to get it, Prothero," continued Lady 
Asher, as the attendant placed the tray on the table ; 
" but you might have had the sense to bring some hot 
water. The wind is in the east, and it pierces me 
through. No wonder Mrs Leppell has to remain in 
bed. Put some more wood on the fire, and get me a 
wrapping-shawl, please. And is there no soup ? I 
would rather have soup to-day ; just see if there is 
any nearly ready." 

Prothero avowed there was none even in progress — 
Mrs Leppell had been content with beef -tea. The maid 
continued, " But I will go and get some hot water, 
and add a little wine to this, my lady. This weather 
upsets everybody ; even Miss Mary there is not look- 
ing her best." 

The additional comfort being brought, Prothero 
speedily vanished, fearful of being detained on other 
service ; for, as Dick Leppell remarked on one occa- 
sion, G. M. could find work out of nothing for two 
stout niggers, and never think then that she had got 
enough waiting out of them. 

The ' Illustrated ' being found, happily, in an im- 



102 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

maculate state, its owner sunk back into her chair, 
turning over the engravings of that newspaper with 
deliberation, and enjoying the refreshments which 
were daily brought to her at half -past eleven o'clock. 
Mary, feeling convinced that the east wind was the 
cause of her grandmother's being so exacting on this 
morning, set to work to obey the old lady's behests, 
rather pleased than otherwise that occupation had 
been supplied her which would in no wise disturb the 
current of her thoughts. 

It often happens that when the body is fully active, 
the spirit acts in unison and works freely ; and as we 
none of us can properly reflect or meditate to order, 
outside distractions often come in friendly guise, and, 
by setting the exterior case in motion, give play to the 
machinery which is pent up within. The girl ful- 
filled all her relative's injunctions with the greatest 
accuracy ; but her mind was concentrated on one sole 
subject, and the burden of it was this : " In spite of 
all mamma said, I am sure she wishes me to accept 
Mr Clavering. What can be the reason ? Everybody 
hitherto has always talked as if I were to be a grand- 
duchess at least." 

Whilst Mary is wondering and weighing her own 
inclinations and her duty, and hoping in all her inno- 
cence and truth that the Father in heaven will guide 
her aright, Lillian Fanshawe is in deep conference 
with Mrs Leppell ; and as the east wind has affected 
the Colonel so strongly that he has been obliged to 
seek refreshment in the shape of good warm ale in the 



THE WORKING OF THE EAST WIND. 103 

privacy of his den, that gentleman leaves his wife's 
room as soon as he has seen Miss Fanshawe safely 
within that apartment. 

" It is not often that I am to be found in bed at 
this hour, Lillian," said Mrs Leppell, smiling and try- 
ing to look at ease ; " but I have not been well for 
some time, and this east wind has, I think, got quite 
a hold upon me. I am so glad you have come, for I 
want to speak to you about Mary." 

" Moll gave me a hint that you had something to 
say to me about her," Miss Fanshawe replied ; " but 
she had no opportunity of giving me a clue to the 
subject. However, where Moll is concerned, it is easy 
to draw a conclusion, so I will say at once that I shall 
be truly, heartily delighted to be taken in to dinner 
some day behind Lady Willows." 

The girl's eyes, bright with right goodwill and 
friendship, arrested Mrs Leppell's attention, and she 
involuntarily congratulated herself that Mary had so 
staunch a friend — so genuine and so free from envy, 
the good lady thought. She even felt regret at having 
to tell her visitor how far wide of the mark her con- 
clusions had fallen. 

" You are wrong, Lillian," she said, after a moment's 
pause. " The Willows event has been predicted and 
expected by more than yourself ; but it has turned to 
moonshine. Lord Willows has paid Mary a good deal 
of attention certainly, but he has never gone further 
than that. I think myself that he has been trying to 
spin out the time till he could come forward with pro- 



104 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

priety. You know he has been hardly seven months 
a widower, and it would be scarcely the thing to make 
marriage proposals so much within the year. How- 
ever, that does not matter, for Moll no more cares for 
Lord Willows than she cares for any other Tom, Dick, 
or Harry." 

" I can believe that," Lillian answered ; " but I 
had no idea that there was any one else seriously in 
the field, and the Colonel evidently favoured Lord 
Willows." 

" Oh, the Colonel," replied his wife ; " one never can 
quite depend upon him — these matters go just as the 
whim seizes him. He encouraged Lord Willows and 
made a fuss about him, more to keep off ineligibles 
than anything else, and he had taken into his head 
that Mary must marry a title, or at least some one 
with a handle to his name. Now the man who has 
actually proposed for Mary has no handle to his name, 
and circumstances oblige us both to be thankful that 
she holds this gentleman in some esteem, at any rate. 
Now, Lillian dear, you have so much influence with the 
child, and she has such faith in your opinion, that I 
want you to talk this over and induce her to accept 
Mr Clavering at once." 

" Clavering ! " replied Miss Fanshawe, with a percep- 
tible start of surprise — " Clavering ; not that gentle- 
man, surely, who was visiting in the county last 
autumn, and who is rather celebrated as a scientific 
lecturer ? " 

" The same. Of course it is not a good match ; but 



THE WORKING OF THE EAST WIND. 105 

you will understand, when I tell you all, why it is 
imperative that the engagement must take place. Our 
reasons are most cogent; and Mr Clavering is to be 
here in the afternoon." 

" Here this afternoon ? " the girl repeated mechan- 
ically — " here this afternoon, did you say ? " 

" Yes ; he only arrived in Yarne last night. We 
had letters this morning." 

" It seems — sudden," returned Lillian. " Oh, I am 
so cold ; this east wind has chilled me. Let me sit, 
please, where that ray of sun is slanting ; it is more 
genial than the fire." 

" Why, Lillian, you are as pale as death. Eing, and 
order some hot wine and water. I ought to have 
thought of it, for you have been a long time walking 
and going from place to place. Oh, I hear the Colonel ! 
he said he would come back, for he wants to speak to 
you about Duke. There's trouble about him — Duke, 
I mean — and we knew we could tell you, and trust 
you about everything." 

The Colonel came in, and his first observation was 
directed to the face of his visitor. " You have caught 
a chill, Lillian," he said. " I will go and fetch you a 
glass of sherry." 

" No, no," the girl answered ; " I would rather you 
would mull me some of your elder wine, and let me 
have it strong and hot. Lady Asher's room is always 
kept so warm, and I think I feel the difference of 
temperature from being so much in the air." 

The Colonel was an adept at concocting this mix- 



106 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

ture, which should be always simmered in a silver 
saucepan. This utensil had been used lately for 
warming some mess for the bull-terrier pup, and had 
to be routed out of the den and cleaned before 
it could be made to serve its legitimate purpose. 
" Bother this east wind ! " the kitchen-maid had ex- 
claimed, when called upon to furbish the silver 
saucepan and bring it to Mrs Leppell's room. " I 
can't think what ails the people, — the Colonel must 
needs have warm ale, on account of the east wind, 
and have it warmed with a red-hot poker stood up- 
right in the middle of the jug : what next, I am 
wondering ? " 

11 Never you mind," replied the cook, " but do as 
you are told, and be quick about it. East wind is 
very bad for us all : my back is splitting with pain, — 
I think I shall follow the Colonel's example ; so put 
the poker into the fire, and I will have some warm 
ale to keep the wind out too." 

Time and patience brought the pan and the neces- 
sary ingredients for making mulled elder wine. A 
good tumbler of this most excellent and simple restor- 
ative completely revived Miss Fanshawe, and she 
was able to receive the confidence of her friends with 
becoming interest and attention. Still she was very 
silent, and did not express even ordinary astonishment 
at the recital of Duke's evil doings. 

" You are horrified at what I am telling you," Mrs 
Leppell said, " but you are too good to say so. Now 
you see," she continued, " why I want you to get 



THE WORKING OF THE EAST WIND. 107 

Mary to accept Mr Clavering at once ; there must be 
no delay about it, you perceive." 

" Does Mary know anything about this bank busi- 
ness \ " Lillian inquired, after reflecting a little. 

" Xot a word," the Colonel interrupted. " They 
all know there is something amiss with Duke, but, of 
course, that I shall put down to the elopement en- 
tirely. If the bank affair could only be hushed up, I 
am not so afraid of the other case after all, — that is 
only contempt of Court — haw ! " 

" Yes ; but contempt of the Court of Chancery is 
rather more serious than you seem to think. I do 
not wish to alarm you unnecessarily," continued Miss 
Fanshawe, whose colour had now returned, "but I 
must tell you that Duke has committed himself most 
egregiously. A circumstance of this kind took place 
a few years ago in my mother's family, and as it 
was much discussed when I was at home during a 
vacation, I am not mistaken in what I now tell you. 
The gentleman in the case to which I refer eloped 
with a ward of Chancery, and married her in some 
church or chapel, somehow and somewhere. The 
couple were surprised before they could reach the 
Continent, and they were compelled to go through the 
marriage ceremony again, with proper witnesses, by 
order of the Court. After that, the lady was sent to 
the care of some especially appointed guardian, and 
the bridegroom was imprisoned for nine months. 
Furthermore, the lady's money was so settled that the 
husband could never touch it, or make it available for 



108 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

his own purposes in any way ; and I believe he could 
only enjoy as much of the income as his wife chose to 
allow him during her life. At the termination of the 
imprisonment, the gentleman was required to make an 
apology to the Court for his contempt, and he was 
lectured and rebuked in the most severe manner 
at the same time. In fact, the course of humili- 
ation which the bridegroom underwent would re- 
quire a life of devotion on the part of his wife to 
atone for." 

" But this girl went off with Duke of her own 
accord, — of course she did," answered the Colonel, 
argumentatively. 

" Very likely ; but that makes no difference in the 
eye of the law. She is not of age, and till then she 
cannot marry, I am almost certain, without the Lord 
Chancellor's consent." 

" If Duke could manage to get off abroad some- 
where, and hide till the girl comes of age," inquired 
Mrs Leppell, " do you think the Court of Chancery 
could touch him ? " 

" I cannot say ; but would not such a proceeding 
oblige him to leave the army ? No ; my humble 
advice is, let your son surrender himself at once to 
the Court of Chancery and abide the result. His 
offence is not a crime, and imprisonment on this 
account would not oblige him to lose caste in society. 
The more you think of it, the clearer you will perceive 
the utter folly of an escape out of the country, even 



THE WORKING OF THE EAST WIND. 109 

if it could be effected successfully. His wife would be 
prevented from joining him, and until she came of 
age, his would be a life of subterfuge without any 
compensating result. Depend upon it, the more 
politic plan will be for Duke to surrender himself at 
once." 



no 



CHAPTER VI. 



THE BANKS OF THE YAR. 



So counselled this young Daniel, and the two grown- 
up children who listened pondered over and weighed 
her words as if a Queen's Counsel was pleading before 
them. 

During a pause the husband and wife conjointly 
avowed their utter ignorance of the law. Mrs Leppell 
was sure that her son had no intention of treating the 
Lord Chancellor with disrespect ; the Colonel could 
answer for Duke that he did not know that dignitary 
by sight. 

"You had better consult a lawyer immediately," 
Miss Fanshawe urged. "Mind," continued she, "I 
have only given you an account of what happened 
within my own knowledge ; in some of the details I 
may be in error. I am, however, certain of one thing, 
and that is, that contempt of the Court of Chancery is 
far more serious than any other kind of contempt. It 
is sad to hear so dreadful an account of my old play- 
fellow, Duke ; but exposure may be prevented if 



THE BANKS OF THE YAK. Ill 

matters are well managed. As to Moll, if she have 
no other preference, she will not require much per- 
suasion to carry out your wishes." 

" She has no other preference, I feel assured," said 
Mrs Leppell ; " and now you understand, Lillian, why 
I so much desire your assistance in this matter. It 
will never do to allow it even to be hinted afterwards 
that we had pressed Mary on account of her brother's 
difficulties ; that is the reason that she is ignorant of 
all beyond the annoyance of the elopement. Did she 
know all, she would accept " 

" Old Nick himself," interpolated Colonel Leppell. 

" Not quite so bad as that," the wife replied with a 
dreary smile ; " but Moll is proud, and I feel sure that 
even if this Mr Clavering were repugnant to her, she 
would consent to marry him in order to save the 
family honour. You see, Lillian, how we are situated 
— that we cannot say very much to Mary in the way 
of guiding her choice ; we must be thankful to know 
that her opinion of this gentleman is very favourable, 
and that you, Lillian, dear, have spoken of him in such 
high terms of commendation." 

" Not more than he deserves," the girl replied, flush- 
ing crimson. " I certainly had very little opportunity ' 
of seeing Mr Clavering, but that little convinced me 
that he is a man of very high culture and worth, and 
that any lady might be proud of receiving his ad- 
dresses ; I mean, that he is not of the general admira- 
tion sort, — and that," continued Miss Fanshawe, "is a 
quality not to be lightly esteemed. It is too much 



112 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

the fashion for men to make love all round. This 
one, as far as I can judge, would despise such non- 
sense." 

" I am glad to hear you say this, Lillian," continued 
the mother. "Mary is so tender, so pure, it would 
break her heart if the man she married should turn 
out unsteady, or be flirting about with any one who 
would flirt with him. Ah ! I hope it will all end 
well." 

" Deuced bad match ! " burst out the Colonel, 
" steady or not steady : cool head, I should imagine, 
judging from his epistle. Hang it, Adelaide, I would 
not have cared so much if he had not belonged to — 
to — you know who. Talk about dispensations of 
Providence — haw ! these dispensations come rather 
awkwardly sometimes. Well, I, like the rest, must 
make the best of this bad business ; but I feel that I 
am a regular victim — indeed I do. You may smile, 
Lillian ; but I tell you I am a victim to my family, 
old and young." 

"Well, Colonel, we none of us can have our own 
way all the days of our life," replied his guest, slowly. 
" We must all learn to give up for others ; nothing 
comes right in the world, I do believe. Now, I must 
be off, for it is half-past twelve, and this just leaves 
me bare time to reach the College precincts. Papa 
will be so cross if I am not punctual ; the east wind 
always tries his temper. Mary will be ready and 
waiting by this time." 

" Which road are you going to take ? " asked Colonel 



THE BANKS OF THE YAR. 113 

Leppell, as he walked down the gravel drive and 
opened the gate for the girls to pass through. 

" As I was alone, I came by the highroad," replied 
Miss Fanshawe ; " but could not Moll and I walk part 
of the way by the river bank ? — we are both so fond of 
that route into Yarne. We might go as far as the 
turnstile, and then when we part we can strike off 
there, and each regain the highroad." 

« Very good ; but mind, you are not to go farther 
by the river than the turnstile at — somebody's mea- 
dows — you know ; that portion of the river-side just 
into Yarne is not a nice place for ladies — too near the 
town and the shipping," said Colonel Leppell. " Moll, 
you had better return home when you reach that 
point ; or, if you like to walk farther, do so, but don't 
go into the town. Take your time and your chat ; I 
will come and meet you." 

Thus giving his orders, Colonel Leppell re-entered 
the house, and went straight to his den ; and his wife 
laid herself back on her pillow, and set herself to con- 
sider what would be best to be done should the event 
now in train not come to a satisfactory issue. 

Reviewing the confidence which she had reposed in 
her young friend, Mrs Leppell regretted that it had 
been so ample and so unrestrained ; in fact, she per- 
ceived that she had placed herself and her whole 
family very much in Lillian Fanshawe's power, by the 
communication she had made concerning Duke's evil 
dealing with Cracky Winton's cheque. " You govern 
the unspoken word ; the spoken word governs you," 

VOL. I. H 



114 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

was a wise Arabian proverb which jumped to her 
mind, as she reviewed this portion of her confidence, 
and it had at the particular juncture the usual effect 
of coming with a warning when the mischief was done. 

Yet, why associate the idea of mischief and warning 
with the conversation that had just taken place ? Lil- 
lian was attached to the family ; " and at one time " — 
the mother argued to herself — " at one time I thought 
the girl had a very strong liking for Duke " (a most 
egregious delusion). " At all events, if it is only 
friendship, that would lead her to screen his sins : she 
seems willing also to use her influence with Mary." 

Still, reason and ponder as she did, Mrs Leppell's 
mind was pervaded with the one dominant idea, and 
that was, that harm would eventually arise out of all 
this secrecy and management. Her own married life 
had been little else than a series of troubles and of 
keeping up appearances, and she trembled to think 
that Mary's wedded life should begin with a disgrace- 
ful secret, hushed up by what looked very like a 
barter or positive sale. But why should Mrs Leppell 
regret the confidence which she had so fully reposed 
in Miss Fanshawe ? Had not her husband co- 
operated with her in laying bare the trouble of their 
hearts, and to one, too, who had often told them that 
her own chief happiness consisted in coming to their 
house as to a home ? Why should she regret having 
told all ? half confidences are far more dangerous than 
a whole revelation. Comforting herself with this last 
truism, and putting the subject from her mind as 



THE BANKS OF THE YAK. 115 

being derogatory and insulting to her daughter's 
friend, the poor lady fell into a sound sleep. 

Those who know the world — those whose career has 
been mostly through its tangled bowers and thorny 
paths — can most thoroughly understand the meaning 
of Mrs Leppell's doubts and apprehensions. 

When we review our own past experience, does not 
the miserable recollection come back to many of us, 
that a certain misplaced confidence, wrung out at the 
time by the pressure of the soul's agony, has been 
more surely the cause of our subsequent undoing than 
many of the false steps which we have taken, more or 
less deliberately, trusting to chance for deliverance, 
but of which we have never made mention by word or 
sign, even to our nearest and dearest ? 

A social safety-valve is a treasure not to be under- 
valued, but the difficulty lies in choosing when and 
where we should use the machine. The experience of 
life so often shows us that we are prudent in the 
wrong direction ; and when this virtue appears to be of 
no avail, or to be thoroughly cast out, we rush into 
the opposite extreme and pour out our wrongs and 
our sufferings, for the exquisite pleasure of obtaining 
human sympathy. The mistake consists in assuming 
that the sympathy we thus obtain will endure for 
life ; we forget that other men and women are but 
mortal ; we ignore the frailty of human nature, the 
shadows and lights of passing circumstances, and the 
general tendency of all of us to inconsistency of 
thought and action. The poet tells us that love bears 



116 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

within itself the very germ of change : much more 
does friendship do so, especially when friendship is 
not of equal growth. 

The young are somewhat apt to regard the confi- 
dences of their elders either as an outcome of senility 
or, more frequently perhaps, as a quid pro quo for 
some service which, either sooner or later, may be 
required of them, or some assistance which it would 
be convenient that they should render. Not un- 
seldom, in the rashness of the early tide of life, it is 
assumed that the elder person confiding has no other 
option in the choice of a confidant. And this idea 
very much militates against the sacredness and in- 
violability of the charge ; and on all sides the wise 
man's axiom is too generally ignored, " He that is of a 
faithful spirit concealeth the matter." As long as the 
world lasts, it will be a point of great nicety to ascer- 
tain in many cases where frankness should end and 
where reticence should begin, and vice versa. 

The two girls, after receiving their instructions, 
walked briskly forward, and only relaxed their pace 
as they reached the banks of the Yar. This branch 
of the river winds prettily from the town of Yarne 
into the country beyond, and the walk to the village 
of Blythe, and to others farther inland, is at all 
points thoroughly rural and interesting. At this 
season, although the weather was sharp, and the livery 
of green very feebly indicated, still the imperceptible 
sensation of returning life and freshness permeated 
the atmosphere and tinted the scene. A clump of 



THE BANKS OF THE YAK. 117 

primroses in a curve of the bank, brown branches and 
twigs dotted with tufts of undeveloped leafage, and 
here and there a pronounced outburst of the wild 
daffodil, — the dear daffodowndilly, which in old simple 
belief was the herald of an early Easter-tide, — these, 
with the chirp of a bird and the distant wail of a 
lamb, told the old-world tale that the winter was gone, 
and that spring, with her fresh loveliness and her 
gleams of uncertain mood, had placed one foot securely 
on this portion of the earth. 

" Well," said Mary, looking straight into the river, 
" I suppose mamma has told you all about me : don't 
you think this offer is rather sudden ? I have not 
seen Mr Clavering for more than a month ; and look 
here, Lillian, I do think he might have taken the 
trouble to find out how I regard his attentions before 
he wrote to the governor, asking for me as if I were a 
chattel to be handed over when my parents think 
proper : what do you say ? " 

" I must answer you by a quotation from a copy- 
book slip, my dear — ' Circumstances alter cases ; ' and 
here the quotation fits in to the case exactly. You 
know the Colonel has always given out that he 
must have rank and fortune for his daughters, and 
Mr Clavering, like a wise man, secured the fortune 
before he ventured to propose. Then again, you 
know, dear, how your father rages and storms if any 
ineligible ventures within his gates, especially during 
his absences from home, and how your mother suffers 
for it." 



118 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

" Ah yes, poor mother ! but Henrietta's husband 
managed differently ; he got my sister's consent first. 
I wish I had seen more of Mr Clavering : he is always 
very attentive and very pleasant ; but latterly I have 
not even met him. All this makes it very difficult 
for me to decide." 

" You know, Moll," returned her friend, " that a 
family feud, or something like that, prevented Mr 
Clavering from bringing letters of introduction to 
your immediate family." 

" But he was a visitor at Hieover." 

" True, but Mr Clavering was first introduced there 
as a member of the Geological Society : the whole 
batch of these wiseacres were invited to the luncheon 
which your grandfather gave in their honour. I 
conclude Lord Hieover and your uncle Alick were 
charmed with Mr Clavering, for he went there again 
and dined en ami, and I think stayed a day or so. It 
is not probable that Mr Clavering troubled his head 
about the family feud, especially as your grandfather 
had nothing to do with it, and your uncle had for- 
gotten it apparently. Besides, the name of Mr 
Clavering's guardian (one of the original foes) is dif- 
ferent ; he is an old cousin of the name of Glascott." 

" Glascott ! — I have heard that name," said Mary. 
" Now I think of it, it belongs to somebody whom grand- 
mamma dislikes : there was some writing in an old 
album, I remember, signed by that name, but the page 
has been torn out for a very long time." 

" I had better tell you, Mary, that this Mr Glascott 



THE BANKS OF THE YAR. 119 

was once very fond of your mamma, and your father 
was preferred before him." 

" How do you know that Mr Clavering secured the 
fortune before proposing for ine ? " asked Mary, sud- 
denly. 

" Simply, my dear, because your mother told me so. 
There has been some communication with this Mr 
Glascott, but as you have not been made aware of it, 
you had better remain ignorant of the circumstance. 
You know, by Mr Clavering's letter to your father, that 
Mr Glascott is in Yarne at this moment ? " 

" Of course ; I hardly read the letter to the governor 
through, and the np.me is not mentioned in mine. One 
thing, if I accept Mr Clavering, it will be the means of 
reconciling my parents and Mr Glascott — there's com- 
fort in that," and the girl brightened like a sun-glint 
as she spoke. 

" He's a first-rate man, Moll, there is not a doubt 
about that," Miss Fanshawe said, " and worth a dozen 
of the sprigs of nobility and genteel youngsters one 
finds scattered on one's path. It is not necessary to 
tell you either, that though not handsome, Mr Claver- 
ing is far better bred, both in looks and manners, than 
is Lord Willows." 

" Lord Willows !— little donkey ! " 

" A man that you can look up to " 

" For advice — he's tall enough," answered Miss Lep- 
pell. 

" And hold in respect," continued the young mentor. 

" Yes, and ask his leave if I may or may not waltz. 



120 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

He quite allows dancing to our sex, that's one comfort ; 
but I remember Mr Clavering saying something one 
evening — it was at a party of Mrs Frisky's of Matron 
— to the effect that he very much doubted the pro- 
priety of the waltz for girls. I fancy, Lillian, that he 
rather overdoes the ' dignified.' I don't mind a little 
of this article ; but when it is combined with great 
cleverness, I begin to feel rather alarmed." 

" I don't think you have anything to fear from that," 
Miss Fanshawe said. " Depend upon it, the dignity is 
natural ; men of real science or goodness never affect 
shams. What a dreadful spectacle it is to confront a 
born fool ' doing the dignified ' ; " — and here the speaker 
instanced and illustrated an example of this art with 
so much aplomb, that Mary Leppell laughed till the 
moisture glistened in her eyes. 

" Who would believe you were so good an imitator, 
— or ought I to say, imitatress ? we are getting so 
grammatical nowadays. I should have recognised our 
friend anywhere. By the way, I wonder if Mr Claver- 
ing would approve of this sort of thing. I should say 
that he would not," said Miss Leppell. 

"That depends upon how, when, and where such 
and such things are done. If my opinion be correct, 
Mr Clavering is just the man to discriminate in these 
cases, — that is to say, between a little harmless fun 
and downright vulgar mimicry. He has a great deal 
of fun in himself, in a quiet way, I feel sure." 

" I wish I could be certain that he is nice and reli- 
able at home," answered Moll ; " these clever learned 



THE BANKS OF THE YAK. 121 

people, it is said, are always more pleasant abroad than 
in their own houses." 

" All nonsense, — part and parcel of ignorant preju- 
dice, — don't believe that, Moll. Mr Clavering, you 
must see, is well-bred and agreeable ; why should his 
being a scientific man stand in the way of his being 
domestic and kind ? I am sure," continued Miss 
Fanshawe, with the greatest coolness, " your governor, 
as you all call him, is neither learned nor scientific ; 
but that does not prevent him from being very tire- 
some and rampagious at times, good-hearted as he is." 

" No ; but papa is horsey, and he never in his life 
has had enough money, and the two together are enough 
to try the spirit of an angel," replied Colonel Leppell's 
illogical fair daughter. " Nevertheless, in spite of all 
his storming, the clear old governor is, as you know, 
very kind-hearted. You should have seen what a way 
he was in when Diamond, the old hunter, died — that 
horse was like one of the family. Yes, papa has his 
whims, but he is full of good feeling." 

" That he is," answered Lillian ; " both your father 
and mother are so tender and loving for their chil- 
dren. Just look how Duke has behaved, and they have 
scarcely reproached him — doing all they can, in fact, 
to make excuses for him and pay his debts. If my 
father were in Colonel Leppell's place, I really don't 
know what he would do." 

" Oh, Mr Fanshawe is a clergyman, and, of course, 
he would have to think of the example to his flock and 
all that, and his Christian duty would make him 



122 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

severe," replied Mary, with the most charming simplic- 
ity. " But then, you know, all fathers and mothers 
are kind to their own children, some in one way and 
some in another; but what is so delightful in my 
father is, that he never forgets that he has not been 
steady himself, and so he makes allowances for other 
people. I know your mother is very hard to you, 
Lillian dear, but I don't think she means to be un- 
kind." 

" Perhaps not, but the effects are the same," Lillian 
answered. " She has never forgiven me for not being 
a boy : it seems it was my duty to be masculine, as 
the eldest child, and I failed in doing my duty. Do 
you know, Mary, that I cannot recollect my mother 
having once embraced me, or showing me once any 
loving-kindness ; a cold dab on the forehead, called a 
kiss, has now and then been bestowed on me, when 
she could not in common decency do otherwise. I am 
sure papa is grieved about it, but she quite governs 
him, and he thinks it better to let things go their 
own way. Men seem to me to be great cowards in 
domestic matters, generally speaking, and those with 
large families think it best, I suppose, to avoid much 
trouble, for peace's sake." 

" Well, you may soon have your own remedy," said 
Mary in reply. " What have I heard about one Per- 
cival La Touche, eh ? " 

" A great deal that is mere conjecture, Moll," re- 
plied her friend. " It will be quite time enough to 
think about him as an admirer when he declares him- 



THE BANKS OF THE YAR. 123 

self as such. This he has not done ; and since he has 
come into his fortune, his self-conceit is something 
awful. No, no ; believe that Percival La Touche 
comes down from London now and then to see his 
aunt, because his father has not time to do so, and 
does not care to come in contact with his imbecile 
sister. The old gentleman told papa as much when 
he paid the rent last Christmas." 

" I can't say I admire Percival La Touche much," 
returned Mary ; " he seems to think that every girl is 
on the look-out for him, and I daresay he is dreadful 
now that he has got all that money from his uncle. 
Still, I thought he was very agreeable to your mother, 
and she was wonderfully gracious to him, when I last 
saw them together." 

" Very likely : my mother, under all her appearance 
of independence, is a regular tuft-hunter at heart, — no 
one knows better than she how to keep on good terms 
with persons of money or position. Her tactics are 
different, though, from those of the world in general ; 
she is generally most piquant and rude to those she 
most wishes to conciliate. As it is, she is civil to the 
La Touches, because they have a good London house, 
and mix much in society. I see through it all : we 
are poor, and my mother would like Percival La 
Touche for either Eose, Etta, or myself, — no matter 
which, only let one of us be got off. There is one 
thing — no son-in-law need dread any interference from 
her ; she would only be too thankful to him for reliev- 
ing her of a daughter." 



124 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

" Thank goodness my mother is so soft and tender," 
replied Mary. " I know at this moment that she fears 
to advise me to marry, in case my happiness may be 
endangered. She would not interfere, but she would 
love her son-in-law for her daughter's sake, dear 
mother ! " 

The girls had strayed away from the legitimate 
subject of their conversation, and Miss Fanshawe 
seemed more than usually inclined to speak of her 
home-life. She had already made the resolve that 
noiv, should Percival La Touche come forward as her 
suitor, she would not say him nay ; moreover, she 
would be generous, and stifle her rising affection for 
this stranger, Mr Clavering, and do her best to secure 
the desire of his eyes for that fascinating gentleman. 
She now resolutely returned to the subject of Mary's 
offer of marriage, and very strongly persuaded her 
friend that, by accepting it, a great load would 
be taken off the minds of both her parents. She 
urged Marmaduke's debts as being a great drain 
upon them, — "and you know, Mary," she continued, 
" this elopement business will in its way cause much 
expense and annoyance. To see you in a good posi- 
tion, and married to a man with such a brilliant 
name, will, I am sure, be a great comfort to both your 
parents. I know your father looked much higher for 
you, dear ; but you are a queen in yourself, and you 
don't seek wealth and rank for their own sake, I 
know." 

" Not I," returned Mary ; " and I must say I should 



THE BANKS OF THE YAR. 125 

like to feel what having quite enough to live 
upon is like. It will also be very nice to know that 
both Henrietta and I are no longer burdens on papa. 
Besides, though I am not what is called very violently 
in love with Mr Clavering, still, Lillian, I don't think 
that I should like to hear of his being married to 
anybody else." 

" That settles the matter," returned her friend ; 
" and I don't know that it is wise for the woman 
to have too much regard. Better let the great in- 
tensity of feelings come from the man's side, for in 
that case one can never be reproached afterwards for 
a display of too much affection. You know Willie 
Carew — mean little wretch ! — is always throwing it up 
to his wife that he married her because he saw that 
she would fret herself into her grave if he had not 
returned her love : fancy a woman having to stand 
that : " 

" It is too dreadful to think of," returned Mary ; 
" and it should be a warning to us to keep our admir- 
ers in the ice-pail, even when we are sure of them. 
Talk of ice, here it comes," and a shower of hail 
peppered these young women right and left, and 
almost blinded their eyes. They were near the turn- 
stile leading into the meadows which bordered the 
highroad. A broken-down shed, apparently used as 
a protection for live stock, stood nearly mid-way : to 
this they wended their steps, and they had hardly 
reached their shelter when the entrance was dark- 
ened by a figure evidently bent upon the same ob- 



126 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

ject as themselves — viz., protection from the bitter 
shaling sleet-storm. Mr Francis Clavering — for it was 
he — walked straight towards the ladies, saying, " You 
passed through the turnstile so quickly that you did 
not see me. I was a little way down on the bank ex- 
amining a peculiar- looking stone, and saw you coming 
along. How ladies can run when they choose," con- 
tinued he, " and no wonder ; why, my coat is powdered 
with hail as thickly as are your dresses." 

The shaking and stamping was just then a peculi- 
arly opportune diversion, for this meeting was awk- 
ward, and each one of the company felt that it was so, 
as they severally wondered what brought the other 
to that place. 

Naturally, Miss Leppell did not like to appear as if 
she were coming to meet Mr Clavering, and it was 
impossible to say that this gentleman was expected, 
by his own appointment, in the afternoon at Hunter's 
Lodge, or to assume that it was towards that residence 
that he was now bending his steps. So Miss Leppell 
rather iced her salute, and remarked how uncomfort- 
able the east wind made everybody feel. Miss Fan- 
shawe, flushed with surprise, in which pleasure held 
a very considerable place, for a moment lost her usual 
calm self-possession, and volunteered the bare informa- 
tion that she was on her way to lunch with the Brain- 
trees, which being apropos of nothing at all, bewildered 
Mr Clavering into inquiring if it were not rather 
a long way from Pinnacles ; and forthwith supple- 
menting that remark by saying that he was looking 



THE BANKS OF THE YAK. 127 

for a friend who had left him to take a constitu- 
tional walk by the river. 

All this was pure fiction on Mr Clavering's part, 
who in reality was endeavouring to kill time by feast- 
ing his eyes on the river approach to Blythe. It 
failed so signally in being accepted for truth that 
Miss Fanshawe, quickly recovering herself, repeated, 
with an arch twinkle of her eye, a verse of a hymn 
which was the outpouring of a converted negro, a kind 
of sable Dr Watts on a Jamaica plantation, in the 
year of grace 1837 : — 

" Auntie Prissie, Auntie Prissie told a wicked story ; 
Clap a plaster on her mouth, and take her up to glory." 

The chorus of this song was — 

" Hulloo boo, loo, roo roo, Missey Chrissey, 
Remember the fate of Auntie Prissie." 

Miss Fanshawe, however, did not supply the refrain, 
thinking, perhaps, that under the circumstances she 
might lack support. 

The effect of this recital produced a desirable diver- 
sion in the situation. Miss Leppell and Mr Clavering 
now looked bravely into each other's faces and laughed 
heartily, and for a few minutes all three of these young 
people talked with very great vigour, each of them, 
however, wondering in spirit what was to be done 
next — whether to remain together or part company 
civilly and with decorum. The position presented a 
charming illustration of two being company and three 
being none. 

The hail, meanwhile, had driven past, and only a few 



128 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

large drops descended at intervals. Miss Fansliawe 
walked out beyond the opening of the shed, and turn- 
ing round said, " I must be going now, Mary ; I shall 
be late as it is. Will you and Mr Clavering walk as 
far as the road with me, and then go your own ways." 

Clavering directed a grateful look towards the 
young lady — a look which stimulated her into acting 
thoroughly in his interests, and which almost repaid 
her for the sacrifice of her own predilections towards 
him. Perhaps the thought ran through her mind that 
if his love could not be hers, he should, at any rate, 
be largely her debtor in gratitude for her good offices. 
Perhaps, also, a higher and nobler feeling animated 
her conduct ; the generous abnegation of self making 
her a willing instrument in helping the man she so 
highly esteemed to gain the fulfilment of his heart's 
desire, and thus perfect his happiness in life. 

Who can fathom, who can even discern, the curious 
workings of the human heart ? Strange that Lillian 
Fanshawe should work so enthusiastically for this 
acquaintance of an hour ; that her anxiety that he 
should win his love should induce her to discard her 
own fancy to the winds, and influence the friend of 
her youth to play, as it were, into her hands without 
heed of misadventure or probability — intent only on 
one point, and that was that Clavering should win the 
prize. To say truth, Miss Fanshawe took little heed 
of Mary's feelings in this matter. It was sufficient 
that, situated as Miss Leppell was, it was a providen- 
tial circumstance that a respectable and comfortable 



THE BANKS OF THE YAR. 129 

settlement was within reach, and it would be worse 
than folly to reject this or cast it aside. 

"AVe might all three walk into Yarne together," 
Mary proposed, shrinking nervously from being left 
alone with Mr Clavering. 

" That will never do," replied Miss Fanshawe with 
decision. " Colonel Leppel] said he would come and 
meet you on your return : you had better, I think, 
keep to his arrangement." 

" No, no," interrupted Clavering, energetically ; " we 
will go so far with you, and return to Blythe by the 
river. I will see Miss Leppell safely home." 

" The best thing you can do," said Miss Fanshawe ; 
" only, Mary, as your papa desired you to return by 
the road, had you not better take that way ? I am 
sure Mr Clavering will agree with me." 

Mary said it was indifferent to her which way 
they took, and Mr Clavering made no reply. He did 
not want to encounter Colonel Leppell just then, and 
it was only out of respect to that gentleman's daughter 
that he did not consign that officer (for the nonce) to 
warmer regions. Moreover, he had internally resolved 
to walk to Blythe by the river-bank with Miss Leppell, 
and also with the lady's consent to the deviation of 
route. 

The party set out for the highroad, and reached it 
just as the sun shot forward gleams of steely light, so 
warm and penetrating withal, that it was evident 
the sun meant to predominate finally over wind and 
weather. Like a true knight he had taken fair Spring 

VOL. I. I 



130 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

by the hem of her robe, and with his golden lance 
upheld her against grim Winter, who, falling back 
with his face to the enchantress, covered his retreat 
with frosted arrows of sleet and rain, fighting to the 
death for the dominions over which he had till lately 
ruled with iron sway. 

Grand old Winter ; fated now to be awhile a dis- 
crowned king in the land wherein Sabrina, released 
from her icy fetters, first melts him to tears, and then 
turns him to a river-god by the strength and warmth 
of her embrace. 

Miss Fanshawe, under cover of a shower of hail 
which pelted like swan-shot, plunged forward, saying 
as she did so, " Good-bye, good-bye ; return to Blythe 
as quickly as you can, unless you want the skin to be 
torn off your faces ; I have not a moment to spare," — 
and thus, fearful of being detained longer, the young 
lady walked quickly out of sight. 

A waggon was coming along the road, drawn by four 
immense cart-horses, the two leaders being decorated 
with bells en their collars which sounded cheerily on 
the sharp air. Sounds in themselves homely enough, 
but the cover of their noise was very grateful to the 
two young people left behind, serving as it did to 
take off' the edge of an awkward isolation. At length 
Clavering spoke, and in a tone betwixt entreaty and 
expostulation said : " Let me take you home, Mary ; 
shall it be the roadway for your father, or the river- 
side for me ? Oh, my sweet queen ! choose the river ; 
do choose the river, and call me Frank — just once, 



THE BANKS OF THE YAR. 131 

that is all, — I ask no more. Say, then, the river, and 
I shall know my fate," — and he took her hand and 
looked beseechingly into her eyes. 

His words brought clear meaning enough to her 
sense. The river with him, — ah, yes ; after all, that 
must be her course : nothing less than the stream of 
their lives flowing as one into the stream of time. 
Mary Leppell looked up into the face of the man of 
science, and read there how love and hope had 
banished its workaday aspect, and that tenderness 
had routed self-confidence to make way for a re- 
spectful, and even a visibly trembling, expectation. 
And so the question that was to be asked in state 
at a set time at Hunter's Lodge, was simply asked 
and answered on the banks of the Yar, within sight 
of its silent flowing waters. 

" Take me home by the river, Frank, Frank ! " said 
the fair young girl, putting her other hand within his, 
whilst the soft drop twinkled in her eyes like the dew 
in the cup of sweet blue flowers. " I trust — I trust to 
you, — we have not seen very much of each other, 
certainly — but — but — never mind, — we will go home 
to my mother by the river." 

A pause ; and then they wandered away from the 
highroad and out of the sight of passers-by — and they 
were joyous for awhile and silent anon ; and they 
looked into the nests of the yellow - hammers, and 
pulled the golden tassels of the early budding hazel, 
and the events of time and life were blotted from their 
memory as they revelled in that hour of pure happi- 



132 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

ness, which experience tells us is worth long years of 
pain. And they at length arrived at the Lodge gate, 
as two travellers who were passing through a country 
the name of which is Glamour ; and Glamour, we most 
of us know, is a region without time or tide, and neither 
can those who live beyond it enter it at will, nor those 
return to it who have escaped from out its bounds. 

Thus it happened that Colonel Leppell did not meet 
his daughter on the highroad towards Blythe, and 
that Miss Fanshawe, stimulated by the east wind, 
arrived at Yarne just in time to avoid her father's 
rebuke, and that Mr Glascott lunched alone at the 
hotel at Yarne, wondering where on earth Mr Francis 
Clavering had betaken himself. 

This last happy man on his part lunched very 
comfortably in Lady Asher's room in company with 
Mrs Leppell and her daughter Mary ; the boy Lep- 
pells meantime averring that Moll had brought a 
stranger into the house, — the same fellow whom they 
had seen months ago loitering about the village with 
a green-baize bag on his arm. 

" Oh, they knew him — and ma and Moll had hidden 
him in G. M.'s room to be out of the way of the 
governor." " You know," said Dick to Fritz, " that the 
governor's orders are that no man that calls here is to 
be asked to stay when he is from home. Well, this 
one won't go ; but if pa finds him, there will be a jolly 
row." So saying, Dick winked hideously at his brother, 
and fulfilled his intention of looking out for squalls. 

These young gentlemen were on this occasion 



THE BANKS OF THE YAR. 133 

doomed to complete disappointment. When the 
Colonel returned, Mrs Leppell met him in the hall, 
and after a few words had been interchanged he 
linked her arm within his own, and marched with 
her into Lady Asher's quarters. His sons caught his 
words as their parents moved away — "By George! 
Adelaide, this is good news. What a weight has been 
taken off our minds ! But " — in a whisper — " I don't 
like the thing, all the same." 



134 



CHAPTEE VII. 

SOME MEMBERS OF THE LA TOTTCHE FAMILY. 

There was trouble and perplexity in No. 9 Hin- 
ton Square, London, West, the house of Lillian Fan- 
shawe's friends. John La Touche, wine - merchant 
in the city, and also landed proprietor in the fair 
Weald of Sussex, sat in deep conference with Marcia 
his sister. The lady was unmarried, and had presided 
over her brother's household from the time he had 
become a widower, some nine years since ; and she 
was at the fat, fair, and forty epoch of her own term 
of days. 

The personal appearance of Miss La Touche en- 
tirely controverted the opinion which is commonly 
held with regard to the outward and visible si<nis 
of elderly maidenhood ; in fact Marcia had, on more 
than one occasion, been accredited as being the mother 
of her brother's eight children, whilst discharging 
her legitimate function of aunt and guardian to these 
fine wayward specimens of humanity. Both mentally 
and physically, Miss La Touche was of a soft creamy 



SOME MEMBERS OF THE LA TOUCHE FAMILY. 135 

nature, and her beautiful skin and delicate pink 
colour were always a pleasant thing in men's sight. 
The smoke and dust of the day, together with late 
hours and fatigue, which dim the lustre of the young 
girl's beauty and drive the more mature amongst 
matrons to artificial aids to admiration, never affected 
the appearance of Marcia La Touche. 

At all times almost redolent of the bath and the 
toilette-table, fresh pure water and a hygienic soap 
were the only cosmetics that ever had contributed 
to the embellishment of the lady's charms. Her 
figure, more than inclining towards embonpoint, was 
restrained by an adaptation of costume at once sen- 
sible and cunning, and none could define better than 
Marcia the distinction which lies betwixt clothing 
and dress, as that astute observer, Lady Prye, was 
wont to remark, viciously, — the Misses Prye being 
remarkable for being always dressed, but seldom 
clothed, in the small hours of the morning more 
especially. 

The common sentiment either expressed or under- 
stood by all who first beheld Marcia, was unmitigated 
surprise that she should have managed to escape the 
snares of matrimony ; and, following the fashion of 
the world, the majority of persons were ready with 
good and credible reasons to account for this cir- 
cumstance. 

Those who held no clue, nor were possessed with 
any knowledge of the matter, invented false history 
and stuck to it. It suffices to say that Marcia had 



136 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

in her early youth been prevented from marrying the 
man whom her soul loved, and in yielding to the 
wishes of her parents she had solemnly declared that 
none other should call her wife. "I will obey you," 
she said, after her parents had worried and tormented 
her to give up her lover, and had found that his 
parents were, on their part, making their son's life an 
earthly purgatory, — " I will obey you, but remember, 
my life will be a single one. Never name matrimony 
to me again ; I will never marry — never ! " She kept 
her word, in spite of predictions and head-shakings, 
and the recorded experiences of those who had wit- 
nessed like protestations, and had lived to see them 
vanish, more or less speedily, into the dense atmo- 
sphere of a prosaic comfortable establishment. It is 
true that the surroundings in which she had been 
reared tended to render Marcia very chary of chang- 
ing her home; for among her subsequent admirers 
there were none whose possessions rose above the 
level of a moderate competence, and she was not the 
woman to brave poverty or an insignificant position 
merely for the title of a married daughter of her 
house, except for a first love. This latter ingredient 
being out of the question, the remaining single was 
purely the fixed resolution of the lady ; and the trials 
and struggles of her eldest sister, who had married 
the Eeverend Dr M'Taggart, a famous Presbyterian 
minister, were rather calculated than otherwise to 
strengthen Miss La Touche in her determination to 
avoid any chance of a harassed or impecunious life. 



SOME MEMBERS OF THE LA TOUCHE FAMILY. 137 

Then her sister Arabella, who had dutifully married 
a rich man, and was thought by her own family to 
have done great things, had for years lived in misery 
with a selfish and uncongenial mate, who uniformly 
treated her with indifference, and sometimes also with 
harshness. 

At length Mr Kemble put an end to his existence 
by a pistol-shot, in his wife's presence, on hearing 
that a race-horse upon which he had staked an enor- 
mous sum had failed signally, coming in a bad fourth 
in a contest, whilst the horse of his enemy had come 
in first and won by a neck. 

The shock of this, combined with previous anxieties, 
had effected Mrs Kemble's mind so seriously that 
Mr La Touche, by the advice of physicians, placed 
his widowed and childless sister in the retirement 
of the old rectory house at Pinnacles, in Yarneshire, 
some four years ago. A twofold purpose was secured 
by this arrangement. The house being large, it served 
also as a country retreat for various members and 
children of the La Touche family. Thus it was that 
an acquaintance had sprung up between the Fan- 
shawes and La Touches : and as the young people 
grew up, visits of some length were exchanged be- 
tween London and the country. Aunt Arabella, 
meanwhile, kept very much to her own apartments ; 
but it was whispered, after a time, that she was be- 
coming very queer, and that her attendant had now 
and then some difficulty in pacifying her. Mrs Fan- 
shawe particularly remarked that after Percival La 



138 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

Touche's visits (the eldest son of that house), the 
patient remained in a quiet half-paralysed state for 
days ; also that during the time that Mrs Kemble had 
been their tenant, Miss Marcia La Touche had never 
but once come to see her sister, and then she seemed 
particularly anxious to avoid any mention of her 
malady, or to admit that she suffered from anything 
beyond a nervous depresssion. " Surely," Mrs Fan- 
shawe said one day to her spouse, — " surely Miss La 
Touche might contrive to come down and stay with 
Mrs Kemble. It's disgraceful to think that she has 
only been here once in four years." 

" I don't see how she could very well remain even 
for a short time," the rector replied, " with all that 
family and a large London house to look after. They 
live expensively, and go into a good deal of society. 
Then who is to see to the ordering of Percival's 
dinners ? He won't be left to servants, and if he 
is not made comfortable in his father's house, he 
threatens to live elsewhere. I have heard Miss La 
Touche say that she is often kept awake at night, 
thinking how to vary her nephew's diet, and how 
his favourite dishes are to be prepared." 

" Horrid little gourmand ! " exclaimed Mrs Fan- 
shawe. 

"Not gourmand, my dear, but gourmet," corrected 
the lady's husband ; " gourmet is the proper term 
to apply to refined — ahem — refined gluttons." 

" What's the difference ? " inquired Mrs Fanshawe, 
with a snap at Percival in the very tone of her voice. 



SOME MEMBEES OF THE LA TOUCHE FAMILY. 139 

" A gourmand eats for quantity ; a gourmet for 
quality," answered the rector. " Both characters 
are bad enough ; but I hold the gourmet to be the 
more objectionable of the two, because the latter 
gives the larger share of trouble and anxiety to other 
people. I don't mean to say," continued Mr Fan- 
shawe quickly, "that it is immaterial how a dinner 
is cooked ; don't even the cows know good grass from 
bad ? but it is the immoderate abuse of the thing in 
pampering the appetite that is so reprehensible." 

u But Miss La Touche does not cook the dinners." 

" Certainly not ; but as mistress of the establishment 
she has to order them and sit at the head of the 
table. It is by no means a sinecure to have to do 
with the La Touche men where dining is concerned." 

" Her own sister ought to be considered before 
those nephews at any rate," Mrs Fanshawe replied. 
" But single women are all alike ; they will only do 
what they fancy, even to making martyrs of them- 
selves. I should have thought that Miss La Touche's 
mission in this life would have been to live with 
and look after her afflicted sister, — especially now 
that her two eldest nieces are grown up, and can at 
least help to manage their father's house." 

" They are only just introduced," replied Mr Fan- 
shawe (who had a liking for Marcia, and was unwill- 
ing to hear her censured, though in his heart he did 
think she might have found her way to Pinnacles 
long ago) ; " and they require their aunt's presence 
and chaperonage more than ever. As to Marcia La 



140 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

Touche's mission in life, you forget that she was 
taking care of her brother's establishment and chil- 
dren some years before Mrs Kemble became a widow ; 
and that she nursed the late Mrs La Touche through 
her long illness with the greatest devotion. In 
common justice, you must admit that few people 
can have done their duty more completely." 

" I don't dispute that," answered Mrs Fanshawe ; 
"but it is a luxurious berth she has got into, plenty 
of servants and company, and all the amusements 
which fall to the lot of those who belong to a good 
London set. This is far more interesting than a 
retired life in the country with an ailing and, I 
think, more than nervous sister; I had better speak 
plainly, more than nervous, — Mrs Kemble is getting 
violent now and then, and if we are not careful we 
may have a raging lunatic on our hands. I have good 
reason for thinking so." 

" Well, but you need not express your convictions 
so strongly," replied the rector, across whose mind 
the same impression had more than once floated. " I 
think I shall advise Mr La Touche to call in Dr 
Williams." 

" You are right ; and it would be as well to request 
the presence of one of the ladies of the family for a 
few days. A much better judgment can be arrived at 
in this way, for in the flying visits of Mr La Touche 
and his son there is little opportunity for them to 
judge fairly of Mrs Kemble's state. Besides, it seems 
to be Percival's game to ignore that there is anything 



SOME MEMBERS OF THE LA TOUCHE FAMILY. 141 

very seriously wrong with his aunt Arabella. If you 
remark, he always persists in speaking of the nervous 
state of his relative, and has even insisted that she 
simulates imbecility, and therefore ought to be shaken 
up and roused both mentally and physically." 

" Very improper — very wrong," replied the rector, 
who was really a man of deep kind feeling, though 
there were occasions on which he shrank to show too 
much tenderness before his hard-natured wife. " I 
wonder if the eldest sister of the La Touche family, 
Mrs M'Taggart, could come for a month : it would be 
a great comfort, and be somewhat of a change for 
her after her late trouble in losing her husband so 
suddenly." 

" I doubt whether she could leave her family, and 
she is very badly off. But I have more hope of seeing 
her a visitor at Pinnacles than I have of seeing Miss 
La Touche in that character. The latter has been 
highly favoured ; her mission has fallen among the 
good things of life in every way, and, suffer who will, 
Marcia will always live in comfort and luxury." 

Mrs Fanshawe was only partially correct when she 
made this assertion. True, Marcia's nature was of so 
luxurious and soft a mould, that it is questionable 
whether she would have acquitted herself with even 
ordinary decency had her lines fallen in unpleasant 
places, among inferior people, and in close contact 
with a scarcity of cash. Eeared, too, from her birth 
in comfort and independence, it was natural that in 
her mature years she should accept luxury as another 



142 THE FAT OF THE LAXD. 

step in her wheel of life, and incline rather to the 
stalled ox than to the dinner of herbs. But her mis- 
sion did exist, although it did not lie in the direction 
whereto Mrs Fanshawe had been pleased to allot it. 

In a word, the great aim and intent of Marcia's life 
was to prevent her brother John La Touche from 
marrying a second time, and in this undertaking much 
tact and judgment were required in order to carry 
matters to a successful issue. Being of a warm and 
pleasure-loving nature, with much of the rosy outward 
appearance which distinguished his sister, John La 
Touche, at sixty-three years of age, was not the man 
to wear sad raiment, and decline good dinners, evening 
parties, and the delights of his club (gout intervening), 
because some of his children were grown up, or to 
allow his son Percival to take the lead because a large 
landed property had fallen to that eccentric young 
gentleman. This latter event had rather the effect of 
stimulating the father to assert himself more decidedly 
than he had hitherto done ; and as in late years great 
commercial success had attended his enterprises, this 
gentleman found himself much more at leisure, and 
far more youthful in mind and person, than he was at 
the period when he became a widower. At that time 
he had to work hard to maintain his family, and the 
sorrow he had felt at his wife's death, together with a 
long illness, had for some years subdued the man's 
spirit, and left little time for the alleviations of society 
in any shape. Now, with sharp avaricious Percival 
as his partner, a first-class managing clerk, and his 



SOME MEMBERS OF THE LA TOUCHE FAMILY. 143 

good-tempered handsome young son Andrew among 
the juniors in the office, Mr La Touche, senior, felt 
himself justified in taking more leisure and enjoying 
himself after his own fashion. It was this fashion 
that alarmed Marcia, for it had of late taken the form 
of runs down to Brighton and trips up to Scarborough, 
and quiet little dinners in the metropolis, where 
widows and unshelved spinsters played the hostess 
with great aplomb and vivacity. The worst feature in 
the case was, that Mr La Touche always partook of 
these distractions alone ; and a legend was circulated 
by Percival, that whilst the family in London firmly 
believed that their head was drinking the waters and 
disporting himself amid the sulphur-baths of Harro- 
gate, a traveller for the firm had actually beheld him 
at the same time dancing Highland reels, and whoop- 
ing and snapping his joints with the best of them at 
the Caledonian ball in the Assembly Eooms at Scar- 
borough. And this gay deceiver was writing dreary 
letters about his health, and giving accounts of the 
missionary meetings he had attended in the north, 
" at the very time when he was in the very thick of 
gay Scarborough society, and enjoying life at the 
best hotel." 

Another circumstance also tended very materially 
to increase Marcia's uneasiness on this head. Some 
time previously Percival had, at the office, come across 
a letter addressed to his father, on the envelope of 
which the word " private " was marked. This missive 
had been inadvertently left on the senior partner's 



144 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

table; and his son entering the apartment dedicated 
to that functionary, for the purpose of asking some 
question relating to business, found that he had gone 
out without mentioning to any one that it was his 
intention to do so, or signifying the time of his return, 
which was rather an unusual omission on the part of 
Mr La Touche. Casting his eye on the letter, Percival 
seized it, and without ceremony and without qualm of 
conscience made himself master of its contents. 

These were startling even to Percival, who was one of 
those men who fancied that nothing could escape him, 
and that it was impossible to mislead or hoodwink him 
in any matter, especially in those delicate intricacies 
of the paths of life which the French designate affaires 
du cceur. We have no English equivalent for an ex- 
pression which conveys so much meaning, and which 
may refer to the honest tenderness of two souls, or to 
that yeasty frothy feeling which, born of the fancy of 
the hour, treats the heart as if it were a moral calen- 
der pressing up one affection, at the same moment that 
another is percolated downwards into nothingness, 
diffusing an unsatisfactory flavour of labour lost in its 
descent and annihilation. 

Percival read the letter through, copied it into his 
note-book before returning it to its normal resting- 
place, and thanked his stars that he and his family 
had made a narrow escape. His father's addresses 
might be considered as being safely rejected, inasmuch 
as Miss Longview urged the necessity of Marcia, and 
one at least of Mr La Touche's daughters, being settled 



SOME MEMBERS OF THE LA TOUCHE FAMILY. 145 

in life before she could think of entertaining his pro- 
posals, flattering as she felt these to be. The writer 
further stated that another insuperable objection ex- 
isted to her entering Mr La Touche's house and family 
as his wife. This was the presence of his eldest 
son as a constant inmate of No. 9 Hinton Square, 
and the fact that a large share of the income for 
the support of that establishment was contributed by 
that gentleman in payment of his expenses. She 
meant no offence, but Mr La Touche must be aware 
that balls, dinners, and constant company, military 
and otherwise, were not congenial to her tastes ; and 
the pious leanings of the father being paralysed by 
the action of his family, it was not difficult to 
perceive that any influence which she might assert 
would be entirely set aside by the concentrated oppo- 
sition of his sister and his children, &c, &c. 

" Confounded old cat ! " exclaimed Percival, as he 
entered the last clause of this document, — " the gov- 
ernor's pious leanings, forsooth ! We all know that he 
enjoys life as much as any of us, and thinks he squares 
accounts by asking a missionary and some of the 
' serious ' sets to dinner. They never refuse a dinner, 
trust them ; but how warily all this has been managed ! 
I wonder if Marcia has had any suspicion of what my 
father has been up to ? We have had our eyes too 
much upon Brighton and Scarborough, and his dodge 
has been Clapham Eise all the time — the locality, by 
the way, and stronghold of the rich ' serious.' Miss 
Longview must have five hundred a-year of her own. 

vol. I. K 



146 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

I am more ambitious ; a woman with a thousand per 
annum is my mark. / have no intention of being 
married for my money ! No, no. I'm not such a fool 
as that ; but I will go and talk this over with Marcia, 
at any rate." 

To his aunt, therefore, Percival betook himself ; and 
casting to the winds the stupid little mysterious 
manner and implied innuendo with which he was 
wont to treat his relatives, he placed the copy of the 
letter in her hands, and inquired what she thought 
of it. 

One would have surmised that some word of reproof 
would have followed the information which Percival 
unblushingly supplied as to how he had come into 
possession of this knowledge of the private affairs of 
the master of the house ; but if Miss La Touche felt 
any disapprobation of the proceeding, she certainly 
evinced no sign of it to the offender. 

The relation between this pair was more of good 
comradeship than of the distinctive position of aunt 
and nephew ; and their twelve years' difference in age 
had entitled Percival to treat Miss La Touche more as 
an elder sister than as a relation belonging to the 
previous generation. They generally acted in concert, 
although occasionally they abused one another rather 
freely. Marcia, however, by strict attention to Per- 
cival's creature comforts, managed in the long-run to 
have pretty much her own way ; and as she generally 
supported him in most of his whims and works, and 
winked at his evil deeds, Percival concluded to think 



SOME MEMBERS OF THE LA TOUCHE FAMILY. 147 

with great magnanimity that the world contained 
worse individuals, taking all in all, than Marcia, as he 
always called her. 

" Only think what we might have been let in for ! " 
exclaimed the aunt, as she concluded her perusal of 
the letter. " Fancy Miss Longview as your step- 
mother, Percival ! and her impudence in refusing 
your father on account of the family being objection- 
able ! Upon my word, she ought to have been glad 
of the chance of getting into good society ! " and 
Marcia's pink colour deepened to crimson as she 
indignantly reviewed the passage which related to 
herself and her nephews and nieces collectively. 

Then stated Percival, " What a sly old party my 
father has proved to be ! I had not the slightest 
suspicion of this. I know the governor thinks it 
politic to do the good, and come the pious dodge in 
certain quarters. It's good for the home trade, and 
he never troubles about those who do not give a large 
wine order, so I have no objection. Certainly he has 
now and then hinted that he sees no reason why 
. he should not marry again ; but my suspicions have 
been excited in another direction. Where and how 
this has been carried on is certainly a mystery to 
me." 

Marcia, in reply, said that she could not for the life 
of her throw any light on the subject. She admitted 
that she had wondered what took her brother to the 
May meetings at Exeter Hall last year, but accounted 
for this in supposing that he wanted to ingratiate 



148 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

himself with a certain peer who lectured in that build- 
ing during the vernal season, and so thought nothing 
of it. She further deponed that she had found some 
very highly spiced religious tracts in Mr La Touche's 
rooms ; " but you know, Percival," the lady continued, 
" nothing delights your father so much as to be taken 
for a retired bishop, or an ecclesiastical supernumerary 
of some kind or other — non- Catholic, of course. People 
get on his weak point, and induce him to subscribe to 
their several charities and societies : the consequence 
is, that the house is inundated with tracts, and begging- 
letters, and appeals, and voting-papers for every insti- 
tution in London, I should think. Now, I have 
noticed that some of the heavy reading is addressed 
in a feminine hand, very likely that of Miss Long- 
view." 

" Such audacity in objecting to me ! " quoth Per- 
cival ; " why, the board I pay here is almost as much 
as that woman's whole income ! " 

" Yes ; but don't forget that my brother is most 
liberal on his part to every one of us," answered 
Marcia, with spirit. " He does not depend upon you ; 
and as long as you are single, it is as well that you 
should have your rooms and servant in your father's 
town house, until you provide an establishment for 
yourself. It is quite as much a matter of astonish- 
ment to him as it is to me, that you should let or sell 
every brick and stone that belongs to you ; but that is 
neither here nor there. About this Miss Longview, I 
seem to know her, and yet I don't know her." 



SOME MEMBERS OF THE LA TOUCHE FAMILY. 149 

"She is a sister of Mrs Wiseman, and she lives 
with them. Mr "Wiseman is our manager and agent 
at Bordeaux ; he keeps the French trade of the house 
together, and does very well, though he is an atro- 
cious linguist. There are some of his brothers in the 
concern as clerks, but they are a canting, stiff-starched 
lot, risen from nothing, and always running down 
people of better caste." 

" I remember now," replied Marcia. " A long drab- 
coloured woman, with a face like an unbaked platter ; 
and she ate her bread and butter at a school-feast in 
some unearthly fashion. She may be very excellent, 
but why do these good women invariably persist in 
having their dresses so badly made at the back ? " 

Percival could not say, but he warned Marcia that 
if his father could carry on this courtship in so secret 
a fashion, there was no knowing what he might do 
next. As it was, they were very much obliged to 
Miss Longview, but who knows ? some dashing widow 
or even a young girl might be brought in over their 
heads ; and Percival grinned as he conjured up this 
horrid vision, for none knew better than he how 
greatly such a proceeding would harass the soul and 
vex the spirit of his respected aunt Marcia. 

A noise in the hall here arrested this conversation : 
some one had entered with a latch-key, and had dis- 
placed some of the appendages of the hat-stand, by 
striking against it. Marcia opened the door of the 
morning-room, and, looking out, saw to her astonish- 
ment that her brother had returned from the city. 



150 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

This was a most unusual thing for Mr La Touche to 
do, as he invariably lunched at a particular restaurant 
at one o'clock sharp. It was now barely twelve o'clock, 
and some weighty reason must have caused his return. 
Both Marcia and her nephew opined that he had 
been taken suddenly ill, and the latter particularly 
congratulated himself that his dealings with his 
father's letter had been confined to taking a copy 
of its contents. It was clear that he could not have 
returned home on any business connected with this. 
Percival therefore breathed, but for all that he did 
not feel quite comfortable, and it is to be hoped that 
conscience had something to do with his visible per- 
turbation of spirit. 

Seeing his sister, Mr La Touche merely said, " Come 
into the back drawing-room, and don't let anybody be 
admitted up there. I have received some annoying 
letters, and I want to speak to you about them." 

The plural number fell like balm on Marcia's soul, 
for she had entertained some misgivings as to the 
cause of her brother's return. Making a sign to Per- 
cival to remain in the background, she immediately 
followed her brother up-stairs into the sanctum, which 
was reserved as the especial private department of 
the La Touche household. 

" It is all out," said the merchant, as the door 
closed upon him and his prime minister. 

" About Arabella," answered Marcia. " I knew it 
would come to this : it would have been much better 
to put her into a private asylum at first." 



SOME MEMBERS OF THE LA TOUCHE FAMILY. 151 

Mr La Touche took no notice of this remark, but 
pulled a letter out of his pocket, and gave it to 
Marcia. It was from the rector of Pinnacles, stat- 
ing that, in an access of insanity, Mrs Kemble had 
wounded her attendant in the arm with a fork, and 
that every article of furniture in her room was more 
or less injured. It declared also, that unless some 
immediate restraining power were supplied, it would 
be impossible for Mr Fanshawe to retain Mrs Kemble 
as a tenant, and that the urgency of the case had 
obliged Mr Fanshawe to call in Dr Williams, the 
head physician of the county lunatic asylum of 
Yarneshire. That gentleman had given a very de- 
cided opinion as to the violence of the attack, but 
could not state, of course, whether Mrs Kemble's ail- 
ment was in any way due to hereditary disease. The 
attendant had said that it was ; but in any case, it 
would be advisable that Mr La Touche should come 
at once to Pinnacles, and if Miss La Touche would ac- 
company him, Mrs Fanshawe would be delighted to 
accommodate her at Pinnacles Court. 

" I can't go ! I won't go ! " cried Marcia, raising her 
usually low voice in deprecation. " I know what our 
mother was. It's too dreadful ; and Arabella would 
not have been so bad if it had not been for that horrid 
husband of hers : it must be kept quiet for the sake of 
your children." 

" That is not the worst of it," said John La Touche, 
with a ghastly pale face. "What do you think of 
little Anna ? she has had a terrible attack, but the 



152 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

people at the school think it is epilepsy. You 
know it is more than that." 

Little Anna was the youngest daughter of the 
house, a child of eleven years. Curious and violent 
from her earliest years, and subject, occasionally, to 
fits, she had been placed at a quiet home-like school, 
about ten miles from London. Judicious care and 
training had proved of great benefit to this little girl, 
and it had been hoped that as years advanced she 
would grow out of all her maladies. Unnaturally 
quick in some matters, she was almost idiotic in 
others, and the least restraint sufficed to irritate her 
to a lamentable degree. That morning, on arriving 
at his office, her father had received a letter from the 
principal of the school, urging him to go down to 
Slowe without delay. This and the communication 
from Pinnacles had brought him back to Hinton 
Square, in order to consult his sister as to what 
was best to be done. 

The folding-doors of the great drawing-room opened 
at this moment, and gave admission to a tall fine- 
looking young man, whose resemblance to his elders 
told that he was of the house of La Touche. He had, 
however, a great advantage over them in respect to 
his aristocratic bearing and highly dignified manners. 
This gentleman was Stephen, the third son, who had 
been educated at Oxford, and who now had fairly en- 
tered on his career as barrister - at - law. Though 
really the flower of his family, strange to say he was 
little appreciated by his people ; and had it not been 



SOME MEMBERS OF THE LA TOUCHE FAMILY. 153 

for his handsome presence, Marcia would have been 
as well pleased had he lived elsewhere, for Percival 
and Stephen were always at daggers drawn, and the 
aunt, right or wrong, invariably inclined to the side of 
her elder nephew. 

" What has brought you in here, sir, at this time of 
day ? " said the elder man sharply to his son, as the 
latter entered the room in the quiet leisurely manner 
which was peculiar to him. 

" I have returned from Temple Court for some law 
papers which are in my charge, and I was looking 
them over at this moment in the quiet of the drawing- 
room ; my aunt's exclamations diverted my attention, 
and I have come in to tell you that from what I have 
partly heard, I conclude that there has been bad news 
from Aunt Arabella." 

Mollified by this temperate reply, Mr La Touche 
desired his son to sit down, and at once gave him 
the undesirable intelligence which had elicited a cry 
more of anger than of sorrow from Marcia. 

" What is to be done ? " said the elder man, after 
Stephen had perused the letters ; " do you think they 
suspect that we have madness in the family ? " 

" I won't go to Pinnacles ! " intervened Marcia ; " it 
would upset me dreadfully, and I could do no good. 
It would be far better to say that little Anna is taken 
ill, and that I am called away to her. I don't mind 
going to Slowe for a day or so ; but Pinnacles is far 
beyond me." 

" Yes, yes," replied Mr La Touche hastily ; " but 



154 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

about the family affliction ? What am I to say to 
this Dr Williams ? " and he looked appealingly to- 
wards Stephen as he spoke. 

" Simply tell the truth, and say that hereditary 
mania does exist in our family, owing to the fre- 
quent intermarriages between cousins in all its gen- 
erations," the young man replied. " The doctor could 
then act with greater certainty, and know better what 
course to adopt. Depend upon it, the truth will serve 
best. If Aunt Marcia will not go, perhaps you will 
let me accompany you," continued the young man. 
" I think Aunt Arabella would be glad to see me : 
she was always fond of me as a boy, and you 
know I spent a long time with them at Heidelberg. 
She referred to that visit when I went to see her 
two years ago." 

" That's not a bad idea," interrupted Marcia, who 
was ready to agree to any proposition that would 
obviate the necessity of her own appearance on 
the scene. "Aunt Arabella likes you, Stephen, and 
people that are, are — queer, can be better managed 
by those whom they like. Yes, you had better ac- 
company your father." 

" The Fanshawe family, of course, know the full 
extent of the malady, don't they ? " said Stephen, 
who had been abroad since his return from college, 
and was not up in the details of this terrible case. 
" In fact, circumstances must have forced the know- 
ledge upon them." 

" When I placed your aunt there — at Pinnacles, I 



SOME MEMBERS OF THE LA TOUCHE FAMILY. 155 

mean — I told Mr Fanshawe that she was a very 
nervous invalid, and liable at intervals to attacks of 
mental aberration ; accrediting all to the sufferings 
she had gone through with her husband, and the 
shock of his death by his own hand," answered Mr 
La Touche. 

" That was quite enough to account for any woman 
going off her head," interrupted Marcia, with a little 
triumphant waggle of her own head at Stephen. 

" Yes," answered the nephew, " especially when 
there is the hereditary taint of lunacy to aggravate 
and bring out any disposition to excitement." 

" You see," said Mr La Touche, not heeding his son's 
remark, but anxious to vindicate his method of action 
— " you see Mr Kemble's death was such a fortunate 
dispensation, and accounted so satisfactorily for the 
state of the widow, that there was no necessity for 
making Mr Fanshawe aware of the family tendency 
— liability — umh — predisposition to excitement. Un- 
fortunately your aunt has become more peculiar, and 
even violent, for you see by the rector's letter that 
she has destroyed some of the furniture of her 
room." 

" Poor old lady ! " said Stephen, in a tone of deep 
compassion ; u has this last attack come on suddenly ? " 

" Well, yes, I should say the violent stage is sud- 
den ; but your aunt has become more peculiar for some 
months. Did not Lillian Fanshawe tell you something, 
when she was last in London ? " inquired Mr La 
Touche, turning to his sister. 



156 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

"Yes ; the Fanshawes were rather alarmed lest Aunt 
Arabella should take to walking about the village 
dressed in brown paper," Marcia replied. " It was a 
fancy for the time, and that wore away ; but she sud- 
denly clutched the bonnet off a woman's head one 
Sunday in church, and of course, as everybody saw 
that, it got about that the Fanshawes had a mad 
tenant under their charge. Lillian did not like to 
tell me this, and would not have done so ; but her 
father insisted that he would not be considered as 
having Mrs Kemble in his care : we were to under- 
stand that she was his tenant solely, and that it was 
the duty of her family to provide her with a respon- 
sible attendant." 

" Quite right," replied Stephen ; " I honour the man 
for his common-sense. Of course she was supplied 
with a proper trained nurse after that ? " 

" I had thought of it," said Mr La Touche, 
abashed by the straightforward declaration of his 
son, — " I had thought of it, but I waited till I could 
see in person what to do. In fact, I don't go there 
often ; it annoys me, and Percival manages her bet- 
ter. Arabella is always quiet when he goes down 
to look after her." 

" Yes ; because he frightens and terrifies her," said 
Stephen stoutly. " The attendant told me that after 
Percival's visits my aunt suffered acutely from ner- 
vous prostration and sleeplessness ; also that her 
aversion to my brother amounts to positive horror. 
His very presence seemed to freeze her soul and 



SOME MEMBERS OF THE LA TOUCHE FAMILY. 157 

body. I was thankful that business kept him so 
much at Bordeaux for her sake, poor suffering soul." 

" You are always hard on Percival," intervened 
Marcia. " I am sure you ought not to be jealous 
because he is the eldest son." 

" Nonsense, Aunt Marcia ; you know better than 
that, and you know as well as I do that Percival's aim 
is to make the Fanshawes and all the world believe 
that Aunt Kemble's affliction is purely an accidental 
thing. It is sad enough," continued the young man, 
" that we should suffer from the avarice of the former 
generations ; for there is no doubt that the frequent 
intermarriages in the family have mostly arisen from 
the desire of keeping the money among them. At the 
same time, we should accept the fact that as we are 
tainted with hereditary insanity, everything ought to 
be done, physically and morally, to abate this afflic- 
tion. Besides, the fact remains that an affliction of 
Providence is no disgrace." 

" I don't agree with you, sir — in fact, I entertain a 
very contrary opinion ! " flared out Mr La Touche. 
" It is a disgrace to have an insane relative ; and there- 
fore I think it a duty — a Christian duty I owe my 
children — to keep your Aunt Kemble's existence as 
much as possible a secret." 

" But we do accept the fact," said Marcia, in a 
mollifying tone, — " indeed we do, Stephen ; we accept 
it as a liability to Jits. Some we call apoplectic fits ; 
others, when the case is like little Anna's, we call 
epileptic fits. You see, they may be mixed up with 



158 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

lunacy, or they may not ; but it will never do to pro- 
claim to the world that we are mad. Of course you 
see the wisdom of this, but you have got the idea into 
your head that Aunt Arabella has been improperly 
managed. That's it. Come along both of you ; there 
is the luncheon-bell. And, Stephen, go with your 
father, and judge for yourself, — I won't go to Pin- 
nacles ! " 



159 



CHAPTER VIII. 

MR GLASCOTT. 
" You may tell by the stubble what the grass has been." — Greek Proverb. 

The satisfaction which Colonel Leppell evinced at the 
manner in which affairs had arranged themselves, was 
apparent in his reception of Mr Clavering. This, 
though not so cordial as that which he would have 
accorded to a suitor of his own choosing, was yet 
sufficiently friendly to set the latter quite at his ease, 
and make him inwardly congratulate himself on the 
success of his wooing. 

Lady Asher could not remember the time when a 
pleasanter party had assembled round the table in her 
private apartment, and she much wondered who this 
stranger might be who cast an almost magical charm 
upon herself and upon all there assembled. 

Prothero had barely time to apprise Lady Asher 
that Mrs Leppell intended to bring a stranger into her 
room to luncheon, and to beg her mistress to ask no 
questions, promising that she should hear all about 
the visitor afterwards. 



160 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

She then vested Lady Asher's head in a lace cap, 
threw a soft Shetland shawl over her shoulders, 
whispering as she did so that the new-comer was a 
very learned man — very much thought of in London, 
and, she rather fancied, after Miss Mary, but on that 
subject it would be as well to hold their peace. Time 
would show. 

Well might the old lady wonder ! Adelaide looked 
brighter than she had seen her for months past; 
Ralph spoke quietly, and had asked her to take wine 
with him — had actually addressed her as grandmamma, 
instead of the habitual G. M. ; and Mary, who was 
always lovely in the eyes of this relative, now appeared 
to her as an angel crowned with the aureole of happi- 
ness. This young girl, by that intuitive perception 
which God often bestows on those whose years pre- 
clude the knowledge which experience brings, felt 
that she had done the thing which was right, and that 
she in so doing had given satisfaction to both her 
parents, and shed around her family the blessings of a 
great peace. As Mrs Leppell conversed with Mr 
Clavering, she began to like him better than she 
imagined that she would have done, and some little 
attention he bestowed on the elder lady went far to win 
her heart. It was a comfort to her — though a strange 
one — to think that this new relative would be quite 
equal to maintain his own against the Colonel, should 
the occasion present itself, and that there was a chance 
of having a man whose opinion and advice would be 
reliable, to whom she and her husband could appeal in 



MR GLASCOTT. 161 

the event of any difficulty arising in the management 
of their younger sons. Viewing matters in this light, 
Mrs Leppell was not so sure that it was a disadvantage 
in Mr Francis Clavering being older and wiser than 
his years. Henrietta's husband, she reminded her- 
self, was a hot-headed, impetuous young fellow, much 
better away in India ; for Ealph, if they lived to a 
hundred, would never be influenced by him. Thus, 
quite unconsciously, Mrs Leppell had already estab- 
lished Mr Claverinof more as a mentor and less as a 
son-in-law in their future relations, the one with the 
others. 

Mary was, as has been seen, perfectly unsuspicious 
of the cause which compelled her father to consent to 
her engagement, and thus ratify it so pleasantly. The 
one great object, as far as Colonel Leppell was con- 
cerned, was secured, — the emancipation of Marmaduke 
from his disgraceful difficulty. As to the alliance itself, 
it might have been better — a deuced deal better. Still, 
Providence, and all that, provided for the best. The 
fellow, too, is very presentable, and does not come down 
upon one with his learning like a load of bricks. Thus 
ruminating, the Colonel finally concluded to make the 
best of it, and never to forget, that whatever Mr 
Glascott might have done to serve him, the bestowal 
of his precious Moll was more than an equivalent for 
all favours, present and to come. 

This conclusion led Colonel Leppell into wondering 
how on earth he was to come face to face with Mr 
Glascott ; and in this he felt all the reluctance which 

VOL. i. l 



162 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

the injur er usually shows in coming in contact with 
the injured person, or even accepting pardon from him. 
The position was very galling to Ralph Leppell, who, 
though often committing very undignified acts, was 
essentially a man of proud spirit, and served as a 
strong illustration of a not uncommon paradox. His 
case was the more particularly trying, inasmuch as he 
was obliged to accept a favour from his quondam 
opponent. However, when an unpleasant thing has to 
be done, it is well to act promptly, especially as delay 
or procrastination would in nowise serve the interests 
of Mr Marmaduke Leppell. 

Therefore, in an interlude of the general chat, and 
quite forgetting that Lady Asher was ignorant of Mr 
Glascott's presence in the neighbourhood, the Colonel 
proposed to Mr Clavering that he should accompany 
him back into Yarne, and apologise to that gentleman 
for Mary's having detained his cousin in his walk, 
and for her parents having aided and abetted her by 
keeping him to luncheon. The Colonel looked around 
for approbation on delivering this speech, for he 
fancied he had done a difficult thing rather neatly. 

" Mr Glascott will only be too glad to accept the 
very flattering explanation which I shall give him as 
to the cause of my detention," Francis replied. " There 
is a saying that happiness comes to us whilst we are 
sleeping ; mine came to me whilst I was walking," the 
young man continued gallantly. "As to Mr Glas- 
cott, I am sure he will be as impatient as myself, or 
nearly so, to come and pay his respects to you all as 



MR GLASCOTT. 1G3 

soon as possible/' he went on to say, slightly bowing 
to the company. 

" Glascott ! Glascott ! " exclaimed the old lady, in 
a low voice, to her daughter, and peering curiously 
into her face ; " not Everard — not your " 

" Don't take any notice now, mother dear," said Mrs 
Leppell, casting a nervous glance towards her hus- 
band, — " don't take any notice now ; I will tell you 
presently." 

" Xow that you can't help yourself," replied the 
old lady crossly. a I am never told anything. What 
is your friend's name ? " 

Fearful of attracting attention, Mrs Leppell merely 
replied, " It is quite a different one to that you have 
just mentioned. I did not know he was coming till 
he entered the house." 

This reply mollified the old lady considerably, and 
as the visitor at that moment addressed a remark par- 
ticularly to her, this piece of good luck had the effect 
of distracting her mind for the moment from the sub- 
ject of Mr Glascott. 

" We had better start back at once," said the master 
of the house, totally ignoring that it was possible that 
Mr Clavering would like to hold some further converse 
with his fiancee; and indeed, thinking more of the hail- 
shower which was threatening. " I am glad to walk," he 
continued, " for I have a lot of things to attend to in 
the town. These pensioners give no end of bother, 
and now some of the awkward squad belonging to a 
regiment quartered at Wurstede are to be sent up to 



164 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

me, in order that they may drill with my men. It is 
absurd ; but, as usual, I am a victim to everything and 
everybody. By the way, are you fond of horses ? " 

" Very," the visitor replied ; " of good ones more 
especially." 

" That's a comfort. I have just had a very handsome 
colt presented to me — that is to say, I have got to take 
him from a tenant ; there is no other way of getting 
some rent he owes me. Would you like to see this 
colt ? He is a real beauty, rising three years, and has 
a good many racing points, all first-rate. However, 
I will not have him put into training too early ; it is 
a bad system this running colts of two and three 
years, and will in time, I predict, ruin the breed of 
horses. All that is looked for nowadays is speed, 
and the training is too severe for two-year olds. Weight 
and carrying power are all sacrificed in the selection of 
blood stock for pure rush, and, of course, there must 
be many casualties in training racers of insufficient 
stamina. It makes them unsound in wind and limb, 
sir." 

Mr Olavering replied that he had no doubt the 
Colonel was perfectly right ; it stood to common-sense, 
he urged. 

" Where is this colt ? " inquired Mary, whose interest 
in the horse department made her a great favourite 
with her father. " Dick told me this morning that he 
had not arrived, I am so glad to hear that the 
creature is to enjoy his life some time longer. Poor 
things ! how these racers suffer in training." 



MR GLASCOTT. 165 

He's at Thompson's stable hard by, waiting till I 
could send for him. We had better all go down there, 
for I desired the lad who brought him to stay at 
Thompson's and take a fill of bread and cheese and 
beer there. By the way," continued the Colonel, 
" that colt represents old Gingell's rent ; just wait a 
minute till I write a receipt, — or Mary, you may as 
well show Mr Clavering the way to Thompson's, and 
have the first look at this beast. I'll follow." 

Thus arranging the order of progression, the Colonel 
strode off, nearly flattening a little Skye terrier, the 
colour of the door-mat, and quite as shaggy, as he trod 
on it in his exit. 

He took up the animal, which shrieked with pain, 
patted its head, apologised to it, and then opening the 
hall-door, banged the mat into the garden, where it 
alighted among some shrubs. " Never get these beastly 
shaggy things again for the house doors," the master 
vociferated for the benefit of the general public. " The 
dogs must be considered ; they are persons and people, 
I feel convinced, and a precious sight better than many 
a professing Christian." Colonel Leppell was not far 
wrong in his estimate. Ah, what a black list there 
will be some day against many for wanton cruelty to 
the dumb animals of this earth ! It is an open ques- 
tion whether Christians, professed or otherwise, do 
not often sin in this respect quite as deeply as the 
pagan and heathen they attempt to convert and civi- 
lise. It would be interesting to know what the cab- 
horses of London, and the turnecl-out household cats 



166 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

of Edinburgh, would say on this subject, could the 
power of speech be allowed them. The Colonel went 
to his den, carrying his maimed favourite in his arms, 
and Mrs Leppell considerately despatched the lovers 
to Thompson's stables. She then took the opportunity 
of telling her mother how matters stood in reference to 
Mr Glascott, and explained the relationship between 
that gentleman and the visitor who had just left the 
table. " You see, mother," continued Mrs Leppell, 
" that I could not very well inform you of these mat- 
ters when I only knew a quarter of an hour before 
your dinner what Mary had decided to do." She then 
made the old lady aware of some of the passages in 
Marmaduke's present career, using a wise discretion in 
the selection, and managed very fairly to be acquitted 
of designedly keeping her parent in the dark concern- 
ing the affairs of the family. 

" I have thought a good deal about Everard Glas- 
cott lately," Lady Asher said after a pause, — " I do not 
understand why. But do you know that one day, when 
I was taking an airing in my donkey-chair, I thought 
I saw him walking near the river-bank." 

« Very likely it was he," said Adelaide. " Mr Glas- 
cott seems to go about a good deal with his cousin, 
and you know he is in Yarne at this moment." It 
did not suit the lady just then to admit that her old 
lover had actually been under her roof, — everything 
must remain secret, trilling or otherwise, till it was 
well with her eldest son. 

Meanwhile Mary returned from her visit to the 



MR GLASCOTT. 167 

colt, and the two gentlemen made their way into 
Yarne. Happening to look out of the window of his 
room, as they crossed Eed Lion Square, Mr Glascott 
was at first surprised, and at the next moment highly 
gratified, to behold the arm of his cousin linked within 
that of Colonel Ealph Leppell. He even smiled to 
himself, for he heard, or fancied he heard, Ealph's 
hee-haw voice : it was likely enough, for when that 
officer found himself in an embarrassing situation, he 
was always particularly loud. The restraining influ- 
ence of Mr Clavering's vigorous arm tempered the 
Colonel's inclination to swagger, and it also rather 
served to reduce his stride. However that may be, the 
hotel door was approached with grave decorum, as far 
as progression was concerned. 

Before they reached the landing-stage, Mr Glascott 
was awaiting them at the head of the staircase. 
" Good morning, Colonel Leppell," he said ; " I am glad 
to see you. Ah, Frank ! I can understand now why 
I was left to take my luncheon alone." He shook 
hands with- both comers, and then rang the bell. 

" Bring some wine-glasses, waiter, and a bottle of 
that old madeira with the yellow seal. You know 
where I keep it ; I am very anxious that Colonel Lep- 
pell should judge of its merits." 

" Yessir, very good sir, — dry biscuits of course ; " and 
so the waiter vanished with the words in his mouth. 

Thus began and ended this terrible interview which 
the Colonel had so much dreaded — that is to say, the 
interview which was to renew their mutual acquaint- 



168 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

ance, and despatch the former animosities of these 
two gentlemen into the limbo of forgotten memories. 
Then the wine was produced, and fair Mary Leppell 
was toasted in the fashion of twenty years ago ; and 
the naming of this toast by Mr Clavering further in- 
formed Mr Glascott that all was satisfactory in that 
quarter. The Colonel pronounced the madeira to be 
excellent, and did justice to it, prophesying that in a 
few years the very name of this recherche beverage 
would be extinct. Then Mr Glascott proposed that 
the Colonel should walk round the College precincts 
with him. " My time in Yarne is short," said that gen- 
tleman, " and we had better enter into the ways and 
means at once. Frank, if you have any regard for the 
elderlies, you will let us depart in peace ; but I will be 
better than you were, — I won't keep you waiting when 
dinner-time comes." 

Frank laughed, and the two others went their way. 
As soon as they got into the street, Mr Glascott said, 
" I am very gratified that I am to receive your 
daughter as my daughter, and appearances justify 
me in supposing that she has accepted my cousin en- 
tirely of her own free will, without pressure : is that 
not so ? 

" Most certainly ; and I think it due to myself 
to add, that at this moment my daughter is quite 
ignorant of her brother's position. Her mother and I 
have purposely kept this from her, in order that her 
decision might be perfectly free and uninfluenced. 
At the same time, Mr Glascott, both Adelaide and I 



MR GLASCOTT. 169 

feel very grateful to you for your noble, your generous 
action in this matter. Let me add, that we both feel 
that we do not deserve it." 

" Say no more about it. Frank is unto me as a 
son, and I feared that if he were disappointed of this 
attachment, — I believe it is the first and only one he 
ever had, — his prospects and success in life would 
thereby be seriously imperilled. His disappointment 
at hearing the report of your daughter's engagement 
to Lord Willows was intense ; in fact, the state of his 
mind was the cause that induced me to come forward 
as I have done. What I want particularly to say to 
you is this : had I found that Miss Leppell enter- 
tained a decided preference for any one else, and 
had honestly told Frank of it, much as I should have 
regretted the circumstance, I would still have assisted 
you to cover your son's disgrace for the sake of his 
mother and old times. My cousin is also perfectly 
ignorant of this unfortunate occurrence ; he only knows 
that, for his sake, I have foregone a lifelong enmity in 
order to secure his happiness. But, as I said before, 
had your daughter's affections not been hers to bestow, 
I would still have helped you. ' An unwilling squaw 
makes an unhappy wigwam/ says the Indian axiom ; 
and it is of course a matter of congratulation to us 
all that things have turned out as happily as they 
have done." 

Alas ! for human nature. Ealph was wishing in his 
heart of hearts that he had known what would have 
happened if Mary had been engaged, — he could have 



170 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

brought Lord Willows to book in no time, and then 
her affections would have been his lordship's, of course. 
However, what was done could not be undone, and by 
way of distraction, he treated Mr Glascott to an ac- 
count of Marrnaduke's elopement, and the failure of 
that performance, — " which of course," said the father 
ruefully, "was an additional anxiety and trouble to 
the delinquent's friends." 

" Eemember your anxiety about the bank business 
is over," said Mr Glascott kindly, "but you should 
take immediate steps with regard to this contempt 
of Court: mind, the Court of Chancery is an awk- 
ward tribunal to trifle with. I will call at Hunter's 
Lodge to-morrow, and we can then talk over the ar- 
rangements for settling our young people finally. It 
is past four very much ; still, I think, you had better 
consult a lawyer at once. You employ one in Yarne, I 
presume ? " 

"Yes, I always stick to Fagan and Winshaw, — a 
most respectable firm, and their office is close to this. 
I shall just have time before dark. The ladies will all 
be glad to see you to-morrow. Good-bye till then," 
and the Colonel hied at full speed to consult his legal 
adviser. 

" Master in," inquired Ralph of a young gentleman, 
who was sitting on a high stool, conning a severe-look- 
ing document, and wrinkling the skin of his nose very 
decidedly over the same. " Look sharp, will you, and 
tell Mr Fagan that Colonel Leppell wants to see him 
on particular business." 



MR GLASCOTT. 171 

The lad raised his eyes, stared at the officer, and at 
length inquired what he meant ? 

"What I say," answered the Colonel, in a voice 
which made his young friend jump with such alacrity 
that the stool rocked again. " I want to know if Mr 
Fagan is in ; you are his apprentice, aren't you ? " 

" I am nothing of the kind," replied the lad loftily, 
as he descended from his perch. " I am an articled 
clerk, and have paid my premium : the office-boy is out." 

" Oh, that's it, is it ? Well, never mind, I will call 
Mr Fagan myself," — and going to the foot of'a flight of 
stairs, the Colonel began to roar, " Fagan, are you at 
home ? may I come up to you ? the young prig in your 
outer office won't budge ! " 

" For goodness' sake," cried the prig in question, 
" allow me to go up-stairs. Mr Fagan is most partic- 
ular about noise." And so saying, the lad flew past this 
peremptory client with the speed of an arrow, and dis- 
covered, fortunately for himself, that the senior partner 
had ascended to an upper room in order to search for 
a document that was wanting in his own office. 

" Colonel Leppell waiting," said Mr Fagan. "Ask 
him to go into my room ; I will be down in a moment. 
Just poke the fire there, will you ? and see that no one 
comes in." 

" Yes, sir," returned the articled clerk, as meek as 
a mouse ; and in a humbled and chastened spirit he 
descended to do the honours to the Staff-officer of 
Pensioners. 

Colonel Leppell eyed the youth with grim amuse- 



172 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

ment as the latter renovated the fire and cleared away 
some papers. " You are young Lilliput," he said at 
length. 

" Ya — as, Colonel, ya — as," was the reply, given in 
tremolo key. 

" Knew every one of you since you were babies. 
Hope you attend to your duties, and obey your 
mother ; she's put you into a respectable berth. Now 
look here, don't you be playing the grand to the 
clients who come to this office — it won't do you any 
good. I did not mean to hurt your dignity, and if 
you like to come out to Hunter's Lodge any day when 
my boys are at home, I'll give you a mount, and you 
can take pot-luck, if you will. There, — no thanks, be 
off, — here's Mr Fagan." 

Glad to escape, Mr Lilliput did make off, and the 
Colonel, with a heavy heart, confided the difficulty of 
Marmaduke's position to that clever lawyer. 

" They won't imprison him for months, will they ? " 
said the Colonel, after he had revealed the case, as far 
as he was acquainted with it. " The Lord Chancellor 
has been young himself," he urged ; " and of course 
the girl was a consenting party." 

" That makes no difference," said Mr Fagan ; " the 
thing to be ascertained is whether the money was the 
object of your son's acting in this way. If it turns 
out that he was influenced by pecuniary motives, of 
course the Court will take a very grave view of his 
conduct. Is your son in debt, do you know ? I mean 
to any amount ? " 



MR GLASCOTT. 173 

" Unfortunately lie is," replied Marmaduke's father, 
u and I cannot help him. You know, Fagan, I can 
hardly keep ray head above water myself." 

" Has Mr Leppell been pressed for money ? " 

" I think so, at least. I am sure he has," answered 
Colonel. 

" That's bad," said Mr Fagan. " Where is he ? " 

"Hiding in London, — somewhere in Holborn, dis- 
guised as a nigger ; only fancy ! " 

In spite of himself, the lawyer could not repress a 
smile. " Well, look here, Colonel," he said at length, 
" you had better go to London, and get your son to 
surrender himself at once to the Court. The sooner 
you go the better. I will give you a letter to our 
correspondents in the city, who will advise you how 
to act. You will want legal assistance on the spot. 
As soon as you find Mr Leppell, take him to these 
lawyers directly. I will think over the case, and send 
the letter and any advice that may occur to me some 
time to-morrow." 

" I cannot furnish you with more particulars," replied 
the Colonel, " my own information is so very meagre ; 
at any rate, I will follow your advice, Fagan. You 
cannot imagine how much I have to worry me just 
now ; I am a regular victim to everybody and -" 

Here Mr Fagan laughed outright, and said, " I 
think you can manage to keep your own, Colonel, 
pretty fairly. However, an affair of this kind always 
does bring a good deal of annoyance more or less, and 
as far as I can judge, the lady's friends in this case 



174 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

are more inclined to obstruct your son than to help 
him out of his difficulties." 

" Confound them ! Thank goodness, they are no 
acquaintances of mine, nor of Marmaduke's either, 
with the exception of the girl. He'll have to make 
her cut the whole lot when matters are arranged." 

" You cannot act too promptly, Colonel," said Mr 
Fagan, ignoring his client's asseverations. " If you 
cannot start to-morrow, make it the day after." 

" I can manage to set off by the night mail to- 
morrow ; it does not leave till eleven, so that will give 
me a long day wherein to settle various matters. 
Send the letter, please, you intend for your agents to 
my office ; any time will do, as I shall look in there 
the last thing on my way to the rail. Good-bye — I 
must step out, for it is getting dark ; " and Colonel 
Leppell strode along at a pace which wellnigh riv- 
alled the speed of the seven-league boots of the 
fairy tales. 

On the following day Mr Glascott wended his way 
on foot, accompanied by Mr Clavering, to pay his 
respects, as he put it, first and foremost to fair 
Mary Leppell, the lady of whom he had heard so 
much as " heavenly Moll." This was in accordance 
with the old-fashioned respect and courtesy which, 
even at that time, was being elbowed out by the rush 
of life, and the selfish assertiveness of what has now 
culminated into " fast manners," as well as fast doings. 
Nowadays, persons with the best intentions often 
seem to consider that these intentions ought to be 



MR GLASCOTT. 175 

accepted and understood, the rush and hurry of life 
doing away with the necessity of any but the scantiest 
forms of politeness. There is nothing, perhaps, more 
pleasant and gratifying than the deference which a 
high-bred elderly man, of what is called the old school, 
shows to a young and beautiful girl. It is at once 
a tribute to innocence and purity, and sets a good 
example to younger men, as regards their manners 
towards the softer sex ; and without preaching, it 
inculcates the silent lesson of culture and regard for 
the feelings of others, which is ever the highest mark 
of sincerity and kindliness. It is a delusion with 
some, and a delusion that amounts in certain forms 
to a superstition, that rudeness and abruptness of 
manner is a sign of a good heart, and of sound ster- 
ling worth ; and many of the impertinences that are 
dispensed about the world emanate most generally 
from those who profess to hold the outward observ- 
ances of social life as veils for hypocrisy and false 
dealing, whilst they are practising their very vices 
under the thick cloak of surliness and insolence. 
Good manners, whatever they may conceal, are at 
least void of offence ; and it would be as well if a 
large majority of those who profess great sanctity 
would remember that "Be courteous" is one of the 
Scripture's golden rules. 

There was, however, some little disappointment 
mixed with the great admiration with which Everard 
Glascott scanned the fair face of this lovely daughter 
of the house of Hieover. It was natural, perhaps, 



176 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

that he should expect — on a nearer view than that 
which he had secured some time previously from the 
gallery of a ball-room — to see the girl very much 
what the mother had been, or at least some strong 
likeness which would at once associate the parent 
with the child in her features or expression. In vain 
did he seek to discover any lineament which would 
in the faintest degree recall the face of Adelaide, n4e 
Asher, at the age of eighteen. He could only confirm 
the fact that Miss Leppell was much more beautiful 
than her mother ever had been. The style of both 
was essentially different also, and Mary, in every 
movement, evinced a grace and elegance which were 
totally lacking in Mrs Leppell, that lady being always 
more of the handsome and ponderous than of the 
light and lithe cast. 

After some conversation, Mr Glascott asked to see 
the younger children ; and as many of these as could 
be found, intermingled with dogs and kittens, and 
even a pigeon held by the scruff of the neck in a baby 
hand, were marshalled into the presence of — as it 
was represented to them — this very old friend of 
mamma, who had come a long way to see them all. 
It was only in the chubby unformed faces of the 
younger children that the visitor recognised a resem- 
blance betwixt them and their mother, and this was 
confined to the hesitating expression of the mouth, 
and the weak moulding of the chin. Looking up 
at a picture which hung in the room into which he 
had been ushered, Mr Glascott earnestly inspected 



MB GLASCOTT. 177 

a portrait which represented a young man in his 
earliest prime, dressed in regimentals. The beautiful 
evil face bore a provoking likeness to Mary, and was 
none other than that of Marmaduke, painted when he 
first joined his regiment. 

Long did he gaze upon it, whilst Clavering and 
Mary were engaged in their own affairs, and Mrs 
Leppell had departed to prepare Lady Asher to re- 
ceive his visit. What a wicked face, thought the 
honest, pure-minded man, as he looked at it more and 
more intently, — yes, wicked, and what is worse, hard, 
hard to the heart's core. Whom did it resemble ? 
not his father, not Ealph — no ; but it bore a striking 
resemblance to Alexander Leppell, Ealph's elder 
brother — the man of all others whom Everard Glas- 
cott had ever avoided, and finally almost detested. 

" That is Marmaduke ; he is considered very hand- 
some," said the mother, coming up behind her 
visitor. " Do you see any likeness to me in the 
features ? " 

"Not any," Mr Glascott replied; "its resemblance 
is strong wherein I would rather not see it, only that 
the colouring of the face is beautiful. That portrait is 
a flattering, very flattering, refined likeness of your 
brother-in-law Alexander." 

She gave a low cry, and placed her hand on his 
arm. "It is no use attempting to deceive myself," 
she said; "Duke not only resembles his uncle in 
person, but he is like — ah, too much like — him in 
disposition. Pray God he may not turn out hard 

vol. I. m 



178 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

and cruel — yes, cruel ; he bears it in his face, and the 
portrait is a faithful likeness." 

A twitching of Mr Glascott's finely cut lip and 
nostril alone gave evidence of the emotion which 
he felt. Not daring to yield to this, he merely said, 
" Eemember that you always have a true friend in me, 
and it will be my first endeavour to try and influence 
your boy for good. He is young yet, and perhaps 
his present experiences may tone down his wild folly, 
and frighten him at first into more respectable 
courses. Come along now and take me to your 
mother," and he offered her his arm and led her to 
the wing wherein Lady Asher dwelt. 

" I am lame, quite a cripple, in fact," the old lady 
said, as she strove to rise and meet Mr Glascott ; 
" if I had the power I would go down on my bended 
knees and implore your forgiveness for the wrong 
I did you. You forgive me ; I am sure you do, or 
you would not be here. Ah, me ! your goodness will 
heap coals of fire on our heads ; but we have suffered 
— Adelaide and I — no one but God can tell how 
much." 

"Believe me, all is forgotten, old friend," said Mr 
Glascott, placing her tenderly in her chair. " It's 
many years since we parted, but have we not some- 
thing to be thankful for ? that through the happiness 
of younger people, we are all brought together once 
more, — that we live to bless one another, and throw 
the mantle of old loving-kindness over the faults of 
the past ? " 



MR GLASCOTT. 179 

Yes, yes ; but it is you that have done all this : 
you have come to us who so wronged you ; you are 
taking my grand-daughter to your heart, and you are 
in friendship again with Ealph. I never expected 
this — never dreamed that it could be. Oh, Everard 
Glascott, what dreary years of self-reproach the 
memory of a great wrong brings ! I am thankful, 
and Adelaide is thankful, that I shall go to my grave 
with your pardon on my heart." 

The tears flowed fast down poor Adelaide's face — 
her recent trials and bodily weakness had served to 
unnerve her. But these were happy tears, drawn from 
the source which had been struck by the magic wand 
of a fellow-sinner's confession of wrong. Nay, more, 
Adelaide Leppell felt assured that her mother would 
no longer live an unthankful, fretful woman : she had 
been led to admit the sins of her earlier days, and a 
good man's forgiveness had brought to them both the 
blessing of peace. Come weal, come woe, Everard 
Glascott was her mother's friend once more ; and, if 
God should will it so, he would lay her head in the 
grave as one who had been unto her more than a 
son. 

They turned with one accord from the past to the 
present, and, glad to force conversation into other 
channels, they discoursed of the coming nuptials. 
Then it was that Mr Glascott spoke of Mr Clavering's 
young sister, Willina. " She is a fine girl," he said ; 
" truthful and frank, and I think she will make a nice 
sister-in-law. She is just Miss Leppell's age. I am 



180 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

going to Belgium to fetch her, and I suppose that 
her home will be, eventually, at Brydone, in Jersey ; 
but I shall return again to Yarne with this young 
lady in charge." 

" Bring her here by all means," said Mrs Leppell. 

"You are most kind. Now, Mrs Leppell, I am 
going to trouble you to give this packet to Mary ; 
it contains some fine unset diamonds. I have kept 
an equal share for Willina ; but as brides have their 
own tastes in these matters, and I am totally ignor- 
ant about jewelry, I have taken the liberty of en- 
closing a sum with these stones which will defray the 
expense of setting them. Good-bye, Lady Asher ; I am 
going to talk with the Colonel now, and you can all 
do as you like with Clavering. Good-bye." 

Mrs Leppell attended Mr Glascott to the door, and 
then spoke to her mother. No reply came, and her 
daughter, turning to look, saw that Lady Asher, with 
her head bowed on the table, had swooned away. 



181 



CHAPTEK IX. 

COLONEL LEPPELL IN LONDON. 

" Only over-excitement and the strain on the nerves 
from seeing an old friend rather unexpectedly," was 
Colonel Leppell's verdict on being made acquainted 
with Lady Asher's condition some little time after Mr 
Glascott's departure. 

"We thought that at first, Kalph," said poor 
Adelaide, "but mother has gone out of one faint- 
ing fit into another, and now I do think we ought 
to send for a doctor ; " and placing her hand on her 
husband's shoulder, and looking the picture of misery, 
she implored him to send into Yarne for medical 
aid. 

" I think you all frighten yourselves unnecessarily," 
replied the Colonel. "Give her some brandy-and- 
water — not weak sweet stuff, but a good stiff table- 
spoonful or so — and don't look as if anything were 
going to happen, — I mean, as if the old lady were 
going to collapse," he continued, rather less asser- 
tatively ; for the loss of the four hundred a-year had 



182 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

just darted into his mind. "Who is with grand- 
mamma ? " 

" Mary and Prothero, of course." As Mrs Leppell 
spoke the latter personage stood in the doorway, 
and without waiting to be addressed said, "Pray, 
go to your mother at once, Mrs Leppell ; Lady Asher 
is talking very queerly, and it is not fit that Miss 
Mary should be left with her grandmamma alone. 
Colonel, will you desire Master Dick to ride into 
Yarne at once for the doctor, — there is no time to 
lose." 

" You don't mean to say that Lady Asher is as bad 
as that ? " replied the master of the house, glaring at 
Prothero as if she were responsible for her mistress's 
attack of illness. "Are you sure that you are not 
making too much of it ? Give her some brandy. Old 
ladies and babies are much the same, they are up 
and down in no time." 

Colonel Leppell answered in this wise, not so much 
from want of feeling, but from such a dread of serious 
illness that he unconsciously determined that no one 
of his household should be supposed to be likely to 
die, or even to be slightly indisposed, when he was 
in the way to quench the like proceedings. 

So he urged that surprise and excitement, and 
perhaps the east wind, were at the bottom of the 
mischief ; and that women, as was usual with them, 
always made too great a fuss, and were always ready 
to summon a doctor on the slightest provocation, 
&c, &c. 



COLONEL LEPPELL IX LONDON. 183 

"This is more than excitement, sir," answered 
Prothero resolutely. " My mistress has been grad- 
ually ailing for some time past, and from what she 
has let fall, I feel confident that she does not expect 
to live long, — I mean, that her days are numbered, — 
she has been so different of late. I am very, very 
anxious; oh, my dear mistress," — and here Prothero 
not only burst into tears, but sobbed like one over- 
come with grief. 

Colonel Leppell looked at the maid in blank amaze- 
ment: never had he seen this woman so unnerved. 
He had for years regarded her very much as the 
owner of the automaton chess-player would regard 
the mechanical figure which silently plays its ap- 
pointed part and works its way, — the soupgon of a 
secret claiming the chief interest in its movements. 
Thus Prothero had come to be looked upon by the 
Colonel as a mysterious special machine, always 
moving on well-oiled wheels, and ignorant of nerves 
and feelings, or even of fits and starts, except in the 
temperament of those for whose benefit the daily 
grinding of the mill went round. Tears and emotion 
proceeding from such a source had therefore far 
greater weight than the alarm of his wife. And so it 
was that Lady Asher's son-in-law was startled, if 
not actually frightened, into doing the reasonable 
thing. 

" Lord ! for goodness' sake don't give way like 
that, Prothero ; old Prothero, you are a faithful creature, 
and I mean what I say. You shall have any horse 



184 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

you like ; you may have the coach, and I'll drive ; two 
of the colts have only been once in harness, but that 
don't signify." 

"Master Dick shall ride Sally, sir," answered the 
maid, almost hysterical between sorrow and the vision 
of her master driving her into Yarne ; " may I go and 
send him at once. The idea of me in the coach — 
oh !" laugh — sob. 

Colonel Leppell rang the bell — nobody ever kept 
that officer waiting one instant. " Tell Ben Eifles to 
get on Sally and ride into Yarne for Dr Williams, or 
the other man — he knows ; I always forget these 
fellows' names," he said to the domestic who had 
appeared like lightning to answer the summons. 
" Bring the doctor whether he is engaged or not ; say 
it's a case of — well, something that won't wait — not a 
confinement, but old Lady Asher. Look sharp. And 
Prothero, if you want any camphor, or cod-liver oil, or 
mix vomica, or Cockle's Indicus (that homoeopathic 
stuff), you had better write it down and send for it 
now." 

Prothero, who had in some measure recovered her 
composure, declined to take advantage of this offer. 
"There was a box of homoeopathic globules in the 
house," she said, "but it was hidden away, as Dick 
had expressed his intention of swallowing the whole 
concern at a gulp, to convince the family of the worth- 
lessness of that kind of medicine. 

"Sensible lad," answered the father delighted. 
" Now Prothero," he continued, actually clapping that 



COLONEL LEPPELL IN LONDON. 185 

astonished female on the back, "you go into the 
dining-room and help yourself to a good glass of port ; 
that will, perhaps, be better for you than a drive in 
the coach." 

The woman almost laughed; for this vehicle was 
the astonishment and amusement of the whole coun- 
try-side. In it Colonel Leppell was accustomed to 
train, as he pleased to term it, young quadrupeds 
for work in harness. His family, both boys and 
girls, never enjoyed anything better than to go out 
on these training expeditions, filling the coach inside 
and out, not only with themselves, but also with such 
friends as could be induced or seduced into joining 
the party, literally going over hedges and ditches. 
That no one of them had ever lost their lives or 
injured their limbs must be looked upon as the action 
of a special Providence, combined with the firm con- 
viction of the young Leppells that their father could, 
if he chose, drive over the tops of the houses and 
never bring them to grief. 

What the ladies and Prothero suffered when these 
expeditions were in full swing was never compre- 
hended, nor taken into account by any one of the 
number composing them ; they had always returned 
all right, it was insisted. And what a lark it would be, 
Fritz had observed one day, could Ma and G. M. and 
old Prothero be placed inside, and be thus driven into 
Yarne by Dick, he (Fritz) intervening ! 

So Prothero was indeed scared when the Colonel 
gravely and sincerely proferred this treat to herself 



186 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

alone ; and the little surprise, together with her sor- 
row and alarm, caused the glass of port wine to be 
truly acceptable. Thus refreshed, the faithful servant 
was able to present herself in her mistress's apartment 
with her wonted imperturbable serenity. 

She found Lady Asher literally lying in the arms 
of her daughter, in all the prostration of mind and 
body in which, with old persons, a long series of ail- 
ments not receiving any very direct medical atten- 
tion generally culminates. Though her debility was 
great, the patient was by no means insensible to her 
condition ; and it was perhaps due to the small por- 
tion of brandy which Mrs Leppell had given her 
mother, that the latter retained her senses and did 
not relapse into fainting. 

Both Mrs Leppell and Prothero were convinced, 
from the broken words which occasionally fell from 
the patient, that it was the interview with Mr Glas- 
cott that had so thoroughly upset her ; and as oppor- 
tunity, in later years, had turned Prothero into the 
confidante of the female members of Colonel Leppell's 
household, it was natural that she should comprehend 
the slightest allusion to what was passing in the 
mind of her mistress and friend. 

It had occurred now and then in the little talks 
with Adelaide which took rise out of some trying 
behaviour of the Colonel, when the wife took refuge 
in her mother's apartments from a domestic storm, 
that the old lady had referred sadly to what things 
might have been, and had more than once reproached 



COLONEL LEPPELL IN LONDON. 187 

herself for their joint faithlessness towards Everard 
Glascott. This certainly was more by inference than by 
actual statement, as it w T as rare indeed to hear Lady 
Asher mention that gentleman's name. Perhaps 
length of days brings increase of wisdom more surely 
when it takes the turn and points downwards, to 
indicate the extinction of life ; perhaps at this time 
Lady Asher more surely bewailed her own sin, and 
recognised its wages in the daily harrass and anxiety 
which had for long been her daughter's portion in 
her married life. 

The knowledge, too, had been almost forced upon 
her, that a good position without adequate means to 
maintain it, is more difficult to bear than downright 
actual poverty. The world readily draws the mantle 
of obscurity over the latter : and the hard realities 
of penury entirely obviate the necessity of keeping up 
appearances ; making two ends meet ; fastening on 
rich people, time-serving and toadying the same ; or 
of any other of those contrivances by which genteel 
paupers preserve their " status " in society, exciting 
admiration, not unmixed with amazement, in their 
compeers. 

Mrs Leppell had remarked that # her mother had 
become more reflective of late, and also very appre- 
hensive that she had done wrong in promoting Hen- 
rietta's marriage in the way she had done, with per- 
sistent opposition to Colonel Leppell. That a change 
had come over Lady Asher's spirit was evident, for 
she had never indulged in any high speculation con- 



188 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

cerning the future of her favourite grandchild Mary ; 
and when she was informed of the girl's engagement to 
Mr Clavering, she was emphatic in her thankfulness 
that a comfortable home and a suitable provision had 
fallen to the child's lot, rather than rank, even with 
a fortune attached to it. 

At first, like her son-in-law, Lady Asher thought 
she perceived the glow and the seethe of the coals of 
fire falling on Mary's young head, through the gener- 
osity of the quondam adversary of her house ; but a 
moment's reflection caused the grandmother to cast 
this idea aside almost as quickly as it had occurred 
to her, strong in the conviction that Providence would 
never lead Everard Glascott into so terrible a tempta- 
tion. Had she known all, it is probable that the old 
lady would have convinced herself that coals of fire 
of some kind or another must and ought to descend 
upon some of the heads belonging to the house of 
Leppell. Fortunately for the peace of her declining 
days, Lady Asher was entirely ignorant of the dis- 
grace which her eldest grandson had brought upon his 
name and people ; and with regard to the elopement, 
a pitying " poor girl," in reference to the lady, was all 
the comment which she thought necessary to bestow 
on this matter, warmly supported by Prothero in the 
opinion that Duke would make a ten times worse 
husband than his father. Lady Asher had in this 
instance elected to leave bad alone, and so preserved 
a significant silence when that young gentleman's 
name was casually mentioned. " Pialph has some 



COLONEL LEPPELL IN LONDON. 189 

feeling," the old lady would remark to her maid, 
" and he is fond of his children, and indeed of us all in 
his way. Why, if he were to catch anybody insult- 
ing Adelaide, or even me, he would kill them — I do 
believe he would ! " 

" You belong to him," said Prothero grimly. 

" But," the old lady continued, without heeding this 
remark, " Duke is as hard as iron, and as cruel as a 
sepoy. Never trust him, in spite of his good looks. 
He's of the stuff that the fallen angels are made of, 
it's my belief." 

" It would be as well not to say that to either of 
his parents," returned Prothero with wisdom. " Besides, 
Duke takes strongly after his uncle Alex., and so it 
can't be helped, my lady, — it is in the family." 

" Mary has more the innocent trusting nature of my 
dear husband. Oh, Prothero ! things would have gone 
easier for Mrs Leppell if I had been more deferential 
to him, and submitted to be led by his advice ; but 
my selfishness, and my desire to wed my daughter to 
her superior in station, has wrought sad things. Ah, 
me!" 

It was from such scraps of conversation that in 
course of time, and without making any direct inquiry, 
Prothero came to absorb much acquaintance with the 
family affairs ; and with the reticence and good sense 
which formed the strong points of her character, 
she was wise enough not to see too much, and thus 
managed to steer clear of the domestic solecism of 
putting people by the ears, or causing discomfort by 



190 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

appearing to know those things which she ought not 
to know, or hear things which she was not intended 
to hear. 

Duke, however, in spite of his manifold iniquities, 
stood in good stead to his family just now. The 
doctor had arrived, and had pronounced Lady Asher 
to be ill — seriously ill ; and though he could not posi- 
tively assert that any alarming symptoms were present, 
still he advised Mrs Leppell to be prepared for the 
worst, because there was so little rallying power in the 
patient. Lady Asher, he continued, " might linger on 
for some weeks, or she might go off at any moment." 

" Well, I must go off," said the Colonel, to whom 
this opinion had been reported whilst smoking in his 
den, awaiting the doctor's verdict. " It will be better 
for me to start for London at once and see after Duke. 
I'm of no use where there is sickness (this was per- 
fectly true), and I believe the old lady will live on for 
some time. Pop her into bed and keep her there. 
Why, with care and plenty of nourishment, she may 
see us all out." 

Prothero, who had been the person to report the 
doctor's opinion of the case, here remarked that con- 
finement to bed would have a very bad effect upon 
her ladyship. " Her mistress," Prothero said, " could 
not bear to be put aside as an invalid ; it would annoy 
her terribly, and lead to bad results." 

" I don't agree with you," the master answered with 
his usual peremptoriness. " The old lady is always 
sitting in draughts, and pottering about that garden at 



COLONEL LEPPELL IN LONDON. 191 

all hours ; and that donkey-chair is like a petrify- 
ing machine in this weather. The doctor says she 
requires the greatest care, doesn't he 1 " 

" Yes, sir ; but when Lady Asher gets a little better, 
she will resent being made a regular invalid all of a 
sudden, — I feel sure that she will." 

" Nothing of the sort," returned the Colonel ; 
" make her bedridden at once, and she will last for 
years." 

" It may be so, sir," returned Prothero, whose know- 
ledge told her that no good ever had come by contra- 
dicting the Colonel, who perhaps was right in his 
opinion. It must be within the experience of many 
that to confine an elderly invalid to bed, and especially 
to one moderate temperature, at the outset of an illness, 
has resulted in preserving life at the cost of a continual 
course of ailing health, with just as much alleviation 
as prevents the situation from becoming downright 
unpleasant, or even wearisome. 

The second nature which use is supposed to initiate 
and to perfect, claims with the most unfaltering 
tenacity every privilege for the invalid ; and thus the 
patient, when studiously watched and waited upon, 
comes to enjoy the situation, after the first annoyances 
attendant upon enforced restraint have worn away, 
and in the long-run holds out for a length of years, 
often surviving the young and vigorous, whose lives, 
may be, they have harrassed, and at least made troubled 
on their account. 

It was perhaps with this idea that Colonel Leppell 



192 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

insisted that his mother-in-law should be placed in her 
bed and be kept therein. In this there was no disposi- 
tion to run contrary to Mrs Prothero for contradiction's 
sake, as was sometimes the case with that individual. 
To keep Lady Asher alive was his sincere hope and 
wish, for the very cogent reason that the loss of four 
hundred a-year would place him in greater embarrass- 
ment than ever, — all other considerations being set 
aside, though, of course, they existed. His former 
doubts as to the serious nature of Lady Asher's attack 
had vanished completely as soon as the question of 
finance had occurred to his mind ; and to be consist- 
ent in what he now elected to believe, the house must 
be kept perfectly quiet, — no visitors, little going to 
and fro, and, above all things, much control over the 
tones of the voice would have to be exercised by the 
master of the house. 

Hating everything in connection with illness, and 
not disposed to sacrifice one iota of his comfort or 
convenience, Colonel Leppell found a positive relief in 
having Duke's affairs to attend to ; and thus after wait- 
ing a few hours to ascertain that there was no fear of 
present danger to his mother-in-law, he announced his 
intention of setting off for London on the following day. 

This intelligence was hailed with unqualified delight, 
as the Colonel was a positive let and hindrance when 
illness was in the house ; so it was cautiously impressed 
upon him by his wife and Mary that his duty was now 
to look after Duke, and that he could depart in peace 
with an unruffled conscience. 



COLONEL LEPPELL IN LONDON. 193 

" I really can be of no use here," Ealph said, with a 
faint show of reluctance which imposed on nobody. 
" Every hour, you know, Adelaide, is of the utmost 
importance to Duke. Poor fellow ! his state of mind 
must be dreadful, for he does not know that the bank 
business is arranged by this time. You can telegraph 
for me if anything goes wrong, which it won't — I am 
a pretty good judge of these matters — and it's only 
natural that you should be alarmed. By the way, 
Moll had better give me those diamonds. I can 
take them up to town and have them set. I have 
hardly looked at them. Very handsome of Glascott 
to allow her to choose the setting according to her 
own taste." 

" Yes ; and to enclose the amount of the cost in the 
case with the stones," returned Mrs Leppell. " There 
are bank-notes to the sum of two hundred pounds for 
that purpose." 

The Colonel gave a low whistle. " The setting won't 
cost as much as that," he said. 

" Perhaps not ; but the child shall retain whatever is 
over for her own needs," said the mother resolutely ; 
" she will want several things for her ' trousseau,' with 
which it may be difficult for us to supply her. I have 
thought that whatever is over after the setting of the 
jewels should be Moll's own money. She has given it 
to me to take care of ; but I will let you have the half 
of the sum if you like. You can, at all events, pay the 
jeweller on account, and whatever is required over can 
be easily sent. Mind, Ealph, nothing of this is to be 

vol. I. N 



194 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

spent upon Duke — not a fraction. He is released from 
disgrace for my sake ; but the gift to Mary shall not 
be used to help him out of his money difficulties." 

The Colonel stared at his wife, but made no reply, 
whether from amazement at the decision of her manner 
or from the consciousness that she was thoroughly in 
the right, it is impossible to say. The advantage 
gained by what appeared to be passive acquiescence 
on her husband's part emboldened Mrs Leppell to pro- 
ceed, which she did on this wise. 

" You are certainly better out of the house now," 
she continued, " and if you can arrange with Captain 
Plume to take your work, you had better remain as 
long as you can, and thus get everything settled as 
regards Duke thoroughly, and be with him as much 
as you can ; and, above all things, don't trust to Duke's 
representations, but go to the London lawyers first. 
Make Duke do what they advise, and if they say he 
must surrender himself to the Court of Chancery, make 
him do so. You promise me that, Ealph, don't you ? " 
and this handsome, innocent woman of forty-eight en- 
treated her husband with all the caressing naweU of 
a girl of sixteen. 

" I can't help myself," was the reply. " I will do 
my best, dear ; but mind, I won't have Duke bullied 
or sat upon, — in spite of all, he is our son, our eldest 
son. I can't help thinking that this Court will take 
care that the lad gets little or no benefit from his wife's 
fortune, — that's bad enough." 

"He must take his chance of that," the mother 



COLONEL LEPPELL IN LONDON. 195 

replied, "and submit with as good a grace as pos- 
sible." 

" One comfort — his wife seems to have married him 
from affection, and no doubt she will in the end repay 
him for what he will suffer on her account. I daresay 
she will make him a handsome allowance, or settle 
something upon him at once," said the Colonel, in 
magnificent ignorance of the laws of the country in 
the matter of the property and marriage of wards of 
Court. 

" We must hope for the best," said Mrs Leppell, 
" and do, I beseech you, let the London lawyers act in 
the matter. We know nothing, and indeed are per- 
fectly ignorant of how all this has come about. Be 
sure and make Duke respectful and civil if he should 
have to appear before a judge, — these men have so 
much in their power." 

"I don't like the idea of the lad's figuring as a 
nigger serenader," said Colonel Leppell, giving him- 
self a shake. " Must keep that dark with his regiment. 
Well, the first thing I'll do will be to go direct to 
Holborn and relieve the lad's mind. Glad, though, 
that he has not been beholden to Thwacker for board 
and lodging : he tells you in his letter that he is earn- 
ing his bread, does he not ? " 

" Yes," said the mother, drearily. She could have 
added, " And spending double what he earns : it is the 
manner of the race." But she wisely withheld the 
expression of this conviction, and proposed, after a 
moment's silence, to send Moll to her father to show 



196 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

him her diamonds. " You know where to take them," 
she said ; " they ought to be mounted in the very best 
manner." 

" You are right. I will take them to Paris." 

" To Paris ! " she exclaimed in astonishment. " Are 
the London jewellers not good enough ? " 

" Some of them are ; but Dupont is the prince of 
jewellers. Besides, he has done a good deal for the 
house of Hieover, and I would rather give him the 
order." 

" Oh, if you know a respectable and reliable man, 
that makes all the difference," said Mrs Leppell ; " and 
I may as well give you two bank-notes of fifty pounds 
each, which Moll will bring you, to pay for the setting. 
Don't let the cost be much more, Ealph, if you can 
possibly help it. You know how short of money we 
will be if anything were to happen to grandmamma." 

Adelaide, to do her justice, had only just thought of 
this contingency. She was now doubly anxious to 
expedite her husband's departure. How did she 
know that both of them, through the course of events, 
might not be tempted to divert this money from its 
legitimate use ? 

So Colonel Leppell set out for London, and on 
arriving at the Paddington Station of the Great 
Western Eailway, drove straight towards Holborn. 
He took the precaution to dismiss his cab at some 
little distance from the entrance to Mr Thwacker's 
shooting-gallery, and as it was nearly dark, he at once 
made his way to that temple of pugilism. 



COLONEL LEPPELL IN LONDON. 197 

Turning out of Oxford Street, he walked up an 
alley which was rather narrow, and paved mercilessly 
with those horrible pebble-stones which remind one of 
huge potatoes petrified in substance, and extra rounded 
in form. "We unconsciously perform an act of pen- 
ance whenever we tramp over these ; in fact, it is a 
fixed idea in the minds of some sufferers that the 
unboiled peas in the shoon of the early pilgrims and 
penitents were but a faint joke in comparison with 
this infliction of later civilisation. 

Here and there a flat paving -stone laid at the 
basement of a door announced that a humble dwell- 
ing-place gave shelter to some of London's hard 
workaday folks. 

It was remarkable that the windows of these tene- 
ments were furnished with short muslin-blinds which 
were conspicuous for their beautiful cleanliness. The 
masonry of these houses was of the solid thick material 
of the olden times, when the dwelling-places were 
made to stand hard wear and tear, and their walls 
were built thick enough to defy alike winter's cold 
and summer's sun. Partly denuded of plaster and 
spotted with the colour of decay, as some of them 
were, they still presented an air of protection, and the 
certainty that the occupants had veritably a weather- 
tight roof over their heads. 

A woman's form sometimes protruded out of one of 
these doors as the Colonel tramped up this alley, 
giving his opinion of its paving-stones in the most 
forcible language, at the same time turning himself 



198 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

about all ways, after the manner of strangers, in order 
to comprehend the geography of the district with 
some decree of certitude. 

" That's a pretty child you have got there," he said 
with such suddenness to a woman who was peering at 
him through the twilight, that she started and cried 
out, " Lor ' ! " " That's a very pretty child ; but 
you should not keep it out so late in this air. I am 
looking for Thwacker's shooting-gallery ; am I on the 
right track ? " 

" Ye be, my lord," the woman replied, in the convic- 
tion that she was enlightening one of Mr Thwacker's 
aristocratic pupils. " It's rather longer to wind about 
this passage than the street lower down. Many comes 
this way, because it's more private like." 

" I fancied when I was here last that I came by a 
broad crowded street," returned the Colonel, graciously. 
" I know the place when I get to it. The street lower 
down is the general way to Thwacker's, I suppose ? " 

" Yes, my lord ; but many passes down here on the 
quiet. You have only to go straight on to where you 
see that light, and turn sharp round ; then you will 
find the shooting-gallery right in front of ye," replied 
the woman. " Oh, thank you, my lord ; bless you — 
bless you a thousand times ! " This for the shilling 
that was put into the little child's hand ; but it was 
the kindly pat on the curly head of her offspring, and 
the gentle pinch on its tender neck which accom- 
panied the gift, which drew forth the mother's bless- 
ing. Who knows ? In that place and at that time 



COLONEL LEPPELL IN LONDON. 199 

when all things will be made clear, it may be re- 
vealed how such acts of unostentatious kindness have 
been set down by the recording angel in letters of 
gold, and have gone far to balance the gross unre- 
fined metal of the multitude of sins in the sight of 
the Father who pities His children. 

" Thwacker's," as it was briefly called, was being 
lighted up and arranged for the reception of those 
pupils whose daily avocations only permitted their 
attendance at evening and night time. It was yet 
too early for those whose engagements or proclivities 
led them to frequent this abode of athletic science in 
the evening hours, and the pupils of the daytime had 
all departed. As the visitor stood before the portals, 
he could hear the sounds of sweeping and garnishing ; 
and frequent pushings across the floor, accompanied 
by violent bumping, seemed to indicate that the im- 
plements of defence were being relegated to their 
several places with the most unceremonious despatch 
on the part of the propellers thereof ; the fact being 
that the attendants all wanted their tea, and were 
impatient to be gone. 

As if to take precautions that the work must be 
finished before any one person could be suffered to 
depart, Mr Thwacker walked up and down, now here, 
now there, literally pervading his establishment ; and 
the Colonel could distinctly recognise his voice some- 
where in the far interior of the building, which ran 
back to a great length, and was full of apertures and 
windows of every shape and size. At length there 



200 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

was a lull ; then a good deal of clapping and shutting 
together of doors and casements, the whole culmin- 
ating in a triumphant bang of an outer gate, which 
proclaimed that Mr Thwacker had for the nonce re- 
duced his establishment into quietness of life, and that 
he was now free to enjoy his pipe and a " refresher " in 
the shape of an enormous pot of London stout. Look- 
ing through the diamond-panes of the deep-set window 
frame of the apartment to the left of the entrance- 
door, the Colonel beheld the pugilist resting from his 
labours, and also, to his great satisfaction, saw that he 
was quite alone, and not at all likely to be engaged 
for some little time to come. 

As soon as the last drop of the stout had vanished, 
and Mr Thwacker had smacked his lips and given 
other outward and visible signs of contentment, the 
Colonel withdrew from the window and rapped smartly 
at the outer door, which of course was partially open, 
calling out at the same time, " I am the gentleman 
from Yarneshire, — father of one of your pupils, you 
understand ; ah, Mr Thwacker, how are you ? " 

Mr Thwacker did understand. Indeed his pro- 
fessional experience was so extensive and so varied, 
that there was very little of a certain kind of know- 
ledge which he could not meet, at least half-way ; and 
in this case he was particularly happy, for he was 
thoroughly ecu courant with all Mr Marmaduke Leppell's 
ways and works, and moreover, so anxious to get rid of 
that young gentleman, that there was no risk of his 
affecting ignorance, or being reticent concerning the 



COLONEL LEPPELL IN LONDON. 201 

manner in which the youth was conducting himself, 
either in disguise or out of it. So, after answering 
the visitor's inquiries respecting his health and pros- 
perity, the pugilist said, " I'm mortal glad to see you, 
sir, for Duke, — you'll excuse me, — Duke is more 
anxiety to me than a dozen other men. Just walk 
in here, will you ? — this is my ' sanctum,' and we can 
talk in private. I was just going to get my clerk to 
write and ask you to come up here immediate. Come 
in, sir, and I will tell you the reason why." 



202 



CHAPTER X. 



IN RE MARMADUKE. 



The private apartment dignified by the name of Mr 
Thwacker's "sanctum" was a retreat devoted to the 
purposes of bodily repose, combined with such busi- 
ness as was confined to the calculation of the current 
expenses of his pupils and patrons. 

A commodious sofa, mounted on a strong frame and 
comfortably padded, filled up nearly one side of the 
wall. Here it was that Mr Thwacker afforded repose 
to his limbs, after labours that might be more than 
herculean in their nature: here also he could give 
the powers of his mind to the making up of his 
"little bills" against his customers. 

A slate of huge dimensions was hung up behind 
the door, and furnished evidence of the peculiar 
style of arithmetic employed in the " sanctum." A 
rough drawing of a billiard cue, and various hiero- 
glyphical figures, announced that Mr Thwacker had 
his own private views, other than those usually ac- 
cepted as the signs of computation ; and that he 



IN RE MARMADUKE. 203 

made use of these with liberality, and regardless of 
criticism. 

The explanation of this consists in the fact that Mr 
Thwacker had never been taught to read and write, 
and it was a marvel to many how this man had got on 
in the world so well as he did, lacking the three K's 
in their entirety, the omission of even one of these 
qualifications being generally regarded as a bar to 
commercial success in any undertaking. 

Seeing Colonel Leppell's eye directed towards this 
slate in some bewilderment, Mr Thwacker felt himself 
called upon to explain the meaning of the signs there 
depicted. The former, however, disclaimed any curi- 
osity regarding the private accounts of the establish- 
ment; he was only wondering if this were a short 
method of going into figures. Arithmetic was not a 
strong point with any of the scions of the house of 
Hieover. 

" I thought you might be looking for your son's 
little account," said Mr Thwacker. "There's little 
again him : he makes his money and he pays it as 
far as I am concerned — he do. See that black spot, 
like a dab of ink ? that means Duke — beg pardon, 
your son." 

The Colonel nodded. 

" Well, that mark, one long and one short, means 
that he is one bob short in his billiard account. 
Here again, white chalk blot means the Hon- 
ourable Mr Lilley, five short marks at him ; I see 
in a moment he owes five bob. Full moon ; that 



20-4 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

means that these gents have paid in full : nice easy 

method, ain't it ? " 

" But you can't always depend upon this, can you ? " 
" Only as a weekly reckoner, and I never lets these 

items run beyond ten days, never — it wouldn't do. 

For lame accounts — and the wear and tear here is 

o 

awful — I pays fifteen shillings a - month to a little 
clerk near this, to come and settle everything up, 
wages and all, once in the week. He wants the 
money and a good supper, poor chap, and in addi- 
tion I lets him have a turn in the gallery now and 
then, so all works fairly well, taking one thing with 
another. The great secret, Colonel, is never to let 
things get too much ahead. I am not learned myself, 
— I don't pretend to be, and I don't want to be," con- 
tinued Mr Thwacker, candidly ; " but I have the gift 
of finding out in a precious short time who suits my 
book, and I puts my business into those hands as does 
it best, and keeps square themselves, and don't want 
to know too much." 

« Very sensible," returned Colonel Leppell, approv- 
ingly ; " I wish I could always get my business well 
carried out by other people. But you know the great 
Duke of Wellington's opinion on that subject, eh ? " 

" Can't say as I do, sir," replied Mr Thwacker. 

" I need not tell you, though, that the Duke looked 
well after his men, and made everybody do their busi- 
ness, and wouldn't stand any interfering or advising 
from other people. One day an inventor called upon 
his Grace of Wellington, and begged him to adopt at 



IX RE MARMADUKE. 205 

Apsley House a peculiar kind of riddle which was to 
save a great deal of coal, and separate the dust and 
stuff from the same. The Duke listened, and ex- 
amined the model of the inventor. After expressing 
his approbation of the thing, his Grace said, ' Mr A., 
I will order one of your riddles, as you have not kept 
me loner i n talking, and have had the sense to show 
the working of your machine by bringing your model ; 
but I tell you candidly, unless I riddle the ashes my- 
self, this thing will be of no use in the household. 
Good morning.' Whether this patent riddle was ever 
used I can't say, but as it was not the Duke's pro- 
vince even to give orders about it, I fancy its glory re- 
mained untarnished during the life of its noble owner 
at any rate." 

" Ah ! we can't be here and there and everywhere, 
any of us, and perhaps it's just as well — just as well, 
for parents and guardians at any rate," said Mr 
Thwacker, significantly. 

The Colonel caught the meaning, and thought he 
would take the bull by the horns at once. " Now, 
Thwacker, I want you to tell me about my son : never 
mind my feelings, — what has he been up to since he 
came here, eh ? " 

" Well," replied Mr Thwacker slowly, " if I must be 
plain-spoken, I may as well say at once, Colonel, that 
I shall be jolly well pleased if your son can make 
hisself scarce here as soon as may be convenient." 

" Hah ! is he troublesome then ? " 

" It isn't that so much, but he is so random-like, — 



206 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

never cares a bit for my orders, or my wish to keep 
this house quiet and respectable. The beaks and the 
bobbies are always glad enough to run clown a house 
like this, let the owner do his very best to keep things 
square. Now Duke, he's a handsome lad, as fresh 
as paint, and as round as an apple," continued Mr 
Thwacker, as his pugilistic proclivities evolved, " and 
it's a treat to see him with the gloves, — it is indeed a 
noble sight, sir : but he don't stop at that, he don't in- 
deed, and that's why I mourns over him — that I do." 

" Has he been sparring in the streets or in public- 
houses ? " inquired the Colonel, thinking to help Mr 
Thwacker out, or at least to meet him half-way in 
these revelations. 

" I won't say that he has or that he hasn't," re- 
turned the pugilist mysteriously. " Unfortunately, 
Duke — beg pardon — he do look remarkable well as a 
nigger tambourine - player, and so with his lovely 
voice he gets no end of a crowd about him when he 
goes out singing at nights, and he makes money like 
one o'clock ; but the worst of it, he brings all sorts to 
the house that ought not to be here, and treats 'em at 
the small private bar round the opposite corner there. 
I don't keep a public, but my customers patronise 
the place over there, and we get mixed sometimes, 
with so much going and coming, ye see. To cut it 
short, Duke brings people into the gallery that I 
won't have there, and that's how it is that me and 
him is likely to have a fall out ; so you are just in 
time, Colonel, to get him away quietly." 



IN RE MARMADUKE. 207 

" Too bad, too bad," answered the Colonel. " But 
the police have not been here after him, have they ? " 

" Well, no ; I fancy the Court of Chancery don't do 
their business in that way (your son told me all his 
little trouble, for you see, had it been anything crim- 
inal, I would not have harboured him). But one even- 
ing, Duke, — you'll excuse me, I can't help calling him 
Duke " 

" But he is not known by that name here, is he ? " 
inquired the Colonel, in a tone resonant with surprise 
and indignation. 

" Xo, Colonel, by no means ; he goes under the 
name of ' Snowball/ and Duke is supposed to be his 
title, because, as I can't help letting the name out, we 
agreed to let things slide like that, especially as the 
popular idea is that your lad is a young nobleman out 
on the spree — for a bet, or something like that — so I 
fosters the impression, and it has answered uncom- 
monly well." 

This information so far' tended to calm Colonel 
Leppell's excitement, that he proclaimed himself ready 
to listen to further communications. 

" About the policeman that Duke fancied might be 
looking out for him," continued Mr Thwacker, taking 
up the thread of his narration, " the bobby certainly 
roused suspicion by his peering here and there, and 
looking at the premises up and down, and as un- 
abashed as if they were a lady. Well, Duke thinks 
to put a stop to this kind of inspection, so what 
does he do but dress up as the devil, and hide in 



•208 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

the lower court behind a water-butt. When that 
poor deluded officer passed, blest if your son didn't 
leap on the chap's back, with a screech and a gleam of 
phosphorus which he managed to draw across his eyes 
at the same moment. Lor' ! Colonel, that bobby 
did run like old boots — that he did ; and though I was 
very angry, I could not for the life of me help roaring 
with laughing, — it was too much even for a jidge to 
stand — even for a jidge." Here Mr Thwacker shook 
with laughter as he told the story. 

" Then this has got you both into trouble with the 
police, I surmise ? " asked the Colonel. 

" No, sir ; as luck would have it, it was thought to 
be a lark from one of the neighbouring pubs, which is 
always at loggerheads with the bobbies, and the night 
was very dark. Now, nobody ever does know any- 
thing about anybody else when the ' police inquiries,' 
as they are called, come round ; and the bobbies, as a 
rule, keep uncommonly quiet about anything that may 
turn a laugh against one of themselves. Duke, too, 
had the grace to keep away from the place for some 
hours. It was a foolhardy trick, because the black 
paint might have given a clue to suspicion. But it 
is not that, — it's what he did last night that well- 
nigh skeared me, and I can stand a pretty lot 
too " 



" What do you mean ? " interrupted the father, with 
a frightened look on his face ; " speak at once, — tell 
me what you mean ! " 

" This is what I mean, and no mistake about it. I 



IJV RE MARMADUKE. 209 

can be as lenient to boys and men as anybody, when 
they plays their tricks as boys and men; but when 
they dresses up as females, and passes in the streets 
as females, and goes to the theaters as females, there 
I draws the line." 

" You don't mean to tell me, Thwacker, that my son 
has done that ? " 

" He has ; last night, Colonel, he went to the Hay- 
market Theater, dressed as a girl, in company with 
one of the worst scamps in London ; he was dressed 
as a ' chapprony.' The trick was so well done that 
they were not suspected, especially as the scamp had 
a friend who escorted them under the guise of an 
elderly clergyman. It seems that Duke looked so 
beautiful, that he attracted a good deal of atten- 
tion " 

" I wish somebody had punched his head ! " roared 
the Colonel. He was terribly annoyed, for Duke's 
striking resemblance to his sister Mary at once 
rushed to his mind. " The young rascal ! he little 
knows what mischief has been done by the like 
actions." 

" True, sir ; well it seems the general admiration 
caused the scamp (who, worse luck, belongs to a 
respectable family, which I could name) and his 
pretended clerical friend to get rather alarmed at so 
many people spying and giving their opinion as to 
who this beautiful girl might be, and they had the 
sense to clear out before the performance was over. 
The dressing-up was not done here, or I should have 

vol. I. o 



210 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

stopped it, even if I had been obliged to knock Duke 
down and pummel him." 

" Quite right, Thwacker, quite right," said his visitor 
heartily. " Where did they go after they left the 
Haymarket ? " 

" Your son returned here alone, covered with a 
military cloak, and with his head tied up in a cape : 
fortunately, it was a pouring wet night, and it seems 
he stopped the cab short of this, and just put the fare 
into the driver's hand, without speaking. So you 
see, Colonel, it is high time that he were out of this — 
ay, and out of London too. Prison might keep him ; 
nothing else will, it is my belief. You'll excuse me." 

" Is he mixed up in any disreputable affair ? " in- 
quired Colonel Leppell, with a face like fire. 

" Not that I know of, neither do I think so. It 
was done purely for a lark ; but his companions are 
known bad ones, and how they have got hold of him 
beats my comprehension. If these rascals were to 
offer to enter my gallery, I'd kick 'em out, — don't 
think as your son has made this acquaintance here, 
Colonel." 

" You need not assure me of that, Thwacker," said 
the poor father, who looked thoroughly crestfallen ; 
"this all comes of these concealments. I'll make 
Duke deliver himself to the Court of Chancery, and 
I'll — I'll tell the Chancellor that he is to imprison 
him, just for a warning — to give him a fright, you 
know. I'll call on the Chancellor and the judges, 
and give them the rights of the thing; and the 



AY RE MARMADUKE. 211 

barrister who has to defend him, he shall have a 
hint." 

" Better consult your lawyer, sir ; you might get 
into trouble if you undertake such work on your own 
hook/' advised Mr Thwacker, with laudable discre- 
tion. " But you are quite right to put a stop to this 
game as soon as you can, sir, as this sort of thing may 
lead to dreadful results, and the young fellow runs 
a chance of being made a tool on for no end of 
crime." 

" No one knows of this but yourself, I hope ? " said 
the Colonel. 

"Not a creature, sir. I was waiting up for him, 
and as I told you, the bad night favoured everything. 
When I saw him after he dropped the cloak, I let out 
and no mistake, and I made him tear up every rag 
and burn it, under pain of calling in the police there 
and then. He declared that he was ignorant that to 
frequent a public place dressed as a female was an 
offence against the law." 

" I don't suppose he knew anything about the law 
of the case," said Duke's father. 

"That's where I see the omissions committed by 
this blessed education system. The youngsters is 
crammed with a lot of knowledge, good in its way, 
but which nine-tenths of them never want, whilst 
they are as ignorant as owls about the everyday 
matters of ordinary life. You should just hear some 
i of them discussing the laws of matrimony, as I did 
the other day after the class was over. Lor' ! a 



212 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

young fellow, who has got a wife already, was asking 
some of the others if a marriage called a Morgan 
ceremony, or something like that, was valid in Eng- 
land. One of them declared that it's done by a special 
licence, and another of 'em that it is a German 
privilege, right in Germany, but immoral everywhere 
else ! You would be astonished at the ignorance con- 
cerning the law of different things that I has to correct 
every clay of my life a'most." 

" Did Duke take your rebukes in good part, 
Thwacker ? I hope he did," said the Colonel. 

" Your son is as bold as brass, and as unyielding 
as iron," rej^lied Mr Thwacker, full of metaphor ; " but 
last night I properly alarmed him. Yes," continued 
the pugilist, with an air of conviction, " Master Snow- 
ball showed as white as his name last night, — he 
did." 

" Thank you, thank you heartily, Thwacker," said 
the Colonel, after a short pause, in which he appeared 
to be revolving an idea. " I still think I will get the 
Chancellor to give Duke a month in prison : he is 
liable to that, you know, for abducting a ward of 
Court, — terrible liberty to take. I see that more 
clearly than I did. But now, where is the rascal ? 
Can I find him ? or, perhaps, you had better send him 
here sharp." 

" You can't see him just at this moment, Colonel," 
said Mr Thwacker, with what he meant to be a smile, 
but which really resulted in a defiant grin ; " he will 
be having tea with his wife at this time." 



IN RE MARMADUKE. 213 

" His wife ! " cried the Colonel, really startled at the 
news ; " what devil's mischief is up now ? " 

" Well, sir, it's more woman's mischief, as I take it. 
You know what they are, women and girls, when they 
intend to carry things their own way. Mrs Marma- 
duke Leppell got away from her guardian, gave the 
lady-keeper some chloroform, travelled night and day, 
and was here at seven o'clock this morning as fresh as 
a daisy." 

" How did she know the address ? " 

" It seems as they were parted he managed to 
whisper to her that he would be here. They were 
pursued by people sent by the lady's guardians, and 
not by the officers of the Court of Chancery. The 
young woman declares that some old cousin wanted 
her for his son, and being baulked they set on the 
Chancery people out of spite." 

" What is she like ? " said the Colonel, suddenly, — 
" nice-looking, good feet and ankles ; no accent, I 
hope ? " 

" She's a nice buxom-looking girl — not quite a lady ; 
but, Lor' ! a precious sight too good for Duke. 
You'll excuse me, after what I know, Colonel." 

" They shall surrender themselves at once," said that 
officer, decidedly ; " so it is just as well Mrs Duke has 
arrived. They can go together, and be a mutual sup- 
port. AVhere are they ? " 

" Well, sir, this not being the place for a lady, and 
my wife dreading the responsibility, we thought it 
best to advise them to go at once to Holloway, and 



214 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

ft 

take a quiet lodging with the mother of one of my 
men, who is ill through an accident. Mrs Thwacker 
took her first there alone ; but Duke swore he would 
follow, so I thought it better he should go out there at 
dusk in a cab and chance it. He had only started about 
half an hour before you came in." 

" He did not go in his nigger's disguise, then ? " 

" No, sir ; I thought it was only due to his young 
wife that he should join her in the dress, at least, of a 
gentleman," replied the pugilist, without the slightest 
intention of beinoj ironical. " He was to return here 
to-morrow night at dusk ; but as you have arrived, 
perhaps you will make other arrangements." 

" I will go to Holloway at once, the first thing in the 
morning, and insist upon their going with me to the 
lawyers. I have the address, and I will write to the 
firm to-night, telling them to expect to see us in the 
afternoon of to-morrow. To surrender to the Court, and 
get a month's imprisonment, will be the best thing 
for Duke. The girl can come into the country with 
me, to pass away the time with my family ; after that, 
I will get Duke sent to some place out of England — 
Corfu, or some station not out of reach — and by that 
time matrimony will have settled him down." 

" Mrs Duke told my wife that where her husband 
went there she would go ; she only hoped, she said, 
that the Chancellor would put them in the same prison. 
As to the money, Duke should have every penny of it ; 
and she declared she would not sign or promise any- 
thing that he did not approve of. Lor' ! these 



IN RE MARMADUKE. 215 

women, they are the same all the world over ; they 
delight to sacrifice themselves for us without thanks or 
reward — that they do," said Mr Thwacker, with energy. 

" Ay ! " replied the Colonel ; " and the sacrifice in 
most cases is so complete, that they never seem to 
understand that it is sacrifice. God bless them ! they 
are the best part of the creation after all." 

This, perhaps, is the greatest truism that Colonel 
Leppell ever uttered, and he was in earnest when he 
made the remark. 

"Now, before I go, I will note down the address 
where these young people are to be found. Hollo way, 
you said. "Where ? " 

" No. 79 Snaggs Eow, Eldon Place. It's a tidy little 
house, and they'll rest quiet there ; the name of the 
owner is William Tanner." 

" Thanks," said Colonel Leppell, as he entered these 
particulars in his note-book. " Do you know, by the 
way, if Mrs Duke had any money with her ? " 

" Xot much, I fancy ; but your son told me that she 
had a large amount of jewelry. It seems after she 
chloroformed the lady she got the keys and collected 
all the things belonging to her that she could lay her 
hands on, even some silver-plate which was stowed 
away till she should come of age. She bribed a ser- 
vant to help her, and thus she managed to bring a 
little luggage across. She wanted to change clothes 
with the servant and travel disguised like that, but the 
maid did not care to do so. Mrs Duke told us she 
would have been game if necessary." 



216 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

" Um," said the Colonel ; " a talent for masquerad- 
ing is likely to be propagated in the family, eh ? " 

" Mrs Duke is a woman of resource, I'm thinking, 
sir. They can't be without money, for your son has 
made a lot of tin by his singing, and he ought to have 
several pounds to the good ; he only owes a few shil- 
lings at the outside here. Don't you pay it, Colonel ; 
I'll get it out of him. If you settle his bill you will 
never see the colour of your money, and the young 
scamp ought to learn to pay his own way. Well, per- 
haps the Lord Chancellor will settle him if anybody 
can ; but ye see, sir, it is high time that he were well 
out of this." 

Fully agreeing with this opinion, Colonel Lep- 
pell took his leave, carrying with him a very sincere 
respect for Mr Thwacker. "You have behaved like 
a gentleman," he said, as he shook the pugilist by 
the hand, "and I thank you very much — will call 
again to report proceedings — and understand, please, 
that after to-morrow there is no earthly reason for 
my son to hide himself, for by this time to-morrow 
the lawyers will have arranged for him to surrender 
himself to the Court of Chancery. My address is the 
Great Western Hotel, Paddington, should you want to 
communicate with me. Good night." 

" Good night, Colonel," said Mr Thwacker, respect- 
fully. " Mind you see your lawyers afore you trusts 
yourself to those young people at Holloway," he added, 
as his visitor departed. " There's a load off my mind 
anyhow," said the honest man half aloud as he shut 



IX RE MARMADUKE. 217 

the door; "but the Colonel don't like the look of things, 
he don't. He keeps his pecker up to be sure ; but he's 
hit, he's very hard hit, I can see. Ton my word, I 
believe sons and daughters is more bother than they 
are worth," and so Mr Thwacker threw himself on his 
couch and meditated, till all his ideas ended, as they 
had begun, in smoke. 

The following morning found Colonel Leppell, obe- 
dient to the advice to go to his lawyers before trusting 
himself at Holloway, and bound in honour by the 
promise to his wife, in the office of the firm to 
whom he had been recommended by his friendly man 
of business at Yarne. The principal was absent, but 
the managing clerk received the new client, and con- 
trived in a cool matter - of - fact kind of way so to 
impress Colonel Leppell with the stupendous powers 
of the High Court of Chancery, and its influence 
for good and evil, — according to the light in which 
its edicts are viewed by those who have dealings 
with it, — that the officer declared this tribunal to 
be a kind of offshoot of the Inquisition. No actual 
barbarity, he allowed, but bother and vexation of spirit 
enough to kill a regiment. Ah ! he knew that Chancery 
had to answer for the deaths of many persons, old and 
young ; and with regard to its wards, it did not look 
well, the fact that a minor must be possessed of pro- 
perty to come under its protection at all. If this were 
not a pandering to mammon and the golden calf, he, 
Ralph Leppell, would be very much obliged if Mr 
Constant would tell him what was. 



218 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

Mr Constant, however, declined to enter into the 
merits of this case, and reminded the client that the 
matter of his son and the ward of Court, Miss 
Margaret Lorton, commonly called Miss Peggy Lorton, 
was now the subject under consideration. Having 
secured the Colonel's attention, and elicited some in- 
formation regarding Mr Marmaduke's prospects, he 
very strongly confirmed the opinion which had 
been given by the legal authority of Yarne in the 
matter. 

" It is an aggravated case of contempt — a very 
aggravated case," the lawyer remarked, after possess- 
ing himself of the few particulars which the Colonel 
had to give. " Do you mean to say that your son has 
nothing at all to settle on the lady ? " 

" Not a stiver ! " answered the Colonel. " His in- 
come consists of his pay as a cornet of cavalry, and 
three hundred a-year which my father allows him to 
keep things going ; this might be withdrawn at any 
moment. Lord Hieover is peculiar, and if he is dis- 
pleased, he always stops the cash." 

" Um ; do you think that, under the circumstances, 
his lordship would make some settlement on his 
grandson, for the benefit of his wife ? Is Mr Leppell 
Lord Hieover's heir, may I ask ? " 

" Only in the event of the death of my elder brother, 
who is unmarried, and afterwards of my own ; then 
my son would succeed to the title and estates. Of 
course the Court takes cognisance of rank — and you'll 
remark, if you please, that in marrying my son, his 



IN RE MARMADUKE. 219 

wife has been raised from a very inferior rank of life ; 
in that way she receives a full equivalent for her 
money," quoth the Colonel, glaring at the lawyer 
defiantly. 

" What is the lady's rank in life ? " inquired Mr 
Constant. 

" She is, I believe, the daughter of a carpet-weaver ; 
and I think a tin-bath maker, an uncle, made her his 
heiress, but I am not sure. When you see her, she 
will be able to enlighten you in these particulars — I 
know nothing of the girl." 

Some further conversation transpired, in which it 
was suggested by the Colonel that perhaps it would be 
well to apply to the Honourable Alexander Leppell 
for assistance to enable Mr Duke to make some settle- 
ment. The lawyer, however, quenched this proposal 
summarily. 

" Your brother may marry and have a son of his 
own," Mr Constant said. " He might, however, be per- 
suaded, perhaps, to bind himself to make an allow- 
ance out of his personal estate ; or Lord Hieover might 
be induced to come forward. Both contingencies are 
feasible, as far as I know of this case." 

The Colonel replied that these relatives had " come 
forward " more than once to pay Mr Leppell's debts, 
and to set him up in life again. " He was afraid," he 
said, "that nothing more could be done in that 
quarter." 

" Mr Leppell is of age, I assume ? " said Mr Con- 
stant. 



220 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

" He will not be of age for four months yet," re- 
plied the parent. 

" I should tell you, Colonel Leppell," continued 
Mr Constant, " that even if your son were able and 
willing to make a settlement, it rests with the Court 
of Chancery to allow him permission to do so. As 
the matter appears to me, your son has obtained 
possession of the ward by gross contempt of Court, 
and he has married her for the sake of her for- 
tune. If the Court is satisfied of this, Mr Leppell 
will not be allowed to profit by his contempt, or to 
enjoy any part of the ward's property." 

To this Colonel Leppell replied, " Then the Lord 
Chancellor will put him in prison for a month ? " 

" For six or seven months, or more ; all depends upon 
the facts of the case, and especially as to how your son 
and his wife comport themselves towards the Court." 

' : They will not be expected to say they are sorry 
when they are not in the least so ? " asked the Colonel, 
with the simplicity of a schoolboy. 

" They will be required to express regret for their 
contempt, and receive the rebuke they will certainly 
get in a becoming manner ; by that I mean, a proper 
and respectful attention must be paid to the judge's 
remarks." 

" What do you recommend to be done ? you, as a 
Chancery lawyer, must be up to all the ways and 

trie I mean, goings on of these fellows — judges, 

I mean." 

" The only thing to be done is for these young 



IN RE MARMADUKE. 221 

people to bring themselves within the jurisdiction of 
the High Court of Chancery as soon as possible," 
replied Mr Constant. 

" So I believe ; but they had better come here first 
and let you know all particulars. Shall I bring them 
to-morrow ? " said Colonel Leppell. 

" I will confer with our principal ; but if you hear 
nothing to the contrary, you had better, all of you, be 
here by twelve o'clock to-morrow — everything can 
then be arranged. It is an awkward case," continued 
Mr Constant, " but we will do our utmost to get the 
best arrangement we can." 

The Colonel took leave with this piece of comfort, 
and then wended his way towards Holloway. 

Angry and annoyed as that officer undoubtedly was 
at his son's conduct, yet his ire was greatly mollified 
as he received from that reprobate and his wife a 
welcome which had almost the air of an ovation. 
Duke had descried his father from the window, beimj 
attracted thereto by the rattle which that officer made 
in trying to open the little iron gate of the front 
garden. The final clatter which it gave forth, as the 
Colonel nearly wrenched it off its hinges, caused 
Peggy to exclaim, " Look, Duke ! there's such a hand- 
some man trying to get in here ; he can't belong to 
the house surely ! " 

" The governor, by Jove ! " was the husband's reply, 
and in a moment he had dashed out of the house and 
had his arm round his father's neck before the Colonel 
could utter a word. 



222 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

" Dear old gov. ! just like you, so kind and so good," 
as he drew his father into the house by the hand. 
The manner, also, with which he introduced his wife 
was not ungraceful, — tt Here's Peggy ; she will help to 
make me a better son than I have hitherto been, and 
she is proud to be your daughter-in-law — aren't you, 
dear ? " 

The young lady stepped forward, and the Colonel 
took her hand and kissed her. Thwacker was right, 
thought he ; at the same time — " Not quite thorough- 
bred, but buxom, and very good kissing," as he after- 
wards expressed it on his experience whilst speaking 
of Mrs Duke to his younger sons. " Duke must have 
married her for the money ; and I am afraid the 
Lord Chancellor will think so, when he sees her — safe 
to think so. But we must trust in Providence, that's 
all we can do, and nothing like it." 

So ran the current of the parent's thoughts, but like 
a gallant man he determined not to spoil the happiness 
of this couple till they had at least had some luncheon 
together. Colonel Leppell was in reality very hungry 
after the exertions of the morning, so he asked Duke 
if he could give him some refreshment at once. 
" Glass of wine, or anything," he said, " for to tell the 
truth, I am rather sharp-set." 

Yes, they had taken care, the young fellow said, 
to have some champagne wherewith to celebrate the 
wedding. " This will not be a wedding-breakfast exact- 
ly, but we will turn it into a wedding- luncheon," the 
youth continued cheerily, "with the governor doing 



IN RE MAEMADUKE. 223 

delighted parent, and all the rest of it. Peggy, go 
and see after the lunch ; I daresay it will be ready in 
a few moments." 

The young lady obeyed this order — which was given 
quite a la mode Leppell — with the alacrity often ob- 
served in young wives who are so much in love that 
they glory as much in being commanded by their 
spouses as they do in being the objects of their admir- 
ation and caresses. Mrs Peggy, therefore, was quickly 
out of ear-shot, beaming with delight at having her 
husband's behests to fulfil, and set upon having a good 
luncheon to celebrate her reception by the head of the 
house. No sooner had the door closed than the Colonel, 
seizing Duke's hand, said, " All is right, my dear boy ; 
the writs are withdrawn. I cannot tell you more now, 
but a friend — an early friend of your mother's — has 
arranged matters with the Liverpool bank. You have 
had a narrow shave — a very narrow shave — of being — 
being " 

" In the felon's dock, I suppose," said Marmaduke, 
filling up the gap — a glitter of defiance lighting his 
violet-blue eyes and his handsome evil face. "You 
may think that I am superstitious, or that I possess 
the gift of clairvoyance : be it as it may, I have always 
had the impression that this would never come to any- 
thing serious." 

" Then you have the devil's own luck, sir," said the 
father sharply. " Have a care ! it will desert you some 
clay at your greatest need. I know I have not been 
all that I should be," said Colonel Leppell, lowering 



224 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

his voice ; " but I am all the more anxious that my 
children should avoid my errors. I have seen the 
folly of my ways, Duke, I assure you." 

This was true, and one of the greatest follies that 
Colonel Leppell committed (and that many fathers 
constantly do commit), was the having constantly re- 
hearsed for the amusement of his sons many of the 
escapades of his own early days, which, if not actually 
disreputable, hovered very much on the border-land of 
reckless folly and dissipation, and which, as in the 
case of the Leppells, served to create a very dangerous 
precedent. So Duke replied, " I want to see the folly 
of my ways — you have had your own fun. But all 
elderly people are alike — they forget that they have 
been young themselves." 

" I hardly deserve this from you," the poor Colonel 
replied in a dejected tone. " I suppose it is a case of 
Eli ; he seldom thrashed his sons, and they despised 
him for it." 

" No, no, governor, not that," said Duke, upon whose 
hard nature the word " despise " had some effect. " We 
can't help our inclinations : all I want is to enjoy my- 
self after my own fashion. I hate your steady hum- 
drum people ; and I have often heard Uncle Alick say 
that these strait-laced rigid youths turn out regular 
old rascals in their declining years. The hypocrisy 
comes out in some way or other. Look at Uncle Alick 
now, — he never goes anywhere, has given up racing 
and boxing, and lives a highly respectable quiet life — 
and remember what a rip he was in his young days." 



IN RE MARMADUKE. 225 

" True, Duke," replied the father ; " but your uncle 
Alick would not give a shilling to save you from the 
gallows, or prevent you from dying of starvation in 
the streets. His only passion now is to hoard money; 
and avarice, after all, may be the greatest crime of a 
man's advancing years. He would be a better man 
now if he ever had possessed heart or feeling." 

These two ingredients were so utterly wanting in 
Duke's own composition, that the point of the Colonel's 
observation was lost upon him, and so he turned to the 
discussion of his own affairs in relation to this mar- 
riage. 

The young gentleman was rather more than aston- 
ished as he listened to what his father had to say 
respecting this affair, and seemed disposed at first to 
treat the matter rather too lightly, but here the Colonel 
was terse and decided. 

" You and your wife must be prepared to go with 
me to the lawyers in Chancery Lane to-morrow. I 
have arranged this for you, and then you will be in- 
structed how and when to surrender yourselves to the 
Court of Chancery." 

The appearance of the luncheon here put a stop to 
conversation, and due justice was certainly done to 
that meal, it being quite evident that the appetites of 
the parties were not in the least affected by their con- 
sciences. During the repast, the young wife announced 
that Duke was going to take her to the Crystal Palace, 
and invited the Colonel to accompany them. " You'll 
not need to play gooseberry," Peggy said artlessly, — 

vol. I. p 



226 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

" all that is over ; but I should like to have you with 
us, sir." 

"Any other time, any other time, — quite impos- 
sible : " and then the Colonel informed his daughter-in- 
law that she was a culprit in the eye of the law, and 
asked her how she would like to be stopped by a 
policeman, and hauled out of the Crystal Palace like 
a pickpocket, with the eyes of perhaps four thousand 
people upon her. 

Peggy confessed that she did not admire that pros- 
pect at all, and then she was informed what was 
probably in store for her at the hands of the Lord 
Chancellor. 

" Then we had better give up the Crystal Palace," 
said Peggy to her husband — " not so much because we 
are afraid of the Court and all that, but out of respect 
to your father, Duke ; he has been so kind, and has 
never said a reproachful word. And as for going to 
prison, — well, never mind, we may as well spend our 
honeymoon there as anywhere else; all places are 
alike to me with Duke." 

" Oh, these women ! they are the same as they 
were in the beginning," the Colonel said aloud to 
his son. 

"And ever shall be," said Peggy, concluding the 
sentence with sincere reverence, " or else there would 
be no need of women." 

" Strange," said Colonel Leppell, " but you have 
chosen the neighbourhood of the prison to which per- 
sons are sent for contempt of Court, as regards its 



IN RE MARMADUKB. 227 

wards. The Queen's Prison, Hollo way, is, the lawyers 
tell me, the place of retreat for these offenders." 

Duke was sorry to hear that, as it was an unfashion- 
able part of London, and he would have much preferred 
the Queen's Bench. " Fellows," he said, " would call 
there who would not take the trouble to come down 
to Holloway." 

" Then they are better away. Such friends as would 
make the neighbourhood an objection are not worth 
naming, sure," said Peggy. 

" Then we can't go to the Crystal Palace, I sup- 
pose," said Duke, in a disappointed tone. 

" Most certainly not, after what I have told you," 
replied the father ; " and under the circumstances it 
would be most unbecoming, most indecent in me to 
be seen with you, — officer in her Majesty's service — 
public position, haw ! " 

" Yes, we know," intervened Peggy, innocently ; 
" and I am sure Duke would not wish you to go, — I 
am sure I don't, after that. Would you like a smoke 
together ? You could walk up and down that little 
lane at the back there, where you will have green 
trees, and be private. This room is horridly stuffy, 
and I can put things to rights whilst you have a chat, 
and discuss your family news." 

Congratulating her upon her common - sense, the 
Colonel seized the opportunity of talking to his son 
concerning certain communications made to him by Mr 
Thwacker, which, he said, " the most indulgent parent 
could not pass over without strong reprobation ; " and 



228 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

so strongly did Colonel Leppell reprobate and con- 
demn the same, that Marmaduke was silent from 
sheer surprise that two men such as his father and 
Thwacker should view this subject in so serious a 
light. Marmaduke, however, secretly registered a 
resolve to pay Mr Thwacker out as soon as an oppor- 
tunity should present itself for so doing, — all this 
honest man's friendly treatment being taken by this 
young scamp as purely a matter of course. 

There was another subject also upon which the 
Colonel would have done well to do more than touch 
in his admonitions to his son ; but here the conscience, 
which makes cowards of us all, made Colonel Leppell 
dumb. Did he not feel that he himself was so far 
out of the path of righteous dealing, that he could not 
without the most intense hypocrisy reprove his son 
for his lack of honesty ? His conscience reminded 
him that he was on the verge of committing a decep- 
tion which deserved no other name than that of a 
gross fraud. 

The diamonds presented to his daughter were to be, 
by his own act, exchanged for paste stones, and the 
proceeds of the barter applied to the liquidation of 
some long-standing and pressing debts. But the 
Colonel paved his way to evil with good intentions. 
He would pay the debts fully with this money, — debts 
which had been incurred in a great measure for the 
support and pleasures of his family. 

Better so, he argued, than be arrested for debt 
myself: I shall clear myself before long. Diamonds 



IN HE MAEMADUKE. 229 

are luxuries, not necessaries of life, — only I wish 
they had not been given by Everard Glascott, and 
that I was not deceiving my lovely Moll. She 
wouldn't care ; but, at any rate, I hope to make all 
this good. 

Contenting himself, therefore, with a general warn- 
ing, the Colonel concluded his admonitions to his son 
and took his leave, exacting a promise from both 
Duke and his wife that they would remain quiet for 
the rest of the day, and be sure to meet him on the 
morrow at the lawyer's offices in Chancery Lane. 

It was with a sensation of intense relief, on the 
following day, that Colonel Leppell found his children 
already waiting at the office when he arrived there 
a few moments in advance of the appointed time. 
They appeared to be rather subdued in manner, and 
expressed themselves anxious for instructions as to 
how they were to surrender themselves to the High 
Court of Chancery. 

As all three were entirely ignorant as to how this 
ignominy, as they deemed it, was to be effected, Mr 
Constant had matters very much his own way ; and 
appalled by his experiences, which he liberally be- 
stowed upon his client, the young people began to 
entertain a faint idea that they had both done the 
thing which they ought not to have done, and were, 
consequently, more ready than might be expected, 
not only to surrender, but to surrender with becoming 
submission. 

" There is only one thing that I won't stand," said 



230 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

Peggy, breaking a silence that had suddenly fallen 
on the party, — " there is only one thing that I will not 
do, and that is to leave my' husband. Where he goes, 
I go ; my money is his money ; and if he is to blame 
it is all my fault. I abducted him ; he did not abduct 
me, — there now." 

Mr Constant had perhaps heard speeches of this 
kind before, and uttered also with the like sincerity ; 
but he was too astute a man to enter into any dis- 
cussion on the point, and was therefore wise enough 
to leave the task of enlightening the young lady to 
the Lord Chancellor. So he replied, " I must take 
counsel's opinion before I give you further directions ; 
and now, Mr and Mrs Marmaduke Leppell, will you 
undertake to return to the address which you have 
given, and remain there till I come to you ? You must 
see that I could do nothing till this interview was 
over. I have got at the particulars of your case, and 
can pursue my way." 

" I will take them back myself," intervened the 
Colonel ; " and I can answer for it that they won't 
stir out till you come to seek them." 

The culprits each undertook to comply with Mr 
Constant's injunction ; and after some further ar- 
rangements and signing some papers, the party re- 
turned to Snagg's Eow, Holloway. 



231 



CHAPTEE XT. 

COLONEL LEPPELL AT PARIS. 

A few days later saw Colonel Leppell at Paris, 
engaged in a secret and delicate mission of his own. 
That it was not an undertaking of which he was 
particularly proud, could be descried in his irregular 
hesitating stride, and the visible decline of his loco- 
motive action as he neared a jeweller's shop in 
the Palais - Ptoyal, and first inspected its elegantly 
mounted window, and then looked up and down 
and around before he gained the interior — with a 
plunge. 

It being early, there was only one customer in the 
place ; and two or three workmen could be descried 
sitting in little cribs in the back distance, busily 
engaged with all the paraphernalia of their trade 
around them — to wit, little gas-jets, candles, wax, 
magnifying-glasses of various powers, and a multitude 
of divers tools of the craft. 

An attendant was serving the customer, a young 
man, very much interested in a tray of wedding-rings, 



232 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

and too much absorbed in the selection of a particular 
one to take any notice of the new comer. 

Colonel Leppell pulled his moustache, shook him- 
self together, and then mustered up his French. 

" Est Munshew, Munshew Dupont dans la maison ? 
Je suis le Colonel Anglais qu'il savait quelques 
annees avant — oh ! autrefois, qu'il savait autrefois, 
eh ? " 

The attendant bowed, and tried to look as if he 
perfectly comprehended this address ; nevertheless he 
confined his response to the interrogative, " Plait-il, 
M'sieur ? " 

" Je plais voir Munshew Dupont, et a parler a lui, 
vite, tres vite, — comprenez ? " 

"M'sieur Dupont n'est pas chez lui a present," 
the attendant replied, having got a clue in the verbs 
" voir " and " parler," together with the quick intuitive 
perception of a meaning badly expressed, — which seems 
a gift of nature to the French people, — to the Colonel's 
requirements. " II est sorti, mais j'enverrai le chercher 
tout de suite : en attendant, M'sieur, donnez-vous la 
peine de vous asseoir," — indicating, as he spoke, a 
highly uncomfortable spindle-shanked chair, towards 
which the reckless politeness of the Frenchman 
directed the Colonel's attention. 

" Non, merci, tres beaucoup," replied the English- 
man with vigour ; " je suis trop substantial pour 
sitter sur cette chose. Donnez cette carte a Munshew 
Dupont ; dites a lui qu'il come vite, ce moment — il 
me remembrez." 



COLONEL LEPPELL AT PAEIS. 233 

The shopman summoned one of the workers, and 
despatched him to find Mr Dupont ; and the Colonel, 
with a nod of relief, occupied himself in inspecting the 
various articles with which he was surrounded. He 
rather fancied that his French must be, at least, in- 
telligible, as it had the effect of sending off a messenger 
at any rate. So far so good. 

Some minutes elapsed ; the customer selected his 
ring and departed ; and the attendant, now quite at 
leisure, dusted a short stool and propelled it with a 
flourish in the direction of Colonel Leppell, evidently 
expectant that he would give satisfaction by this 
manoeuvre. 

" Oh, non, non pouvez," replied the Briton, squaring 
at the stool as if to illustrate his meaning. "II est 
better, oui, better que l'autre, mais il est trop fragile, 
— je le smasherai dans un moment. Yous etes bon 
fellow, tres bon fellow, mais j'espere que votre maitre 
comera ici vite, — affaire privee, vous savez ; et je ne 
puis pas parler a vous, parce-qu'il est une affaire de 
— de — business, vous savez." 

'•' Voila M'sieur Dupont qui arrive," exclaimed the 
man, whose gravity had really been tried to the utmost 
extent, and who was equally relieved with the Colonel 
at seeing Mr Dupont enter the shop. " Le Monsieur 
vous attend," he said to his chief, and then speedily 
retired into the background. 

" Thank goodness, I have got hold of some one who 
can speak a respectable language," said the Colonel 
with an egotism truly British. " The tower of Babel 



234 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

was a mistake, sir, a great mistake ; it confused the 
languages without confounding them. How are you 
and all your family ? Claudine grown up a pretty girl 
by this time, eh ? " 

Mr Dupont, in excellent English, replied that " all 
his family were well, and that his daughter was — tr&s 
Men — very much like other girls of her age." Then he 
inquired, with an intuitive perception that traffic in 
some shape or other had brought Colonel Leppell 
there, in what manner he could serve his visitor ? 

" Can I speak to you in private ? " said the officer. 

" Certainly ; " and passing the workmen, Mr Du- 
pont opened the door of a small apartment, simply 
and elegantly furnished, a bright chintz forming the 
draperies, and good India-muslin curtains shading a 
small balcony upon which the open window gave. 
The air was redolent with the perfume of violets 
which grew in pots ranged within the balcony, and 
a bouquet of fresh spring-flowers was arranged in a 
low, long, old - fashioned china dish upon a small 
Chippendale table, fenced at the rim with a beautiful 
railing of fretwork. Some statuettes, a handsome 
clock, and a few well-selected pictures, composed the 
decoration of the room, which, in its artistic arrange- 
ment, presented an air of refined comfort, totally 
apart from the oppression of spirit which is gener- 
ally the result of coming in contact with rich valu- 
ables, heaped indiscriminately together independent 
of tone or keeping. 

It is almost needless to add that the deformity of 



COLONEL LEPPELL AT PARIS. 235 

a staring carpet, pranked out with a conventional 
pattern, was utterly wanting here ; the true taste of 
the Persian loom being imitated in a sober floor- 
covering of many colours, so ingeniously woven to- 
gether that none predominated, and on this subdued 
rich groundwork the several articles of furniture stood 
out in good relief. The handsome, well-appointed 
writing-table, and two library chairs of the same 
wood, quite distinct from the chintz-covered lounges, 
seemed to convey the idea that affairs could be here 
transacted on strict business lines only. 

Colonel Leppell looked round : he remembered this 
retreat, although it had been garnished and much reno- 
vated since he last stood on its threshold seven years 
ago. It was here that he had sold poor Adelaide's set 
of diamonds — her father's and her mother's present to 
their daughter on her wedding-morn ! 

The jeweller shut the door, handed one of the 
business chairs to his visitor, seated himself on the 
other, and folded a newspaper together whilst the 
Colonel produced a packet. 

" These diamonds," he said, " belong to a lady of 
my family who cannot afford to keep them, — as real 
stones, I mean. I want you to purchase these real 
stones, and substitute paste diamonds in their place, 
setting them as richly as you can. I know you will 
deal honestly with me about the price, for your 
mother was an Englishwoman, the Lord be praised ! " 

Mr Dupont drew himself up at this equivocal 
compliment. " My father was an honest man, sir, 



236 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

and I trust I am worthy to be his son — I strive to 
be so." 

" Oh, I mean no offence," said the Colonel hastily ; 
" one ought not to judge individuals by a nation. Beg 
pardon." 

Although this was verily from Scylla to Charybdis, 
Mr Dupont ignored the remark, wisely giving his 
visitor credit for being bSte, which was exactly 
what Colonel Leppell was : no man on earth could 
have been born with less of that quality called tact. 
" Allow me," he said, " to examine these stones ; they 
appear to be of the finest water, and are mostly of the 
same size, which, of course, would increase their 
value, for setting especially." 

"Are there enough there to make a whole set, or 
— what do you call it in French ? " said Colonel 
Leppell, after a pause. 

" Parure," replied Mr Dupont ; " and a diamond 
necklace we express as a rividre of diamonds. It is 
a most happy expression, because nothing in art is 
more suggestive of clear water in sunlight, spark- 
ling and dazzling at every turn, than a collar of good 
stones like these," and the jeweller handled the gems 
before him with infinite appreciation. 

" Ah, especially when it swims round a snowy 
swan-like neck," replied the Colonel, evidently be- 
lieving, like a gallant man, that the swan-like neck 
of his imagination was the special point of admira- 
tion. " The worst of it is," he continued, with a touch 
of regret which was deeply sincere, " one sees the 



COLONEL LEPPELL AT PARIS. 237 

best gems upon withered, leathery old hags, who will 
bare their throats, and not stop at that either, and 
the sight is enough to depreciate the jewels, and put 
them out of fashion." And here the speaker treated 
Mr Dupont to some of his experiences on this head, 
which led to the conclusion on the part of both 
these gentlemen that the Parliament of every civilised 
nation should pass a sharp short bill, restraining old 
women from wearing any jewellery other than their 
wedding-ring. 

" Yes," supplemented the Colonel, " and if they have 
any good ornaments they should be made to give them 
up to the girls of their family, and let these show off 
the gems before Time steals upon them in their turn." 

" That would hardly suit my craft, though," said 
Mr Dupont. " Now I have examined these diamonds 
thoroughly : one or two contain a very slight flaw 
here and there, but on the whole they are of the 
finest water, and are perfectly cut also. If they 
were set in black enamel, I should not ask less in 
selling the parure than forty-two thousand francs." 

" What is that sum in English money ? " said the 
Colonel. " I never can manage foreign money, some- 
how, and I suppose decimal coinage won't come into 
fashion in Britain till I am dead and buried, so I 
don't bother to understand it, — but this sounds tre- 
mendous in francs, I can quite understand so far." 

" The amount in English money," replied the jewel- 
ler, " would be equal to one thousand seven hundred 
and fifty English pounds." 



238 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

"That sounds enormous," exclaimed the Colonel, 
with a gesture of delight ; " of course you will give me 
a proportionate sum for the stones." 

" I will give you a fair sum, and I propose to arrange 
the matter in this way. Nine hundred pounds, English 
money down, and an equivalent set of paste diamonds 
of the very best make, mounted either in fine black or 
deep violet-blue enamel, arranged in a good pattern. 
Some judges incline to the idea that the deepest blue 
is a better ground for paste diamonds, for as the latter 
soon lose their first brilliancy, at least in some degree, 
the blue rather attracts the eye from the stones, and at 
any rate does not present the same severity of contrast 
as does the black enamel. Your object, as I under- 
stand it, is to secure a set of diamonds in paste which 
will be so like the true stones that it will be impos- 
sible to detect the difference between the real and the 
false gems." 

" Certainly ; but I think I ought to have a thousand 
pounds in ready money for these stones." 

" Nine hundred pounds, English gold, is all that I 
can allow you in specie. Eemember these diamonds 
have to be mounted ; and I think it probable that, if I 
purchase them, I may have to send them to Holland 
to be further polished — they are rather unequal in 
brilliancy, I see, on further inspection. The pattern 
of the arrangement of the whole has to be supplied, as 
also the pattern of the paste set. Then the imitated 
stones must be manufactured in the best possible style, 
and of the very best materials." 



COLOXEL LEPPELL AT PARIS. 239 

" True ; be sure and let the pattern of the paste set 
be exactly similar to that chosen for the diamonds." 

" That can be done ; and if you will leave it to me, I 
can see, when the paste set are returned from the 
manufactory, which will be the better enamel on 
which to mount them." 

" Eeturned ? Don't you make them here ? " 

"Oh no," replied Mr Dupont, "We have about 
twenty workmen at a manufactory at Septmon^el in 
Switzerland ; this place is about fifteen miles from 
Geneva, in the Jura. All kinds of false gems are 
manufactured there, though the house of Dupont only 
deals in paste imitations of diamonds and emeralds : 
but artificial gems of every known kind can be 
supplied from thence. jSTow will you kindly select a 
pattern from among these, and I will go to Septmon^el 
myself and have the paste set put in hand at once. I 
have several orders to attend to there, so it is fortu- 
nate that I had not started." 

" I will leave that to you, you know so much better," 
replied the Colonel wisely. " How on earth are these 
imitation stones made ? " 

"Every one manufactures with a secret ingredient 
of his own," returned Mr Dupont, "therefore the 
proportions must be varied by every maker. The 
finest rock crystal, and a glass consisting of oxide 
of tin, forms the principal material for making paste 
diamonds. The impossibility of their long preserving 
their pristine brilliancy is the chief cause whereby the 
imposition is generally detected." 



240 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

The Colonel winced at the word " imposition," but 
held his peace. " You accept my terms ? " said Mr 
Dupont, looking at him steadily. 

"Well, yes — suppose I must; want the money 
badly," replied Colonel Leppell, shrugging his shoul- 
ders. " Well, I don't grudge you clearing four hundred 
or so by the transaction, especially if the paste set be 
thoroughly good imitations." 

" Eemember, I may not sell the parure, when com- 
plete, for some little time, and so the interest on my 
money is lost for a while. Again, I may sell, and not 
be paid in full the expenses I have laid before you ; 
and taking all in all, you have no reason to complain. 
I have a right to insure a good profit, as I may have 
to wait till I can secure a suitable customer." Mr 
Dupont then, taking a miniature set of scales and 
weights from a drawer of the writing-table, proceeded 
to make a list of the stones, weighing and valuing each 
one in succession. He then sealed the whole in a 
parcel and wrote out an order upon one of the prin- 
cipal bankers in Paris for nine hundred pounds, Eng- 
lish sterling, in favour of Colonel Leppell. 

He also made out a separate memorandum, in 
which he, Mr Dupont, undertook to furnish Colonel 
Leppell with a set of the best paste diamonds, ar- 
ranged according to the pattern selected, and mounted 
in fine enamel, to be delivered at the expiration of 
thirty days from that date. 

Here was subjoined an acknowledgment of having 
received payment of the same in full, to which the 



COLONEL LEPPELL AT PARIS. 241 

jeweller's signature and his business address were 
duly appended. 

This affair being satisfactorily concluded, Colonel 
Leppell informed the jeweller that he knew of another 
set of diamonds which would require mounting, with- 
out the substitution of an equivalent in paste, and 
he promised to induce the owner to have them 
mounted by Mr Dupont ; " but I," continued the 
Colonel, u can do nothing till I see the — the — work 
from Septmon^el. I am anxious that the owner of 
the jewels I allude to should be pleased with the 
pattern and arrangement of those you are to supply : 
this being the case, I think I can secure you the 
order." 

Mr Dupont bowed, promised to do his best, and 
then inquired if Colonel Leppell still lived in the 
Yarneshire village. Satisfied with this, he then ex- 
pressed his intention of sending the parure by one 
of his own assistants at the expiration of thirty days, 
who would deliver the case personally and take the 
Colonel's receipt for the delivery of the same at 
Hunter's Lodge. 

The English officer took leave, and, with Mr 
Dupont's order for nine hundred pounds in his pocket, 
immediately wended his way to the banking establish- 
ment of Messieurs Damigny Freres, and there con- 
verted that document into cash. There were no 
reductions, as the jeweller had handsomely made the 
order payable at sight. Then Colonel Leppell re- 
traced his steps to his hotel, resolving to return home 

VOL. I. Q 



242 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

by the mail-train which would leave Paris for Calais 
at eleven o'clock on the same night. " I will not 
spend a farthing more on myself than I can help," the 
Colonel mentally declared ; " all this shall go to pay my 
debts. I will clear these and then start free — that is, 
if Duke does not hamper me too deeply. What can 
my father and Alick mean by throwing over a lad 
like Duke ? " that young gentleman's father wondered 
with parental blindness. " They have paid his debts 
once, certainly, but that was rather to help me. The 
Viscount could hardly pass me by. This elopement 
scrape will cost something ; perhaps Alick may help 
us, out of pure contradiction, — he is a Eadical from 
principle, he says. Well, if he is consistent he will 
not stand the Court of Chancery, and so he will help 
Duke. It is a tyrannical institution, and if I had a 
chance of putting it down I would turn Eadical on 
the spot, that I would." 

It was unusual for him, and also quite contrary to 
Colonel Leppell's customary habit, to refrain from 
purchasing an object of fancy or otherwise to take 
home to some one or two members of the family. He 
generally singled out a little child as a presentee when 
it was not convenient of not possible to give all round ; 
for the younger ones of his flock had ever been more 
or less the objects of the father's overflowing demon- 
strations of affection. At this moment a sudden 
reflection, which was truly a prick of conscience, 
caused him to turn resolutely from a toy-shop which 
he had been inclined to enter in the interests of the 



COLONEL LEPPELL AT PARIS. 243 

nursery party at home. The window, as is usual with 
this kind of shop in Paris, was crowded with all kinds 
of tempting and brilliant articles, all placed well to 
the front, leaving behind them, in confined and half 
darkened space, the ordinary and more inferior ar- 
ticles of sale, in company with broken boxes, torn 
paper, and perhaps a huge rocking-horse, mounted up 
high on a shelf, and surrounded with much discol- 
oration and roughness — the whole effect irresistibly 
reminding the beholder of a huge firework which had 
exploded laterally, and, adhering in varied degrees of 
sparkle to the window, left nothing behind but the 
stick which had propelled it forwards. 

The Colonel looked into this magasin as it called it- 
self, and was nearly precipitated backwards down the 
narrow steep step at its entrance, in the rebound he 
made in turning sharply away from the temptations 
which it contained. The forcible expression which 
was jerked out of the mouth of that officer as he 
recovered his footing had the effect of bringing for- 
ward an elastic little Frenchman, who, like a jack-in- 
the-box, seemed to spring to the opening. 

" Could he have the honour of serving Monsieur ? " 
he inquired, in his native tongue. 

" Nong, nong, mercy," replied the Briton, — " tres 
beaucoup oblige ; je only look un moment clans le 
window, je n'avais pas observe le step, et j'avais 
stumblerai." 

" Mais, donnez-vous la peine d'entrer, Monsieur," said 
the Frenchman politely ; " vous avez, sans doute, des 



244 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

petits enfants ; peut-etre vous trouverez ici quelque 
chose que puisse vous convenir : voici un excellent 
billard en miniature ; c'est tout-a-fait ravissant, n'est- 
ce pas ? " and the Frenchman indicated a very cleverly 
made toy which seemed to be just opened, its case 
standing by. 

" Oh, nong, merci — tres mauvais exemple pour les 
garcons ; je ne veux pas qu'ils gamble ; assez dans 
ma famille : je ne puis pas buy les toys ; mais, montrez 
a moi ce — ce — cet walking-stick la; j'aime le regard 
clu chose s'il n'est pas trop d'argent, je buyerai cela." 

Some rattans and other walking-sticks were pro- 
duced, and after a little haggling the Colonel pur- 
chased one of the number, and felt he had done a 
stroke of business. " Oui, tres bon, et je crois que 
vous n'avez pas charge trop beaucoup for le sort de 
chose," said the Colonel, as he surveyed his purchase 
at arm's-length. " II faut que vous takey le money, 
car je ne sais pas combien il est dans le money de ce 
confondu pays." So saying he held out some francs 
in the palm of his hand, and the Frenchman, selecting 
the exact price therefrom, grinned at the extraordinary 
Briton, and assured him that it was with the greatest 
pleasure that he transacted business with a gentleman 
who spoke so well the French language. 

" I don't do that, I know," said Pialph to himself as 
he left the shop ; " but these fellows understand me 
somehow. I fancy the great secret lies in a word or 
two, and a flourish. Bah ! an Englishman would never 
take up the thing as these French fellows do; they 



COLONEL LEPPELL AT PARIS. 245 

don't meet one half-way — I mean our people — and 
they always laugh in a foreigner's face when he makes 
a mistake in his English, — bad habit, very bad habit. 
After all, these Munshews do teach us manners, and 
they don't forget, either, so often as we do, that 
courtesy is a Christian gift. Whether that be so or 
not, it is a comfort to be civilly treated." 

Thus thinking, the Colonel walked down the street, 
looking now and then into various shops, and more 
than once half inclined to step in and purchase 
something for his little ones. But here conscience 
did take possession of him and held him fast. " No, 
no," he resolved, — " my innocent little children, I can- 
not buy them toys out of this money ; I will wait till 
I draw my next pay, — and, Lord bless them ! they don't 
care whether the things come from Paris or from Tim- 
buctoo ; but no toys out of this. Bah ! how I hate 
myself ; but what can 1 do ? Why are we, most of us, 
born with inclinations that we cannot satisfy ? and 
why are are we placed in situations which are nothing 
but a harass or an anxiety, to say nothing of a snare 
for wrong-doing all our lives long ? " 

Alack ! and alas ! Life teems with misfits. If it 
were not so, the world would not exist. The essence 
of living here below is that we see through the glass 
darkly, and were the true image of all things to be 
reflected back clearly on the mind, all might perhaps 
walk straight ; but the great virtues of faith and self- 
denial would have no scope for exertion, and the free- 
will to choose betwixt good and evil would be swal- 



24G THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

lowed up in the mechanical action which Longfellow so 
aptly compares to the inanition of dumb driven cattle. 

Colonel Leppell, in common with many others who 
know the good, and through weakness of character 
adopt the evil, relied very fully on the existence of 
conscience. Yet it would be curious to collect toge- 
ther the astounding deeds of wickedness which many 
who profess to act from conscience, or for conscience' 
sake, have committed and do constantly commit against 
their fellow-creatures. 

It may be all very well to cite the searing of the 
hot iron as a solution of this unpleasant fact ; but we 
should, in common fairness, look deeper, and convince 
ourselves of the existence of the material upon which 
the searing process can act. It will be found, on hon- 
est investigation, that in many cases this mental sub- 
stratum is utterly absent, and that the void is by no 
means confined to vicious or even to careless persons : 
for the " unco guid " and rigidly righteous are very often 
deficient in this spiritual balance ; and those whose 
conduct is or appears to be regulated by the unwritten 
byelaws of honour, seem to possess more of the genu- 
ine article than their louder professing neighbours. 

The gravity of his position certainly acted as a 
deterrent on the Colonel in the matter of expenditure : 
it even seemed that to get rid of this money at once 
in the discharge of his debts, was one method for 
atoning for the unhandsome manner in which it had 
come into his possession. He therefore returned to 
his hotel, and at once made preparations for return- 



COLONEL LEPPELL AT PARIS. 247 

ing to England that night. Letters were in waiting 
for him, which, on the whole, conveyed satisfactory 
news. " Lady Asher was wonderfully better ; but she 
was to be kept very quiet, and take a great deal of 
nourishment, — though the doctor had greater hopes 
of her case than he had at first," Mary wrote. " And 
mother desired her to tell him, also, that Mrs Fan- 
shawe had written to ask Willina Clavering to stay 
at Pinnacles on her arrival, as grandmamma's illness 
might cause visitors to be an inconvenience. So I am 
going there to introduce a girl I have never seen," 
continued the young lady ; " but Mr Glascott will be 
there for a few days, and I suppose Mr Clavering — 
Frank, I mean — will hover about," the writer opined 
with great circumspection. " The nice one of the La 
Touches, Stephen, is at the Kectory house, staying 
with his poor aunt, who, Lillian writes me, ' is going 
to be a private patient of Dr Williams.' It seems 
this nephew insisted upon Mrs Kemble being treated 
differently, and the Fanshawes are glad to be quit 
of the responsibility." 

The Colonel perused this letter with great satisfac- 
tion, and dwelt particularly upon the part which 
related to Lady Asher. " Pinnacles Court will not 
have been so gay for many a day," thought he. " I 
wonder what Lillian is about, or if she takes this 
marriage of Duke's to heart, — wish to goodness he had 
married Miss Fanshawe ; less money, but the breed 
atones for that." 

This allusion to Duke brought the Colonel to an- 



248 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

other epistle which, stiff and business-like in its out- 
ward bearing, lay beside the pleasant epistle of his 
young daughter. 

The news it conveyed was not unexpected by the 
Colonel, nor did it cause him much surprise. Mr Mar- 
niaduke Leppell had been summoned before the Vice- 
Chancellor, and had so comported himself that he was 
immediately ordered into confinement, and separated 
from his wife. The latter was to be consigned to 
the care of a lady, chosen by the Lord Chancellor as 
guardian of the person of the ward, pending a decision 
as to what was to be ultimately settled for her future 
domicile. 

A heart-broken epistle from Peggy confirmed this 
fact ; and the delusion that she would accompany her 
husband to prison was thus roughly dispelled. " She 
had been very sharply rebuked," she wrote, " for giv- 
ing Miss Shallard the chloroform, and she really be- 
lieved that the Vice-Chancellor tried to make out that 
she intended to poison that old cat, when he ought to 
have known that she only wanted to keep her quiet 
for a few hours. I am sorry I cannot come down to 
Yarne," Peggy continued, " but I am a sort of captive, 
and am not allowed to move out of the house without 
a Mrs Bagshot at my heels. I think she must be a 
kind of keeper for the female wards of Court, but I 
don't know ; and I don't intend to speak to her, and 
shall make myself as disagreeable as I can." Peggy 
concluded this pious resolve by signing herself the 
Colonel's affectionate daughter. 



COLONEL LEPPELL AT PARIS. 249 

This correspondence, on the whole, was rather satis- 
tactory to Colonel Leppell, save one intimation con- 
tained in Mr Constant's letter. This was, that unless 
Mr Marmaduke Leppell signed a deed, demanded by 
the Court of Chancery, which required that he should 
resign all interest in his wife's fortune, he would be 
consigned to prison for a very long term ; indeed it 
was only on condition of proper submission, and the 
unqualified surrender of his interest in his wife's pro- 
perty, that he would be released at all. The Colonel 
shook his head over this, and was more strongly of 
opinion than ever that, though the restraining powers 
of the Court of Chancery were at times of some use, 
yet its arbitrary dictum as to the disposition of other 
people's property needed full revision and reform: 
but of course the officer reasoned from his son's point 
of view on the matter. 

Mr Marmaduke Leppell was then an inmate of the 
Queen's Prison, Holloway ; and Peggy was under the 
charge pro tern, of Mrs Bagshot. It had been decided 
that she should not return to her original guardian, 
Miss Shallard; and this piece of good fortune Mrs 
Marmaduke imputed to that happy thought of hers 
of giving chloroform to this vigilant keeper. How- 
ever, after an interview with the Lord Chancellor him- 
self, and out of deference to the kind manner in 
which that gentleman's admonitions were impressed 
upon her, Peggy was moved to write an apology to 
the outraged lady ; and this she did with the greater 
heartiness when she found that under no circum- 



250 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

stances whatever would she be relegated to what she 
was pleased to call parlour-boardership. 

" Suppose, my lord," Mrs Marmaduke said by proxy 
to the Chancellor, by way of helping him to do a hand- 
some thing on her behalf, — " suppose you allow Miss 
Shallard a hundred a year or so, for a certain time, 
as a little compensation for the chloroform and for 
losing me, — although I have been a good milk-cow to 
that family, and they ought to have saved : then — 
then, could I not accept the invitation I have had 
to stay with Mr Leppell's family in Yarneshire ? It 
would be the most respectable thing I could do," 
urged Peggy, imploringly ; " and the Colonel quite 
thinks of me as a daughter, — indeed he does." 

His lordship did not doubt that in the least, — " but 
it remains to be seen how the husband comports 
himself before I can make any change in the condi- 
tion of either of these young people," he said. So 
Peggy saw that, for the present at least, she must 
make up her mind to remain under the shadow of 
Mrs Bagshot's wing, and elected to live in hopes of 
better things to come. 

Mr Glascott in due course again arrived at the Eed 
Lion Hotel at Yarne, accompanied by Miss Clavering 
and her brother. Mary and Clara Leppell, escorted by 
their brothers, met the party, and then, after the first 
greetings, the invitation to stay at Pinnacles Court 
was given to them, to decide upon as they might think 
good. 

Mr Glascott decided for Pinnacles on behalf of the 



COLOXEL LEPPELL AT PARIS. 251 

young people, as soon as he discovered that Mary 
Leppell was to be the Fanshawes' guest, and an- 
nounced his intention of writing to say that he would 
follow in a few days. " That will enable me to be 
near your mother and Lady Asher," he remarked to 
Mary, " and you had better stay as long as you can. 
Francis has received an invitation from Mrs Fanshawe 
also, as I daresay you know, and he has accepted it, 
which proceeding I trust you approve of." 

Mary answered bravely that she highly approved of 
this proceeding, and then added, " You will find my 
friend Lillian Fanshawe at Hunter's Lodge ; we have 
changed places, in fact, and she will remain with 
mamma till either I or the Colonel return." Then 
Mary turned and looked at her new sister that was 
to be. 

AVillina Clavering was not what the world reckons 
a beauty, but her noble mien, the beautiful shape of 
her head, and its elegant poise on her shoulders, to- 
gether with the severe Grecian style in which her hair 
was arranged, gave her an air of distinction which was 
almost regal. This had the effect also of carrying out 
the idea once expressed by the famous Count d'Orsay. 
when consulted concerning the claims of a certain 

debutante to be considered handsome. " Miss S 

is not a beauty," pronounced this fastidious judge of 
female charms, "but don't sit near her, — she makes 
other women look plain." 

The tincture of foreign courtesy which Miss Claver- 
ing displayed in her manners was just enough to pol- 



252 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

ish the frank British nature which lay beneath them ; 
and this lady had been too well trained to accept the 
theory that a rude manner necessarily forms the husk 
of a good heart and a sincere nature. Her religious 
proclivities led her to respect that terse admonition of 
St Paul, " Be courteous." 

Mary Leppell looked in vain for any resemblance 
that might announce that Frank and Willina were 
brother and sister : the dark strong complexion of the 
former was modified in the clear nut-brown tint which 
shadowed the young girl's face, the whole expression 
of which was softer and more refined. This expres- 
sion melted into real tenderness, sweet and pure, as, 
advancing towards Mary, she held out her arms, and, 
in a kind embrace, said — 

" Frank is a fortunate man ; well may you be called 
' heavenly Moll/ My sister, — my real sister, — you 
are beautiful as an angel : we are friends for ever, are 
we not ? " 

They immediately became so, and it was only after 
long years that death parted them. 



253 



CHAPTEE XII. 

STEPHEN LA TOUCHE AT PINNACLES. 

According to previous arrangement, Mr La Touche 
and his son Stephen duly arrived at Pinnacles, and 
were satisfied, both by the report of the Eector's 
family and also by ocular demonstration, that Mrs 
Kemble's state of mind had considerably changed for 
the worse. The only cheering sign in this poor lady's 
case was the delight with which she welcomed her 
younger nephew, and the confidence she expressed 
that all would be happy and bright because he had 
come to see her. She stroked his beard and patted 
his hands, and evinced all the delight which a child 
would do after a long separation from a beloved mother 
or nurse. Lillian Fanshawe, who was present at this 
meeting, was very much impressed at witnessing this 
outburst of feeling, — so different, mused she, from the 
reception she vouchsafed to Percival : he always 
seems to freeze her into stone, and he never suggests 
anything to brighten her condition. " Perhaps we 
might have done more on our part, but then it is so 



254 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

difficult to know what the right thing is with regard 
to imbecile people." And so Miss Lillian salved her 
conscience for some neglect towards the unfortunate 
woman to whom some little attentions would have 
been a great boon, and would have been also grate- 
fully remembered ; for Mrs Kemble's powers of recol- 
lection were scarcely impaired. 

" Take me into the garden, aunt," said Stephen, "and 
let me see some of your flowers. I should like you to 
show me your very best, for I intend to steal a good 
many to take up to town when we return." 

" But you are not going away directly, are you ? " 
asked the aunt, with an imploring look ; " do stay, 
Stephen. Dear Stephen, if you only knew how dull 
it is for me here, so much alone. I know I am queer 
sometimes, very queer ; something comes over me that 
I cannot help, and I get violent. All me ! The fit 
has passed now, but I am too much alone, and I know 
they all think that I am mad : I can see it in their 
faces very plainly, that they believe I am quite 
insane." 

" I don't think that quite, aunt," Stephen answered, 
in the quiet equable tone which is so soothing to shat- 
tered nerves. " The family have always said that you 
are very excitable and easily upset, on account of the 
harsh treatment you received some years ago, and your 
mental anxiety, and all that has contributed to render 
you at times — at times only — not quite responsible ; 
but you are often much cleverer than many of us." 

" I know Percival always says that I am only 



STEPHEN LA TOUCHE AT PINNACLES. 255 

nervous, but he has got a reason for that, — a reason, 
and a very particular reason, my dear," said the 
patient, with a look of knowing cunning which was 
painful to see. " Percival wants to lay my queerness 
all to Mr Kemble's account, — and mind, he only ill- 
used me when he was drunk, and I won't speak ill of 
the dead, — and to make these Fanshawes believe that 
there is nothing wrong in the family. We have it in 
the family strong," continued the lady, with emphasis, 
" and Percival inherits it. Ah ! he will be mad some 
day ; he's got the taint worse than any of you." 

" All this is very sad, aunt," replied Stephen, greatly 
shocked, although not so much surprised. " But why 
is Percival anxious to keep right with the Fanshawes ? 
My father, you know, says much the same thing, and 
I don't think he cares what the people at Pinnacles 
Court say or believe on the subject." 

" True ; but you don't know all the by-play. There 
is a daughter, my dear — a daughter young and hand- 
some ; don't you understand now ? " 

" Yes ; but the daughter has been there ever since 
you came to Pinnacles, nearly six years ago, and my 
brother must have seen her off and on during that 
time. Don't take that fancy into your head, dear aunt, 
and above all things, don't say anything about this ; 
Percival would be furious. He always gives out, too, 
that he will only marry a girl who has money, and 
these Fanshawes have none." 

" All very well, Stephen ; but there is a difference 
between twelve years and eighteen, and the girl is 



256 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

older than that in her ways and manners. Percival 
has got his fortune now, so he can afford to follow his 
fancy. Ah ! the very last time he was here, I saw 
them walking under the laurels : he forgot that my 
window was open, and that I could hear." 

" Well, I daresay it w T as only friendly talk." 

" They were talking about my health, and he told 
Miss Fanshawe that my peculiar ways were entirely 
owing to Kemble's ill-usage of me ; and that it an- 
noyed him because people would think that mad 

it was in the family, and he was glad to have the op- 
portunity of telling her the real reason. What do 
you think of that?" 

" No one likes to proclaim their own misfortunes," 
the nephew replied, gently ; " but Percival went rather 
far in his inferences. Still, he might not be making 
love for all that : he was only trying to keep up his 
family." 

"But I am sure that he is making love," Mrs 
Kemble answered quickly, "and that is the reason 
he tries to frighten me into being very silent when he 
comes here ; and he has been worse, much worse, of 
late. I know I don't improve, — I am too much left 
to myself ; none of them come here for their holidays 
or their illnesses as they used to do : and, Stephen, 
the people about this, they don't come to see me, — 
they are afraid. Oh, take me away ! take me away ! " 
and the poor soul clung convulsively to her nephew's 
arm as she spoke. 

Soothing her as well as he was able, Stephen 



STEPHEN LA TOUCHE AT PINNACLES. 257 

promised faithfully to try and effect a change in 
his aunt's condition, and that as soon as possible. 
" You have been here too long," he remarked ; " and 
the house is certainly too large for what you require. 
Now, would you like to go into a private home — 
for a time, I mean — under a good doctor's care ? 
I am sure you would be very soon all right if you 
did so." 

Stephen proposed this, as it might meet the appro- 
bation of the medical man of whom Mr Fanshawe 
had made mention in his letter to his father ; and 
further, he saw that his relative was far more likely 
to accept any suggestion coming from him than from 
any one else. A little conversation convinced him that 
he was right in this conjecture, and that there would 
be no resistance on the part of Mrs Kemble to any 
plan in which his counsels would bear a part. 

Assuring himself of this, Stephen resolved that if 
his father would make no move in the matter, he 
would himself seek out this doctor, and, conjointly 
with him, try to effect some arrangement which would 
conduce to the satisfaction at least of this afflicted 
relative. He then exacted a promise from Mrs 
Kemble that she would be quiet and patient, and, 
above all, trust to him implicitly. "Whatever may 
be done, be assured, dear aunt, that 1 will in future 
see to your welfare independently of any one else ; 
all I want you to do now is to be very patient." 

" Marcia never comes near me," broke in Mrs 
Kemble suddenly, as her nephew led her into the 

VOL. I. E 



258 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

house ; " that's very much against me, you know — 
very much." 

" Little Anna is seriously ill at this moment," 
said Stephen, " and Aunt Marcia has had to go to her 
at once. I assure you that she hoped to manage to 
accompany us, but really it was quite impossible." 

" It's always impossible with Marcia ; but I shall 
believe it as you say so now. Anna, the youngest, — 
what is the matter with the child ? " 

" A return, I fear, of the old malady. You know 
she has been subject to fits all her life ; but she has 
been so very much better the last two years, that 
it was hoped she had quite grown out of them," re- 
plied Stephen. 

" I remember ; fits indeed ! I hope they are going 
to treat her in a sensible manner; for if they keep 
her away from everybody as they have kept me, there 
will be something more to manage than fits, I'm 
thinking. She will be called highly nervous, and be 
put out of the way of the family, because it might 
affect the chances of the marriages, you see, if a cer- 
tain word beginning with ' m ' — you know, ah, you 
know," — and here Mrs Kemble bestowed a look upon 
her nephew which was partly ridiculous and partly 
painful in its effect upon its recipient. 

Meanwhile Stephen mused within himself, and 
became more and more thoroughly convinced that his 
aunt must not remain longer at Pinnacles. There 
was no actual complaint to make ; the rector and his 
family called in occasionally, and Mrs Kemble was 



STEPHEN LA TOUCHE AT PINNACLES. 259 

now and then a guest at the Court for a few hours 
at a time ; but save for a week at the sea, and spend- 
ing, at intervals, the day in a picnic fashion on the 
hills, her life, from its very monotony, was dreary 
indeed. 

The rector's second daughter, Etta, who was like a 
curate to Mr Fanshawe, called more regularly and 
showed more sympathy than any other person around 
Mrs Kemble ; but of late this young lady had evinced 
such ill-concealed terror when in company with her, 
that her visits had become rather irksome than other- 
wise, and the girl had been made to understand on 
one occasion that if she were afraid of her hostess, 
she had better not call again. Added to this, the 
visits of Mrs Kemble's relatives, either for pleasure 
or convenience, had become so few and far between, 
that they might be looked upon almost as events of 
the past. 

This state of things had the usual effect upon the 
attendant who was specially engaged to wait upon 
Mrs Kemble and minister to her comfort. She, from 
necessarily having control over the household and 
its expenditure, had waxed both neglectful and inso- 
lent, and evidently deemed her position a sinecure. 
Not being sufficiently trained nor experienced in the 
treatment of mental disease, she by her conduct had 
at length exasperated her patient by little and little, 
until the indignation of the latter had culminated into 
doing her positive bodily harm. 

And here let us reflect how much acute suffering 



2 GO THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

and chronic injustice is often inflicted upon patients 
of all classes of disease, mental or otherwise, through 
the unwisdom of their several friends in the selec- 
tion of their nurses and attendants. Too often an 
imbecile patient, who is warranted " not dangerous," is 
placed under the charge of an attendant whose vir- 
tues chiefly consist in being aunt or cousin, or even 
grandmother, to the housekeeper or some servant of 
the family to whom the patient belongs ; or if the mone- 
tary position does not admit of this arrangement, some 
relative of the family is thus cheaply provided for, 
and rushes into the undertaking of nurse, guide, cook, 
and familiar friend with an enthusiasm only equalled 
by corresponding incapacity. We put philosophy out 
of the question, because true philosophy never com- 
mits such arrant blunders as these. 

But the family of La Touche had not only put 
philosophy out of the question, but had relegated com- 
mon-sense to the regions of " nowhere " when they 
agreed to intrust Jane Prosser with the care of their 
afflicted relative. Mrs Kemble's comfort was in this 
selection very much less cared for than the providing 
this female with a comfortable berth. " Send Jane 
Prosser down to the country with Arabella ! " was 
Marcia's first exclamation on being informed that 
some respectable trustworthy person should be at 
once engaged to wait upon her sister, and take a 
general charge of the house provided for that lady's 
occupation — " send Jane Prosser, — the very person. 
Mr La Touche would have to do something for her 



STEPHEN LA. TOUCHE AT PINNACLES. 261 

in a few years' time, as he was weak enough to pro- 
mise old nurse when she was dying to get Jane into 
an almshouse, or give her a pension himself, should 
she live to be a^ecl. You know she is old nurse's 
niece, and my brother thought he could acknowledge 
the services of the latter in that way, and thus stave 
off putting money down. Prosser might die in my 
brother's lifetime, you know," Marcia continued with 
elation, " for she is no chicken, and my brother may 
see her out. However, both he and Percival subscribe 
to the refuge for incapables on her account ; but she 
must be some years older before she can be admitted 
into that praiseworthy institution, so this is the very 
thing for Jane till she can be shelved for life." 

Thus Marcia to the family physician, who did not 
view matters in this accommodating light, and who 
even presumed to do his duty and recommend a 
trained nurse from an institution which he named. 
Miss La Touche, however, with the utmost celerity 
and decision, quenched this recommendation in the 
bud. 

" That will never do, Dr Pearsall — never. A nurse 
from a mad place ! My brother would never hear of 
it. Why, we might as well proclaim the whole family 
to be raging lunatics on the spot. Besides, the expense 
would be terrific ! " 

" I think Mrs Kemble's jointure is four hundred a 
year, and she has two thousand pounds of her own. 
You have forgotten that I am one of the trustees 
to your sister's marriage-settlement ; so I am per- 



262 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

fectly sure that expense need not be considered," re- 
plied Dr Pearsall, looking Marcia steadily in the eyes. 

"So she has," returned the lady; "and do you 
know," she continued, with characteristic irrelevancy, 
" that Air Keinble's relations pray regularly night and 
day for her 'release,' as they call it. Old Bishop 
Kemble, they say, would marry again if Arabella 
were to die. He is heir to three hundred a-year of 
her jointure." 

"Fine old Bible Christian," returned the doctor, 
affecting to believe Marcia's statement, though, like 
an honest man, he took the half of it and divided it 
by three, according to the old-fashioned arithmetical 
rule which was the standard measure when the accur- 
acy of a report wherein figures were concerned had to 
be tested. " But never mind the Kembles. Let me 
urge upon you the necessity of getting a well-trained 
experienced woman as a nurse for your sister. This 
plan is far more economical than the one you seem 
inclined to adopt, as you will find out in the long-run." 
So saying, the doctor took his leave, and Marcia pro- 
mised to mention his suggestion to Mr La Touche 
immediately. 

The result of Marcia's consultation with her brother 
was the immediate engagement of Jane Prosser, the 
pair being incited to this proceeding on being supplied 
with the information that Miss Prosser mitst know 
something about mad people, because she possessed a 
grand-uncle who was in a lunatic asylum, and another 
relative who was popularly supposed to be " off her 



STEPHEN LA TOUCHE AT PINNACLES. 263 

head." These qualifications being considered unim- 
peachable, and in fact a certificate of experience and 
efficiency, the woman was sent down to Pinnacles, 
and being there free from all supervision, succeeded 
in rendering Mrs Kemble so irritable and contradic- 
tory by her unworthy conduct, that in an accession 
of ungovernable excitement the patient stabbed her 
with a dinner-fork in the arm. 

Startling as this action was, Stephen hailed it as a 
tangible proof that his aunt's state of mind necessi- 
tated her removal to more direct medical care, and 
also that a thorough change in the management of 
the patient was imperatively necessary. He therefore 
determined to join issue with Mr Fanshawe in insist- 
ing upon a consultation with the clever and benevolent 
director of the Yarne County Asylum. His inquiries 
regarding Jane Prosser satisfied Stephen, also, that this 
woman had made the most of her injuries, and it 
transpired, in addition, that this attendant was by no 
means inclined to resign her situation, or even to 
admit a trained nurse to minister to the case for 
a few weeks upon trial. Miss Prosser even expressed 
her regret that Mr La Touche should have been sum- 
moned, for she saw from the younger son's manner 
that he had no opinion either of her capability of 
managing an invalid, or her fitness for occupying the 
very responsible post which she held more by good 
luck than good guidance, as the old saying has it. 
Another point for consideration had also rushed into 
Stephen's mind. After the outbreak on the part of 



264 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

Mrs Kemble, how were the future relations between 
his aunt and Jane Prosser to be maintained ? 

" I am going up to Pinnacles Court now, aunt/' said 
her nephew, after he had carved her fowl and partaken 
of her usually solitary dinner. " My father is going 
to dine and sleep there, but I shall come back here 
early in the evening. I suppose you can put me up 
for the night ? " 

" Quite easily ; it will be a comfort to have some of 
the rooms occupied." 

" By the way," said Stephen, " does any one attend 
to you personally, now that Prosser is laid aside ? " 

" Yes," returned Mrs Kemble ; " a nice kindly woman 
from the village, who was sent here by Miss Etta Fan- 
shawe. She only stays during the day, though, and so 
the cook is all I have in the house at night just now ; 
but it is safe enough, and there is no fear of Prosser 
coming and teasing me to go to bed early, as she used 
to do. Do you know, Stephen," said the old lady with 
a chuckle, " it was a good thing I gave her that gash. 
They were all so frightened that they took her away 
at once to the kind of infirmary place they have in the 
village, and she is to stay there till she gets well, and 
we shall have to pay for it. But that does not matter ; 
she's gone, and that is nuts to me, my dear — yes, nuts 
and figs ! " 

Stephen did not think it advisable to tell his aunt 
that he and Mr La Touche had interviewed Jane 
Prosser just before he called upon her, nor did he 
think it well to encourage his aunt to converse on the 



STEPHEN LA TOUCHE AT PINNACLES. 265 

subject, so he said, " I have brought you a book of 
photographs to look at ; they are very beautiful, and 
• represent some of the finest works of art in the Paris 
Exhibition. Do you think the woman from the village 
would like to look over them with you ? I always 
think two persons enjoy looking over pictures of a 
particular kind in company, and this book is large 
and heavy for you to hold alone. Shall I tell her to 
come to you as I pass out ? " 

" Please do so ; but she need not hurry, — I shall sit 
in my big chair there and have a sleep. Stephen ! 
you have brought the kindly blessed sleep : it is 
coming — coming like the rustle of an angel's wing ; 
let it overshadow me, and let me feel what Elizabeth 
Barrett Browning so sweetly tells us in poetry about 
' He giveth his beloved sleep.' You know she made 
a poem on that verse of Scripture, don't you ? and 
another upon 'Dying Alone,' which is one of the 
grandest sonnets ever written, in my poor opinion. 
But now let me sleep, — for many nights I have not 
closed my eyes." 

Stephen drew his stalwart arm round the old lady 
and placed her in her chair, at the same time arrang- 
ing both her and her surroundings with a gentleness 
to which she had been long unaccustomed. Then he 
went to the woman who was acting as a substitute for 
Jane, and requested her to go up-stairs now and then 
and see to his aunt, — " but as long as she sleeps don't 
disturb her," he enjoined. 

" I believe if Mrs Kemble could get a good sleep 



266 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

oftener, and have more companionship like, she would 
not be half bad," Mrs Vardon said. " She's a nice lady, 
and that there Jane a'most worrited her into fits, times. 
Lor' ! she and I gets on first-rate, that we does." 

Stephen expressed himself delighted to hear it, and 
presented Mrs Vardon with half-a-crown as a stimu- 
lus to future attentions ; and then he made his way 
out of the house and walked down a narrow enclosure 
bordered by laurels and flowering shrubs, which led 
from the village in a gentle ascent to the large front 
gates of Pinnacles Court. He was just about to enter 
when he perceived his father and Mr Fanshawe stand- 
ing on the steps which led up to the hall porch. As 
they were evidently coming out, the young man 
waited and rolled back one of the heavy gates for 
his seniors to pass through. Mr Fanshawe, who was 
a great agriculturist, was about to take Mr La Touche 
through his farms, and they were in high talk about 
drainings, piggeries, mangel-wurzel, and all the concomi- 
tants which are popularly supposed to be the staple of 
a country gentleman's talk, when Stephen joined them. 

Mr La Touche took care to remind the rector that 
he too was a country gentleman, but that enormous 
expenses and an immense family obliged him to live 
in London and let his property, which basked on the 
lovely wealds of Sussex. " Some of my relatives at 
first did not like my entering into commercial life," 
said Mr La Touche, almost apologetically ; " but if I 
had not done so, my family would have been very 
differently situated." 



STEPHEN" LA TOUCHE AT PINNACLES. 267 

" You were quite right," replied the rector, energeti- 
cally ; " nothing is so trying as to have to keep up cer- 
tain appearances with a paucity of means, — nothing," 
and the poor man sighed and looked very glum : 
galdly indeed would he let Pinnacles Court and return 
to his rectory, but what of wife and daughters in the 
case ? The answer was plain and apparent enough. 
Mrs Fanshawe was more in her element as the wife of 
a landed proprietor than as the wife of a country 
clergyman, and the meaning of " advance " and " pro- 
gress " with her was rise in life and increased money 
in the pocket, the welfare of the community at large 
being a very small item in the account. 

The three gentlemen walked round, now and then 
prodding a pig with their sticks, gazing at a bullock 
here and there, and making a deep halt before a re- 
markable cow-shed which had been drained on highly 
scientific principles. Here the rector was in his glory, 
pointing out how the liquid manure could run this way 
into a sluice ; how the heads of the cattle tethered 
therein would sway more comfortably the other way ; 
how the feed could be husbanded ; and how cleanly and 
sanitary arrangements were by this process thoroughly 
carried out and utilised. The elder Mr La Touche, 
who cared nothing for the country, and who would as 
soon have thought of permanently residing in Horse- 
monger Lane Jail as living at his country place, 
even if circumstances permitted him to do so, listened 
with much attention to the rector's orations on this 
head. The thought entered his mind that money could 



2G8 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

be made out of this idea, and so he taxed his memory 
to preserve the important part of the information, re- 
solving to advise Percival to look into the matter the 
next time that he should come into Yarneshire. 

At a pause in the conversation, Stephen valiantly 
introduced the affair of his aunt Kemble, feeling that 
it was safer to approach this subject under the shadow 
of the rector's wing. He had too long been aware of 
the time-serving and worldly nature of his father to 
be ignorant that Mr La Touche would rather shuffle 
away a disagreeable duty than meet it manfully and 
do the right thing ; and besides this, the elder gentle- 
man seemed, perhaps unconsciously, to take a de- 
light in thwarting, if not actually opposing, any pro- 
position, however reasonable, which might emanate 
from this son, in which injustice he was invariably 
backed up by Percival, and sometimes also by aunt 
Marcia. 

The stronger, sounder nature of the younger man 
was not in the least subdued by a course of conduct 
which he attributed to its legitimate cause. A 
short simple statement of the facts explains this. A 
good living had been offered to Mr La Touche 
for one of his sons, in repayment (or, to put it 
more respectably, in acknowledgment) of a monetary 
service which the merchant had rendered to a certain 
spendthrift nobleman some years before. Lord Piashe 
knew that Mr La Touche went in for Church matters, 
as it was said ; that he had a lot of sons, and that one 
of the lot was a famous boat-oar of an Oxford college. 



STEPHEN LA TOUCHE AT PINNACLES. 269 

" There was the living, there was the man, all ready, 
or nearly so," Lord Eashe averred, adding his thank- 
fulness that " the man " was gentlemanlike in tone, 
and would be an acquisition to county society. It 
was, therefore, much to the surprise of the patron and 
to the indignation of the father that Stephen La 
Touche declined this preferment, and that with great 
decision and reason. " I have no proclivity for the 
profession," he said ; " I do not agree with certain 
parts of the thirty-nine Articles of the Church of 
England, and I am not the man to give assent thereto 
unless I can accept them in their entirety and with- 
out mental reservation." It is not necessary to enter 
into the why and wherefore of this rejection beyond 
stating the fact, and adding that this was the reason 
why Stephen La Touche worked hard and in the end 
qualified himself thoroughly for the law. He had set 
up as a Chancery barrister, and was doing well in his 
profession after less than the usual anxiety and " hope 
deferred," which is so often the lot of many as deserv- 
ing a man. 

But the refusal of a good living — or the promise of 
it when qualified, strictly speaking — was a great offence 
in the eyes of Mr La Touche, and downright in- 
sanity into the bargain in the opinion of Percival, 
who was rather surprised at the steady success Qf his 
younger brother. Thus it was that a kind of un- 
acknowledged estrangement existed between Mr La 
Touche and his son Stephen, although the elder gentle- 
man would have sung paeans over the latter's straight- 



270 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

forward and disinterested conduct, had this been dis- 
played by any other person's son than his own. But this 
living was highly endowed, and Stephen as its incum- 
bent could have married one of the favoured daughters 
of the land, and have lived and fared sumptuously, and 
made a good connection for his family, and in fact 
done all the great things to which parents aspire fondly 
for their children, very often more for their own glori- 
fication than for the real happiness of their offspring. 
However, Stephen was firm, and threatened to seek 
employment as a tutor in the event of his father re- 
fusing further aid in his education. This settled the 
matter, and the subject was considered done with for 
ever, as the old gentleman summed up his expos- 
tulations with this intimation : " You had best work 
hard, sir ; two thousand pounds is all you will ever 
get from me, and not that until I die. Meanwhile, you 
shall have half your college allowance for two years." 
Thankful for the presence of the rector and the 
absence of Percival, Stephen, as it has been said, 
introduced the subject of his aunt, and so earnestly 
recommended an immediate interview with Dr Wil- 
liams, the head physician of the County Asylum, that 
the old gentleman's breath was literally carried away, 
especially as the young man intimated that Mrs 
Kemble would gladly acquiesce in anything which 
might give her change of scene. "You will find 
Aunt Arabella quite ready to be admitted as a private 
patient, and she knows as well as I do what her 
malady is," Stephen concluded. 



STEPHEN LA TOUCHE AT PINNACLES. 271 

" I am quite convinced of that," said Mr Fanshawe, 
backing Stephen up in a matter-of-fact kind of way ; 
" indeed I have taken the trouble to ascertain in how 
far Mrs Kemble feels herself to be at times irrespon- 
sible. For my part, Mr La Touche, do not let the 
tenancy of the house be any obstacle to your arrange- 
ments ; my curate is just engaged to be married to a 
lady of large fortune, and he will be only too glad to 
occupy the rectory after I have done it up." 

" Your curate going to marry a fortune ! " ejaculated 
Mr La Touche, in real admiration, mixed with sur- 
prise. " Ah, well, I am not astonished : the English 
Church is such a good — such an introduction to that 
kind of thing — ladies and their guardians see how safe 
it is to let money go in that direction. Ah, what a 
thing it is to belong to the Establishment ! " 

" Well, I married a lady without any money," said 
the rector, who naturally did not like his Church men- 
tioned as if it were a large manufactory, and therefore 
spoke rather more briskly than was his wont. He 
suspected also that a hit at Stephen was more the 
tenor of Mr La Touche's meaning than anything 
else, and he determined to put an end to any kind of 
surreptitious innuendo which might annoy Stephen, for 
whom the rector had great respect, knowing well how 
the latter stood with his family from his daughter 
Lillian, to whom Percival had related the circum- 
stances, with comments. 

So, between the two, Mr La Touche was compelled 
to come to a decided determination, and it must be 



272 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

conceded the projected occupation of the rectory 
house stood out in high relief in the resolutions which 
were adopted, and Stephen blessed Mr Fanshawe's 
curate with all his might and main. It was finally 
agreed that Mr La Touche should return to town, 
and that Stephen should take all the responsibility 
of interviewing the doctor, and making final arrange- 
ments for Mrs Kemble. 

" Can you stay down here a week ? " Mr Fanshawe 
said to his young friend a few hours later ; " if so, Mrs 
Fanshawe will be very glad if you will make the Court 
useful during the day. I know you won't desert your 
aunt, so I won't ask you to sleep at Pinnacles Court ; 
but if you can stay, we will all be delighted to see you, 
and make your visit as agreeable as we can." 

" Yes, I can stay," Stephen replied, and expressed 
the satisfaction it would be to him thus to combine 
pleasure with business. 

" Our house will be more attractive than usual," said 
the rector, " as we have a very charming young lady 
coming here on a visit in a few days. She is the sister 
of the gentleman who is going to wed Mary Leppell, 
my daughter Lillian's girl-friend. She was to have 
gone to the Leppells' with her guardian, Mr Glascott ; 
but old Lady Asher is very ill, and so Mrs Fanshawe 
has invited them to come here, and Mary with them, 
in order to relieve Hunter's Lodge. Mary Leppell's 
future sister, of course, must be looked upon as a 
friend here." 

" Her name is Clavering, then ? " said Stephen ; 



STEPHEN LA TOUCHE AT PINNACLES. 273 

" yes, I have heard of the engagement — Clavering is 
a lucky man." 

" Sweet, beautiful girl," said the rector, who, by the 
by, was not popularly supposed to perceive the differ- 
ence between one woman's attractions and another 
— " I hope Clavering will value her." 

" He must," said Stephen, who had seen Mary Lep- 
pell at a flower-show in London, and thought her an 
angel. " I know Mr Clavering slightly," continued 
the young man ; " I wonder if the sister resembles 
him." 

" Do you like Clavering himself ? " asked the rector. 

l< Our acquaintance is so slight that I can hardly 
say : no, he is a clever man, but I am not prepossessed 
in his favour." 

" Xor am I," answered the rector ; " he was here 
once, and I did not like his tone or general bearing. 
He may improve, though, on better acquaintance. I 
suppose you want to write your letters now ; mind and 
arrange to stay for a week or ten days." 

So saying, the good rector took himself off, and 
left Stephen, pleased and gratified, to follow his 
own devices. 



VOL. I. 



274 



CHAPTER XIII. 



JONATHAN SIKES. 



So many circumstances had for years prevented Mrs 
Fanshawe from having what is called company in the 
house, that it was quite natural that both that lady 
and her husband should feel alike anxious as to how 
this influx of visitors, conjoined with their own flock, 
were to be entertained for " the space of ten days or 
so," as the manner of their invitation put it. Their 
mutual astonishment was great as they convinced them- 
selves that they enjoyed this departure from their or- 
dinary routine of life most thoroughly : not that the 
rector and his wife were in any way allied to that army 
of humbugs who profess to dislike and despise society, 
simply because want of means or some other circum- 
stance precludes them from entering into it ; but that 
a strict sense of duty and honesty had obliged this 
couple to restrain their hospitality in a general sense- 
Now that their children were growing up, and oppor- 
tunity presented itself, it was felt to be just and right 
that they should meet their equals, and become accus- 



JONATHAN SIKES. 275 

tomed to dispense, as well as to receive, those amenities 
of social life which tend so much to refine and charm 
the intercourse which advancing civilisation demands 
for us all in this workaday world. 

" How to amuse them ? " said Stephen, repeating an 
inquiry from his hostess, which was toned very much 
like an appeal to his own powers of invention. " How 
can you ask such a question, Mrs Fanshawe ? " he 
said, as he looked out of the large embrasured window 
of the noble hall of Pinnacles Court upon the pleasant 
garden which lay mapped beneath its walls. Truly a 
pleasaunce, — truly the pleasant garden of dear Will 
Shakespeare, with its extensive lawns divided in equal 
proportions by a broad walk straight on to the boundary 
wall, to the gate of which a flight of stone steps led, 
bringing the rambler to an exquisite Norman arch, 
framed in the old stone wall, around one side of which 
dark ivy clung with all the pertinacity of the only 
parasite that does not enfeeble the life of either the 
animate or inanimate object. The doorway enclosed by 
this masonry opened upon the kitchen-garden and 
poultry-yards, and so through to the orchards and 
fields which lay beyond. 

The eyes of Stephen La Touche were at this 
moment turned towards the bank of thick soft 
sward on the right, which, sloping at a rather 
abrupt angle, was crowned with a splendid terrace 
walk, shaded on the farther side by handsome 
shrubs, amongst which the laurustinus reared itself 
in a bloom which was truly magnificent, show- 



276 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

ing as it did an equal redundancy of flower and 
leaf. 

Flights of stone steps of easy graduated height were 
the legitimate means of ascent to the terrace walk ; 
but to be able to descend to the lawn by means of the 
bank itself was an exciting and time-honoured pastime, 
observed generally by the younger members of the 
denizens of Pinnacles and their visitors. Stephen 
smiled as he said, " I do believe that bank will be a 
most popular resort ; it is no easy matter, as I can 
attest, to reach the ground in safety, owing to the 
extreme slipperiness of the grass. I tried it with your 
boys yesterday, and nearly came down head-foremost : 
depend, upon it, we shall soon inaugurate a capital 
game there." 

Mrs Fanshawe assented, and then expressed a wish 
that the season were warmer — " We might have the 
target put up in the orchard, and have some shooting," 
she said. 

" I would not give that idea up, Mrs Fanshawe, 
if I were you. Spring plays such tricks in this land 
of ours — we may possibly count on one warm after- 
noon : see how beautifully your flower of the season 
is coming out ! " 

At this time the flower of the season was that of 
the splendid cherry-trees which for untold time had 
been planted on the stately lawns of the old Court. 
Here, as if in gratitude that no other tree had been 
suffered to bloom near them, they poured out their 
pure white blossoms in the early year, and in the 



JONATHAN SIKES. 277 

autumn-fall they had never failed to supply a wealth 
of luscious and sound good fruit ; and so a cherry feast 
on Pinnacles lawn had for long been an event to which 
the youth of the neighbourhood, rich and poor, looked 
forward as intently as they did to their Christmas 
cheer, and apparently with quite as satisfactory a 
result. 

A clump of Norway firs of black-green hue were 
picturesquely grouped near a corner of the lower lawn, 
as it was called, because it terminated in a deep ha-ha, 
and consequently boasted no terrace-walk — and some 
evergreens were dotted here and there, giving a very 
pleasing effect to the scene ; and to this Mr La Touche 
directed the attention of his hostess. 

" Yes," she said, " but you should see this place when 
the stone vases on the top of the terrace steps are 
filled with flowers ; the scarlet of the Tom Thumb 
geranium and the orange of the capuchin nasturtium 
contrast so well, and shine out in such splendid relief 
from the grey shadow of the vases." 

" Ay," replied Stephen, " I believe that the grey 
shadow everywhere gives a tone of tenderness to all 
bright things ; without that, without softness, brill- 
iancy and glare are little worth." 

Now as Mrs Fanshawe, with her numerous good 
qualities and her somewhat satirical disposition, was 
utterly devoid of softness, and often of common 
courtesy, in her manner at any rate, this remark of 
her visitor was rather inopportune, especially as she 
was aware that she treated her eldest daughter with 



278 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

habitual harshness, and that the outside world was 
beginning to comment rather too freely on that 
circumstance. She did not in her heart accuse 
Stephen of any intentional point towards herself in 
his remark — indeed it was too genuine an outcome 
of sincere feeling to bear any invidious interpretation ; 
but she made no reply to the observation, and turning 
to solid fact, she asked Stephen if he was aware that 
there was a spring of water — pure chalybeate of iron 
— in the garden. 

" I often say to the rector what a paying thing it 
would be to establish a small spa here — it would 
answer well, I am sure," continued Mrs Fanshawe, 
with an eye to business. 

" You don't mean to say," replied Stephen, aghast, 
" that you would like to turn this fine old Court into 
— into a pump place ! " 

" Not exactly," Mrs Fanshawe replied ; " there are 
other springs all coming from the hill behind the 
house. The pump-room might be in the centre of the 
village, you know ; and of course, all the house, or 
rather the cottage, property would rise in value. But 
let me show you the little well in the garden." 

Stephen followed the lady out, and they ascended 
the steps on the right extremity of the terrace bank : 
these were divided by a broad stone platform, and 
by any one standing on this and looking down into a 
deep hollow formed in the curve of the bank, a little 
rill could be heard bubbling up and oozing its way from 
the earth below it, jealously guarded by appropriate 



JONATHAN SIKES. 279 

water-plants and built round with rock-work, which 
was just enough covered by ferns to show the beautiful 
colouring of its stones, and their wonderful apparent 
changes of shape as the light and shade fell upon 
them. This tiny well had been bricked within long, 
long ago — so far back, indeed, that the bricks were 
covered by thick short moss, which literally lined the 
interior of the cavity. An old-fashioned bowl, small 
in size, was appended to a chain fixed in the rock- 
work ; but this was quite large enough, for the spring 
never yielded more nor less at a time than what the 
bowl could contain. 

" Just fill the bowl," Mrs Fanshawe said, " and drink 
the water ; you will discover what a powerful taste it 
has." 

Mr La Touche did so, knowing from the peculiar 
red colour that it contained a large proportion of iron 
in its composition. " I wonder," he said, after he had 
indulged in a good draught, — " I wonder that a well 
should have been built over so small a spring : you 
tell me that there are many much larger running 
down from that hill." 

" Do you see that window in the gable of the house 
just above this ? — it looks down exactly upon this 
platform." 

" Yes," replied Stephen, in some wonder. 

" Two hundred years ago, a little daughter of the 
Fanshawes lay dying, as it was thought, in that room 
of which this window is a part. It was one of the 
child's delights to be placed in her high chair at this 



280 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

window, and to look out upon this garden and the 

bank, down which she had often run with her brothers 

and sisters in the days of her happy strength. The 

child never complained, but was always restless and 

even perverse if she was prevented from looking out : 

a kind of magnetism seemed to chain her eyes and 

thoughts to this spgt. One night in summer she was 

left sleeping at her post, and seemed to be so deep in 

slumber that her nurse ventured to leave her for a few 

moments. On the woman's return she found her charge 

radiant and ready to leap for joy. ' Look ! ' she said, — 

' look at that dear angel standing there ! Oh, he says 

I shall not die, but I must drink the red water under 

the bank. There — he points — Elsie often has heard 

the bubble of the water, and never knew ; but now she 

knows that she will get well. And the angel says 

there will be always enough for a little child like me 

to drink, but not much more, — always, always enough 

for little children.' The story goes that the child then 

swooned, and remained for hours hovering between 

life and death. The father, Eric Fanshawe, had the 

excavation made in the bank, and the child drank 

daily of the spring that was there found, and speedily 

recovered her health. The parents in gratitude fenced 

the spring with rock-work without and brick within. 

You can take the story for what it is worth," the lady 

continued ; " but certain it is that for many years 

the women of this village have brought their ailing 

children to get a drink at this particular spring in 

preference to the larger and more convenient ones 



JONATHAN SIKES. 281 

near the hill. It is said that the little ones who 
have taken this remedy always recover, and that the 
water of Elsie's Well has been spoken of as having 
been hallowed by an angel's healing wing for nearly 
two centuries past." 

" It is a lovely, touching story," replied Stephen ; 
" whether you think me superstitious or not, I like to 
believe it." 

"But you don't believe the angel's part in it, do 
you ? " inquired Mrs Fanshawe, apprehensively. 

" I do," answered Stephen, stoutly ; " it was a dream 
most probably, but who knows ? Might not the dear 
Christ Himself have taken pity on the suffering child ? 
Think of it as we may, much benefit to others has re- 
sulted in the discovery of this rill. It was, I suppose, 
the first that was known in the neighbourhood ? " 

" I believe so ; and the children and all who drink 
regularly of these springs are as fine and healthy a lot 
as Britain can show in any part. That is why I am 
urging the rector to utilise these mineral waters, and 
make Pinnacles a kind of homely spa for the relief of 
persons of all ages and ranks ; but he does not seem 
to like the idea," 

" You would not like ' Elsie's Well ' to become pub- 
lic property, I am sure," said Stephen, gently. 

" Oh, I am not so sure," replied the lady. " In these 
days we cannot afford to be sentimental, and if our duty 
to our children obliges us to give up ancient memories 
and the homes of our ancestors, and their rockeries and 
their wells, it must be done : they had not the burden 



282 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

of keeping up appearances, and all that sort of thing, 
as we have. " 

" I think they of the olden times had not so many 
wants to satisfy," replied Stephen ; " and they certainly 
knew more of the blessings of contentment than we do. 
I fear the text of these times is to look after ' great 
gain,' throwing godliness with contentment quite out 
of the question." 

Mrs Fanshawe was about to reply when a confused 
sound and a sharp cry from the back of the terrace 
walk arrested her speech. Presently a troop of 
children rushed on to the lawn, bearing amongst 
them a little ragged lad, whose fat juicy leg was 
streaming with blood. " Sikes did it ! Sikes did it ! " 
they cried in a breath ; " oh, he is so dreadful ! why 
does not papa have him killed ? " 

" Yes, before he kills some of us," exclaimed Harold, 
the eldest hope of the male Fanshawes, in an awful 
tone of apprehension. 

" AVho is Sikes ? " inquired Stephen two or three 
times, without being able to elicit a reply. At length 
he said, " I suppose Sikes is a watch-dog." 

" Oh, far worse than that," answered Frank Fanshawe, 
' ; far worse ; he'll kill somebody, and papa and all of us 
will be had up for murder — see if we aren't." 

As the young gentleman spiced this prophecy with 
some elation in his tone and bearing, Stephen jumped 
at a conclusion, and hazarded the opinion that Frank 
was alluding to a dangerous-looking bull which he had 
previously noticed in a meadow near the house. 



JONATHAN SIKES. 283 

" Bull ! no," returned Master Frank ; " the bull is an 
angel compared to him : he never runs at people — he 
only looks as if he would. Papa turns him out in one 
of the meadows when parties will come picnicing 
among the hay after being warned off, — then he makes 
a clear field ; but oh ! no, he's nothing to Sikes." 

" Who is Sikes, then ? " said Stephen, getting exas- 
perated. " I suppose you don't keep a bear on the 
premises." 

Frank laughed. " Sikes is just as bad : he is an enor- 
mous gander that papa will keep in the fowl-yard. He 
frightens everybody, and no one dares cross the stile 
of the Mallow Meadow but he's at them. There, stop 
howling," he added, turning to the boy, whose leg was 
being bound up by at least three girls and a nurse- 
maid, — " hold your noise, you young bell-wether ! you 
were skulking about after the eggs, and had no busi- 
ness to be on the premises, — I know you." 

These dark insinuations had the intended effect, 
and Master Billy Bubb proclaimed with great energy 
" that he would never come nigh the place, never no 
more, he had had enough on 'em," — meaning Sikes, 
probably. 

The appearance of a child with a huge lump of 
bread and honey, called in that county " a piece," 
went far to mollify the pain of Master Bubb's wound, 
as little Clarice Fanshawe put it into his hand and 
told him that the bite of the gander was a "judg- 
ment " for endeavouring to steal the eggs, and that 
if he dared to come into the fowl - yard, or near it 



284 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

again, worse things would happen to him than bread 
and honey. " Mamma says that you are to go away 
now, and we will see you safe out at the stable-gate ; " 
and so the Fanshawe fry conducted the culprit to 
some port of exit, placed him in the road, with his 
head well homewards, shook their small fists in his 
face as a combination of warning and parting salute, 
and then flew back like lapwings, to have a run down 
the bank with " Touchey," as one of the infants had 
abbreviated Stephen. 

The history of Sikes may here be related. He 
came of a renowned stock, and at his birth was the 
private property of a famous poacher of those days, 
whose name was Jonathan Sikes. This man got into 
trouble, and from the fact of his having been once 
convicted for trespassing on the lands of one of the 
clerical justices, before whom, in company with the 
rector of Pinnacles, Sikes had the misfortune to be 
summoned, things were very likely to go hardly with 
him, had not Mr Fanshawe interceded and intervened. 
As it was, the rector's championship only softened the 
sentence which was pronounced upon the poacher, and 
a term of imprisonment was awarded him, which ad- 
mitted of no further mitigation. 

" Thank ye kindly for what ye did for me," the man 
said to Mr Fanshawe, when the latter visited him 
before he was taken to the county jail ; " ye are a 
right good man, and if more of the like of you would 
mind their parishes instead of sitting on the magis- 
trates' bench, and giving the law a bad name 



JONATHAN SIKES. 285 

through their ignorance, it would be a good thing 
all round." 

" Hush, hush, Sikes ; I cannot allow you to speak 
that way," said Mr Fanshawe, who rather plumed 
himself upon being a county magistrate and a jus- 
tice of the peace. 

" No offence, Passon Fanshawe," returned Sikes, — " I 
am not for going to include you in ' justices' justice ' ; 
but the moment I saw that old Passon Swellington 
among the magistrates, I knew I'd get hard mea- 
sure, I did, — my only comfort was you and Colonel 
Leppell. Ay, the Colonel he do ramp and storm, 
but he's more kindly to the people than most of 
them as rises from the people." 

" You know you have been wrong, Sikes," replied 
Mr Fanshawe, " and you deserve your sentence. I 
have just called to see if I can do anything for you." 

" It's fortunate that poor Bessie's gone, and I have 
no childer," the man replied, in a troubled voice ; 
" but there is one thing I ask you to do, and that 
is, to accept that brood of goslings I have up at old 
Ford's farm on the hill. The brood counts eight. 
I wants you to give two of the young geese to Ford 
for keeping them, and to please accept the rest your- 
self, — they will wander, and perhaps die, if they are 
not looked after. They are right honest," Sikes 
continued, fancying that he saw signs of hesitation 
in the rector's face, — "the eggs was honest, and the 
birds is honest." 

Now the rector's geese had disappeared for some 



286 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

time past, mysteriously and by degrees, so that very 
few remained of his original stock, and therefore 
this offer came in very opportunely. " Are you sure, 
Sikes," the rector said, " that you have no small 
debts to settle, or that Ford has no right whatever 
to the brood in right of keep ? " 

" None whatever, sir ; and as for Ford, he'd be 
precious glad to get rid of the lot, for there's a 
young gander among 'em as goes near to frighten 
the life out of the whole family. Splendid bird, sir ; 
I never saw the like of him, and I knows a bit about 
birds and poultry and game, that I does." 

This was true enough, and the rector knew it. 
Then assuring himself that Sikes had no debts to 
discharge, either large or small, Mr Fanshawe, not to 
hurt the feelings of the man, accepted the party of 
goslings, promising to see that Ford had his pick of 
the brood. 

" But not that gander, sir ; he is too good for the 
like of Ford — he's born for a gentleman's domain, 
that bird is. You keep him, sir ; he'll be as good as 
a watch-dog to you. And one word — a nod is as 
good as a wink — there's a precious lot of small 
things filched from your premises, and by them as 
you thinks well on too ; but I say no more. You let 
that gander wander about the Mallow Meadow a 
bit, and you'll keep your fowls' eggs and the linen 
on your lines a little surer, nights." 

So matters were arranged. Sikes and his party 
were conveyed in full number to the rector's prem- 



JONATHAN SIKES. 287 

ises, Mr Ford having stoutly declined to accept the 
sisters of the redoubtable gander, and expressing 
himself as being thankful to get rid of every feather 
of them. " They are magnificent birds, I allow," said 
Air Ford in explanation, " but I haven't got suffi- 
cient range for them ; and that grey gander, he's a 
bull-terrier and a peacock and a roaring lion all in 
one, that's about what he is," continued Mr Ford, 
as the wounded legs of his children, together with 
other aggressions of this bird, rose to his mental re- 
view. " You take him, and I wish you and your 
family good luck with him." So saying, Mr Ford 
turned with a grin to his digging ; and Mr Fan- 
shawe, out of remembrance of the donor, named the 
gander " Jonathan Sikes," as soon as he could call 
him his own property. 

Sikes did not belie his character, and as he grew 
in strength and experience, he certainly became a 
" power " and a " terror," as the parishioners termed 
him. But it must be allowed that there were more 
eggs gathered in from the outskirts of the house, and 
that linen did remain unmolested on the lines, from 
the second week of his arrival ; also that either the 
grain and potatoes kept in the outermost boiling- 
houses for the use of the animals seemed to be supplied 
in better weight, or that the pigs did not take kindly 
to the meal. These phenomena were inexplicable ; 
but one or two in the secret knew that the rector 
allowed this ferocious bird to roam at large, very 
much as an amateur policeman, to pounce upon those 



288 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

who might be lurking about the premises with no 
tangible reasons to assign for their presence there ; 
and the cheering fact remained, that as soon as Sikes 
wandered at will, all depredations upon the rector's 
property summarily ceased. ' He was so uncertain 
and peculiar a bird, that even his going to roost could 
not be safely counted upon. He would retire with 
his wives, and enjoy his forty winks with the best of 
them ; but let a rustle, or voices, or a footfall be 
heard, and Jonathan was up and at them. It had 
been averred, also, that he could not be reckoned upon 
even at midnight; but this may be a legend unsup- 
ported by ocular demonstration, and should be taken 
that the gander was popularly supposed to be about 
at that witching hour, and so it would be as well to act 
with caution, especially as Mr Fanshawe would not 
allow him or his relations to be locked up on any 
pretence whatsoever. " The only thing," said 'Harold 
one day, in allusion to this edict, — " the only thing in 
which my father is allowed to have his own way by 
the Mater." 

Although some benefit undoubtedly accrued to the 
Fanshawes in the matter of deliverance from the 
small pilferings to which they had been subjected, 
still the possession of Sikes was a dangerous privilege, 
as he was utterly wanting in discrimination, and more 
than once had pursued the wrong individual, and had 
run down and trampled upon unoffending childhood, 
even those of his own house. Mrs Fanshawe's only 
remedy was to inform her offspring, that if they 



JONATHAN SIXES. 289 

obeyed their parents and walked in such and such 
paths, wherein Sikes never intruded, they were safe ; 
" but who was going a long round," argued the boys, 
" when they could get into the back - yard of the 
Court through the Mallow Meadow, and all for that 
brute of a gander ? " 

"You must make friends with him, and let him 
know you; he will soon get accustomed to the 
family,'' the rector said, in reply to some deprecat- 
ing remarks which had been made concerning this 
acquisition. " He never runs at John." 

" No," said Frank, " because John gave him a jolly 
good wopping with a broom-handle, the day after he 
came. He was young and tender then, and John 
now and then shakes the broom - handle at him, 
just to refresh his memory ; but it's different with 
us who were at school, and hardly saw him for a 
month." 

" He's as hard as iron," volunteered another, 
" sticks and stones are nothing to him ; and as for 
shouting, why he only hisses one down for any notice 
he takes of that. Then the girls, they run like light- 
ning when they see him, and he tears after them and 
enjoys the fun. I really believe the wretch looks out 
for petticoats." 

"Well," returned the rector, "no petticoat or its 
wearer has any business in the Mallow Meadow. I 
don't want it to be made a highway ; and girls, — and 
even your mother, — if they persist in crossing that 
meadow to save a few yards, must take the chance of 

'vol. i. t 



290 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

Sikes. He's as good as a watch-dog, and I won't 
have him removed." 

" You know he flew at old Mrs Bold the other day, 
when she came to call, and she said it was hard to 
be obliged to go round the roadway to the front gate, 
when she had been accustomed to come in by the 
Mallow all her life. She gave Frank a shilling for 
looking out, for she would walk back that way." 

" Just like a woman," replied the rector, in the 
phrase of his sex on finding that the law mas- 
culine is not always the law of the Medes and Per- 
sians ; " the usual contradictory way of the best of 
them. Glad Mrs Bold had to pay for her obstinacy." 

Stephen, who was present, laughed, and remarked 
that, with the coming visitors, a lively time was 
imminent with regard to Sikes. "Does he con- 
fine himself strictly to the Mallow Meadow ? " he 
asked. 

" Not he," answered Frank, readily ; " he's here, 
there, and everywhere. He got into the kitchen 
department the other day, walked up the back-stair, 
and cook found him plump in the middle of her bed. 
You should have heard how she yelled ! " 

" The doors should have been shut," said the rector, 
gruffly; and here the subject was dropped for the 
present. 

The following day brought the visitors, whose num- 
ber was increased by a couple of school friends of 
Harold Fanshawe. Stephen was not at Pinnacles 
Court at the time of their arrival, being engaged in 



JONATHAN SIXES. 291 

receiving Dr Williams, and making the final arrange- 
ments with that gentleman for Mrs Kemble's removal. 
In consequence, he had spent the greater part of the 
day at the rectory house, or Esperanza, as Percivai La 
Touche had named that domicile. Fortunately, Mrs 
Kemble had taken a great liking towards the physician, 
and had entered most willingly into the suggestion 
that she should become his private patient for a 
while. It was, however, scarcely satisfactory to 
Stephen to be told that, had his aunt been placed 
under proper medical supervision at first, her mind 
would at this time be in all probability as sound as 
his own — that is, the doctor explained, if no undue 
excitement had supervened to neutralise the course of 
treatment that would have been prescribed. As it 
was, Dr Williams expressed strong hopes of being 
able to effect a cure ; but at this stage, longer time 
and unbroken regularity of treatment were impera- 
tively necessary. Other business being concluded, it 
was settled that Stephen should, in the course of ten 
days, convey his aunt to the private house of Dr 
Williams, which was situated at the other end of the 
county, and rather off the line of railroad communica- 
tion. " It is by no means dull," said the doctor ; 
" there are other lady patients who, like yourself, have 
need of a little care ; and the lady-companion is very 
kind, and plays and sings, and is a capital hand at 
fancy work." 

All this fell like warmth and comfort on Mrs 
Kemble's soul, and the prospect of speedy deliverance 



292 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

from the visits of Percival was the full measure of 
his aunt's cup of consolation. 

" Percival will never have time, and what is more, 
he will never pay for the hire of a vehicle for the sake 
of coming to see me," said Mrs Kemble, turning with 
her painfully knowing look towards her younger 
nephew — " that's a blessing. It makes me sing Jubi- 
late, indeed it does ; for it is a special work of Provi- 
dence the getting rid of Percival without an alterca- 
tion or being talked to death." 

"You will be busy getting everything ready," 
Stephen said, " and I would advise you to do a little 
every day. Now I am going up to the Court to meet 
some visitors who are invited to pay a visit there for 
a few days. Pretty Mary Leppell is one of them. 
She comes sometimes to see you with Miss Fanshawe, 
does she not ? " 

" Mary Leppell ! Oh, of. course, I remember her — 
pretty sweet creature ! She looks so sorrowfully at 
me out of her flower-blue eyes ; she's worth a thousand 
of that Lillian with all her airs. I don't like that 
Lillian — no." 

"Miss Fanshawe has gone to Hunter's Lodge to 
nurse Lady Asher, or rather to take Miss Leppell's 
place in doing so. This allows the young lady to 
come here and have some amusement. That is kind 
in Miss Fanshawe, at any rate," said Stephen, who 
sometimes had wished to have that young lady for a 
sister-in-law, in spite of his misgiving that she looked 
down upon Percival de haut en has. 



JONATHAN SIKES. 293 

"Not at all," replied the old lady, tartly. "Miss 
Lillian is glad to get away from home on any pretence. 
You know her own mother can't endure her." 

This was putting the case rather strongly. The 
want of sympathy betwixt Mrs Fanshawe and her 
elder daughter was sad enough, but it had scarcely 
arrived at active dislike ; indeed, had the former 
heard Lillian depreciated by any other than herself, 
she would have been the first to defend her. What- 
ever might be their state of feeling, Lillian, at any 
rate, was her daughter, and a Fanshawe. Here, as in 
some similar cases, self-esteem would rush in as the 
handmaiden of maternal affection. The handmaiden 
personates her mistress, and finally usurps her duties 
and her place. 

Stephen then wended his way to Pinnacles Court, 
and found that the new arrivals, after the manner of 
very young people, had all swarmed immediately out 
into the air, taking every available child of the house 
with them ; but he met Mrs Fanshawe, who proposed 
that they should go and try to find some one, as 
distant voices and laughter proclaimed that human 
beings were within hail. They walked together about 
the premises and beyond them, but to no purpose ; 
and as the rector's wife was anxious to show her guest 
some game fowls of which she was very proud, she 
turned towards the poultry - yard, and entered the 
Mallow Meadow, as a short cut towards the outlying 
buildings, where all kinds of stock were kept. Both 
she and Stephen were oblivious of Sikes, and it must 



294 THE FAT OF THE LAND. 

be recorded, to their eternal discredit, that his very 
existence was totally ignored by both of them. Now 
the whereabouts of that gander was generally a specu- 
lation which fixed itself pretty indelibly on the minds 
of those who had occasion to enter Mallow Meadow, 
and who had not as yet been drilled into the rector's 
dictum, that it was quite as pleasant and convenient 
to make a d6tour of several hundred yards, and enter 
by the stable-gates on the front side of the building, 
in order to effect that object. 

These ramblers, therefore, walked through the turn- 
sole gate, walked and talked, and even stopped now 
and then to turn and rhapsodise the view. 

What is that sound which suddenly issues from a 
corner of the higher part of the sloping meadow, which 
bursts on the ear like a prolonged guggling sob ? A 
scream follows, and then from behind some low bushes 
emerges the redoubtable Sikes — not alone, not dashing 
at the life-blood of his victim, but held tightly round 
his neck by two strong young hands, which elevate 
him to the very extremity of his toes, and which make 
him march by the side of the owner of the hands till 
he is ready to drop from fatigue, which the weight of 
his body on such slender support naturally induces. 
He flaps his strong wings, he tugs, he turns half 
round ; it is of no use, he has to march, for Miss 
Willina Clavering has got him in hand, and he must 
pay for rending her dress and stabbing her feet. 

Stephen sees the situation, and goes forward to help 
the lady. 



JONATHAN SIKES. 295 

"Please, be quick and take him," Miss Clavering 
called. "My arms are nearly wrenched off. Give 
him another turn, please, and then I think he will be 
subdued." 

Mr La Touche did so, and marched Mr Sikes up 
and down so effectually, that the gander succumbed 
both in body and spirit. He made off as soon as re- 
leased, and he abjured tall men and women from that 
time evermore. Children and timid people he occa- 
sionally treated to a volley of hisses, but that was the 
outside of his aggression. So the rector lost a police- 
man ; Mr Stephen La Touche made the acquaintance 
of Miss Clavering, which was friendship at first sight ; 
and Miss Clavering was immortalised in the parish of 
Pinnacles as " hur as tackled that brute of a gander." 



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Edition, fcap. cloth, is. 6d. 

PETTIGREW. The Handy Book of Bees, and their Profitable 

Management. By A. Pettigrew. Fourth Edition, Enlarged, with Engrav- 
ings. Crown 8vo, 3s. 6d. 

PHILOSOPHICAL CLASSICS FOR ENGLISH READERS. 

Companion Series to Ancient and Foreign Classics for English Readers. 
Edited by William Knight, LL.D., Professor of Moral Philosophy, Uni- 
versity of St Andrews. In crown 8vo volumes, with portraits, price 3s. 6d. 

[For list of Volumes published, see page 2. 

POLLOK. The Course of Time : A Poem. By Robert Pollok, 

A.M. Small fcap. 8vo, cloth gilt, 2s. 6d. The Cottage Edition, 32mo, sewed, 
8d. The Same, cloth, gilt edges, is. 6d. Another Edition, with Illustrations 
by Birket Foster and others, fcap., gilt cloth, 3s. 6d., or with edges gilt, 4s. 

PORT ROYAL LOGIC. Translated from the French • with Intro- 

duction, Notes, and Appendix. By Thomas Spencer Baynes, LL.D., Pro- 
fessor in the University of St Andrews. Eighth Edition, i2mo, 4s. 

POTTS and DARNELL. Aditus Faciliores : An easy Latin Con- 
struing Book, with Complete Vocabulary. By A. W. Potts, M.A., LL.D., 
Head-Master of the Fettes College, Edinburgh, and sometime Fellow of St 
John's College, Cambridge; and the Rev. C. Darnell, M.A., Head-Master of 
Cargilfield Preparatory School, Edinburgh, and late Scholar of Pembroke and 
Downing Colleges, Cambridge. Ninth Edition, fcap. 8vo, 3s. 6d. 

Aditus Faciliores Graeci. An easy Greek Construing Book, 

with Complete Vocabulary. Fourth Edition, fcap. 8vo, 3s. 

PRINGLE. The Live-Stock of the Farm. By Robert 0. Pringle. 

Third Edition. Revised and Edited by James Macdonald, Editor of the 
'Live-Stock Journal,' &c. Crown 8vo, 7s. 6d. 

PUBLIC GENERAL STATUTES AFFECTING SCOTLAND 

from 1707 to 1847, with Chronological Table and Index. 3 vols, large 8vo, £2, 3s. 

PUBLIC GENERAL STATUTES AFFECTING SCOTLAND, 

COLLECTION OF. Published Annually with General Index. 

RAMSAY. Rough Recollections of Military Service and Society. 

By Lieut.-Col. Balcarres D. Wardlaw Ramsay. Two vols, post 8vo, 21s. 

RAMSAY. Scotland and Scotsmen in the Eighteenth Century. 

Edited from the MSS. of John Ramsay, Esq. of Ochtertyre, by Alexander 
Allardyce, Author of 'Memoir of Admiral Lord Keith, K.B.,' &c. In two 
vols. 8vo. [In the press. 

RANKINE. A Treatise on the Rights and Burdens incident to 

the Ownership of Lands and other Heritages in Scotland. By John Rankine 
M. A., Advocate. Second Edition, Revised and Enlarged. 8vo. 45s. 

RECORDS OF THE TERCENTENARY FESTIVAL OF THE 

UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH. . Celebrated in April 1884. Published 
under the Sanction of the Senatus Academicus. Large 4to, £2, 12s. 6d. 
RICE. Reminiscences of Abraham Lincoln. By Distinguished 
Men of his Time. Collected and Edited by Allen Thorndike Rice, Editor 
of the 'North American Review.' Large 8vo, with Portraits, 21s. 



20 LIST OF BOOKS PUBLISHED BY 



RIMMER. The Early Homes of Prince Albert. By Alfbep 
Rimmer, Author of 'Our Old Country Towns,' &c. Beautifully Illustrated 
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Et< (BERTSON. Orellana, and other Poems. By J. Logie Robert- 
son, M. A. Fcap. 8vo. Printed on hand-made paper. 6s. 

The White Angel of the Polly Ann, and other Stories. 

A Book of Fables and Fancies. Fcap. 8vo, 3s. 6d. 

Our Holiday Among the Hills. By James and Janet 



Logie Robertson. Fcap. 8vo, 3s. 6d. 

ROSCOE. Rambles with a Fishing-rod. By E. S. Roscoe. Crown 

Svo, 4s. 6d. 

ROSS. Old Scottish Regimental Colours. By Andrew Ross, 

S.S.C., Hon. Secretary Old Scottish Regimental Colours Committee. Dedi- 
cated by Special Permission to Her Majesty the Queen. Folio, handsomely 
bound in cloth, £2, 12s. 6d. 

ROSSLYN. Love that Lasts for Ever. A Jubilee Lyric. By the 

Earl of Rosslyn. Dedicated by Permission to the Queen, on the Fiftieth 
Anniversary of her Accession, and published by Her Majesty's Command. 
Printed on hand-made paper, with vellum cover, is. 

RUSSELL. The Haigs of Bemersyde. A Family History. By 

John Russell. Large 8vo, with Illustrations. 21s. 

RUSTOW. The War for the Rhine Frontier, 1870 : Its Political 

and Military History. By Col. W. Rusxow. Translated from the German, 
by John Layland Needham, Lieutenant R.M. Artillery. 3 vols. 8vo, with 
Maps and Plans, £1, us. 6d. 

ST LEGER. Under a Delusion. A Novel. By Joan St Leger. 

2 vols, crown 8vo, 17s. 

SCHILLER, Wallenstein. A Dramatic Poem. By Frederick 

von Schiller. Translated bv C. G. A. Lockhart. Fcap. 8vo, 7s. 6d. 

SCOTCH LOCH FISHING.' By "Black Palmer." Crown 8vo, 

interleaved with blank pages, 4s. 

SCOTTISH METAPHYSICS. Reconstructed in accordance with 

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Spencer's First Principles.' Crown 8vo, 5s. 

SELLER and STEPHENS. Physiology at the Farm ; in Aid of 

Rearing and Feeding the Live Stock. By William Seller, M.D., F.R.S.E., 
Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh, formerly Lecturer on 
Materia Medica and Dietetics ; and Henry Stephens, F.R.S.E., Author of ' The 
Book of the Farm,' &c. Post 8vo, with Engravings, 16s. 

SETH. Scottish Philosophy. A Comparison of the Scottish and 

German Answers to Hume. Balfour Philosophical Lectures, University of 
Edinburgh. By Andrew Seth, M.A., Professor of Logic, Rhetoric, and 
Metaphysics in the University of St Andrews. Crown Svo, 5s. 

Hegelianism and Personality. Balfour Philosophical Lec- 
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SETON. A Budget of Anecdotes. Chiefly relating to the Current 
Century. Compiled and Arranged by George Seton, Advocate, M.A. Oxon. 
New and Cheaper Edition, fcap. 8vo. Boards, is. 6d. 

SHADWELL. The Life of Colin Campbell, Lord Clyde. Illus- 

trated by Extracts from his Diary and Corresjjondence. By Lieutenant- 
General Shadwell, C.B. 2 vols. Svo. With Portrait, Maps, and Plans. 36s. 

SHAND. Fortune's Wheel. By Alex. Innes Shand, Author of 

'Against Time,' &c. 3 vols, post 8vo, 25s. 6d. 

Half a Century ; or, Changes in Men and Manners. Second 

Edition, Svo, 12s. 6d. 

Letters from the West of Ireland. Reprinted from the 

'Times.' Crown 8vo, 58. 

SHARPE. Letters from and to Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe. 

Edited by Alexander Allardyce, Author of 'Memoir of Admiral Lord 
Keith, K.B.,' &c. With a Memoir by the Rev. W. K. R. Bedford. In two 
vols. 8vo. Illustrated with Etchings and other Engravings. 



WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS. 21 



SIM. Margaret Sim's Cookery. With an Introduction by L. B. 
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SIMPSON. Dogs of other Days: Nelson and Puck. By Eve 

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SKELTON. Maitland of Lethington ; and the Scotland of Mary 
Stuart. A History. By John Skelton, C.B., LL.D. Author of ' The Essays 
of Shirley.' Demy Svo, 12s. 6d. 

SMITH. Italian Irrigation : A Report on the Agricultural Canals 
of Piedmont and Lombardy, addressed to the Hon. the Directors of the East 
India Company ; with an Appendix, containing a Sketch of the Irrigation Sys- 
tem of Northern and Central India. By Lieut. -Col. R. Baird Smith, F.G.S., 
Bengal Engineers. Second Edition. 2 voJs. 8vo, with Atlas, 30s. 

SMITH. Thorndale ; or, The Conflict of Opinions. By William 

Smith, Author of 'A Discourse on Ethics,' &c. A New Edition. Crown 
8vo, 10s. 6d. 

Gravenhurst ; or, Thoughts on Good and Evil. Second 

Edition, with Memoir of the Author. Crown 8vo, 8s. 

SMITH. Greek Testament Lessons for Colleges, Schools, and 

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Parables of our Lord. With Notes and Essays. By the Rev. J. Hunter 
Smith, M. A., King Edward's School, Birmingham. Crown 8vo, 6s. 

SMITH. Writings by the Way. By John Campbell Smith, 

M. A., Sheriff-Substitute. Crown 8vo, 9s. 

SMITH. The Secretary for Scotland. Being a Statement of the 
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Introduction and numerous references to important Administrative Docu- 
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SOLTERA. A Lady's Ride Across Spanish Honduras. By Maria 

Soltera. With illustrations. Post 8vo, 12s. 6d. 

SORLEY. The Ethics of Naturalism. Being the Shaw Fellowship 

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and Examiner in Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh. Crown 8vo, 6s. 

SPEEDY. Sport in the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland with 
Rod and Gun. By Tom Speedy. Second Edition, Revised and Enlarged. 
With Illustrations by Lieut.-General Hope Crealocke, C.B., C.M.G., and 
others. 8vo, 15s. 

SPROTT. The Worship and Offices of the Church of Scotland ; 

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and other Divine Offices, according to the Order of the Church of Scotland. 
Bv George W. Sprott, D.D., Minister of North Berwick. Crown 8vo, 6s. 

STARFORTH. Villa Residences and Farm Architecture : A Series 
of Designs. By John Starforth, Architect. 102 Engravings. Second Edi- 
tion, medium 4to, ^2, 17s. 6d. 

STATISTICAL ACCOUNT OF SCOTLAND. Complete, with 

Index, 15 vols. 8vo, £16, 16s. 
Each County sold separately, with Title, Index, and Map, neatly bound m cloth, 
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STEPHENS. The Book of the Farm ; detailing the Labours of the 

Farmer, Farm-Steward, Ploughman, Shepherd, Hedger, Farm-Labourer, Field- 
Worker, and Cattleman. By Henry Stephens, F.R.S.E. Illustrated with 
Portraits of Animals painted from the life ; and with 557 Engravings on Wood, 
representing the principal Field Operations, Implements, and Animals treated of 
in the Work. A New Edition, Rewritten, and with New Illustrations. 

The Book of Farm Buildings ; their Arrangement and 

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Farm ; ' and Robert Scott Burn. Illustrated with 1045 Plates and En- 
gravings. Large 8vo, uniform with ' The Book of the Farm,' &c. ,£1, us. 6d. 

The Book of Farm Implements and Machines. By J. 

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8vo, uniform with ' The Book of the Farm,' £2, 2s. 



22 LIST OF BOOKS PUBLISHED BY 



STEPHENS. Catechism of Practical Agriculture. With Engrav- 
ings. IS. 
STEVENSON. British Fungi. (Hymenomycetes.) By Rev. John 

Stevenson, Author of ' Mycologia Scotia,' Hon. Sec. Cryptogamic Society of 
Scotland. 2 vols, post 8vo, with Illustrations, price 12s. 6d. each. 

Vol. I. AOARICUS — BOLBITIUS. Vol. II. CORTINARIUS — DACRYMYCES. 

STEWART. Advice to Purchasers of Horses. By John Stewart, 

V.S., Author of ' Stable Economy.' New Edition. 2s. 6d. 

Stable Economy. A Treatise on the Management of 

Horses in relation to Stabling, Grooming, Feeding, Watering, and Working. 
By John Stewart, V.S. Seventh Edition, fcap. 8vo, 6s. 6d. 

STORMONTH. Etymological and Pronouncing Dictionary of the 

English Language. Including a very Copious Selection of Scientific Terms. 
For Use in Schools and Colleges, and as a Book of General Reference. By the 
Rev. James Stormonth. The Pronunciation carefully Revised by the Rev. 
P. H. Phelp, M.A. Cantab. Ninth Edition, Revised throughout. Crown 
8vo, pp. 800. 7s. 6d. 

Dictionary of the English Language, Pronouncing, 

Etymological, and Explanatory. Revised by the Rev. P. H. Phelp. Library 
Edition. Imperial 8vo, handsomely bound in half morocco, 31s. 6d. 

The School Etymological Dictionary and Word-Book. 



Combining the advantages of an ordinary pronouncing School Dictionary 
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STORY. Nero ; A Historical Play. By W. W. Story, Author of 

'Roba di Roma.' Fcap. 8vo, 6s. 

Vallombrosa. Post 8vo, 5s. 

He and She ; or, A Poet's Portfolio. Fcap. 8vo, in parch- 
ment, 3s. 6d. 

■ Poems. 2 vols, fcap., 7s. 6d. 

Fiammetta. A Summer Idvl. Crown 8vo, 7s. 6d. 

STRICKLAND. Life of Agnes Strickland. By her Sister. 

Post 3vo, with Portrait engraved on Steel, 12s. 6d. 

STURGIS. John - a - Dreams. A Tale. By Julian Sturgis. 

New Edition, crown 8vo, 3s. 6d. 

Little Comedies, Old and New. Crown 8vo, 7s. 6d. 

SUTHERLAND. Handbook of Hardy Herbaceous and Alpine 

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Language, of upwards of 1000 Species of Ornamental Hardy Perennial and 
Alpine Plants, adapted to all classes of Flower-Gardens, Rockwork, and 
Waters ; along with Concise and Plain Instructions for their Propagation and 
Culture. By William Sutherland, Gardener to the Earl of Minto ; formerly 
Manager of the Herbaceous Department at Kew. Crown 8vo, 7s. 6d. 

TAYLOR. The Story of My Life. By the late Colonel Meadows 

Taylor, Author of 'The Confessions of a Thug,' &c. &c. Edited by his 
Daughter. New and cheaper Edition, being the Fourth. Crown 8vo, 6s. 

TAYLOR. The City of Sarras. By U. Ashworth Taylor. 

Crown 8vo, 7s. 6d. 

TEMPLE. Lancelot Ward, M.P. A Love-Story. By George 

Temple. Crown 8vo. 7s. 6d. 

THOLUCK. Hours of Christian Devotion. Translated from the 

German of A. Tholuck, D.D., Professor of Theology in the University of Halle. 
By the Rev. Robert Menzies, D. D. With a Preface written for this Transla- 
tion by the Author. Second Edition, crown 8vo, 7s. 6d. 

THOMSON. Handy Book of the Flower-Garden : being Practical 

Directions for the Propagation, Culture, and Arrangement of Plants in Flower- 
Gardens all the year round. Embracing all classes of Gardens, from the largest 
to the smallest. With Engraved Plans, illustrative of the various systems of 
Grouping in Beds and Borders. By David Thomson, Gardener to his Grace 
the Duke of Buccleuch, K.G., at Drumlanrig. Fourth and Cheaper Edition, 
crown 8vo, 5s. 



WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS. 23 



THOMSON. The Handy Book of Fruit- Culture under Glass : 

being a series of Elaborate Practical Treatises on the Cultivation and Forcing 
of Pines, Vines, Peaches, Figs, Melons, Strawberries, and Cucumbers. With 
Engravings of Hothouses, &c, most suitable for the Cultivation and Forcing 
of these Fruits. By David Thomson, Gardener to his Grace the Duke of 
Buccleuch, E.G., at Drumlanrig. Second Edition. Crown 8vo, with Engrav- 
ings, 7s. 6d. 

THOMSON. A Practical Treatise on the Cultivation of the Grape- 
Vine. By William Thomson, Tweed Vineyards. Ninth Edition, 8vo, 5s. 

THOMSON. Cookery for the Sick and Convalescent. With 

Directions for the Preparation of Poultices, Fomentations, &c. By Barbara 
Thomson. Fcap. 8vo, is. 6d. 

TOM CRINGLE'S LOG. A New Edition, with Illustrations. 

Crown 8vo, cloth gilt, 5s. Cheap Edition, 2s. 

TRANSACTIONS OF THE HIGHLAND AND AGRICUL- 
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TULLOCH. Rational Theology and Christian Philosophy in Eng- 
land in the Seventeenth Century. By John Tulloch, D.D., Principal of St 
Mary's College in the University of St Andrews ; and one of her Majesty's 
Chaplains in Ordinary in Scotland. Second Edition. 2 vols. 8vo, 16s. 

Modern Theories in Philosophy and Religion. 8vo, 15s. 

Theism. The Witness of Reason and Nature to an All- 
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Luther, and other Leaders of the Reformation. Third 



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TWO STORIES OF THE SEEN AND THE UNSEEN. 'The 

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VEITCH. Institutes of Logic. By John Veitch, LL.D., Pro- 
fessor of Logic and Rhetoric in the University of Glasgow. Post 8vo, 12s. 6d. 

The Feeling for Nature in Scottish Poetry. From the 

Earliest Times to the Present Day. 2 vols. fcap. 8vo, in Roxburghe bind- 
ing. 15s. 

VIRGIL. The ^Eneid of Virgil. Translated in English Blank 

Verse by G. K. Rickards, M.A., and Lord Ravensworth. 2 vols. fcap. 8vo, 
10s. 

WALFORD. The Novels of L. B. Walford. New and Uniform 

Edition. Crown 8vo, each 5s. 
Mr Smith : A Part of his Life. 



Cousins. 
Pauline. 



Troublesome Daughters. 

Dick Netherby. 

The Baby's Grandmother. 



History of a Week. 

WARDEN. Poems. By Francis Heywood Warden. With a 

Notice by Dr Vanroth. Crown 8vo, ss. 

WARREN'S (SAMUEL) WORKS. People's Edition, 4 vols, crown 

8vo, cloth, 15s. 6d. Or separately : — 
Diary of a Late Physician. Cloth, 2s. 6d. ; boards, 2s. 
Ten Thousand A-Year. Cloth, 3s. 6d. ; boards, 2s. 6d. 
Now and Then. The Lily and the Bee. Intellectual and Moral 

Development of the Present Age. 4s. 6d. 
Essays : Critical, Imaginative, and Juridical. 5 s * 
WARREN. The Five Books of the Psalms. With Marginal 

Notes. By Rev. Samuel L. Warren, Rector of Fsher, Surrey ; late Fellow, 
Dean, and Divinity Lecturer, Wadham College, Oxford. Crown 8vo, 5s. 

WATSON. Christ's Authority ; and other Sermons. By the late 
Archibald Watson, D.D., Minister of the Parish of Dundee, and one of 
Her Majesty's Chaplains for Scotland. With Introduction by the Very 
Rev. Principal Caird, Glasgow. Crown 8vo, 7s. 6d. 

WEBSTER. The Angler and the Loop-Rod. By David Webster. 

Crown 8vo, with Illustrations, 7s. 6d. 



24 LIST OF BOOKS, ETC. 



WELLINGTON. Wellington Prize Essays on "the System of Field 

Manoeuvres best adapted for enabling our Troops to meet a Continental Army." 
Edited by Lieut.-General Sir Edward Bruce Hamley, K.G.B. 8vo, 12s. 6d. 

WESTMINSTER ASSEMBLY. Minutes of the Westminster As- 
sembly, while engaged in preparing their Directory for Church Government, 
Confession of Faith, and Catechisms (November 1644 to March 1649). Edited 
by the Rev. Professor Alex. T. Mitchell, of St Andrews, and the Rev. John 
Struthers, LL.D. With a Historical and Critical Introduction by Professor 
Mitchell. 8vo, 15s. 

WHITE. The Eighteen Christian Centuries. By the Rev. James 

White. Seventh Edition, post8vo, with Index, 6s. 

History of France, from the Earliest Times. Sixth Thou- 
sand, post 8vo, with Index, 6s. 

WHITE. Archaeological Sketches in Scotland — Kintyre and Knap- 
dale. By Colonel T. P. White, R.E., of the Ordnance Survey. With numer- 
ous Illustrations. 2 vols, folio, £4, 4s. Vol. I., Kintyre, sold separately, 

£2, 2S. 

The Ordnance Survey of the United Kingdom. A Popular 

Account. Crown 8vo, 5s. 

WILLS and GREENE. Drawing-room Dramas for Children. By 

W. G. Wills and the Hon. Mrs Greene. Crown 8vo, 6s. 

WILSON. Works of Professor Wilson. Edited by his Son-in-Law, 

Professor Ferrier. 12 vols, crown 8vo, £2, 8s. 

. Christopher in his Sporting-Jacket. 2 vols., 8s. 

Isle of Palms, City of the Plague, and other Poems. 4s. 

Lights and Shadows of Scottish Life, and other Tales. 4s. 

Essays, Critical and Imaginative. 4 vols., 16s. 

The Noctes Ambrosianse. 4 vols., 16s. 

The Comedy of the Noctes Ambrosianae. By Christopher 

North. Edited by John Skelton, Advocate. With a Portrait of Professor 
Wilson and of the Ettrick Shepherd, engraved on Steel. Crown 8vo, 7s. 6d. 

Homer and his Translators, and the Greek Drama. Crown 



8vo, 4s. 

WILSON. From Korti to Khartum : A Journal of the Desert 

March from Korti to Gubat, and of the Ascent of the Nile in General Gordon's 
Steamers. By Colonel Sir Charles W. Wilson, K.C.B., K.C.M.G., R.E. 
Seventh Edition. Crown 8vo, 2s. 6d. 

WINGATE. Annie Weir, and other Poems. By David Wingate. 

Fcap. 8vo, 5s. 

Lily Neil. A Poem. Crown 8vo, 4s. 6d. 

WORDSWORTH. The Historical Plays of Shakspeare. With 

Introductions and Notes. By Charles Wordsworth, D.C.L., Bishop of S. 
Andrews. 3 vols, post 8vo, each price 7s. 6d. 

WORSLEY. Poems and Translations. By Philip Stanhope 

Worsley, M.A. Edited by Edward Worsley. Second Edition, enlarged. 
Fcap. 8vo, 6s. 

YATE. England and Russia Face to Face in Asia. A Record of 

Travel with the Afghan Boundary Commission. By Lieutenant A. C. Yate, 
Bombay Staff Co'rps, Special Correspondent of the 'Pioneer,' 'Daily Tele- 
graph,' &c, &c, with the Afghan Boundary Commission. 8vo, with Maps 
and Illustrations, 21s. 

YOUNG. Songs of Beranger done into English Verse. By William 

Young. New Edition, revised. Fcap. 8vo, 4s. 6d. 
YULE. Fortification : for the Use of Officers in the Army, and 
Readers of Military History. By Col. Yule, Bengal Engineers. 8vo, with 
numerous Illustrations, 10s. 6d. 

ZIT AND XOE : Their Early Experiences. Reprinted from 

' Blackwood's Magazine.' Crown 8vo, paper cover, is. 
12/S7. 



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